Answer to Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church

Since the original Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church has not received much interaction apart from regular readers here on CrossWise, it seems best to fully explain the selected text comprising that challenge in this separate post, as I deem this information critical to understanding the basis not just of Johnson’s Christology, but of his entire theology.

In the following message, taken from Bill Johnson’s 12/20/09 sermon Jesus is our Model (2nd service), all CAPS indicates Johnson’s emphasis, other emphasis is added, indicating portions important in understanding the overall message: 

…Look at verse 3, “And, the devil said to Him, ‘IF you are the Son of God command this stone to become bread.’”  Jesus answered Him saying, “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone but by every WORD of God.”  What was the first temptation?  It wasn’t to turn stone into bread, it was to question who He was.  Verse 3, “the devil said to Him, IF you are the Son of God’.”  What did it say in verse 22, chapter 3?  “YOU are My beloved Son.”  “In YOU I am well pleased”.  What was his first temptation?  “IF you are the Son of God”.

We find Johnson here making the claim that Jesus’ first temptation from Satan was to question His identity, who He was.  By this he means that “IF you are the Son of God” is the focal point of this temptation, rather than trying to persuade Him to turn the stone to bread.  Johnson reaches this conclusion by going back to the Father’s words to Jesus in Luke 3:22.  This is why he stresses “WORD of God” in Luke 4:4.

However, quite simply, the word if should be taken as since: “Since you are the Son of God command this stone to become bread.”  The IF in the initial clause is not conditional; it’s descriptive.  Satan knows full well Jesus is the Son of God (James 2:19); and, Jesus had been well aware of His identity as evidenced by His words to his mother Mary as a 12 year old, “Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49, NIV). Therefore, from a Biblically orthodox perspective, this temptation was to persuade Jesus to use His own intrinsic power to satisfy His human need, rather than to fulfill the work He came to do by relying on the Father for His sustenance while in the wilderness.

Here’s the main problem with Johnson’s words above: His teaching posits that Satan was tempting Jesus not to believe the spoken words of the Father (from Luke 3:22).  In effect, this turns Jesus into one who is dependent upon the so-called ‘present truth’, or ‘new revelation’ (“what God is saying and doing” below) that hyper-charismatics claim are greater than Scripture in terms of authority.  This is made clear in the very next section of his message (“Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not?”).  But, more importantly, note how Johnson is making the claim that Matthew 13 applies to Jesus, not just mankind:

Jesus explains this later to the disciples in Matthew 13; I’ll just read the one phrase to you that’ll help that concept to make sense.  He was talking about people who had no root in themselves; they hear the Word but there’s no depth in their person.  They’ve not been prepared for what God is saying and doing.  And, then it says “for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the WORD [ED: 3 second pause for emphasis] immediately they stumble.  Persecution, difficulty, conflict arises because of the Word.  The WORD of the Lord attracts CONFLICT.  It’s not punishment.  It’s not to humiliate.  It’s for two basic reasons: it’s because the Lord wants to give reward and He wants to honor character.  Character is not formed in the absence of options.  There has to be two trees in the Garden where I am honored for a decision.  Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not?  Do I consider other options, other possibilities?

According to Christian orthodoxy, the Parable of the Sower/Soils (Matthew 13:1-23) pertains to humankind, not to Jesus.  The “Word” (seed) in this parable refers to the Gospel message that Jesus Himself, as the “farmer” (Matthew 13:3), was proclaiming, contrary to Johnson’s explanation.  Moreover, this parable has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus’ temptation in the desert (Luke 4:1-13).

Given the potentially confusing nature of the above, we’ll recap.  In making the claim that Jesus’ first temptation from Satan was to question His identity as the Son of God and then using the Parable of the Sower/Soils to explain his meaning, Johnson has reduced Jesus to one who is dependent upon the so-called ‘present truths’ for His identity and guidance, just like the rest of humankind.  Consequently, as per Johnson, Jesus is potentially subject to stumbling when “persecution, difficulty, conflict arises because of the Word”, because Jesus Himself could have chosen to listen to Satan rather than God if He didn’t have enough ‘depth in His Person’. 

Obviously, Johnson is way off base Biblically here, but to what ends?  Why has he conflated and reinterpreted Scripture so?

Interestingly, Johnson’s interpretation of the first temptation as Satan questioning His identity, with Jesus’ replying that He/we are to rely on “present truths” is found in New Age / New Spirituality teaching.  In the following note how “Satan” is equated with “Ego”, which, in occult terminology, is the so-called “lower self”, the human nature.  This is as opposed to the “higher self”, the divine seed/spark, or “Christ” within. This particular author is using the parallel passage in Matthew of Luke 4:3-4:

“And when the tempter (Satan / Ego) came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he (Jesus) answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:3-4).

Our ego always compromises the truth by masking true reality for the grand illusion; in essence, the ego is the anchor to the physical perspective. But Jesus overcomes this perspective. He tells Satan that man does not live by bread alone (physical existence), but by every word from the mouth of God (spirit). In fact since Jesus denies the bread completely, we understand that ultimate truth lies beyond the veil of the physical realm and instead resides in the spiritual realm, or the realm of consciousness that operates beyond this 3D physical experience [bold in original; other emphasis added].

Bill Johnson has used (as have others in hyper-charismaticism) this very same physical realm vs. spiritual realm false dichotomy more than once.  Here’s one example:

The focus of repentance is to change our way of thinking until the presence of His Kingdom fills our consciousness.  The enemy’s attempt to anchor our affections to the things that are visible is easily resisted when our hearts are aware of the presence of His world

If the Kingdom is here and now, then we must acknowledge it’s in the invisible realm.  Yet being at hand reminds us that it’s also within reach…That which is unseen can be realized only through repentance [ED: aka, “intimacy with the Father”, “ascended lifestyle”, etc.].  It was as though He said, ‘If you don’t change the way you perceive things, you’ll live your whole life thinking what you see in the natural is the superior reality… [WHIE p 38.  Italics in original; emphasis added.  Cf. SPTM p 41]

Keep in mind that in Johnson’s dictionary repentance comes from having “intimacy with the Father” (which leads to the “ascended lifestyle” or “renewed mind”), performing “Biblical meditation” (which, as Johnson describes it, is not Biblical, but just like contemplative prayer, or centering prayer in method), aka “soaking”, etc. [see here for more explanation].  Contrary to Scripture, Johnson teaches that to repent is to perceive the spiritual realm, with increasing “repentance” providing more and more access to the “invisible” realm.  As he states, “Repentance is not complete until it envisions His Kingdom” [WHIE p 38; cf. SPTM pp 42-45].

Going back to Johnson’s sermon, it’s the rest of this particular section in Johnson’s monologue that puts all the pieces together in this specific teaching:

The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil.  And, then it says, but other things grow and they choke out the life of that seed of God.  Think about it: the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe, is put into an environment that if we give attention to other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS, we actually give them a place in our heart to take root and they choke out the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe.  For a season, the Lord has allowed our choices to affect the power, the effect of the most powerful thing in the universe.  It’s stunning.

Note that there are two seeds – one external and one internal.  To differentiate, the internal seed here is in green colored font.  The above underscored “seed of God” is ambiguous in the context; it could refer to the external seed or the internal seed.

This section of Johnson’s message above will be explained in-depth, as it’s very confusingly worded.

The external seed is “the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God”.  This could be construed one of two ways.  The first is that God’s Word has a seed which is called “sperma of God”.  That is, the “seed” / “sperma” (of God) is a subunit of God’s Word.  The second possible understanding is that God’s Word = the “sperma of God”.  In other words, this could be rephrased as ‘God’s Word, which is a seed, also known as the sperma of God…’  The first view seems to make the most sense in this context.

More important is the internal seed called “the seed” (and possibly “seed of God”).   The internal seed is the one which “the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God” is released into.  To state another way, the external seed, “the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God”, is released into the internal seed, which is in the individual’s “soil”.  To put yet another way, through the Word (of new revelation) the external “seed of God’s Word (“sperma of God”) is released into the internal “seed” in the soil of the hearer:

the [external] seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the [internal] seed, through His Word [new revelation], into the [internal] soil.

So then, “His Word”, the so-called “present truth”, aka “new revelation”, is the vehicle by which the external seed, the “sperma of God” is released into the internal “seed” in the soil of the individual.  Bear in mind Johnson’s claim above that Matthew 13 also pertains to Jesus.  This means that Jesus Himself had a seed in his soil, and that “through His Word” (present truth, new revelation), the “sperma of God”, aka “the seed of God’s Word” was released into His internal “seed”, which is in His internal “soil”.

Tying it all Together by Going Back to the Roots

Putting all this together, Johnson is teaching that Jesus, like all men, has a seed within Him, which can either grow by paying heed to so-called present truth, aka new revelation (“the most powerful thing in the universe”) such as “YOU are My beloved Son”, or the seed can be choked out by other “IDEALS”, “VOICES”, “WORDS”.  Jesus’ first temptation in the wilderness is an example of these other ideals, voices, words, yet Jesus withstood this temptation, providing an example for the rest of mankind.

A form of this teaching, known as Gnosticism, goes all the way back to the second century (and perhaps the first century).  Early church leaders (some term them “fathers”), perhaps most notably in the writings of Irenaeus, battled against the Gnostics, using the pen as their sword.  The basic worldview of the Gnostics was dualistic, such that all matter is evil, while spirit is good.  Humankind, while inwardly spirit and hence good, was enfleshed by evil matter, the outward body.  The goal was to escape the flesh, thus attaining self-redemption.  This was accomplished through secret knowledge, or gnosis (new revelation) that came by way of mystical experiences from mystical practices.

This doctrine is reprised or repackaged in varying forms in the New Age / New Spirituality teachings of today.  In Levi Dowling’s popular book titled The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, originally published in 1907 and still in print today, is an introduction that recounts these teachings.  The following two quotes describe the basic doctrine, comparing remarkably well with Johnson’s “sperma of God” concept.  First, there is a “Christ” within (internal divine seed, spark of divine light), which was deposited in all of creation at the very beginning:

Christ, the universal Love, pervades all spaces of infinity…

Perfection is the ultimate of life.  A seed is perfect in its embryonic form, but it is destined to unfold, to grow.  Into the soil of every plane these seeds, which were the Thoughts of God, were cast…and they who sowed the seeds, through Christ, ordained that they should grow…and to each be a perfection of its kind. [AGJC, p 6; capitalization from original, emphasis added]

These seeds then are the “Thoughts of God” lying dormant in each and every thing or being.  The key is to awaken, or “sow” the seed through Christ:

Christ is the Logos [Word] of Infinities and through the Word alone are Thought and Force made manifest.[AGJC, p 6; CAPS from original, emphasis added]

 Let’s compare this directly to Johnson’s teaching above:

the[external] seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the [internal] seed, through His Word [new revelation], into the [internal] soil.

In each case, the vehicle is “through the/His Word”.  Levi states that “Thought and Force” are “made manifest only “through the Word”, while Johnson’s doctrine above is such that new revelation/present truths are made manifest “through His Word”.  These are striking similarities.  The only difference is that Levi is explicit that the seed inside all things is divine; Johnson is ambiguous with his seed.

Levi’s doctrine is explicitly panentheistic, i.e., God is IN all [pan = all; en = in; the, from theos = God].  Bill Johnson’s is not incongruent with panentheism, though, as noted, he’s ambiguous.  Is Johnson’s internal seed divine like Levi’s, which would mean he’s teaching panentheism?

While there are a number of different views of panentheism in the varying religious systems in the world, there are some consistencies in the doctrine with respect to how it relates to Jesus Christ and Christianity in esotericism.  For perhaps a clearer understanding, here’s Richard Smoley from his book Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition: with a general view of “Christian” esotericism and the doctrine of panentheism:

…The Father is the ineffable, transcendent aspect of God; the Son [ED: Christ] is God’s immanent aspect. This divine spark or Logos is the first sounding-forth of existence from the depths of infinity: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3-4). Christ is the embodiment of this immanent aspect of God.

So are we. “Without him was not any thing made that was made.” Nothing comes into existence unless this divine spark of consciousness, no matter how faint or dim, lies at its center. This was true of Jesus, it is true of me, and it is true of you…We may not be as exalted as Christ…But at the core we are the same [IC, pp 134-135; all emphasis added].

Note the two separate aspects of God: the transcendent, which is the ineffable (inexpressible) Father, and the immanent (within all of creation) aspect, which is the Son (Christ).  This immanence is alternatively called divine seed, divine spark, divine (spark of) light, logos, or Christ.  So, the Son/Christ is a divine entity, and this divine entity was diffused throughout creation as a seed / spark / light.  This view of panentheism is such that all is in God (the transcendent Father is wholly outside, surrounding all of creation) and God is in all (the Son/Christ is within all of creation).

Yet, observe that Jesus Himself is called Christ (“Christ is the embodiment of this immanent aspect of God”), rather than merely, for example, Jesus of Nazareth.  Smoley quotes from A Course in Miracles to describe Him:

The name of Jesus is the name of the one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God.  So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God [ACIM, Teachers Manual, p 87; emphasis in original].

Smoley  then quotes the “Jesus” of the Course as saying all can do what He did, describing Him as an intermediary, making the impossible (the distance is too great between us and the Father) into possibility [IC, p 135].  The author goes on to affirm that all are Christs, at least potentially [IC, pp 135-136].

But what of the Holy Spirit?  Smoley describes this false trinity, to include the integral role of the Spirit:

How do these two, the Father and the Son, interact with each other?  What enables them to have any connection at all, while still in some way remaining distinct?  There is…a principle that makes this interaction possible.  It is called the Comforter, or the Holy Spirit.

Here, in essence, is the Christian Trinity…Between them [Father and Son] is the Holy Spirit, the divine principle of relatedness, which accomplishes perhaps the most astonishing of all miracles: uniting two separate entities while still allowing them to be separate [IC, pp 103-104].

Levi Dowling either conflates and/or confuses the Holy Spirit (“Holy Breath”) with the ‘external Christ’, or he’s trying to convey the same thing as Smoley above [AGJC, pp 8-9].  That is, it may be that “Holy Breath” activates the Christ/Word within and/or communicates the Word from the Father to the inner Christ.  Either interpretation brings forth the same basic idea as Smoley’s description.  What has Bill Johnson said about the relationship between the Father and the Son?  Keeping in mind the foregoing, look for the similarities in Johnson’s words below with so-called “Esoteric Christianity”:

The Father, by the Holy Spirit, directed all that Jesus said and did [F2F, p 108].

It was the Holy Spirit upon Jesus that enabled Him to know what the Father was doing and saying [DWG, p 136].

If we were to assume that Johnson’s internal seed is indeed the divine seed (spark, Christ, etc.) concept, his theology would fit right into the above.  Even his “eternally God” statements would have no trouble being synthesized, as certainly if everything has a seed/spark of the divine within, then it’s not a stretch to claim all are, in essence, God, to include the human Jesus Johnson portrays.  This is precisely why New Agers can call themselves “Christs” or “gods” with a straight face.

This “seed”/”sperma of God” concept is equivalent to “the anointing”, that is, Johnson’s teaching that Christ = “the anointing” or “anointed one” (of many) [see The Christ Anointing section here for in-depth look], with “the anointing” itself coming from the Spirit which brings the Word of new revelation.  Johnson’s view more closely aligns with Levi’s; the first quote below comes from Dowling’s book, the others are from Johnson’s Face to Face with God:

The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Kristos [ED: actually Christos] and means anointed…The word Christ, in itself, does not refer to any particular person; every anointed person is christed [sic]… [AGJC, p 6; italics in original; bold added.] 

The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified.  This was His quest.  Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [ED: the anointing] there could be no title [F2F, p 109; italics in original, bold added]. 

…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him… [F2F, p 77; emphasis added].

Keep in mind that Jesus’ “anointing”, as per Johnson in the above, is referring to the Spirit descending as a dove upon Him, which is subsequent to His baptism in water by John, and that this is how He received the title of Christ.  In the Apocryphal/Gnostic Gospel of Philip from the 2nd century is the same idea.  In the following, there is a specific distinguishing between water baptism and ‘anointing’ [chrisma (not chrism as in the text) is the Greek transliterated word meaning anointing].  The “anointing” here is identified as the mark of a Christian, rather than true Christian conversion upon which one receives the Holy Spirit indwelling – just like Bill Johnson’s teachings:

The chrism is superior to baptism.  For from the chrism we were called ‘Christians’, not from baptismChrist also was (so) called because of the anointing.  For the Father anointed the Son.  But the Son anointed the apostles.  And the apostles anointed us.  He who is anointed possesses all things.  He has the resurrection, the light, the cross [GoP, p 200; emphasis added].

Integral to the Gospel of Philip is the divine seed / spark ideology.  Bill Johnson’s overall Christology would fit nicely into this same Gnostic framework, with his seed as the divine seed / spark.  Assuming Johnson’s seed is divine, with each subsequent “anointing” by the external “seed”/”sperma of God” (which is the “word” of new revelation, or “what God is saying and doing” as per Johnson above), the internal “seed” grows towards maturity (perfection).

Again, assuming Johnson’s seed is divine, then the “spiritual DNA” teaching, which is becoming more prevalent, would be yet another way of stating this concept. That is, when the “seed”/”sperma of God” [anointing] is “released into the seed [inside the individual], through His Word, into the soil [ED: which contains the individual's 'seed']” initially, then this is the point in which the individual’s divine spark/seed is activated, which is equivalent to one’s latent “spiritual DNA” activated. [See Getting Down to the DNA of Spiritual DNA section here.]

It seems that the interpretation of this internal seed as being the divine seed concept (divine spark, Christ within, etc.), as used in “esoteric Christianity”, makes the most sense of Bill Johnson’s usage in the context above when viewed in the light of some his other teachings (“the anointing”, “spiritual DNA”). 

 

Cf. (cf.) = compare, or see also

ACIM = Helen Schucman A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, 1992 (2nd ed), Foundation for Inner Peace, Glen Ellen, CA

AGJC = Levi Dowling The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ: The Philosophic and Practical Basis of the Religion of the Aquarian Age of the World, © 1907 Eva S. Dowling and Leo W. Dowling, © 1935 and © 1964 Leo W. Dowling, (11th printing, 1987), DeVorss, Marina del Rey, CA

DWG = Bill Johnson Dreaming with God: Secrets to Redesigning Your World Through God’s Creative Flow. 2006, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA

F2F = Bill Johnson Face to Face with God: The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence, 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL

GoP = “The Gospel of Philip” in Wilhelm Schneemelcher; transl. R. McL. Wilson New Testament Apocrypha: Volume One: Gospels and Related Writings. © J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tubingen, 1990; English Translation © James Clarke & Co. Ltd, 1991 (Rev. ed.), Westminster John Knox, Louisville, KY

IC = Richard Smoley Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition,2002, Shambhala, Boston, MA.  In the Acknowledgements section is “Reverend” Cynthia Bourgeault (author of The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message. 2008, Shambhala, Boston, MA, which has been quoted from on CrossWise), Jacob Needleman, among others.  Endorsements include Jean Houston and David Spangler.

SPTM = Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles, 2005, Destiny Image: “Speaking to the Purposes of God for This Generation and for the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA

WHIE = Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles, 2003, Treasure House/Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA

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57 Responses to Answer to Open Challenge to Fans and Critics of Bill Johnson/Bethel Church

  1. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for that clear and informative description of the gnostic teaching. It is slowly filtering into my brain. I may have another question later, but basically, if I understand it so far, the light/divine spark/Christ-consciousness is already there, it just needs to be activated. Whereas, the Bible states that there is nothing good in us. We must receive Jesus Christ by an act of faith.

    1 John 2:27
    As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

    So Craig, how can we be sure we have the right anointing? How do we know we are believing in the right Jesus?

    Having lived and breathed in charismatic circles, I saw those who received Jesus as “their personal saviour”, post haste, being caught up with the counterfeit Jesus and reading material such as A Course in Miracles (as well as a myriad of other literature) without any real discernment. They supposedly had received the real Jesus by making a decision for Christ.

  2. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    You’ve cited the one and only verse which contains the Greek word χρισμα (chrisma = anointing) twice. The only other time it is used in the NT is 1 John 2:20. And, the very verse you cited is one of the reasons I believe that Gnosticism was found in the first century – perhaps in its infancy (as proto-Gnosticism), but an ideology nonetheless – and one of the reasons I believe John was writing against the likes of Cerinthus. As has been discussed in comments here before (and in the Born Again Jesus, part I article), Cerinthus’ belief (though there’s not much info available on him), with respect to Christology, is that Jesus was a man who had the “Christ Spirit” descend upon him post-baptism when the Spirit came “as a dove”. This “Christ Spirit” left him before the Cross, as spirit cannot die, as the prevalent thinking was dualistic – matter is evil, spirit is good. For this reason Jesus and Christ could not be the same person.

    However, though not expressed in Cerinthus’ writings (but made plain in some second century Gnostic texts), it’s very possible that he believed that all had a latent seed/spark/light of the divine within that could be activated by the “Christ Spirit” as it had Jesus.

    For the above reasons, I think the writer of the First Epistle of John (John the elder, who may or may not be the Apostle John, though I think they are the same) was making a distinction between the true Holy Spirit indwelling and the false “anointing” that was based on the premise of this divine seed/spark/light inside.

  3. Craig says:

    Perhaps I should add this for clarity. The divine seed/spark/light (“Christ”) within is considered the real person, or “self”, while the body (the “not-self”) is currently the vehicle the real self is trapped in. With that thought in mind, and the panentheistic ideology as explained in the article, a person with this ideology could state that s/he is “god”, and even further s/he was/is “eternally God”.

    Since “God” is immanent (and separately transcendent), that is, within all of creation, one could say that “all is God” but not mean it in terms of pantheism (which literally means “all is God”). In other words, since the “self” is merely the “god” within, and the “not self” is the material outer “shell”, calling oneself “god” does not necessarily entail that the physical body is also “god”. The whole point of most occult doctrine is to rid oneself of the ‘evil’ matter, the outer body.

    This is why I think that true pantheism is not as prevalent as it may seem. Certainly, Satan HATES creation, since it is God-made.

  4. Carolyn says:

    ok. so there is a true anointing and a false one.

    My question is how does one “know” if they have the true anointing? In Charismatic circles it is sometimes an experience of euphoria, sometimes they call it a “inner knowing” (mystical) and of course there is the outworking of “miracle power” which confirms their salvation experience, in their minds.

    How does your gospel differ from theirs? How do you “know” Christ? Do you understand what my question is?

  5. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    I thought your initial question was rhetorical, sorry. I’d think 2 Thes 2:9-12 should be instructive:

    9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

    By placing experiential religion over the Truths of Scripture, one is standing on shaky ground (Matt 7:24-27). Experience can be verified if it adheres to Truth; Truth is not found in experience. Otherwise, all the metaphysical cults would be Christian by the evidence of their healings. Same with the Eastern religions. Etc.

  6. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    I think you are right with some of the things, and I think there is definitely a form of gnosticism that is prevalent throughout hyper-charismatic circles. There is a spiritual connection, and it stems from many of the lies told by the same demonic spirits. There is no question that there the early Word of Faith people were into New Thought and New Age doctrine, and that these things have trickled down into the contemporary hyper-charismatic and Word of Faith teachings.

    You are also right that what Bill Johnson teaches is off, and has gnostic/occult ties — whether this is just from demonic spirits who just feed them the same stuff, or whether there is a direct connection, and that they are teaching this stuff on purpose, or whether it is a mixture of the two…..

    And it is evident that both hyper-charismatic leaders like Johnson and those in the New Age and New Thought distort the same passages of Scripture and sometimes say things that are pretty close…..

    However, some of it still seems like a stretch to me…some of the connections that are being made here. Like, for example, I’m not sure that we can say that the Johnson crowd has the New Age/New Thought interpretation of everything in mind in their theology. They might, but it just seems a very big stretch to me to say that these folks are teaching the gnostic divine spark initiation concept, or that they have the New Age Christ in mind when they preach.

    Hmmm….but then the results are pretty much the same. Johnson ends up giving people an occult spirituality — that we need to receive the Anointing and then we can be a little Jesus, doing all kinds of signs and wonders. And he does definitely have a gnostic framework of spiritual vs. physical.

    So again, there are similarities, but I’m not sure that we can equate hyper-charismatic teachings with New Age/New Thought spirituality. There is a subtle difference. I think both hyper-charismatic teachers and New Age/New Thought teachers are into the occult.

  7. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    OK, so you admit that Johnson is promoting a “gnostic framework of spiritual vs. physical” and that “we need to receive the Anointing and then we can be a little Jesus, doing all kinds of signs and wonders”, yet you don’t think it’s necessarily New Age (which has a gnostic backdrop).

    You wrote: I’m not sure that we can say that the Johnson crowd has the New Age/New Thought interpretation of everything in mind in their theology…

    Note that I’ve not used the word “everything” with respect to Johnson/Bethel teaching New Age theology. I don’t think they do, for if they did, they’d certainly never pass for a Christian church.

    First let’s note my very last paragraph:

    It seems that the interpretation of this internal seed as being the divine seed concept (divine spark, Christ within, etc.), as used in “esoteric Christianity”, makes the most sense of Bill Johnson’s usage in the context above when viewed in the light of some his other teachings (“the anointing”, “spiritual DNA”).

    “It seems” is not “it definitely is”. I’ve stated earlier that he’s ambiguous on the divine seed/spark point.

    But, let’s start from the beginning, with the first and second paragraph of this particular sermon. Do you agree that Johnson is teaching that Jesus is a man who is reliant on the “present truth” for His identity? Do you agree with the analysis up to the point of the following recapitulation?

    Given the potentially confusing nature of the above, we’ll recap. In making the claim that Jesus’ first temptation was to question His identity as the Son of God and then using the Parable of the Sower/Soils to explain his meaning, Johnson has reduced Jesus to one who is dependent upon the so-called ‘present truths’ for His identity and guidance, just like the rest of humankind. Consequently, as per Johnson, Jesus is potentially subject to stumbling when “persecution, difficulty, conflict arises because of the Word”, because Jesus Himself could have chosen to listen to Satan rather than God if He didn’t have enough ‘depth in His Person’.

  8. Craig says:

    I should add that it was Albert Schweitzer who (initially?) claimed (at least argued this rigorously) that Jesus gradually became aware of His identity and role. Alice Bailey quotes him favorably in this regard.

  9. Carolyn says:

    Reply to my question:

    “By placing experiential religion over the Truths of Scripture, one is standing on shaky ground (Matt 7:24-27). Experience can be verified if it adheres to Truth; Truth is not found in experience. Otherwise, all the metaphysical cults would be Christian by the evidence of their healings. Same with the Eastern religions. Etc.”

    Response: Yes, I like that…experience can be verified if it adheres to Truth. And what is Truth?? Christ Jesus.

    Thoughts to ponder:
    Is Truth ever ambiguous? Is there ever more than one version of the Truth? Can there be any confusion and still maintain that you are walking in the Truth? Rhetorical questions. Given that Truth is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one of Him and if you have met him and still have confusion or questions as to whether or not you have met the Truth, then I submit to you that you have not yet met Him! When you meet the Saviour, when He reveals himself to you, there is no doubt. I mean, NO DOUBT. You aren’t left stumbling around in the darkness because HE is Light.

    And how do we meet with the Truth? We meet him in the Word. We do not meet him by sitting in the cone of silence or waiting to hear something while chanting the words “Be Still”; nor do we meet the truth by a formula or pattern or gnosis or intuition; nor can we meet Him by dressing in sackcloth, bowing one’s head like a reed or singing sweet kum-ba-ya. We meet Him as an individual in the Word. We meet with God, Our Creator, on His terms. (We can sing kum-ba-ya later if we like).

    What is ambiguous? Religion is ambiguous. New Thought is ambiguous. New Age is very ambiguous.The question was asked on another thread…how many Jesuses are there? Only one. No ambiguity. Who then is this Jesus that Bill Johnson is preaching? How do people meet Bill Johnson’s Jesus? Is it some new way? Is it through his teaching? Is it through gnosis? Through the hierarchy of the apostles? Through prophetic release (whatever that is)? And on and on…so fluid…so ambiguous, makes my head spin.

    There is only one Jesus Christ, One Truth…and when we meet Him, when we search Him out in the Word, when we embrace Him with our whole heart, HE will verify to us that we have met the True Life. ” Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”…

    Here’s another question that I have been wrestling with…is the Narrow Way a Person (Christ Jesus) or is it a path we take? Because to my way of thinking if it is only a path we take, then there can be a lot of ambiguity in how we walk that path. The focus is on how, not WHO. If The Narrow Way is a Person, then it is very narrow indeed….

  10. Craig says:

    Likely, we’ve all probably heard “the truth will set you free” in the context of merely telling the truth, or knowing certain truths. The grass is green; that’s true. 1 + 1 = 2. That’s true. Do any of these truths set you free? Here’s what Jesus said in context:

    31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:31-32; NIV]

    Hyper-charismatics are known to spew this false dichotomy: ‘Truth is a person not a doctrine’. How do we know Jesus without doctrine? How do we know Jesus/God without studying “to show ourself/ves approved” [2 Tim 2:15]?

  11. Okay, I am jumping in, boots and all!

    @ Craig. You said “I should add that it was Albert Schweitzer who (initially?) claimed (at least argued this rigorously) that Jesus gradually became aware of His identity and role. ”

    I was reading Robert Farrar Capon last night (The Parables of the Kingdom – no coincidence this guys also butchers our Lord’s parables). Have you read any of his stuff? It’s bad. He teaches the same ‘Jesus becoming aware of his identity stuff’ too. An example (the setting is post walking-on-water):

    “…the galvanizing effect of the whole day and night had on Jesus’ thoughts about messiahship and power. It seems to me that from the Feeding of the Five Thousand on, he had a much firmer grip on the truth that the Messiah was not going to save the world by miraculous, Band-Aid interventions: a storm calmed here, a crowd fed there, a mother-in-law cured back down the road. Rather it was going to be saved by means of a deeper, left-handed mystery, at the center of which lay his own death. In any case, it is only after the Feeding that his talk about dying actually begins.”

    He then goes on to refer to Matthew 16 as containing the first prophecy of Jesus’ death. Interesting. I thought the OT was full of them. Anyway, moving along. He then says:

    “…the ‘death-talk is immediately followed by the Transfiguration – and that, of course, by the downhill slide of his once upbeat career into the mystery of Good Friday and Easter.”

    Yep, he describes our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry as an ‘upbeat career’. Yikes.

    Then finally “The fact that Jesus is God in man means exactly that: he is true God, genuine Deity, in an equally genuine and therefore complete mere humanity. In his divine mind, for example, God the Son – the Second Person of the Trinity, the Incarnate Lord – knows absolutely everything; but in his human mind – in the only mind, we believe, through which that same Lord finally, authoritatively, and personally reveals himself in this world- Jesus cannot help but be ignorant of, say, first-century Chinese, modern French, Jeffersonian democracy, and nuclear physics. The inevitable condition of a historical incarnation – that he must have a particular human body and mind in an equally particular place and time – precludes him being Superman or Mr Know-It-All”

    Open theism and gnosticism sure do make great bedfellows. Jesus, through whom the world was created, and who essentially ‘invented’ physics, can’t possibly know anything about physics while he is trapped in his human body on earth. Really? That sure sounds more like science fiction that the actual truth of hypostatic union. I don’t even know how to respond to that. Amazing how Jesus’ deity is affirmed and promptly denied in one paragraph. In fact, both the books I have read of his are replete with awful teachings, on par with BJ.

    Capon’s writings are an appalling mix of new age/early emergent/mysticism. Like BJ, he says something ostensibly ‘orthodox’ then denies it in the next paragraph. Sometimes in the same sentence. He brutally attacks theology, theologians, conservative Christians, doctrine-loving believers…claiming all we have to do is have faith in Jesus. I fail to see how one can do that without actually reading (and believing) the revelation of who on earth Jesus actually is. In their hatred of God and his Word, they embarrass themselves by revealing their need for repentance, salvation and a healthy does of biblical theology.

    Capon is highly regarded by the emergent camp. Sadly Tullian Tchividjian from The Gospel Coalition just wrote a glowing article in memory of him (he died recently). The article showed no discernment and gives no warning to others, and Tullian even trotted out the old ‘eat the meat…spit out the bones’ nonsense. People are choking on the bones and don’t even know it. I am finally taking the Gospel Coalition link down off my blog. I can’t keep it just for the Don. :-(

    @ Arwen (then I am done, I promise!!) – direct “revelation” from spirits is the source of BJ, Alice Bailey, and many other’s false teachings. In the end, I think it is the deceiving spirits teaching them through the medium they know (i.e. Charismatic-ese for BJ, theosophy for Alice, Catholic-speak for the contemplatives etc). Something to suit every taste, yet all of it doctrines of demons. So it is very likely there are still many who can’t see the links and/or don’t want to know. If BJ knows and lies about it, he is not just deceived, he is diabolical. In the literal sense of the word. Can we know this about him with complete certainty? Probably not.

    But I think (correct me if I am wrong) Craig’s point in being blunt about Johnson is that teaching doctrines of demons in the name of the Lord Jesus is a heinous and dangerous sin, and ignorance is not an excuse. But really, how ignorant can he be after all this time? Many have tried to call him on his error. He doesn’t care. He willfully leads people astray. He has the Scriptures and like us all, is without excuse. Not forgetting, of course, that his whole background and training is in the latter rain/word of faith heresies which definitely has tuaght the divine seed doctrine over the years. Some of his self-confessed heroes (like William Branham) taught overt new age doctrine too. Also, it is useful to remember that there is a very carefully executed plan in play right now, with a convergence of these teachings in every area of the church. BJ is just playing his role, but is not the instigator. Only the Angel of Light himself could coordinate such an extraordinarily crafty plan, rolled out over the centuries. And God is letting him, as Satan is still a servant of the most High God!

    If you want the best background on this, you could watch Justin Peter’s series ‘A Call To Discernment’ free on YouTube (he wants it available for free, so don’t feel bad!). This is the best material for understanding that BJ is most definitely and consciously teaching new age/new thought doctrine although he might not call it that. (BTW – Justin’s updated DVD series with new material is now out for $20 from his website. Money well spent!)

    I would like to say too, that I have been in error. I knew which bits I was borrowing from the new age and others. Really, I did. And that was without channeling, just mixing in bits I liked. But I knew. Only by God’s grace am I here having this conversation instead of fawning over BJ on his FB page.

    Having said that Arwen, not sure if it was at all helpful. Sorry if not. Nice to ‘hear’ your voice though! :-)

  12. @ Carolyn. I have seen many conversions like the ones you refer to. It may even describe my own (although not in a charismatic environment). The key problem as I now understand it from Scripture? We don’t ‘make a decision’ for Christ….the Father calls us to faith and salvation through his Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Until that happens, any ‘decision’ is a work of the flesh and therefore open to every kind of false belief. I think that is what happened with me. If you want a couple of great sermons on this subject, I can point you in the right direction. It was not until my true conversion that I grasped it, from my position as a new creation in Christ. I think it is absolutely essential for believers to truly understand that our salvation is wholly a work of God, not man. Because when we understand this, we understand that the experience of being a new creation is the true anointing of the Holy Spirit. There is NOTHING else like it! And I’ve noticed that it also helps us recognize fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as see false teachings for what they are. Amazing. It is why I am so concerned that churches are full of unsaved people who don’t even know it. :-(

  13. Arwen4CJ says:

    I’m not sure that Johnson’s teaching is necessarily New Age in that I’m not sure he is teaching blatant New Age doctrine in the way those in the New Age teach it, although he is definitely teaching things that are along the same lines as it — things that are consistent with it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think New Agers go further with it than Johnson would.

    And it’s not so much that I admit that he is promoting a gnostic framework, but rather that I acknowledge that he is. I agree that he is. And, yes, I know that New Age has a gnostic backdrop, as do Johnson’s teachings.

    Hmmm, maybe one way of saying it is that the two ways of thinking started off on the same path, and then diverged later, each going their own way. This makes it so that the basic ideas can be found in both, yet, they’ve each developed their own distinctiveness.

    All right — it just seems like you’ve been implying that Johnson’s teaching = the same thing that New Agers teach. I’m sorry if I misunderstood…but that is just what it seemed to me that you were saying.

    And, yes, I know that “it seems” is not the same thing as “it definitely is,” but it is strongly suggested that it could be.

    As to your question:
    Do you agree that Johnson is teaching that Jesus is a man who is reliant on the “present truth” for His identity? Do you agree with the analysis up to the point of the following recapitulation?

    Yes, I agree that Johnson is teaching that Jesus is a man who is reliant on the “present truth” for His identity. And, yes, I agree with the analysis up to your recap paragraph.

  14. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    OK, I see where you’re coming from. No, I don’t think Johnson’s teaching is exactly like New Age doctrine, in part because there is no one set doctrine. It’s quite fluid, hence it’s beauty to adherents – take a little of this, a little of that, etc. The commonality, with respect to Christianity is that it distorts the Christian faith, most especially Christology – the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

    We must keep in mind the goal as set forth by “Master D.K.” via Alice Bailey:

    The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplishedThe church must show a wide tolerance…The church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance [ED: occult/esoteric meaning]. The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated.

  15. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Now, having stated the foregoing (previous comment), how do you interpret (be specific) Johnson’s following statement, in light of its immediate and larger context?:

    …the parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil…

    You may, for sake of convenience, quote specific section/s in the article and state where your opinion/s diverge

  16. Arwen4CJ says:

    @The Narrowing Path,

    I don’t disagree with the premise that BJ, Alice Bailey, and many other false teachers listen to direct revelation from deceiving spirits. In fact, I agree that this is what is going on….I strongly agree that this is what is happening.

    And, yes, these deceiving spirits are taking advantage of the belief system of those involved. For people who are into hyper-charismatic teachings, they appear as angels — and everything that goes with it. For example, angel feathers, gold dust, a false Jesus, a false Holy Spirit, visions and things that seem to tie in with the Bible, and direct revelation using Christian themes, words, and imagery.

    For those into paganism, this might take the form of fairies, fairy dust, fairy sightings, and revelation from fairies and other cute creatures. They might use spirits of animals or of nature, and the revelation would involve things that revolve around their spiritual beliefs.

    For those into the New Age, they might receive a combination of both the hyper-charismatic/”Christian” version and the pagan version, depending on their upbringing and own personal spirituality. If the idea of God communicating to them is attractive, then the spirits take on the guise of the members of the Trinity. There seems to be a fascination with angels and with biblical things too….so yeah, it is all about what appeals to the person.

    And yes, they are definitely all doctrines of demons. I fully agree with that.

    And I don’t have any problem with Craig (or anyone else) being blunt about Johnson teaching doctrine of demons in the name of the Lord Jesus. We need to expose this. I just want to make sure that we aren’t jumping too far in our conclusions, given what Johnson has actually said, and what he hasn’t said.

    It is fair to say “Johnson’s teachings, taken to their logical conclusion could lead a person to come to a similar understanding as New Agers do because ________.” Or “Johnson’s teachings are similar to this New Age concept _______. It’s something to think about.”

    However, it is another thing to say, “Given these similarities, could Johnson really be teaching this New Age doctrine?” or “Johnson’s doctrines might be best understood if viewed in this New Age teaching.” In my mind, that crosses the line, however maybe it is just me. I don’t know.

    As to how much Johnson knows, only God knows this. I have speculated before that Johnson could know more than he is letting on, and that he might be out to deceive people. But the thing is we don’t know for sure. He isn’t in total ignorance. He must know that some of this stuff comes from the occult, or is similar to occult practices and teachings, yet he has taken the position that “we are taking back what Satan stole from God.”

    I would guess that Johnson has a spirit guide — an “angel” that keeps giving him new revelations and doctrines. Whether or not he knows which side this “angel” is on, I don’t know. Does he know that his teachings contradict orthodox Christianity? I don’t know. Does he even care? I don’t know.

    Does he know that what he teaches is similar to Bailey and gnosticism? I don’t know. Is he aware of Kenyon and Hagin’s connection to New Thought? I don’t know. Does he know that he is not preaching the true gospel? I don’t know.

    The only thing that we can say for sure is that his teachings are dangerous and false. He is not preaching orthodox Christianity. He is teaching a form of occult beliefs. He is playing with fire. He is not preaching the real Jesus, and he is teaching a different gospel. He is conversing with demons.

    Is he teaching the things that he does in order to purposefully lead people astray? I don’t know. It depends on how much his familiar spirits have let him in on their plan. He might honestly think he is teaching people God’s truth, because what he teaches is what he honestly believes is right. That would make him deceived and being deceived. Whether or not he knows it, his teaching is deceiving others.

    And, yes, I know that many have tried to call him on his error, and that he doesn’t seem to care about that. This could be an issue of pride. He is either so convinced that he is hearing from God and that he has the truth, or he he knows that it is demonic doctrine, yet he presses on. He doesn’t care if people come away from his teachings with false theology. All he cares about is that people come away from his teachings believing that they have the ability to do signs and wonders.

    From everyone pointing out his errors, he should be aware of the falseness of his teachings, but maybe he just chalks it up as, “those poor, ignorant non powerful Christians that don’t have the anointing. They can’t understand spiritual things like I can.” So maybe he instantly dismisses their arguments without really thinking about them.

    Or, he might read what they write, think about it, and then dismiss their arguments.

    Finally, he might evilly laugh to himself. “Ha ha. I’m going to get them all to be reliant on demonic doctrines. The way to do this is to slowly introduce error.”

    I’m not trying to make excuses for him. He has no excuse before God. God’s truth is spelled out plainly in Scripture. So regardless of whether or not he is willfully trying to lead others astray — the fact is that he IS leading them astray. He is accountable for that. He has all the resources he needs to identify the error.

    There is no doubt that William Branham was into the occult, and that most of the latter rain/Word of Faith doctrine is occult, as is Bill Johnson’s teachings. The divine seed doctrine is deeply bedded in the occult, and I think has taken on different flavors so that the hyper-charismatic version isn’t necessarily the same as the New Age version, although the roots of both are the same, and that they are both taught by demons.

  17. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,


    You wrote:
    Now, having stated the foregoing (previous comment), how do you interpret (be specific) Johnson’s following statement, in light of its immediate and larger context?:

    …the parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil…

    You may, for sake of convenience, quote specific section/s in the article and state where your opinion/s diverge

    My response:
    In order to do that, we need to see how Johnson twists other Scriptures. For example, this quote that you gave from the article:

    Jesus explains this later to the disciples in Matthew 13; I’ll just read the one phrase to you that’ll help that concept to make sense. He was talking about people who had no root in themselves; they hear the Word but there’s no depth in their person. They’ve not been prepared for what God is saying and doing. And, then it says “for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the WORD [ED: 3 second pause for emphasis] immediately they stumble. Persecution, difficulty, conflict arises because of the Word. The WORD of the Lord attracts CONFLICT. It’s not punishment. It’s not to humiliate. It’s for two basic reasons: it’s because the Lord wants to give reward and He wants to honor character. Character is not formed in the absence of options. There has to be two trees in the Garden where I am honored for a decision. Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not? Do I consider other options, other possibilities?

    1. “He was talking about people who had no root in themselves. They hear the Word but there’s no depth in their person.”

    What? This is twisting Scripture. He was making it all about us as human beings, and not about having a root in Christ, in the gospel, etc. As for the “Word” that Johnson is talking about, Johnson is saying that this “word” is a prophetic word or direct revelation from God rather than the real gospel/God’s ultimate truth in Jesus Christ.

    He’s turning God’s ultimate truth into a subject truth that people hear through personal revelation — in other words Johnson is talking about a truth that is relative, depending on whatever God or an angel or a “prophet” supposedly says to someone personally.

    And, by his context in this sermon, he is applying all of this to Jesus. So he is saying that Jesus also had to hear divine revelation in the same way that he is saying we do.

    2. “They’ve not been prepared for what God is saying and doing.”

    Here Johnson only makes it clearer that he believes the passage is referring to revelations that people hear from God rather than the ultimate truth that is only found in Christ. Johnson is saying that these people are deaf and blind to what God is doing and saying in their midst. Thus, it is a direct attack against those who would question the modern day revelation.

    So we can see how Johnson has twisted a biblical passage to make it support NAR doctrine.

    The immediate application is that we must listen in our inner selves to what God is saying and doing, and we must listen to God’s chosen prophets. Otherwise we have no spiritual depth, no ground to stand on, no root in ourselves, and we are not prepared for what God is saying and doing in or midst.

    Again, as Johnson applies this to Jesus — Jesus was prepared for what God is saying and doing because He relied on this modern revelation.

    3. “And, then it says “for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the WORD [ED: 3 second pause for emphasis] immediately they stumble. Persecution, difficulty, conflict arises because of the Word.”

    I think Johnson here is saying implicitly that a true Christian must believe in and receive modern day revelation, otherwise they stumble in their Christian faith. Basically, there is a battle between those who are pro-modern day revelation or anti-modern day revelation, and that this all stems from whether or not we accept the “Word.” Those that do accept it will have persecution, difficulty, and the like. Those that reject the “Word” are not real Christians, and they fall away from the faith.

    Johnson here has just stated that the only true Christians are those that accept modern day revelation. He’s turned this passage from being centered on Christ to being centered on us and on modern revelation, and then used it to spread the NAR teaching against those who disagree with the movement.

    He’s turning it into another anti-Christ = anti-anointing teaching. Those who are against what NAR says are opposing God and are spiritually blind.

    If applied to Jesus, then this would mean that the whole reason Jesus avoided stumbling was because He stuck with the “word” God was teaching Him, even under heavy persecution and conflict.

    4. “The WORD of the Lord attracts CONFLICT. It’s not punishment. It’s not to humiliate. It’s for two basic reasons: it’s because the Lord wants to give reward and He wants to honor character. Character is not formed in the absence of options.”

    So, for Johnson, the whole point of conflict is to build character. That’s okay…but….he’s taken it out of context so that he can fit it in with his twisted interpretation of the passage. So he’s saying that Satan testing Jesus was all so that Jesus would not have an absence of options, and be able to have His character built up.

    And we will be tempted like Jesus was, and for the same reasons — just so our character is built up. Johnson has distorted Scripture.

    5. “There has to be two trees in the Garden where I am honored for a decision. Do I honor what God has declared over my life or not? Do I consider other options, other possibilities?”

    Where I am honored for a decision. Really? Here we can see that Johnson’s teaching is all about us, and not about God and giving glory to God. And in phrasing it like this, Johnson is equating obedience to God with honoring what God has declared over each of our lives, subjectively.

    So, in essence, Johnson has turned the whole temptation about Jesus and the parable of the sower into a twisted NAR doctrine that is all about listening to God’s voice through modern revelation. The main focus is on us, and on what God has supposedly declared over us.

    He has also brought Jesus down to our level and us up to His, while at the same time condemning those who would oppose Johnson’s teaching.

    I’ll have to finish this later. I’ve written a lot, and I don’t want to lose what I wrote.

  18. Arwen4CJ says:

    A continuation of my previous comment…..

    Now, let’s look at the next quote you used in this article:

    The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil. And, then it says, but other things grow and they choke out the life of that seed of God. Think about it: the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe, is put into an environment that if we give attention to other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS, we actually give them a place in our heart to take root and they choke out the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe. For a season, the Lord has allowed our choices to affect the power, the effect of the most powerful thing in the universe. It’s stunning.

    1. The parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil

    Might Johnson mean that the sperma of God is God’s power, and that it is encased within every divine utterance that God speaks, of course through ongoing revelation? This speaking God’s “truth” or declaring God’s “truth” makes things happen because it contains God’s power?

    Of course this would be of the occult and a form of magic….but this is what Johnson seems to be saying here.

    It seems that Johnson thinks God’s power is contained in His words that are spoken, and if we recite these truths, than His power is in our words, too. If we give a prophetic utterance, then we are speaking with power because we are speaking words that came from God, and thus the words have God’s power in them.

    2. Think about it: the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe, is put into an environment that if we give attention to other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS, we actually give them a place in our heart to take root and they choke out the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe.

    Again, he is talking about words of power here — which is an occult concept.

    So what he seems to be saying here is that he doesn’t want us to give any attention (including thinking about) other people’s opinions, to listen to those who disagree with the prophetic, or to receive words from other people, etc, otherwise we cause those things to take affect in our lives, and we no longer are able to hear direct revelation from God.

    3. For a season, the Lord has allowed our choices to affect the power, the effect of the most powerful thing in the universe. It’s stunning

    For Johnson, almost everything seems to come back to power.

    Now, tying all this back in with Jesus’ temptation…..

    It seems to me that Johnson is suggesting that Jesus faced the choice of not believing what God spoke over Him. And if Jesus had not believed what God spoke over Him, He would have failed in His mission. He would have become just like us, and God’s truth would not have been in Him.

    Does that answer your question, Craig?

  19. Craig says:

    Sorta. Do you see a distinction in the seeds, i.e., that there are in fact two seeds?

  20. Craig says:

    More specifically, note how I’ve analyzed the following. Please illustrate how you disagree:

    … the [external] seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the [internal] seed, through His Word [new revelation], into the [internal] soil.

    I’ll make this, perhaps, a bit easier. Since prepositional phrases are ‘add-ons’, so to speak, for purposes of further description, we can delete the two “of” prepositions:

    … the [external] seed…, the sperma…, is released into the [internal] seed, through His Word [new revelation], into the [internal] soil.

    Also, FYI, the Greek word from which “seed” is translated in this parable is sperma.

    We could even rearrange the sentence just a bit without losing it’s meaning:

    … the [external] God’s Word seed, the God sperma, is released into the [internal] seed, through His Word [new revelation], into the [internal] soil.

    Or:

    … [external] God’s Word’s seed, God’s sperma, is released into the [internal] seed, through His Word [new revelation], into the [internal] soil.

  21. Carolyn says:

    Very well said, Arwen. The real genius of the spirits who are directing this teaching is how they can take the same word (truth) and give it subtle twists to reflect the opposite of what is actually being said. And if you are narcissistic by nature (and we all are), then Bob’s your uncle (and mine)…we’re hooked!

  22. Carolyn says:

    Craig:

    “Hyper-charismatics are known to spew this false dichotomy: ‘Truth is a person not a doctrine’. How do we know Jesus without doctrine? How do we know Jesus/God without studying “to show ourself/ves approved” [2 Tim 2:15]?:”

    Hence…we must know him through the Word and not just experience. We can certainly make up a doctrine out of our own experience (and those are coming in increasing numbers these days and are a dime a dozen). We do however, know him as he is transfigured before us (The True Light shining in our hearts) as we read and study the Word.

    Yes, He reveals Himself. It’s not just head knowledge (which is what the hyper-charismatics are running from while covering their ears).

  23. Carolyn says:

    Sherryn:

    “I think it is absolutely essential for believers to truly understand that our salvation is wholly a work of God, not man. Because when we understand this, we understand that the experience of being a new creation is the true anointing of the Holy Spirit. There is NOTHING else like it! And I’ve noticed that it also helps us recognize fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as see false teachings for what they are. Amazing. It is why I am so concerned that churches are full of unsaved people who don’t even know it.”

    True, true. There is nothing else like it! God is doing his refining work in those that have responded to his revelation and his invitation to seek him out. I know God is doing the work but we must come to the Light. He will not do that for us. We must answer the Invitation to Drink from the Spiritual Rock. He will not make our choice for us. We must respond with obedience rather than rebellion, with faith rather than unbelief…he never removes our choice. BUT…apart from him, we can do nothing! Praise God! And yes, the Spirit will witness in us that what we are hearing from someone else is either truth or error or false teaching.

  24. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig:

    You wrote:
    Sorta. Do you see a distinction in the seeds, i.e., that there are in fact two seeds?

    I’m not sure that Johnson is necessarily talking about two seeds here. He might be. And he might not be.

    You wrote:
    More specifically, note how I’ve analyzed the following. Please illustrate how you disagree:

    … the [external] seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the [internal] seed, through His Word [new revelation], into the [internal] soil.

    I think it’s possible to read Johnson’s comment as if there is only one seed. I’m not sure that Johnson is calling the sperma itself a seed, but rather the power within the seed. The above might just be a very bad way of explaining this.

    Another possibility is that Johnson is using the word “seed” in two different ways. By “seed” in the first instance, he might mean the most important part of the “Word.” Then, in the second instance, he might be using “seed” as talking about the language of the parable.

    The third possibility is that he is talking about two different seeds, as you say.

    However, if there are two different seeds that Johnson is referring to, then might Johnson be saying that the internal seed was planted there by new revelation, and the seed just grows or something?

  25. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    The first “seed” he’s explicitly termed both a “seed” and “sperma”, the latter meaning ‘seed’. This is released INTO the other seed. If it was not his intention to state two different seeds, he REALLY goofed this one up! From my point of view, I cannot see this as only one seed. By his specific phraseology, one seed/sperma is released into another (second) seed. The vehicle for the first seed’s release into the second is “through His Word”.

    I might be dense here, but you’ve not convinced me your first two interpretations are possible from the context. Maybe you could rephrase?

    I can see your last paragraph as a possible interpretation, if I’m understanding you correctly. That is, there are two seeds, both being external. Once the sperm/seed (1) is released into the other seed (2), this is then planted in the soil. I’d considered that just last night. But, that would seem to be an overly difficult way of phrasing even His own unbiblical interpretation of the parable. Why not just say, “the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God is released into the soil through His Word” or “the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God is released, through His Word, into the soil”? This would more closely match the original parable, while conveying his own twisted version.

  26. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Did you transcribe Johnson’s sermon yourself, or is this something that Johnson posted on his website? In other words, who transcribed the sermon? You or him? If it was you, then I think the punctuation could be changed to give a slightly different meaning. I’ll explain after you answer this.

  27. Craig says:

    I transcribed it.

  28. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Thanks. So what if….instead of this:
    The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil. And, then it says, but other things grow and they choke out the life of that seed of God. Think about it: the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe, is put into an environment that if we give attention to other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS, we actually give them a place in our heart to take root and they choke out the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe. For a season, the Lord has allowed our choices to affect the power, the effect of the most powerful thing in the universe. It’s stunning.

    It is this:
    The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil and the seed of God’s Word. The sperma of God is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil. And, then it says, but other things grow and they choke out the life of that seed of God. Think about it: the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe, is put into an environment that if we give attention to other IDEALS, other VOICES, other WORDS, we actually give them a place in our heart to take root and they choke out the Word of God, the most powerful thing in the universe. For a season, the Lord has allowed our choices to affect the power, the effect of the most powerful thing in the universe. It’s stunning.

    Do you think this punctuation is possible?

  29. Craig says:

    I just listened to it yet again. Johnson pauses just before “and”, then he continues with the sentence. One could break the first compound sentence into two sentences at the point of the semi-colon; but, that would not change the meaning. The way it’s transcribed currently, I feel is the best way to transcribe it. It’s very clear that “the sperma of God” is a quick restating of “the seed of God’s word” (he alters his pitch slightly higher). So, it’s either:

    The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil; and the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil.

    Or:

    The Scripture, this story in Matthew 13, the parable of the seed and the sower, actually gives this picture of soil. And the seed of God’s Word, the sperma of God, is released into the seed, through His Word, into the soil.

  30. Craig says:

    Disappointingly, while it was formerly available here:

    http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2009/12/23/jesus-is-our-model-sermon-of-the-week-20-dec-09/

    …it was deleted some time ago. I tried Internet Archive (Wayback Machine), but the audio doesn’t play:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20110414070326/http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2009/12/23/jesus-is-our-model-sermon-of-the-week-20-dec-09/

    The original link was used in the BJ ‘Born Again Jesus’ articles and in the BJ New Age Christ? part iiib article, the latter containing the exact section. It was available up until at least 4/12/2012.

  31. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hmmmm, well, you are probably right, then — that Johnson meant to use two seeds. I was understanding it like he had a new sentence there. So that leaves us with two options — there are two seeds (the way that you suggested), or that there are two external seeds.

    Johnson is not one for doctrinal clarity, and he doesn’t seem to care whether he contradicts himself or not, or even if what he is teaching makes sense. He just talks and people cheer.

    So I think it’s still very open as to what exactly he means. He lets people interpret his teachings however they want, so long as people can operate in all kinds of signs and wonders. For him, the signs and wonders are the most important teaching…all other stuff is secondary.

    I don’t really want to argue about this anymore. All I wanted to say was that I think there is more than one way to view his teachings, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the New Age way…although his teachings are definitely occult in nature, as is the New Age.

  32. Carolyn says:

    I was just thinking about how simple the actual parable is…and that Christ himself even explained the parable…4 kinds of reception of the Word of God…1. a callous, hard heart, 2. a stony, shallow reception of the Word, 3. a distracted heart and 4. a good and honest, receptive heart. He explains what happens to the Word in each case and there’s no room for misinterpretation.

    That’s why it’s so enlightening as to the author of this confusing doctrine when you see the twisting of it. Two seeds, one inside the other and then deposited into the soil (our hearts). Combo seeds. Genetically Modified perhaps? All to prove that there is some kind of life (revelation? DNA? anointing?) inserted into the seed before it enters the soil??

    In the original parable, the life is the seed. The life is Christ, the Word…is that not correct? The new seed is altered by design of the spirit who is modifying the message of truth. The truth now becomes…new, exciting, self-actualizing….confusing, yes…….but…Bill Johnson’s holy spirit guide will teach us what it all means…it’s hynotic, it’s addictive…

    ….it’s alarming…run…before they offer you the kool-aid…

  33. Amen, sister. Run. In this case, it is the kool-aid anointing you don’t want to accept. As for the mysterious, exciting confusion of it all…esoteric enigmas wrapped in mysteries clouded by thinly veiled abstract language and odd turns of phrase have always annoyed me. (That’s partly why I didn’t choose a Steiner school for my kids!) I am thinking we could make more sense out of the Bible than BJ if we dropped some acid and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Just sayin’ :-)

  34. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Don’t feel like you’re ‘arguing’ – at least in the negative sense of the word. I certainly don’t pretend that I have all the answers. While I try very hard to consider all potential options while deciphering messages like these, I’m certainly not infallible.

    But, also keep in mind that there is not one set New Age doctrine. The appeal is that it allows divergent beliefs, with the main belief that one can attain godhood.

    With this in mind, if we consider the information on which we agree – that Johnson is teaching that all of mankind, including Jesus, are dependent upon new revelation (from occult sources) to guide and lead us to spiritual progression – the logical outcome of the teaching is that the ultimate goal is that one will achieve divine status, just like Jesus had.

  35. Craig says:

    With all the foregoing in mind, consider Johnson’s words at 1:24 – 1:37 here:

    In context, before he reaches this point in his monologue, he’s initially speaking about the Bible, which he’s holding in his hand; yet, notice how he twists it at the end to include – or outright mean – the word of new revelation / present truth:

    …It’s the Spirit of God that makes this thing [the Bible] come alive to where we actually have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us again, where we become the living illustration and manifestation of what God is saying.

    However, more importantly, note the bolded words “we actually have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us again“. First of all, one shouldn’t ever equate anyone else to the second Person of the Trinity, the Word made flesh. But, Johnson here tries to pass this off, in his usual ambiguity, as Christians ‘merely’ becoming good representatives of Scriptural truths. However, note the exact wording, that we have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us AGAIN; that is, we duplicate what Jesus was/did as “what God is saying and doing”. It’s the same concept in this current article – Jesus and we are dependent upon new revelation.

    But, to really understand Johnson’s underlying meaning, here are the words of Levi Dowling:

    …[A]fter thirty years of strenuous life the man [Jesus] made his body fit to be the temple of the holy breath [Holy Spirit] and Love [Christ] took full possession, and John well said when he declared: ‘And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’

    The point here is that Jesus was NOT the Word made flesh in the sense of Christian orthodoxy; Levi is not describing Jesus as the eternal Word, second Person of the Trinity who was made flesh at the virginal conception. Rather, the point at which Jesus ‘became the Word made flesh’ is when “Love [Christ] took full possession”, in this case that means when the Spirit came down as a dove, i.e, what Johnson calls the “Christ anointing” or baptism in the Holy Spirit. By the context of Johnson’s words, and his other teachings like “the anointing”, this sure looks like his meaning as well.

    One should never play around with the idea that mere humans can become the “Word made flesh”. But, Johnson, like those in the occult, sees it as no problem.

    But, consider the underlying theology. With Levi, we know that Jesus was merely a man who, like all other men, had the divine seed/Christ within. This is precisely why He was able to become “the Word made flesh” – the dormant Word became fully manifested (“made flesh”) when the Christ Spirit (“Holy Breath” according to Levi, or Holy Spirit) came upon Him. This provides yet another reason why I believe Johnson’s underlying theology IS the divine seed/spark concept.

  36. Craig says:

    Pay attention to the emphasized portion in the following from ‘Got Questions’ (following the question/answer at the beginning):

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Word-God.html

    Question: “What do John 1:1,14 mean when they declare that Jesus is the Word of God?”

    Answer: The answer to this question is found by first understanding the reason why John wrote his gospel. We find his purpose clearly stated in John 20:30-31. “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” Once we understand that John’s purpose was to introduce the readers of his gospel to Jesus Christ, establishing Who Jesus is (God in the flesh) and what He did, all with the sole aim of leading them to embrace the saving work of Christ in faith, we will be better able to understand why John introduces Jesus as “The Word” in John 1:1.

    By starting out his gospel stating, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John is introducing Jesus with a word or a term that both his Jewish and Gentile readers would have been familiar with. The Greek word translated “Word” in this passage is Logos, and it was common in both Greek philosophy and Jewish thought of that day. For example, in the Old Testament the “word” of God is often personified as an instrument for the execution of God’s will (Psalm 33:6; 107:20; 119:89; 147:15-18). So, for his Jewish readers, by introducing Jesus as the “Word,” John is in a sense pointing them back to the Old Testament where the Logos or “Word” of God is associated with the personification of God’s revelation. And in Greek philosophy, the term Logos was used to describe the intermediate agency by which God created material things and communicated with them. In the Greek worldview, the Logos was thought of as a bridge between the transcendent God and the material universe. Therefore, for his Greek readers the use of the term Logos would have likely brought forth the idea of a mediating principle between God and the world.

    So, essentially, what John is doing by introducing Jesus as the Logos is drawing upon a familiar word and concept that both Jews and Gentiles of his day would have been familiar with and using that as the starting point from which He introduces them to Jesus Christ. But John goes beyond the familiar concept of Logos that his Jewish and Gentile readers would have had and presents Jesus Christ not as a mere mediating principle like the Greeks perceived, but as a personal being, fully divine, yet fully human. Also, Christ was not simply a personification of God’s revelation as the Jews thought, but was indeed God’s perfect revelation of Himself in the flesh, so much so that John would record Jesus’ own words to Philip: “Jesus said unto Him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, “Show us the Father”?’” (John 14:9). By using the term Logos or “Word” in John 1:1, John is amplifying and applying a concept that was familiar with his audience and using that to introduce his readers to the true Logos of God in Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, fully God and yet fully man, who came to reveal God to man and redeem all who believe in Him from their sin.

  37. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Thanks. Yes, the divine seed/spark concept is one possible way to view Johnson’s theology.

    While I think it is definitely valuable to point these things out as possibilities of explaining Johnson’s theology, it’s still hard for me to make the assumption that that is what Johnson is likely teaching.

    Unfortunately Johnson is so ambiguous with his theology, and he never bothers to try to clarify in detail, that it makes it almost impossible for me to pinpoint his theology.

    However, I think the following is safe to say:
    1.) Johnson is teaching the occult — his theology stems from that, and he is deeply into Word Of Faith/Prosperity teaching. He is also allows occult spiritual practices to happen at Bethel, and he never “criticizes” anyone except those who are against his teaching.

    2.) Johnson is preaching another gospel — one that is dependent on signs and wonders. For him, that’s the whole reason Jesus came.

    3.) Johnson is preaching another Jesus — and he is unclear on his Christology, and he doesn’t seem to care whether people misunderstand him. Johnson’s Jesus is powerless to do anything as God. He’s just like us, and we’re just like him.

    4.) Johnson invites false teachers to preach at Bethel, whether it is at conferences, church events, or his Supernatural school.

    5.) Johnson has never corrected anyone who has preached on his stage, so he doesn’t think any of them preach heresy.

    6.) Johnson is confusing and ambiguous, whether he means to be or not.

    7.) Johnson believes that the most important thing in Christianity is signs and wonders….and doing everything that Jesus could do, and more

    8.) Johnson is a dominionist and some of his beliefs are gnostic in nature.

  38. Carolyn says:

    Genesis 3 is a perfect map of New Age Theology. Where does it take you? What destination?
    Immortality
    It has a new look, a new expanded version, but the map is identical.

    “Genesis 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
    (clear instructions of God’s Word questioned and obscured)

    “4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:”
    (quest for immortality, introduction of a third strand of spiritual DNA, a seed, or transference by some other means to counteract our corruption of the sin nature in direct contradiction of the judgement passed down to us…sin nature whose consequence is death)

    “5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened”
    (gnostic, esoteric knowledge) and ye shall be as gods, (elevated into a place of god-like capabilities with ever increasing supernatural power) knowing good and evil…(self explanatory)

    “6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
    (allowing ourselves to be led by our reasonings into rebellion against God’s Word)

    “7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
    (man-made earthly solutions for a fallen, sinful spiritual condition)

    When you overlay the map of Satan’s map for immortality in Genesis 3 over the map of New Age immortality they are a perfect match.

    When you overlay those two maps on the map of Bill Johnson’s destination, they are identical. The more detailed the map, the more it becomes apparent, that they were drawn by the same cartographer.

    When you understand that Satan’s lie for mankind is immortality, then you see this lie in all the secret doctrines of the occult and New Age, particularly with the alteration of the spiritual genetics through introduction of spiritual divine spark/seed or the promise of physical modification through introduction of triple helix (third strand DNA) altering the human into something divine…

    From this point it is easier to see what’s going on with all the other teachings that bring heaven to earth, collective Christ consciousness, the Oneness factor, quantum continuance, etc.

    I’d have to go with Bill Johnson’s sperma seed teaching being linked with New Age/Genesis 3 teaching. At least that’s the destination… It’s far more of a stretch for me to believe that he’s teaching something different than what it appears to be…same old lie with a New Age twist. Ultimately, immortality.

  39. Craig says:

    What hath Bill Johnson said?:

    God is our Father, and we inherit His genetic code [at conception]. Every believer has written into his or her spiritual DNA [activated by the “sperma of God”] the desire for the supernatural….

    It is abnormal for a Christian not to have an appetite for the impossible. It has been written into our spiritual DNA [activated by the “sperma of God”] to hunger for the impossibilities around us to bow at the name of Jesus.

    These quotes are in part iii of the ‘BJ: New Age Christ’ series. I’ve placed the words in brackets. Hyper-charismatics make a distinction between “DNA” and “spiritual DNA”.

    …Exposure to the supernatural works of God changes the capacity of leaders to lead, thereby changing the bent of the people of God to pursue Him.

    Such exposure is the equivalent of a spiritual change of DNA. Something is altered in that person that enables him or her to lead in a way that the people of God inherit a heart for God through the leader’s influence.

    It is said that when a kernel of corn is planted, every kernel that grows has the exact same DNA as the original kernel in the ground. Jesus became the ultimate seed that was planted in death, and we were born again by the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead. Every born-again believer has the DNA of Christ. That is amazing!

    This DNA of Christ in us is practical in that it enables the Godlike capacity to dream…He [Jesus] was planted to redeem people unto something. And that unto something involves accurately and fully representing who Jesus is on earth as in Heaven. We have His DNA and therefore manifest His face to the world

    On this last one, follow Johnson’s thoughts: “Every born-again believer has the DNA of Christ” – This logically implies that prior to the ‘born-again’ experience, one does NOT have the DNA of Christ. This means that there is a DNA addition or transformation at the ‘born-again’ experience. This is because, as in the quote preceding this one “Such exposure is the equivalent of a spiritual change of DNA”, which indicates a transformation rather than addition. This ‘transformation’ implies a dormant DNA strand, i.e., “spiritual DNA”. Does that not sound like the divine seed/spark concept? That is why I have the verbiage in the 2nd to last paragraph:

    Again, assuming Johnson’s seed is divine, then the “spiritual DNA” teaching, which is becoming more prevalent, would be yet another way of stating this concept. That is, when the “seed”/”sperma of God” [anointing] is “released into the seed [inside the individual], through His Word, into the soil [ED: which contains the individual's 'seed']” initially, then this is the point in which the individual’s divine spark/seed is activated, which is equivalent to one’s latent “spiritual DNA” activated. [See Getting Down to the DNA of Spiritual DNA section here.]

  40. Firstly, great Bible to New Age/BJ comparisons guys. Cuts it open and lays it out for the world to see.

    Secondly, do you see that when you dig deep with this stuff…it is utterly inane. Or insane. Depends which way you look at it. My point being…it is like the serpent that is eating it’s own tail. Or as Craig put it in a much earlier post ’round the mulberry bush with BJ’.

    BJ’s doctrine ultimately can’t answer its own questions as it is all lies, so there is no truth to arrive at. And that, my friends, is why I find BJ, new age teachings, as well buddhist and hindu teachings utterly maddening. It only makes sense on the surface. Underneath, it is the insanity of evil. Bless you all for seeing this clearly and sharing it with others.

    Sending out a ‘goodnight and God bless’ to the crew :-)

  41. Craig says:

    Again, from part iii of the ‘New Age Christ?’ series is a quote from Che Ahn:

    While no two of us are exactly alike physically, it would appear we have the same spiritual DNA, according to the Scriptures. Like Adam and all of humanity to follow him, the image of the Godhead has been passed down…

    …[C]an we fathom the untold significance of having our Father’s DNA?

    I no longer merely confess that I am the righteousness of Christ. I realize that with His DNA in me through His blood, I could be nothing else. I realize the attributes of His DNA reside in me—whether dormant or active.

    No longer do I see the fruit of the Spirit as something we “will” by self-effort or following the law. Rather, I see that in my DNA, God has already placed genes of love, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They are waiting to be activated by the Holy Spirit.

    Johnson’s friend Ahn is more to the point.

  42. Eek, little gods with shared DNA. Somebody please stop spiking their morning coffee. And burn their Message bibles. Pleeeeez. What a terrible delusion they are under. Okay, now I am retiring for the night. Have a nice day!

  43. Actually, sorry Craig. My intelligent response to your thoughtful contribution is this:

    Yes, Che Ahn is much more open about his teachings in this area. I remember when I was first researching BJ and my pastor was defending him. It took a while for me to catch onto what was wrong with BJ’s teachings. However, it took 30 seconds to be appalled by Che Ahn, James Goll, Cindy Jacobs, Stacy Campbell and Co. So my question at the time was…how can a pastor (not officially in that movement AT ALL) justify going to conferences where they spoke, supposedly just to hear BJ and Jesus Culture. Anyway, we all know the punchline to this bad joke…it turns out they are all heretics, so in the end it didn’t really matter. But back then it did. Che Ahn and others were blatant heretics and false prophets.

  44. IWTT says:

    2.) Johnson is preaching another gospel — one that is dependent on signs and wonders. For him, that’s the whole reason Jesus came.

    And he admits this…

    3.) Johnson is preaching another Jesus — and he is unclear on his Christology, and he doesn’t seem to care whether people misunderstand him. Johnson’s Jesus is powerless to do anything as God. He’s just like us, and we’re just like him.

    And to this as well…. And most recently admits to teaching Pelaganism

    http://unitedinjesus.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1976.msg10231;topicseen#msg10231

  45. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    To be fair, it’s his son, Eric Johnson, who has explicitly pronounced that all are inherently good and not evil, thereby denying ‘Original Sin’, and hence promoting Pelagianism. I saw that over on BC&C.

    Che Ahn, in his description of “spiritual DNA” above, comes close to Pelagianism, but the difference is that Ahn specifically states that the “dormant” DNA are activated by the “Holy Spirit”. In Pelagianism, one must state that all are capable of good or evil without divine help. However, with Ahn, the implication is that if everyone has the same “spiritual DNA” of God, then one is inherently divine, hence “good”. We’ve just got to get that “good” activated. This is how I read Bill Johnson as well with the respect to the ‘two seeds’ in this current article and the “spiritual DNA” teachings of his.

  46. Carolyn says:

    ok. well if Bill Johnson is not as blatant as Che Ahn, that makes me think that he knows his audience, like a good salesman, and is more devious/crafty. That makes my spine tingle and my radar antennae are undergoing spasms…

    Thanks for input guys…those quotes from Craig are eye-popping.

    Pelagianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagianism‎
    Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid.

    I had someone look me in the eye the other day and say “we are born good, it is the environment and the way we are treated and what we are taught that changes us. So what we need to do, going forward, is to be as good as we can be, and get back to what we were”.

    *silent stare*

    I see the difference between that and New Age/New Thought…the Bill Johnson-type teaching has the introduction of something new, something divine, to activate the good that is already there

    I’m just repeating what is being said in my own words to get it straight.

    Sherryn…good nite….sleep well, you over there on the other side of the world….

  47. Craig says:

    I meant to put in the source for Ahn’s quote; I didn’t quote much from it to steer clear of violating “fair use”:

    http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/first-priority/15390-spiritual-dna

    In the context, he clearly differentiates between DNA and spiritual DNA.

  48. Arwen4CJ says:

    All right….you win, Craig :) It does seem that the NAR, including Bill Johnson, is teaching the spiritual seed doctrine as you described.

  49. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I hope I didn’t twist your arm, but that you reached the conclusion based on the evidence provided.

    Almost all of this info was in the BJ: New Age Christ, part iiib section. It was VERY long, so I thought it best to break it down, as I’ve done here in the article and the comments section.

  50. Carolyn says:

    From Ministry Today webside, Che Ahn:

    “While no two of us are exactly alike physically, it would appear we have the same spiritual DNA, according to the Scriptures. Like Adam and all of humanity to follow him, the image of the Godhead has been passed down.
    * twisted embellishment*
    This realization is arresting me.
    *dramatic effect*
    We have long identified with the blood of Jesus as it covers and cleanses us, and we understand having righteousness by faith alone. But can we fathom the untold significance of having our Father’s DNA?”

    Good imagination, Che Ahn, but putting that arresting thought up beside Scripture, you get quite a different picture…

    Question: Why would we need discipline if our sin nature was already perfected by spiritual DNA?

    “Hebrews 12:4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
    “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
    6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
    7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

    Spiritual DNA is a myth.
    Question:Why would we hope for what we already have? Why would we wait with patience for it?

    “Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
    24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
    25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

    If we had Christ’s DNA would we not be perfect and immortal? Think about it. Is the first fruits of the Spirit, spiritual DNA? Is a deposit of the Spirit, guaranteeing our inheritance, spiritual DNA? The code would then read “immortal”, “sinless”, “perfection” (already)….and let me know if anyone you know fits that description, ’cause I’d like t’meet em!!

  51. Sigh, this stuff is freaky. But Carolyn, may I say…I like the cut of your jib. (google it if it sounds rude…I assure you, it isn’t!). Nice biblical refutation. :-)

  52. Carolyn says:

    Thanks, Sherryn…the Scripture, if we read it as it is stated, without all the ad-libs, is always the best defence of itself since it has the power of the Spirit behind it.

    “cut of your jib”…ha, a new idiom to add to my repertoire…never heard that one before…yup…she’s still tacking into the wind….

  53. This may not seem relevant, but in researching ‘transformational festivals’ such as the ‘Burning Man’ festival I came across this:

    http://baptizedwithfire.com/

    I am posting it here because Bill Johnson is featured in it. Watch this trailer…BJ seems to be losing his grip on reality. Which is sad. And scary for those who would follow him. For those who haven’t seen the Darren Wilson trilogy of films (Father of Lights etc.), they are an extraordinary window into what this movement believes and practices. I am guessing this new film will be equally appalling, and I will be interested to see what BJ says in it.

    Interestingly, Patricia King has been speaking for a while now of her visions of the ‘man of fire’ that she now also refers to as the ‘burning man’. As she herself has been to a Burning Man festival, she should know the connection. But in her blindness she, and clearly BJ and others, claim this ‘man of fire’ to be Jesus, who is coming down to baptize us with fire. Never have I heard such an erroneous and outright dangerous misunderstanding of Matthew 3:7-8. This is not referring to a baptism for believers. Stay tuned, Craig. The ride ain’t over yet. :-(

  54. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    This is quite relevant. XP Media is, as I understand it, owned by Patricia King, who is featured in the trailer. See here for the site, with its promotion of the same event:

    http://www.xpmedia.com/

    A friend of mine had just the other day forwarded an email to me about this coming “Baptism with Fire”. It’s just another name for the “planetary Pentecost”, which itself has a New Age parallel. This looks MUCH the same as the New Age / New Spirituality forthcoming evolution of the species to homo universalis, Universal Man, which will come about as a result of a “planetary awakening”. As I quote Bob Jones speaking at Bethel 2.5 years ago:

    But, you’re getting ready to wake up for the night is far spent and the dawn is at hand. And we’re getting ready for one of the greatest awakenings of all time – no revival but a’ awakening that never ends…

    Along with this Baptism with Fire is a “cleansing”, as one reads between the lines, it’s a “purging” of those who refuse to go along with this “planetary Pentecost” / “Baptism with Fire”. That would be Jone’s (and Barbara Marx Hubbard’s) words here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/chuck-pierce-hosts-conference-referencing-one-new-man/

  55. Arwen4CJ says:

    I wonder if this Burning Man will be the Anti-Christ……

  56. just1ofhis says:

    Did you notice this on the “baptized with fire” page?

    “Donations of $10 – $100
    You will receive a download of the completed movie as a gift.

    Donations of $101- $1000
    You will receive an autographed DVD of the completed movie as a gift.

    Donations of $1001 – $25,000
    You will receive 10 autographed DVD’s of the completed movie as a gift.”

    Is it a “gift” if you have to send money to receive it?

    I do believe indeed that it is fire that these folks have waiting for them, if they do not repent of this madness….

  57. Craig, I just reread the article you linked…very sobering, and very helpful to go back to some of the detail. Thanks!

    Here are links to some books that tie in with this topic (have you ever seen this bookstore – it is an incredible repository for false religion):

    http://www.mandalabooks.com/epages/Mandala.sf/en_US/?ObjectPath=/Shops/Mandala/Categories/PP

    http://www.mandalabooks.com/epages/Mandala.sf/en_US/?ObjectPath=/Shops/Mandala/Categories/Philosophy/Swedenborg

    They are just the summaries of the books, but they give you a pretty good idea of the extent of the mystical/new age syncretism both outside the church and within.

    Rather scary, if we didn’t already know the ending.

    The intricate web is becoming more and more clear. I find it sends me scurrying back to the word of God and the preachers of old who have faithfully taught the Word.

    Craig, I praise God for your excellent attention to detail, and for all of the hard work you have done in writing these articles. Not only are the articles excellent, but the thorough footnotes have provided me with excellent further reading and resources.’

    Also, to the rest of the crew here…thank you for your insights and encouragement. :-)

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