Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I

[For a more in-depth investigation, see the series Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ? in all its parts. For additional articles see Anthology of Bill Johnson Articles (So Far)]

{Update on 11/22/11: I’ve just realized the information sourced from “Got Questions” at footnote 25 has been updated/corrected.  This article has been updated to reflect that change.  More explanation is contained in comment 842 below.}

{I’ve just now found an error (Jan. 2, 2011) in my copy of the NIV Study Bible regarding kenosis which I had perpetuated in a portion of endnote 9.  I’ve now deleted this erroneous verbiage and put an explanation of this in comment #136 of this post.  I sincerely regret the error.}

[This article could not have been completed without the work of others who came before me, the assistance of those who pointed me to certain texts and documents, the expertise of those whom I consulted for advice and clarification on theological matters, and the help of the individuals who assisted me on readability before finalizing this document. To all of these I say, “Thank you!”]

[The Kingdom of God is at Hand, Part II provides pertinent information as a bridge of sorts to Part II of this article.]

On a recently uploaded YouTube video[1] there are two clips put together exposing some faulty teaching of “Apostle” Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA.[2]  In the second part, which begins at 3:40, Johnson states that Jesus was ‘born again.’  Here[3] is the uncut sermon from December 20, 2009 with the ‘born again’ Jesus portion beginning at 33:48.  Following is the transcription:

“…Did you know that Jesus was born again? I asked… the first service and they said, “No.” But I will show it. It’s in the Bible. He had to be. He became sin. 

 In Hebrews 1 it says this, “For to which of the angels did he ever say, ‘You are my son. Today I have begotten you’?” And Acts 13 explains that: “God has fulfilled this for us, their children, in that he has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my Son, Today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption.”  He was born through Mary the first time and through the Resurrection the second time. He was ‘born again.’” [4]

Did Jesus become sin?  If so, when?  Was it at His incarnation?  Was it on the cross?  Was it some time in between?

As we examine Scripture we find, of course, that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life.[5]  However, Scripture does say He ‘became sin’ as substitution for ours:

21God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.                                   [II Corinthians 5:21 NIV]

Please note that Jesus Christ did not ‘become sin’ in that He did not become a sinful being with corruptible flesh but, rather, our sins were imputed to Him by the Father to atone for the sins of all who believe on Him.  The following explains this:

“God used the principle of imputation to benefit mankind when He imputed the sin of believers to the account of Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for that sin – death – on the cross.  Imputing our sin to Jesus, God treated Him as if He were a sinner, though He was not, and had Him die for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2).  It is important to understand that sin was imputed to Him, but He did not inherit it from Adam.  He bore the penalty for sin, but He never became a sinner…” [6]

We’ve established the correct interpretation regarding how Jesus Christ ‘became sin;’ but, what is Johnson’s belief?  Apparently, he does not ascribe to the orthodox view because, if so, he would not state that Jesus had to be born again.  Regarding this apparent view of Johnson: who would be worthy to atone for Jesus’ supposed sin in order for Him to be born again?

Going back to the second paragraph of the transcript, Johnson quotes the question from Hebrews 1:5a, then attempts to answer this question over in Acts 13.  The trouble with this is that these are two completely different contexts.  Why did he do that?  It just leads to potential confusion.

Logic would lead us to think that Johnson was making a thesis statement in the first paragraph while explaining it in the next.  So, to paraphrase Johnson: Jesus ‘became sin’ and thus had to be ‘born again’ which can be proven using Scripture.

Therefore, if we take Johnson’s words in the second paragraph as a strict chronology in the context he provides by isolating the verses in Hebrews and Acts, we should find the answer to his thesis statement.  In addition, we may be able to determine his underlying theology.  First, he quotes the first part of Hebrews 1:5:

            For to which of the angels did God ever say,

                         “You are my Son; today I have begotten You?”

Next he states:

            And Acts 13 explains that…

Explains what?  Explains ‘to which of the angels did God ever say…’?  No, that’s not what Johnson answers (it was a rhetorical question in the context of Hebrews and, hence, did not require an answer) as he has shifted to a completely different context over in Acts as pointed out above.  So, which question IS Johnson attempting to answer?

God has fulfilled this [“You are my Son; today I have begotten You” from above] for us, their children, in that he has raised up Jesus [at the Resurrection].  As it is also written in the second Psalm:

            ‘You are my Son, Today I have begotten You.’ [Jesus is the Father’s begotten Son, today at the Resurrection.]  [Bracketed comments mine for explanation.]

If we take his words at face value here he seems to be inferring that Jesus became God’s Son at the resurrection.  Johnson appears to solidify this thought by continuing with the following:

…And that he ‘raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption.’

Johnson now states that Jesus was ‘born again’ “through the Resurrection:”

He was born through Mary the first time and through the Resurrection the second time.  He was ‘born again.’

So, can we conclude that Johnson believes Jesus was ‘born again’ through the Resurrection, and subsequently, or simultaneously, became God’s Son only then?  The view of Jesus being God’s Son at or through the Resurrection is only unorthodox if the belief is that Jesus was not the Son of God before this event.  We’ll return to this at a later point.

Now that we understand when and how Jesus was ‘born again’ according to Johnson, it may seem plausible to assume he is also explaining with the words in the second paragraph of the transcript when and how Jesus ‘became sin.’  Is it possible then, that he is saying it is through Mary that Jesus ‘became sin?’ This would make sense if he equated “corruption” with “sin” and that Jesus’ birth through Mary made Him ‘corruptible flesh,’ i.e., human.[7]  We’ll attempt to answer this later.

In his book When Heaven Invades Earth from 2003, Johnson further defines his theology:

“Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations.  He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and then die in the place of mankind for sin.  This would be essential in His plan to redeem mankind.  The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless), and had to be spotless, (without sin).” [8] [all as per original]

This is bad Christology[9] (the view of Christ’s nature, person and deeds) which we’ll explain more a bit later.  When did Jesus lay aside His deity?  And, when, if ever, did He pick it back up?  Did Jesus have to strive to be sinless?  This is just faulty theology.  [This issue of Johnson’s faulty Christology is also spoken of here.]  Is it that Johnson just does not understand orthodox Christian doctrine?  This seems doubtful as he is a fifth generation[10] pastor by his own admission.

This also contradicts Johnson’s words in the transcript.  How could Jesus have been spotless and without sin yet ‘became sin’ thus making it a requirement that He be born again?  How can that be reconciled?

Perhaps the words from Johnson’s books can be harmonized with the words in the video/audio in order to understand his theology.

Returning to Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth we find Jesus as a boy at the Temple[11]:

“He was simply a 12-year-old boy with priorities that were different from everyone else.” [12]

With this he may be inferring that Jesus was not yet divine; but, this is inconclusive.

The “Anointing”

However, with his words below, Johnson claims outright that Jesus did not become The Christ until His baptism[13] which, by extension, means He was not divine at the Incarnation:

“Christ is not Jesus’ last name.  The word Christ means ‘Anointed One’ or ‘Messiah.’  It is a title that points to an experience… …He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.”  [emphasis mine]

 “The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him…”. [14]

Scripture makes it clear that Jesus was divine at His Incarnation[15] by identifying him as “Immanuel” (God with us)[16] and the “Anointed One” – The Christ[17] – at the virgin birth, contrary to Johnson.  Given his view that Jesus was not The Christ at His birth, then, by extension, does this mean he believes Jesus was born into the same fallen, Adamic sin nature as the rest of us?

This points, once again, to faulty Christology known as the Kenosis heresy.[18]  Adding Johnson’s words from a few paragraphs earlier: “The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless)…” drives it home.  Louis Berkhof in The History of Christian Doctrines quoting Everard Digges La Touche: “In the most absolute and consistent form it [the Kenosis doctrine] teaches what La Touche calls ‘incarnation by divine suicide.’”[19]

Adding to this, Johnson, in his book The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles states:

“…Jesus had no ability to heal the sick.  He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead.  He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’  He had set aside His divinity… …Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…”[20]

Johnson lifts this Scripture out of its proper context.  So, was Jesus Christ really “powerless” with the ability to do “nothing of Himself?”  He makes clear His words:

17”The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again.  18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from my Father.” [John 10:17-18]

Johnson explains his belief that Jesus received the “title” of Christ at His baptism:

“The word anointing means to “smear.”  The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism.  The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit.” [21] 

With the above, Johnson misconstrues the meaning of the word “anointing” in this context.  First of all, in the Gospel accounts the Greek word from which we get the word “anoint” is not used at all in regard to Jesus’ baptism.  The Holy Spirit ‘descended upon’ Jesus.[22]

In Acts 10:38, in which Jesus is described as having been ‘anointed’ with the ‘Holy Spirit’ (also see Acts 4:27, Luke 4:18 and Hebrews 1:9), the Greek word used is chrio which is defined:

To anoint (physically with oil; spiritually, with the Holy Spirit), to assign a person to a special task, implying a giving of power by God to accomplish the task. [23]

Johnson is over-literalizing a metaphor.  The spiritual application should be used rather than the physical.  Referring to the Holy Spirit as a ‘smearing’ smacks of sacrilege.  This error begun in the first two sentences has compounded itself in the third with its implications.  He’s equating ‘Christ,’ The “Anointed One,” with the Holy Spirit “anointing.”

Here’s the Strong’s definition of “Christ” from the Greek Christos:

“Christ, Anointed One, Messiah, the Greek translation of the Hebrew 4899 (cf. Greek 3323).  The Messiah is the Son of David, an anointed leader expected to bring in an age of peace and liberty from all oppression.  In the NT, the Messiah is Jesus, who came first to bring liberty from sin and peace with God and who will come again to bring all things under His control.[24]

The orthodox view of the significance of Jesus’ baptism is stated here:   

Jesus’ baptism…symbolized the sinners’ baptism into righteousness of Christ, dying with Him and rising free from sin and able to walk in the newness of life.   His perfect righteousness would fulfill all the requirements of the Law for sinners who could never hope to do so on their own…

 Perhaps most importantly, the occasion of the public baptism recorded for all generations to come the perfect embodiment of the triune God revealed in glory from heaven.  The testimony directly from heaven of the Father’s pleasure with the Son and the descending Holy Spirit upon Jesus [Matthew 3:16-17] is a beautiful picture of the Trinitarian nature of God.  It also depicts the work of the Father, Son and Spirit in the salvation of those Jesus came to save…[25]

Note that Jesus “publicly announced Himself” as the Son of God; however, He already was the Son of God at His incarnation (and before this, of course).  Jesus Christ being ‘fully God and fully man’ at the virgin birth did not need the Holy Spirit.  He was already the “Anointed One.”

This same “anointing” is available to others according to Johnson.[26]  With his belief, then, by implication, when individuals receive the Holy Spirit – thus receiving the same ‘Christ’  “anointing” as Jesus – they will, in essence, be just like Jesus.  Taken to its logical conclusion, this leads to the view that once an individual receives this ‘Christ anointing’ he/she will be Joe/Jane Christ.   Quoting Johnson:

Through the shedding of His blood, it would be possible for everyone who believed on His name to do as He did and become as He was. [27]            

This seems to state outright that we can become just like Jesus Christ.  While we are to strive to be ‘like Christ’ by the leading of the Holy Spirit, we are never going to be equal to Christ.  Jesus Christ is the one and only Son by nature.[28]  We, however, are adopted as sons (and daughters) by grace.[29]   There is only one Christ and He is Jesus Christ!

According to Johnson, after receiving the “anointing,” we are to pass ‘it’ to others.  Not necessarily others who are or wish to become Christians exclusively, but to anyone:

“For the most part, the anointing has been hoarded by the Church for the Church.  …thinking it is for our enjoyment only. …This wonderful presence of God is to be taken to the world.” [30]

 “…When we are smeared with God, it rubs off on all we come into contact with – and it’s that anointing that breaks the yokes of darkness.” [31]

“…The anointing is substanceIt is the actual presence of the Holy Spirit, and He can be released into our surroundings” [32]  [all emphasis mine]

Johnson is claiming the “anointing” is a transferable, tangible substance; however, the “anointing” is also described as the “smearing” on of the Holy Spirit at baptism.  Are these one and the same?  Presumably not since Johnson refers to the “anointing” above as an impersonal ‘it.’  The Holy Spirit, as the third person of the Trinity and part of the Godhead, is most certainly not an ‘it!’

This seems as though Johnson is implying the Holy Spirit may be manipulated almost at will.  If that’s the case, could we just ‘pass Him on,’ so to speak, to unbelievers – those in “the world” – in order to bring salvation?

The Apostle John makes it clear there is a counterfeit anointing.  Is it possible Johnson is passing a counterfeit?

20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth…

 26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.  27As 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. [1 John 2:20, 26-27 NIV; emphasis mine.  Underlined portion is rendered in other translations as “is true, and is not a lie”]

Johnson also speaks quite a bit about the antichrist spirit:

“The nature of the antichrist spirit is found in its name: anti, “against”; Christ, “Anointed One.’” [33]

 “…The spirits of hell are at war against the anointing, for without the anointing mankind is no threat to their dominion.” [34] 

 “The antichrist spirit has a goal for the Church – embrace Jesus apart from the anointing.”[35]

The first sentence is nearly correct; however, it’s not a complete definition (see below).  However, in the second and third passages, once again we find Johnson confusing “anointing” with “Anointed One.”  Johnson’s view here then may be better stated as ‘anti-anointing,’ ‘anti-Holy Spirit,’ or, perhaps, anti-hagiopneuma [or anti-pneumahagios].[36]

Johnson defines further his version of the antichrist spirit calling it a ‘religious spirit:’

“The spirit of antichrist is at work today, attempting to influence believers to reject everything that has to do with the Holy Spirit’s anointing. …That spirit has worked to reduce the gospel to a mere intellectual message, rather than a supernatural God encounter. …But, never does this spirit expect the anointing of God’s power to be available in the here and now…”

 “It is the antichrist spirit that has given rise to religious spirits.  A religious spirit is a demonic presence that works to get us to substitute being led by our intellect instead of the Spirit of God.” [37]

Since Johnson’s definition of antichrist would be more accurately termed ‘anti-anointing,’ or ‘anti-Holy Spirit,’ then this “demonic presence,” – the term he uses to describe those with ‘religious spirits’ (those who hold to doctrine over personal experience) – are actually those who are against Johnson’s “anointing” rather than against Christ.

The prefix ‘anti’ from which the term ‘antichrist’ is derived is defined as:

“in exchange for (often as a sign of benefaction), in place of (often as a sign of contrast), instead of (often as a sign of an exchange of a relationship), one after another (often as a sign of purpose or result).  Note that this preposition used in absolute does not mean to be ‘against’ or ‘in opposition to’ something.” [38]

Therefore ‘antichrist’ is not just ‘against Christ’ it can be ‘instead of Christ,’ ‘in place of Christ,’ et cetera.

Johnson’s Christology Defined

If we take Bill Johnson’s words in total so far, we have Jesus devoid of divinity at birth, but receiving His divinity at baptism by the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit and thereby becoming the “Anointed One” and consequently obtaining the ‘title’ of Christ. Immediately following this “anointing,” The Father declared, “This is My much loved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”[39]  In laying His divinity aside he was “powerless,” completely dependant upon the “anointing” in seeking to live a sinless life.  He was successful in living out a sinless life; however, because He had ‘laid His divinity aside,’ he died as the man Jesus – a “powerless” lamb – on the Cross.  Further, since He ‘became sin’ He had to be ‘born again.’  He was ‘born again’ through the Resurrection and was consequently reaffirmed as God’s Son.  Presumably, He reacquired His divinity which He previously laid aside.

The remaining question to attempt to answer: When was it that Jesus ‘became sin’ according to Johnson?  Logically, it was either at birth or at the Cross.  Let’s explore these two options.

First, if He ‘became sin’ at the Cross as per the orthodox meaning as described near the beginning of this article – i.e., our sin was imputed to Him by the Father– then it would not have been necessary for Him to be ‘born again.’  So, it is fair to say he either does not hold to this doctrine or he does not fully understand it.

Second, If Johnson’s view is that Jesus ‘became sin’ on the Cross like that of Word of Faith, then, it is considered heretical.[40]  We can’t know for sure since, of course, Johnson is not clear on how he supports this particular view.

The next possibility then is that Johnson believes Jesus ‘became sin’ at His incarnation. Since Jesus apparently did not have a divine nature until His baptism, according to Johnson, then it is logical to assume that He had only a human nature and, by extension, He inherited an Adamic, sin nature.  Going back to the second paragraph of the transcription: if we consider, as noted above, the possibility that Johnson was actually explaining his viewpoint on when and why Jesus ‘became sin,’ it is plausible that his interpretation of “corruption” in Acts 13 is “sin,” and thereby “corruption” could mean “corruptible flesh.”

It seems the most plausible conclusion is that Johnson believes Jesus ‘became sin’ at the Incarnation since Jesus was not divine until baptism; however, this is not made certain in the texts.

It appears Johnson has adopted a Christological view close to that of Cerinthianism, derived from its main spokesman Cerinthus.  A form of 1st century Gnosticism, this is one of the heresies the Apostle John was specifically refuting in his first epistle.[41]  He did this by proclaiming that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, was the Son of God, and had preexisted as part of the Triune God [vv 1:1-4].  Further, he identifies that which is antichrist [vv 2:22-23; 4:2-3].

1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus [Christ] is not from God.  This is the spirit of antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. [I John 4:1-3 NIV.  Emphasis mine.] [42]

The study note of 4:2 referencing ‘Every spirit that acknowledges that’ “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” ‘is from God’ states:

…Thus John excludes the Gnostics, especially the Cerinthians, who taught that the divine Christ came upon the human Jesus at His baptism and then left him at the cross, so that it was the man Jesus who died.” [43]

The Apostle John goes further in showing that Jesus was also divine at the Cross (blood):

6This is the one who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ.  He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify:[the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit and these three are one] 8[And there are three that testify on earth:] the Spirit, the water and the Blood; and the three are in agreement. 9We accept man’s testimony but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about His Son. 10Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart.  Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [I John 5:6-11 NIV] [44]

The study note referencing verse 5:6 explains the importance of Jesus being divine at the Crucifixion:

“…He [John] now asserts that it was this God-man Jesus Christ who came into our world, was baptized and died.  Jesus was the Son of God not only at His baptism but also at His death (v. 6b).  This truth is extremely important, because, if Jesus died only as a man, his sacrificial atonement (2:2; 4:10) would not have been sufficient to take away the guilt of man’s sin…[45] [emphasis mine]

Sad to say, but, Bill Johnson’s ‘Jesus’ is not the one of orthodox Biblical Christianity.  In addition, his ‘Christ’ is inconsistent with Scripture; and, this ‘Christ’ does not offer true salvation.

The Good News!

However, there is good news!  Salvation is available through the one True Savior: the Anointed One, The Messiah, the one and only Son of God – Jesus Christ.

Orthodox Christianity asserts that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God, [John 3:16] incarnated through the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit coming upon and overshadowing her [Luke 1:26-35; Matthew 1:18], fully God and fully man [John 5:18; Philippians 2:6-7] – the unique God-man – at all times during His earthly ministry.  He was preexistent as part of the Triune Godhead (the Trinity) from ‘the beginning’ [Genesis 1:1; John 1:1] and He is ‘the alpha and the omega’ [Revelation 1:8, 21:6, 22:13], the beginning and the end.

Salvation into eternal life is only through Jesus Christ [John 14:6] as a result of His death, burial, and resurrection on the third day [Philippians 2:8; Matthew 28:1-7; Luke 24:1-10,46] which atoned for our sins [John 3:16; Romans 5:8, 10:9].  Christ has now ascended to be at the right hand of the Father [Acts 2:33] serving as our mediator [Galatians 3:19-20; 1 Timothy 2:3-6].  Salvation is a free gift of unmerited grace through faith in Jesus Christ [Ephesians 2:8-9]. Jesus’ death also fulfilled the Law of Moses [Matthew 5:17; Romans 8:1-2]; consequently, Christians are free from this bondage [Galatians 3:10-25].

If you believe the above and acknowledge the fact that you are a sinner in need of a Savior [Romans 3:23, 5:12, 6:23], repent of your sins [Luke 13:5; Matthew 3:2], and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you will gain eternal life [Romans 10:9,13].  At the point of salvation the Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer [Romans 5:1-2,5] identifying each one as a Christian who has become a new creature [2 Corinthians 5:17].  Christians are a Royal Priesthood [1 Peter 2:9] with the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place [Mark 15:37-38] to petition the Father by prayer [Hebrews 10:19-22] in the Name – i.e., in the character – of Jesus Christ, His Son as revealed through His Word.

The Holy Spirit empowers all believers [Romans 8:9-11] to live out the Christian life; and, His indwelling is a seal guaranteeing eternal life [2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14] if we stand firm to the end [Matthew 24:13].  The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin and guides into all Truth [John 16:8-11,13].  He will testify and bring glory to Jesus Christ [John 15:26, 16:14].  The Holy Spirit gives believers spiritual gifts [1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Romans 12:4-8; I Peter 4:9-11] just as He determines [1 Corinthians 12:11] and, He intercedes on our behalf [Romans 8:26-27].  AMEN!

This article, The Kingdom of God is at Hand, Part II, provides pertinent information as a bridge of sorts to Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part II.

[This article is not copyrighted and may be reproduced with the stipulation that all endnotes be included as these provide additional explanation critical to the document.]
[1] “raideragent” Bill Johnson False Teacher. <> 3:40 to 4:55
[2] Bethel Church, Redding, CA home page <>
[3] “ewenhuffman” Jesus is our Model- Sermon of the week 20 Dec 09. <> 33:48 to 34:57
[4] Here Johnson quotes Hebrews 1:5a and Acts 13:33-34b from the NKJV
[5] Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:22/Isaiah 53:9; etc.
[6] Got Questions? What is the Definition of Sin?. <> par 4
[7] When taking the larger context into account by adding vv 36 and 37 it is clear the best definition for “corruption” is ‘the decay of the body after death.’  See diaphthora <>
[8] Johnson, Bill “The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
[9] Got Questions? What Is Christology <> The claim that Jesus Christ laid His divinity aside is known as the Kenosis heresy – the misunderstanding of the words “emptied himself” of Philippians 2:7.  Jesus was never less than fully divine; however, some of his attributes were veiled.  See
[10] Johnson, Bill “Introduction.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 23
[11] Luke 2:41-52
[12] Johnson, Bill “The Works of the Father.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 98
[13] Johnson, Bill “The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
[14] ibid.
[15] Luke 2:11; I John 1:1-3; Matthew 1:18-23; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6
[16] Strong, James, Dr. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. fully revised by John R. Kohlenberg III and James A. Swanson; 2001, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; Strong’s # 1694; p 1495 “Immanuel,” ‘God with us.’
[17] Strong, Op.cit. Christos Strong’s # 5547; p 1542 “Christ, Anointed One, Messiah, the Greek translation of the Hebrew 4899 (cf. Greek 3323).  The Messiah is the Son of David, an anointed leader expected to bring in an age of peace and liberty from all oppression.  In the NT, the Messiah is Jesus, who came first to bring liberty from sin and peace with God and who will come again to bring all things under His control.”
[18] Theopedia Kenosis <>
[19] Berkhof, Louis The History of Christian Doctrines. 1975, Baker, Ann Arbor MI; p 121
[20] Johnson, Bill “Change Your Mind.” The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles. 2005; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 50
[21] Johnson, Bill “The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
[22] Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22
[23] Strong, Loc.cit. Chrio Strong’s # 5548; p 1542
[24] ibid. Christos Strong’s # 5547; p 1542
[25] Got Questions? Why was Jesus baptized? Why was Jesus’ baptism important?. <>; updated 11/22/11
[26] Johnson, Op.cit. pp 79-80, 134-135
[27] Johnson, Bill “Our Debt to the World: An Encounter with God.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 138
[28] John 3:16-18
[29] Romans 8:15, 8:23, 9:4; Ephesians 1:5  We are adopted as sons by Grace; whereas, Jesus is God’s Son by nature.
[30] Johnson, Op.cit. p 134
[31] ibid. Johnson p 135
[32] Johnson, Bill “The Kingdom and the Spirit” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 75
[33] Johnson, Bill “The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
[34] ibid. p 80
[35] ibid. p 84
[36] Not an actual word, but made from the Greek, hagios which is ‘Holy,’ and pneuma which is ‘Spirit,’ for illustrative purposes.  It is understood that these two terms are never used as a compound word.
[37] Johnson, Op.cit. p 81
[38] Strong, Op.cit. anti, Strong’s # 473; p 1480
[39] Johnson, Bill “The Works of the Father” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA;   p 99 (Here Johnson quotes Matthew 3:17 from the NKJV)
 [40] Gospel Outreach Ministries Online. “Atonement” What is the Word of Faith Movement?. <>
 [41] Barker, Kenneth; Burdick, Stek, et. al. “Introduction: I John; Gnosticism” NIV Study Bible. copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society,  Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI; p 1905
[42] Strong, Op.cit. p 198 The word “Christ” put in brackets here is disappointingly omitted in the NIV; however, it is in the original Greek (Christos) and appears in the KJV and NKJV as well as other translations.
[43] Barker, Op.cit. p 1910
[44] ibid. p 1911 Bracketed portion is in “Late manuscripts of the Vulgate…”  However, this text is “not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century.”
[45] ibid.

905 Responses to Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I

  1. mkayla says:

    HI Craig. This is such a great work! I am glad you took the time to think this out and put it together in the way you did. It was worth waiting for. The extensive research is very nice. Thank you. I will put it on my blog too.

    God bless you in your work here!


  2. Craig says:




  3. Tricia says:

    Thanks for your fine work on this Craig! I plan to link your blog to my own site if that’s okay by you.


  4. Kim says:

    Great research Craig and thanks for the footnotes and documentation. Will repost!!!


  5. mbaker says:


    Thanks for all your work in exposing this very serious error regarding Jesus being ‘born again’. That false teaching seems to be permeating a lot of churches nowadays.

    It’s important that we are all vigilant in these days of growing apostasy, so the unsuspecting are not deceived into following false doctrine just because ‘the preacher said so.’


    • Craig says:

      Thanks for your help as well. Yes, we must all be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures ourselves rather than relying strictly on those behind the pulpits.


  6. kathisharpe says:

    Craig, you know me as Kay at the blog.

    I’ll go on record, since you commented there, that I agree with Bill Johnson’s Christology 100% … have researched it, agonized over it, spent hours on the floor crying out to God for truth… and lo and behold, there it was right in my own Bible.


  7. Craig says:


    Thanks for responding. Setting aside Johnson’s claim that Jesus was ‘born again,’ Scripture makes it clear that Jesus was preexistent as God (John 1:1-2,14 / Gen 1:1-2,26) and that He was God at the Incarnation:

    As “Immanuel” – ‘God with us:

    18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
    20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins.”

    22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23″The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” [Matthew 1:18-23 NIV]

    14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. [Isaiah 7:14 NIV]

    11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord.

    Luke 2:11 Or Messiah. “The Christ” (Greek) and “the Messiah” (Hebrew) both mean “the Anointed One”; also in verse 26
    [Luke 2:11 NIV]

    The above taken from

    Clearly Jesus was already fully God at the Incarnation and, In addition, he was The Christ as well, contrary to Bill Johnson.


  8. kathisharpe says:

    Craig, I’m not sure what you do for a living, but for the moment I’m going to designate you a “software engineer”.

    If, when you were born, a prophet had come to your house and said to your parents, “He is a software engineer” – would that have been the truth?


  9. Tricia says:

    I think it’s fundamental that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human – eternally. Why else would the Jews take up stones to kill him for blasphemy after he told them “before Abraham was, I AM [the divine name of God which the Jews said must never be pronounced]. Jesus asked on another occasion, for which of my works do you stone me, and they replied that it wasn’t for his works, but that he claimed God as his Father, thus making himself to be God. The Jews undersatood this, how come Christians do not?


    • Craig says:


      Yes, I was thinking about the various I AM statements as well. A verse Johnson really likes to quote is Luke 2:51 in which the twelve year old boy Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” This is part of his justification for Jesus as Man (or man) rather than God.


    • kathisharpe says:

      Craig it does beg the question… how exactly does God grow in wisdom? How does He grow in stature? How does God grow in favor with God?


  10. kathisharpe says:

    Tricia, I don’t find either statement to be inconsistent with what Johnson teaches.


  11. kathisharpe says:

    Craig – come on over and ask me there – I’m probably not going to have time to go back and forth between two blogs.


  12. Craig says:

    I’m only on lunch right now; so, if I do comment, it will be after work.

    You seemed to have plenty of time this am to post your blog article; so, I’m curious why you can’t discuss this over here(?).


  13. Craig says:


    To answer your question at 12:27. As fully man Jesus still had to mature as a man (i.e, grow physically); and, he had to grow in wisdom akin to man; however, He was still God. Jesus had to be both a man and God in order to be ther perfect once for all sacrifice to atone for our sins.

    This apparent paradox is defined in the Hypostatic Union (from wiki):

    …Thus, the Council [of Chalcedon] declared that in Christ there are two natures; each retaining its own properties, and together united in one subsistence and in one single person (εἰς ἓν πρόσωπον καὶ μίαν ὑπόστασιν, eis hen prosopon kai mian hupostasin).[6]

    As the precise nature of this union is held to defy finite human comprehension, the hypostatic union is also referred to by the alternative term “mystical union.”

    You and I, Kay, as man, have one nature — human — contrary to esoteric literature. After accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit indwells us; HOWEVER, we do not attain God-like qualities or Christ-likeness this side of glory.


    • kathisharpe says:

      Doesn’t sound all that mystical to me, Craig… if it defies finite human comprehension, that’s a whole lot of words attempting to nail it down.

      We do not attain Christ-likeness on this side of glory? Where’s that in the Book? And for that matter, how do you reconcile “this side of glory” with the Bible? (Man-made doctrines seem to do a good job of it, but if you carefully examine Scripture, it all comes undone like a house of cards. Ask me how I know…)


  14. mkayla says:

    Very simply we need to keep in mind that there are things that our human minds have problems accepting. We see things in part, are given wisdom and knowledge in part. The things of God are higher than the things of man. When we try to pull apart the teachings of the godhead it becomes futile. The simple part is to accept the fact that the bible clearly states Jesus Christ existed with God before the foundation of the world, that He came to earth as a man, as the Word, that he lived a sinless life, took our sin upon Himself through the act of the Father, died, rose again, left us here with the presence of the Holy Spirit, who again is God, and is returning for us one day. At no time does the bible say Jesus was man only or that He gave up His deity. None of this makes complete sense to us. It is what it is – nothing more, nothing less. This is our faith.

    To take on the notion and to teach others that we can be like Christ in this life is not the truth. We will be like Him when He returns for us. None of the writings of those who knew Jesus face to face will lead us in the direction that Johnson is taking. These false teachings are almost right, but they are not the truth.

    Again Craig thank you for your time and diligent research. I love that we all learn together piece by piece. It is one of the things that kept me blogging!

    Peace and grace to you all in Christ and may we be found speaking His truth to a lost world.


  15. Craig says:

    This is to the individual who contacted me on the “About Me” page:

    I’m not able to respond as the email referenced comes back as ‘not valid.’ I can take your query and post it here if you like and comment on it; but, I won’t do that without your approval.

    Thanks for your comments.


  16. Craig says:


    Jesus is the “Anointed ONE” — the only one — for He is the Messiah. According to Johnson’s teaching on the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit providing Jesus His ‘Christ’ and that “He is our model” and that we can receive this same “anointing,” this is tantamount to saying we are all ‘Christs.’ This is New Age thought. Shall we call each other “Craig Christ” and Kay Christ?” I think not!

    If such were the case, then why were all but one of the original 12 Apostles plus Paul martyred? Why didn’t they just resist with their “God-given” strength via the “anointing?”

    I ask you to please read very carefully the Apostle John’s words and warnings in his first epistle. And, if you haven’t already, please read my words in the Johnson’s Christology Defined section.

    In addition, why was Jesus’ first words of warning regarding the sign of the endtimes “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many.'”?


  17. sadparent says:

    Years ago, when I was in Word of Faith, I remember hearing this teaching about Jesus becoming sin for us and having to be born again. Even as a brand new believer, I knew that was wrong. He was, after all, GOD. God doesn’t need to be made into something evil to ‘become’ something holy. I’m so glad the Lord protected my mind.

    The Scriptures are full of warnings. Many will be deceived by many. 2 Lying signs and wonders will lead multitudes astray. 3 Doctrines of demons will be embraced in the name of Jesus. 4 Leaders who profess new enlightenment and a great awakening are deceived and deceiving others. 5 As the Bible states, if it were possible, even the very elect will be deceived.

    I’d be willing to say that anyone believing this is being deceived. And if they’ll swallow this, then what’s next – Contemplative spirituality?


  18. omots says:

    There is a short article exposing Bethel Church’s “prophetess” Erica Greve entitled, “Unfalsifiable Prophecies” over on Holly’s blog “Spirit of Error”.

    Holly’s intro piece led me to look for more “prophecies” from Greve. There are several, but one of Erica’s “prophecies” stands out forcefully from all the rest of her jibberish…

    “I am getting ready to release my special ones, my End Times Army, that will cover the globe with signs and wonders and with power.”

    The prophecy continues….

    “There are many who I brought to California before I sent them out so that they would be released with the My Blue Ribbon Seal of Approval. They will receive and bear My Blue Ribbon Seal of Approval and they will begin to move in a power not yet seen on this Earth. This is My season of promotion,” says the Lord.”


    Somehow I don’t think Erica’s “Blue Ribbon Seal of Approval” is a God thing. But maybe that’s just me. Erica has received Bill Johnson’s “Seal of Approval” however, which is apparently all she needs. Here’s what Johnson says about Erica:

    “Erica has been a part of our church family for many years, and more recently a part of our staff. She has a strong prophetic anointing and has brought the word of the Lord faithfully during this time. She has also ministered very powerfully to me on a number of occasions. I always look forward to hearing from her. I joyfully endorse and support her life and ministry.”

    [Bill Johnson- Senior Leader, Bethel Church]

    So Johnson admits he looks forward to hearing the prophetic word from “her”. But in my book, prophecy comes from the Lord.

    “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” [1 John 4:1]

    Steve (a.k.a. omots)


    • The 13 in our email is my age when I was born again, and my wife’s age when she was baptized.

      My purpose is that I have a question I would like to ask, would you have have time to answer it?

      Sincerely in Christ,


  19. cherylu says:

    I wish someone that believes that Jesus was “born again” could explain to me how it could be that someone that had to be born again Himself because He became sin would be able to save everyone else after that? That has never made any sense to me at all. Besides the fact that I believe the whole idea to be completely unbiblical.

    I didn’t reread this whole thread now, but I don’t remember anyone trying to address this issue.


    • Craig says:

      Yes, cherylu, this needs to be addressed. While we do not know Johnson’s view, the Word of Faith view is that Jesus descended into hell before being born again:

      According to WoF:

      Jesus suffered and died on the Cross, descended into hell… …spent three days serving a sentence in hell (where He was tortured by demons), was then born again and released from hell on a technicality.

      When Jesus was in the pit of hell, in that terrible torment, no doubt the devil and his emissaries gathered around to see the annihilation of God’s Son. But in the corridors of hell, there came a great voice from heaven: “Turn Him loose! He’s there illegally!” And all hell became paralyzed. (Charles Capps, Authority in Three Worlds, p. 143, emphasis in original)

      Jesus was born again before his eyes! (ibid, p 189 emphasis in original)

      From here:


  20. cherylu says:

    A technicality? Riiiight! That really explains it all now doesn’t it?? (Note: sarcasm intended).


  21. This has concerned researchers such as Judith Matta and myself since the 1980s. Thanks for the excellent expose of what is currently happening with this brand of ecclesial heresy!



    • Craig says:


      Thanks for your pioneering and continued work from which others have built their own work — including mine! And, thanks for your comments here.


    • Craig says:


      Thanks for the links. I was going to point out the Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled the OT Day Of Atonement (which was merely a shadow of the real deal in Christ); but, the article was already longer than I really wanted.

      Excellent info on the first link. Interestingly, I was actually going to get a copy of McConnell’s book as reference for part II.

      I’ll have to look at the 2nd link later.


  22. omots says:

    There are several “ministries” offered by and through Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church. See list of “ministries” on the home page. As you’ve pointed out Craig, one can find numerous examples of how the scriptures have been twisted or changed to fit an agenda. For example, take a look at the “Prosperous Soul” ministry:

    Prosperous Soul claims the following “scripture” is 3 John 1:2 –

    “The plate passes and I release my gift. It lands like sacred bread upon many waters. These waters rise and swell like a mighty sea, carrying my offerings under a driven wind—the very breath of God. He will watch over this token for His own sake, to the fulfillment of His Word. He will bring heaven and wonder to ordinary flesh; He will soul-feed the needy. Justice will obligate eternity to laud His works, and in all of this my tiny gift will sing an eternal song. I will give quietly today, knowing this gift will never be lost or forgotten, but lavished upon a mighty King in a timeless forever.” [3 John 1:2]

    Of course the KJV reads a little differently:

    “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

    The King James translation is short, concise, and to the point. So where did Prosperous Soul get their twisted scripture translation?
    The “many waters” line sounds like something that came out of the mouth of a Hollywood Indian caricature. The term “sacred bread”, used to describe money, reminds me of the beatnik and/or hippie term for money. Prosperous Soul raises up and spiritualizes this “sacred, token, gift” to an extent not found in the scripture. The spiritualizing of the elements of wind and water is also something right out of paganism/Gnosticism. God created the wind and the water, He is NOT the wind and the water.

    This twisting and superficial RE-interpretation of scripture by the Prosperous Soul “Ministry” is so full of false humility as to be almost laughable. Almost.

    Another blatant example is right on Bethel’s home page.

    Bethel Church
    “Your kingdom come….on earth as in heaven.”

    Notice anything missing? What is supposed to be where the dot, dot, dot is? Sometimes what’s missing can tell us more than what is included.



  23. Helene says:

    FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY!!! Someone else noticed!! THY WILL BE DONE is left out.

    Johnson says “on earth as it is in heaven” means that since there is no sickness in Heaven, there shouldn’t be any sickness on earth either. He fails to realize that Heaven and Earth are not joined because mankind SINNED in the Garden and brought death on us all. The curse of death (from God) and mankind’s sin brought about all sickness, old age, bodily defects, murder, accidents, etc. This obviously does not happen in Heaven!! GOD also cursed the ground – meaning Earth – bringing about thorns, thistles, drought, plagues, etc. etc. – also things NOT found in Heaven. Heaven is not the same as earth.

    Luther’s explanation of this petition of the Lord’s Prayer found in his Small Catechism says:

    The Third Petition

    Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    What does this mean?
    The good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.

    How is God’s will done?
    God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.

    (I know he’s out of fashion with most people, but every Christian should read Luther.)

    Here is the explanation to the second petition:

    The Second Petition
    Thy kingdom come.

    What does this mean?
    The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer,but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.

    How does God’s kingdom come?
    God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.

    Only on the Last Day when the new Heaven and the new Earth appear, heaven and earth will be joined. Then it truly will be “on earth as in heaven.”

    My biggest problem with Bill Johnson is that he does not know ANYTHING about GOD THE FATHER!! He is completely ignored and left out of the conversation. Everything is ‘spirit, spirit, spirit,’ and there is no mention of sin or offending God the Father. Johnson constantly breaks the first 3 Commandments and also blasphemes against the Holy Trinity and teaches thousands of others to do the same. They will pay a devasting price for this. God the Father – the First Person of the Trinity – will have the last word. No one can escape Him.


  24. Craig says:

    “What happens in the natural effects (happens in) the supernatural”


    “On earth as it is in heaven”

    = “As above, so below”
    from Hermeticism:


    • omots says:

      Eugene Peterson’s Message “Bible”, (popular with the Emergent Church crowd), attributes this very phrase to Jesus…

      “Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best– as above, so below.” [Mt. 6:10 – Mess Bible]

      So I guess it must be true, if Jesus said it.

      Of course the KJV and most other translations read a bit differently.



  25. Craig says:

    Yes, that’s one of my main problems with this ‘paraphrase;’ but, also Peterson substitutes “Master” for “Lord” making Jesus “Master Jesus” rather than “Lord Jesus” which comes from the occult/esoteric.


  26. Craig says:


    Your second link at 9:52am I am in total disagreement with. Jesus DID NOT die spiritually. Given that He was the fulfillment of the OT Day of Atonement (sin offering once a year) and that the sacrifice was an animal (animals do not have spirits), then, why would Jesus have to die spiritually?

    I hope you were providing the link for illustrative purposes in order to show what the ‘other side’ thinks rather than this being your point of view. Which is it?


  27. IWTT says:


    Google the writer of the second link that was given by Grant. I believe it comes out of a Word of Faith Ministry. At least that was where I ended up on teh first google link when I followed the rest of the paths that go me to a home page…..

    Victory Thru The Word Ministries
    Links Page

    Word-Faith/Charismatic Apologetical Links – You would certainly have to wade through a lot of anti-Word of Faith bias on the Web in order to find a few pages that attempt to stand against the criticism. I have compiled the links I have found here on this page. The links here include both Word-Faith defense pages and Charismatic/Pentecostal defenses in general. I will update these as I continue to find sites on the WWW that fit this category.

    Copy of description of link from Grant…

    Victory Through The Word Ministries
    Nov 3, 2004 … Charismatic site that stands up for the WOF movement. This ministry boasts many study articles and links and is an excellent resource. – Cached – Similar


  28. Craig says:

    Thanks IWTT. I was reasonably sure without doing any further checking the writer of that article was WoF.


  29. Grant says:

    I believe Jesus died spiritually.

    The sites provided to my knowledge are not advocating WOF labels. Peter Smythe’s blog has some good essays on the subject you discussed and here is one that adresses the JDS points

    Romans 6.9 – Jesus and the Lordship of Death
    On 27 September 2007, in Jesus Made Sin, by Peter
    In our last “Jesus Made Sin” essay, Hebrews 2.9 – Death Remixed, we wrote that thneta which is usually translated as “death” in most Bible translations is better rendered “subject to death” with the idea that it includes spiritual death. We provided two verses to demonstrate that thneta cannot be equated to just physical death: […]

    In our last “Jesus Made Sin” essay, Hebrews 2.9 – Death Remixed, we wrote that thneta which is usually translated as “death” in most Bible translations is better rendered “subject to death” with the idea that it includes spiritual death. We provided two verses to demonstrate that thneta cannot be equated to just physical death:

    Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal [thneto] body so that you obey its lusts – (Romans 6.12, NASB)

    But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal [thneta] bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8.11, NASB)

    From these verses, we went to Romans 5.12 and said “thnetos is all about spiritual death, not physical death (although physical death ensues from spiritual death).” One of our readers, slw, asked us to elaborate on our statement and we suggest that you read our response.

    We refer back to this post because it provides a good platform for jumping over to Romans 6.9 and seeing it in its true light. Romans 6.9 says:

    Knowing that Christ having been raised from among the dead no more dieth, – Death [thanatos] over him no more hath lordship. (Rotherham)

    (We like Rotherham’s translation because of its Yodian (Galatic Basic) way of translating the Greek – transparent very it is.)

    In Romans 6.9, in the Greek, “lordship” is defined as “to rule or reign over with the implication in some instances of ‘lording over’” (Louw). While many Christian leaders teach us that no one or no thing ever has lorded over Jesus, that just doesn’t fly with scripture. Romans 6.9 says that death did indeed exercise lordship over him at one point in time. The question is then, “Just what kind of death was this Romans 6.9 ‘death’?”

    Average Joe Christianity says that it’s physical death and anyone that says anything differently should be tarred and feathered or at least be forced to wear a big ‘ole scarlet H. We found this quote in an online commentary which presents us with the conventional rendering of death in Romans 6.9:

    Death (2288) (thanatos) physically refers to the final separation of one’s soul from their body. Physical death is the primary meaning of thanatos in this passage. Death equates with separation. Jesus absolutely defeated physical death on the Cross and He can never die and His life is now my life. Therefore, I have now have [sic] eternal life in Him. We can never die in that sense. Physical death may take place but the moment it takes place, immediately we are in the presence of our Lord (2 Cor. 5.8). As believers we never have to face the fear of death because Jesus has conquered death. ( (italics supplied)

    [By the way, thanatos (death) is another word form of thneta (mortal). Both words have the same root.]

    If we took this commentary’s statement that “physical death is the primary meaning of thanatos,” and sat down with Romans, we’d find ourselves sitting alongside Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party growing increasingly perturbed at the silly stories and riddles. For instance, Romans 6.12 and 8.11 would read:

    Therefore do not let sin reign in your physically dead body so that you obey its lusts. (6.12)

    But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your physically dead body through his Spirit who dwells in you. (8.11)

    No one but a Cheshire cat could make sense of that. Also notice the Wonderland irony: Paul wrote all three verses – 6.9, 6.12, and 8.11 – and they’re all in the same book, no less. But the party just wouldn’t end there. Flipping back just a page we read:

    For this cause, just as through one man sin into the world entered, And through sin death (thanatos), And so unto all men death [thanatos] passed through, For that all had sinned – . . . Yet still death [thanatos] reigned from Adam until Moses, Even over them who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression of Adam, Who is a type of the Coming One. (Romans 5.12, 14, Rotherham)

    If we applied “physical death” to thanatos in these verses we could start trumpeting a brand new doctrine: no one is going to die because it all stopped at Moses. Problem is, the Cheshire cat may be the only one that actually believes such a thing and we’d have to come up with some kind of fangled way to explain all of our cemeteries.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even a Mad Hatter to see that Paul’s “death” (thanatos) cannot just mean physical death. Physical death did not end when Moses introduced the Law. It was spiritual death that ceased to reign like it did between Adam and Moses because the Law introduced sacrificial offerings that covered the people’s sin.

    Like we said in our previous post, “thnetos [thanatos] is all about spiritual death, not physical death (although physical death ensues from spiritual death).” With that definition in mind, which, by the way, weaves a consistent thread all throughout Romans, we more cleanly see the harsh spiritual realities undergirding Romans 6.9′s “death”:

    Knowing that Christ having been raised from among the dead no more dieth, – Death [thanatos] over him no more hath lordship. (Rotherham)

    Romans 6.9 may be said to be a summary of our entire Descent and Jesus Became Sin series. This scripture expressly shows that Paul’s thanatos – more than mere physical death – lorded over Jesus from the cross until the time that he was resurrected by the Father.

    [Note: This same commentary presents quite a different definition for thanatos for Romans 6.21 which is just a few passages down from 6.9 and 6.12:

    What fruit therefore had ye then – in things for which ye now are taking shame to yourselves? For the end of those things is death [thanatos]. (Rotherham)

    Death (2288) (thanatos) includes not only physical death, but also the quality of one’s present life (1 Ti 5.6). Here Paul uses the term of the death brought in by human sin and not referring merely to physical death but to death in its most comprehensive sense – separation of the creature from his Creator in the Lake of fire . . . (

    One of the real dangers to a vibrant faith is caging the Gospel to a predisposed theology and changing the meaning of words, even those written by the same author, to fit that theology.


  30. Jan says:

    Contrary to the charismatic view of never-ending “anointings”, Scripture reveals that we are anointed once. “But the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you…” I John 2:27

    Also, the obsession of ’empowerment’ that Latter Rainists promote and claim to recieve on a daily basis, lends itself to the coming ‘divinity of man’ predicted by occultic medium Alice Bailey. Supernatural powers to read men’s minds, control nature and ‘prophesy’ cataclsymic events, are just a few of the results of what is really occultic
    ’empowerment’. The true Spirit of God ’empowers’ us to be like Him. When we are being led (not driven)by the (true) Spirit, we exhibit God’s character: Kindness, meekness, forgiveness, goodness, longsuffering,gentleness and other fruits of the Spirit. We are in our right mind, (sober) and not in altered states of consciousness, in a militant mindset, ‘worshipping’ in noisy hysteria, looking for weekly miracles and seeking the spirit-realm on a continual basis for ‘truth’. The written Word of God is sufficient! II Timothy 3:16


    • Craig says:

      The thing that doesn’t make sense, for example, is that when the folks who were ‘healed’ at Lakeland were called to the stage, they were “anointed” again. Why would they need this if they were already ‘healed?’


  31. Jan says:

    I feel sorry for people whose faith clings to whether they are healed or not. What about all of the people in Jesus’ day who WEREN’T healed and still followed Him? I notice ‘healers’ never mention how Christians are to “suffer persecution for Christ’s sake” (II Timothy 3:12) and that the REAL apostles of Jesus’ day were called foolish, were martyred, stoned, reviled, beaten, hungry, poor and rejected. I Corinthians 4:9-13


  32. cherylu says:


    It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin. This fact is repeated many times in the New Testament.

    Hebrews 10:10 says that it was the offering of Jesus BODY that takes away sins–not the death of His spirit.

    I Peter 2:24 says that He bore our sins in His body–not in His spirit.

    Why would He have to die spiritually if it His blood that redeems us and if it His body that bore our sins?

    And if Jesus became sin in such a way that His spirit actually had to die for it, I can’t help but wonder who paid the price for His redemption? It just seems to me that something doesn’t add up here at all.


  33. sadparent says:

    Re: Healing & scriptural error

    Not only that but the error used in scripture is way out there. For example: “By His stripes we are healed..” is taken completely out of context.

    The full scripture reads: He was wounded for our transgressions (our sins), He was bruised for our iniquities (sins), the chastisement for our peace was upon Him (His death on the cross),and with His stripes (the beatings He took for our sins) we are healed (forgiven).

    It has absolutely NOTHING to do with physical healing.

    Oh well, I’m preaching to the choir on this one.. I know it. But in 1981, as a new believer, and at WoF, after learning the “by His stripes” teaching.. I remember thinking, “Why doesn’t this church (including me) go into the hospitals, lay hands on the sick, heal them, watch them be miraculously healed and then send them home?!”
    …but then my pastor’s 20 y.o. son died from cancer and I just couldn’t understand “what” made him die. I mean, we had prayed “exactly the way the Bible told us to pray”… it was very discouraging to me as a new believer. But years later, I thank my God that I saw this happen. Some lessons are too valuable to miss – because this too didn’t add up at all…


  34. Craig says:


    The word thanatos means simply “death.” Depending upon context we can construe the meaning intended. As I read through the Romans passages you cite I have no problem seeing thanatos as just simply “death.” The implied meaning, whether physical or spiritual, is governed by its specific context.

    Let’s look in Revelation:

    1:18and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

    The first bolded word is the Greek nekros from which we get necrosis and necrotic which mean death of bodily tissue. See:

    This says nothing of spiritual death.

    The second word above is thanatos; however, it sounds like it is referring to spiritual death, right?

    However, let’s look at this passage:

    2:10:‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

    Once again, we have thanatos; however, this clearly is not speaking of spiritual death but rather physical death.

    One last one:

    2:11‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

    Clearly, the second death refers to spiritual death while the first death is physical.

    I go back to my comment earlier regarding the Day of Atonement. The sacrificial animal — which does not have a spirit to be begin with — merely had sin imputed to it. It did not ‘become sin’ and it did not suddenly have a spririt with which to die spiritually. Jesus did not ‘become sin;’ therefore, He did not have to be ‘born again.’


  35. Grant says:

    From Peter Smythe’s site about the tale of 2 Goats

    This essay will be our last in the series exploring the sacrificial background of 2 Corinthians 5.21′s “He Made Him Sin.” In these seven or so essays, we’ve seen that the idea of imputing sin to Jesus (saying it without really doing it) isn’t just absent in the text, but it’s not supported by the Old Testament sacrificial system, Isaiah, or even Jesus’s own statements about the crucifixion. For the last few essays, we’ve focused on the Yahweh goat of the Day of Atonement and we’ve shown how the sacrifice of that Yahweh goat mirrors Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross.

    [The rest of the sacrificial sequence – the taking of the goat’s blood behind the veil and sprinkling on the Mercy Seat and how that is the shadow Hebrews 10:20 (“through the veil, that is, his flesh”) and Hebrews 9.12 (“through His own blood, He entered the holy place”) – will be the subject of some future essays.]

    But here we turn our attention to the “scapegoat,” the goat to Azazel:

    Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat [Azazel]. . . . But the goat on which the lot for [Azazel] fell shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, to sent it unto the wilderness as Azazel . . . Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. (Lev. 16.8, 21-22, NASB)

    Modern preachers really haven’t known what to do with this goat. We imagine it is because it makes an awful mess of tidy theologies that pay lip service to Satan as the “god of this world” and the utter extremes that Jesus had to undertake to rescue mankind. For years and years, the moderns have preached to us that this all-important goat of the Day of Atonement, a shadow of the Lord Jesus himself, only dramatized, in an odd way, the taking away of the people’s sin:

    On Israel’s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the high priest selected two goats. One was sacrificed, the other set free. Before releasing the second goat, the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people on it by laying his hands on its head. This “scapegoat” was then taken a great distance from camp and released – never to return again (Lev. 16:7-10).

    The Greek word translated “forgiveness” in Ephesians 1:7 means “to send away.” It speaks of canceling a debt or granting a pardon. Like the scapegoat, Christ carried away our sins on the cross. John MacArthur, Drawing Near, “January 13” at 13.

    This sterile explanation is much like Bill Parcell’s career with the Dallas Cowboys: it just doesn’t deliver. It doesn’t explain anything about the goat. Why must it be “without defect” if it’s going to turn to sin? Why is it to be presented alive and not slaughtered like the other one? Why is it “to Azazel” – who’s Azazel? Why isn’t there a scapegoat or something like it on all the other sin offerings if it’s all about taking away sin? Who is this man who “stands in readiness” who is not an Israelite? Weren’t the people’s sins atoned with the sacrificial goat? What does the Greek in Ephesians have to do with a Jewish goat? . . . We’re not supposed to ask any of those questions because . . . well, they just don’t give us the kinds of answers that we like to hear.

    Since we started with D.R. McConnell’s A Different Gospel in examining the “Levitical background” of 2 Corinthians 5.21, we should come full circle. In his catcall that those who preach that Jesus descended into hell after he died on the cross are preaching a heretical gospel, he says:

    Moreover, if as the Faith teachers say, Jesus was immediately taken to hell after his death, why then did he tell the thief on the cross “today you shall be with me in Paradise”? [Lk. 23.43] Although we do not know definitively “what happened from the cross to the throne,” the above passages [Lk. 23.46, Mt. 27.50, Jn. 19.30] would indicate one thing that did not happen. Jesus was not taken to hell by the devil after his death. Thus, the house of cards constructed on the double-death of Jesus by the Faith teachers comes crashing to the ground. (D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, Updated Edition at 126-127)

    We’ve dealt with Luke 23.43, Luke 23.46, and John 19.30 in other essays so we won’t restate what we’ve already said, but here we want to focus on the statement, “Jesus was not taken to hell by the devil after his death,” in light of the Azazel goat that A Different Gospel fails to address. Once we see what God meant by “to Azazel” without theological slapdash, 2 Corinthians 5.21′s “He Made Him Sin” becomes screechingly real.

    Scriptural Canon

    They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons with which they play the harlot. This shall be a permanent statute to them throughout their generations. (Leviticus 17.7, NASB)

    Leviticus 17 shows us that the Israelites were apt to worship “goat demons” which were demonic spirits thought to inhabit the desert regions. The Old Testament (along with a lot of today’s heavy metal bands) associated goats with sin and demon spirits. That is one reason why we see two goats for the Day of Atonement instead of two lambs.

    The desert creatures will meet with the wolves, The hairy goat will cry to its kind; Yes, the night monster will settle there, And will find herself a resting place. (Isaiah 34.14)

    Isaiah writes of “hairy goat” demons that meet in the desert.

    He set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs [goat-demons] and for the calves which he had made. (2 Chronicles 11.15, NASB)

    Here the book of Chronicles speaks of Jeroboam setting up places of worship for the satyrs [goat-demons].

    Extra-Scriptural Books

    The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin. 1 Enoch 2.8 (1 Enoch 1.9 is quoted explicitly in Jude 14-15)

    While the book of Enoch doesn’t hold the place of scriptural canon, it does provide us with the thoughts about Azazel of those who lived back in the day (some early groups did consider Enoch to be canonical).

    The Experts

    While we’ve quoted scriptures and the book of Enoch, we let the experts flesh him out further:

    Azazel . . . was probably a demonic being . . . Apocryphal Jewish works, composed in the last few centuries before the Christian era, tell of angels who were lured . . . into rebellion against God. In these writings, Azazel is one of the two leaders of the rebellion. And posttalmudic documents tell a similar story about two rebel angels, Uzza and Azzael – both variations of the same Azazel. These mythological stories. which must have been widely known, seem to confirm the essentially demonic character of the old biblical Azazel. (Union of American Hebrew Congregations, The Torah – A Modern Commentary, pg. 859).

    This name was used for that of an evil demon . . . . The name Azazel . . . is also used by the Arabs as that of an evil demon.” (William Gesenius, Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon at 617)

    Azazel is . . . an Aramaic . . . name for an unclean and godlike power, which has its abode in the wilderness, in the accursed land outside the sacred bounds of the camp. (Hermann Schultz, Old Testament Theology, translated by Paterson, 1892, v. 1 at 405)

    Most modern scholars . . . have accepted the opinion mysteriously hinted at by Ibn Ezra and expressly stated by Nahmanides to Lev. xvi. 8 [16.8], that Azazel belongs to the claim of “se ‘irim,” goat-like demons, jinn haunting the desert, to which the Israelites were wont to offer sacrifice (Lev. xvii. 7 [17.7] [A.V. “devils”] . . . (Jewish

    The most common view among scholars today is that [Azazel] is the proper name of a particular demon (perhaps even the Devil himself) associated with the wilderness desert regions. (NET Bible Notes on Leviticus 16.8)

    The scriptural canon, extra-biblical books, and even the modern scholars all show that Azazel was known to be a demon-goat or goat-god and that the Israelites knew it. Of course, the consequences of these facts are enormous to a proper understanding of the “good things to come” as Hebrews puts it. Contrary to the popular notion that “God laid on him the sins of us all” was all in the saying and not in the doing, the Azazel goat gives us the God-orchestrated shadow of how Jesus fully identified with our sins and spent three days and nights in the belly of the earth before he was ultimately resurrected by the Father.

    [Note: Some preachers say that Jesus’s Descent into Hell forms some sort of sacrifice to Satan. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the Old Testament sacrificial rituals, the animal was killed and we see that with the goat to Yahweh. The goat to Azazel was presented “alive” and was never killed as a sacrifice to Azazel. The goat to Azazel represents an aspect of entering the “strong man’s” house (one meaning of Azazel is “strong man”) that modern theology virtually ignores. See Luke 11.21-22:

    When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger that he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. (NASB)


    [Note: If you have any doubts about Azazel and just what the nature of evil is all about, we suggest that you do a search of “Azazel” on iTunes and then look up the lyrics of those bands who sing about him (google the band name and add “lyrics” and you should come up with a page or two of the band’s lyrics). We had intended to print out some lyrics here to demonstrate, in part, what it meant to be taken to Azazel, but we just couldn’t – they were too awful.]


  36. Grant says:

    Info concerning Jesus’ Blood from Peter Smythe’s site

    In order to accurately understand Jesus’s mission and John 19:30, we
    must address the issue of Paul’s shorthand. As Christians, we usually
    use shorthand terms like “atonement” to represent entire narratives
    about Bible issues. N.T. Wright explains it this way,

    In Christian theology, such phrases regularly act as ‘portable
    stories,’ that is, ways of packing up longer narratives about God,
    Jesus, the church and the world, folding them away into convenient
    suitcases, and then carrying them about with us. (N.T. Wright, The
    Last Word, at 24)

    Paul was no different from the rest of us. He regularly employed
    shorthand “suitcases” in his epistles. For instance, in 1
    Corinthians 1:18, we read:

    For the word of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness;
    but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God.

    Many take this statement as referring only to the cross with the
    implied interpretation of John 19:30 that Jesus’s shout was the end
    of his mission. Paul’s own writings, however, demonstrate that the
    “cross” suitcase means much more. In the very same letter we read:

    But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither hath Christ been
    raised: and, if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching in
    vain, and your faith also in vain, and if Christ hath not been raised,
    your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Cor. 15.13, 14, 17)

    By these verses, we understand that Paul’s “cross” Samsonite
    includes Jesus’s resurrection. Indeed, it appears to be gross error
    to render “cross” as anything less than the three-day crucifixion/
    resurrection period. Consequently, it not hard to see that Jesus’s
    statement, “It is finished” could not mean the end of His
    mission. (I will develop this later).

    While addressing scriptural suitcases, we should also look at “the
    shedding of blood.” Most preachers restrict the “without the
    shedding of blood there is no remission of sins” verse to just the
    literal spilled blood on the cross. The usual saying is that Jesus had
    to shed His blood in order to save us, and it is that literal shed
    blood that provides the means of redemption. That statement is
    somewhat like unpacking just the trousers in the “shedding of
    blood” suitcase. It’s not everything in there. In Hebrews, it
    stands written:

    And according to the law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed
    with blood, and apart from the shedding of blood there is no
    remission. (Hebrews 9.22)

    If this verse was not a suitcase, we could interpret Jesus’s death on
    the cross right out of it. In Luke 22, He sweated great drops of blood
    as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. While under Pilate’s
    custody, He was scourged and a crown of thorns was placed on His head.
    In each of these instances, Jesus literally shed His blood, but none
    qualifies as the singular scripturally cleansing act from sin. It is
    the first part of this particular verse that makes it a suitcase.
    Indeed, blood must be shed for the remission of sins, but it must be
    ritualistically applied in order to cleanse. For instance, the Old
    Testament priests did not just cut up their sacrificial animals, wipe
    their hands, and leave. They took the blood and applied it
    scripturally, say on the Mercy Seat, for atonement of sin. Otherwise,
    there was no atonement.

    In future posts, we will come to see and understand that the mere
    shedding of blood on the cross would not effect the remission of sins.
    Jesus was required to ritualistically apply His own blood upon the
    Mercy Seat in heaven in order to obtain our redemption.


  37. Craig says:


    First, I want to apologize for assuming Smythe was WoF and by extension you could be as well. I see from the text above Smythe denounces the whole ‘Jesus went to hell’ thing. Sorry ’bout that.

    Secondly, the Azazel thing does require further study I would say. You bring up a good point in this subject. I think the answer may lie with the answer to this question: Why was Jesus Christ the sacrificial lamb rather than goat?

    Am I correct to assume you are the same ‘Grant’ who posted over at ETPW?


    • Grant says:

      I don’t know about the ETPW so I don’t know-as far as Peter Smythe if you review his blog closer he does subscribe to the Jesus went to Hell point of view and I think he attended Rhema but did not agree with everything about Kenneth Hagin. He has some ineteresting essays that adress 2Cor5:21. The thing thought caught my eye about your blog was reference to Bill Johnson I know he and others are in the prophetic and I see a lot of problems in that camp as well as the WOf camp. I just feel that with some of the material I’ve read from Peter Smythe’s site it helps explain some things about Jesus in His DBR. I appreciate your site and point of view about what you’ve studied/researched and find these blogs such as yours are a benefit to the Body of Christ.


  38. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I « Truthspeaker’s Weblog

  39. cherylu says:

    I think Craig’s question, “Why was Jesus Christ the sacrificial lamb rather than goat?” a very critical one in this discussion.

    Secondly, I don’t see how Jesus would literally fit the typology of the goat that went into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement either. The goat went into the wilderness alive after all. If the sins of all the people were placed on Jesus before His death, He didn’t go into hell alive to deal with them there. And if they were placed on Him after His physical death, they were placed on an already physically dead person, not a living being like the goat that received them in the Old Testament. Furthermore, if they were placed on Him spiritually after He died, they were actually placed on Him twice and I don’t think that works either, does it?

    Is it not possible that the goat taking the sins away into the wilderness was symbolic of the principle stated in Ps 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us”? He has taken them away, far away, never to be seen by Him in relationship to us again. It seems to me this may very well be the meaning of the Day of Atonement goat rather then the whole Jesus died spiritually thinking.

    Granted, that doesn’t take into account the specific name Azazel.

    And by the way, why does the author quoted above think that the man that sent the goat away was not an Israelite? Lev 16 only speaks of a man that was ready for the job.


  40. Craig says:


    By “ETPW” I mean endtimespropheticwords, Miriam’s site. I thought I recognized your style as the same as a “Grant” who posted over there.

    Now I see that Smythe does subscribe to the “Jesus went to hell” thing. I’m just not ready to accept that.

    I am currently researching this issue a bit more. Thanks for bringing it up.

    Thanks for your comments regarding this post.


  41. IWTT says:

    I sent your link and the other links to Bob DeWaay and this is his response….

    I do not believe that Jesus died spiritually. That is a Word of Faith heresy. Jesus has always and will always be God, spiritually. It was His physical body that died.

    Bob DeWaay


  42. Grant says:

    After my post I figured out the ETPW and have posted there before

    do you know how Miriam is? That’s a good blog but noted no recent postings


  43. Craig says:


    I’m sorry I don’t know how Miriam is. It’s a bit of a mystery.


  44. mkayla says:

    What I am about to say may not be worthy of the in depth conversation and research going on here. But very simply in John 4:24 we are told that God is spirit. I didn’t think it was possible for a spirit to die, since everyone will go on living eternally, either within His presence or out of it. This is why the “Jesus died spiritually” thing doesn’t work for me.


    • cherylu says:


      I would suspect, however, that the Jesus died spiritually folks would mean His spiritual death to be the same type of death we refer to when we speak of a human as being spiritually dead–that very issue of being separated from God because of sin. In His case, because of our sin. Then when we are born again–or Jesus is born again in their theology–we and Jesus become alive spiritually. Colossians 2:13

      Can anyone tell me if that is truly what is meant when someone says, “Jesus died spiritually”?


    • Craig says:

      As Tricia just pointed, I do believe you hit the nail on the head!


  45. W B McCarty says:

    Grant, on the web site you reference Peter Smythe denies any number of orthodox Protestant Christian doctrines, including the imputation of sin to Christ. That particular denial comes at a steep price.

    Paul, in 2 Cor. 5:21, explains that our righteous standing before God is the result of a double imputation: to Christ, God imputes our sin; to us, God imputes Christ’s righteous. To sever, as Smythe does, the imputation of our sin to Christ is also to sever the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us. In that case, we would fall short of the perfection God demands of those who would spend eternity with him.

    Smythe’s unorthodox teaching strikes at the very core of Protestantism, the doctrine of justification by faith. I urge anyone who finds any aspect of Smythe’s teaching attractive to consider the implications of depending on any source of righteousness other than the perfect righteousness freely offered by Christ who, on the cross, paid in full for the sins of all those who place their trust in him. For there is no other salvation.


  46. Jan says:

    Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Director of Ariel Ministries (to the Jewish people) who is fluent in Greek and Hebrew holds the view that Jesus died spiritually ONLY in this sense: It was because He was seperated from the Father. However he did NOT say Jesus had to be born again.


  47. truthspeaker says:

    I want to jump in here and reiterate the scripture verse that I shared with you recently about Jesus’ diety …

    from John 12: 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

    40 “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

    The reference to Isaiah is from chapter 6 where Isaiah sees the Lord gloirified:

    Isaiah’s Commission

    1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

    “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

    4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. …….

    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    9 He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

    Jesus Christ is God. Period. He is God in a human body. Fully God and Fully Man.

    In the book of Revelation John sees him as the lamb on the throne in heaven. He never died “spiritually” because God is eternal. He died physically and ROSE from the dead, conquering death, hell and the grave.


  48. cherylu says:

    I think I should clarify something in my last comment above to M’Kayla about the Jesus died spiritually issue.

    I said I thought they meant that He died spiritually in that He was separated from God because of our sins and then had to be born again. That was only partially what I am thinking it means if I am correct in my understanding of what they are saying.

    I believe that the Father turned His back on Jesus for a time on the cross when our sins were put on Him as our substitute. I think that is what it means when He cried out to God and asked why God had forsaken Him. However, I think the Jesus died spiritually folks must mean more then that. I think they must mean something more like what the Bible talks about when it says we were dead in our trespasses and sins. I don’t believe Jesus ever became dead spiritually in that way as we were and therefore did not have to be reborn as we do. After all, He was not only a man, but the eternal God. And God’s Spirit doesn’t and can’t die and therefore doesn’t and can’t be reborn.

    I don’t know, I probably only made what I said more unclear then it was before!


    • Craig says:


      Take a look at endnote 40 above under “Atonement” and you’ll see the WoF version of ‘Jesus Died Spritually’ (JDS) and how He was ‘born again.’


  49. Grant says:

    The Irenaeus Irony

    One ironic twist of delving into the mechanics of 2 Corinthians 5.21 and the calls of blasphemy is the use of Irenaeus’s quote about heresies. Irenaeus was an Early Church father who wrote extensively against heresies that sought to infiltrate the Church’s basic doctrines about Christ and His redemptive work. In many of the current articles that equate the literal reading of 2 Corinthians 5.21 with outright blasphemy, one can find the following quote:

    Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1:2 as quoted in D.R. McConnell’s A Different Gospel, Updated Edition at xv)

    While there is nothing inherently wrong with Irenaeus’s statement, it’s ironic to find it used against those who take the literal reading of “He made Him sin.” Why so? In his third volume, Irenaeus says this:

    For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality. But how could we be joined to incorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and immortality had become that which we also are, so that the corruptible might be swallowed up by incorruptibility, and the mortal by immortality, that might receive the adoption of sons? (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.19) (emphasis added)

    It appears that Irenaeus, himself, would have been castigated as an outright blasphemer today.

    The Issue – Imputational Gloss

    He Made Him Sin – 2 Corinthians 5.21

    Jesus did not literally become sin; sin was symbolically imputed to him. (D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, Updated Edition at 125).

    On the cross, God treated Christ as if He had committed all the sins of every sinner who would ever believe, so that He could treat believers as if they had lived Christ’s perfect life.” (John MacArthur, The Gospel of the Apostles, 2000) (emphasis supplied)

    “[God] made Him to be sin for us.” This verse is impossible to explain adequately without understanding the concept of imputation that lies at the heart of Paul’s teaching on justification. Because Scripture repeatedly stresses the utter sinlessness of Christ—including right here in the very verse we are considering. Only if Christ was “made sin” by imputation can the full sense of this text make good sense. (Phil Johnson, Pyromaniacs Blog at Back to 2 Corinthians 5.21)

    The core issue surrounding the blasphemy epithets (see prior post) concerns the doctrine of imputation, a theological gloss emphasized in the Reformation that is smeared over the actual words of the text. Imputation speaks of the idea of a forensic or judicial decree, but not the real deal. Accordingly, “He made Him sin,” is true only with the gloss rubbed in – God treated Jesus as sin, but He did not make Him to be sin in reality – and the actual words alone, well, that’s just plain blasphemy to some (which begs the question, “Did Paul blaspheme the Lord in 1 Cor. 5.21?”).

    This idea of imputation doesn’t make just a pit stop at 2 Corinthians 5.21, but its reverberations quake all throughout the rest of the Word. Before heading into the text, we thought we’d demonstrate how this gloss, smudged on 2 Corinthians 5.21, ripples across the board distorting the coherent content and drama of our redemption:

    Not Abandoned in Hell (Acts 2.27)

    In this series, we examined the actual words of Acts 2.27 and fleshed out this translation:

    for you will not abandon my soul in Hades, neither will you give your Holy One to see destruction (Smythean personal)

    If we apply imputational gloss to 2 Corinthians 5.21, then we necessarily have to apply it to this verse (see prior post: utter blasphemy to say that Jesus took on sin nature or went to hell [hades]). Given that Acts 2.27 is a quote from Psalm 16.1, we’d also have to glob imputation on that psalm. And as Psalm 16 references several other psalms, we’d have to also dress those up with imputation goo and yada, yada, yada (notice that neither Acts 2.27 or Psalm 16.1 were written by Paul and are therefore outside of his “teaching on justification”). Of course, we could massage it some and say that “hades” does not mean Hades as Jesus spoke of it, but then we’d have to find some other kind of gloss to apply to Luke 16 (the rich man in hades) and destruction in Psalms and Job 33.28.

    Ephesians 4.9: Where’d He Get Those Keys?

    In this essay, we demonstrated that “he descended” means that Jesus descended into hades. In Revelation 1.18, Jesus speaks to John on the isle of Patmos and says, “I have the keys of death and of Hades.” With imputation, we’d have to turn it into something like, “I have the keys of death and of Hades . . . well, not really, but they’ve been imputed to me.” (And when he says, “I was dead,” you’d have to consult your local theology professor to ask, “Was it real or was it Memorex imputed death?”)

    Jonah 2.2 – Echoes of Jesus (Romans 15.3)

    Here we showed that Jonah 2.2 (“I cried for help from the depth of Sheol”) is an echo of Psalm 18 which proves to be Jesus’s own words (see Romans 15.3). With imputational gloss, the verse would have to be re-worked in the mind to be saying something like, “I cried for help from what I feel like is the depth of Sheol. I wasn’t in Sheol. Never been to Sheol, but it sure felt like Sheol to me.”

    Matthew 12.40: In the Belly of Hell

    In our Matthew 12.40 essay, we took issue with Wayne Grudem’s idea that the sign of Jonah (“Just as Jonah was three days in the belly of the sea monster, so will the son of man be in the heart of the earth”) was really just a prophecy of a weekend retreat to heaven and back for Jesus. Slathering on the gloss reinvigorates Grudem’s teaching, but that brings us back to our original conundrum, “Why would Jonah have to endure 3 days and nights in ‘the belly of hell’ just so Jesus could tell the Pharisees that his weekend retreat with the Father would be three days?”

    The Sign of Jonah -2 (Romans 15.9)

    In the Sign of Jonah-2, we showed that Psalm 69.9 which says, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me,” were the first-person words of Jesus Himself. With the gloss on, Romans 15.9 (and Psalm 69.9) would have to be restated to say something like this: “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell – not in reality, but just forensically – on me.” Of course, since Psalm 69 references Jonah, Psalm 40, Psalm 32, etc., we’d have to find Mac (our resident virtual theologian) and ask him just how many verses would be affected by this single splotch and just how heavy we ought to make it.

    Trouble in Paradise (Luke 23.43)

    With Jesus’s “I say unto you today, you will be with me in Paradise,” the gloss could be applied, a la Grudem, to demonstrate that Jesus went directly to the Father and just hung out in heaven for three days before being resurrected. The verse, however, would have to be re-worked with regard to the thief because he couldn’t come to Paradise until Jesus was resurrected (see 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 17). (We could say that “today” was a scribal error, but Mac would have to take that to the translator committees. He hasn’t done too well with them in the past.)

    Luke 23.46 – Jesus’s “Geronimo”

    With the gloss on, we could, in fact, keep the English versions of the verse and just throw out the God-breathed Greek. In Luke 23.46, Jesus says, “Father, I set before you, in your hands, the spirit of me” which is a quotation from Psalm 31.5 which includes the phrase, “You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me.” Glossed up, we could keep the English “into your hands I commit my spirit,” believing that Jesus took an immediate trip to the Father since he wasn’t actually sin (see above) and totally ignore the balance of Psalm 31 (that’s some heavy glossing there).

    Psalm 40: No Self-Help Here (Hebrews 10.5-10)

    Though the literal verses show that Psalm 40 consists of the first-person words of Jesus ( e.g., “he brought me out of the destroying pit”), the imputational gloss would really require an entire overhaul of Psalm 40 to escape its relationship with “He made him sin” as no figural reading could do. Maybe we could say that the “destroying pit” was some unmentioned pit in the Gospels that Jesus fell in during His earthly ministry. If that didn’t work, we’d have to go back to the same ‘ole “you forensically [or judiciously] saw me in the pit [I really wasn’t in the pit] and you forensically pulled me out . . . ” thing.

    This imputation concept also brings into question the veracity of many of Jesus’s own statements, many of which we haven’t covered. For instance, when he was on the cross and said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” was that for real or was he speaking forensically (“My God, my God, why have you [forensically] forsaken me?”). And if we say, “No, imputation doesn’t apply there,” why doesn’t it? If it applies to 2 Corinthians 5.21, who’s to say that it shouldn’t apply here too?

    Unlike Phil Johnson, we do not see where “[o]nly if Christ was ‘made sin’ by imputation can the full sense of this text make good sense.” We see the verbiage of 2 Corinthians 5.21 as being just as God-breathed as John 3.3 (“ye must be born-again”). In the next few essays, we will demonstrate why 2 Corinthians 5.21 is as clear as glass.


  50. cherylu says:

    Thanks Craig, I didn’t read that article listed in your footnotes before.


  51. W B McCarty says:

    Grant, you really do have trouble sticking to a single issue, don’t you? Pasting a flood of quotes hardly settles the issue and by no means impresses those who are informed as to the Christian consensus of almost two millennia. For every Peter Smythe quote you post denying imputation of sin and righteousness, I can post dozens of quotes by reputable scholars, from both the ancient and modern worlds, that affirm it. And, most significantly, none of your quotes addresses the heart of the crucial issue I raised. If believers cannot possess through imputation the perfect righteousness of Christ, how can they hope to stand on the judgment day? An imperfect righteousness resulting from self effort simply won’t do the job. The only alternative to imputation is damnation.

    So, let’s make one thing very clear, shall we? The doctrine of justification by faith, which was based on imputation, was *the* core doctrine of the Protestant Reformation. Anyone who deliberately denies that doctrine denies the Gospel and thereby places himself outside the historic Protestant faith. The proper Protestant theological term for such a person is “heretic.”

    Still, I’m curious: Can you present any original arguments grounded in your own study of the Scriptures? Or, are you limited to pasting the heretical and more than slightly condescending meanderings of Peter Smythe? Frankly, there’s no point discussing these issues with someone whose deepest apparent thought process consists of the ability to copy and paste text. Otherwise, how about I just paste the entire Bible as refutation of your position–or, should I more accurately write, Peter Smythe’s position?


  52. Grant says:

    Yes it’s in the Bible but don’t get mad


    • Craig says:


      W B above has a point. So far almost all I’ve seen is Smythe’s thoughts rather than your own.

      I started to check the references and they don’t add up. Acts 2:27 speaks nothing of sin in general and certainly does not hint at imputation. Rather it speaks of Jesus’ body not decaying bodily. Smythe is obfuscating Scripture towards his own agenda.

      I’m going to have to ask you to stop merely parroting Smythe’s false doctrine or I will start summarily deleting your posts.


  53. W B McCarty says:

    Grant, if these doctrines are contained in the Bible, why did no one publish them before E.W. Kenyon in the 19th century? Was God the Holy Spirit blind, deaf, and mute for almost 2000 years? Or, as I think more likely, had the Spirit-directed Church spoken clearly against these errors hundreds of years earlier?


  54. Grant says:


    Mr. Smythe is an attorney, I don’t argue and he is a cool writer, I’m not. You have good comments though.


  55. Craig says:


    I just deleted the bulk of your last comment. You are welcome to contribute your own words rather than merely parrot Smythe’s

    Any more long quotes of Smythe’s and I will ban you from the site.


  56. Grant says:

    It’s a site I like and check every few days when I saw it I chuckled anf felt with the influx of postings on the heredical JDS notes that people should be reminded


    • Craig says:

      I’m confused regarding your stance. Back on Sep 22 @ 10:01am you indicated that you believe Jesus died spiritually. Are you now saying above that you believe JDS is heretical?


  57. Grant says:

    No I was trying to be sarcastic sorry.

    Here is an interesting post on heretics


  58. Craig says:


    I will pull this quote from your link:

    From my perspective, a heretic knows full-well that he’s teaching contrary to the orthodox, historic, Christian faith, and does it for a reason. For whatever motive, he’s twisting or changing legitimate doctrine for his or her own purposes…

    I agree with this; and, for this reason I will call the teaching heresy or heretical yet not call the teacher a heretic. For to call an individual a ‘heretic’ makes a judgment of the heart I just cannot make.

    And, one other:

    But when it comes to most errors we hear on religious radio or television, my position is that the vast majority are just cases of ignorance. In most situations, they’re not trying to conflict with or change traditional teaching, but actually believe what they’re teaching is correct. But because of misreading, proof texting, or taking scripture out of context, they make serious mistakes.

    I agree with this to a point as I do think many heretical positions of teachers are merely errors in their understandings. However, teaching is of utmost importance as the ramifications can be HUGE. And, Scripture says teachers will be held to a higher standard as James 3:1 states.

    But, Grant, what I don’t understand is your pro-stance on JDS. Can’t you see that if Jesus died spiritually that He Himself would have to be born again which raises some really thorny questions (among quite a few) such as: Who would be worthy to atone for His sins? If he was not a perfect once for all sacrifice, then how are we saved?

    Without relying on Smythe, how would you answer these questions?


  59. Grant says:

    Jesus is The Answer for the world today

    I will get back after running some errands but took these from my 26 translations Bible

    COLOSSIANS 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

    KNOX He too is that head whose body is the Church; it begins with him, since his was the first birth out of death…

    BECK …He is the Beginning, the first among the dead to become alive that He may be the first in everything.

    20TH CENTURY …Being the first to be born again from the dead, he is the source of its life, that he in all things might stand first.

    REVELATION 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

    WEYMOUTH …the first of the dead to be born to Life…

    WADE …the First of the dead to be born into renewed Life…

    20TH CENTURY …the First of the dead to be born again…

    EPHESIANS 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

    GOOD NEWS that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ.

    KNOX Our sins had made dead men of us, and he, in giving life to Christ, gave life to us too…

    A.S. WAY Even when in trespasses we lay dead, Thrilled us with the same new life wherewith He quickened our Messiah…

    20TH CENTURY …gave Life to us in giving Life to Christ,…

    AMPLIFIED …He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him….

    I PETER 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

    PHILLIPS …That meant the death of his body, but he was brought to life again in the spirit.

    NEW ENGLISH …In the body he was put to death; in the spirit he was brought to life.

    TRANSLATOR’S N.T. …He was put to death physically but was brought to life spiritually.

    20TH CENTURY …His body died, but his spirit rose to new Life.

    NEW AMERICAN …He was put to death insofar as fleshly existence goes, but was given life in the realm of the spirit.

    I TIMOTHY 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

    BECK …became righteous in spirit…

    ROTHERHAM …was declared righteous in spirit…

    KNOX …justification won in the realm of the spirit…

    WEEKES …was made righteous in spirit…

    BTW there were other good pints made on that site as well


  60. cherylu says:


    I would really like to know the answer to the question Craig asked you in his last comment too. Please explain how Jesus could be our Savior if He Himself had to be born again? And if He needed to be born again, just as we do, who provided the sacrifice for Him?

    And by the way, you didn’t give a link for all the quotes in your last comment. What site are they all from?


  61. Grant says:

    I think Andre Crouch wrote that First line and I have the qoutes from the Bible from the Bible


  62. cherylu says:

    You mentioned that there were other good points made on that site too. That is the site I was wondering about?

    Sorry, I missed that you said you took all of those quotes directly from your own Bibles.


  63. Craig says:

    Thanks to “anonymous” for providing this info:

    Regarding Azazel, the scapegoat:

    20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. [Leviticus 16:20-21 NIV]

    Verse 20 is speaking of the goat placed on the altar while verse 21 is referring to Azazel, the scapegoat.

    From the M.F. Rooker commentary:

    In the Day of Atonement ceremony the first animal pictures the means for atonement, the shedding of blood in the sacrificial death. The scapegoat pictures the EFFECT of atonement, the removal of guilt. What is accomplished in the scapegoat ritual is expressed by David in the Psalms: “As far as east is from west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:12). Both these aspects of this special day have their fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The scapegoat ritual also may have been in Isaiah’s mind when he described the suffering of the Suffering Servant as bearing griefs and sins (Isa 53:4,6). The term nāśāʾ used in Lev 16:22 in reference to the scapegoat’s “bearing” iniquities is used in the same sense in Isa 53:4,12. [all emphasis mine]

    Psalm 103:12 is the one cherylu referred to in a previous comment above.

    Here’s more from Rooker:

    The sending of the scapegoat outside the camp also was fulfilled in Christ’s death in that he too was sent outside the camp (Jerusalem) and took away the sins of his people (Heb 13:12). Although reference to Christ as the antitype of the scapegoat is not mentioned specifically in the New Testament, the correspondence seems to be warranted. Reference to Christ as “being made sin for us” (2 Cor 5:21), “becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13), and appearing “to take away sins” (1 John 3:5) have been proposed as allusions to the scapegoat ritual. Moreover, Ben-Shammai argues that the role of the scapegoat is carried out by the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 who bears the sins of many. Since the New Testament writers clearly understood Isaiah 53 as referring to Christ’s crucifixion, we have grounds for seeing typological significance for the scapegoat…

    I believe that clears it up!


  64. cherylu says:

    I have been wanting to bring up that Isaiah 53 reference here too.

    It seems to me that the way Isaiah speaks prophetically of what Jesus will do speaks of the orthodox Christian interpretation that our sins were “imputed” to Jesus. Such terms as “laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (NKJV) sound to me like they were simply put upon Him–not that He literally became sin. There are several such references in that chapter.


  65. Craig says:


    I’ve decided to at least show you two different commentaries which deal with what you raised in 1 Peter 3:18 regarding “being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit:”

    Adam Clarke Commentary:

    That very dead body revived by the power of his Divinity. There are various opinions on the meaning of this verse, with which I need not trouble the reader, as I have produced that which is most likely.

    New John Gill Exposition:

    …raised from the dead by his divine nature, the Spirit of holiness, the eternal Spirit, by which he offered himself, and by virtue of which, as he had power to lay down his life, so he had power to take it up again [see John 10:17-18 as quoted in the article]; when he was also justified in the Spirit, and all the elect in him. Now, as the enemies of Christ could do no more than put him to death in the flesh, so the enemies of his people can do no more than kill the body, and cannot reach the soul; and as Christ is quickened and raised from the dead, so all his elect are quickened together, and raised with him, representatively, and shall, by virtue of his resurrection, be raised personally, and live also…

    Grant, what you really need to do is look at the ramifications of the JDS doctrine and consider where it leads us. It would behoove you to have an answer to the two questions stated near the end of my comment at Sep 25, 8:25am. Until you attempt to do that, I’m going to ask once again that you refrain from posting anything of a pro-JDS stance. I’ve been allowing you an open forum; but, certainly you should be able to defend your stance leading to a conclusion regarding personal salvation.


  66. Bud Press says:

    Good article. It needs to be read and considered by all who have been wrongfully taught that Jesus was born again.

    Consistent within the Word of Faith and Prophetic Movement is the teaching that man is a “god” or “God”. Now, if the followers of those who teach these blasphemies don’t have a problem with the “deity of man,” then they will readily accept the teaching that Jesus was born again.

    One need not be a Bible theologian to discern how far the Word of Faith and Prophetic movement teachers have strayed from Biblical truth. Heresy and blasphemy are birthed in the bowels of hell and spewed into innocent and gullible ears in the form of super-duper “revelations” from God.

    But revelations that promote heretical and blasphemous teachings are not revelations at all. They are, however, doctrines of demons.

    And, speaking of “birthed in the bowels of hell,” the teaching that Jesus was “born again” is one of the most DEPRAVED, DESPICABLE, and DAMNABLE teachings that has vomited from mouths of the hyper-Charismatic movement! This PUTRID, REPULSIVE teaching was made popular by hyper-heretics such as E.W. Kenyon, Joyce Meyer, Paul Crouch, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Fred Price, Creflo Dollar, Charles Capps, Benny Hinn and, Bill Johnson.

    The teachings that man is a “god” or “God,” and and that Jesus was born again are nothing more than a feeble attempt to reduce God and Jesus Christ to man’s level. Those who believe it and teach it are leading precious souls away from the One who loves them the most (Jesus Christ), and into the arms of the one who hates them the most (Satan).

    When Bill Johnson sublty referred to Jesus being born again, everyone in his Bethel church congregation should have walked fast to the nearest exit, and left Johnson standing alone in his pulpit with his foot in his mouth.

    But they didn’t, and that’s scary, real scary, because it lends credibility to Bill Johnson’s false teachings, and provides an open door for Johnson to spew more heresy and blasphemy.

    There is not one Scripture that even remotely implies that Jesus was born again. Not one! But there are plenty of Scriptures that teach that Jesus was completely and totally without sin.

    Jesus is God Himself in human form, second Person of the Trinity, and the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. God cannot sin. Period!

    In John 10:27, Jesus said His followers hear His voice and follow Him–not man’s. To know the real Jesus is to test man’s words by God’s written word, and trust what Jesus says over and above what man says. Those who know the real Jesus will not be deceived by the false “Jesus”.

    God has ZERO TOLERANCE for false prophets and false teachers. There is no fellowship between God, false prophets, and false teachers (Jeremiah 23:31-32; Ezekiel 13:9; Matthew 7:21-23; Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Peter 2:1).

    Finally, the following Biblical warnings need to be taken seriously:

    “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 10:33).

    “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Jesus Christ, Luke 9:26).

    “If we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).

    “And He was saying to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins'” (John 8:22-23-24).

    One cannot be a Christian and believe that he or she is a “god” or “God,” and that Jesus was born again. A “born again Jesus” has not the power and authority to save the lost. Those who teach these things deny Jesus Christ.

    Bud Press


  67. Grant says:

    Thanks for the opp to post I’ve tried 4 times to get this thru on my iPod touch and would appreciate an opp to follow up later from my laptop unless you feel my response to your previous question is lacking and thus ban me.
     Your question relies on a false analogy: Who’d be worthy to atone for his sins? He didn’t need anyone to atone for His sins because He didn’t bear within himself His own sin. He bore ours.

    When Jesus presented himself on the cross, he was sinless. As Isaiah wrote, God made to light on him the sins of all of us (Paul: he was made sin, made a curse.) So on the cross, he yielded himself to sin that he didn’t commit (or was) and God vindicated him when each man could be born again. (Romans 4.25) That’s why he’s called the firstborn of firstborns and the firstfruits—he was raised to new life by God. And that’s why he’s called the last Adam. (So he was the perfect sacrifice.)




    • Craig says:


      I have no problem at all with you presenting your own arguments rather than someone else’s; so, you may continue to post. Just do one at a time so as not to bog down the blog.

      I don’t see how my question was a ‘false analogy.’ However, from your point of view, If Jesus became sin – no matter whose it was – and God cannot be in the presence of sin, how do you reconcile that?

      And, here’s where your argument begins to unravel. Since Jesus was God and part of the Trinity, do you really believe a part of the Trinity died? How can God die?

      You wrote:

      So on the cross, he yielded himself to sin that he didn’t commit (or was) and God vindicated him when each man could be born again. (Romans 4.25) That’s why he’s called the firstborn of firstborns and the firstfruits—he was raised to new life by God.

      Do you believe we too are ‘born again’ through resurrection?

      I just picked up a copy of Hank Hanegraaf’s Christianity in Crisis and in it is a good apologetic for this kind of thing. I highly recommend you get the book for your own reference/benefit.


  68. Bud Press says:

    As an example, I drive a car, but I don’t become the car. Jesus bared our sins on the cross, but He did not become a sinner:

    “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:22-24).

    All heretics have at least two things in common: they are overshadowed by demonic activity, and they downplay, malign, defile, and mock the King of kings and Lord of lords.

    Was Jesus Christ was born again? NO! Did Jesus Christ take on the nature of Satan and have to be born again? NO! Was Jesus Christ a sinner and the first to be born again? NO! This is so utterly ridiculous it boggles the mind as to why anyone who claims to be Christian would believe it, teach it, defend it, and applaud the heretics who spew it.

    In 2 Timothy 3:12-13, the Apostle Paul lovingly warned Timothy of what to expect from the world and wolves in sheep’s clothing:

    “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

    Those who teach false doctrines, reject solid Biblical counsel, and refuse to repent will slide deeper and deeper into deception, and take others with them.

    Bud Press


  69. W B McCarty says:

    I am curious: At *exactly what point* do those who believe Christ took on a Satanic nature believe that this occurred?


  70. Craig says:

    According to Hanegraaff, Benny Hinn said:

    …He [Jesus] became my sin. …It was sin that made Satan. Jesus said, “I’ll be sin! I’ll go to the lowest place! I’ll go to the origin of it! I won’t just take part in it, I’ll be the totality of it!” …He became one with the nature of Satan, so all those who had the nature of Satan can partake of the nature of God. [p 155]

    Kenneth Copeland is more specific:

    The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. And at the moment that He did so, He cried, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me…. [pp 157-158]

    Frederic K. C. Price:

    Somewhere between the time He [Jesus] was nailed to the cross and when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane — somewhere in there — He died spiritually. Personally, I believe it was while He was in the Garden. [p 157]


  71. W B McCarty says:

    Thanks, Craig. I thought that’s the way they’d suppose it to have been. Looking at the Scriptures that describe Jesus’s final minutes, I see an obvious problem with the views of Copeland and Price. (The equally unorthodox view of Hinn is too vague as to time to be assessed in the same fashion.) As I will demonstrate, Jesus’s words subsequent to the time at which these men suppose him to have taken on a Satanic nature are entirely inconsistent with their claim that he did so.

    Let me first address the defect in the claim offered by Copeland. The claim by Price will been seen to fail owing to the same defect.

    The exclamation cited by Copeland as marking the time at which Jesus took on a Satanic nature is reported in Matt. 27:46 and Mark 15:34. Though one might suppose otherwise, that exclamation was not Jesus’s final exclamation before his death. So, in the view of Copeland it follows that Jesus’s actual final words would have been spoken as one who had taken on a Satanic nature. These words are reported in Luke 23:46 as, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

    Those words plainly cannot be the words of one who possesses a Satanic nature and who, as a consequence, is alienated from God. Recall the action of Adam when God came to walk with him after Adam’s fall (Gen. 3:8): Adam hid himself. We infer from this account in Scripture, and confirm our inference by many other Scriptures and common human experience, that it is not the nature of fallen man to seek solace in God. Jesus’s final words demonstrate conclusively that he retained his sinless nature until the time of his death (see also Heb. 4:15). The claim of Copeland that Jesus took on a Satanic nature before his death is therefore inconsistent with the Scriptural account of Jesus’s death. The claim of Price, which specifies an even earlier time as that at which Jesus took on a Satanic nature, fails the same test.


    • Craig says:

      Yes, W B, you are correct. I really don’t understand why anyone would give the views of these guys the time of day. It just takes a bit of Scripture searching to find the fallacy in their words. The thing I just don’t understand is why the pulpits of the faithful have not been SCREAMING about this stuff from the git-go.


  72. Tricia says:

    Mkayla said “in John 4:24 we are told that God is spirit. I didn’t think it was possible for a spirit to die, since everyone will go on living eternally, either within His presence or out of it. This is why the “Jesus died spiritually” thing doesn’t work for me.” and I really think that’s important. Nothing spiritual “dies” which is why even the falen angels are bound, not dead. Human beings don’t die either, except in the flesh, and their destination is decided by their choice about Jesus. Surely then Jesus as God and Man could not “die spiritually” anymore than we could, plus as a perfect Man, he could not suffer the penalty for sin either. I believe he did enter the lower parts of the earth (as he said) but as the VICTOR over death and sin!


  73. Pingback: Joel Osteen Endorses Che Ahn’s HRock Church « CrossWise

  74. Bud Press says:

    WB McCarty, M’Kayla, and Tricia have made some excellent points. It is what I call getting down to the DNA of the situation, and putting it in terms that everyone can understand.

    Bud Press


  75. Tricia says:

    I hadn’t meant to post again but my reading yesterday was Psalm 18 and it struck me so much that it answered this topic. I see that psalm as a messianic one, and It speaks of His death, anguish and prayer to be delivered and it’s quite plain that death could not hold him because he was perfectly sinless.

    16 He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.
    9 He also brought me out into a broad place;
    He delivered me because He delighted in me.

    20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness;
    According to the cleanness of my hands
    He has recompensed me.
    21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
    And have not wickedly departed from my God.
    22 For all His judgments were before me,
    And I did not put away His statutes from me.
    23 I was also blameless before Him,
    And I kept myself from my iniquity.
    24 Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
    According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.


  76. Bill Fawcett says:

    Bud, you said “When Bill Johnson sublty referred to Jesus being born again, everyone in his Bethel church congregation should have walked fast to the nearest exit, and left Johnson standing alone in his pulpit with his foot in his mouth.”

    Listening to a recording of the December 20th, 2009 service, where he said, “Did you know that Jesus was born again? it didn’t seem too subtle. The nervous laughter of the crowd was revealing. Also, did I hear a dog bark after his question, or was that Carol Arnott?


  77. Craig says:


    Now that you mention it, that DOES sound like a dog bark. Yes, his ‘born again’ Jesus question was not subtle; and, when he ‘explains’ it at the end his voice inflection goes up higher almost as if to say “You didn’t know that?”

    I also noticed as I listened again at how each time he said the word “raised” he emphasized it. Haven’t figured out why except to show that he believes Jesus was ‘born again’ through the Resurrection.


  78. Bud Press says:

    Hi Bill Fawcett and Craig:

    My use of the word “subtly” referred to the way Bill Johnson came across to his followers–as if to say, “I had eggs for breakfast.” Perhaps the word “nonchalant” would have been better.

    But I agree that there is nothing “subtle” about the “born again Jesus” garbage, whether whispered or yelled. I hate it with a passion.

    Also, what sounded like a dog barking in the background may have been someone coughing or dropping something on the floor(?).

    God bless,
    Bud Press


  79. beyondgrace says:

    Agreed, Johnson has a very laid-back demeanor. Which makes it harder for people to realize he’s simply Tulsa with a California twist. And yes, was just having a little fun with that Carol Arnott joke, and no, the last time I saw her, she was NOT barking. Perhaps the comment startled someone and they dropped something while running forthe back door.


  80. Craig says:

    Bill Johnson made a “tweet” yesterday which beggars belief:

    “It’s difficult to get the same fruit as the early church when we value a book more than the Holy Spirit they did have”


    Read the beyondgrace post here.


  81. Bud Press says:

    Heretics always remain true to form. They downplay God’s written word in favor of “new” or “fresh revelations from God”. Their doing this conditions their listeners to focus on their words, instead of God’s words.

    Proverbs 9:10 teaches us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Heretics lack fear of the Lord, and where there is no fear of the Lord, there is no relationship.

    Bud Press


  82. cherylu says:

    I am sooo glad I am not a part of the charismaniac mess anymore and trying to sort through all of this stuff! It makes me tired just thinking about it all. It is like a three ring circus.


    • Craig says:

      I just ran a quick errand and listened to Christian talk radio on the way. John MacArthur (whose views I don’t always agree with) said he believes Satan, as an angel of light, spends 99.9% of his time in the ‘church’ and other religions rather than in the ‘world.’ MacArthur believes that all those in the bars, in crime, etc. are doing it primarily in the flesh citing Galatians 5:19-21. I think he’s right.


  83. Craig says:

    Gilbert Gerbrandt,

    I’m assuming your comment is directed at “omots” — is that correct?


  84. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part II « CrossWise

  85. We are now experiencing a flood of false teachers. So glad you did this on Bill Johnson, just today I had someone ask me about his associate pastor who taught strange things. I was able to point them to your series on him. We all have our work cut out for us in sounding the warning about the new age teachings of these apostles and prophets of the latter rain. If we work together, take a stand– we can make a difference for the many who are being ill affected by these false teachers.

    Keep up God’s work in protecting the flock.


    • Craig says:

      I’m so glad this series is of help. Credit has to be given to the Holy Spirit who has guided me and others to info and the way in which to present this info to tie it in with the New Age / New Spirituality teachings.

      Keep up your great work as well.


  86. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s “Born Again” Jesus, Part II « DiscernIt

  87. philip says:

    This is all very dull, spending time finding fault in one another. Maybe we should start to preach the good news to the dying people around us rather than this very dull activity.


    • Craig says:

      This is not merely fault finding philip. Do you believe Jesus was ‘born again?’


    • Bill Fawcett says:

      Philliip, perhaps you should review the last 5 paragraphs of the artice, titled “the Good News.”

      Or do you believe the good news is something else.

      See, here’s the problem: Johnson has redefined what the “good news” is. The error contained in his message is rapidly approaching that which the Bible calls “another gospel.”

      Anyhow, if you find apologetics dull, shut down your computer and go preach the good news. I just hope (for your sake) that it is authentic Christianity that you preach. No one wants a millstone.

      Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.


  88. Sylvia says:

    Hi Philip, Up until three years ago I would have posted a very similar comment to yours. But God has opened my eyes to the truth that Craig and many other blog owners have been led to divulge to deceived people who take everything at face value. I don’t find ‘fault finding’ very tasteful either, but correcting twisting of scripture is hardly that, it is an abomination to the Lord and His word declares numerously that deception will be rife in the last days and only a remnant will be truly saved.
    Bill Johnson is just one of many false teachers and to listen to him/them is folly. I am so grateful for discernment sites like this one who show satan’s subtlety for all it’s worth.
    I perceive you to be a true follower of Jesus, and as such, I trust that God will enlighten you to the True Gospel versus the great deception that is rampant in the church in these perilous days.


  89. Craig says:

    I could be wrong; but, I think it very possible that philip came here as a result of a link of this article being placed in a comment (thanks Rachel!) here on this blog. Note the second comment by “philip:”

    I think people need to go and experience the culture or environment that Bethel have created and sustained before homing in on theological issues. We experienced a love from the people like nothing we have experienced before, it was real and it was not forced, false or conditional. There is such a value on the presence of God there that this love that is demonstrated is an overflow from His presence. I’m not downplaying the importance of theology, but, maybe we should approach it like underwear, we need it but it doesn’t need to be on show all the time.

    Col.3:14 And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

    That’s not the analogy I’d choose to make, but… Once again, experience trumps sound doctrine. Keep in mind that Sai Baba is said to be a healer and he is not a Christian. The point is that non-Christians can be a vehicle through which healing can occur. The question is by whose power? All spiritual experiences are not from God. They all need to be tested by Scripture. Given that Johnson is teaching a “different Jesus,” then one must question if God would grant legitimate experiences and healings there at Bethel.

    I posted a comment about 36 hours ago on that site which has not seen the light of day just yet. We’ll see if it ever materializes. In any case, I suggest “philip” and the blog writer over there read my Just a Touch of Arsenic article just posted.


  90. Bill Fawcett says:

    “I think people need to go and experience the culture or environment that Bethel have created..”

    Well, I was reviewing some videos today, and a Bethel video even disturbed my dog. Apparently, she has great discenment.

    Its just 33 seconds, but more than I can take.

    Some environment, eh?

    Let’s see if I can embed it in the comments


  91. philip says:

    Thanks for the comments and feedback, especially the one saying to shut down my computer and go and preach the good news, that is such good advice, thanks so much. To be honest I am slightly confused by some of the comments, especially the “Sai Baba” comment, but I have no desire to discuss or argue, you guys don’t know my background and journey and I do not know you guys.

    You guys are amazing, you love for Jesus flows from what you write.

    Love and blessings.


    • Craig says:


      Your initial comment claimed this site is “fault finding” yet you came here and did just that:

      This is all very dull, spending time finding fault in one another. Maybe we should start to preach the good news to the dying people around us rather than this very dull activity.

      Do you not see the hypocrisy in that? Then, you mention about preaching the good news — how do you know if I’m not already doing this? And, what of the section at the very end of the article titled “The Good News” which follows the analysis of Bill Johnson’s “Jesus” which does not provide salvation?

      I believe your initial intention was to do a drive-by, hit-‘n’-run comment as you did not even touch on anything in the article itself. Do you believe false teaching should just be let go in order to be “loving?” Is it not rather more loving to warn others of false teaching? And, to restate my initial question to your first comment: Do you believe Jesus was ‘born again?’

      The Sai Baba comment was an illustration that individuals can claim to be healers yet be non-Christians. Bethel claims healings — to my knowledge none have been medically substantiated just like Lakeland or Hinn, etc. — but even if there are real healings they aren’t necessarily from God. Further, any ‘felt experience’ may not be of God. New Age / New Spirituality people can be very friendly, loving, “real” and yet are not Christians. All spiritual experiences are not of God; they must be tested by the Word. And, if the basic Christology is not Christian — in fact, Johnson’s Christology is more in line with the New Age / New Spirituality Jesus than orthodox Christianity — then, why would God honor that?

      Quoting Constance Cumbey in her book The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow:

      “The test of antichrist is a denial that Jesus is the Christ (see I John 2:22). The New Age Movement, therefore, betrays the spirit behind it when it states that “Christ Consciousness” [or Johnson’s “anointing”] is a “higher state” of mind that everyone can attain; and that Jesus was an ordinary man who had the Christ Consciousness descend upon Him at the time of His baptism and stay with him until His crucifixion.” [emphasis added]

      Do you see the similarities between the above and the “Jesus” of Johnson as described in Johnson’s own words in the article?


    • Craig says:

      And, from Part II, in the section titled “Baptism in Confusion” comes this Johnson quote from Face to Face with God:

      “…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.”

      philip: Do you believe we’re all ‘little Christs’ or ‘little Messiahs?’


  92. Scott says:

    I think I’m starting to see it now. For Bill Johnson, the biblical and real Jesus, the eternal Son of God, co-existing with the Father and Spirit, 100% God and 100% man, our Lord and Savior has been cheapened…down to a “model” by which we can attain “christhood” by receiving the same “spirit anointing” that he got at his baptism…thus extending to us the ability to perform the same miracles and healings that he did. Never mind that He did these things to prove to the Jews that he was the coming Messiah, predicted and prophesied about all throughout the Old Testament, to attest to the fact that this was He, the Christ – God in the flesh, who came to revolutionize the heart (not to start a ‘dominionist’ revolution against the Roman empire). And that the miracles and healings the apostles performed were done to point to the risen Christ and were instrumental in growing the early Church. What does Bill Johnson do with all this? What does he do with all the passages about Jesus fulfilling the OT prophecies? With the overarching message of Jesus life, death, and resurrection? With the passages on false teachers? With all the passages about suffering and persecution. The guy (Bezel333) on YouTube had a great quote in one of his recent videos about how this kind of stuff doesn’t have the strength to stand up against real suffering and persecution. I thought that was brilliant.

    Yes, we can ask God for healing…we can ask God for something great to be done in our lives…we can bring to him any requests. My good friend recently prayed for his grandmother who was said to not make it another day. The next day she was up walking around, eating, and she went back home soon after that. He believes God brought healing to her. According to His will, in submission to His Sovereignty. Not because we have the same Christ-anointing that Jesus received…or to pattern ourselves after a mere model to attain divinity…like we’ve harnessed some sort of heavenly electrical current that we need to grow into to be able to use more effectively. I’ve always understood it to be this simple – we pray in faith to God and simply ask Him and let Him answer. Am I missing something here? Am I not living in the full power of Jesus, that apparently Bethel has tapped into?


    • Craig says:


      You got it! Bear in mind it took me HOURS to read through his stuff, analyze the data and come to (tentative) conclusions. But, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

      And, yes, Johnson and his supporters overlook a LOT of Scripture. And, then, the question is: how far do we go with the “Jesus is Our Model” thing? Do we go to Gethsemane, the Cross? Not symbolically, but actually? Oh yeah, it’s “eat the meat (the good part) and spit out the bones (the hard part).” Yeah, I guess that ‘maxim’ applies there, too.


  93. anthea cookson says:

    They make it up as they go along, that way they stay ‘in the business’ of Jesus. When Jesus returns they’ll all freak out to cries of murder him, and set Barabas free!!


  94. bethelwatch says:


    I want to express my deep appreciation for the huge amount of work that you have put in here. I have not had a chance to go over all of it but what I have read is right on.

    While I have a Penticostal/Charismatic background, the baloney that is coming out of this movement is pure heresy and dangerous.

    I have personally witnessed the fallout of people who have been involved with this and it is very destructive. Your work here is important.

    Thank you


  95. mbaker says:


    That has been a big issue with me as well, that it has to be outside discernment sites that question these aberrant practices rather than those inside the charismatic church itself, who have been strangely silent on this important issue.

    I feel the same way about the Muslim faith. Where are their moderate leaders when we need them to come forward to speak out against extremism? But, then how can our own Christian leaders criticize other religions when they are so careful to so avoid responsibility for not speaking out for the wrongs going in Christianity?

    It seems to me that the sheep anymore are more responsible than the shepherds when it comes to taking a stand, and i don’t think the Lord meant it to be that way.

    I believe the sins of omission are just as bad as the sins of commission.


  96. Craig says:

    In doing further research on “kenosis” I found that the NIV Study Bible’s study note regarding Phillippians 2:7 is in error. My copy is identified as the following with corresponding page number reference:

    Barker, Kenneth; Burdick, Stek, et. al. NIV Study Bible. copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI; p 1807

    It reads in part:

    made himself nothing. Lit. “emptied himself.” He did this, not by giving up deity, but by laying aside his glory (see John 17:5)…

    I had used this info in adding to endnote 9 which had read:

    In the Gospel of John (17:5), Jesus Himself states, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” This shows it was His full glory rather than His divinity that was not present during His earthly ministry.

    This contradicts John 1:14:

    14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. [NIV 2010]

    I’ve now deleted this erroneous portion of endnote 9. Sorry for the error.


  97. cherylu says:


    I have a quick question/comment regarding your last comment. I believe as you do that some of His attributes were veiled while He was on earth but that He maintained full divinity.

    But I am wondering if His glory was not one of the attributes that was veiled MOST of the time, John 1:14 not withstanding. It doesn’t seem to me that during most of His life His glory was really visible to the disciples or other people of that day. It DID seem to be apparent to those that were with Him on the mountain when He was transformed before them. This is found in Matthew 17 and Mark 9. Matthew 17:2 says, “And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” Those with Him at this time were Peter, James and John.

    I wonder if this experience that John had with two others is what He was referring to in John 1:14? I know I have read that somewhere too. What do you think?


    • Craig says:


      While I’ve not read that the Apostle John in John 1:14 was or could be referring to the Transfiguration, I see that as being plausible. Certainly, most did not recognize Him as Divine including the 12 for a time as evidenced by Matthew 16:15-17:

      15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

      16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

      17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”


  98. cherylu says:

    John 2:11 “This beginning of His *signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” (This was the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding.)

    I’ve still been thinking about this issue of Jesus and His glory before His crucifixion. According to this verse in John 2, His glory was shown by His miracles. So what I said about the transfiguration experience being what John was referring to in John 1:14 couldn’t be accurate. Maybe John was referring to His miracles and His transfiguration both in that verse..

    I still think though that His glory was somewhat veiled most of the time while on earth. His miracles showed it to some degree, but it certainly didn’t show like it did when He was transfigured before them and like it is seen in Heaven.


    • Craig says:


      I’m inclined to agree with you; but, I would rather err on the side of caution. In John 17:5, Jesus was requesting the glory he had before the world began as opposed to immediately pre-Incarnation. In the account of Revelation 1:10-18, the Apostle John apparently did not even recognize the voice or the appearance of the post-Ascension Jesus Christ.


    • cherylu says:

      Think I’m being a bit dense here and need you to clarify your meaning. I’m not sure what specifically you mean by erring on the side of caution here. What are you cautioning against?


      • Craig says:

        My initial note in endnote 9 which stated that I used John 17:5 to show that it was His “full glory rather than His divinity that was not present during His earthly ministry.” I don’t want to make that a definitive statement as other Scriptures seem to contradict it.


        • Craig says:

          I would rather just say simply that “his attributes were veiled” as that is the verbiage used in the definition of “kenosis.”


    • cherylu says:

      Thanks. Gotcha now!


  99. Craig says:

    No problem. 🙂


  100. Kevin says:

    Hi Craig,
    Have appreciated your posts. You may be interested in an ongoing discussion I’m having with Bill on Facebook. See if you can find the thread beginning:
    “Pastor Bill, I was just curious what steps you take when preparing for a sermon? Are you one that prepares the entire thing or is most of it an inspired word at the time?

    Thank you for the work you do, I pray god renews you daily”
    Bill, really believes Jesus was born again! In my opinion this is rank heresy, I really don’t think Bill’s Jesus is the Jesus of the Bible.
    Would appreciate your comments.
    In Him


    • Craig says:


      Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry, but I do not have a Facebook account as I just don’t have time to keep up with social media.

      The belief that Jesus was ‘born again’ because He “became sin” IS rank heresy! This comes directly from the Kenyon/Hagin/Copeland/etc Word of Faith heresy (see beginning of part II of this article).

      While one can make a legitimate biblical argument that Jesus was “born again” by Acts 13:33 [edited, was 13:37 in error] and Psalm 2:6-7, it is NOT BECAUSE Jesus “became sin” that He was ‘born again’ as Jesus never did become sin. To claim this is to mislead and this is not the sort of thing to play around with. In standard Christian vernacular sinners become ‘born again’ upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; so, to claim Jesus “became sin” and thus had to be ‘born again’ is not just heresy it is blasphemy as it, in effect, denies Christ’s divinity and consequently the Trinity.

      And, as stated in the latter part of this article, taking Johnson’s beliefs in total his Jesus is NOT the Jesus OR the Christ of the Bible as he has separated “Christ” — the “anointing” as he calls it — from Jesus.

      Jesus is THE CHRIST, the one and only ANOINTED ONE, the MESSIAH. We DO NOT receive the same “Christ anointing” as Jesus (see part II).


    • Julie says:

      Hey Kevin, it’s neat to know you’re talking with Bill…I have followed that post and it’s good to know someone’s trying to get straight answers from him!

      Craig, I think doctrinally we are on the same page. I came out of a church that modeled itself after Bethel six months ago, and thank God for opening my eyes to the false teachings. That being said, I’ve heard 1 Corinthians 5:21 used to back up the notion that Jesus became sin for us. When someone poses that Jesus became sin based on this verse, how would you respond?

      Thanks so much for your ministry. You are such a source of encouragement!


      • Craig says:


        Thank you for your kind words.

        I address the II Corinthians 5:21 passage near the beginning of the article. See the info in the article at footnotes 5 and 6.


  101. Bill Fawcett says:

    There is a fine distinction here, and it must be observed in light of other scriptures that tell us that Jesus was sinless. For instance:

    And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. (NASB) 1 John 3:5

    “Jesus became sin” does not mean what Johnson and his WoF theology implies. If it were true, then atonement on the cross could have been accomplished by a thief. But WoF requires this premise in order for Jesus to be tortured in hell and then “born again.” In the WoF scheme, “It is finsihed” means “It has just begun.”

    I think we can gain great clairity on this issue by looking at the most significant Messianic-Prophetic book in the entire bible, Isaiah 53, which Jesus and his disciples were quite familar with. It states:

    All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. (NASB) Isaiah 53:6

    This speaks of imputatiion, not Jesus actually having a sinful nature (requiring that he be “born again”)

    The scapegoat in Leviticus 16 also points to the Messiah.

    34Aaron is to lay his two hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities of the Israelites and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins, 35 and thus he is to put them 36 on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man standing ready. 37 16:22 The goat is to bear on itself all their iniquities into an inaccessible land, 38 so he is to send the goat away 39 in the wilderness.

    It is sad that Johnson has corrupted this beatuful message. What an encouragement these scriptures are. What a wonderful thing for He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us,


  102. Bill Fawcett says:

    More scripture supporting imputation and vicarious subsitution:

    Heb. 7:26–27
    “For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled,
    separated from sinners
    and exalted above the heavens

    Gal. 3:13
    “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for
    —for it is written, ‘cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree.’”

    1 Pet. 2:24
    “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die
    to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

    Note also that beyond Isaiah 53 which I have already mentiond that:

    • The institution of the Passover points to a vicarious substitution.

    • The sacrificial system (esp. the day of atonement) pointed to the perfect
    sacrifice that Christ would give on behalf of our sins (see Lev. 16:9–10, 16,
    29). Christ is later called the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
    (John 1:29; Rev. 5:7).

    Bottom line- what is required of the Sacrifice Lamb? One without blemish.


  103. Bill Fawcett says:

    Julie and others:

    TTP covers atonement in VIDEO lessons 4 and especially 5.

    These are worth reviewing no matter what your perusasion is, but especailly if you gather around doctrine not fathers. If you gather around fathers, then what the bible has to say makes no difference.


  104. Julie says:

    Craig, it’s been so long since I read the original article, I didn’t look to see your reference to the 2 Cor. 5:21 reference; he he, my bad. Thanks for the link Bill, I will check it out. I follow a blog (to kind of stay “in the know” about what’s going on in my former church modeled after Bethel), and the blogger was one of the original founders of that church. He served as an elder, and is seen as the spiritual father of the church. He recently blogged that God was calling him to a new ministry called “A Company of Fathers.” Scary, no? It’s interesting you mentioned to not gather around fathers but around sound doctrine. That’s exactly what this movement does; sadly, it takes the focus off the One Who is perfect doctrine, and shifts the focus onto the “new revelations” of man (which I believe are indeed real revelations, but demonic in nature). Blessings.


    • Craig says:


      Well, admittedly, this is a LONG article!

      Johnson mentions “gathering around fathers” in his When Heaven Invades Earth book on pp 90-91.

      You wrote: That’s exactly what this movement does; sadly, it takes the focus off the One Who is perfect doctrine, and shifts the focus onto the “new revelations” of man (which I believe are indeed real revelations, but demonic in nature).

      You may well be correct.


  105. Bud Press says:

    Hi Kevin:

    You stated: “Bill, really believes Jesus was born again! In my opinion this is rank heresy, I really don’t think Bill’s Jesus is the Jesus of the Bible.”

    I agree. But please allow me to kick it up a notch. To even remotely suggest that Jesus was born again is rank heresy, damnable blasphemy, and spiritual insanity. Doing so reduces Jesus to man’s level, and calls God’s written word a lie.

    Teaching that Jesus was born again is a classic example of doctrines of demons. And I maintain that anyone who teaches it and believes it does not know the real Jesus of the Bible.

    Sadly, Bill Johnson’s “Jesus” fits the warning from the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6-9 and 2 Corinthians chapter 11. And the same applies to the entire Prophetic Movement. This is one reason why solid, Bible-based Christians encounter the same cultic mindset as with Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Bud Press


  106. Julie says:

    Thanks, guys. You are such a source of encouragement to me as my brain and heart are being “reprogrammed” into the true doctrine of Christ.


  107. takitheterrible says:

    As I posted on another blog:

    “I disagree with Johnson’s assessment that Jesus Christ was “born again,” but I don’t find him to be a proponent of kenosis as that blog suggests. I read “Heaven Invades Earth” and I get his point, but I vehemently dislike the terminology employed. He should’ve used a better allusion to describe that Jesus did His miracles as a Spirit-filled man, and not G-d.

    I believe that is a Christian belief, though. Jesus did not do His miracles as G-d, though He was and always will be G-d.”


    • Craig says:

      Can you explain how to take the first few paragraphs of “The Anointing” section without attributing it to Kenosis? In your view of Johnson’s book when did Jesus become Christ?


  108. Sylvia says:

    Sorry Craig, I pointed takitheterrible to this blog from Sola Dei Gloria in serious hope and prayer that he would read and digest all that you have researched about Bill Johnson.
    Either he/she HAS read and digested everything, albeit there is so very much to take in, or he has not done so, and remains in ignorance of Johnson’s sheer apostacy. Either way, I beseech you again takitheterrible, to PLEASE delve into the research here which has revealed, without doubt, the true colors of Bill Johnson.


    • Craig says:


      No need to apologize at all. Thanks for sending him here and may the Lord open his eyes to the truth.

      More questions for takitheterrible (where do you get your moniker?):

      Do you believe we receive the same “Christ anointing” as did Jesus? (See part II at “Baptism in Confusion” section at footnote 11.)

      What do you think of the contradictions in the two “Library Mandate” posts? It seems to me the truth was not told in regard to how and when the Roberts Liardon library was acquired.

      And, how about his promotion of false prophet Bob Jones by a “prophetic conference” beginning on this upcoming Wednesday the 23rd? If you have any doubts about how dangerous Jones is, read this.


  109. takitheterrible says:

    I have issue with a lot of those things, especially the Bob Jones support. Bob Jones has made a mockery of the prophetic office and gifts. Though it’s wonderful Jones was used to bring John Wimber’s son back to the church, I don’t think that alone is enough reason of Wimber to have validated Jones’ ministry, which was corrupt from the very beginning.

    As for my views of Bill Johnson, maybe I’ll blog about it later. I see a lot of good from his ministry, and I think discernment considers everything: the good, the almost good, the almost bad, the bad, and the awful. Discernment is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That is fear.


    • Craig says:


      I’m glad you see the danger in Bob Jones.

      Bill Johnson may have a lot of good qualities. I bet he’s a good dad and husband. But, those sorts of qualities can be in anyone of any sort of religious persuasion. My brother is an excellent father and husband from what I know and see, yet he’s not a Christian.

      One could say there’s a lot of good from the Dalai Lama, Glenn Beck (a Mormon), Shirley MacLaine (New Age actress), the late John Denver (New Ager — I’m sure a lot of folks don’t know that), the late George Burns (atheist), Bill and Melinda Gates (New Agers), etc. There are many religions/cults that claim Christ, but, not the one of the Bible. There must be only one plumbline — the Word of God.


  110. takitheterrible says:

    I’m not turning a blind eye to the weird practices out of Bethel, Redding. However, I think Bill Johnson loves the Word and that is what separates him from others in the A-P Movement and the New Mystics. I don’t know why he chooses to fellowship with Jones, Crowder, King, etc. That bothers me, and continues to bother me. We all may have doctrinal error, but those guys are just odd. That’s his prerogative, though.


    • Craig says:


      You wrote: “However, I think Bill Johnson loves the Word and that is what separates him from others in the A-P Movement and the New Mystics.

      Bill Johnson distorts the Word. I know the article is long, but, have you read all the way through? I show Johnson’s Christology/theology to be antichrist by the definition the Apostle John set forth in his first letter. The way Johnson’s Christology lays out is akin to 1st century proto-Gnostic Cerinthus whom the Apostle John was specifically refuting along with the Docetists (those who believed Jesus only seemed to have a body as their belief was that all matter is evil while the spiritual on the other hand is good).

      You said you have read and that you like Johnson’s book When Heaven Invades Earth. I ask you to reread Chapter 7 and then read what I wrote here in this article beginning at “The Anointing” section. In his zeal to discredit those who would speak out against his view of what “the anointing” is, Johnson has shown himself to be promoting an antichrist doctrine in which he has separated Christ from Jesus and reduced the term Christ to “anointing” instead — a Christ “anointing” that anyone can attain.

      This is no small matter!


  111. Bill Fawcett says:


    ” Discernment is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

    I always had questions about that anaolgy (baby/bathwater), What scripture is that from?.. oh never mind!

    What the anaolgy suggests it that baby= good and pure and bathwater= nasty and dirty.
    Sometimes it is not that balck and white. Anyhow, the anaolgy is so overused it is meaningless.

    Let’s try this- why not look at some scriptures and see how they apply.

    2 Tim 2:15
    Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately.

    Do some teach the message of truth accurately?

    Galatians 1:6-8
    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel – not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell!

    Do some preach another gospel?

    “discernment considers everything: the good, the almost good, the almost bad, the bad, and the awful. Discernment is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater..”

    OK, the scriptures seem to be much more radical and less tolerant than you. I’m just saying…


  112. takitheterrible says:

    quote: “OK, the scriptures seem to be much more radical and less tolerant than you. I’m just saying…”

    The Scirptures are more radical and tolerant than me. I don’t write with apostolic authority to condemn the leadership at Bethel Church. Neither do you. If Paul was with us on earth, then we could ask him. However, he is not, so we have to look to what Scripture teaches as a whole, and not out-of-context Scriptures that fit our worldview.

    Galatians is referring to Judaizers who told the church of Galatia that they must be circumcised. Therefore, salvation was not of grace alone, but of works and archaic tokens of the covenant. Is Bill Johnson teaching this? No, not that I know of. In fact, I believe that he is doing what 2 Tim 2:15 states, despite my personal anguish over his teachings of Jesus emptying Himself or his affiliations with the Crowders, Hinn, and other questionable teachers in the Third Wave.

    As for throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I have never observed this done in Scripture. Sure, Scripture does not teach this idiom; however, I don’t live by the Bible as a cultural tool, but a theological device. For example, when Apollos was teaching, he was taken aside and shown the Gospel more effectively and accurately. He was not called a heretic, condemned on internet blogs, and the like.


    • Kevin says:

      I tried posting this much earlier today but it didn’t seem to work:

      hi taki,
      I agree with what you are saying about bob Jones. However, I would question what it means for him to bring someone back to church, which presumably means to the Lord. To go back or take someone back to a place means you have to have been there before in order to know where you are going and recognise it. Therefore, I wonder, based on what Jones teaches and believes, if he could bring anyone back to Christ because I am not sure he has been there, if you see what I mean? Especially if, as you say, he has been corrupt from the beginning and I think this corruption includes his absurd view of who Jesus really is. Also, by your own admission Jones is corrupt and a false prophet from the beginning. Therefore, seeing as you are able to discern this, why can’t Bill J? After all he is supposed to be super spiritual and profound and have such a close communion with God! Goodness me, I understand Bill didn’t even go to the doctor when he was quite ill about 18 months ago until Bob Jones had “prophesied” that he should!
      With regard to discernment, it is actually seeing truth from error and is part of our anointing as Christians, see 1 john 2.26 to 27. Just because there is a lot of good doesn’t necessarily mean it is based on truth. Would you apply your reasoning to Muslims who are monotheistic yet deny Christ? Bill Johnson may encourage great zeal for god but it is without knowledge. His whole mantra is based on a misunderstanding of John 5, only do what the father does, etc.
      You say don’t throw out the baby with the bath water which implies the baby is ok and the water, secondary issues, is what needs to be ditched. But the problem is that Bill’s baby, namely, that Jesus modelled a pattern of miracle working which Christians should follow and work in as part of their mandate, which involves creating a system out of the “anointing” and dedeifying Christ and deifying man, this baby, is born out of error and a serious lack of sound Christology. Therefore, the baby should be thrown out as well, not through fear, but just because it makes sense and is the reasonable thing to do.

      Also, didn’t Jesus rebuke those who apparently loved the Word yet had no knowledge of it?

      And, further to your most recent post, I’m not sure you can split how you use the Bible, surely it is a cultural tool as well as a theological “device” (not sure I like that term though) as it helps you understand the times you are in and the true condition of people. Also, Paul named Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1 Tim.1:19-20 and he publicly confronted Peter in Galatians 2:14. And why is it OK for people to teach and propagate falsehood in the public domain yet it is not ok to rebuke them in the public domain and by the same medium? Apollos wasn’t called a heretic because he wasn’t one, neither was Peter, both showed humility and accepted correction.

      I really can’t see that Bill is doing what 2 Tim 2:15 states, a cursory review of his work shows otherwise. The very fact that you admit of your anguish over his teaching that Jesus emptied Himself totally contradicts your previous statement that he correctly handles the word of truth, for to say that Jesus emptied Himself, in the way that he believes, demonstrates a lack of understanding of Christ’s work and a poor handling of Phil. 2.


    • cherylu says:


      If you know some way to take Bill Johnson aside and teach him the Gospel more accurately, I and probably a lot of others surely wish you would do it!

      The fact is, he won’t even respond to inquiries from people who have asked him or Bethel to clarify what he means by some of his teachings. I have tried and so have others.

      In the meantime, he goes on teaching his heresy, (or whatever term you want to use for his false teaching,) and affecting many, many people with it all of the time. Do you honestly think we are to just sit back and let him do that without making a sound and hope that someone, somewhere will be able to show him he is wrong?

      I came out of a church that tended to hang on Bill Johnson and all things Bethel. I know how powerful these teachings are. (I am referring to all of what I believe to be false there regarding the anointing, etc. The group I was in hadn’t really bought in to his kenosis teaching at that time anyway.) When they take a hold of a person, it seems next to impossible to get them to see the error in them. How can we just sit by and let them influenece more and more people without ever opening our mouths and saying a word?

      It seems to me that there is an old saying here that very much applies. It is not Scriptural but there is a lot of wisdom in it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


  113. Bill Fawcett says:

    No, I don’t have apostolic authority, and neither do you, but how about Bill Johnson? I don’t know if he claims to be an “Apostle” but he does fancy himself as a “father” (as in “call no one”) and the leader of an Apostolic team. *(1) He certainly has a widespread following beyond his local church.

    And there is part of the problem.

    My point being that the scriptures don’t soft-show around the issue of false teaching- they say that those who are teaching are to be held responsible for what they are teaching; it also tells us to check the scriptures to see if what they are teaching is true.

    If Bill Johnson is teaching that Jesus had to be born again, and/or if he is teaching the kenotic heresy, then he is teaching “another gospel” by any reasonable definition. 2 Peter 2:1 (they will “infiltrate your midst with destructive heresies, even to the point of denying the Master”) could possibly describe Johnson if he has crossed the line concerning the diety of Christ, who in fact did not become Christ at his baptisim, or his resurrection, but was Christ as an infant (2) and is the alpha and the omega- was with God at the creation.

    And the bible says that this should be dealt with. Ultimately God will deal it, but we also must warn others about wolves in sheeps cloting. In my own instance I have responded publically to public statements. People should have this information avaiable, and Johnson should be encouraged to change his theology before it is too late.

    Please note that I have not condemmed the leadership of Bethel Church – please cite a quotation if you can – but rather I strongly question the abberant teachings coming out of that place. Although other may do so, I won’t call Johnson a flase prophet – or a heretic – because those are condemned to hell. So, I will admit, perhaps the “baby” should not be thrown out, but rather placed in ICU because of the deadly WoF bathwater baby has bathed in.

    So, since there are problems with some of the destriuctive hereies coming out of Redding, let’s agreee to bring them to the light of the scriptures.


    (2) Luke 2:11 “Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ 36 the Lord”


  114. Bill Fawcett says:

    Well, this has been a lively discussion. 170 comments attests to the fact that Bill Johnson and Bethel Church is on everyone’s radar.

    Speaking of infiltration of “destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1), why would Johnson assocaite with the likes of Bob Jones and Todd Bentley? Going on to verse 2, we find that these false teachers often have “debauched lifestyles” (NET) or “shameful ways” (NIV).

    Johnson has plainly embrace both. I would hazard a guess that God views a shepherd who promotes such false teachers in the same manner (outlines in 2 Peter 2) that he views the teachers themselves.


  115. takitheterrible says:

    I can’t reply to all, frankly because I’m overwhelmed, so I’ll just hit some points that I perceive aren’t redundant.

    Kevin said: “Therefore, seeing as you are able to discern this, why can’t Bill J? After all he is supposed to be super spiritual and profound and have such a close communion with God! Goodness me, I understand Bill didn’t even go to the doctor when he was quite ill about 18 months ago until Bob Jones had “prophesied” that he should!”

    Bill Johnson is a normal person, just like you and I. We all fall into some sort of error, be it our view of sovereignty or the Eucharist. Calvinists and Arminians both cannot both be right. Neither can the Lutherans or the Orthodox or whatever view of the Real Presence that we each have. Error is quite easy. Discernment is not. Discernment is a spiritual gift that not all of us have. As I said earlier, some of us have fear and think it’s discernment. Honestly, if one can’t see the G-d in Johnson’s ministry, I don’t think one has discernment. I don’t think G-d has written “Ichabod” on the door of Bethel Church.
    Also, the Bob Jones prophecy of Bill Johnson’s illness happened a little differently. You heard an anti-Johnson account of it, which is why you stated it that way. It’s almost like how many Americans think Sarah Palin said she can see Russia from her house.

    cherylu said: “The fact is, he won’t even respond to inquiries from people who have asked him or Bethel to clarify what he means by some of his teachings. I have tried and so have others.”

    I’m sorry to hear that. But I don’t know what he did that (overwhelmed, a shady secretary, didn’t have an answer, didn’t think you should question him, etc) so I really can’t respond to that. I would hope I would get a reply from Bethel staff if I approached it in a godly way. If I was a member there, and I heard something that hit my ears hard, I would hope, as my shepherd, Johnson would settle the matter.

    Bill said: “My point being that the scriptures don’t soft-show around the issue of false teaching- they say that those who are teaching are to be held responsible for what they are teaching; it also tells us to check the scriptures to see if what they are teaching is true.”

    And I agree. I don’t like the terms employed by Bill Johnson, though I understand and agree with the lesser point he made. I don’t think he’s a heretic or a false teacher. I love his ministry, despite the excesses and questionable teachers involved. I can look at the greater scope of things.


  116. takitheterrible says:

    Bill said: “why would Johnson assocaite with the likes of Bob Jones and Todd Bentley?”

    Why does G-d put up with any of us? I mean, I don’t like Bentley or Jones as teachers/prophets/whatever, but someone’s got to put up with them.


  117. IWanthetruth says:


    Just wonder, do you consider yourself a pragmatist (pragmatic person)?


  118. takitheterrible says:

    I don’t think so.

    Maybe it’s because I’m charismatic, but I see cessationism as much more dangerous than anything I’ve heard Johnson say.


  119. cherylu says:


    You might be very surprised to know that at least some of us commenting here that have huge problems with Bill Johnson are not cessationists. I certainly am not.

    However, I see way too much in Johnson’s teaching, ministry, and assoications that I find don’t match up with my understanding of Scripture at all I think he and the others like him that are teaching similar things have seriously misunderstood many aspects of God’s Word and are leading people down a very dangerous path.


    • takitheterrible says:


      I wasn’t stating that I think opponents to Johnson are cessationists. I don’t. I was stating that I see anything out of the cessationist camp as dangerous — more dangerous than calling Bob Jones a prophet. Here in NYC, we have Bernard Jordan, the “Master Prophet.” I find that less threatening to the body.

      I really don’t see his ministry as dangerous. I don’t want to speak for him, and I’m sure I’m not going to be hired as Bethel PR anytime soon. I just love many things they are doing at Bethel. This article, though I agree with it to an extent, doesn’t really dissolve my love for G-d’s work in Redding. Maybe one day, I’ll have the opportunity to speak to Johnson about my support for Bethel, despite my disdain for some excesses and associations. However, I don’t see it necessary to berate them yet.


    • Bill Fawcett says:


      In fact because of my Charismatic background (since1971) I am MORE concerned about Johnson, because of where he is taking what was then Charismatic/Pentecostal into this Third-Wave Apostolic/Prophetic stuff. Back then, no one would have imagined the abberant teachings he (and those he associates with) are promoting. It cause me great grief to the the potential of so many Christians destroyed as they start chasing after signs and wonders, which are supposed to follow the preaching of the word, not replace it.

      Unfortunately, because they are being taught to “gather around fathers not doctrine” most of the sheeple don’t have ANY idea when Johnson and others start preaching a defective Christology, or a distorted view of the trininty. These are not peripheral issues, like eschatology or calvinism vs. arninianism, but core doctrines of the faith.

      20 years ago, although MSoG was taught, few would admit it. Now we have people like Todd Bentley openly proclaiming that they are teaching MSoG.

      I’ve been studying Mormon apologetics recently, and we should really apologize to the Mormons if we don’t hold the third wave acountable for the same things we condemn the Mormons for.


  120. Kevin says:

    hi taki,

    thanks for responding. I totally agree that we are all in error at some point somewhere along the line, but I don’t think that is really an excuse for tolerating blatant error from a teacher in the public domain; especially on such a crucial point on who Jesus is, which you disagree with by your own admission. I also agree that seeing the good is also part of discernment and you make a good point. however, I think you may be missing my point slightly, my point is that bethel and bj give the impression of being super spiritual and entering into the fullness of the gospel by the expression and outworking of signs and wonders. therefore, why isn’t their spirit checked when confronted with the error of bob Jones? I also still think you are confusing what is good with what is truth. I have had Jehovah’s witnesses at my door saying they are Christians and no doubt they do good in their community but what is that good based on? it is based on an erroneous view of Christ and the twisting of the bible and therefore true Christians reject them. what bj teaches about Christ and how he handles the word equally down grades both, the teaching is not the same but it still undermines Christs finished work on the cross and if this is the message being ministered then it is not good fruit. I totally agree that error is easy, I have been in it myself, but there is a difference in holding an erroneous view and teaching it as if it was true, especially when it comes to who Christ is. if a minister can’t articulate who Jesus is, which by your own admission bill cannot, then he should accept correction and if he doesn’t then he is in willful disobedience to god, and that is not good either. also, I did not hear about the Jones prophesy about his illness from someone antiJohnson but I am pretty sure I heard it from him, I am not antiJohnson but I am set against what he teaches and the harm it does.


  121. Craig says:


    You wrote: “I really don’t see his ministry as dangerous….

    Re: my comments at 7:17pm: so, do you think that an antichrist Christology and theology is OK?

    Let’s discuss specifics of this post.

    As I pointed out in the blog and in my previous comments Johnson’s Christology bears a resemblence to Cerinthus which is by definition antichrist. In addition, the way he equates “Christ” with “anointing” is, in effect, antichrist.

    You’ve also stated that you don’t see Johnson’s Christology as Kenotic yet you’ve not answered my specific query on that above (Feb 18, 8:49pm). Here’s a very simple question: According to Johnson’s initial italicized portion of Chapter 7 of When Heaven Invades Earth, when does Jesus “receive” the “title” of Christ?

    I can tell by the way you write that you’re much too intelligent not to see this. Do you really want to take the words of a man (Johnson) over the Word of God?


  122. Craig says:


    I just read your brief bio here: and I’ll post your education for all to see:

    “B.A. Writing & Literature and Religious Studies; M.A. in Biblical Literature & Exposition”

    And, you state your religion as “Progressive Christianity.”

    Given this, I think you have no trouble understanding both the contents of the post in full and my questions directed at you. In addition, I am asking you to dispense of the rhetoric and stick to the post only. I ask you to provide specifics regarding what you disagree with in the post. Let’s have an in-depth discussion of this blog post. No one has yet refuted any part of this post. Will you be the first?

    [I apologize up front if I’m not as coherent as usual or as attentive to comments here as I usually am as I have the flu at present. ugh. 😦 ]


  123. Kevin says:

    if I get a chance later I will copy and paste something from an article I wrote concerning bills view of the anointing, as I have studied his teaching independently of Craig but reached the same conclusion about his view of the anointing.


  124. takitheterrible says:

    I can’t respond to everyone at this juncture (I’m pressed for time), so I’ll start with kevin:

    My reply is simply, I don’t know. I have never heard Bob Jones say anything Biblical in my life. Maybe he has, but segments on Youtube beg to differ. I don’t know why Jones is tolerated and respected so greatly at Bethel. That is an answer I’m sure we’ll all love to hear.


  125. takitheterrible says:

    Craig said: ” Here’s a very simple question: According to Johnson’s initial italicized portion of Chapter 7 of When Heaven Invades Earth, when does Jesus “receive” the “title” of Christ?”

    I’m going to reread the book today, but I believe it was at His baptism where the Holy Spirit descended on Him. In this case, Johnson states the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus for ministry here. This is different from Cerinthus, who argued for Adoptionism. He contrasted Jesus and Christ (the Anointed).


    • Craig says:


      When did you receive your title of M.A. in Biblical Literature and Exposition? Obvious answer: when you completed your studies. Were you born with this title? Of course not.

      When did Jesus BIBLICALLY receive his “title” of Christ? Is the answer when He was anointed by the Holy Spirit at Baptism? To accept this means logically to also accept that Jesus was NOT the Christ any time before this. Clearly, Jesus was Christ and Immanuel from the Incarnation as Scripture plainly attests and as is pointed out in the blog article.

      Cerinthus believed that “the Christ” came upon Jesus at Baptism and left him some time before His death so that the man Jesus died which is in essence what Johnson teaches [Johnson claim that “The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless)” shows Jesus to be less than God]. Once you read carefully and critically chapter 7 of WHIE and compare with the contents of this blog article, you’ll reach the same conclusion — if you have “ears to hear.”


  126. Kevin says:


    I mentioned the article I’d written. In it I also question chapter 7 of WHIE and also this statement from a book he co-authored with Julia Loren and Mahesh Chavda called, “Shifting Shadows of Supernatural Power”:

    “Jesus had no supernatural capabilities in himself. Everything he did, he did as a man, completely dependent on the Holy Spirit. He emphasised this point by saying, “the son can do nothing of himself”.

    While he is 100% God, he chose to live with the same limitations and restrictions that man would face once he was redeemed. He made that point over and over again. If he performed miracles as God, I am still impressed, but not compelled to follow. His example would be admirable, but unattainable. Yet it is obvious that he intended his disciples to do all that is needed, and more. Realising that he did all the miracles as a man, I am responsible to follow the example he established, and pursue the spiritual realms he said were available to me. By doing it this way he became a model for all who would become his disciples, thus embracing the invitation to invade the impossible in his name. He performed miracles, signs, and wonders, as a man in right relationship to God… not as God. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything… and makes possible a full restoration of the Ministry of Jesus Christ in his church.”

    Bill Johnson teaches that,

    “The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.”

    This creates a “system” out of “the anointing”. In other words, it is “the anointing” of the Holy Spirit wherein the power for the miraculous lies in the life of a believer. However, there is something fundamentally wrong and wholly opposed to a true understanding of Jesus Christ in the aforementioned quote, namely, that Bill Johnson appears to have separated Jesus’ divine nature from His human nature, thus creating a Jesus who is less than God, unless he means that the Holy Spirit was necessary in Jesus’ life for both His humanity and divinity to work together. However, this is understanding is unclear.

    To make a distinction between the divine and human nature of Christ is not unlike the view held by first and second century Gnostics. They said that Jesus was a mere man but on whom the spiritual Christ Aeon descended – the Spirit – for a while from his baptism to the Cross. They argued that the Christ Aeon did not die as he is Spirit and cannot be killed so only the man Jesus died on the Cross. The similarities between this view and Bill Johnson’s view are striking….

    If anyone wants a copy, let me know.


  127. takitheterrible says:

    You don’t have to explain when Jesus became Christ to me. I get it.

    However, I do consider the idea that Jesus did His works as a Spirit-filled man, and not G-d.


  128. takitheterrible says:

    Yes. It’s interesting, but I don’t think it paints an accurate depiction of the ontological nature of the Christ. I never denied that. Once again, I’m not an apologist for Bethel; I think that’s Kris Vallotton’s job.

    The greater idea is one that I hold to, though. Miracles, signs, and wonders are for the believer, and we should tap into that, instead of letting our spiritual gifts become stagnant. In fact, I started my blog to explore the creative essence of the Holy Spirit. []

    When it comes to the Charismatic lingo of “the anointing” and “the prophetic”… eh, it’s buzz-words and semantics. I don’t get worked up about it. When someone says, “that singer is so anointed,” I know what they meant. Same with many thing Johnson has said. Few of use actually desire to be known by our words, but many of us want to be known for our ideas.


    • Craig says:


      So, then you do or don’t find Johnson’s Christology faulty? Simple yes or no so that I can understand your position because I’m not sure the way answered the question.

      Johnson claims (and rightly so) that “Christ” means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” However, he goes on to say that this “anointing” Jesus received is the same “anointing” all “believers” can receive:

      “…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.” [Face to Face With God p 77]

      Do you believe we get the same “Christ anointing” as Jesus? I mean specifically, do you believe this is correct language as it stands? Johnson is VERY specific about this; it isn’t just a mis-statement as he says this in a few different ways.


    • Craig says:

      and, saying “that singer is so anointed” is not the same thing as Johnson claiming the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the “Christ anointing” — the same “Christ anointing” available to all. [see part II under “Baptism in Confusion” for more.]


    • Craig says:

      OK, I re-read your first paragraph; so, you do concede that this depiction is faulty Christology. Then, adding his statement ““The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless)…” solidifies the Kenotic heresy does it not?


  129. takitheterrible says:

    Yes, I find it faulty.

    My first reply:

    “I disagree with Johnson’s assessment that Jesus Christ was “born again,” but I don’t find him to be a proponent of kenosis as that blog suggests. I read “Heaven Invades Earth” and I get his point, but I vehemently dislike the terminology employed. He should’ve used a better allusion to describe that Jesus did His miracles as a Spirit-filled man, and not G-d.

    I believe that is a Christian belief, though. Jesus did not do His miracles as G-d, though He was and always will be G-d.”


  130. John Ashton says:

    Reading all of these is truly fascinating, and I’m going to try to set some time aside to present a lengthy response to all these comments, almost all of which appear to be completely sincere. Until that time, I’d like to ask a couple of questions which I hope will cut to the core of the issue.

    I spent 25 years at two world class evangelical churchs, both of which are highly skeptical of miracles and healings. I recently left the evangelical branch to attend Bethel, basically to see if it’s everything it’s touted to be. I have mixed reviews, and I’ll share these later. For now, I’d like to lay out a few points:

    Physicist are saying the universe is 11 dimensions, and that there’s a parallel universe 1mm from “our” known universe. We think and act in 4 dimensions, at best. Eph 3 talks about a process that culminates in our being filled with all the fulness of God. Immediately thereafter, Paul praises a God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think, according to the power that works within US…” Hold this thought…

    As you may know, Bethel is Heidi Baker’s home church; she is closer to Bill Johnson than any leader in the world. I have met Heidi, and, as best I can tell, she’s the real deal. Now, she maintains that in her ministry, over 100 people have been raised from the dead. She also says that she has an almost 100% success rate in healing deafness.

    In my mind, if Heidi Baker is flat out lying or greatly exaggerating, this destroys virtually all of Bethel’s credibility.

    But if she’s NOT lying – if these miracles are ndeed happening – then whose doctrine needs realignment? Who is walking the walk? Who is filled with all the fulness? Who is witnessing the materialization of the “impossible”. According to the laws of physics (a few decades ago), it was impossible for bumble bees to fly; yet they somehow fly. In the 30’s a scientist drawing from similar principles and precepts said curve balls are illusory; yet they curved. They still do.

    Heide’s theology is infuriatingly simple: Fruit flows from intimacy with Jesus. That’s it. If her fruit is genuine, does it matter if her (and Bill’s) theology is a bit “off”?

    Having sat of the feet of Sproul, MacArthur and Steadman, I feel at least a bit qualified to suggest that at the end of the day, BOTH the evangelical and charismatic streams are off base in some areas and right on the money in others. To risk over-generalizing, evangelical/calvinists are appropriately reverant of scripture. But this can lead to an intellectualization that ends up limiting God. In the charismatic/word of faith branch, on the other hand, there’s this expectancy that God can (and will) do ANYTHING. Unfortunately, the Bible TENDS to be minimized, leading to a culture in danger of deception that will believe anything.

    In the end, frankly, I think God laughs at our folly, delights in our sincere efforts, and grieves when the Bride of Christ resembles the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s. The God of the Universe made a Universe that is totally chaotic and random at the molecular level and totally ordered and predictable at the planetary level. Both are right, yet each contradicts the other. God loves the accountants and scientists who marvel at the infinite complexity of theology. God loves the dreamers, artists and musicians who marvel at possibilities. Ultimately, we need each other.

    All right… I hope this helps move this discussion along, and would really appreciate any and all positive and corrective feedback.


    • Craig says:


      Thanks for your comments. I don’t see this as an either/or sort of thing. It’s certainly possible (and preferably to me) to have an orthodox Christology and have miracles occuring in our midst. However, to claim and even be able to substantiate miracles while holding to a faulty Christology puts one if not wholly outside of Christianity, at least partly. Unity Church boasts of miracles (I have in my library a “Metaphysical Bible Dictionary” put out by Unity Church of Lee’s Summit, MO which redefines Christian terms in interesting ways), yet they are clearly outside of Christendom.

      Count me as highly skeptical of claimed healings and healers; however, I myself have been supernaturally healed of chronic knee pain which was to the point of disallowing me to bend down on one knee without a fair amount of knee pain. The only way I could get back up after having bent down was with the assistance of my arms, with a fair amount of effort, and with audible creaking from my knees. All of that is GONE! Praise God! No one prayed for me, I didn’t even pray for myself, and, I didn’t even notice it right away. Yet, clearly I’ve been asymptomatic for 4 years after having suffered this affliction for about twenty years.

      I don’t intend to seem unsympathetic; but, I would think that if Heidi Baker has a particular gift of healing deafness that she would lay hands on Bill Johnson’s eldest son Eric:


  131. John Ashton says:

    I should also mention that, while I love Bethel, I have some fairly significant concerns, especially regarding finances. I don’t know if they’re appropriate for this particular thread. But I think the truth needs to be known. I’m a little frustrated by what appears to be an accountability gap – it’s virtually impossible for a congregation member (like myself) to get an appointment with a higher-up leader. This leaves me to air my grievances on the world wide web.

    Please let me know if you’d like these insights and, if so, whether I should post them on this thread or another one.


  132. Bill Fawcett says:


    Its a intriquing question: can we overlook what appear to be abberant teachings if indeed the signs and wonders reported to be associated with Heidi Baker are true?

    In oder to answer that question, I’d have to aske a few more:

    1) Are they true?
    2) How do we know that they are not of the type that could deceive even the elect?
    3) How far do we carry Bakers associations- does she also validate TACF and Global Awakening?
    4) Can signs and wonders even validate a ministry or are do they naturally just follow the preaching of the word?
    5) What about signs and wonders that do not follow the preaching of the word
    6) How about signs and wonders that follow the preaching of “fresh” (rhema) revelation?

    Well, you can probably see where this is going. Baker does nothing to validate Johnson’s theology. I don’t see where it enters the equation.

    Without going into detail, I’d have to state that I was a card carrying Charismatic for more than 25 years. I’ve had hands laid on me by some very well known names in the prophetic/apostolic. And sat under their teaching, if that’s what you call it. In spite of all the impressive stories (and base of Charismatic “preaching”) I’d have to say that the movement has fallen very short in areas of character and holiness. And the sloppy (or lack of) theology has caused the movement to blow this way and that- tossed about in the wind. John Sanford (Elijah House) once said something like “the highways are strewn with wreckages from my mistakes.”

    And this is where I have a problem- the numerous wrecks that are not good fruit from this movement. And I think the cult-like atmoshpere that is the natural result of belief in futher revelation that is not accountable to the canon.

    Your obervations on Bethel will be most appreciated.


  133. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig and BIll- That is so funny. Eric was up at church this Sunday and I was thinking exactly the same thing! If I ever brought it up, I’d want to do it gently.

    I greatly appreciate both of your patient, measured responses. I came from a very “prestigious” Bible church. I have a PhD from Harvard and an MA from MIT. Suffice it to say fairly smart. This is precisely why I went to live at Bethel for a while. I admit that I have not read the arguments above about Jesus being born again. I just question if this is more nomenclature than substance. Yet again, let’s step back and look at the big picture: Jesus was 100% god and 100% man. WIth these as given, I can imagine the possibility of some sort of transformation, regardless what you call it. (Incidentally, this has help me reconcile Calvinism. As Jesus was 100%/100%, we, too, live as 100% humans with total free will, and yet we are 100% subject to God’d sovereignty.) Try to wrap your brains around that paradox. I’ve tried. In the end, I’m just crying out and asking him to help me balance the amazing mind he’s given me with my heart. As such, my worship has changed. I feel like I’m living more from the heart and that instead of over thinking things, I just laugh..or cry…and then just throw up my arms and thank Jesus for His love.

    Bethel is indeed a “heart” church. I have A LOT (translated MANY) concerns and questions about Bethel. Craig, you’re right to raise concerns! All of you are correct in your assessment that Bill Johnson and the rest of the staff tend to minimize the Bible more that I think they should. This is all to say that they lack balance. There are some churches who’ve elevated the Bible to the 4th member of the Trinity. The operative word is BALANCE.

    There’s a great article by a man name Adrian Wornock entitled, I Want It All”. Read it. Why can’t there be the best of John MacArthur and Bill Johnson together?

    In conclusion, BLESS YOU ALL!!! We’re all in this fighting to understand truth. Craig, I’m really looking forward to reading your essay. Even though I attend Bethel, I am in no means in agreement with everything they’re doing. Perhaps you’ll find me as a useful resource. One frustration I have is that you can’t get any time with any of the pastors who create Bethel’s “policies”. I believe this can be dangerous, as the Bible is very clear about what amounts to a “checks and balances” within the Body. Unfortunatley, I have to take my questions to cyberspace!!! I want to be thoughtful, rigorous, discerning, and loving throughout. Let me know if you want any inside information. For now, I want to leave it like this: I believe Bill Johnson truly loves Jesus. I’ve heard so many sermons. Some jolt my spirit; most resonate with my spirit and feel like dimensions have ben added to things MacArthur teaches.

    Bill, I was at Bethel during Cindy Jacobs’ visit in Aug 2010. I felt that I myself got a word from God. The word is that in the last days, many will be deceived, and it s my unmistakable sense that Bethel is in danger of this. There are so many kites in the air; they need to get tethered. The best thing Bethel could do is to hire someone from Dallas Theological Seminary.

    I’m really looking forward to what you all have to say.


  134. John Ashton says:

    Sorry for another addendum. Folks, there are a lot of “healings” happening at Bethel that aren’t healings. I see it every week, literally. I like that Bethel “goes for it”. That’s great! But be honest about the results. Bill Johnson once admitted that 80% of the people who supposedly got gold fillings were not telling the truth. Then he turns and says, “But that means 20% WERE authentic.” That’s well and fine. But my response to Bill is that there is an 80% credibility/character gap in the movement and that you’re raising up a culture that will believe anything. Where is the discernment? Do we stop trying to heal??? No way!!!!!! But folks, rein in these wild stories! Romans 12, Corinthians, etc actually list the gifts among which are healing and prophesy. I see a lot of people coattailing on those two gifts and this may lead to unrealistic expectations. Those are concerns. Bill and Craig, you two are right square on the money. I spend lots of time at Bethel rolling my eyeballs.

    BUT………….. At least Bethel is going after it. Bethel has a failure rate. But at least it HAS a failure rate. Bethel has a failure rate because it tries. Most churches have 0% failure rate.

    One last question. What if, it S God’s will that healings happen? What if us conservatives have been wrong? Does that make heretics out of the cessactionists? Would this make MacARthur a heretic? Jesus intentionally provoked the religious leader of his day; they called our Lord a heretic….and worse. Bill Johnson may be misguided in some important ways. But he does love Jesus….. probably more than his Bible. This may cause problems for some christians (I struggle with it). If Johnson is off base, let’s pray that the Hold Spirit prod him to balance things out. The fact is that I think both sides have some reining in to do.


  135. John Ashton says:

    I mentioned that I’d try to respond to some of the things being said here.

    I believe Bill Johnson is being misrepresented.

    Ezekiel describes God’s rage as dramatically as any book in the Bible. All of this rage from humanity’s iniquity was unleashed on Jesus, who was without sin. We’re getting caught up by terminology. He was God and He was human as he hung of the cross. Did he “ become sin”? This is semantics. What we know is that he was the perfect sin offering. Was he God? Of course. He lay aside his rights his power, choosing to hang and absorb verbal abuse, ets. on the cross even though He had the power to incinerate all his detractors with a word. Did he become a lamb or a bull? Of course not. If you indulge in some literary licence, he became like them. Perhaps Johnson employed some literary licence he shoudn’t have. But don’t for a minute conclude that he has this dramatically aberrante view of Jesus.

    Indeed, I’m sure Bill Johnson is guilty of “overliteralizing metaphors and that he misconstrues the meaning of many words. But let’s not lose sight of the big picture. From 0-30, we don’t see Jesus setting the world on fire with miracles. After he comes back from the wilderness, things get really wild. Something very, very significant happened at the river with John The Baptist and it got stronger after his wilderness experience. And it’s right after he gets back that he goes to the temple and reads what amounts to his “mission statement”, Isaiah 61: 1-3. Call it whatever you want: there was some kind of transition that happened there. (Please keep in mind I have no formal theological training.) Jesus was 100% man and 100% god. His “god part” had spirit. Is it possible that He didn’t have the Holy Spirit residing in his “man part”. For myself, it’s fun to speculate. But the bottom line is that something changed at the river. How could someone who is fully God get more power, any more than a full glass of water get more water? But this is what’s so fun about the incarnation. It doesn’t make sense in human terms.

    Craig, I believe you make a serious mistake in your conclusions. You say, “Note that Jesus “publicly announced Himself” as the Son of God; however, He already was the Son of God at His incarnation (and before this, of course). Jesus Christ being ‘fully God and fully man’ at the virgin birth did not need the Holy Spirit. He was already the “Anointed One.”

    You then go on to say that “This same “anointing” is available to others according to Johnson.[26] With his belief, then, by implication, when individuals receive the Holy Spirit – thus receiving the same ‘Christ’ “anointing” as Jesus – they will, in essence, be just like Jesus. Taken to its logical conclusion, this leads to the view that once an individual receives this ‘Christ anointing’ he/she will be Joe/Jane Christ.”

    Craig, your constant use of logical “coordinating conjunctions” (e.g. “this seems to say”, “this would suggest” and “This seems as though”) are leading you into murky waters that result in your imputing ideas to Bill that he simply doesn’t hold! Bill is a “broad-stroke” teacher in some respects, and I feel you’re holding him to microscopic scrutiny. This is leading you into making some very serious statements You said, “If we take Bill Johnson’s words in total so far, we have Jesus devoid of divinity at birth”. This simply isn’t what Bill believes. If you misapply one out of five connected syllogisms, you’ll usually end up at a false conclusion. This is a case in point. You’ve made a blatantly false conclusion. As a result, you yourself are in danger of leading people astray. No one at Bethel is saying they are Christ, and no one denies the divinity of Jesus Christ. they are, instead, striving to be Christ-like by virtue of the power of the Holy Spirit. My personal opinion is that Bethel has a grasp on the implications of the incarnation: that as Jesus was 100% man AND 100% God, we as humans have 100% free will AND are 100% subject to His sovereignty. Does this make sense? Of course not!!!!!!! And that’s Bill Johnson’s ENTIRE point!!!! As Christ-followers, our “goal” as earth-bound creature is to draw from the same realm Jesus did!

    To risk oversimplifying, Bill Johnson is saying that : 1) we have the same Holy Spirit Jesus did. 2) We have authority to do the things Jesus did. 3) Jesus was a model for us of what it looked like for a human to live life under full submission to the Father. Bethel subscribes to the Pauline prayers “enlighten the eyes of my heart so that I’ll understand my riches, power, etc…” The “Bethel Message”, as it were, is that we as believers have far more favor and far more authority than we realize and that we should tap into this inheritance. Last summer, Bill did an extensive series on the transformed mind (Rom. 12). It seemed to encapsulate the crux of Johnson’s theology. Please give it a listen before using the word “heretic” again.

    Bill is a broad-stroke type of teacher and I feel a lot of people relish subjecting his words to microscopic scrutiny. His form and style represent a departure from many of the teachers (e.g. MacArthur, Steadman, Sproul) I grew up with. I’ve seen Bill stand up and say, “Folks, I had prepared a message, but I just feel God is telling me to share this….” What’s interesting is that he subscribes to most of the tenets of orthodox Christianity, specifically the last five paragraphs of the essay. My sense is that he takes the message a step or two farther.

    Julie, I agree with you. There IS a danger that the movement can center too much around a personality. As I mentioned yesterday, I am concerned that a lot of deception could happen at Bethel. In my opinion, the Bible is minimized. It’s not blatant. But being brought up with the MacArthurs, Sprouls and Steadmans, I’d like to see more reverence for the Bible and and I’d like to see discernment embraced and exercised. The tacit attitude is that ‘if Bill says it’s true, then it must be true’. I’ve heard as much from pastors. As I see it, Bethel’s “style” is in part a reaction to the overemphasis some churches put on the Bible. Some jokingly call this “Bibolotry”. I think the prevailing attitude at Bethel is that many Christians tend to be overfed and that it’s time to put this knowledge into action. As stated, I honestly think it would be healthy for Bethel to hire someone from Dallas or MacArthur’s institute. It would sharpen everyone’s faith, in addition to being a mature gesture to evangelicals/Calvinists, etc.

    I’d like to close by saying that there’s an introductory class (12 weeks) Bethel has called “Firestarters”. I attended 20 or so classes, and I admit I have quite a few issues. Prophetic words of knowledge, for example, seem at times to be elevated to the stature of scripture. Coming from my evangelical background, I had to bite my tongue on many occasions. But, overall, I applaud what they’re doing. It’s all about taking risks and activating the authority (described, among other places, in Ephesians). Everyone is encouraged to “press in” and to “go for it” with abandon. In the process, embarrassing mistakes can and are made. But the underlying assumption through it all is, “Holy Toledo, could Christ be this stupendously amazing????” NO ONE is denying His deity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bethel believes that our obedience to His Lordship entails following in His footsteps and living life as His representatives on earth. No one says believers ARE Christ; rather believer are encouraged to be Christ-like. What does this mean, exactly? If you ask ten Christians, you’ll get ten answer. But Bill Johnson and company are pressing in to work out the implications of our being “in Christ” , and I believe fellow believers should applaud the deep fervor with which he is pursuing the heart of God. The first commandment, afterall, is to love God with all our 1) heart, 2) mind and 3) strength. Even though I have some disagreements that resonate with some of the things being said here, there is no doubt in my mind that Johnson is constantly prostrated before God – that he loves God with all his heart. As long as humans attend Bethel there will be, by definition, a degree of aberrant theology. We are, after all, three-dimensional creature worshipping an eleven-dimensional God whose ways are so fantastically beyond the scope of our feeble minds that our response ultimately must be humble worship. Bill Johnson is always talking about realms – that Christ lived by pulling from another realm (call it whatever you want). Christ drew from a spiritual kingdom/realm that lies in direct opposition to the world’s system – a realm where you must die to live, become like a child to have understanding and to become poor to be rich.

    Reservations aside, I heartily applaud Bill Johnson for his sincerity, his heart and his efforts. Again, please be careful before using incendiary words such as heretic. Instead, visit a conference, and I believe you’ll get an idea of the heart of what’s going on there.


    • Craig says:


      Frankly, I’ve been waiting for you to write what I believe you REALLY came to write. However, I do appreciate you at least interacting with the article itself. Most have been unwilling. I’m limited by time at the moment; so, I’ll only be able to hit a few points.

      1) This isn’t a matter of “semantics.” Johnson was very clear in saying Jesus “had to” be ‘born again’ because He “became sin.” This is theologically wrong and improper. I’ve explained proper theology in the post and provided a link — not just my own personal interpretation. The principle of “double imputation” is central to orthodox Christianity and Johnson steps all over that with his claim that Jesus was ‘born again.’ Jesus was never ‘born again’ in the orthodox Christian sense of the regeneration of individuals. Jesus did not need it. He was and is part of the Triune Godhead.

      2) You may benefit from reading at least chapter 7 of Johnson’s book When Heaven Invades Earth. Then you can see the specifics of what I write and you can follow along with the footnotes.

      3) I did not refer to Bill Johnson as a heretic. I DID refer to his Christology as heresy as it very closely resembles that of Cerinthus.

      4) Given that Johnson claims Jesus received the “title” of Christ only after He “received the anointing in an experience” what are we left with logically? Further, in this same introductory paragraph (see link at #2 above) Johnson explicitly states, “It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title.” Again, logically, Jesus did NOT have this ‘title’ at the the Incarnation then, according to Johnson. Given that Christ means “Messiah” or “Anointed One” (Johnson’s own words which ARE theologically correct), then, Johnson is outright stating that Jesus did not have this ‘title;’ ie, that of “Messiah” or “Anointed One” at the Incarnation. You can’t have it both ways — either Jesus was Christ at the Incarnation or He was not. Again, Johnson’s words are not ambiguous — he states the “title” of Christ “points to an experience” and then he specifies Baptism as that “experience.”

      I’ll post more later. Gotta run for now.


    • Craig says:

      I think this puts things in a more succinct form: Christ is NOT a title. Jesus IS Christ. The two are inseparable. There are no other “Christs” except false ones.

      Given that Jesus IS Christ, then Jesus was Christ at the Incarnation as Scripture attests. For Johnson to claim otherwise — as he clearly does — is serious error. By definition then, according to Johnson’s phraseology, Jesus was NOT divine at birth/Incarnation because this “title” of Christ was obtained later in an “experience.” And, from this error other errors flow. This is why I painstakingly put this article in sequence. I’ve spent tens of hours putting this together as I did part II and the upcoming part III.

      I do believe the reason Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit at age 30 for others to see was the Jewish custom that the high priest could not perform priestly duties until he was 30 years of age.

      As to Johnson’s sincerity, I’ve seen plenty of videos and he seems genuine — or else he’s a great faker. However, being genuine is no indicator of one’s orthodoxy. And, Christian teachers need to hold to standards of Christian orthodoxy.


    • W B McCarty says:

      John, firstly, thanks for your willingness to interact with the author and commenters of this blog. I hope that your participation leads to a more accurate understanding of what Bethel, and Bill Johnson in particular, actually believe and teach.

      You write, “NO ONE [emphasis in original] is denying His [Christ’s] deity.” I do hope that you’re correct on this point. But, if you are, how are readers to understand Bill Johnson’s teaching that Jesus “laid aside his divinity?” “Divinity,” as I suppose you know, is an older term synonymous to “deity.” How is it possible to claim that Jesus laid aside his divinity–that is, his deity–without thereby denying His deity? Please bear in mind that this teaching is presented in a commercially published book that, presumably, is the product of competent and diligent editorial and theological review. So, any claim that the expression was intended loosely does not seem to me at all viable. Moreover, the concept of Jesus setting aside his divinity seems quite central and not at all peripheral to the development of the thesis of the chapter containing the teaching. One has to assume that Bill Johnson meant exactly what he wrote.

      This is no private judgment. Adrian Warnock, who seems largely in agreement with Bill Johnson’s theology, termed this teaching “a howler.” I know of at least one reader who claims to have been persuaded by this statement, and others among Bill Johson’s teaching, that Jesus was not God. In other words, the statement has contributed to the adoption by at least one reader of the particular heresy it seems to propound.

      Aggravating this problem is the fact that no one at Bethel has responded to my pleas to interact with the reader in question, who frequents Bill Johnson’s and Kris Vallotton’s Facebook pages, and help persuade her from this heresy. Bill Johnson’s teaching, therefore, seems to me to amount to, at the very least, reckless spiritual endangerment. And, as I implied, I cannot understand the statement as anything other than formal heresy, though I neither have nor can have any definite idea whether Bill Johnson actually intended heresy.


  136. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-
    What “really came to write” is that there are two sides to this. Thank you mature response, by the way. I’m hoping love and patience will prevail as we work through these issues; you are doing your part 🙂

    I have When Heaven Invades Earth and I’ll read ch.7 now.

    My SINCERE aplogies for saying you called Bill a heretic. Huge difference between saying something heretical and being one. You could have taken this wrong and our discussion would have devolved into spasms of defensiveness. Thank you for your measured restraint and maturity.

    As far as #4, I see your point. Rightly or wrongly, I’ve come to embrace a certain fluidity in Christology and I’m hashing out the inplications (or at least I’m trying!) Give that He is both human and man, I don’t have too much of an issue with at least entertaining the idea that, being 100% God, he was anointed from birth. How otherwise could John The Baptist point to Him and call him the Lamb Of God?!? And yet Jesus was 100% human. As we’ve seen, the incarnation itself defies logic, at least in human terms. As hard as this is to swallow, there’s a point where, perhaps, we need to dispense of logic (or at least, put it on the shelf) and consider some things. For example, in Isaiah 61:1, Jesus says, “The Lord has anointed me…” I know this sounds like a stretch, but can our theology contain the idea that, as a man, Jesus’ anointing didn’t come until His baptism. I’ve meditated on Hebrews alot recently, and have come to a deeper appreciation of Jesus’ humanity, and it’s shaking up my theology, LOL. For example, I’m wondering if Jesus actually had to develop faith. As a man, did he face that “faith crisis” before performing miracles? And (here’s a great topic for debate) if this is true, did His miracles get more and more “amazing, complex and difficult” as time went on? I guess I’m at the point where I’m going, “Wow, this is fun to think about, but it beats me!” If Jesus is 100% God and He is AWARE of his diety (and thus his omnipotence), then one might conclude He never had to exercise faith. But being 100% man (and I believe this is brought up in Hebrews), you’ve got to wonder if He sometimes experienced shivers of trepidation before feeding the 5,000 or healing people in front of the pharasies. In other words, does this have to be “either/or”? Can it be “both/and”.

    I think this is the tree Johnson is camping under. I’ve seen plenty of abuses by charismatics. But, to be honest, my sense is that Johnson is far more in alignment with orthodox theology than many give him credit for.

    Does this all make sense? I wish I could have this type of discussion at Bethel. I think it is so healthy. God has built contradictions right into the fundamental laws of the universe, and these contradictions (really paradoxes) the discussions that separate different sreams in the Church. The greatest commandment is to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength, right? As mentioned, I feel I’ve done “the mind thing” 🙂 I moved to Bethel to be in a community where the heart is more emphasized. I’ve spent so much time discussing theology, and I love it. But at a certain point (and Paul pretty much says this, right?), theology is a non-issue if your heart isn’t in alignment. That was the central issue between Jesus and the pharasies. They were 100% “correct”; yet they completely missed everything. Heidi Baker really stunned by her statement that “Fruit flows from intimacy”. She has African bush pastors raising the dead. Their theology is virtually nonexistent – no more complex than that ‘Jesus is Lord’. But there’s a desperation. She says, “If God doesn’t show up, we’re dead.” It’s hard to argue with the simplicity of her theology in light of the fruit she’s bearing. (And, to address your previous post, I’m pretty sure Heidi’s theology is almost identical to Bill’s – she’s just not a “teacher”.) I’ve met her and seen her in person. She sometimes makes me very, very uncomfortable with all her “shaka’s”, etc. But when someone is operating at the level she is, you check your reservations at the door.

    In the end, we need eachother. We need the strident, rigorous teaching from the MacArthur’s; and we need the wild, “borderline” thinking from the Bill Johnson’s.

    So, for myself at least, the operative word is “balance”. Ok, I’m reaching over to read Ch.7.

    Thank you again, Craig, for the way you’ve moderated this topic.


    • Craig says:


      Apology accepted. You may wish to read the brief article Are You a Heretic? post as it goes over my thoughts on this.

      I admit that proper Christology, the Hypostatic Union and proper Kenosis are deep theological doctrines. However, it is imperative that one who is in the position of teacher be VERY careful in how this stuff is presented. We are talking about the person of Christ!

      You wrote, “…I know this sounds like a stretch, but can our theology contain the idea that, as a man, Jesus’ anointing didn’t come until His baptism….

      Clearly, Jesus was anointed at Baptism. There’s no denying that. However, He was certainly Christ well before Baptism. I’m assuming you’ve not had a chance yet to view part II of this article. As an adjunct to this discussion, please read over the “Baptism in Confusion” section to find Johnson’s direct quote that Christians receive the same “Christ anointing” as Jesus did. Further, you can see (although I’ve not directly quoted this as it encompasses a number of pages in his Face to Face with God book which I reference in the footnotes in case you have a copy) that Johnson claims that Jesus’ Baptism by John was the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.”


  137. John Ashton says:

    My apologies for all the typos and punctuation errors! Should’ve proofread” 🙂


    • Julie says:

      I just HAVE to say…Thank you John, for being a Bethel-attendee open to correction! I do not meant this snidely; you are simply the first one I have seen/read. I left a church who still sends members to Bethel for training; they return talking about Him, but focusing on the signs and wonders they see (gold dust is now old…now, God is levitating money at Bethel ~really.) Praise God for the wondrous things He can do through His church who listens to His voice!


  138. cherylu says:

    John Ashton,

    I don’t think any of us can understand how God can “lay His divinity aside” and still be God. How can God lay aside the characteristics that make Him God and continue to be God? How can He become so ungodlike that He has to have the Holy Spirit’s anointing to live as anything other then a man? If He does all of this, is He still 100 % God?

    These are Bill Johnson’s statements. Yes, he says Jesus was 100 % God. But then he turns right around and makes those statements that make it sound like He is not. That is, to say the least, extremely confusing.

    How do you account for that? And more importantly, I really like to know how Bill Johnson accounts for it. But those of us that have tried to contact Bethel have done it to no avail. And you yourself that attends there say it is not possible to talk to them. (Very dangerous situation, IMO)


  139. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-

    I think we share the same frustration about accountability, and I’m going to address it momentarily.

    You are right: all of this is VERY confusing. And that’s the whole point! How can we begin to figure God out? His ways are unsearchable. I’ve come to appreciate His humor – just when you think you’ve figured Him out, an opposite truth is thrown at you.

    Romans 1 (or 2) clearly says that the attributes of God are clearly seen in creation. My “moment of enlightenment” (and what ultimately impelled me to check out Bethel) was the day I learned that there are two contradictory fundamental laws in our universe. Relativity points to a God of ORDER. Quantum Mechanics., by contrast, shows that at the atomic level, everything is CHAOS!!!!

    So which one is it? Is our universe ordered or chaotic? Both. My current belief is that this paradox/contradiction represents a magnificent and humorous clue into God’s mind and nature. Add to this the work of Ed Whitten (the modern-day Einstein) that there are ELEVEN dimensions. Then, for good measure, factor in that physicists think there is ANOTHER universe less than 1mm away from us that MAY operate on completely different natural laws than “our” universe.

    Suddenly, gold dust and angelic appearances seem (at least) a little more possible. 

    I suppose volumes could be written about all of this. Personally, I’ve been moved by Hebrews, 2:14-15 especially, but also the whole book, and it brings up two things germane to this topic:

    First, Jesus partook of flesh and blood (became man). I’ve been asking God for clarification as to why He had to become flesh and blood IN ORDER TO render satan powerless over death. Think about it. Why couldn’t an omnipotent God just zap the enemy from a distance without going through all the problems of becoming man? It would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. But it seems clear that in order to disarm the enemy, Jesus had to become a man. Col. 2:14-15 is also a great passage to throw into this mix. Try reading these side-by-side…

    Second, the very act of God partaking of flesh and blood limited Jesus, thereby tautologically compromising His deity (after all, how can He be God and have limitations?)

    So who is Jesus? Is He 100% God? Yes. Is He 100% man? Yes. Why did He become man? Hebrews says it was necessary in order to disarm satan. It also says that His humanity enables Him to be our priest. And I think it says (or implies) that His humanity enables us mortals to relate to Him. But He’s BOTH. And it cannot make sense, nor do I think it’s supposed to. With all due respect, Calvin has caused a lot of us to twist into pretzels trying to make sense of it. For now, this is as far as I can get: Jesus was 100/100. He became man in order to model what it’s like for a human to live in complete submission to the Father. We are created in God’s image and we are partakers of an enormous inheritance, including a luxury box seats on the 50 yard line overlooking the heavenly realms. Inasmuch as this is true, WE ALSO are fellow participants in the mystery of the incarnation. God is 100% sovereign, but, somehow we are 100% human! We do not live out a prearranged script – we have free will, and our choices, somehow, have eternal bearing. And yet God is 100% sovereign!

    I’ve stopped trying to figure it out, at least for now. I stopped at 100/100. You might as well say 2 + 2 = 87. And yet I feel that’s sort of what God asks us to do. The incarnation seriously messes with our logical minds, just as the chasm between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity drove Einstein to insanity (well, pretty close). And it gets crazier!!! Pretty much every principle in the Scripture is contradicted somewhere else.

    This is where I believe Bethel is basically coming from. It’s about intimacy; about wonderment and beholding. It’s about embracing all the “contradictions” (actually, they are NOT contradictions) in life and falling to our knees before this unsearchable, omniscient Deity who invites us to boldly enter His throne room of grace.

    So is it law or grace? Should we honor our parents or hate them? Does God’s sovereignty obviate or compromise our free will? Was Jesus God or human?

    In the end, the answer rests in and with Holy Spirit; the goal isn’t to figure everything out. We’ll never figure God out, and to give us a clue of this, He created woman. 🙂 By the way, physicists are searching for a unifying entity in the universe that reconciles Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. It’s utterly fascinating. They call it the search for the “Theory of Everything”. Sounds suspiciously analogous to the Holy Spirit.

    Now for issue of accountability at Bethel. I’ve been at three top-notch churches that were really “in the groove”, only to grow stale from spiritual pride. I’m concerned about this at Bethel. I can (and perhaps will) write many pages about what I sense instinctively (viz. discern) and what I actually perceive. For now, I’ll submit this:
    1) Bill Johnson is perhaps a bit out of touch. He spends a lot of time in other parts of the world. To his CREDIT, he has reduced his travel for 2011.
    2) Bethel feels “bottom-heavy”. There are thousands of attendees, but few pastors. The pastors are simply out of reach. Bill and Kris often come out, preach, then leave. Other times they mingle a bit. What I’d really love is for them to just hang out in the cafe occasionally and just chat with people.
    [In their defense, I think there are things going on that most of the people don’t know about. I think there are plenty of death threats. Quite a few security people circulate during all services, and they’re stand-offish in the same way you’d expect a CIA member to act. I DO NOT mean this pejoratively. When Bill stands at the exit and shakes hands, there’s always one or two security people nearby. In my mind, these threats are evidence that the enemy is p-i-s-s-e-d.] But what troubles me is that even the “second-tier” pastors are basically inaccessible. SO…. all of you who sense a problem here are right-on-the-money. In a church that preaches intimacy, there is a palbable absence of the face-to-face dynamic that naturally fosters healthy, constructive accountability. There is nothing I’d like to see more than a monthly question-and-answer forum. Heck, why not do it on Bethel TV? Bill could do it from his office. Don’t you think this would diffuse a lot of tension?

    3) I get this feeling of arrogance. Like the deepest bass frequencies, it’s hard to put your finger on it, but it’s there, and it manifests itself in some interesting ways. I’ll offer one example. In many people’s opinion, Bethel runs the place too much like a business. Mention Bethel to Redding residents, and you’ll get a few rolling eyeballs. You can barely turn around without being asked for money. They even charge a buck for a plastic cup of unfiltered water! The underlying attitude strikes me as akin to designer clothing and the Rolling Stones : Bethel is THE place, and t charges what it does because it CAN. I was recently at a ministry meeting and the leader was pitching this DVD series, saying something to the effect that “if you put this on your big screen at home, it’s like having Bill Johnson in your living room.” This was fine. But the series cost (a reduced price of) $200. What distressed me was that this DVD series was presented as a resource to boost effectiveness in ministry. Someone asked if there was maybe a loaner that could be checked out. She then said, “Darn, if I could afford it I’d buy it.” I believe Jesus braided some rope together when He saw that exorbitant profits were being made on compulsory temple sacrifices. I have no problem charging $800 for a 20 x 30 signed portrait of a celebrity pastor or $79 for a workout video. But I have concerns about the prices Bethel charges for materials that (at least ostensibly) bear a direct impact on advancing the kingdom, especially when actual productions costs are one-one fiftieth of the shelf price. Other prominent ministries (Andrew Womack, IHOP) work on a donation-only basis; Bethel could avoid a lot of PR issues by doing the same.

    At any rate, this all generates a kind of “mystique” that makes Bethel a fun and invigorating place. But unless the leadership reins some of this in, there will (almost by necessity) be some negative fallout that could have been avoided. The Holy Spirit IS amazing. But human nature is human nature, and without accountability, it’s easy to ride the crest of past success, only to wake up one day tethered to a methodology that is three levels removed from the wellspring of the source of a church’s original success.

    I’ve brought some concerns to leadership and (at least I feel like) they’ve been dismissed. One pastor told me flat-out, “You’re not going to change Bethel and you’re wasting your time if you try.” The tacit understanding is that people should come here, soak things in, and not ask too many questions. It’s a wonderful place for artists and high school graduates, but Ivy Leaguers (esp. Harvard) and scientists will have a little bit of a difficult time. I personally don’t mind struggling as long as it’s a GOOD struggle. But I’m distressed to the core of my spirit when honest, sincere and robust questions are either dismissed as lack of faith or steered into the “Just Trust Bill” waiting room. God, after all, loves intellectuals… and I suspect there’s some prophetic significance in our Lord’s choice to include Thomas. So I’m with you on this, Cherylu. I honestly regret that these concerns have to be published on the www in order to get heard.

    BUT…. There’s not a church on earth that I couldn’t find 75 things to criticize. The Pharisees, after all, made quite a checklist with Jesus; I’m just as capable. The positives at Bethel FAR outweigh the negatives, in my opinion. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe people like Johnson are not TOTALLY going after God. Yes, there are blind spots. But show me a place there aren’t any! Who knows, maybe God will bring to Bethel a recovering evangelical to shake things up.

    To all Believers reading this, please forgive me if there are any places where I’m sounding puffed up/impatient or whatever. I am so fed up with MY OWN pride and how it has blinded me from seeing obvious things. I chose to be a bit harsh on Bethel because of its prominence. In no way do I want to disparage Believers who subscribe to (for lack of a better term) a Calvinist or evangelical viewpoint. If anything, I’m coming to appreciate the diversity of the Body, and hope my words ultimately serve the end of its edification.


    • takitheterrible says:

      Thanks, John.


    • Craig says:


      I’m going to assume that by now you’ve had a chance to read chapter 7 of When Heaven Invades Earth. Having done so, you have surely noted that Johnson refers to Christ as both a “title” and as an “anointing.” Continuing in his thesis, on p 80 Johnson further separates “Christ” from “Jesus” in his understanding of the term “Anti-Christ” which I will quote:

      It would seem that with all the significance attached to the name “Jesus,” anyone desiring to undermine His work of redemption might be referred to as “Anti-Jesus,” not “Anti-Christ.” Even religious cults recognize and value Jesus, the man. At the very least, cults consider Him to be a teacher or a prophet and possibly “a” son of God. This horrendous error provides us with an understanding of why antichrist was the name given to this spirit of opposition. The spirits of hell are at war against the anointing, for without the anointing mankind is no thread to their dominion.

      See, how Johnson has continued in his thesis of “Christ” as an anointing separate from the person of Jesus? And, if all Christians have this same “Christ anointing” (again see “Baptism in Confusion” section of part II) wouldn’t the logical conclusion be that we too could/would be called “Christ” given that Jesus received this “title” as a result of an “experience” – the “experience” being baptism according to Johnson? To reiterate, Johnson specifically identifies Christians as receiving the same “Christ anointing” — Johnson’s EXACT words in Face to Face with God — which is tantamount to John Christ and Craig Christ post-baptism — more specifically post-baptism of the Holy Spirit.

      Here’s the exact quote from Face to Face with God:

      “…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.” [p 77; emphasis added]

      Johnson goes even further in separating Jesus from “Christ” in his continued zeal to identify as antichrist (wrongly and unscripturally) those who are in opposition to his version/understanding of “the anointing” — again in wrongly identifying “Christ” as equivalent to “anointing.” Here’s a specific quote:

      The spirit of antichrist is at work today, attempting to influence believers to reject everything that has to do with the Holy Spirit’s anointing. This rejection takes on many religious forms, but basically it boils down to this: we reject what we can’t control. That spirit has worked to reduce the gospel to a mere intellectual message, rather than a supernatural God encounter…

      Here he attempts to polarize segments of Christendom. He goes further:

      It is the antichrist spirit that has given rise to religious spirits. A religious spirit is a demonic presence that works to substitute being led by our intellect instead of the Spirit of God. Being led by the Holy Spirit is an ongoing God encounter. Religion idolizes concepts and avoids personal experience. It works to get us to worship past accomplishments at the expense of any present activity of God in our life. That spirit often feeds on the residue of past revivals. Its favorite tactic is to cast in stone an ideology learned from previous moves of the Holy Spirit. For example: it values tears and despises laughter….

      Here Johnson appears to be referring to the so-called “Holy Laughter” a la Rodney Howard-Browne and calling those who do not hold to his positive view of this as antichrist — more accurately (as pointed out in part I) he should call it “anti-anointing” or maybe “anti-Holy Spirit;” ie, Johnson’s version of the Holy Spirit which I personally question. I will say emphatically that I do not believe the Howard-Browne “Holy Laughter” to be at all associated with the Biblical true Holy Spirit.

      Sadly, Johnson, by separating Christ from the person of Jesus, has put himself in danger of being identified as antichrist per the Apostle John in the book of I John as noted near the end of this article.


    • cherylu says:

      John Ashton,

      About your sense of arrogance and pride there. I am guessing you are right on with that sense. And how much more dangerous does that make any false teaching coming out of a place like Bethel? Obviously no one can get to them to even ask what they mean by statements made, and any attempt to do so results in a put down of the questioner or being relegated to the “just trust Bill Johnson room”. I’m sorry, but we are not to “just trust” any man in that way. In the Bible, those that checked things taught against Scripture were called “more noble.”

      To demand such blind obedience is NOT the way the church of God is supposed to work. BUT IT IS the way a cult works. Doesn’t that in itself put a bit of fear into your heart?

      And it isn’t just the folks that attend Bethel itself that are in danger here. This man and his church are looked upon very highly by many in the church today. And he travels all over spreading his teaching. And he has written books spreading his teaching.

      And as we have tried repeatedly here to point out, some of his teaching does not seem to line up with Scripture at all regarding who God is and who man is. Should we not therefore be concerned and indeed shouting that concern from the proverbial roof tops?

      And wouldn’t it seem to you that with all of the exposure of this teachng as false and the attempts by people to get Johnson to clarify, that if indeed he is being misrepresented he would be hastening to clear the matter up so that no no was accusing him falsely? But we haven’t seen a bit of that have we–not in Bethel itself or any where else. THAT only reinforces in my mind that he is indeed teaching the heresy that he has been accused of. What do you think???


  140. Bill Fawcett says:


    Thank you again for explaining this anti-christ spirit stuff. In the old days, Charismatics would label non-cmatics as having a “religious spirit.” It seems like they have upped the ante with the inflammatory rhetoric.

    I posted a video of a meeting recently held by an IHOP franchise where the leader states:

    “And then deliverance broke out: for self hatred, sexual immorality, the anti-christ spirit, there was just the Holy Spirit was present to deliver these kids, demons were coming out…”

    Whether or not demons can come out of Christains is another story (they cannot) but I wondered what was this anti-christ spirit they were casting out was. As Bill Johnson explains it, apparently anyone who does not subscribe to their version of charismania has an anti-christ spirit. That is sick.

    And of course, this sort of exclusionary rhetoric, separating the elites from the those who “don’t get it”, is a major tool employed by cults. Nothing new in the cmatic; Joyner had vultures puking over denominational Christians in “The Final Quest.”

    Someone should take Johnson to the woodshed. This is disgusting and unbecoming for a child of the King.


  141. John Ashton says:

    Craig and Bill-

    I keep wanting to return to the mystery of the incarnation. The Bible itself seems to even suggest that Jesus was separate from “The Christ”. At the river, it says that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus. He is immediately driven into the wilderness, returns a month and a half later, then goes to the temple and declared His anointing. (Is.61;Lk.4) Was He was making a declarative statement of what had been true since birth, or was the declaration the result of His baptism? (I’m only trying to illustrate that the Incarnation gives us some room to discuss this. Personally, I’m not sure which one I agree with.)

    If Jesus (the man) did not possess the full measure of Holy Spirit and anointing before the river, then I suppose it could be argued he did not possess “Christ-ness” and was therefore not God. Of course., insofar as He was God, He was already indwelt by the Spirit and consequently possessed the anointing which gave Him His “Christ-ness”. But I feel this is becoming too much about technicalities and semantics. I mean, we can have a field day if we lay on the table all the implications and permutations of the Incarnation, a discussion that could keep some publishing houses afloat for a long time.
    Let’s instead appreciate the fallibility of our logic, something that simply doesn’t hold up to the incinerating glory of the 100 + 100 = 100 Incarnation. We will never figure this out intellectually here on earth any more than we can experience the full power of a Lamborghini in a school cafeteria. Intellect is great, but overreliance is futile and probably takes us to places we don’t want to go. For example, if John baptized Jesus Christ, then it follows that John baptized God, which implies that God came to the river lacking something, implying that He was not God because God, by definition, is complete. Our 3-D logic does not work in an 11-D Universe. I believe that is the crux of what Bill Johnson is saying in Ch. 7. To trust in our intellect is an act of control that empowers (or is the manifestation of) an antichrist spirit.

    Every Christian possesses the same Spirit that descended upon Jesus. Nowhere does Johnson say or imply that we are “christs”; rather, he’s touting the glory of our inheritance and God’s favor. Try reading Ephesians with all its language about storehouses of treasure, inheritance, power, authority, enlightenment, etc, etc, etc, without concluding that something amazing and supernatural lies right at our fingertips by virtue of our position in Christ. Call it an anointing; call it whatever you want. Whatever it is, Paul says that we won’t “get it” until the eyes of our hearts are enlightened – not our mind’s eye – the eyes of our hearts. Bill is committed teaching Believers to tap into this inheritance, and he believes this involves learning to subordinate the soul to the spirit, entailing a certain “turning off of the mind”. As intimated, I have struggled greatly with this. I still do, and probably always will, as I’ll never shake off influence of Spurgeon, Steadman, MacArthur, Ironside, Waltke, Sproul, etc. nor would I ever want to, because I don’t see any irreconcilable conflict between their theology and Bill Johnson’s theology – just different gifting (or dare I say anointing). If anything Bill’s theology merely amplifies their teaching.

    So please be careful before you call Bill Johnson into the woodshed – my instinct suggests he spends plenty of time there on his own accord and is amendable to the correction of the Holy Spirit. This, to me, is evidenced by the times I have seen him prostrate on the floor in during worship. He loves Jesus and seems to understand that Jesus loves him. I propose that we critique Johnson’s theology in terms of the mystery of the Incarnation.


    • Craig says:

      In simple terms: Jesus was Christ at the Incarnation as Scripture CLEARLY attests (Luke 2:11; I John 1:1-3; Matthew 1:18-23; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6 and others). Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit at Baptism, yes; HOWEVER, He was not anointed with “Christ” at Baptism — yet this is Johnson’s definitive claim.

      This post is not about the mystery of the Incarnation or Hypostatic Union, etc. This is about how Johnson erroneously portrays the person and deity/divinity of Jesus Christ.

      John, you appear to want to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt — which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, in so doing, you ignore the clear words of Johnson as he has supplied them in his books and are analyzed in this article. As an MIT graduate, I’m assuming you are interested in empirical evidence in reaching conclusions. I don’t know how much more clear this can be. Your absolute refusal to admit plain evidence boggles my mind.

      You’ve charged me with essentially making illogical leaps in my conclusions; yet, I’ve only taken Johnson’s words in their very plain meaning and analyzed them based upon simple logic — the next step, if you will, rather than giant leaps. If Johnson claims Jesus received the “Christ anointing” at baptism and this is the point He then received the “title” of Christ; then, explain to me how I cannot conclude that when Christians receive the same “Christ anointing” — as per Face to Face with God — that we also receive this same “title” and hence can be called John Christ and Craig Christ. Please show me how this illogical.

      If I have misrepresented Johnson because his books do not convey what he really wished to convey; then, certainly, he and/or his publishers could clarify in future revisions of his books. I would be quite happy to post the contents of those revisions here. Absent that, this article stands as written.

      I’m disappointed in your refusal to engage in direct responses to items you’ve indicated are problematic with my post. I’m going to ask you to stick with the contents of the article in your comments to keep this discussion on track. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.


    • Craig says:


      You may not be aware of this; but, in stating that The Bible itself seems to even suggest that Jesus was separate from “The Christ”. you are putting yourself in the same camp as proto-gnostic Cerinthus which many scholars believe the Apostle John was specfically refuting in his first epistle (as pointed out near the end of this article). The 2nd century Gnostics took this even further and New Agers today claim the same thing.


    • Bill Fawcett says:

      I think its all a matter of timing, and the baptism in the river was like a kick-off celebration.

      The Spirit of the Lord was obviously on him, who was slain before the foundation of the world, before Luke 4.

      When Jesus states: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
      because he has anointed me
      to proclaim good news to the poor.
      He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind,
      to set the oppressed free,
      19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

      he was only stating what had always been. This was His purpose BEFORE the world was ever created.

      John the Baptizer, of course, was not even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. Jesus Christ being baptized by John in the river was another illustration of the humbling spoken of in Philipians 2.


  142. cherylu says:


    Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

    How much clearer can it get that Jesus was Christ at His birth and had the title from birth? Contrary to what Bill Johnson teaches.

    And I completely agree with Craig when he says that if Jesus only received the Christ title at His baptism when He received “the Christ anointing” that it is no leap of logic at all to think that the next step is to say you are John Christ, Craig is Craig Christ, and I am Cheryl Christ.


  143. mbaker says:

    A thought here, which I believe separates the difference in the importance of being loyal to a certain person who is a favorite of ours in teaching and whose teachings we admire: Our loyalty should be first to the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. It seems to me sometimes that gets mixed up with loyalty to a pastor, apostle or prophet of our choosing. The one thing we need to remember that none of these folks are BOTH man and God, but are totally human like ourselves and therefore subject to the same human error anyone else is. To defend someone when they have gone past the word of God is not in line with scripture.

    When the anointing of Christ becomes more important than His inborn position as Lord and Savior to us, I believe we have crossed a line.


  144. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig, Bill and Cherylu-

    Well, maybe I have a blind spot. It sure wouldn’t be my first. I hope it’s not “absolute refusal”. But I’ll never say “never”. Ha! Regardless, I think I’m in over my head. All I got in church was exposure – no schooling.

    Ok… I’ll try to touch everything…

    For now, rightly or wrongly, I’m having a hard time decoupling from the idea that the Incarnation allows us (for lack of a better term) some latitude to “soften up” the acuity of our theology. I now believe that it propels us into this realm that forces us to embrace a discomforting tolerance of (apparent) contradictions, one of which is that there was a 33 year period where God had limitations. This defies logic and cannot be apprehended in human terms. It’s like two opposite ends of a string that can’t be brought together. What I like about Bill is that he gave up trying to reconcile things like this.

    There are so many questions that I, personally, can’t wrap my arms around…

    1) Is our universe orderly or chaotic? (The answer to this has allowed me to consider the possibility there are some things we’re just not supposed to “get”.)
    2) Was Jesus omnipotent or did He have to acquire faith?
    3) How could the Owner of hundreds of titles, names and designations be naked?
    4) Why did the Author and Creator of the Universe need to acquire honor and reputation among sinners?
    5) Is God soverign or do we have free will?
    6) Should we honor our parents or hate them?
    7) 100% Man or 100% God?
    8] Paper or plastic? (Sorry…couldn’t resist).

    3 and 8 aside, I’d like to submit that the answer to all is “yes”.

    Regardless I hope you can at least appreciate (if not agree) that it’s no longer a stretch for me to consider that Jesus (in His humanity) had to acquire the TITLE of Christ. Was He the Christ before the foundation of the world? Yes. Has he and had He possessed that TITLE for eternity? Yes. Did he have the title at birth? ???

    Craig, you asked this question:

    “If Johnson claims Jesus received the “Christ anointing” at baptism and this is the point He then received the “title” of Christ; then, explain to me how I cannot conclude that when Christians receive the same “Christ anointing” — as per Face to Face with God — that we also receive this same “title” and hence can be called John Christ and Craig Christ. Please show me how this illogical.”

    Let me give this a shot. We are heirs of Christ and have access to pretty much all His goods. But our anointing does not make us The Anointed” anymore than our being children who are beloved of God “His Beloved Son in whom He is well-pleased”.

    The NT always has this fine line. Sometimes you have to be careful in saying, “I’m Christ-like” or “I’m striving for perfection” or “I’m dead to sin”. It’s a fine line. I think you open yourself to misunderstanding the closer you get to the line.

    I apologize if I seem to be skirting any questions. Let me know if there are any I’ve missed 🙂

    Bill, great idea of “the coming out party.” Makes sense to me.

    Craig, I admit that I probably took some rhetorical/literary licence I should not have when I said that “The Bible seems to suggest that Jesus was sep. from The Christ..” Can I have a Mulligan on that? I know what I want to say, but am having a hard time articulating it.

    Cherylu, your point’s well-taken. But it’s back to questions like “was Jesus helpless at birth?” I am not uncomfortable approaching the title issue in the same way.


    • Craig says:


      You wrote, “Can I have a Mulligan on that? I know what I want to say, but am having a hard time articulating it.” Sure, I’ll give you a Mulligan. How could I deny that when the Bill Johnson-endorsed – and recently featured conference speaker at Bethel – Bob Jones claims that God Himself essentially took a Mulligan (see here at “God Takes a Mulligan?” section)?

      You admit that you don’t have a theological background. I do believe it would behoove you to read up on the Hypostatic Union [see here: ] and Kenosis [see here: ]. This will both answer and alleviate many of your questions. These doctrines and others have long been established in order to dispel various heresies and your knowledge of these will prevent you from perhaps inadvertently promoting associated heresies yourself. You will see then that one cannot separate Jesus’ humanity from Jesus’ divinity and to do so propounds heresy.

      For what it’s worth, I’m by no means a Biblical scholar having never attended any sort of school of theology. I have a B.B.A. (General Business), a little over 10 years in the faith, and that’s it. I have taken an interest in learning more about Christianity and other religions after I have found a number of false teachings in the “church.” I want to know why I believe what I believe and will change my beliefs if they prove contrary to Scripture.

      Words convey meanings. They provide the basis for effective communication between individuals. Yet you seem quick to defend Johnson’s words when they can potentially lead to false conclusions/contradictions and at the same time you are quick to dismiss the logical conclusions I and others draw based on Johnson’s words.

      You asked, “I apologize if I seem to be skirting any questions. Let me know if there are any I’ve missed” Well, yes, back on 03/03 you stated about the article:

      ”…your constant use of logical “coordinating conjunctions” (e.g. “this seems to say”, “this would suggest” and “This seems as though”) are leading you into murky waters that result in your imputing ideas to Bill that he simply doesn’t hold! Bill is a “broad-stroke” teacher in some respects, and I feel you’re holding him to microscopic scrutiny. This is leading you into making some very serious statements You said, “If we take Bill Johnson’s words in total so far, we have Jesus devoid of divinity at birth”. This simply isn’t what Bill believes. If you misapply one out of five connected syllogisms, you’ll usually end up at a false conclusion. This is a case in point. You’ve made a blatantly false conclusion. As a result, you yourself are in danger of leading people astray.”

      That’s a pretty serious thing you’ve charged me with. Since then, I’ve been trying to address your concerns; but, it seems to me you’ve been either dismissing them by trying to explain away what you perceive Johnson meant or by dodging them altogether.

      Since I’ve already shown definitively that Scripture teaches that Jesus was Christ, Lord and Savior at birth via Luke 2:11 (thanks cherylu for supplying the actual Scripture), clearly this shows that Johnson’s claim that Jesus received the “title” of Christ at “an experience” identified with Baptism to be erroneous. This claim that Jesus was not Christ at the Incarnation is tantamount to denying that Jesus was divine/deity at birth. For you to deny this fact is for you to have issue with plain English.

      You’ve made the claim in my quote of yours from 03/03 that Johnson does believe that Jesus was divine at birth (my paraphrase). Can you supply some sort of definitive proof for your claim regarding Johnson (specific words of Johnson in an article or video, etc.) which then would be a counterclaim to mine? I should add that Johnson’s claim that Jesus “laid His divinity aside” can be harmonized with his claim that Jesus received the “title” of Christ at or around Baptism to mean that Jesus regained the divinity He set aside at birth/Incarnation when He received this “title.”

      The word “antichrist” is only used by the Apostle John in Scripture. These occur primarily in his first epistle (4 times) and one time in his second. John supplies the definition which is at odds with both Johnson’s (re)definition of antichrist (spirit) and your defense/analysis of Johnson’s (re)definition. I think it prudent we stick with established definitions so we are all on the same page. This will aid in having a fruitful discussion.

      I should point out that redefining terms is a favorite ploy of cults and esoterics.


    • peacebringer says:

      Okay actually am taking time to read comments from where you started John. As it is really the best way to get the full feel. Not reading everyones response to you. You list these questions.

      1) Is our universe orderly or chaotic? (The answer to this has allowed me to consider the possibility there are some things we’re just not supposed to “get”.)
      Universe is ordered as God created, and is now twisted as a consequence of mankinds rebellion which twisted all of creation bringing in chaos.

      2) Was Jesus omnipotent or did He have to acquire faith?
      Jesus was omnipotent, no where in scripture does he indicate otherwise and many examples of his power. Did he have to acquire faith, nope, for faith is not a object to acquire, it is where placing trust.

      3) How could the Owner of hundreds of titles, names and designations be naked?
      God with us. In order to be the fullness of Godhead and bodily form, how cannot. This really is an odd question.
      4) Why did the Author and Creator of the Universe need to acquire honor and reputation among sinners?
      5) Is God soverign or do we have free will?
      6) Should we honor our parents or hate them?
      Honor them…

      7) 100% Man or 100% God?
      8] Paper or plastic? (Sorry…couldn’t resist).


  145. mbaker says:


    Christ may have been helpless at birth as we humans define it, but He was not so as the only begotten son of God. How do you answer that? Seems to me that if we are going to go by BJ, it took something else to create that scenario, such as Johnson’s definition He was not fully God from the beginning but had to have a separate “anointing” To become that. That does NOT square with the word of God. An anointing is a thing, but He was the Alpha and Omega, according to scripture.: THE plan from beginning to end.


  146. John Ashton says:

    Hey Mbaker-

    My only answer to that is that I agree (and I’ve written alot on it!) It’s both/and; not either/or. 100% God or 100% man? yes All-powerful Alpha-Omega/Creator/Speaks Universe Into Existence or helpless baby? yes Free-will or sovereign? yes Should we seek to know the word or should we seek to know the Word. yes

    Most tensions and contradictions I am familiar with have been softed or eliminated by this 100/100 idea of the Incarnation, and it has certainly eliminated any problem I have with Bill on this issue(there are PLENTY of other things I’d like to take up with him.. Ha! Ha!) I have come to believe that any principle in Scripture (or anywhere) has a (apparent) contradiction. The proof is in Romans where it says that God has revealed his attributes in His creation. Chaos or Order? yes. God’s point? Don’t try to answer 11-D questions with a 3-D mind; just fall down and worship, because His Kingdom operates in the same way. Want to live? Die. Want to be exalted? Humble yourself.

    I’ll be frank. Given my investment of time and money, I have agonized over cultivating a sincere and childlike desperation. I always glossed over the Beatitudes. I spent my whole life figuring out how to get the right answer and I became very, very good at it. Then I discover my academic/intellectual passport of knowledge is useless in 8 dimensions. Most painful and freeing discovery of my life.

    I’m saying all of this because if you asked BJ if Jesus was the Anointed One from the beginning of creation, he’d say, “yes”.


    • Craig says:

      John, you wrote:

      I’m saying all of this because if you asked BJ if Jesus was the Anointed One from the beginning of creation, he’d say, “yes”.

      You’ve continually tried to speak for Johnson by making suppositions. For you to have credibility you’ll need to provide quotes. That’s only fair as that’s what I’ve done (provided direct quotes of Johnson) and when I make logical conclusions based on his words you accuse me of essentially putting words in Johnson’s mouth and making false accusations. So, I request that you provide actual quotes rather than making suppositions on what you think Johnson would say.


  147. mbaker says:


    You said:

    “I’m saying all of this because if you asked BJ if Jesus was the Anointed One from the beginning of creation, he’d say, “yes”.’

    Then why did BJ say Jesus was anointed as Christ only at His water baptism by John? That is the big question here regarding BJ’s teachings and what we are all questioning. If the ‘anointing’ is a ‘substance’ which is what BJ and others teach, how does a substance equal the personage of Jesus as both God and man Himself? If we receive the same anointing as both God and man at our water baptism doesn’t that say that water baptism is the definitive test rather than grace through faith? How do you see the difference?


  148. John Ashton says:

    Hey Julie!

    My aplogies for skipping you over. Thank you for you kind words.

    I’ve been in both camps, Julie, and I love them both. I think all of us – including Bill Johnson and Charles Spurgeon – have blind spots, which is why there’s a Body. My fantasy miracle would be a visit from the Church Genie during the Sunday evening service. My three wishes would be graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary. Hey, why not? Why not rigorous and robust study AND insane worship? Bill talks about the spirit of control in ch.7 of WHIE. Warring in the opposite spirit? How about inviting MacArthur to do a conference/open forum? What a gesture that would be. I’m sure people would know what to do.

    Yes. Signs and wonders are the hot commodities. Oh my…. I really could go on forever. Bottom line? I love that Bethel is “going after it”. I love the way they encourage risks. The whole premise undergirding everything is pressing into an infinite God. Are there problems? Sure. Angelic visitations aside, most problems stem from the humans. Yes, some miracles are questionable and there are things that could be done to rein things in. But you have to remember that Bethel attracts young,idealistic/artistic/imaginitive individuals. Load up the sanctuary on a given Sunday morning and you’ve got more hormonal horsepower than a fleet of Ferraris. Add great music and a killer sound system and things can get wild and crazy. (The ultimate practical joke on Bill, by the way, would be to do a switcher-oo and bus in 1,200 librarians from Kansas and Iowa for the 11:00 service.)

    Humility is the glue that holds things together. If you want the real inside scoop, nobody really knows what’s going on, which is why there’s such a contagious atmosphere of expectation. Cultivating submission releases big things. Bill has been pressing infor 30 years or so, and I deeply respect him for it.

    Money and miracles? I’d like to hear people’s input. Walk around Redding and you hear occasional mumblings that “Bethel is just a business.” My question is, “Why chance it?” Removing finances would seem to close any potential credibility gap. Some ministries operate on a donation-only basis Would Bethel hurt itself in following suit? Miracles and money can be a lethal combination for any organization, especially a church poised for being the seat of international revival. The faith declarations preceding offerings hang a in curious counterpoint to the prices in the bookstore that are emblematic of it’s financial policy. God in a heartbeat could move the heart of a Warren Buffet or Larry Ellison, and I laugh sometimes wondering if the only thing holding back a seven-billion-dollar check on Bill’s desk is Bethel’s decision to exercise the same faith it’s asking from its membership by slashing 80% off all its merchandise, conferences and web media. Money never stands between a hungry spirit and a word from Andrew Womack or Mike Bickle and I think both ministries are thriving. All it would take is one hostile and nosey reporter who ushers the guy claiming the gold filling into a dentist’s office. Money becomes kindling. I think people have a lot more margins in their hearts for excesses like this (and they do happen!) when money is de-emphasized. I watched Bethel get some seriously amazing prophetic words. Huge. (I’m new to this, so take it for what it’s worth.) But is it possible to short-circuit the materialization of prophesy? If things start feeling plugged up (not because of the service with the librarians) money is always something to look at.

    I’m just asking questions, OK? I agree wholeheartedly with checks and balances. To be brutally honest, I really don’t know why Bethel isn’t exercising more vigilence in addressing questions. Why not hire a someone to answer emails? But I’ll feel disappointed if people use these words as a platform for personal criticism. We all want to see God’s Kingdom advanced. Like a great company, Bethel has all the fundamentals, the most important of which being that the leadership in on its knees crying out for wisdom. At least that’s what I think. Bill’s voice often chokes up from emotion. He’s sincere, and he deeply wants to tap into God’s heart. Is he sometimes off? Sure. But he’s going after it, and I pray for a spirit of cooperation and unity and grace and patience and healthy interdependence to fill any gaps preventing Bethel from firing on all 16 cylinders.


  149. John Ashton says:


    Good point.

    My intention is to offer an extra-literary dimension to maybe fill in some gaps. But I understand what you’re saying.


  150. John Ashton says:

    Hey Mbaker-
    You really framed your last question masterfully, and, honestly don’t think I have the background to do it justice. What I know for SURE is that I’m glad this isn’t a timed essay test.

    Here’s the question you asked:

    “You said:
    “I’m saying all of this because if you asked BJ if Jesus was the Anointed One from the beginning of creation, he’d say, “yes”.’
    Then why did BJ say Jesus was anointed as Christ only at His water baptism by John? That is the big question here regarding BJ’s teachings and what we are all questioning. If the ‘anointing’ is a ‘substance’ which is what BJ and others teach, how does a substance equal the personage of Jesus as both God and man Himself? If we receive the same anointing as both God and man at our water baptism doesn’t that say that water baptism is the definitive test rather than grace through faith? How do you see the difference?”

    Let me invert my last statement when I tried to speak on behalf of Bill If I walked up to Bill and asked him, “Is Jesus Christ the Anointed One”, and he said, “no”, I’d pack my bags. I say this just to make sure we’re on the same basic page.

    If I understand Bill, he is making a distinction between two things.

    a) Jesus’ designation/Title/banner as the Alpha-Omega, Everlasting One, Anointed One who has sat on the right hand of the Father for all eternity. (Perhaps Bill means, or is assuming, that Someone who has existed from the beginning of time in all His fullness and completeness can’t receive an anointing or title that he already possess. He just IS.)

    b) what he received on earth from John.

    *Jesus was a man modeling total submission to the Father.
    *Our walk is modeled after His walk. We need to pray. Jesus prayed. We need to receive the HS. Jesus received the HS. (The only obvious gap is that He didn’t need to ask for forgiveness!!) If our walk entails receiving anointings, could the argument be made that Jesus had to receive an anointing?

    I think that’s as far as I should go for now (grinning). If we’re in agreement we can build from there.


  151. John Ashton says:

    I should probaby clarify that I didn’t even know who Bob Jones was a year ago. I’ve know about BJ for maybe 2.5 years. In other words, I can still read the license plate of that turnip truck that driving away.

    Before moving on, there’s a question I feel I need to ask. I believe it says somewhere in Scripture that the enemy will be duplicating God’s miracles. Who is as work behind Johnson’s and Jone’s miracles?


  152. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-
    I don’t think I responed to your question from 3-4 at 10:31 am.

    Yes, I feel there’s a sort arrogant “take it or leave it” attitude at Bethel. I’m not sure who it comes from, nor do I particularly care. I’ve seen spiritual pride suck the life out of three churches and I sense similar patterns at Bethel. I have confidence that Bill and everyone else has the humility to address this as the Holy Spirit leads.

    Yes, there IS maybe a tinge of that expectation of blind obedience. Bethel is not a democracy – there are several concentric circles. Bill, Kris, Danny and I guess the elders are in the middle. Kinda bugs me, but Bill would need 328 hours in a day to answer everyone. So, no. It does not have the feel of a community church. Not a lot of scriptural discernment. You don’t hear, “Wait a moment. Would you give me scriptural support for what you just said?” Not part of the culture.

    Bill is into God, not the concept. I agree wholeheartedly. To be blunt, the Bible is idolized by many and has been turned into a legal document. Bethel (and others) want to distance themselves from this. I believe Bethel has maybe gone bit far. I think the pendulum will come back. Bill himself has expressed concern about this this summer, so it’s not like some bonfire of the vanities. Lots of the songs have the depth of greeting cards. What about those rich, didactic hymns? But Bethel’s working them in! So, overall, there’s no real problem unless you want to stir one up. ”

    Bethel is perhaps more like a train station than a suburban home. It is what it is. Median age can’t be more than 27. So it lacks the richness of generational depth.

    I’ve attended churches with scientists and businessmen. Bethel has more artists and musicians. Artists and musicians are just wired differently and that affects the culture. I’d like to see a more equal blend of creativity and discernment, more “why?” questions.

    So you have a demographic consisting basically of young idealists. Paradoxically, Bethel is structured and operated more like the Naval Academy than UC Berkeley. I think I’ve heard people say it’s modeled after the Kingdom. Creativity is HIGHLY valued; but you don’t see that “liberal/question authority” element that is characteristic of free-thinking colleges. I don’t see there being blind obedience. There are – I don’t know – 4-6 concentric circles. Level 1 doesn’t interact with level 5. So, yeah, Bill and Kris carry a mystique. But it’s no different that MacArthur or any other large church.

    Yes, we should shout from the rooftops if BJ is in error. But my honest sense is that, while there are those relatively impenetratable concentric circles, there’s an underlying attitude of humility that is able to embrace different viewpoints. If there’s a problem, it’s that Bethel hasn’t quite hashed out the details in terms of creating an infrastructure to accomodate different avenues to air and process varying viewpoints. Again, part of this is because of its itinerant nature… students coming and going.

    I’m hearing this over and over. Yes, I think Bill could take some time to clarify things. If for no other reason, it’s good PR, right? But you have to understand that Bethel is not a “fine print” church. I’ve spent years at those. It’s just a different world.

    There’s this bumper sticker that says, “Harley Davidson: If you have to ask why, you’d never understand.” This pretty much hits it. Bethel is about the presence of God. I’ve seen some very “correct” church congretations whose worship was as stiff as a board.

    Jackie Robinson was Democrat until he met Kennedy. He changed to Republican because he preferred Nixon. He said Kennedy didn’t look him in the eye. I’m an eyeball man. When I get my 5-8 seconds to shake hands will Bill and look him in the eye, I get a good “vibe”. He looks and feels malleable and sincere. There’s a contiguity. His wife is a delight. I can definitely see him spending four hours in prayer before a service.


  153. Kevin says:

    Hi John,

    You raise a fair and good question about who is behind the so called miracles.

    This post has discussed an “anointing”. We are indeed anointed as Christians, see 1 John 2:20 and I believe that this anointing is related to our ability to discern truth from error and to love the truth and hate every false way (according to the Psalmist).

    With this in mind the Scriptures which you are referring to are Matt 7:21-23 and 2 Thess. 2:9-12, which says:

    “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

    With this Scripture in mind we need to objectively look at some recent history regarding Bill’s teaching about Jesus needing to be born again. I’ve placed this argument elsewhere on the web but basically I engaged with Bill on his Facebook page about this issue and someone asked him if he would submit to and be obedient to Scripture in this very important area of whether or not Jesus had the power to raise Himself. The person wrote:

    “Jack Bartolli Bill Johnson: In an above comment to Kevin, you stated that Jesus “did not raise Himself” from the dead. But the Bible teaches… that the Father raised Jesus (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10), the Holy Spirit raised Jesus (Romans 8:11), and Jesus raised Himself from the dead (John 2:19). Jesus was talking about the temple of His body. Are you willing to submit to Scripture and correct your statement?”

    On Sunday 27th Feb Bill once again stated in a sermon that “Jesus did not raise Himself”. I think his assertion is pretty emphatic, there is no room here for arguing over nuances or intended meaning. He clearly states that Jesus did not raise himself, which I believe denies the work of the second person of the trinity in the resurrection and thus denies the unity of the trinity in the outworking of the eternal purposes of God. Therefore, doesn’t it necessarily follow that Bill’s Jesus is devoid of any power and is thus less than God? If this is true then seeing him lie flat on his face isn’t really an indication of whether or not he is worshiping in spirit and in truth. The question you should ask on this important issue is this: is Bill being honest with Scripture? Is he willing to submit to the word of God if he continues to state that Jesus did not raise Himself?

    In my opinion it’s about who Jesus is. I see it as undermining the Trinity and being dishonest with Scripture and an attack on the person of Christ, which person has two natures, divine and human. It is true that Jesus chose to work out of His human nature in some instances but He also worked out of His divine nature in other instances, yet the crucial thing is that from whichever nature He worked it was the PERSON of Christ who was doing them. Jesus’ human nature died on the Cross (Luke 23:46) but He nevertheless yielded His spirit. But His divine nature did not die (if it did He would cease to be God) but raised Himself from the dead (Jn 2:19; Heb 7:16, etc). To emphatically state that Jesus did not raise Himself is, like I said before, undermining the WORK of the second person of the Trinity in the resurrection. If you undermine His work in Jesus’ own resurrection you are also undermining it in the resurrection and new birth of all true born-again Christians. Furthermore, to state this openly whilst being aware of recent genuine questioning about this matter on his FB page shows a distinct lack of respect for the Bible and the opinions of other believers.

    So, with the aforementioned text from Thessalonians in mind and based on this recent example (there are many more) of how Scripture is toyed with, you have to ask the question: is this a refusal to love the truth, are the signs and wonders all part of the strong delusion mentioned here? The only way we can know this is by looking at what is taught first and then examining the “fruit”. I fear it is all part of the strong delusion and from reading these posts I worry John that you may be getting sucked into it. Please, please prayerfully consider the warning signs.

    In Him

    PS – FYI, Bob Jones is as off the wall as they come! Not a prophet by any stretch of the imagination.
    PPS – noone here’s denying that Bill is a nice guy, I’m sure he is, but personality shouldn’t be the test of sincerity and orthodoxy. See Romans 16:18.


  154. Bill Fawcett says:


    You make some great points. Since I too have laid prostrate on the floor (flipping like a fish in the bottom of a boat with my face in a puddle of my own drool) I suppose everything I say must be taken as valid. And some people think I’m a nice guy too.

    Besides, my wife is a delight, and she has been to Toronto.


  155. cherylu says:


    Thank you for bringing those points up. I was not aware that Bill Johnson has refused to recognize that Jesus raised Himself from the dead.


    Can you not see the danger in this? You say he is teachable, but after being confronted with this very teaching from Scripture personally on Facebook, he is still refusing to believe it, accept it, and teach it.

    And I agree with Kevin that doing so makes Jesus less then who His is–less then 100% God.

    (BTH, Kevin you are the only one that I have ever heard who has actually been able to have any interaction with Bill Johnson. Will he talk to others on Facebook, do you know? Or how did you get the privilege?)


  156. Kevin says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    Ha, no special priviliges I just must have caught him on a good day or it may be my anointing!!!

    You can still see the thread here (note that he removed the comments by a person called Elaine):

    He didn’t engage me after that and didn’t respond to my genuine questions which revealed his contradictions. He does engage with others on FB but it’s only those who sing his praises. In the past he has said he likes to say things that are controversial to get people thinking but when clear thinking people come back at him with genuine questions he doesn’t respond (which in a way is fair enough, you can’t spend all day on Facebook!). Nevertheless, he hasn’t responded on a key doctrinal point. I agree with John that our finite minds cannot possibly comprehend the vastness and majesty of God (Romans 11:33) but the fact of the matter is that God has chosen to reveal Himself in creation and He has condescended to provide us with a means of knowing Him more, namely, the Bible so we shouldn’t allow our finiteness to be an excuse for upholding His revealed truth. See Deut 29:29.

    In Him


  157. mbaker says:


    You said: “*Our walk is modeled after His walk. We need to pray. Jesus prayed. We need to receive the HS. Jesus received the HS. (The only obvious gap is that He didn’t need to ask for forgiveness!!) If our walk entails receiving anointings, could the argument be made that Jesus had to receive an anointing?”

    I believe if you read both parts of the BJ articles you will see all that was covered. To wit, from BJ II, under the heading “Baptism in Confusion”:

    “Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. This was an identifying sign that Jesus was the Son of God. This was not an “impartation.” The Apostle John makes this distinction clear:

    “32 Then John [the Baptist] gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” [John 1:32-34 NIV) “


  158. W B McCarty says:

    John, I offered a question that’s been overlooked. I’d like to call it to your attention. Let me reiterate it concisely: If Bill Johnson does believe in the divinity of Christ, how are we to reasonably understand his written claim that Christ, in the incarnation, “left behind his divinity?” What, exactly, can he mean by this? Simply put, every possible understanding of this teaching that I have found seriously departs from orthodox Christology.

    To raise a separate but related issue, in some of your recent comments, you appeal to “mysteries” within the faith. Please note that these mysteries pertain to how, for instance, the incarnation is possible. They don’t pertain to whether, for instance, Jesus was (and is) fully God and fully man. The foundational Christian doctrines of the incarnation were established centuries ago as the culmination of centuries of study by wise and godly men working in the light of the Spirit. It is certainly appropriate to wonder how God brought these things to pass. But to question whether God did so, or to state that God did not do so, is to depart from the historic Christian faith, held in common by the Eastern Church, the Roman Church, and Protestants. That’s exactly what Bill Johnson seems to me to regularly do, whether or not he intends it. And, when considered in light of the ecumenical Christian creeds, it seems to me that the result cannot reasonably be termed Christian.


  159. John Ashton says:

    Hey John! I’m am SORRY I passed you over… I was looking over my press clippings a few hours ago and saw your post. I even copy/pasted it to Word to respond…. I’ll post something asap.


  160. John Ashton says:

    Hey W B McCarty- Man, I’m getting senile, calling you John…. Ha!

    Your question is eloquently-phrased. I’ll try to answer it from some different angles. Please forgive me If any of my words sound cutting or sanctimonious.

    1-No one had Scripture down better than the Pharisees and they were always trying yank Jesus onto their legal turf in hope of catching him making a mistake. Jesus played into their game by intentionally breaking their laws. On one occasion, he violated a law in healing a man. The Pharisees go ballistic, and this man is screaming, “Guys! This man healed me! He healed me! He healed me!” When Jesus didn’t answer them they way they wanted, they ratcheted up their accusations. At some point, they deeply hoped to prove Jesus was from the Devil That’s why I asked the question I did last night. It’s serious. Very serious. It’s the works. If Bill and Heidi and Bob went on TV and prayed and healed the entire North American continent of diabetes in one evening, there are people who are going claim they’re getting their power from the enemy by pointing to some questionable theology. At that point, wow… I fear there are a lot of people who actually want to believe that Bill believes Jesus is not god. Let me tell you something: you can take the words of Spurgeon, MacArthur, Johnson – even Jesus Himself – and with the use of selective contextualization and logic turn any of them into heretics.

    Speaking of which, I had it out with one pastor at Bethel some time ago. He told me to put my Bible away for a year. His point was that the Word is more important than the word. As with the Pharisees, scripture had become a stumbling block for me. [I compromised and put my KJV, ASB and NASB away. Now I’m reading the NLT.] For MYSELF, I reached a brutal crisis: What does it matter if I’m ACCURATE and CORRECT if I can’t seem to let go of unforgiveness? Jesus is clear that among the fastest vehicles on Hell’s Autobahn are Envy and Bitterness and Pride.

    So here’s my new theology: There are folks who talk and there folks who actually do it. McClellan was brilliant on paper; Grant got it done on the battlefield. I’ve become an “eyeball guy”. I usually attend a service, have read a couple of his books, listen to his MP3’s, hang out in a couple classes, have made a few friends…… I’ve run into him 2-3 times, and everything kind of fits together. It’s consistent. His countenance betrays a humble, balanced and godly lifestyle; Unaffected; People underneath him seem content; kids seem normal; Wife’s is a doll. No red flags. By contrast, I’ve met some prolific, accurate, correct, air-tight, on-the-money theologians who are puffed-up. I don’t care about their theology because it isn’t producing the fruit that matters. They’re articulate, but there’s no depth in their eyes. They carry and transmit a heaviness of spirit to their their congregations and adjust their theology to account for its dwindling numbers. It’s actually really simple why Bethel is the size it is.
    That’s my first answer.

    2- If you really want to see heresy, quote Jesus. Forget Bill. I’m serious. Take Jesus’ words, add some syllogisitic modifying conjunctions, determine some contextual boundaries, then see where you end up. So Bill says Jesus didn’t raise Himself? Fine. Great. Jesus said he could do nothing on his own! [and NO ONE is permitted to enter the “This is what Jesus means” room unless they’re willing to extend the same accommodation to Bill.] Jesus even attached a “truly, truly” to it signifying heaven-rending urgency! And He says it twice in the same chapter. If Jesus can’t do anything on His own, then He’s limited, and if He’s limited, He certainly isn’t God and most certainly is unable to raise himself from the dead. So, while I’m not privy to how Bill actually developed his theology, it’s easy to imagine where he might have found a textual basis for saying that “Jesus left behind his divinity”.

    3- I’m 100% certain of the basis of my salvation. The woman who fell at Jesus’ feet proved that the exchange rate of Heaven’s currency favors tears and perfume over accurate orthodoxy. And I get uncomfortable with what Jesus said to Sardis. I grew up in a quid pro quo world where validation and success was earned, and I carried that mindset to church. Bethel believes that paradigm is upside down and I agree. Once you know (r-rated ginowsko) love, orthodoxy works itself out naturally.

    4- Heidi Baker talks about these bush pastors she has converted. I doubt they know much more than Eph 1-3, if even that. Whatever it is, it’s enough to raise kids from the dead. We’re talking serious bang for your biblical buck. They know something I don’t know, and it’s disturbingly offensive because I’ve put serious sweat equity into my mind (most of it honestly) and feel these people are taking short cuts. In a sense, Bethel says to newcomers, “We don’t really care what you know… we’re onto something that works.” Yes, they come across as arrogant at time. No, it doesn’t bother me that much anymore because I was more arrogant towards Heidi’s bush pastors than Bethel’s people act towards me. So I actually come out ahead on this tit for tat poker table.

    5- I understand the how/whether tension. I once read that the problem with Christianity is in its name: it’s an “ism” – a methodology, system, orthodoxy, what-have-you. Like anything, tradition can be a positive or a negative. I think Bill is selective. There’ve been some amazing minds in the past 2000 years, as well as some kooks. Personally, my toes would tingle if there was more intellectual and biblical depth at Bethel. But it’s all fine. Take a vacation to L’Abri. Maybe Bill will even give you some airline miles. Of course there conformity, but no one is opposed to different ideas – it’s just that everyone’s boat is pretty much floating on the same ideological river. Rumor has it that more tour guides are coming.

    For now, I enjoy the ride for what it is. When I see people kneeling and weeping because they just can’t wrap their mind around the depth of the love of Jesus, it activates my intellect in a disarming way by forcing me to build my world view upside down. All those intimidating and mysterious layers of circuitous and undulating theology make sense now only in terms of “Jesus loves me.”

    If you really want a hot potato, I discovered that for my entire Christian life I’ve been far, far, far harder on myself than God is. I’m in Christ and have been since before the Big Bang. I no longer even believe God gets angry with me because He poured all his rage out on Jesus. Watching the Shuttle re-enter the atmosphere helped me conceptualize it, but it still totally fries my noodle. His patience, kindness (see Ex.34 for the entire list) drowns my understanding of justice. I think Bethel is grasping the difference between God’s measured discipline vs. punishment.

    I hope I’ve answered your questions. Please let me know if I can clarify.


  161. cherylu says:


    I think you need to clarify somethng for me in what you just said; “If Jesus can’t do anything on His own, then He’s limited, and if He’s limited, He certainly isn’t God and most certainly is unable to raise himself from the dead.”

    Is this part of what you were saying to make a point, or is this what you really believe? I have assumed from our conversation here so far that you believe Jesus is 100% God. But now I am wondering for sure what you meant. Please clarify for me, o.k?


  162. W B McCarty says:

    John, thanks for the time spent in your reply. However, I don’t find within your reply the answer to my question: How can we understand “laid aside his divinity” as anything other than a denial of Christ’s divinity? This seems to me to be a simple question that demands an equally simple answer.

    I’m not trying to lift the claim out of its local context or, for that matter, the entire context of Bill Johnson’s life and teaching. If you believe that any particular context clarifies the meaning of the claim, please cite feel free to cite it. And, please note that I’m applying no syllogisms whatsoever. I’m simply asking, what did Bill Johnson mean when he wrote those words? Can they possibly be understood in a way consistent with orthodox Christian theology?


  163. cherylu says:


    By the way, Jesus states that he DOES have the ability to lay down His own life and to raise Himself up again. And He says that is what He is going to do. Here it is: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:17-18


  164. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu!

    I was just making a point. It’s just that there a danger in this spiritual economy of hijacking Johnson’s scriptural paper airplane messages and transforming them into cumbersome cargo shipments.

    With enough time, intelligence and bandwidth anyone can turn Bill, or anyone else (including and especially Jesus), into a heretic. Be warned. The Bible is already deemed as a hate-book by some governments. I hope the Church can get on the same page because we need unity in the coming years more than we need accuracy.

    The enemy loves to turn believers against each other. One game he likes is Infernal Pin The Tail On The Donkey. It’s an old favorite of mine. If stocks are down, the air is rarified and Hillary surges, I could be convinced to dig into his archives and muster up a case qualifying MacArthur as one of Dante’s docents.

    But why? God’s ways are way beyond our ways even in this tame 3-dimensional game of Battleship. Life is good riding the waves of love’s oceanic vastness, and we and relish the hormonal rush when our intellects and egos seem to mesh with what we perceive as fullness in truth. But from another realm, Angels are grieving that our beachballs of Criticism float so easily.

    I have this theory that our minds are like a 5-piece paper pie. Every human has one blind slice and unfortunately believes the mind only has 4 slices. All churches are is a collection of people with the same blind slice who love the Maker of the pie. All the evangelicals are blind in Slice IV, the charismatics in Slice III, etc. I think the Body will become more relevant when humility allows the pies to rest on top of each other. This is neither pandering ecumenicalism nor relativism; it’s love, or, at least, a shot in that general direction.

    When I think of it this way, it makes it easier to marvel at John MacArthur’s disciplined and tenacious mind instead of focusing on the fact he doesn’t buy into the things Bethel buys into. I believe MacArthur loves the Lord. He’s deep. He’s brilliant. He’s obsessed with truth. Being a lifetime admirer of him, it’s inconvenient and irritating that he disagrees with Bill Johnson in some important areas. But as an unofficial one-term Bethel delegate, I’ll say that it is for the worse that a John MacArthur isn’t roaming its corridors. Why? Because Bethel tolerates sloppy exegesis. This is one of its two blind spots.

    A buddy dared me to pray that God would help me see people (inc. myself) the way He sees us. I took him up on it. Here is one thing I’ve learned. Even with Pelosi’s demise, a dialed-in Hubble Telescope, and Johnson and MacArthur blazing on their respective worldwide networks, we’re MAYBE grabbing one-quadrillionth of the Truth. God is bemused by our vanity and our warped priorities and the way we take up half a lifetime fighting over these scraps of “me-universes” comprising a galactic .00000000000000001012% of the actual fullness of His mind, heart and counsel.

    Just wanted to take the scenic route, Cherlyu, to say that Jesus is 100% God… and more.


  165. cherylu says:


    It doesn’t seem that those folks that wrote the New Testament share your idea of letting things slide, (my word for it) and “stacking the pies on top of each other.’ They were very admamant about what was truth, what was not, and about the need to maintain that truth. And that truth was hammered out to some pretty fine details in the pages of that Book that you seem to think we kind of need to put into the background a bit here for the sake of “relationship”–both with God and with each other.

    I don’t believe this is at all a one or the other thing–He expects truth and He expects relationship. We are to worship Him “in Spirit and in truth.” And to love Him with “all of our heart, soul, MIND, and strength.” To neglect truth for relationship is wrong, as is it wrong to neglect relationship for truth. It is a both/always proposition as I see it.

    And His truth isn’t fragmented and split into a thousand fractured pieces that can outright contradict each other in what you, I, or the guy down the street believes.

    And when it comes to such basics as who Jesus is–it doesn’t get much more basic then that in our need for truth and understanding. Paul did after all warn of receiving “another Gospel, another spririt, or ANOTHER JESUS.”

    The truths He has given us in His word are priceless. They are given so that we will have what we need to be mature and to live our life in Him. Neglecting truth and rightly understanding His Word comes at great peril to us. Not insisting on truth comes at great peril to the whole body of Christ. And letting things go and saying they aren’t that important if it damages unity comes at great peril to every individual believer and to the Body as a whole.


  166. John Ashton says:

    Hey W B McCarty!
    I’m sorry if I was talking past you instead of speaking to you. If it’s any consolation, I used to be worse….

    Cherylu just sent this: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.

    The short answer to your question is 100/100.

    Now for the long answer.

    I’m not a theologian. I’ve done far more thinking about God than reading about Him. Sometimes I think this is a good thing, and sometimes it’s not a good thing. Lately I’ve taken up a new approach to Scripture: Instead of in-depth study, I’m reading it like a novel (New Living Translation) cover-to-cover and trying to absorb repetition, patterns and big themes. Same ballgame; different seats.

    We all agree Jesus was human and that, in becoming human, He took on significant limitations while maintaining His deity. Was He God when He was born? Yes. Was He God on the lake? Yes. Was He God as His flesh was getting torn off? Yes. Was He God when He lay in terror in the garden? Yes. These things I know. During these times did he lay aside His divinity? My hunch is, yes. But it’s only a hunch. Kingdom mathematics allows Jesus to simultaneously lay down divinity while being God. That’s my personal belief.

    Hebrews has impacted me. The reason is that I went through this long period of deep pain and hopelessness. I remember one night when I said, “Jesus, do you know how I’m feeling? Can you relate? I mean, can you relate 100%?”

    It immediately occurred to me that the answer was “NO”. That was what I believed. I had always figured that, because He was God, He always had a special advantage. You know how little kids think? It was JUST like that …. I mean, EXACTLY, except it followed me all through my adult years. In my mind, Jesus always had some sort of hidden button – a superpower reserve tank – that could instantaneously zap Him in and out and up and down of anything. So, in my mind, right as the lead-tipped whip was about to strike, something in His deity allowed Him to get through it. He was a man, yes; but, at the very least, His deity gave him some sort of advantage that made His pain a little more bearable. Perhaps his deity gave him this huge pain threshold. Better yet, perhaps he had an auto-adjust pain threshold that lowered everything just enough so that he could feel pain, but not enough that it would cause Him to lose His composure. Those were my thoughts that had never been articulated. But they were were profoundly tied into the tapestry of my view of God, especially concerning deep emotional pain.

    For me, empathy was huge. It was bigger than huge, actually. Now that I think about it, empathy is the thread that connects all the pieces of my view of God. If Jesus had that divine reserve tank, then there was no way He could relate; no way He could “feel my pain”. Even if He DID feel all my pain, the mere idea He even had the OPTION to push the hyper-button really bothered me. I’ll be completely honest: I was at the point where if He couldn’t relate to me, then I didn’t want Him as my Lord. Savior? Sure; who’d turn down a get-out-of-hell ticket? Lord? No. Now, mind you, I never would have verbally or mentally admitted this. Quite the opposite! I’d sing about surrender and nod in agreement during sermons; I pumped my fists thousands of times as talk show hosts decried moral rebellion. I agreed with God. I loved God. But there was no way He was going to get every piece of me – at least not the parts He was unable or unwilling to empathize with. In my mind, buying into the fullness of Jesus meant that He was willing to buy into the fullness of my humanity. I’m not saying this was the right attitude; I’m just telling you the way it was.

    And just so you know I’m not making this up, I’ll give you a very short list of some of the things that were terrifying me: being lonely; being misunderstood; of achieving, but not nearly at the level I knew I could; of standing at the end of my life feeling the agony of all the lousy choices I’d made and what they truly meant. I was afraid that unkind things people said about me might actually be true. In facing some agonizing injustice, I wasn’t so much angry at God as I was fearful that He wasn’t going to turn it around. Those are just a few of the feelings I felt but didn’t have words for. Add them all together and I suppose you get death. I spent my entire life running from death only to find that Jesus was right next to it.

    We’ve all heard of Bible roulette. It’s happened twice for me – both within 10 minutes. I turned to the verse in Heb that says that Jesus can sympathize and was tempted in things that we are. That gave me a warm feeling. I opened my Bible again and it was the book of Mark. Jesus is completely falling apart; God is at the brink of terror and despair. Warmer feelings. It was at that moment that the two verses made a confluence with what I was experiencing, and some sort of light went on. (Yes, it was a warm light). It occurred to me that Jesus had this insanely intimate relationship with His Father, but that He was terrified, and that – this being the defining moment in the history of the universe – Satan was frantically combing through the Scripture and probably throwing the scapegoat image in front of Jesus saying something like, “You’re never seeing your daddy again! Enjoy the view from outer space at 0 kelvin as you watch the people you took the place of enjoy the party!” Given the intimacy Jesus had with the Father, I can only wonder if that thought is what caused Him to sweat blood. The moment thickened and became more real because I KNEW that HE knew that He would rise in three days. But the piercing finality of the words of Mark caused me to wonder if there was more to His pain than the knowledge of what He was about to endure. Maybe He’d rise and reign, but not have that old spark of intimacy. Who knows? I don’t think it really matters. It certainly didn’t matter then. It was an emotional causeway. What I DO know for sure is that THIS was Jesus’ moment of destiny: All of eternity telescopes to this singular, finite moment ….. and the King Of Glory and Anointed One looks up and says to the Father ……………………. “Can I take the chicken exit?”

    At that moment, I was satisfied that Jesus really understood my pain. I still don’t know the intimate details of what He was feeling or what He was thinking, but when I held up the overwhelming magnitude of my pain and where it was taking me against the description of Him in the garden, I understood that it was not very possible that His love, sympathy and advocacy were not abstractions. My theory of the scapegoat is just that. I can never prove it scripturally, and I don’t have to, because in the end it doesn’t really matter. All I know is that Satan was assaulting Jesus on all fronts, that it was crumpling Him, and looked as painful or more painful than what I was going thru. What matters is that in a desperately raw, existential crisis, I was catapulted in the full glory of my humanity – emotionally and intellectually – back to a place where Jesus and I were together. If, in the fullness of His humanity, he also had some deity, then it sure didn’t seem to be easing His pain. And In that moment, that was all I needed to know. His agony was helping me deal with mine.

    I know you wanted a simple answer, WB. I think we both appreciate the gravity and the urgency of knowing the real Jesus. He’s not always easy to pin down, if you know what I mean. And I suppose that’s the beauty of paradox. What’s fascinating to me is the different ways you can approach Him. Some people are leading with their hearts; others are leading with their minds. Some marvel more at His power and majesty; others at His kindness and compassion. I think it’s easy to underestimate how the way we approach Him bears on our “understanding”. For me, this has become somewhat of a relative term (you can laugh at me or with me). The systematic order of God certainly bears a striking symmetry and cadence to Orthodoxy. That’s about all I know for sure.

    That aside, I’m starting to feel orthodoxy doesn’t grasp the full implications of the idea that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man at the same time. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be this tension. The concept defies human logic. Once agree with that, it easy to grasp. But you have to agree. If Jesus was 100% human, then He DID lay down His divinity. If He didn’t lay down His divinity, then there’s no way (at least that I can see) that it can be said that he was 100% human. Welcome to God’s Kingdom.

    There is one more thing I know for sure about this question: It’s the wrong one. The questions isn’t whether Jesus lay down His divinity; it’s whether you will lay down your humanity by relinquishing your right for a logical explanation to a Kingdom concept.

    JA = RW.GSW411ZDW85


    • Craig says:

      An aspiring pianist and fan of Duke Ellington once played with Ellington in the audience and afterward was afforded the opportunity to ask Ellington’s opinion of his playing. The diplomatic Ellington smiled and said, “My, you play a lot of notes!”

      The young pianist left not quite sure initially if Ellington’s comment was intended as a compliment or as criticism. Eventually, he understood that Ellington was telling him that he played a lot of notes but he lacked feeling. The young pianist was a technically proficient player but his virtuosity got in the way of his feeling. Perhaps he was using his virtuosity to hide the fact that he wasn’t sure what he really wanted to say musically?

      John, you sure do write a LOT of words!

      This analogy may not be entirely applicable; but, I think you understand what I mean. Yes, John, you’ve made your point that there must be balance. One can’t have all theology and no relationship much like one can’t have all relationship and no theology. We could philosophize about this ad nauseum; but, this does not address the points brought up in this article.

      New Agers believe in a Jesus. The Unity Church believe in a Jesus. Each of these groups believe in a different Jesus from orthodox Christianity. So, the Christian life is about a relationship with the RIGHT Jesus. And, the right Jesus is delineated within the pages of Scripture. Some NT Scripture was written specifically to combat certain heresies that cropped up in the early church. Christian creeds have been established to explain some of the more complicated concepts about Jesus Christ (and other things within Christendom). These primarily were codified in response to heresies that arose throughout the centuries. Today we have the benefit of the work of our Christian predecessors. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

      You wrote in a previous comment that Christianity is an “ism” and this is part of the problem as you have read somewhere. Would you then agree with this quote?:

      The outstanding need of Christianity today is to emphasize the living, risen Christ. We have argued too long over the death of Christ, seeking to impose a narrow sectarian Christ upon the world. We have fed the fires of separation by our Christian divisions, churches, sects and ‘isms.’ “Their name is legion,” and most of them are founded upon some sectarian presentation of the dead Christ, and of the earlier aspects of His story. Let us now unite on the basis of the risen Christ…

      This was quoted in the second part of this article. It comes from a 1937 book titled From Bethlehem to Calvary by Alice A. Bailey, Theosophist, whose writings provide much of the basis for New Age theology. From the title of the book you can surmise that it’s about the life of Jesus; however, it takes only a skimming of the back cover to realize this is DEFINITELY NOT the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

      Yet, I put this quote in with others from Johnson and his predecessor’s Kenneth E. Hagin and E. W. Kenyon to show similarities. No, of course, they are not saying EXACTLY the same things. However, some are ALARMINGLY similar. To wit:

      “Many believe His power exists only to help us overcome sin. This understanding stops very short of the Father’s intent for us to become witnesses of another world. Doesn’t it seem strange that our whole Christian life should be focused on overcoming something that has already been defeated? Sin and its nature have been yanked out by its roots…”

      “…Many in the church are camped on the wrong side of the Cross… …I don’t need power to overcome something [sin] if I’m dead to it” [WHIE; p110 / emphasis added]

      Here’s more:

      “The ‘as He is, so are we’ [1st John 4:17] declaration is far beyond what any of us could have imagined; especially in light of the glorified description of Jesus in Revelation, chapter 1. Yet, the Holy Spirit was sent specifically for this purpose that we might attain… ‘to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’

      “The Holy Spirit came with the ultimate assignment at the perfect time. During Jesus’ ministry, it was said, ‘The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.’ …why didn’t the Father send Him until Jesus was glorified? Because without Jesus in His glorified state there was no heavenly model of what we were to become! …As He is, so are we in the world.

      “The Christian life is not found on the Cross. It is found because of the Cross. It is His resurrection power that energizes the believer…” [WHIE p 145; emphasis added]

      Johnson speaks more on this “resurrection power” for the believer:

      “At some point the reality of the resurrection [sic] must come into play in our lives – we must discover the power of the resurrection [sic] for all who believe.

      “…we must follow Him all the way – to a lifestyle empowered by the resurrection! [WHIE p 146; emphasis added]

      This implies that the Atonement was not finished on the Cross. Do you believe this, John?


  167. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-

    You’re correct. Truth is diluted, compromised and distorted and the Church suffers.

    But all truth is not equal, and the degree of our heart’s and mind’s tenacity should reflect this. The issue of whether or not Jesus is God is a different matter than whether the wine we drink during Communion turns into His blood, or, for that matter, whether it should change it’s alcohol level. The church’s willingness to take this seriously determines whether it is lead by elders or enforcers.

    I can only partly agree with what you said about the NT authors. God is Truth and God is Love. Paul was uncompromising for the Gospel, but he could never understand why people were fighting over the Truth he was suffering for, and was exhaustive in his admonitions to go out of their way to cut slack for each other if there was any doubt in this regard.

    Lefty Gomez was a pitcher for the New York Yankees during the Depression. He had a saying that sums it all up: “I’d rather be lucky than good”.


  168. John Ashton says:


    I don’t think I can express my thoughts, beliefs and feelings any more clearly. I was actually quite surprised by how well some of them came out.

    The Bible is clear about the dangers of heresy.
    From who do Hagen, Johnson, Jones, Baker and M.Chavda get their power to heal?


    • Craig says:


      I’m not saying you’re not expressing yourself clearly. What I’m trying to say is that you are philosophizing and at the same time answering some questions as a politician would — by not answering directly.

      Your question re: “power to heal” has already been answered quite well by Kevin. This is why I had not answered it.

      However, absent any sort of proof I’m left wondering about the claims of these individuals. You stated that Baker claims there’ve been multiple raisings of the dead. Where’s the proof? Am I just supposed to take Baker’s word for it? It’s just like Bentley’s claims from Lakeland — there’s been NOT ONE verifiable proof. And, Bentley has clearly shown himself to be a liar on many different occasions.

      Kevin also added something I’ve wanted to add: the fear that you may be caught up in the deception that’s spoken of in II Thessalonians 2:9-12.


  169. cherylu says:


    I was just thinking back to your comment about one of the pastor’s at Bethel challenging you to put away your Bible for a year. Are you serious??!!??

    A pastor telling some one to put away God’s Word for a year? You have got to be kidding me. That is a direct and complete contradiction to the proper attitude toward God’s Word that is described in the Bible.

    Of course you should give up unforgiveness but you do not have to give up the Word to do so!! In fact, it is in that very Word that God tells us over and over that we must give up unforgiveness.

    Is that same attitude that pastor had prevalent at all at Bethel in general? If it is there even a little bit, my but I would run for the hills as fast as I could go!!


  170. Craig says:


    Earlier, you wrote:

    ”…your constant use of logical “coordinating conjunctions” (e.g. “this seems to say”, “this would suggest” and “This seems as though”) are leading you into murky waters that result in your imputing ideas to Bill that he simply doesn’t hold! Bill is a “broad-stroke” teacher in some respects, and I feel you’re holding him to microscopic scrutiny. This is leading you into making some very serious statements You said, “If we take Bill Johnson’s words in total so far, we have Jesus devoid of divinity at birth”. This simply isn’t what Bill believes. If you misapply one out of five connected syllogisms, you’ll usually end up at a false conclusion. This is a case in point. You’ve made a blatantly false conclusion. As a result, you yourself are in danger of leading people astray.”

    If this is not what Bill Johnson believes then, given that you’ve charged me with being “in danger of leading people astray” in making a “blatantly false conclusion,” it is encumbent on you to provide some sort of proof for your counterclaim. Do you have any? A quote from a book, sermon, etc.? A clip from a video?

    In all fairness, this should be addressed before you post any further comments. Absent any proof for your counterclaim, you should retract this statement.


  171. cherylu says:


    Do you notice that you have taken to making some quite conflicting statements here lately?

    Recently you said this, If Jesus was 100% human, then He DID lay down His divinity. If He didn’t lay down His divinity, then there’s no way (at least that I can see) that it can be said that he was 100% human.

    And as Craig quoted you in his last comment you said earlier, You said, “If we take Bill Johnson’s words in total so far, we have Jesus devoid of divinity at birth”. This simply isn’t what Bill believes.

    It isn’t what Bill believes you say and we shouldn’t accuse him of teaching this. But you say you believe he had to lay down his divinity in order to be 100% human. So unless you believe he was born with all of his divininty intact and laid it aside at some future time, you have to believe exactly what we have said Bill Johnson believes–the thing you accused us of making false accusations about.

    So please tell us, which way is it?.


  172. mbaker says:


    I agree with Craig here. With all due respect, I think without specific proof to back up what you said you are guilty of your own accusation below:

    “If you misapply one out of five connected syllogisms, you’ll usually end up at a false conclusion.”

    It seems to me that’s exactly what YOU are doing. This case has been well presented, thoroughly researched and documented by comparing Johnson’s claims versus the truth of scripture. As a professing Christian it all comes down to this question in the end: Who are you going to believe first, God’s holy word, which you have been instructed to live by, or Johnson’s claims which have clearly been shown to be at odds with it in this matter? That’s the real bottom line here.


  173. John Ashton says:

    I’ll try getting back later.
    Cherylu. You seem to think I’m contradicting myself. Before addressing this, answer these questions: Am I violating man’s or God’s logic grid? Did Jesus ever contradict Himself?

    Regarding proof: After watching miracle after miracle, the Pharasees still demanded proof from Jesus. What was Jesus’ response and why did He respond as He did?

    Craig, I’ll get back later on your 2:40 question.

    I need to re-read MacArthur’s Charis Chao and perhaps retract a few things I said.

    Yes, Cherylu, that’s exactly what the pastor said. He knows I have enough head knowledge to last a lifetime or more. Sometimes you have to lay something down in order to pick something up. So his advice was essentially, “Quit reading about how to drive the car and just grab the wheel.” Jesus didn’t command us to forgive; He commanded forgiveness from the heart. It’s perhaps the scariest thing He every said to a non-Pharasee. There are plenty of people in Hell who knew the words and loved their Bibles, but precious few who took that parable in Matt. seriously.


    • Craig says:

      I’ve been patiently waiting for either your response to my question/your counterclaim (reiterated) @ 2:40 yesterday or your retraction. I’m expectant that you’ll address this today. Please remember you are a guest here at CrossWise and that you’ve essentially disrespected the host. That’s bad manners.

      I’ll briefly address this tidbit you wrote and move on:

      Regarding proof: After watching miracle after miracle, the Pharasees still demanded proof from Jesus. What was Jesus’ response and why did He respond as He did?

      I’m not asking Jesus for proof. I’m asking for proof from individuals with some rather grandiose claims. I would say this is akin to what the Bereans did in Acts 17 (and were commended by Paul for doing so).

      You also wrote:

      I’ve shared that Bethel is maybe a bit reactionary in the sense that they have seen the way overemphasizing the Bible can beget a crippling religiosity. I think that’s Bill’s main point in Ch. 7. But they’re doing it right. Not perfectly, but right…

      To put in a nutshell (and reiterate) Johnson’s flawed theology and logic: Johnson believes “Christ” is a “title” pointing to Jesus’ “experience” of Baptism. We could express it thusly: Christ = title = experience pointing to Baptism = Holy Spirit anointing = [simply] the anointing. Deduced down we have:

      Christ = the anointing.

      From this, Johnson makes a final conclusion in Chapter 7 on pp 84-85 of WHIE:

      The antichrist spirit has a goal for the Church — embrace Jesus apart from the anointing. He becomes a safe religious figure who is sure not to challenge or offend us…

      According to the warped theology of Johnson then, if one were to “embrace Jesus apart from the anointing” one would embrace Jesus apart from Christ and be left with “Jesus” — just “Jesus.” This would, by definition, necessarily entail disbelieving all that Jesus did as “Christ” (as redefined by Johnson) ie, all the miracles and on up to and including the Cross/Ascension, etc. This is what those caught up in “religiosity” as you say it believe if we take Johnson’s words to their logical conclusion. (Johnson states this “antichrist spirit” gives rise to “religious spirits” which is a “demonic presence” [p 81] — STRONG words!) Does this even make sense to support his thesis? No, it doesn’t.

      What Johson REALLY means, by taking his words at face value, is what I stated earlier: in his zeal to (re)define as antichrist (antichrist spirit) those who do not believe in “the anointing” of hyper-charismaticism (and all that goes with it including the unbiblical manifestations and its tangible quality), he himself has separated Christ from Jesus and in so doing has identified himself as antichrist as per the Apostle John in his first epistle. Actually, last time I stated Johnson was “in danger of being identified as antichrist” but I believe my stronger words are more applicable. Jesus IS Christ. Jesus is NOT “Jesus the anointing.”


  174. mbaker says:


    Still wondering what the connection is here when you say:

    “Jesus didn’t command us to forgive; He commanded forgiveness from the heart. It’s perhaps the scariest thing He every said to a non-Pharasee.”There are plenty of people in Hell who knew the words and loved their Bibles, but precious few who took that parable in Matt. seriously.”

    If you’re going to put away your Bible for whatever reason you are forgetting Christ’s own prayer for us to the father in John 17:17:

    “Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth.”

    Not to mention John 1, in which scripture describes Christ as the Word. John 1:14 says :

    “And the Word became flesh and walked among us and we have seen his glory, glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

    Still want to put away your Bible, The Living Word?


  175. cherylu says:


    Again I just want to say that I am not at all saying that it is not necessary to put into practice what is in the Bible.

    But I guess at this point I just want to ask you some questions. Haven’t you ever read something in the Bible that you have read over and over before but now, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit points out an aspect to it that you have never seen before? Haven’t you ever read the Bible and been convicted by the Spirit through a specific verse or passage of something that is wrong in your life, something you were not aware of or something that the Lord chose that particular point in time to make clear to you? Haven’t you ever read the Bible and seen some promise of God made real to your heart right at that moment? Something you hadn’t really grasped before? Haven’t you ever been hurting emotionally, physically, or mentally and picked up the Bible and read and had the Spirit speak deep comfort and peace to your heart? Haven’t you ever read the Bible and found that the words you read were used by the Spirit to strengthen you to do or face something before you? Haven’t you ever read the Bible and sensed God’s presence with you as you read His words to you there?

    In other words, have you really considered what that pastor was asking you to lay aside for a year?

    God gave us His words in the Bible to teach, encourage, convict, comfort, strengthen us, and just to plain speak to us through the written words on those pages. How do you think it would make Him feel if we told Him we have had all we need of it for the next year, thank you very much?

    And in case you are wondering, I am in no way a cessationist. I do not believe that the Bible is the only way the Spirit speaks to us today. But I do believe that it is a very vital gift He has given us and that all other ways we believe we have heard Him speak are false if they do not line up with what He has already given us in the Scripture.

    Put very simply, I believe that to deliberately lay aside the Bible for a year would be an unspeakably foolish and dangerous thing to do and basically a slap in God’s face by telling Him in effect that we have had all we need of what He has to say to us through it.


  176. cherylu says:

    Brother, no matter how much I proof read I seem to find stupid mistakes when I read it again after I have posted a comment. Please excuse my goofs. I think I need a professional proof reader to follow me around these days.


  177. mbaker says:


    Just to add to my last comment, no one here is condemning you, at least I am not. I have so been there and done that, In fact, my testimony is on this site. Apparently from what you have said previously there are deep emotional issues you have, and are still facing. As you know, our emotions can change from day to day. Just don’t let that blind you to God’s unchanging truth.

    I will surely pray that you see the difference.


  178. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu!!

    Your account of the Bible coming to life shows we are in 100% agreement. Now it’s time to cook this goose in another oven.

    I’m really glad you asked if I considered what he was saying. YES. I did. I understood his point, and I put my Bible away… More important, I put away ALL of my commentaries!!!!!!! Then I bought an NLT. Now I’m reading the Bible more than I ever did. In the process, I feel God showed me something very, very interesting. I was reading over a MacArthur sermon when it occured to me that 99.5% of the words in the sermon were John MacArthur’s words. Isn’t that funny! We all read the same Bible. The snag is that man-made religion causes us to read the Bible through the eyes of the men who write the rules. I did an about-face and started running away from mu Calvinist roots. Is this a rejection of calvinism? By no means.

    So the irony of all of this is that I’m more into Scripture than anyone I know. For each page I read of Bill Johnson, II read 150 pages of the Bible.

    I’ll share one more thing, Cherylu, to prove that you and I are in 100% agreement: Everyday I take one Scripture passage and I meditate on it. It’s not memorization, per se, though that’s always the end result. Sometimes I meditate for an hour or two. For the past few years, I haven’t read any commentaries. The greatest expositor in the world is The Holy Spirit. I have LOTS of questions….still. I made an excrutiating decision a couple of years ago to try an experiment. I don’t go to anyone with questions about the meaning of a passage. Eph.3:14-21 is the big one for me. I asked God, “What is the fullness…” A week later I find out about Bill. I thought these guys were all fring lunatics. So I moved up to check it out, and I’ll keep the world posted if there’s demand (grinning).

    I’ve shared that Bethel is maybe a bit reactionary in the sense that they have seen the way overemphasizing the Bible can beget a crippling religiosity. I think that’s Bill’s main point in Ch. 7. But they’re doing it right. Not perfectly, but right. They worship for 3-4 hours. Sometimes I’d like to hear more hymns. Sometimes I struggle with the form, but almost never the substance. People are singing and dancing and crying out about how much they love Jesus. Tune into iBethel TV and see for yourself. As far as the sermons, 85% of the time, there aren’t any exegetical fire alarms going off… sometimes, yes, but so far, they have all been minor. Remember, you’re talking to a former neo-calvinist.

    At the end, Cherylu, it comes down to this: If you come to church looking for issues, you can find plenty. I’ve tried to explain that at first, it was total culture shock. It was offensive and it was uncomfortable. I wrestled with tongues…. (This is a whole nother story…a good one!) I STILL have a short worship attention span. I can’t handle 3 hours….maybe 40 minutes. I get hung up by some of the music…. The crowds too young… you know? . But it’s all good in God’s eyes. Instead of being critical, I try to ask God to show me His view of things.

    I hope my background gives me a degree of credibility. I’m not Bill’s yes-man, and I’ve stated that I have a few issues. But I’m coming to accept the hard truth that maybe they are just MY issues. I’ve learned to laugh at myself, and this is helping me to receive some good things.

    So you and I are in 100% agreement. We both want exactly the same thing; we’re just taking different roads to get there.



    • cherylu says:


      You say we are on the same page about the Bible. But I sure do wonder what page the pastor is on that told you to put it away for a year!


  179. John Ashton says:

    Hey MBaker-
    I really appreciate your kindness, and agree with you 100% Feelings are not the truth. But sometimes they lead us there. Now I’m starting to wonder if we can know truth unless we listen to our feelings.

    Everyone reacts and responds to things differently. There’ one Truth, but it seems to look different to everyone, and this can get infuriating, especially when I know I’m the one whose right (ironic grin).

    I don’t feel any condemnation from anyone here (grin), but, thank you. I think some people are more detail-oriented than others, and this affects how they read things, scripture included. The challenge is to be of one mind on the important issues and to try to decouple our egos from them. I’m at the FRONT of the line on this…. oh my word. My need to be right has kept me from the thing I want the most, which is to feel loved. Maybe this has come out in the things I’ve written. To risk invoking howls of derision, I’m more concerned about our beer together than which one is closer to the correct answer regarding Bill. If you can make me laugh as you show me my error, the drinks are on me.


  180. John Ashton says:

    Hey MBaker- I’m answering things in reverse….ugh….
    ALL I’m saying… nothing more… is that the goal is for the word to be on my heart (read my post to cherylu). It’s kind of like weight lifting. Sometimes you reach diminishing returns on the machine you’re using to build your biceps. You don’t stop. You change machines.


  181. W B McCarty says:

    John, I notice that for all your many words you still haven’t answered my question, “How can we understand ‘laid aside his divinity’ in an orthodox way?” Your response, “It’s the wrong question,” is, I think, ill considered. Please recall that it was Bill Johnson who raised the question of the divinity of Jesus. The Christian church has considered that question settled for well over a millenium. So, I’d say it’s not so much that my question is the wrong question but that Bill Johnson’s statement is the wrong statement. The right statement would be, Jesus always has been and always will be fully God; he has never ceased to possess or exercise all the divine attributes.

    In considering the humanity and divinity of Christ, you refer to “tension.” The simple elegance of the historic Christian doctrine is that it bypasses this tension you sense. Unlike us, Jesus has not one but two natures: one human and one divine. When Jesus exhibits human limitation, such as hunger, orthodox theology understands the limitation as applying to only his human nature. His divine nature, being self-sufficient, has no need of food and cannot directly experience hunger. More broadly, the term “divine attribute” refers to a necessary and sufficient, sine qua non, condition of divinity. For example, it is true that Jesus, in his humanity, did not know all things. But Jesus, in his divinity, remained at all times omniscient. Even as Jesus ministered in Palestine, he continued in his divinity to uphold all things by the word of his power, without the exercise of which all things would have ceased to exist and without the full possession of which he would have ceased to be God.

    To arrive at this answer does not require me or anyone else to relinquish humanity. It requires only that we be diligent students of the Word, which Bill Johnson quite apparently is not. At one time, ordinary schoolchildren were taught these doctrines by means of catechisms. Today, altogether too many who put themselves forward as teachers seem ignorant of them.

    John, you raise another issue by which I don’t wish to be sidetracked. But, I feel I must address it because that issue, or one or another related issue, is often brought to the table when folks wish to justify ignorance of, or inattention to, Scripture. You write of having been counseled to put aside for a season the study of the Word to focus instead on love and worship. I put it to you that you have been made the victim of a false dichotomy. I think that in your heart you know this. Truth cannot be separated from or subordinated to relationship. Neither can Christian truth be apprehended apart from a relationship with God, the reality of which is seen in one’s relationship to fellow humans. The Bible commands that we be lovers of the truth as expressed in the written Word as well as lovers of God and one another. We cannot rightly pursue the one goal without also pursuing the other. I think you know this, too. So, I ask another question, What do you suppose Paul, author of the Pastoral Epistles, would make of such an alleged dichotomy? Can you picture him counseling Timothy to put aside study and preaching of the Word in order to learn how to enjoy the sensation of feeling loved by the Father?

    I could go on. Perhaps I should do so. But let me rest here. There are plenty enough issues on the table. The key question has always been and remains, Who is Jesus Christ?


  182. Bill Fawcett says:

    “Can you picture him counseling Timothy to put aside study and preaching of the Word in order to learn how to enjoy the sensation of feeling loved by the Father? ”



  183. mbaker says:


    I want to get back to what Johnson said here:

    “The antichrist spirit has a goal for the Church — embrace Jesus apart from the anointing.”

    INTERESTING that one of the pastors at Bethel itself counseled you to lay aside your Bible for a year. Is that not separating Christ from God’s word, when He is the Word made flesh? And isn’t that also fitting Johnson’s very own definition of the antichrist spirit’s goal for the church?


  184. Bill Fawcett says:

    I heard the other day of an IHOP franchise meeting where they cast the antichrist spirit out of many christians, In response, I had to find out what that was. How can this be? As defined by Johnson, an antichirst spirit is within anyone who does not embrace his (Johnson’s) concept of the Holy Spirit. Especially if you speak out against it.

    As a born again, spirit-baptized, tounge-speaking Christian (perhaps for more years than Johnson) can I just state how terribly offensive I find this?


  185. John Ashton says:

    Hey MBaker-

    I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but I read your testimony share many of your concerns. We’ve clearly sniffed some of the same fumes on this charismatic highway. Your background combined especially with your kindness and patience with my wandering precocity gives you immediate credibility. A while ago I mentioned Adrian Warnock, a pastor at a reformed British church. He wrote this article entitled “I Don’t Want Balance; I Want It ALL!” W B McCarty, I apologize I didn’t respond to your response about Warnock. For all I know his church has Shirley Maclaine on the elder board – I know nothing else about him apart from the article. But it made me laugh and confirmed a hunch that it might be possible to build a vehicle with a MacArthur-Johnson-Warren engine block even if it takes a few years to tweak with the compression ratios.

    I’ve harped on this, but feel it bears repeating. The 100/100 idea of the Incarnation has solved almost everything for me. Maybe a better way to say it is that it has smoothed some things. I don’t think the issue is so much whether Johnson is a false teacher by saying “Jesus set aside His divinity”; it’s whether I am willing to set aside my humanity by letting go of my need to figure everything out and then exercising my right to be right. That’s been my attitude. Ask anyone who knows me if you don’t believe me. I’ve spent far more time on the side of the road watching steam billow out of my raised hood than I have watching people admire my ride. I had to yank out some sacred aftermarket gear before the Bible opened my eyes to the Living Word. Scripture, after all, admonishes us not to trust our own understanding. I realize this means a lot of things to a lot of different people. What it meant to me was sticking a white flag on my cerebral antenna. As a result, there are some things that now look different. The resonance of truth’s vibration stirs each of our souls differently – some like quiet comfort; others like something to pinpoint where sinews attach to the bones. Either way, the objective is to make it the destination.

    All of us – men especially – have fond memories of encounters with mechanical synergy that have established standards of excellence. I like my ride right now. It’s not perfect, but it feels really nice. A lot of people can’t quite understand why. After a while, maybe I’ll see what is obvious to them. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. But Bethel has helped me understand something I never could get my mind to understand: How lavishly and unashamedly Jesus loves me. I can’t even point to one single thing anyone has said or done. It just seems to have an atmosphere that helps people learn about the love that passes knowledge. Half of the people couldn’t even tell you where that came from in the Bible. But somehow they’re still “getting it”. Maybe there’s some kind of anointing encapsulating the boundaries of its property – who knows? I have my ideas, but I quit trying to figure it out. People are happier here than most other churches and seem to know some important things that didn’t come from a book. I find this fascinating. Heidi Baker’s words, “Fruitfulness flows from intimacy” piqued my curiiosity. I’m closer to understanding what she means.

    But I’m still an inveterate and stubborn contrarian. I think I may still be proud of this, which probably means I’ll always be one. I responded to the pastor’s admonition to shelf my Bible by reading through it three times. But one day I realized NONE of it matters if I refuse to forgive. That is my point. That was the pastor’s point. I think that was Paul’s point in the love chapter. My Bible had become an idol for me. Maybe this isn’t true for any of you, but it was for me. And it was cancerous – almost literally. This pastor saw that. Maybe his recommendation was wrong. Perhaps it was too extreme. But that wasn’t the issue in that moment. The issue was that I was furious that he was completely unimpressed with my biblical knowledge; I became more furious the way communicated it. Yes. I sensed some arrogance; perhaps he was just weary. The point is that it wasn’t about him. Probably my favorite line of all-time is from the notorious and barbaric Conrad Dobler: Pride is hard to swallow; but it does go down.

    Jesus’ words scared me to my core. If the living word isn’t on your heart, it’s not the Living Word. I had “made a choice of my will” to forgive this person who violated me. But I couldn’t shake off my bitter hatred and it was eating me alive. I hadn’t forgiven from my heart. Maybe no one else has felt the shock of driving over potholes like this. This wasn’t the type of throbbing my ride was diggin’. I’m don’t think there is anything in scripture that clearly says that “if you don’t read your Bible for two years you’re in huge trouble and you’re going to get God very, very angry. I know that plenty of MEN have said as much; I don’t think God said it, and if He did, it was usually (with maybe a few exceptions) in the context of some bigger ideas. What I do know for sure is that if you really want to make God angry, cultivate unforgiveness, even it’s against someone who is totally unworthy of your forgiveness (God I hope your loving the irony of that). Jesus Christ, said these words:

    “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. “So shall my heavenly father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart””

    What torched me was that Jesus said this to his disciples –some of His closest friends. I don’t know if he had some unrecorded Lombardiesque stare downs about studying Scripture – I know for a fact they wrote it later on. And I also know for a fact that Jesus was far more serious about forgiveness and other matters of the heart than He was about whether their scrolls showed proper wear. You may remember my saying earlier that I no longer believe God gets angry with me. I still cringe, and maybe it IS a bit of a stretch, but if I’m IN Jesus and He took the entire blow …… But when coupled with the Parable of the Ungrateful Servant, Jesus’ words echo with a chilling finality when He said, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I’m not an exegete. But if you take Jesus’ words at face value –which I think in this case is a wise decision – the case could be made that my refusal to forgive precludes me from receiving God’s forgiveness and could result in an “I never know you” greeting at the Pearly Gates. Maybe that’s not what it means. I’m never going to find out if that tee-shot will carry the ocean because I chose to play it safe. The pastor saw that I WAS USING MY BIBLE AS A LEGAL DOCUMENT TO JUSTIFY CONDEMNATION OF A PERSON WHO HAD BADLY HURT ME. So maybe the pastor’s words saved me – maybe not from eternal damnation, but some type of death I prefer not to experience. Now that I think about it, his words probably did save the life of that guy I hated.

    I’ll conclude by changing metaphorical lanes with an appeal to cut some slack to Bill Johnson and this pastor who works under him and all the other people who associate with BJ (hey, even Todd Bentley) — to cut them the same slack we’re cutting our Lord. You can grab a Swiss Calvin stopwatch, jump on Logico the de-contextualization steer at the Line-Chapter-Verse Rodeo and see how far you go. I tried, and, believe me, the old boy packs some serious punch. It was invigorating for the 0.76304 seconds it lasted, but once I landed on my literal face, there were precious few clowns willing risk their necks for a cowboy forced to swallow the dust of consistency pointing to a man who denied His credibility, suggested patricide and required cannibalism of his disciples.

    I’m trying a different steer. He’s definitely a challenge. But he’s manageable because he was raised with a lighter yoke than Logico. The result is a more satisfying ride.


  186. John Ashton says:

    WB McCarty- Have I written you a response to 3-7 1:28 AM? If not I apologize. It’s coming.


  187. Craig says:

    John Ashton,

    I have allowed you plenty of leeway in posting here. However, with your continued refusal to address the issue I’ve raised — what, 3 times? — that is, to backup your counterclaim of Johnson’s belief of Christ’s divinity at birth or to rescind this claim and your assertion that I’ve made a “blatantly false conclusion” about Johnson, I’m now going to state that any further comments will be summarily deleted unless and until you address this. If you continue to post further comments, then I will ban you from the site. Consider yourself forewarned.


  188. John Ashton says:


    I am preparing a direct answer to your question (s). I’ve tried to be as circumspect and disarming as possible. I am preparing a direct response to your request for a retraction.


  189. John Ashton says:

    Still working on the response… coming soon.


  190. Bill Fawcett says:

    Bill Johnson teaches that relationship trumps sound doctrine.

    When Todd Bentley rose to prominence, there was much criticism, not just about his drinking, or the fact that his girlfriend helped him with the baptismal service, but also because he openly was teaching MSoG.

    Johnson’s response?

    “Have you spent time with Todd? Do you know him? Have you watched him with his wife? Or have you seen how he treats his kids? Have you spent any time with his staff? Have you been to his ministry? Has he been to yours? Have you laid hands on him and prayed? Has he laid hands on you and prayed? Have you grieved over tragedy together? Have you celebrated victory together? Has he sought your counsel? Has he traveled a great distance just to meet with you privately for advice? Have you ever received his counsel? Have you been in the room when God has showed up on him, and used him in stunning miracles? Have you seen him operate in the word of knowledge or the prophetic? Have you met with his counsel of elders? Have you personally benefited from his gift? Has he benefited from your gift and ministry? Has he ever honored you for who you are in God? Has he partnered with you as a friend? Have you sacrificed for his welfare, or that of his family? Have you sought God with him? Have you ever worshipped the Lord with him? I didn’t think so. I have. ”

    Relationships are important. But so is the truth in love.

    So please don’t ask me to cut Todd Bentley some “slack”. He is not a good role model for the kids, nor does he preach truth. I’ll admit, he probably would be fun to have around the house. For a few minutes anyways, until he got drunk aand started hitting on my housekeeper or my wife.

    Johnson should answer his own questions rather than get awed by Todd’s tall tales.

    Have you watched him with his wife? Or have you seen how he treats his kids?


  191. julie says:

    If Bill Johnson, as one of Todd Bentley’s mentors, believes that relationship trumps sound doctrine, perhaps Bill should explain Todd’s relationship to, and treatment of, his wife and children. Have I watched Todd with his wife or his children? I only watched them get thrown under the bus. I write this in response to Bill’s comment above. Forgive me if this is a little off topic. . .


  192. John Ashton says:

    Dear Craig:

    I know you have taken exception to some statements I’ve made, and I’m going to address this. Before doing this, let me summarize my understanding of your concerns.

    Earlier, I directed a strong statement towards you containing some stout language. I said that your logic was leading you into murky waters, that you were making some very serious statements, that you made a blatantly false conclusion and that you are in danger of leading people astray. I told you I felt your logic was at fault.

    You have asked be to retract my words.

    As I’ve been re-reading things, something you said in one of your replies jumped out at me. You said that you had put tens of hours of painstaking time into this article. In light of the extent of this website, I think you may be guilty of being overly modest. If I was in your shoes (and I think you understand that I more or less have been) I can’t say I wouldn’t feel offended myself. I myself made an earlier allusion to Paul’s ‘if I’ don’t have love I’m nothing’ statement. I have no problem critiquing someone’s idea. But if my words aren’t edifying to the person, I need to spend some time in the woodshed.

    A couple of years ago I spent two weekends in Berkeley, CA hanging outside this grocery store, just to watch people. I watched hundreds of people, and almost all of them had a shallowness and bitterness in their eyes. I KNOW about the logical implications of Post-Modernistic Humanism and all the New Age nonsense and what they do to the human soul. Berkeley, CA is a graveyard. I’m saying this because it’s TOTALLY OPPOSITE AT BETHEL. People aren’t trying to look joyful; they just exude joy. And it’s NOT New Age Crystal Child joy, nor is it the grim joy “fighting the good fight” that you see in some places. I’m telling you this from a first-hand basis. I’m very intuitive and am usually on the mark when it comes to “sensing” the spirit/atmosphere of a place. Bill Johnson may be off-base in some ways, and it’s fine to scrutinize his teaching. But God is very alive at Bethel. God is MORE PRESENT there than anywhere I’ve ever been.

    Bill Johnson’s heart is to go after hundreds of millions of souls and lead them to Jesus. Souls are at stake. It’s life and death. That’s why I chose the words I did and it’s why I’m so emphatic right now. There are hundreds of millions of people who deeply crave the love and forgiveness of Jesus. I’ve prayed for dozens of people since coming here to Redding– parking lots, homes, fast food joints, bars… everywhere. Almost no one doesn’t want to receive something from Jesus. But in my experience, almost 100% of the people who haven’t accepted Jesus as their savior say that they haven’t done so because they don’t like the rules. They don’t like religion. They don’t like theology. Most of them know their lives are a mess and most are burdened by guilt. Very few would deny they need forgiveness.

    But that would be too simple, and most pepole see right through it …. All over America. A lot of people won’t receive Jesus because they’re convinced His free gift really isn’t free. And that’s why – what? – 10% of Americans attend church?

    There are hundreds of thousands of people – maybe millions – who are hearing exaggerated claims made about people like Bill Johnson, and because of these accusations, there are people who are not turning to Jesus. So that’s why my words are so stern. Bill is the real deal. Bashing Bill has become an industry. Some of the foundations of western theological thought are in jeopardy. MacArthur sounds almost frantic. He holds the same torch the Mathers held. He knows that if this miracle thing is true, most of his books won’t be worth a dime at a garage sale. The excesses in the charismatic church need to be watched over, but, please, BE CAREFUL and err on the side of leniency unless you’re 100% sure.

    So, yes. I am saying that you are in danger of leading people astray. That’s precisely what I’m saying. I feel your defense of Orthodoxy could directly keep people from entering the Kingdom.

    Now I’m going to answer your question directly.

    You wrote this: “You accuse me of essentially putting words in Johnson’s mouth and making false accusations.” This is precisely what I’m saying. You’ve imputed to him the following:
    1. Jesus was not divine at birth.
    2. Jesus is devoid of divinity at birth.
    You make some serious declarations about Bill:
    1. You said that “his …..‘Christ’ does not offer true salvation”;
    2. You said that his statements were heresy on at least a couple of occasions. In one instance, you said it was “rank heresy”;
    3. This is power-packed. In one sentence, you accuse him of holding to a theology that is blasphemy and denies the deity of Jesus and the Trinity. “….so, to claim Jesus “became sin” and thus had to be ‘born again’ is not just heresy it is blasphemy as it, in effect, denies Christ’s divinity and consequently the Trinity;
    4. You said he “distorts the word”;
    5. You say that “…Johnson has shown himself to be promoting an antichrist doctrine”;
    6. You seem to attribute to him the belief that “Jesus is less than God”. At the very least you couple him with Cerinthus who I think you say believed that.
    7. Here’s another: “What Johnson REALLY means, by taking his words at face value….. “. I’m not going to elaborate because it’s bit complex.
    8. Context will broaden or narrow the range of meanings for this one: “However, to claim and even be able to substantiate miracles while holding to a faulty Christology puts one if not wholly outside of Christianity, at least partly.” Since Bill seems to be the guy who is substantiating miracles and holding to a faulty Christology, is he the one who is [possibly] wholly outside of Christianity? What does this mean? Does it mean that he (or whomever hold this belief) are not allowed in an Orthodox assembly? That’s wouldn’t be that bad. But then you immediately bring up a Unity church that is clearly outside of Christendom.

    I have more examples, but #8 is the closer for me. Maybe this isn’t what you mean – I sure hope it’s not – but regardless, someone who is reading this could conclude that you have doubts as to whether Bill Johnson is saved.

    I’m stopping here.
    In light of these, I hope you understand why I am unwilling to retract the things I said. The words you have posted do not bear any resemblance to the way Jesus views Bill Johnson.

    I have no problem with you deleting me from the site. I had a feeling it might happen anyway. Before you do so, would you consider taking input from everyone else – Cherylu, Mbaker, McCarty, Julie, Bill Fawcett, etc – and see how they feel about this? Even if the consensus is that I’m misguided, I feel most everyone would agree I’ve made some positive contributions to this site and that, deep down, they will be sad to see me go.

    In looking back over some of the things I’ve written, I’m sensing I may owe Bill an apology myself for the way I said some things. I do love what you’re doing at Bethel and it a privilege to be here.


    • Craig says:

      John Ashton,

      For the record you were asked to provide proof for your claim that Johnson does not believe Jesus was devoid of divinity at birth or to retract your claim. Yet, you offered no proof but rather your personal feelings, anecdotes, etc.

      I have no problem if you disagree with me; but, if you want to specifically point out something I say that you view is wrong it is encumbent on you to provide some kind of proof for your counterclaim.

      You make sweeping statements like “But God is very alive at Bethel.” but this is merely your opinion. There is definitely something going on at Bethel; but, how do we know if it’s of God in light of passages regarding “another gospel,” “another Jesus,” “another spirit;” Jesus warning about false prophets and those of whom He will say “depart from Me, I never knew you;” and the warning in Matthew 24 and II Thess 2 regarding false Christs, false signs and wonders, etc.? Do I just take John Ashton’s word for it even though Johnson’s Christology is shown to be faulty?

      Just yesterday, I caught Greg Laurie delineating the difference between unbelief and healthy skepticism. Call me the “healthy skeptic.”

      And, you stated, “The words you have posted do not bear any resemblance to the way Jesus views Bill Johnson. ” How can you speak for Jesus? Do you REALLY know how Jesus sees Johnson? I submit you do not.

      I’ll address some of your other points later this evening after work.


    • Craig says:

      My threat/promise to ban you from the site was a last resort as you had already ignored my request to provide proof or a retraction yet you continued posting other comments. It’s far easier to just bar you from the site than to continue deleting comments unless and until you were to address the concern I brought forth (which you promised to do previously and hadn’t).

      Anyway, you have not been banned; and, I have even asked you some more questions. 🙂 That’s even though I don’t really feel you’ve actually addressed the concern as you’ve not provided proof for your counterclaim.

      As to your 8 points, I do believe you’ve stated my position fairly with each one. To clarify point 6 — from the article itself:

      The study note of [I John] 4:2 referencing ‘Every spirit that acknowledges that’ “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” ‘is from God’ states:

      …Thus [the Apostle] John excludes the Gnostics, especially the Cerinthians, who taught that the divine Christ came upon the human Jesus at His baptism and then left him at the cross, so that it was the man Jesus who died.” [43]

      Johnson states:

      1) Jesus “laid His divinity aside” (which would logically leave only His humanity)
      2) Christ is a “title” that points to the experience of Baptism

      According to Johnson then, clearly Jesus was NOT Christ before the “experience” of Baptism; so, Jesus was, consequently, not the Messiah/Anointed One before this and presumably then not at His Incarnation. With Johnson’s words here from p 79 of WHIE, “It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title.” logically Jesus wasn’t Christ at the Incarnation. This is apparently the point in which Jesus must have “laid His divinity aside.”

      I’m not sure how I can make this point any clearer.

      Let me add: If Jesus came to earth as “Jesus” without the “Christ title;” ie, not as Jesus Christ, then that denies that “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” does it not?


  193. John Ashton says:

    Julie and Bill- I just saw your posts.

    Julie, I don’t think you’re off topic.

    Todd Bentley violated a collective trust. A lot of people feel betrayed. I wasn’t really in “the stream” while all this was happening. But I can totally see how people would want Bill to share their outrage. So I can see your point. This is one of those places where I think a lot of people do trust Bill.

    I’d like to say one other thing that I’m almost certain of: For every sin Todd Bentley has committed, I’ve personally committed 2. And that with age differential adjustment. Todd Bentley had a huge fall. He rang some bells that can never be unrung. But it only took Peter one day to crash. There’s redemptive work that can be done from the bottom of a pit.


  194. cherylu says:


    If I am misunderstanding you here I am sorry.

    But it seems to me that you really don’t care if Johnson’s view’s about the divinity of Christ are orthodox or not. Am I wrong in this? You have been asked repeatedly to show how the understanding Johnson has (as you understand it anyway) fits into orthodox Christianity. It seems you just keep dancing around the issue.

    Is it maybe that you yourself think orthodox Chrisitianity has had it all wrong on this issue? That 2000 years of Christians, give or take a few, have understood Jesus totally wrongly here?

    Don’t you think it important that we have the understanding of who Jesus is correct? What do you think Paul was alluding to when he spoke of “another Jesus?” How different does a person’s understanding of Jesus have to be from the correct one to become “another Jesus?”

    And are there no consequences to Johnson’s belief that we receive the same “Christ anointing” that Jesus received? If the orthodox understanding of God and man that were hammered out many years ago are correct, is that not putting man on a level of equality with God that is not at all correct?

    Do you not see why some of us are extremely concerned here? Johnson’s theology is redefining Jesus and man both here. Can you do that without severe consequences?

    Truth is not relative. To deviate from truth has consequences–sometimes very severe ones.

    And has been said here before, we are told in the Bible that we must worship in spirit and in TRUTH. One without the other simply will not do.

    So no matter how great you perceive Johnson and Bethel to be, if truth is lacking there are going to be repercussions to all of the people involved. That is what we don’t want to see happening. Specially since Johnson has a huge audience that is not just limited to Bethel Church, Redding California.

    I am not Craig, the blog owner here. So I can not make the determination one way or another to ban you or allow you to keep posting here.

    But I must ask along with Craig, how do you see Johnson’s and your idea that Jesus laid aside His divinity as being an orthodox belief? Or will you admit that you are not within the realms of orthodox Christianity?


  195. Bill Fawcett says:

    “There are hundreds of thousands of people – maybe millions – who are hearing exaggerated claims made about people like Bill Johnson, and because of these accusations, there are people who are not turning to Jesus.”

    That’s an exaggerated claim.

    “Bill Johnson’s heart is to go after hundreds of millions of souls and lead them to Jesus.”

    If Johnson’s calling is as an evangelist, why does he keep trying to teach? Public statements, such as his concerning the divinity of Jesus, demand public response.

    But I would not overstate the importance of Bill Johnson or blogs like this. The ordinary guy on the street has heard of neither. But there is a good chance they have heard someone (local) present the gospel. If they refuse the gospel, it probably is not because they have questions about Bill Johnson. If they refuse Bill Johnson’s Gospel+Plus(tm) that might not be so bad either.

    I have a real heart for people whoi have been so wounded by the Apostolic/Prophetic that they untimately reject Christ, or at least live out the rest of thier days apart from the fellowship of the church. Hebrews 6 suggests that it might be impossible to reach these folks. Ever.

    I believe that God is never thwarted. His WORD will acomplish that which it has been sent to do. Rest assured, God is not depending on Bill Johnson or his Apostolic pronouncements. God’s purposes move ahead through the priesthood of ALL believers (even cessationists).

    When I hear you talk of “hundreds of millions of souls” I would have to mention that it is far easier to make a biblical case against a great end times revival than for one. Prepare to have your theology disrupted. I’m all for revival, mind you. I happen to like Rinehard Bonnke, for instance, who probably has reached many more unsaved people than Johnson ever will. The difference is that Bonnke does not present a flawed Chrstology.

    And that is a huge difference.


  196. Kevin says:

    Hi everyone,

    I know it’s not my place but for what it’s worth I don’t think John should be barred.

    Having said that, I pretty much disagree with your rhetoric John. All of your arguments sound plausible but we’re not to be deluded by plausible arguments. You’re very good at skirting the issue and creating rabbit trails. You’ve never responded to my questions.

    One thing you said early on really struck me:

    “I came from a very “prestigious” Bible church. I have a PhD from Harvard and an MA from MIT. Suffice it to say fairly smart. This is precisely why I went to live at Bethel for a while.”

    I have to say that my initial reaction was that this is quite a proud thing to say. All of the degrees in the world matter little in God’s economy, 1 Cor 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God…” so it strikes me that moving to Bethel is rather a dumb move if they’re asking you to leave your intellect at the door. Please don’t do it John. To be led by the Spirit of God is to be led by the Word of God in all submission, humility and obedeience (rightly understood pride should not be the end result). Bill Johnson twists the Word of God so how can you be sure that he is led by the Spirit of God, that would put the Trinity at odds with each other.

    Your question number 8 above gives me the impression that you haven’t read my response on this very subject. I’ll be blunt: Christian orthodoxy is fundamentally based on the person and work of Christ and the belief that the Bible is the very Word of God. If you undermine the person and work of Christ, as the Mormons, JW’s, Christian Scientists, etc, do and you twist Scripture to do so, then you are outside the realm of orthodox Christianity. I have no formal “theological seminary” training but my Bible tells me that Bill’s Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible and is therefore outside of orthodoxy.

    I empathise with your spiritual journey John but please don’t forsake your Biblical roots for the sake of experience or because you have an inner sense that Bill’s teaching is acceptable, if you go too far with Bethel my fear is your faith will be shipwrecked and you will become disillusioned. People can have zeal for God without knowledge of Him, that’s not easy to discern, I admit, which is why we need the Bible, rightly taught.
    In Him


  197. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-
    It’s actually be a lot of fun answering these questions because it’s helped me articulate my faith.

    It seems to me that you really don’t care if Johnson’s view’s about the divinity of Christ are orthodox or not. Am I wrong in this? You have been asked repeatedly to show how the understanding Johnson has (as you understand it anyway) fits into orthodox Christianity. It seems you just keep dancing around the issue.

    No. I don’t really care if BJ’s theology is orthodox. If I haven’t made it clear before, I’ll make it clear now that I have done an about-face from orthodoxy. As I said, this is not a rejection; more of an integration.

    Is it maybe that you yourself think orthodox Chrisitianity has had it all wrong on this issue? That 2000 years of Christians, give or take a few, have understood Jesus totally wrongly here?

    Orthodoxy has become just like the California Educational Code. Volumes and volumes and volumes. Sometimes you just need to purge the system and start from scratch, as it were. That’s my story. This is my theology:
    1. My life’s a mess and I need help.
    2. I’m aware of my guilt and I know I can’t justify myself. I am helpless and my striving is useless.
    3. Jesus offers total and complete cleansing and forgiveness.
    4. His righteousness has become my righteousness.

    Those are the raw bones. I think you know that I can (and have by now) written a book about this. Tremendous wisdom over 2000 years. Yes But I think it’s stale. It’s reached the point where Orthodoxy exists to sustain itself. As with the Ed Code, it’s more about the people using it than the code itself. Put another way, the problem isn’t with Orthodoxy per se; the problem is when people fall in love with it. That was Jesus’ message to Sardis in Rev.

    Don’t you think it important that we have the understanding of who Jesus is correct? What do you think Paul was alluding to when he spoke of “another Jesus?” How different does a person’s understanding of Jesus have to be from the correct one to become “another Jesus?”

    Absolutely! Paul talks about the letter and the spirit. Orthodoxy is all about the human mind. THAT became my “other Jesus”. Great question. The short answer is that I don’t know. The real answer, Cherylu (and this will completely revolutionize your life I promise) is that your question reveals everything you don’t understand about God (God and Cherylu please forgive me if I’m crossing a boundary….) I have two sons that I love so much I can’t stand it. THERE! That’s ALL ALL ALL ALLL you have to understand about Jesus. My sons don’t HAVE to understand me. That has nothing to do with how I treat them. They’s BETTER understand that I mean what I say when I say to “stack the firewood”, because if they don’t, there’s no movie and popcorn tonight Cherylu, God isn’t waiting for you to make a mistake. He’s not. He’sWAY more concerned that you know that He isn’t angry at your for not reading the Bible than he is when you don’t read it. I swear to you that for every sin you’ve committed, I’ve committed 3-5. I ran the table as far as sin – most of it as a Christian. Moses asked God to show him His GLORY! What is God’s glory? Patient. Kind. Compassionate. Slow to anger. Abounding in Truth and Lovingkindness…. And He won’t leave the guilty unpunished. Bad news. But there’s good news: I’m not guilty. Jesus took all the pain.

    The BIGGEST BIGGEST misconception in Orthodoxy is that you’re saved by grace… but now that you’re saved, you need to show how grateful you are and if you fall, make sure you confess really fast… WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

    So, yeah….. put away your Bible for a year if that’s what you need to do to realize God’s not disappointed in you for doing it. The turning point in my walk with God life came on a motorcycle trip I took before I got my motorcycle licence. God loves to show us about Himself by sometimes giving us a huge bless right after we’ve made the biggest mistake (and I’m talking iniquity) of our life. Grace doesn’t end on conversion day.

    I shared this earlier: I had been a christian over 30 years and one day I screamed at God and said “God, I don’t want to obey you anymore if I can’t obey you from my heart.” God knows your heart. And the WORD says that if you ask ANYTHING IN HIS NAME, it’s a done deal! Finis. Money in the bank. What’s a 100% sure-bet prayer? Start with Ephesians 1: 17-21 and 3:14-21. Go face-to-face. Tell God you don’t feel any love for him. He can handle it. Tell Him you want to know that you know that you know that you know He loves you (Eph 3 whatever love that passes knowledge). Ask him to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Pray it 4,000 times and mold it and meditate on it until the scriptre has become a desire that’s part of your DNA. You can never disillusion God because He never had any illusions about you in the first place. How different does a person’s understanding of Jesus have to be from the correct one to become “another Jesus?” There’s not too much you really have to know!!! I admitted my life sucked. Then I asked him to forgive me and all of that. But the nitty gritty for me was “Do you love me…really…no matter what?” THAT is what I didn’t know. So I asked Him to reveal that. It’s taken a few years but it’s happening. THAT is the correct Jesus: He loves you. His love incinerates shame and His patience knows no bounds. He loves giving re-tests. 1000 times.

    Do you not see why some of us are extremely concerned here? Johnson’s theology is redefining Jesus and man both here. Can you do that without severe consequences?

    I do see. I do see your concern, and it’s 100% justified!!!!! There are SO many wolves out there. So much deception and false-teaching. Bill isn’t off base. God is LOVE. Everything flows from that. Like I said, NO ONE really knows what they’re doing. We’re going after this infinite God and we don’t even know 99.95% of what we don’t know!!!!!!!! Cry out to him. You will NEVER “get” God. Don’t try. Cry out. Press in. But don’t try. YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES. You’re thelolgy will go askew. The only severe consequence is for PRIDE. IT IS A GIVEN that you are going to get it wrong. The CROSS has you totally covered. Look at David! The anointed KING, the ancestor of Jesus was a lying, profligate sex-addict.

    Truth is not relative. To deviate from truth has consequences–sometimes very severe ones. AGREED! I imagine myself as a little boy with God. Stick close to him, especially in traffic, or there WILL be severe consequences.

    And has been said here before, we are told in the Bible that we must worship in spirit and in TRUTH. One without the other simply will not do. AGREED! I’ve said a million times that the evangelic stream needs a little less wind and a little more sail. FYI, I basically like the balance at Bethel. Not perfect… But c’mon!!!! They’re going to dial in!

    So no matter how great you perceive Johnson and Bethel to be, if truth is lacking there are going to be repercussions to all of the people involved. That is what we don’t want to see happening. Specially since Johnson has a huge audience that is not just limited to Bethel Church, Redding California.

    YES. AGREED! AGREED! AGREED! I AGREE with Craig or whoever it was that Bob Jones FEEL a bit iffy. And the Todd Bentley fiaso is an embarassment. But what do I know? For MYSELF (and I’m only speaking for myself), My M.O. is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. When I have an issue with something, I pull Eph 1:17. God, what does this mean? What is your mind towards this person? She seems kooky. Please give me discernment God will answer! I trust my gut. I’ve never been wrong in teh long run. I was at a world famous bible church that was so flowin’ and goin’ and then over time I felt something just wasnt right. I finally left. It wasn’t for 2 years until I realized it was spiritual pride. Sometimes the bible churches are the least biblical!!!!! And, no, that doesn’t mean to throw out your bible! It just means that when humans attend churches, there’s going to be problems.

    One more thing: I’m your whistle blower. I KNOW you want to see success and I KNOW you’re concerned. If I see anything going on, I have a friend who is a very close friend of Bill’s and I could send an indirect message directly to him…..

    But look! Bill loves Jesus. You don’t think he knows what’s at stake? He’s right in teh cross-hairs. I respect him because he seems to be in prayer alot. And I pray for him. You don’t think Bill hasn’t learned from Todd Bentley? Ok. So here’s how we pray. Ok. The enemy scored one. I pray that the trick the enemy pulled gets used against him. I know that”s partly how Bill is praying. Everyone is embarrassed. The whole evangelical stream took a hit just like the US did with Nixon. But there are enormous victories that can come out of defeat. Jesus, not Satan, is the Lion of Judah.

    I am not Craig, the blog owner here. So I can not make the determination one way or another to ban you or allow you to keep posting here.

    Either way is fine. All my friends are teling me to start my own blog. Not that I want to leave here… but whatever comes….

    But I must ask along with Craig, how do you see Johnson’s and your idea that Jesus laid aside His divinity as being an orthodox belief? Or will you admit that you are not within the realms of orthodox Christianity?

    Cherylu, I really, really don’t know. Jesus was God. He was a baby… a boy…. He took on some serious limitations. I’ve written a lot on this.

    I admit that I am not within the realms of orthodox Christianity. I totally admit this. Totally. I think I and everyone has made that clear (laughing).


    • Craig says:

      John, you wrote:

      No. I don’t really care if BJ’s theology is orthodox. If I haven’t made it clear before, I’ll make it clear now that I have done an about-face from orthodoxy. As I said, this is not a rejection; more of an integration.

      This is not consistent with your other statements nor are these 3 sentences even consistent when put together. You apparently adhere to some orthodoxy while rejecting/minimizing others which then is not truly an “about face” from orthodoxy especially as in your 3rd sentence you say “it’s not a rejection; more of an integration.” This is confusing. What I think you’re trying to say is that you’ve relaxed your strict orthodoxy which excluded any feeling in favor of one which allows room for a more feelings-based religion and less strict orthodoxy. If I have this wrong, correct me.


  198. julie says:


    I wish to also add, that, calling into question Bill Johnson’s orthodoxy on Jesus’ divinity isn’t the only problem. I have also witnessed the zeal and joy you mention being found at places like Bethel. I would encourage you to investigate these same persons in a number of years after they have continued in these teachings. You will probably find many of them shipwrecked in their faith, as Bill Fawcett above has noted.

    One of the sweetest young women in my acquaintance is currently attending Bethel’s school. I’m sorry, but I cannot recall the school’s name. She is full of excitement. But, honestly, her excitement is in regard to the POWER present. It’s the manifestation this, and the power that. Fire tunnels, and angels and slayings in the spirit, these are the topics of discussion. No mention of Jesus’s atoning sacrifice. This is not a solid foundation and the her zeal is misdirected.

    If, as Cherylu has noted, Bill’s Jesus is another Jesus, other than the one Paul preached, then persons trusting this jesus are not on the Solid Rock. The crucified, risen Jesus is the one we put our trust in. And may God have mercy on us may God bring us back to the awe and humility in His incredible work on the cross. It simply can’t be talked about too much, and needs to preached much more often. These Apostolic-type churches rarely mention it. If it is mentioned, you’d think Christ’s atoning work was to grant us supernatural power. At least, that’s what I walk away hearing.

    Bill’s leadership, in regards to Todd Bentley, spoke volumes. Todd has disqualified himself to work in the ministry and Bill Johnson is in the right position to make this clear. We all would hope for Todd’s complete restoration with Christ, but he can no longer be trusted with His flock. Again, careful understanding of the scriptures would clear up any doubt in this area. Bill Johnson’s inability to clear this up places his own leadership credentials on the line.

    And that’s the problem, isn’t it? The scriptures just appear ‘optional’ in this, and other similar circles. They appear handy when they back up popular doctrines, but, darn it, they just get in the way sometimes and need a little tweeking to establish a specific, spurious belief.

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you, John. But are you comfortable placing yourself under the leadership of Bill Johnson when his adherence to the scripture is fast and loose?

    Persons here have raised significant questions in regard to Bill Johnson’s beliefs. I hope the Lord leads you in the truth. His Word is, and always will be, the Truth.


  199. John Ashton says:

    Hey Kevin-
    Dang. I am really sorry about not answering.

    Thank you for the vote! I agree.

    You know, maybe i am being too circuitous. My mind is just wholistic and largely undisciplined. In my mind, I’m giving these awesome answers that address questions on 10 levels.

    Re what I said about degree…. Total agreement. My ego will never fully deflate. It’s less of a factor in my life than it was two years ago. That’s all I can say. Bethel isn’t asking to lay my intellect at teh door. BUt when you’ve been in a biblical thinktank for three decades, it feels that way. HERE’s the cool thing: Bill is BRILLIANT. His sermons are very, very deep. I’ve heard great “bible teachers” I feel bill builds on what I’ve learned from them and goes up a notch. I’ve gotten the best of both worlds.

    Kevin, I don’t think Bill twists the word. He may not always be accurate, but who is?

    Please pay Bethel a visit before making strong statements about Bill. Don’ you see what you’re doing? You’re lumping Bill in with all the sects: Mormons, Ch.Sci, etc. I wish you could see how much all of this is just guilt by association. If Bethel is outside Orthodoxy, then so am I.

    MacArthur is one of Orthodoxy’s icons, right? Bible-based, right? Well, you can make case that he isn’t preaching the real Jesus. I just don’t want bill to take all the heat.


  200. mbaker says:


    I fear that you are following the same dangerous path to deception that myself and others here have in the past, by allowing your feelings about Johnson, which are obviously deep, to become your main guide to the Christian life. It is not a choice between stodgy dry theology and Johnson as you reason it, but what I see from all you have said is that you are allowing your emotions to take precedent over your spiritual welfare.

    Johnson’s sermons may be acceptable to you in that they appeal to an unfulfilled emotion in you that perhaps was ignored by another church or churches, as was the case with me, but that doesn’t mean they are correctly representing Christ, as GOD Himself lays it out. Christ got emotional too, but he never veered from God’s Word.

    So, here’s the key question I want you to think about: You say you might be outside of orthodoxy, but will go on following Johnson, but have you seriously considered what that really means to your relationship with Christ Himself? You are actually defending Johnson’s words over those of the Lord and Savior whom you profess to follow and to love, whether you realize it or not. So, you need to ask yourself: Who died on the cross for me, therefore whose words should be the most important of anything else in my life? With all due respect, if you still decide it is Johnson I think the real problem you have is not with folks like us warning about teachings that clearly question the very foundations of the faith, (that Christ Himself laid), as you do with your own denial.

    Like Kevin, I implore you to reconsider.


  201. Craig says:


    A tip here: you may use common html tags in your comments here. For example, to italicize a section, simply type

    the “less than” arrow + “i” + the “greater than” arrow

    (the arrows under the K and L respectively and leave off the quotes around the i and don’t use the +) at the beginning of the section you wish to italicize and then “less than” arrow + “/i” + “greater than” arrow to close. You can do the same thing to bold substituting “b” and “/b” — if you try and it doesn’t work (if you don’t “close” the tag), I can fix it. I’ll probably be able to tell (usually one of the arrows is forgotten as I sometimes do that myself).

    To put a different way: use [i] substituting left pointing arrow for the first bracket and the right pointing arrow for the 2nd bracket in front of the portion you wish to italicize and close with [/i] again substituting arrows for brackets. Such as:

    [i] italicized portion [/i]

    For readability, I added italics to your last post to “cherylu” because I had a hard time following your words vs. hers.


  202. John Ashton says:

    Hi Julie-
    I have to answer this from a more circumspect vantage point. But first the supernatural. I’m glad you have a friend there because she can tell you as much as I can. I share your concerns. But, if anything, the American church is too loaded down by religion. The Bible has become an idol to many. Strong words, I know. Visit your friend and just check it out. I’ll be a docent and show you around. There’s 20 good things going on for every bad thing.

    There’s famous movie called the Music Man. This traveling salesman comes up with the idea of convincining a small midwest town that there is corruption brewing. Once he achieves this, it’s easy to convince the ciitzens that their boys and girls need something wholesome …. like a marching band. And so he gets the entire town to buy the instruments and uniforms. There’s one song that says something like “Oh we’ve got trouble… in river city,….Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool………. So he harnasses the fear of the comminity that their kids will ruin their lives hanging out in pool halls.

    All your points are well-taken. My point is that there is a danger of succumbing to hysteria. Guilt by association. In our desire to open the eyes of others, we sometimes deceive ourselves.. You and I have sat in the same pews singing the same hymns using the same basic exegetical tools. I’m trying to explain that there is a danger of making Orthodoxy into an idol! It’s ironic that so much “bible teaching” is really just man’s teaching.

    Any church or denomination can get hurt by a Todd Bentley. A few years ago we find one of the leaders of evangelical christianity is a practicing homosectual.

    We are permitted to lighten up. I sense a culture where you can’t even cross the street without doing an exhaustive study proving you can do so. I think some people have a view of GOd that He is just waiting from them to make a mistake. That was me, and that was the attitude that fueled my religion. I was coaching a 5-year old flag football league and you could never get a play off because the refs took their job so seriously. You have these kindergarteners 2 inches offside or not in a correct 3-point stance or 3 seconds too late and they blow the whistle! And so you have a game that’s no fun because everyone is terrified of making a mistake. 60 minute game and they only actually play for 12 minutes. And you call this freedom? It’s slavery. Stand back and look at the things being said. 90% of the rhetoric is about how so and so is “outside of correct doctrine” and he’s deceived, but ‘we’re not because we respect Scripture. All it amounts to is finger pointing! And when you point a finger, there’s always four pointing back at you. This was Paul’s point in Romans. ‘You folks are doing the same thing you’re accusing others of!’

    I totally know your heart is right. It comes out loud and clear in the notes you’ve written. I’m trying to appleal to you and everyone else. If I’m being offensive, you’re probably sense the pride and arrogance that I haven’t surrendered. I’m trying. Come to Bethel and hang out and let’s have lunch and maybe dinner and talk about all of this. One of the central issues underlying every word posted here is that a lot of people have been really hurt by the excessiveness of the charismatic church. I GET IT! You have a friend here! I feel your pain. But there’s love here at Bethel. I’ve been to plenty of correct churches and when you boil it all down, it’s about how glad we all our that we’re the correct elect. That isn’t love. Not even close. And all this criticism is thrown at other leaders ostensibly in the name of love. So this is why I’m saying in very strong terms that this criticism needs to soften up.

    Listen, please, to what Jesus said: He tells the leaders they don’t have the Father’s message in their hearts. He tells them, “You search the scriptures because you think they give you eternal life.” He tells them, “your approval means nothing to me because I know you don’t have god’s love within you.” Can you see the parallel here? Jesus isn’t that concerned about your theology if you don’t have love. This is why the Parisees killed Jesus. Jesus completely discreditied their religious order and they were mortally offended. Read John 9. It’s brutal. “I entered the world to render judgement – to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they can see that they are blind”. The pharasee say, “Are you accusing us of being blind?” Jesus says, “If you were blind you wouldn’t be guilty, but you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” The only thing not optional is love.

    Considering the way Bill handled Todd Bentley. Yes, Todd discredited himself. But so did David – God’s anointed King. He messed things up far worse than Todd. Maybe Bill knows that deep, deep down, Todd is like David. If it’s true, then when humility and repentence take hold, God can restore things to better than they were before!! I’m not saying I’m right here, because I don’t really know the situation. But after hanging around and hearing about it in bits and pieces, I think my appeal merits at least some consideration.


    • Craig says:


      Earlier you’d mentioned Andrew Wommack. I have heard him on TV — though it’s been a while — and I knew he was a bit off. However, since I had not heard him recently, I did not have a basis to make an appropriate comment. Well, VERY interestingly, I caught Wommack this morning on local TBN [I just LOVE the way the Holy Spirit shows me things like this! The TIMING!] just after an interesting short documentary on Qumran/DSS. (There’s usually the mostly Biblically accurate College of Biblical Studies from Houston on here in San Antonio at this time slot instead.) I don’t recall EVER seeing Wommack on TBN here locally as I’ve seen him on one other station.

      Wommack mirrored much of Johnson’s teachings about the “Baptism of the Holy Ghost;” and, while I disagreed with much of what he said, initially there were only minor points of disagreement as he was explaining the typical Pentecostal/charismatic view. HOWEVER, Wommack, like Johnson, stated that Jesus Himself received the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” at Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan. [See “Baptism in Confusion” section of the second part of this article as to why this is Biblically inaccurrate/wrong.] Even worse than this (and, for the record, I’ve not heard Johnson state this), Wommack says [I don’t have his EXACT statement, but boy I wish I did!] that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost operate so closely together (or are so much “one”] that Jesus could not do all the miracles of His ministry until the Holy Ghost descended upon Him as a dove. This implies that Jesus WAS NOT FULLY A PART OF THE TRINITY BEFORE JOHN’S BAPTISM!!!


    • Craig says:

      John, you wrote:

      90% of the rhetoric is about how so and so is “outside of correct doctrine” and he’s deceived, but ‘we’re not because we respect Scripture. All it amounts to is finger pointing.

      And all this criticism is thrown at other leaders ostensibly in the name of love. So this is why I’m saying in very strong terms that this criticism needs to soften up.

      So, if I were to lighten up and cut some slack to Bill Johnson, then shouldn’t I do the same to the JWs, Mormons, Unitarians, etc. and just embrace them all as true brothers and sisters in Christ? If not, then just where do we draw the line on faulty Christology?

      You keep mentioning the Pharisees (a typical ploy of hyper-charismatics is to accuse those who stick to sound doctrine as Pharisees); however, they had two main problems: 1) they stuck to the letter of some of the laws while ignoring others thus picking and choosing which Scriptures they adhered to; and, 2) they had their extra-biblical oral law. I don’t see myself in either camp as I do my best to take ALL Scripture into account and I don’t believe in additional, extra-biblical rules.

      You seem to view your Christian walk as if it were a straight line with Theology/Truth on one side and Experience/Spirit on the other:

      Theology/Truth———————————————————- Experience/Spirit

      They are not at opposite ends of the spectrum. As has already been said, we worship in Spirit AND Truth. These are parallel lines:


      You state that some embrace the Bible as if it were a 4th member of the Trinity; however, you must keep in mind that Jesus IS the Word made flesh.


  203. IWanthetruth says:

    Just out of curiosity John, How long have you been going to Bethel?


  204. Bill Fawcett says:


    You say “MacArthur is one of Orthodoxy’s icons, right?” This suggests that you understand Orthodoxy as a certain brand of the evangelical movement. Speaking for myself, when I use the term Orthodoxy, I am NOT referring to that, but rather to “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” I am not a MacArthurite, a Piperite, or anything like it, (I’m Pentecostal, thank you).

    Orthodoxy means “right belief”. When one moves away from Orthodoxy, one moves away from the basic, accepted tenants of the faith. Abberant Christology is not Orthodox.

    I believe that you are building a straw man here because while there may be examples of what you consider to be dead-dry churches within the realm of Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy does not require deadness and dryness. I think you would find Bill Johnson’s preaching and teaching to be much more powerful if he returned to the doctrines (known as the 16 fundamentals) that he once embraced and has now rejected

    What I’m saying is that it is not an “either/or.” We CAN be faithful to the critical doctrines of the bible and also believe that the gifts are for today and that God can still heal.


  205. cherylu says:


    I have another question for you. You keep telling us how loving it is at Bethel. Maybe it truly is, I don’t know since I have never been there. But my question is this, how do you describe this love? Is it for lack of better words that sense of unity and emotional feeling of love that happens in a highly charged charismatic service?

    Or have you yourself experienced practical hands on “I’ll help you when you need help” tangible typeof love out side of the four walls of Bethel church?

    The reason I am asking is becasue it is very easy to mistake the first for real love, but if it doesn’t get in the trenches with folks and help them in the nitty griity of life, it is not the love that Jesus is talking about.

    I have experienced both types of “love” from Christian people, and believe me I know the difference. And for whatever it is worth, I had a good dose of the emotions only type love but no practical help whatsoever from the hyper charismatic church I was last a part of.

    Granted, that can happen in any type of church. But since one of your main qualifiers for how good you believe Bethel to be is love, I wanted to ask that question so you could think about it if you haven’t already.


  206. Kevin says:


    Glad you cleared that up. John, I agree with Bill that you seem to be misunderstanding what orthodoxy is i.e. you seem to be saying that it is a “camp”. I don’t personally know anyone on this thread but I think it’s fair to say that we’d all agree with Bill’s definition of orthodoxy, namely, it is the faith once for all delivered.

    I’ve been trying to pinpoint how you define your faith and it finally dawned on me that it all sounds very “emergent” and post-modern! How have you got to a place where everything is so fluid and wishy washy and you can boldly make a statement like you’re outside of orthodoxy? Do you actually understand the implications of that statement if we are agreed that orthodoxy is THE faith once for all delivered? It means that you are in great danger (Hebrews 6:4-6 and 2 Peter 2:20-22).

    How is it that you say Bill is very, very deep yet when I hear him he is very shallow?

    You said this:

    “Please pay Bethel a visit before making strong statements about Bill. Don’ you see what you’re doing? You’re lumping Bill in with all the sects: Mormons, Ch.Sci, etc. I wish you could see how much all of this is just guilt by association. If Bethel is outside Orthodoxy, then so am I.”

    Firstly, I don’t need to pay Bethel a visit, it’s not about the place, it’s about what is taught and outworked (plus I live in the UK so it’s a bit difficult!)

    Secondly, I’ve heard Bill speak at a conference in the UK in the flesh and he outright twisted the word (if I have time I will include the transcript and you can see – even though I don’t know if you’re that bothered about empirical evidence, it seems to me that if Bill says something is black when it’s white then you will believe him!).

    Thirdly, I know exactly what I’m doing by comparing his faulty Christology with that of the sects! That’s the whole point of my argument, if you deviate on the person and work of Christ, downgrade Jesus and upgrade man and twist the Bible to justify your faulty teaching then you are in the realm of the cults. This is what Bill’s teaching does to arrive at a point where Jesus is our miracle working pattern, he was just a man filled with the Holy Spirit in right relationship with God therefore we should expect to do the same. As with so many heresies Bill promotes a half-truth, which is a lie.

    Fourthly, I am in no way guilty of making someone “guilty by association”. Bill’s own words “frame” his Christology.

    Fifthly, please tell me how he is being honest with you and with Scripture if he continues to advocate that Jesus did not raise Himself? The Bible clearly says that He had the power to do so. In John 11 Jesus says “I am the resurrection”. JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION. Come on John, get real! Jesus conquered death, He raised Lazarus to life and conquered his (Lazarus’) death. Jesus overcame death, how much clearer can it be?

    As for Macarthur, I may disagree with him on some things (cessationism mainly) but his Christology is sound, he knows who Jesus is from Scripture and he hasn’t tried to invent a new one. Therefore, he can hardly be compared with Johnson.

    Finally, a challenge: if you are going to deviate from orthodoxy and follow a gnostic jesus please spend some time in the prayer closet before you do so and ask God the Holy Spirit to help you! Please John, consider what you are saying! It’s insane!

    In Him


  207. cherylu says:


    You have told us that the Bible was once your “idol”. I am not going to argue that point at this time.

    What I am going to ask you though is this, are you certain that at this point in time that Bethel church and Bill Johnson haven’t become your idols? I am not saying that is true, mind you. But I do have to wonder. And this is a question that you don’t have to answer here unless you want to. But it is something that I think you might do well to take a look at and answer for yourself.


  208. cherylu says:


    Excuse me please! I guess you and everyone else know that last comment was meant to be addressed to John. I am trying to hurry and get out the door here this a.m. Hurrying isn’t always very good for accuracy I find.


    Please feel free to edit if you wish.


    • Craig says:

      Well, I fixed it quickly, deleted your comment once I did; but, apparently Kevin saw the comment right away and made his comment to your comment so I restored your deleted comment! LOL


  209. Kevin says:


    You had me worried for a bit – I actually asked myself if I’d ever said that!!!

    Have a good day!



  210. Kevin says:

    Eagle eyes!


  211. cherylu says:

    Goodness sakes, I had no idea what a commotion my being in a hurry would cause this a.m! Sounds like I maybe provided everyone with a laugh if nothing else.


  212. Craig says:

    John Ashton,

    As a Bethel attendee perhaps you’ll be able to shed some light on the following. Back in December of last year I posted a short article on Bill Johnson’s Library Mandate in which I note that Jim Goll provided a “word” claiming Johnson would receive a library from someone named “Roberts.” Johnson then goes on to speak on his recently acquired library/museum from Roberts Liardon. (I’ve a feeling you may disagree with the contents of that post; and, if you’d like to comment, I ask you to comment over there.)

    However, later that same day I came across this article from the Bill Johnson Ministries site which indicates that Johnson purchased the Liardon library prior to the claim above — an obvious contradiction. I posted my findings in an update.

    A brief chronology (which I posted as a comment on the update):

    1) Bill Johnson purchases Roberts Liardon’s library/museum some time in 2008 as evidenced by his February 2, 2009 blog post here. This was apparently a part of the “Expansion Mandate.” I’m not clear on when this “Expansion Mandate” was ‘mandated.’

    2) Johnson receives a “prophetic word” from James Goll on September 17, 2009 about receiving in the future “something of a library inheritance by somebody with the name ‘Roberts’” yet it was not “just Oral Roberts” but another ‘Roberts.’ Logic would seem to indicate this “Roberts” was Roberts Liardon; and, at this point Johnson already had this library/museum (for well over a year).

    3) Johnson uploads a video explaining the purposes of this library/museum (a “direct from headquarters” mandate) and plays within this video of December 9th or 10th (depending on how you count the days) a recording of Goll’s “word” which came in a “dream” . It is proclaimed as a “prophetic word,” as “destiny,” to the audience he was speaking to (presumably BSSM). In the video, it appears that the point is that Goll was prophesying about a future inheritance of a “large library” by someone with the name “Roberts” besides Oral Roberts. (I found out in a phone conversation with another blogger this weekend that apparently Liardon was named after Oral Roberts.) Johnson goes on about Liardon’s library/museum making it appear as if this was the subject of the “Roberts” in Goll’s “word.”

    This apparent contradiction seems to illustrate an integrity issue. Do you have a comment on this? Could you, perhaps, do some digging at Bethel to see if there’s some sort of logical explanation or even a correction to this?

    You may either comment on the above paragraph’s questions here on this thread or on the Update thread.


  213. W B McCarty says:

    John, as Bill pointed out, I and others here are using the word “orthodoxy” in its NT sense. We’re not talking about whether someone was baptised three times backward or sprinkled. Instead, we’re talking about fundamentals of the faith, the key fundatmental being the answer to the question who is Jesus Christ? When the word “orthodoxy” is used in the NT sense, it carries a heavy weight: to be outside orthodoxy is to be outside Christ. Christianity, at root, is about what Christians believe rather than about what Christians do because, though we are justified in God’s sight, we remain sinners until the resurrection. The Gospel is not something we do or something we experience. It’s something we believe.

    Let me raise a second, even more fundamental point. You describe what I would call a “hermeneutic of joy.” That is, you propose to distinguish truth from error by observing the presence or absence of joy in the makers of a truth claim. This is emphatically not the hermeneutic prescribed by Scripture. Scripture enjoins us to weigh truth claims according to the Word rather than our own impressions. We are to reject even those truth claims accompanied by bona fide miracles if the claims are not fully consistent with the Word.

    Surely, even your common sense can affirm my objection, without recourse to Scripture. I had a number of Mormon friends when I grew up. As a rule, they were happier and more joyful than those around them. Should their demeanor be understood as complete validation of their truth claims. I trust not!

    Moreover, one of the most memorable images I have seen was a magazine photo in Time or Newsweek. I don’t recall which. The photo was of a young woman in the most profound state of rapturous joy. The occasion of her joy: the close proximity of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the mystical guru whose disciples took political control of the Oregon town of Antelope.

    John, I’m glad you and others at Bethel are happy. But Christianity is not fundamentally about our happiness but God’s truth. Your proposed hermeneutic of joy is deeply flawed and unbiblical. I submit that it is certain to lead astray anyone who chooses to employ it.


  214. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig and everyone…..
    Time is short right now. Don’t want anyone to think I’m dissing them….

    In 1800, Hamilton swung the election to Jefferson instead of Burr. No two politicians have ever been so ideologically polarized, but Hamilton felt Jeffereson had integrity. I really want to believe it’s the same case here. We’re all Democrats and we’re all Republicans. As song as we can hang on that in the midst of our differences, things will be ok. Hamilton died early, of course… But what are the odds of Jefferson and Adams dying as friends within hours right on the 50th anniversary of the greatest nation ever. I don’t think this was an accident.


  215. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig!

    I’ve heard a whopping three sermons from Womack. I cannot take credit for anything approaching a comprehensive knowledge of Womack, Johnson…. or anyone on either “side”. I had a crisis point in my faith a few years ago. All I did was to ask God to sort out my millions of thoughts (and feelings). I prayed some raw prayers like, “Whatever it means to know you… just lay it on me…” Then I waited. Frankly, I did not expect an answer. I’m serious….. I hoped, but didn’t expect. It’s like that whatever it is when you meet a girl. You simply can’t quantify it. You can make a list… and there’s poetry…. but ultimately chemistry is about intangibles that pass and defy knowledge. That’s what this has been like. For all the “wacky” things that go on, Bill Johnson is profoundly intellectual and disarmingly grounded! I had these 5 equations side-by-side and I’m tearing my hair out and filling a room with crumpled paper…. (Do you see where I’m going with this…?) So I hear Bill, and I’m going, “Holy cow… it all makes sense now…” I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about his background. I mean, I assume he’s studied Greek and Hebrew… But in the end, it’s like having a cough for four months and finding the doctor who finally cures it. I don’t care where the guy went to med school so long as body parts aren’t falling off six months later. Maybe the dude skipped anatomy for all I know…..

    I’m only going to speak for myself, but after steeping myself in the rich tradition of christians who (for lack of a better term) are evangelical/conservative, Bill’s words have been freeing and confirming. If you can look at it in the right perspective, he isn’t contradicting anyone so much as he is simplifying, clarifying, resolving and amplifying.

    Maybe I am deceived…. Like I’ve said, I’ll never say never again. But I’ve grown comfortable with my instincts. I may not know what love is. But I sure know what it’s like to stand next to a girl who causes me to feel things that seem pretty doggone close to what I’m pretty doggone sure love is (dang, that was a pretty good word ….) Anyway, that’s about the best way I can explain this. It’s all so beautiful and simple… If God’s promises are true, He’ll answer your prayers for clarification on all of these things. But you have to ask…. and don’t think for a moment that I don’t acknowledge that this is sometimes tantamount to hari cari.

    See, the issue isn’t whether you trust God. I know you do. What I’m wondering is if you trust your heart. We (MEN ESPECIALLY) have devised at least seventeen million ways to avoid doing this. I know all about those scriptures about how the heart is corrupt…… But Paul prays for the eyes of our hearts to be opened. If he had meant our mind’s eye, he would have said as much. But let’s be real. The heart is the scariest thing in the universe…. and there’s not a single man (male) who, if he’s honest, won’t admit this. My heart’s desire is for the desire of my heart ot say, “yes”. I spent a large part of my life preferring death to rejection. So I never took the risk. Instead, I insulated myself with accomplishments that would ostensibly eliminate risk. Then I get a crush on someone who could’ve cared less about all my accomplishments. I can laugh now, but it was NOT funny at the time.

    Womack? There was one sermon where I disagreed with half the things he said. Who cares? I’m not going to turn down a free ticket to the Super Bowl because the seats are in the bottom row of the end zone. His main idea is very close to what Bill is saying ….. fruit flows from knowing you’re loved. My testimony is that I’ve squandered a goldmine of gifts. I was able to accomplish something in life I had never been able to in a classroom: receive an ‘F’. I braced myself for punishment, and God tells me He gives re-tests… many as I need.

    I love what you said about your knee. Maybe it WAS a fluke! I myself have never been healed miraculously (to my knowledge) and I’ve asked a bunch of times! I guess what I’m trying to say in all of this is that, deep down, I’ve been afraid that God would say ‘no”. The sum of my life had been an attempt to assure a “yes”. Then I find out that He already IS the “yes”. The “catch” if you want to call it that, is that I’ve have to say “amen”.

    I hope you don’t take this as dancing around the issue. It’s not. I feel my heart is sincere and I really, really hope you believe me in this regard.


    • Craig says:


      You keep coming back to the same thing re: feelings-based religion. For example, in speaking to me, you said:

      See, the issue isn’t whether you trust God. I know you do. What I’m wondering is if you trust your heart.

      But, then what do you do with this Scripture (and others like it)?:

      Jeremiah 17:9:
      The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

      You wrote, “But Paul prays for the eyes of our hearts to be opened.” Yes. The NIV Study note explains Ephesians 1:18 as:

      Your mind or understanding or inner awareness.

      It’s not about being led by your heart instead of your mind. Otherwise we might well end up with the “burning in the bosom” like Mormons. Like I said earlier, it’s Spirit AND Truth.

      You wrote, “I love what you said about your knee. Maybe it WAS a fluke! I may post the long version of this some day in a testimony on this site. It was clearly miraculous healing as there was obviously cartilage damage. My knees would audibly creak. And, I could feel it. I could tell when the weather was about to change just by my knees.

      I don’t doubt your sincerity. However, I believe the Dalai Lama (or substitute any other non-Christian religious figure) is sincere. The dividing line is orthodoxy — especially with respect to the person of Jesus Christ.


  216. John Ashton says:

    HEy Bill Fawcett!
    I think you may be right about my building a straw man. I use MacArthur/Piper/etc, etc as archetypes of orthodoxy…. My chief concern is their “This is THE correct/accurate way to view things….” This isn’t about any particular person or denomination, it’s about a system.


  217. John Ashton says:

    Hey Bill – I didn’t answer this…

    I think you would find Bill Johnson’s preaching and teaching to be much more powerful if he returned to the doctrines (known as the 16 fundamentals) that he once embraced and has now rejected

    What I’m saying is that it is not an “either/or.” We CAN be faithful to the critical doctrines of the bible and also believe that the gifts are for today and that God can still heal.

    See, this is where I need to learn. I know nothing about 16 fund.


  218. John Ashton says:

    A lot of people have expressed frustration that I’m skirting questions. In looking over some of my past responses, I can see why. I apologize for this. Julie, I’d like to add to my response to one of your previous questions.

    I wish to also add, that, calling into question Bill Johnson’s orthodoxy on Jesus’ divinity isn’t the only problem. I have also witnessed the zeal and joy you mention being found at places like Bethel. I would encourage you to investigate these same persons in a number of years after they have continued in these teachings. You will probably find many of them shipwrecked in their faith, as Bill Fawcett above has noted.

    One of the sweetest young women in my acquaintance is currently attending Bethel’s school. I’m sorry, but I cannot recall the school’s name. She is full of excitement. But, honestly, her excitement is in regard to the POWER present. It’s the manifestation this, and the power that. Fire tunnels, and angels and slayings in the spirit, these are the topics of discussion. No mention of Jesus’s atoning sacrifice. This is not a solid foundation and the her zeal is misdirected.

    I absolutely share your concern; I don’t think it’s possible for us to be in more agreement. Do you remember that place when His disciples come back from a field trip marveling over all the miracles they were able to perform. Jesus rebukes them and says, in effect, “Don’t be glad about the things you did; be glad that you have a relationship with your Father in Heaven”. In my view, your concerns perfectly resonate with Jesus insofar as an overreliance on miracles can result in a shallow faith. I think it’s possible for miracles to play too much of a role in shaping a person’s testimony. There are times when God manifests Himself, but there are other times when He pulls back. So what if signs and wonders and miracles cease for a while? Where then is the basis of faith? The enemy is going to be replicating miracles in the last days. What then? What is going to prevent people from following impostors? If their faith is not rooted in the knowledge of what Craig lays out (See above…The Good News!), then lots of people are going to be deceived. I feel the Lord told me as much during an evening service this past summer.

    I can’t speak for Bethel. It’s operational premise is that “We worship a good God Who is in a good mood and Who likes to do good things.” If you hang out long enough, you might wonder if they correlate Gods miracles to His love. I don’t think they EQUATE the two, but there’s a closer association than perhaps they’d be willing to admit. As I look back, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone in leadership encourage people to set a year or two aside to just marinate in the word. But I do get the unmistakable sense that both Bill and Kris feel that people need to be more grounded scripturally.

    So, yes I very much share your concerns. It’s kind of funny now that I think about it. Maybe the Holy Spirit will move Bethel to put miracles on the shelf for a year and pick up THEIR Bibles! What DOES Paul mean in 1 Cor 13:8—10, that things are going to cease! I’ve seen this kind of thinking before: “We understand how God works….” Dangerous. God works the way He wants when He wants. Bethel seems dialed in right now and I believe amazing things are happening. I also see no reason why God couldn’t pull the plug on miraculous manifestations if He felt like it. At that point, all people would be left with would be there faith which, if based too much on miracles, would indeed represent a problem.

    You said this: ”….. may God bring us back to the awe and humility in His incredible work on the cross. It simply can’t be talked about too much, and needs to preached much more often.”

    Taking your ship analogy, I get afraid that a lot of boats are speeding around in shallow waters. Craig did a great job of outlining what every believer should know and know deeply. Why can’t we have both? Bethel’s school of supernatural ministry (BSSM) has over 1,000 students in its first year program. What if, beforehand, students were required to spend two years in intensive bible study? I basically trust what Bethel’s doing …. Maybe this type of idea has already been brought up… But please understand that you DO have a friend here.


  219. John Ashton says:

    Hey Mbaker!
    I’m trying to keep up with these questions. Kevin, I really feel I’ve left you out. Please bear with me.
    I wanted to at least try respond to what you asked here on 3-8 at 6:47 pm

    So, here’s the key question I want you to think about: You say you might be outside of orthodoxy, but will go on following Johnson, but have you seriously considered what that really means to your relationship with Christ Himself? You are actually defending Johnson’s words over those of the Lord and Savior whom you profess to follow and to love, whether you realize it or not. So, you need to ask yourself: Who died on the cross for me, therefore whose words should be the most important of anything else in my life? With all due respect, if you still decide it is Johnson I think the real problem you have is not with folks like us warning about teachings that clearly question the very foundations of the faith, (that Christ Himself laid), as you do with your own denial.
    Like Kevin, I implore you to reconsider.

    Interacting on this site has been helpful for me. I hope it has blessed some of you. Regardless, my theology has become something like this:
    1. I need help. I’m guilty. This is a bad feeling.
    2. I have chosen to accept Jesus’ cleansing from guilt, which completely satisfies God’s justice. No one else can accomplish this. I like knowing that I am a son and a friend of God. I am trying to enjoy this more and spend less time figuring it out. The fact that God accepts me (an understatement) in spite of my limited understanding makes me happy. Some people appear ecstatic about this. I’d like to come closer to their understanding. Knowing that God loves me causes me to feel good.
    3. I now rest in Jesus. I am covered by Him. My identity is in Him. Nothing can harm me. My past, present and future sins are dealt with. I have died with Him. I have access to a lot of benefits and have loads of authority. Jesus lives in me. I get to be like Jesus. But being like Jesus means I have to die to myself, and this is very unpleasant; not unlike training in sports. Actually, it feels worse. But I love winning, and God says His team always wins. So I endure the bad feelings because I know I’m a winner on a winning team that never loses. Winning makes me feel good…. Really good.

    So, yes, in a sense, my theology is largely about feelings. But my feelings don’t need to be in conflict with what is true.

    My operative theology is always changing, shifting and amendable just like any offensive line. But the fundamentals and the objectives remain the same, and they are non-negotiable. If you feel my theology is outside of orthodoxy, that’s fine. But I don’t think my theology being outside of orthodoxy remotely implies that I am outside of Jesus. Let me put it another way: The theology I outlined above – my theology – is sufficient to place me in Christ.

    You said, ” You are actually defending Johnson’s words over those of the Lord and Savior whom you profess to follow and to love, whether you realize it or not.”

    I have to say I don’t share your understanding in this regard. I’ve pointed out before (has anyone addressed this? If not, please do so.) that you can use some of Jesus’ own words to raise questions about His orthodoxy. Other statements can be used in a lot of different ways to say a lot of strange things. But if we’re on the subject of Jesus’ words, let’s look at a few.
    1. I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning!
    2. Do you think I have come to bring peace on the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other (father against son, mother against daughter, Pharisee against Pharisee (9:16) etc.)
    3. Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s kingdom…”
    4. So, therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
    5. Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.
    6. Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing…..
    7. If I alone bear witness of Myself, My testimony is not true.
    8. If I glorify Myself, my glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me….
    9. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
    10. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

    I had some fervent all-night dorm room discussions about some of these, and others. My opinion is that it’s easy to get tripped up by the printed word (viz. Bible). Jesus said as much. He told the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness to me.” Hearing his voice seems to be as important as knowing his word. Jesus talks about His return. What is the basis for recognizing Him? I doubt it will be something He writes in a newspaper. My hunch is that people who know Him will recognize him by His countenance and His voice. I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think he’ll have to perform miracles, at least initially. People who rely too much on signs and wonders probably won’t recognize Him. People who rely too much on the word probably won’t recognize him.

    The question isn’t whether I’m in denial, it the degree to which I’m in denial. All I can say is that I feel I’m more honest with myself than I used to be.


    • Craig says:


      With all due respect, given the following words of yours from your last comment you show that you just do not have an understanding of Jesus at His 2nd coming:

      Jesus talks about His return. What is the basis for recognizing Him? I doubt it will be something He writes in a newspaper. My hunch is that people who know Him will recognize him by His countenance and His voice. I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think he’ll have to perform miracles, at least initially. People who rely too much on signs and wonders probably won’t recognize Him. People who rely too much on the word probably won’t recognize him.

      See Matthew 24:30-31 and Revelation 19:11-18 for starters:

      30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.


      11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

      17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”

      [from NIV 2010]


  220. John Ashton says:


    I want to get back to you about your comment today at 7:08 AM.

    You wrote, “But Paul prays for the eyes of our hearts to be opened.” Yes. The NIV Study note explains Ephesians 1:18 as:

    Your mind or understanding or inner awareness.

    It’s been a few years, but if my memory serves me, the orig. Greek says something like “opthalamos kardion”. There are other words Paul could have chosen if he meant something other than “heart”.

    Do you see how quickly you drag in the Mormons? We’re back to what I was saying about the Music Man. Bill Johnson always uses the word, “press”. Well that sounds like “s” which is the first letter in “stormin” which rhymes with “mormon”.

    If the divine line is orthodoxy, where is the line delineating apprehension with our eyes as opposed to with our hearts? That is the question Jesus poses in John.


    • Craig says:


      Yes, it’s ofqalmouv thv kardiav or “eyes of the heart.” In Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament is basically the same thing as the NIV Study Bible:

      …Heart is not merely the seat of emotion, as in popular usage, but of thought and will.”


  221. mbaker says:


    Thanks for your honest answer. The one thing that concerns me out of all of this is this particular statement you made:

    “My operative theology is always changing, shifting and amendable just like any offensive line. ”

    This is the one thing Christ didn’t do in his time, even though it would have been more popular to agree with the religious culture of the time. which had changed His word to agree with their human opinions. I am glad you are still with us, and i don’t condemn you even though i disagree with your current approach. I think in the end, it is going from one extreme to the other. to renounce one in favor of the other. As I said i have so been there, and done that. However, it was only when I realized God’s word is indeed unchanging no matter what, that I got that real and lasting change cannot come about about without adherance to His word. It’s like a very young child saying to his parent, ” I don’t need your guidance, only your love.” We know they need both in equal measurement. As God’s children we are no different, no matter how old we are. Hebrews says He disciplines us as sons.

    When Jesus spoke of those who searched the scriptures for Him He was not talking about folks who were worshipping in in both Spirit and in Truth, but those who substituted one for the other. To Him they are both connected, as was He to the Father’s unchanging word. See John 17:17 to see what I mean, in His own words. The problem is when we try to separate Christ as the Living word from the Bible because of a misreading of that verse.

    John 1:14 tells us He was full of BOTH grace and truth. I hope you will investigate the unbreakable connection.


  222. John Ashton says:

    Where in the Bible does “orthodoxy” appear?


  223. W B McCarty says:

    John, in the Semitic world the word “heart” did not refer merely to the vital organ. Instead, it referred to the center of one’s being. We situate thought in the brain. The Semitics situated thought in the heart. Today, we understand the heart as the center of emotion and distinguish it from the mind. That is a modern distinction that would be imported into Scripture only erroneously.

    Off the immediate topic, you suppose that Bill Johnson has studied Greek and Hebrew. As one who studied both at the graduate level for multiple years, I observe that Bill Johnson shows no evidence whatsoever of having studied either biblical language. His understanding of Scripture is frequently at odds with the clear meaning of his text. In short, his problems as a pastor are not in the area of theology alone. Indeed, I suppose that his bad theology comes, in part, from lack of skill in exegesis, including biblical languages, and hermeneutics. Some remedial studies in church history and theology would be strongly warranted, as well. The popular notion that one can preach effectively and accurately under the power of the Spirit, without due attention to deep study of the Word, is a mark of pride not a badge of Charismatic honor. As in other aspects of the Christian life, personal diligence and right relationship to God are jointly prerequisite.


  224. W B McCarty says:

    John, where in the Bible does “John Ashton” appear???


  225. W B McCarty says:

    John, if you’re looking for “orthodoxy” in the NT, see (for instance) 1 Cor. 11:19: “For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” The word translated “factions” is the Greek word “airesis,” which takes the same meaning as the cognate word “heresy.” I think you’ll find orthodoxy there, if you look closely enough.

    The doctrine that Paul clearly communicates is that those who depart from sound doctrine (i.e., from orthodoxy) are not in Christ. The central doctrine known as the hypostatic union has been, as I have mentioned, held in common by the Eastern and Roman churches, as well as by the Protestant churches which broke from Rome, since 451 A.D. Those who deny the doctrine have no right to appropriate the title “Christian” in its historical sense. Along with dissenters such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, they are non-Christian heretics with whom the Church is commanded not to have fellowship (cf. Galatians, Jude, and letters of John).


  226. John Ashton says:

    Hey Mbaker-
    I did say that ” My operative theology is always changing, shifting and amendable just like any offensive line.” But the very next thing I said was,

    But the fundamentals and the objectives remain the same, and they are non-negotiable. ”

    [I realize that what I’m going to say may sound sarcastic and biting I don’t mean it to be hurtful. I’m not trying to prove something so much as to demonstrate…..]

    In your last post, you said, “I am…..” Now, in saying this, you are in grave danger of blasphemy. You have put yourself on the same level as God Himself. This is exactly the same thing that New Agers are doing……. ok…. I know I’m going way, way overboard, but you get the point. You can use my words to get me to say anything you want me to say. It’s being done to Bill.


    • Craig says:


      You wrote:

      …You can use my words to get me to say anything you want me to say. It’s being done to Bill.

      Johnson’s words are being quoted verbatim and in full context. Simple analysis has been done on those words. You’ve not shown anywhere yet where I or anyone has taken Bill Johnson out of context. Please show me just one instance.


  227. John Ashton says:

    Hi WB McCarty-

    You just posted this:

    “John, where in the Bible does “John Ashton” appear???”

    I’ve done my best to explain some things. I’m sorry it’s reached this point.


  228. W B McCarty says:

    John: “You can use my words to get me to say anything you want me to say. It’s being done to Bill.”

    John, I confess that I lose patience. You claim again and again that folks, apparently folks here, are twisting Bill Johnson’s words. Writing frankly, it’s now time for you to put up or shut up. I ask again and finally, how can his claim that “Jesus laid aside his divinity” be understood in other than a heterodox way? If there’s a tenable orthodox interpretation, I want to hear it now. If not, kindly drop the claim that Bill Johnson’s words are being twisted against him. In the absence of a plausible alternative interpretation, there’s no basis whatsoever for your now oft-repeated claim. And, biblically speaking, your claim is quite a serious matter.


  229. John Ashton says:

    I’m going to lay low until you show to me how Jesus’ own words didn’t make Him less orthodox than Bill.


    • Craig says:


      I just gave your words a 2nd thought, “I’m going to lay low until you show to me how Jesus’ own words didn’t make Him less orthodox than Bill.

      I believe I know what you’re trying to say, given my last comment; but, are you sure you wish to word your statement like this? Do you REALLY think Jesus was less orthodox than Bill Johnson?!!!!


  230. Craig says:

    Jesus not once contradicted Himself. He used hyperbole, yes; but, He not once contradicted Himself.

    You used the example “unless you hate your mother and father…” — but this is clearly hyperbole. Jesus’ point was that you must love Him more than your parents — not that you actually hate your parents.


  231. W B McCarty says:

    John: “I’ve done my best to explain some things. I’m sorry it’s reached this point.”

    John, perhaps I miss your point. My point is simply that the absence of a particular word in Scripture does not, in itself, prove anything. Without checking, I am unsure that the word “orthodoxy” was in common use in NT times. If it was not, it would not even have been available to the NT writers. In any case, no reasonable person can claim that the topic of orthodoxy is absent from the NT. It is a frequent and central topic in the Gospels and the Epistles.


  232. John Ashton says:

    I’ve probably been far more guilty than you as far as losing patience.

    No one needs to defend Bill and certainly no one has asked me to do so. I’ve done my best to clarify some things in terms of my personal experience. I felt the fact that I used to be orthodox (I never used that term, but it’s basically where I was) combined with the fact that I worship at Bethel would lend constructive insight.


  233. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    You asked, “Do you REALLY think Jesus was less orthodox than Bill Johnson?!!!!”

    I’ll leave that for you to decide.

    To answer Iwantthetruth, I’ve been at Bethel and one of the churches under its authority for about 2 1/2 years.

    I also need to come clean by saying that I’ve been using a pseudonym. I trust you understand that I have reasons for doing this.

    About two years ago, I begin feeling a burden for my “old friends” in the evangelical/conservative/orhtodox…. stream of the church which I believe is buttressed by an inaccurate view of God that leads to legalism and perfectionism, both of which have almost killed me. Almost everyone I meet wants God. But most are unwilling to receive Him because of the fear that He is as unreachable and exacting as orthodoxy demands. I got tired of having my every action and word put under scrutiny. In my opinion, orthodoxy does not represent the heart or the mind of God. Chapter 7 of WHIE goes so far as to say that it is animated by a hostile spirit.

    I’ve expressed my concerns about Bethel and money. But orthodoxy has far more to lose. There’s lots of old money. Tens of billions of dollars and hundreds of years of thinking are at stake. Only the Catholic Church is rivaled, at least in the western hemisphere. Orthodoxy is about being right. And to the extent this is true, it is ultimately a gospel of the self, not of surrender to Jesus. “I am right.” It spends too much time removing the logs in other people’s eyes in the name of “discernment”. I became weary of the word “clearly” because it carries with it the implication that “If you don’t agree with my conclusion, you’re either deceived, misguided, illogical or mentally-challenged.”

    Being right is no longer worth it. Ultimately, orthodoxy was a replacement for my desire for validation from my earthly father.


    • Craig says:


      I’ve no problem with you using a pseudonym. Many do the same. I don’t see it as being dishonest or what-have-you.

      You wrote: “In my opinion, orthodoxy does not represent the heart or the mind of God. Chapter 7 of WHIE goes so far as to say that it is animated by a hostile spirit.

      Yes, and where is this in the Bible? Johnson likes to polarize, posit false dichotomies, etc.

      This is not about an “it’s my way or the highway” sort of thing. We’re talking about one of the most essential parts of the Christian faith — the person of Jesus Christ. A deviation from orthodoxy regarding the person of Christ puts one clearly outside the bounds of Christianity.

      If, for you, orthodoxy was “a replacement for my desire for validation from my earthly father” I’m sorry to hear that (I had a very poor example for a father so I know all about that), that shows you had a wrong view of it. Admitting this and then correcting it is a good thing; but, you’ve apparently swung too far away from it. That’s sad.


  234. W B McCarty says:

    Neither legalism nor perfectionism, despite their popularity, is orthodox. Both entail a corruption of the Gospel. But clearly, John–and I use the word “clearly” with all due deliberation–when you give up the concern to be orthodox, you also give up any intellectual basis for labeling the views of others unorthodox or inaccurate. I submit that, contary to your representations, you continue to be concerned about orthodoxy. But, you have substituted at least some heterodox truth claims for truth claims you previously accepted, at least some of which were truly orthodox.

    But, I must reiterate: orthodoxy as the term is used by most here denotes adherence to the Gospel and other doctrines of the faith delivered via apostolic teaching, once and for all, to the Christian Church. When we talk of orthodoxy, we’re not talking of relatively insignificant or ancillary truth claims that the Church is free to accept or reject. We’re talking about the theological foundation of the Church–the bedrock, so to speak. Christology is a key aspect of that foundation and much recent discussion here has focused on Christological orthodoxy. But, Christology, crucial though it is, is not the only doctrinal component of orthodoxy. Soteriology, which flows from Christology, is another, crucial component.

    Tell me, along with other aspects of Protestant (not necessarily Eastern or Roman) orthodoxy, have you jettisoned salvation by grace through faith alone? If not, why do you suppose that an unorthodox Christology can cohere with an orthodox soteriology? In any number of respects, the person of Christ cannot be separated from his work or, therefore, from his purchase of salvation for God’s people. If Christ was not divine, what is the significance of his birth, his life, and his death? Can punishment, of whatever severity, inflicted on one Spirit-filled but otherwise ordinary man pay the penalty for the sins of the entire race? I submit that such questions can be answered adequately only in terms of the hypostatic union, whereby Christ is understood to possess a infinite, divine nature alongside a human nature.

    Though the ignorant may dissent, orthodox Christian theology is coherent. Departure from orthodoxy at any significant point tends strongly to undermine or even destroy that coherence and therefore undermine or destroy the integrity and credibility of the God who revealed himself in Scripture. An incoherent revelation is no revelation at all. Any god–so-called–who reveals himself incoherently is not a god worthy of our ultimate trust. Fundamentally, the concept of orthodoxy is rooted in the character of God, who cannot–not merely does not–lie, who is at once holy, just, and merciful, and who is able to do all things. To dispose of orthodoxy is to dispose of God himself. It is to substitute for the God who has revealed himself an idol of our own creation who is subject to us. The temptation to do so is the very root of creaturely sin.


  235. mbaker says:


    You accuse me I heresy because I used the common expression “I am..” ? This is a patently ridiculous argument. How many times a day do we all say things like “I am going to to work” or” I am going to the store, etc:?” How is that common use of language heretical?

    I really am done with this conversation. I have tried to be as understanding as possible knowing where I once was. Your remark was nothing more than a cheap shot, however, unbefitting the ‘love’ you say you have for others. You have done nothing here in all these conversations but further reinforce my own belief that we need to keep exposing false teaching, such as you are receiving at Bethel.

    I can only pray that you see the light before it is too late.


  236. John Ashton says:

    No, I wasn’t accusing you of heresy! This was supposed to be mildly humorous….


  237. Kevin says:

    oh man, I give up!


  238. Craig says:

    Since the subject of Andrew Wommack was brought up here, I’ll add some more info. I caught him again this morning with more on his version of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit/Ghost. In his monologue he said that those without the Baptism of the Holy Spirit would still get to heaven but, they would get there quicker as they would succumb to a disease, etc. Inferring from this:

    1) Those without the Baptism of the Holy Spirit will NOT get supernaturally healed from a disease.

    2) Those with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit should live longer lives than those without. In fact, if we draw the logical conclusion based on Wommack’s words that he and others with the BofHS will live forever in their human bodies as all diseases will be healed with the possible exception of accidental death. [But, hey, there’s always raising from the dead.]

    Wommack mentions speaking with Oral Roberts some time before his death. Not meaning to be disrespectful but rather pointing out the facts: Roberts suffered a fall resulting in broken bones and was also being treated for pneumonia just before his death. Why wasn’t Roberts healed given that he had the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?


  239. Craig says:


    Going back again to your comment, “Chapter 7 of WHIE goes so far as to say that it is animated by a hostile spirit. ” I wish to add further comments. Johnson says “the antichrist spirit gives rise to religious spirits” which is a “demonic presence…”[p 81] Logically, those with “antichrist spirits” are not heaven bound, and, since Johnson is referring to orthodoxy here, his words line up with those of New Ager/occultist/Theosophist Alice Bailey:

    “The true Church is the kingdom of God on earth, divorced from all clerical government and composed of all, regardless of race or creed, who live by the light within, who have discovered the fact of the mystical Christ in their hearts, and are preparing to tread the Way of Initiation. The kingdom is not composed of orthodox theologically minded people. Its citizenship is wider than that, and includes every human being who is thinking in larger terms than the individual, the orthodox, the national and the racial. The members of the coming kingdom will think in terms of humanity as a whole; and as being as they are separative or nationalistic, or religiously bigoted, or commercially selfish, they have no place in the kingdom. The word spiritual will be given a far wider connotation than that which has been given in the old age which is fortunately now passing….” [50][From Bethlehem to Calvary 1937 Lucis Trust]

    This is taken from The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II on the CrossWise site. This article explains how Johnson and others have redefined the Great Commission. Johnson calls the “authentic gospel” the “gospel of the kingdom” [WHIE p 27].


  240. cherylu says:


    I don’t believe you ever answered my question from March 95h at 9:15 a.m. about the love at Bethel that you keep talking about. Would you care to clarify that one for me?


  241. cherylu says:


    One more question here. Someone asked you how you believe that someone that was less then God, one who had laid their divinity aside, could possibly pay the price for man’s sins. Have you thought about that? If so, I would really like to know what your answer is too.


  242. Bill Fawcett says:

    For the record, Bill Fawcett is my real name. I am not ashamed of where I’ve been or where I’m going, nor am I afraid that my pastor or other church leaders will take offense at anything that I say. I left that sort of oppression 6 years ago when I left the Charismatic church.

    Over on my blog, an IHOP defender just called me a scoffer. I found out that this is a common phrase in the IHOP world, that means essentially the same thing as (in Bill Johnson’s word) one with an anti-christ spirit.

    The marginalization of detractors is a common practice of cults, and we are now seeing this cult-like mind control technique used throughout the Apostolic/Prophetic movement. Cultwatch has a list of common cult techniques. Here’s a quote:

    “Those who control the information control the person. In a mind control cult any information from outside the cult is considered evil, especially if it is opposing the cult. Members are told not to read it or believe it. Only information supplied by the cult is true. One cult labels any information against it as “persecution” or “spiritual pornography”, another cult calls it “apostate literature” and will expel you from the group if you are caught with it. Cults train their members to instantly destroy any critical information given to them, and to not even entertain the thought that the information could be true.”

    Of course, the term scoffer or antichirst spirit goes beyond a simple label, it is an ad hominem attack used to validate their position.

    I’m not calling Bethel or IHOP cults, I’m saying they are employing cultic mind-control techniques. Does that bother anyone else aside from me?


  243. IWanthetruth says:


    It bothers me! Especially since that is the kind of stuff that occured in the charismatic/pentecostal/PDL church I came out of it. Of course their term had to do with unity/dis-unity.

    Either way it is a method of control to keep the masses in line with the goings on of any man made vain imagination of a program!


  244. John Ashton says:

    Hey Bill-

    What if I put an ad on Craigslist for an open discussion forum that would meet once or twice a month in Redding. It wouldn’t even have to be ok’d by Bethel. I could also email this pastor I know and run it by him.


  245. Bill Fawcett says:


    Having come out of the A/P, I’m fairly certain that if you start OPENLY raising questions about the movement you will be branded and marginalized. The use of “Antichrist Spirit” by Johnson and his followers is problematic. In fact, I find it downright offensive. But I’m a big boy, and can take the heat. My greater concern is how such terminology can be used as a mind control technique. The “Berean Spirit” is hard to find in such groups.

    We were also told that if you left (the local A/P church) you would be leaving the “umbrella of protection.” Snort.


  246. John Ashton says:

    Hey Bill- I’ll think about the idea of a forum. Can’t offhand think of any reason not to …..


    • Craig says:

      John Ashton,

      Given that this is not your real name, how did you decide on it? Named after the actor? Preacher (John Aston)? Guitar player for Psychedelic Furs?


  247. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-
    I wrote you a fairly lengthy reply and the internet where I’m at stopped working. In short, the “love” here is good. More details later.


  248. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-
    Wanted to respond to this post:

    I’ve no problem with you using a pseudonym. Many do the same. I don’t see it as being dishonest or what-have-you.

    You wrote: “Chapter 7 of WHIE goes so far as to say that it is animated by a hostile spirit.

    Yes, and where is this in the Bible? Johnson likes to polarize, posit false dichotomies, etc.

    This is not about an “it’s my way or the highway” sort of thing. We’re talking about one of the most essential parts of the Christian faith — the person of Jesus Christ. A deviation from orthodoxy regarding the person of Christ puts one clearly outside the bounds of Christianity.

    If, for you, orthodoxy was “a replacement for my desire for validation from my earthly father” I’m sorry to hear that (I had a very poor example for a father so I know all about that), that shows you had a wrong view of it. Admitting this and then correcting it is a good thing; but, you’ve apparently swung too far away from it. That’s sad.

    I’m just learning about spiritual strongholds, etc. Ch. 7’s refers to one driven by control. I’ve probably gone too far already in terms of expressing my opinions. I don’t feel ready to comment on whether I feel Bill is polarizing. My gut says that if he is, it’s not in an inappropriate way. Jesus polarized. My understanding is that there is a serious warfare happening. The Bible talks about this. I agree with Bethel that we have the authority and responsibility to engage in spiritual warfare. Incidentally, the book that launched me into all of this was Hagen’s “The Authority of The Believer”. I don’t agree with everything Hagen taught. But I do believe he was right on the money in the first part of the book.

    What has been freeing (in a life-changing way) is realizing that WE ARE ALL BLIND in some areas. Bill, Kenneth, myself… I realize that you could interpret this relativism and hyper-ecuminicalism and all of that. Nothing could be further fromt the truth. My “orthodox” roots go very deep. Frankly, I feel your view is too exacting and narrow. I feel that in your desire to ferret out the bad you’re missing out on some amazingly good things. But, see, I’m not uncomfortable with this. The world is big enough for your views and mine. More important, I am convinced that, while the road IS narrow, God gives us a lot more lattitude than we’re comfortable with. This is why MY “orthodoxy” has become more simplified. What’s so ironic is that I am very careful about New Age, etc because I have come to see the utter seriousness of opening doors that give the enemy legal access. In some ways, I’m probably more vigilant than you are! But, of course, this raises the controversy as to whether the enemy can even have access to a believer. I’m in no way threatened or offended if you think I’m in dangerous waters. If you suggest or imply that I am not saved, I suppose I’ll take some offense. This is all to say that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being open-minded. It’s balance, isn’t it? IF anything, Bethel is on the open-minded end of the spectrum. Their whole philosophy is to “see how far God will take us”. Remember Jonathan when he and his buddy challenge and l beat the Philistines? I forget exactly what he said, but it’s apropos our discussion. I believe there are too many believers whose God is too small. We all agree God is infinite. What we don’t know and where we disagree is how that infinitude is hashed out. Where are the boundaries? What are the implications of our authority? Is Hagen correct? Do we have authority to heal? Why not ask? Why not try? Maybe Hagen is out to lunch in some areas. Maybe Bill is, too. But I really applaud them for pressing the boundaries. Hagen said he spent weeks (or even months) in prayer mulling over Eph 1-3 and it toally changed him. That story alone changed my life. All we need to do is admit that the way we view God is maybe off in some ways. God never, ever, rebukes us if we ask him crazy questions. WHen I wanted a little extra allowance, it was 50-50 whether my father would get angry. I think Bethel models God’s heart. People take risks. Failure is tolerated and almost encouraged. But messing with spirit realm things isn’t tolerated.

    I think you’d be surprised that for all ways Bethel is seen as touchy-feely, there is an expected adherence to core truths.

    I hope this wasn’t too long-winded. Maybe deep down I feel like I need to convince you (smiling). But I don’t think so. I just don’t want people to miss out on some big things.


    • Craig says:


      For the life of me, I can’t understand why you have this penchant for redefining Johnson’s clear words. Chapter 7 of WHIE, the one we’re speaking of, is titled The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit. There’s NOTHING about a “control spirit” in it.

      If you’re that concerned (and knowledgable) of New Age, then why didn’t you respond to my post at 8:56am today? Perhaps you should read the last section of part II of this article in which I close with this question, “Are Bill Johnson and company teaching and preaching a New Age Christ whether unwittingly or wittingly?”

      Wait till you see part III. It will discuss the New Age view of when Jesus received his “title” (or degree) of “Christ.”


    • Craig says:


      You mentioned that you are “…very careful about New Age…” and “probably more vigilant than you are” [speaking of me]. What do you know of the Alliance of Civilizations? Agenda 21? Worldwide Council of Churches?

      I just remembered you referenced Rick Warren back on 3/7. Thus, you display your ignorance of New Age as Warren himself is a New Ager. Just do a web search and you’ll find LOTS of articles about this. Recently, Saddleback hosted ecumemicist/New Ager Tony Blair. Two and half years ago — when I knew much less about New Age than I do now — I wrote a brief article on Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation which was posted here on another blog. This was prompted by an email (I’m on his list) by Roger Oakland of Understand The Times.

      Oakland and some members of his staff went to this recent “Global Peace Forum” hosted by Warren’s Saddleback and posted their findings over at Lighthouse Trails. Constance Cumbey — Christian author of two books which exposed aspects of the New Age 30 years ago — posted a link to this article with her own comments on Wednesday the 9th. Here’s a snippet:

      The report is important evidence that implementation New Age plans for the “New World Religion” long expressed by Lucis Trust [and the Alice Bailey books] are well under way.

      I think the report placed unjustified importance on Tony Blair’s purported conversion to his wife’s alleged Catholicism. The evidence is conclusive that both the Blairs made a full and public profession of New Age earth worship long ago. I have heard of no renunciation of their well publicized Mexican rebirthing ceremony which occurred in 2004. There are allegations that both Blairs occult practices were compulsive and obsessive.

      …At the same time he is loudly defended by New Agers such as Marianne Williamson

      It appears to me that Tony Blair and Rick Warren are both important participants in a type of New Age “rebirthing.” They are attempting to rebirth multitudes of Christians in beliefs that they must participate in both prophetically warned of redistribution and initiation systems. We know, at least from media accounts, that Tony Blair underwent New Age rebirthing.

      I submit that the New Age process is one of termites from within, wrecking balls from without. Looks to me as though Rick Warren and Tony Blair, wittingly or unwittingly, may be accomplices in both processes.

      Those are pretty sharp from words from Cumbey.


  249. Craig says:


    While I can appreciate the fact that there are a LOT of comments coming your way, you seem to overlook some of the more difficult ones. There’s one from W B McCarty @ 2:07am which begins:

    Neither legalism nor perfectionism, despite their popularity, is orthodox. Both entail a corruption of the Gospel. But clearly, John–and I use the word “clearly” with all due deliberation–when you give up the concern to be orthodox, you also give up any intellectual basis for labeling the views of others unorthodox or inaccurate. I submit that, contary to your representations, you continue to be concerned about orthodoxy. But, you have substituted at least some heterodox truth claims for truth claims you previously accepted, at least some of which were truly orthodox.

    John, you have admittedly placed yourself outside of orthodoxy with respect to proper Christology despite 2000 years of church history. Really, how is this different than the JWs and Mormons who insist that the Christian church have it wrong when they themselves have a faulty Christology?

    If you truly believe we’ve had it wrong for the past two centuries, then how does this make you different from a New Ager? From Alice Bailey’s From Bethlehem to Calvary [taken from Misplaced Trust, part I]:

    “Christianity will not be superseded. It will be transcended, its work of preparation being triumphantly accomplished, and Christ will again give us the next revelation of divinity….

    “…Can there not be revelations of God utterly unprecedented, and for which we have no words or adequate means of expression? The ancient mysteries, so shortly to be restored, must be re-interpreted in the light of Christianity, and readapted to meet modern need….” [22]


  250. cherylu says:

    Hi John,

    Since the new age movement has come up here, it brings another question to my mind. I’m wondering how you account for the fact that many of the “manifestations” found in places like Bethel and the rest of the hyper charismatic movement are not seen in the pages of the Bible at all. But do you know where they are found? They are found regulary in the occult, Eastern religions, and the new age movement. How do you begin to explain that? The Book that is to be our guide to the Christian life knows nothing of a lot of these things. Yet all of these false movements that we know are not moved by the Holy Spirit do. Does that not make you wonder just a bit where they truly come from?


    • Craig says:


      Yes, good questions; and, I should note, for example, that I’ve read that Kundalini practitioners in the East refer to the spirit present in these manifesations as the “Holy Spirit.”


  251. John Ashton says:

    I’m zonked I’ll post tomorrow.,


  252. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-

    I was at a place yesterday where internet access is limited and blocks are on. I wrote a fairly lengthy response that didn’t get sent.

    You asked an incredible question that is 100+% valid!

    Here’s your question:
    I have another question for you. You keep telling us how loving it is at Bethel. Maybe it truly is, I don’t know since I have never been there. But my question is this, how do you describe this love? Is it for lack of better words that sense of unity and emotional feeling of love that happens in a highly charged charismatic service?

    Or have you yourself experienced practical hands on “I’ll help you when you need help” tangible type of love outside of the four walls of Bethel church?

    The reason I am asking is because it is very easy to mistake the first for real love, but if it doesn’t get in the trenches with folks and help them in the nitty griity of life, it is not the love that Jesus is talking about.

    I have experienced both types of “love” from Christian people, and believe me I know the difference. And for whatever it is worth, I had a good dose of the emotions only type love but no practical help whatsoever from the hyper charismatic church I was last a part of.

    Granted, that can happen in any type of church. But since one of your main qualifiers for how good you believe Bethel to be is love, I wanted to ask that question so you could think about it if you haven’t already.

    Cherylu, you cannot even begin to conceive how much I’ve thought about the question you asked. I could write forever. The problem is that I don’t think my ideas have congealed yet. They’re not quite cohesive enough for prime-time. But I’ll give it the best shot I can, if only because I want you to know how valid your question is.

    Bethel is about relationship, and I believe they try to practice it on several levels. Most important, they stress relationship with a God who is far more patient, kind, tender and gracious than most of us think. They teach this. Everything flows from this idea. This is the foundation of their “unity”. Overall, I feel this is “fleshed out” quite well. Yes, Bethel IS an emotional church. But I believe there’s balance.

    I get the feeling there’s a real sense of acceptance; there’s a noticeable absence of judgment. But it’s not that mushy kind of relativistic non-judgementalism you see in so many other places. No – that’s just now how it is. As best I can tell, the love at Bethel flows from a body of people who are exploring the boundaries and implications of what God’s love is really like.

    I totally know what you mean about “is there help outside the four walls.” Bethel DOES feel more like a train station than a cozy, intimate, suburban intimate cul-de-sac community. But………!!!! People aren’t scurrying around catching trains. THAT’S what is so appealing. Let me give you a perfect example. One day after church, I drove by the Starbucks that’s about half a mile away. I saw the leader of my table at Fire Starters hanging with a bunch of people, all of whom were at least 20 years younger than I am. Well, I walk over and they all ask me to sit down and we all end up having a great time! The bottom line, Cherylu, is that it’s hard not to like most of the people here. Maybe it’s because most everyone seems to be an artist or musician and, as we all know, musicians (especially) are just cool people. Seriously, there’s just this feeling of acceptance. It’s part of the culture.

    Let me put it to you this way: If you were to suddenly crash a conversation of people who are hanging out, and you told them something like, “Guys, I can’t get over this addiction I have with overeating and my life seems like a failure now that I look back and I feel like no one understands this……”, you’re going to get five people surrounding you. If you start weeping and you crumple to the floor, you’ll probably attract another 10 people and they’re all going to surround you. Now, half of them are under 25. You’ll get some kids who have just graduated from high school. You’ll have a few middle-aged people. But you’ll be really hard-pressed (I’ve never experienced it) to find anyone who makes you feel judged. Now, a lot of people don’t quite know what to do with your pain (know what I mean?) Most college freshmen haven’t even begun to understand that youth is wasted on the young, so they’re going to be kind of clueless when it comes to ministering to someone like we’re describing. But so what? The whole IDEA is that we are resting in JESUS. We have POWER and AUTHORITY and a gazillion weapons and we can make crazy declarations. The list goes on and on and on. So, while some of these kids may be a bit “unseasoned”, all of them basically “get it”.

    And it’s contagious. Do some people who come to BSSM have issues? Of course! But the culture of acceptance creates this collective mentality that (and this may be a stretch, but I don’t think so) feels sometimes like Ps. 91.

    And so here’s how our scenario might work out. Someone might be praying and they’ll say, “Lord, we just ask for wisdom right now. We declare your favor over ________. ….” And everyone IS sticking their antenna out for a word of knowledge. Yes, OF COURSE, there are going to be people who sometimes squeeze blood out of the prophetic turnip, but not nearly as much as you might think. It’s not like everyone is jabbering and reaching for a word.

    Bethel understands that there IS oppression. The enemy does not like us and he definitely hates it when we get effective (or stumble over the idea that we can BECOME effective)! He has a few tools to neutralize us. But he has no authority. He just makes us want to believe he does. People “get” this idea here at Bethel. So what if you have 15 people surrounding you – oops.. now the group has grown to 23 – who are standing in their authority (that Paul declares and prays people “get” in Ephesians) and covering you? It’s not about them, and THEY KNOW THIS!!! It’s about JESUS and the FATHER and the HOLY SPIRIT. They (and everyone else) are just working out the implications of what all this crazy spiritual stuff means! If there’s an “Age of Aquarius” weirdo in the group, s/he will get drowned out (and then get admonished. In fact, someone would probably pull them out during the prayer.)

    Then a few of them may ask you out for dinner…..

    Now for the “bad” news…….but it ISN’T bad!!! Yes, there is a bit of a “zap ‘em and leave ‘em” sense. You know, spiritual fumigation. But, again, c’mon! People are learning! There are realms getting uncovered. Praying for a sore knee is one thing. It’s harder to pray for a broken heart.

    But guess what!?!?! They have this thing called SOZO. I’ve had five. A couple people (sometimes 4-5) pray over you and just ask the Holy Spirit to come and reveal things. The people have gone thur training. In my opinion, it works. I was HIGHLY, HIGHLY skeptical. It works. I don’t understand how. Kinda like Catfish Hunter. Game’s over and somehow he beat you. Everyone’s scratching their heads…..

    The love is grounded. You may need some time to get used to it. But there IS love. I’ll say this again. What impresses me is that there’s an absence of judgment, yet it’s not mushy and ethereal and all that. I went to Fire Starters and the very first thing I did was to made it clear that I had a biblical background and that I wasn’t going to fall for any nonsense (and the whole nine yards…. ) I’m sitting at this table week-after-week with the same people…. There are STILL some things I wrestle with. What’s so significant is that I didn’t feel judged. If I ever got pulled aside, it wasn’t in this “The brothers and I are concerned you’re venturing off into some dangerous areas……” It’s more like, “We don’t understand you in some ways, but we want to support you and pray for you and ask the Holy Spirit to encourage you…and we’re confident the Holy Spirit will teach you what whatever He needs to….” And then they’ll lay hands on you and come into agreement with what the Word of God says about you.

    Does this make sense? I suppose you could think of it like this (this is going to be an awesome word…): The only “orthodoxy” at Bethel is that God has unlimited resources that He wants to lavish on you. But you have to be willing to accept His love. And this can feel very, very uncomfortable and risky.

    There’s sort of a “way of doing things”, but there isn’t a spirit of conformity. I know the difference between the two.

    The first week I was there, Kevin Dedman (who oversees Fire Starters) said some things that really aggravated me. Now I love the guy. So what that he’s never going to win the Spurgeon Medal For Hermeneutical and Exegetical Excellence!? He’s really good at encouraging people to stretch out and take risks. So, check this out… I was carrying my “right to be offended card” around for maybe the first two months I’m there… Then I just go, “Ok… what can it hurt to start taking some risks… maybe Kevin knows what he’s talking about….” You’re going to LOVE this story….

    So I lay down my “right to be offended card” (I admit I had another one at home, just in case.) Well, a week or so later, I’m hanging around and I run into this Asian girl. She looks lost, and she asks me for directions to a class, or whatever it was. Now, she had an accent, so I ask her if she’s from around Redding. She says she’s from Singapore and that she flew all the way over – just for the weekend!! -because she had cancer and that she had spent the entire day in the Healing Room. Well, for some reason (in retrospect, it was probably because I had torn up my “right to be offended card”), I start feeling empowered and authoritative, and I ask her if I can pray for her. So I lay both of my hands on her shoulders, and, let me tell you, I pray this AMAZING prayer. I mean, I’m nailing it. I wish I had a video or tape recorder. It’s wasn’t ME praying, let me tell you….that’s for sure! So I’m praying for maybe 5-6 minutes (and it wasn’t repetitive…know what I mean?). Well, as I’m finishing, I’m seriously waiting for some kinds of manifestations (smoke, earthquake, choir of angels, slaying in the spirit….. I hope know I’m kidding here, but you get the idea). I’ve never been more certain of a prayer.

    Nothing….. Crickets. Nothing happened. She didn’t feel a thing. I gave her a hug and she went on her way.

    I drove off and had it out with God…right in front of Supercuts. I’m going, “Why? Why are there all these testimonies in Fire Starters of people who are successful in healing and it doesn’t work for me?” God answered me immediately. It was unmistakable. He said, “Dude, you ARE a success. If I had healed her then and there, your cause-and-effect mind would have gotten in the way of my being able to tell you right now in this moment that you’re a success…even when you “fail”. You need to learn to operate from the knowledge that you ARE a success.”

    Sometimes God gives you a different gift than what you’re looking for. His love is like that. You know… It’s Christmas, and your son asks for a remote control car and you give him a baseball glove instead… and he soon realizes he was put on earth to play baseball… I’m getting more used to the idea that THIS is how God’s love works.

    But you have to take a risk. (Thank you, Kevin.)

    If there is any “code of behavior” at Bethel (and there is one at ANY church), it’s that you need to be REAL. Kris Vallaton went on and on about this one time. He was saying that he just can’t relate to people who aren’t real. Well, now that I think about it, that’s the attitude that trickles down. I mean, Kris pretty much runs the church (actually, his wife does, but she’s so unassuming you’d never know it) and his attitude about authenticity is just in the air. Just be real. Just try. Don’t try to fool anyone … If you are feeling guarded, try to admit it and see what happens.

    Yes, there are people who have really stood by my side. This guy Jacob has been amazing. Just amazing. He works sometimes as the pastor on call. I haven’t gotten involved in the men’s fraternity or a home group, so I can’t comment on those. But, overall, I think Bethel is do a fantastic job of balancing things.

    I totally know about that shallow love in charismatic churches. That’s not the case here. What I like is that there’s just this underlying atmosphere of “God is truly delighted in me (even when I’m not delightful).” This (for me, at least) represents a huge departure from where I’ve been. To risk repeating myself, I think many of us have this idea of a God who is always scrutinizing us to see if we’re inside the lines of correctness. Bethel does not believe God is like this, and I feel they’re doing a pretty good job of modeling it.

    I hope this clarifies some things, Cherylu.

    P.S. I was looking back over some things I wrote. Too many grammar mistakes, typos, etc. I also used “evangelical” a couple of times when I meant “charismatic”.


  253. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu – (Craig, I’m gettng back at you next)
    I didn’t answer this question you asked:

    One more question here. Someone asked you how you believe that someone that was less then God, one who had laid their divinity aside, could possibly pay the price for man’s sins. Have you thought about that? If so, I would really like to know what your answer is too.

    I have thought about this for many years. My conclusion is that it’s impossible to pay for my sins if Jesus is not god.

    But I don’t believe Jesus is not God. (In all tenderness and affections, I ask that no one impute to me that I am declaring that Jesus is not God. )

    I believe that Jesus is and was 100% God. I believe that Jesus was also 100% man. These facts by themselves – known collectively as The Incarnation – cannot both be reconciled inside our 4-dimensional world (yes, I have been mistaken up till now in not including time). It’s absolutely futile to try to reconcile these facts with our limited minds.

    But we are told be transformed and to lay aside the old man (actually to cruxify it/him). In the process of doing this, I can now tolerate a realm of contradiction even though I can’t grasp it intellectually.

    ALL I am saying is that the Incarnation allows me to now entertain the notion that Jesus lay aside His divinity while somehow maintaining his all of his divinity. (If someone wants me to further clarify this, I’d be happy to later on even though I feel like I’ve already submitted a satisfactory explanation.) The statement “Jesus was god and man” is profoundly different from saying “Jesus was 100% god; Jesus was 100% man”. This distinction, combined with the meaning of the cruxifiction of the old man, are what lie at the source of our “disagreement”.


  254. IWanthetruth says:

    In my opinion, it works.

    Yes that seems to be the rub… it works but the real question is, is it really God/Holy Spirit or is it another