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.]
Endnotes:
[1] “raideragent” Bill Johnson False Teacher. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzAwFYKe3h0> 3:40 to 4:55
[2] Bethel Church, Redding, CA home page <http://www.ibethel.org/site/>
[3] “ewenhuffman” Jesus is our Model- Sermon of the week 20 Dec 09. <http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2009/12/23/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?. <http://www.gotquestions.org/definition-sin.html> 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 Studylight.org diaphthora <http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=1312>
[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 <http://www.gotquestions.org/Christology.html> 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 http://www.theopedia.com/Kenosis.
[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 <http://www.theopedia.com/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?. <http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-baptized.html>; 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?. <http://www.gospeloutreach.net/whatwordfaith.html>
 [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. W B McCarty says:

    John, with respect to your rewritten statements, where exactly does Bill Johnson write or say either of them?

    Like

  2. cherylu says:

    John,

    W B asked the question, “Once divinity is laid aside, what is left?” That is what we all want to know.

    How does your statement B, which you seem to prefer, hold up if divinity is laid aside?

    Like

  3. John Ashton says:

    He doesn’t, to my knowledge. I certainly cannot speak for him, but if he holds B, then all this statements line up.

    Like

  4. cherylu says:

    How John, how? How is any part of Him God if He laid aside His divinity?

    Obviously the part of Him that was man didn’t lay aside divinity, man has no divinity to lay aside. And if the part of Him that was God laid God aside, what is left but man?

    I’m sorry, we simply can not see what you are saying and it does in no way line up in our minds.

    Like

  5. W B McCarty says:

    John, and if Bill Johnson were tomorrow to state that he holds A then we could regard him as orthodox. But, he hasn’t stated that he holds A. He hasn’t stated that he holds B. He hasn’t stated that the moon is made of green cheese. And, he hasn’t stated that the moon isn’t made of green cheese.

    Hypotheticals take us nowhere. When truth is at issue, please, let’s deal with reality.

    Like

  6. Craig says:

    Sorry, I’m over at a friend’s place; so, I’m not exactly all here. However, this comment is very succinctly and well put:

    Obviously the part of Him that was man didn’t lay aside divinity, man has no divinity to lay aside. And if the part of Him that was God laid God aside, what is left but man?

    Like

  7. Craig says:

    Of course, the above question that cherylu posed beautifully exposes the inherent contadiction in Johnson’s statement “He laid his [sic] divinity aside”

    Like

  8. cherylu says:

    Putting it one more way John, earlier today Craig quoted again from WHIE. Part of that quote says, He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever! How can a being that is intrinisically supernatural lay aside all of of His supernatural capabilities?

    And can a being that has no supernatural abilities be said to be God?

    Like

  9. cherylu says:

    John,

    I have asked my questions in two different ways in my last two comments. First I asked how God could lay aside God. That question is working under the assumption that Bill Johnson uses the term divinity and God interchangeably as it is often used.

    The second time I asked how an intrinsically supernatural being could lay aside all supernatural capabilities. This time I was thinking of the word “divinity’ perhaps being used as not being equal to God but as referring to things relating to God. They are both definitions, (my paraphrase) of the word “divinity.”

    Although the second definition and scenario isn’t quite as problematic in my mind as the first, I still do not see how it is at all possible. I do not for the life of me know how anyone can lay aside something relating to them that is intrinsically a part of who/what they are and still be the same being in the end. Do not supernatural capabilities flow out of the very essense of who God is?

    Like

  10. Craig says:

    For the record, here is the Hypostatic Union – the doctrine which defines the two natures of Jesus Christ:

    The doctrine of the hypostatic union (the two natures of Jesus) was adopted as orthodox doctrine at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Three major schools of theology were involved at the council: Alexandria, Antioch, and the West. The consensus of these three schools in the Chalcedonian Creed illustrates the catholicity (i.e. universality) of the ancient church. The creed asserted two distinct natures, human and divine, and affirmed the one person of Jesus Christ.

    See the hyperlink above for the remainder.

    Like

  11. cherylu says:

    Thanks for posting that link, Craig.

    It is obvious, it seems to me, that Bill J does not believe in the hypostatic union as hammered out in this ancient creed. Even if he were to say both natures were there in the one person of Jesus, he has removed so much from the nature of God when he said that Jesus laid aside His divinity and that He had no supernatural capabilities whatsoever that he has completely removed any force and reality from any such statement he were to make.

    Like

  12. W B McCarty says:

    The medieval theologian Anselm, in his ontological argument for the existence of God, defined God as that being than whom a greater being cannot exist or be thought. By his definition, a divine attribute is a necessary and sufficient condition of divinity. That is, a divine being must possess the divine attributes. And, a non-divine being cannot possess any of the divine attributes.

    These implications follow from the fact that divine attributes are infinities, as indicated, for example, in the prefix omni- in such divine attributes as omniscience and omnipotence. Only an infinite being can possess an infinite attribute. And, to be truly divine, a divine being must possess the divine attributes in infinite degree.

    Like

  13. John Ashton says:

    Hi Cherylu-

    I think the statement you made here summarizes most of the prevailing concerns: Those two statements do not add up–you can’t not be God and be God at the same time. You’re right! They don’t add up! That’s the whole point!

    I’m not sure if anyone has answered this, but it bears repeating anyway. In John, Jesus is emphatic in saying that He can do nothing of Himself. He says this twice. Then he says that if He bears witness of himself that His witness is not true. Given these statements that Jesus made about Himself, is it too much of a stretch in saying that Jesus lay down His divinity?

    So you’re correct when you say that human logic simply cannot reconcile these truths side-by-side.

    I feel that all discussion about Bill being a false teacher should be tabled until these statement made by Jesus are reconciled.

    Like

  14. Craig says:

    John,

    While the dual nature of the hypostatic union will never be reconciled in our human finite minds, Jesus CAN NEVER LAY ASIDE HIS DIVINITY. Jesus is part of the Trinity and as has been stated numerous times in varying ways cannot divorce Himself from the Trinity. If this were possible then the entire Godhead would cease and the universe collapse.

    Jesus “could do nothing of Himself” because of the different roles within the Trinity.

    So, now that we have that answered, please explain how Johnson can say that Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside” among other comments in this same vein without being labelled a false teacher.

    Like

  15. Craig says:

    John,

    You are proof-texting; i.e., using one verse to make a point which, when taken in isolation, disagrees with other Scripture:

    17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No 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 NIV 2011]

    The various “I am” statements in John show Jesus to be and do things the Father is not and does not. One example: Jesus is the “Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Does this mean that God the Father does not save?

    Like

  16. Craig says:

    John,

    Further, in continuing my thought from above: Do we conclude that God the Father is not really omnipotent because Jesus is the only way to salvation?:

    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. [John 14:6; NKJV]

    Like

  17. Craig says:

    John,

    You’ve taken cherylu’s words out of context. She was pointing out the essence of what Bill Johnson teaches, not what she herself believes. She’s pointing out that Johnson is teaching a contradiction with the words you’ve italicized.

    However, the hypostatic union is NOT a contradiction. It may be impossible for us to understand; but, it is not a contradiction. Jesus had two natures — divine and human. He was not “100% human and 100% divine.” He cannot divorce one nature from the other.

    Like

  18. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    I feel that you’re proof texting Bill. His statement, “Jesus lay down his divinity”, matches perfectly with Jesus’ saying that he can do nothing. If you’re going to take Bill’s statement of Jesus laying down his divinity as a springboard to show that he holds the view that Jesus is not divine, then you need to do the same thing with Jesus. If you want to contextualize, then we draw from everything else Bill teaches, which includes that Jesus is divine.

    Like

  19. cherylu says:

    John,

    In your last comment you said this, first quoting me and then answering what I said, “I think the statement you made here summarizes most of the prevailing concerns: Those two statements do not add up–you can’t not be God and be God at the same time. You’re right! They don’t add up! That’s the whole point!

    I’m not sure if anyone has answered this, but it bears repeating anyway. In John, Jesus is emphatic in saying that He can do nothing of Himself. He says this twice. Then he says that if He bears witness of himself that His witness is not true. Given these statements that Jesus made about Himself, is it too much of a stretch in saying that Jesus lay down His divinity?”

    Craig is right in stating the Bill Johnson’s belief is a contradiction–it is impossible to be God and not be God at the same time. He is also correct in stating that the hypostatic union, while being something we can not fully wrap our minds around, is not a contradiction. I would highly recommend that you read the article that Craig linked to above, especially the part about the economic relationship in the Trinity. I think it answers the question very well of why Jesus said He could do nothing on His own. And believe me, it has absolutely nothing to do with His laying down His divinity!

    It seems from your last comment that you not only are defending Bill Johnson in His beliefs but that you also accept them for yourself. At the least you certainly see no problems with them whatsoever. It would seem that you accept as reality that Jesus truly laid aside His God hood and was somehow not God, even while He was God. As contradictory as that is.

    You will notice that I tried to give Bill Johnson the benefit of the doubt in the last comment that I made and answered as if maybe he wasn’t saying Jesus actually laid His Godhood aside when he says He laid aside His divinity. Well, I am done with that argument. If it is true that his big fans like you see it as meaning exactly that–that His Godhood was laid aside–so I see no sense in even trying to discuss the lesser of two very huge theological problems.

    Like

  20. cherylu says:

    John,

    Hebrews 1:1-3 says:

    Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

    And Colossians 1:17 says, And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    John what do you suppose would happen to the universe if the one that upholds it by His word of power suddenly didn’t have any supernatural capabiblites? Read these verses in context. There is no indication within them that Jesus has ever been anyone other then the divine being that is doing these things–no indication at all that they were ever temporarily laid aside.

    Colossians 1:19 goes on to say, For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.

    This doesn’t sound at all like someone that had no supernatural capabilities does it?

    Like

  21. John Ashton says:

    Here’s Bethel’s Statement of Belief

    There is only one true God who is the eternal King, Creator and Redeemer of all that is. He is perfectly holy, just, loving and truthful. He has revealed Himself to be eternally self- existent – one being in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

    The Bible to be the inspired and only infallible and authoritative Word of God.

    Humankind was created in the image of God to know and enjoy Him, yet we willfully rejected the Lordship and glory of God for which we were intended. Because of this, sickness, death and judgment entered the world and now creation experiences the effects and consequences of sin.

    The Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin, Mary, and is God’s Anointed One, empowered by the Holy Spirit to inaugurate God’s Kingdom on earth. He was crucified for our sins, died, was buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven, and is now alive today, in the presence of God the Father and in His people. He is “true God” and “true man.”

    We are saved by God’s grace, through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Anyone can be restored to fellowship with God through repenting, believing and receiving Jesus as their Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit, convicts, regenerates, justifies, and adopts us as we enter the Kingdom of God as His sons and daughters.

    In the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live holy and minister super-naturally. The baptism of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:4-8 and 2:4 is poured out on believers that they might have power to be witnesses.

    The victorious redemptive work of Christ on the cross provides freedom from the power of the enemy – sin, lies, sickness and torment.

    The Church consists of all who put their faith in Jesus Christ. He gave His church the ordinances of Baptism and Communion. The Church exists to carry on the ministry of Jesus Christ and further advance His kingdom by undoing the works of the enemy, preaching and living the good news of God’s love, disciple the nations, baptizing and teaching them to love and obey God.

    In the ever increasing government of God and in the Blessed Hope, which is the glorious visible return of our Lord Jesus Christ for His overcoming bride – His church. Heaven and hell are real places. There will be a resurrection of the saved and the lost, the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting death.

    Like

  22. cherylu says:

    John,

    I’m sure Craig will answer this for himself when he gets the opportunity.

    But here is my take on this. And I know I have said the same thing before. As far as I know, everyone here knows that Bill Johnson says Jesus is divine. But then he goes on to make totally contradictory statements–repeatedly and in in several published books of his–that totally contradict that statement.

    Again–it is totally, completely, 100 % contradictory to state that he was God and not God at the same time. Frankly, that sounds like utter nonsense talk–it makes no sense whatsoever. And again, if you will take another look at the statements Jesus made about not being able to do anything on His own, I don”t think you will find the need to make such a contradictory statement. At least not with those statements of Jesus as the justification for that view.

    And as I have tried to show by the use of other Scripture above, and as we have tried to show repeatedly, that idea just does not add up with the rest of Scripture at all.

    There is an old saying about trying to have your cake and eat it too. It seems to me that is what is happening here. Bill Johnson wants it both ways–that He is God and that He laid His divinity aside. I’m sorry, but it is a logical contradiction besides contradicting the rest of the Scriptural teaching on the subject.

    Is it really so very important to prove that Jesus was our model in His human life alone and we can do and be just like Him, that you have to “lay aside His divinity” to do so thus making mince meat of the Scriptural teachng on the subject??

    Like

  23. cherylu says:

    John,

    Thanks for posting Bethel’s statement of belief. It does sound very good and very orthodox. However as has sometimes been pointed out, a statement of belief can be right on but not the way things actually are when it comes down to practicalities. It would seem that this is very likely the case at Bethel in this regard.

    I asked a question last night and since you haven’t answered it yet, I will ask it again to emphasize it.

    What part of Jesus laid down His divinity? Surely it wasn’t the part that is l00 % man as that part has no divinity to lay down. That leaves only the part that was 100 % God, correct? So if God laid down His divinity, what are we left with? Where exactly do you find that part that is still l00% God?

    To put it mathematically you seem to have an equation that looks like this: God minus God equals God. See the problem there??

    Now, I think I have rambled on for about long enough for awhile! Until later…..

    Like

  24. Craig says:

    John, you wrote:

    I feel that you’re proof texting Bill. His statement, “Jesus lay down his divinity”, matches perfectly with Jesus’ saying that he can do nothing. If you’re going to take Bill’s statement of Jesus laying down his divinity as a springboard to show that he holds the view that Jesus is not divine, then you need to do the same thing with Jesus. If you want to contextualize, then we draw from everything else Bill teaches, which includes that Jesus is divine.

    I’m glad we’re having a discussion about one of substantive issues of the article. However, you are doing the same thing Johnson does – posing false analogies. Scripture clearly affirms Jesus’ deity, not once claiming Jesus “laid aside His divinity.” Given that, I don’t have to prove it. However, it is incumbent on you to show that Johnson teaches that Jesus was divine during His entire earthly ministry since you are here defending him claiming Johnson is orthodox in his teachings. This is the essential issue here.

    It was already shown earlier by John 14:6 that Jesus is the only Way to the Father and John 10:17-18 shows that He was not “powerless” as Johnson claims and there is other Scripture which clearly shows that Jesus could well do things on His own.

    Johnson, on the other hand has illustrated over and over by inference that Jesus was not divine in taking his statements in total such as: “He could do nothing on His own,” “He had no supernatural power,” “He was a lamb (powerless),” He received the “title” of Christ “in an experience” closely related to Baptism. And, then there’s this one:

    He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God … not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle.

    When you put all these together CLEARLY Johnson is illustrating that Jesus was a mere man when He performed all His miracles in His earthly ministry. Scripture NEVER states Jesus was a man AT ANY POINT as He was, is currently, and will always be the unique God-man. To disagree with this is to disagree with one of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith – proper Christology as enumerated in the hypostatic union. When one does this, they place themselves outside of orthodoxy and clearly on the side of heresy.

    [continued]

    Like

  25. Craig says:

    [continued]

    I want to comment especially on this statement, “ If you want to contextualize, then we draw from everything else Bill teaches, which includes that Jesus is divine.”

    Johnson says Jesus IS divine, yet he also infers Jesus was NOT divine at the Incarnation with his belief that Jesus received His “title” of Christ in “an experience” closely related to Baptism. This could match Johnson’s statement that “He laid his [sic] divinity aside.” As quoted in the article, La Touche says this is “incarnation by divine suicide.”

    However, even THIS contradicts other words of Johnson since if we were to believe that at or near the “experience” of Baptism Jesus received the “title” of Christ (and He would thereby be the Messiah or Anointed One by definition) at that time (and not before, of course), then why was He a “man” performing His miracles? Perhaps, we can construe Johnson’s words this way: Jesus was NOT incarnated as Christ, received this “title” later, then “laid his [sic] divinity aside” just as soon as He acquired it so that He could perform His miracles as a “man.”

    At this point we come back to Johnson’s redefinition of Christ as “anointing” instead of Messiah/Anointed One with this same “Christ anointing” available to all – yet another contradiction.

    All this is even contradictory to the Bethel Statement of Beliefs which illustrates that one cannot go by a given church’s doctrinal statement alone.

    So, John, in conclusion, I do believe there has been quite enough proof 1) of what Bill Johnson is actually teaching by his own words; and, 2) that Johnson’s words are outside Christian orthodoxy. Given that, I want no more dancing around this issue. Either you provide some sort of evidence – besides the doctrinal statement you already supplied – that Johnson, in his own words, is teaching that Jesus was divine at the Incarnation and all the way through His earthly ministry or you concede that Johnson offers no words to counteract these particular words as illustrated throughout both the article and the comments here.

    If you wish to continue in your belief that Johnson’s teaching that Jesus had no power of Himself and that He “laid his [sic] divinity aside” – and, further, that this is actually orthodox Christianity despite plain evidence to the contrary – that is your choice. However, stop wasting your time and our time here.

    To be clear and blunt: either offer something to support your view (as outlined above) that Johnson is teaching historical orthodox Christianity with respect to Christology and the hypostatic union or don’t bother commenting.

    Like

  26. W B McCarty says:

    In the orthodox view, the divinity of Jesus:

    1. Was present in His eternal pre-existence
    2. Was present during His earthly ministry
    3. Was present after His resurrection and continues now to be present

    Though there is some lack of clarity in the Bethel Statement of Faith, I am willing to stipulate for the purpose of this discussion that the Statement affirms #1 and #3. However, I find nothing in the Statement that clearly affirms #2, which is the very point at issue. Should this be put down to mere coincidence? I think not.

    Moreover, it is unfortunately common for churches to drift theologically from their statement of faith. Sometimes, entire denominations, rather than merely local churches, sustain such theological drift. In many cases, statements of faith are incorporated within corporate documents, including real property deeds, and can be difficult and costly or even impossible to change. The easier route is simply to ignore them. So-called mainline churches came to be in exactly this way.

    One sign that a local church continues to take seriously its statement of faith is an annual process in which leaders and congregants re-affirm their commitment to the statement. Of course, this can be done in a merely ceremonial way that denotes no real commitment. So, the presence of such a process proves nothing. The absence may be more significant. I’m curious: does Bethel regularly re-affirm its Statement of Faith? If so, in what way?

    Like

  27. cherylu says:

    John,

    You keep insisting that Johnson believes Jesus to be God because he has said so and you don’t seem to understand why we are saying that his teaching says other wise.

    You seem to be quite fond of analogies. So let me offer one of my own, flawed as it may be:

    Let’s pretend I am a feature writer doing a story for some magazine about some guy named John Smith.

    On the first page of my article I tell my readers that, “John Smith is an extremely honest man. He is totally trustworthy and honorable in all that he does.”

    But….shortly after that I tell my readers, “In 1975 John Smith is known to have embezzled at least one million dollars from his employer, was convicted of that crime and spent 20 years in prison for it. And now it appears that he has embezzled more money from his current employer and is under investigation for this incident.”

    Besides that I go on to tell my readers, “It has also been told us that a volunteer agency where Mr Smith served as treasurer for many years is well aware that Mr Smith stole some rather substantial amounts of money from them while serving in that capacity. When confronted, he confessed this to them but they decided not to press charges.”

    (End of quotes from imaginary feature article.)

    Okay, do you get the idea and see the problem here? Although the man’s honesty was affirmed in one breath, it was completely and unequivocally denied by what was said in the rest of the article. Anyone reading that piece would come away not believing Mr Smith to be an honorable man, but indeed believeing quite the opposite. And they would certainly also be wondering about my sanity in stating what an honorable man he was at the start of my article!

    Although no analogy is perfect and certainly not my imaginary scenario here, can you not see why we really can’t buy that BIll Johnson believes that Jesus is fully God when he says so when the rest of what he says denies the reality of that statement?

    And I suppose it is possbile the he does believe both of these things. But if that is case, I don’t think he has really stopped to think through the implications of what he is saying. As I have said before, God minus God does not equal God.

    And his views are certainly without the scope of Christian orthodoxy.

    Like

  28. W B McCarty says:

    John wrote: “In John, Jesus is emphatic in saying that He can do nothing of Himself. He says this twice. Then he says that if He bears witness of himself that His witness is not true. Given these statements that Jesus made about Himself, is it too much of a stretch in saying that Jesus lay down His divinity?”

    John, Craig and Cherylu have both well addressed your implicit exegesis of the passages to which you refer. I would add only that no reputable commentator of whom I am aware has understood the passages in the way you propose. If you wish to maintain your exegetical position, I think you own the burden of proof. So, in that case, please provide some evidence in support of it. I’d be happy to respond.

    I do very much appreciate that you have referenced, albeit obliquely, some Scriptures that you believe support your position. Our discussion is likely to be much more fruitful if you continue to offer reasons and if you work to state your case even more explicitly and in greater detail.

    Like

  29. cherylu says:

    John,

    John 8:28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.” ESV

    The same verse in the NIV, “So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”

    John 5:19 “Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” NIV

    The same verse in the ESV, “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father* does, that the Son does likewise.”

    And John 5:30, speaking of future judgement: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” NIV

    And the same verse in the ESV, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

    Seriously, John, look at the context of these verses that are being used to show that Jesus is not divine. Don’t just read the phrase, “I can do nothing on my own” and think it means, “He laid His divinity aside.”

    You have to look no further then the verses themselves to see what He really is saying here:

    John 8:28 He doesn’t work on His own authority apart from what He hears the Father teaching Him to do. Does this truly say He has no supernatural powers? That His divinity has been laid aside? No, it does not. It says He is working under the Father’s authority and doing what the Father wants Him to.

    John 5:19 Here he says He does only what He sees the Father doing. Does this truly say He has no supernatural powers. Again, no, it does not. It says He is doing what He sees the Father doing.

    And finally John 5:30 Jesus says He can do nothing on His own–again only what He hears from the Father because it is the Father’s will He is seeking and not His own. So….Does this verse say He laid His divinity aside and had absolutely no supernatural powers? Again, most emphatically IT DOES NOT.

    All you really have to do here, John, is read the whole verse and not just one single phrase taken out of context to prove a point. If you do so, the whole premise that you and Bill Johnson are working on in these verses comes tumbling down in a heap around your ears.

    Talk about proof texting and an extreme case of eisegesis!

    Like

  30. mbaker says:

    W.B McCarty,

    I would also just add to your list in your comment of March 20 at 3:48 that Christ’s divinity was also present at His incarnation, and certainly that would make your list complete, according to scripture.

    Are you thinking, as I am, that given all these proofs in scripture that if we even discount one, as BJ has done, that we are making Christ less than God on one hand in His time here on earth while at the same time counting upon Him being God in order to save us?

    Certainly something that those who believe BJ’s teachings should think about.

    Like

  31. W B McCarty says:

    MBaker, thanks for the clarification. By “earthly ministry” I had intended even the first moment of Jesus’ life as a human. But you’re right that some folks wouldn’t understand gestation as ministry. Given the honor due Jesus as God, even that phase of His life entailed infinite humiliation and so was quite certainly ministry. Older generations often referred to the Incarnation as the “Humiliation.” That term is apt because even though Jesus’ humiliation is done His Incarnation continues eternally. So, really, “Humilation” is a better term than “Incarnation,” as the latter term is popularly used today.

    I agree that even an apparently infinitesimal diminution of Jesus’ glory is the biggest deal possible. Gross reduction of Jesus to the nature/role of a mere prophet is characteristic of non-Christian sects and cults. That’s essentially what Muslims believe about “Issa,” as they call Jesus. As a consequence of their error, they cannot give an adequate account of His virgin birth. In LDS theology, Jesus was once a man but, by virtue of His righteousness, became a god. This is essentially what Bill Johnson seems to offer in his book WHIE. However, such a concept is entirely foreign to the Scriptures (cf. Isa 44:6,8; 45:5,21). If, hypothetically, Jesus could cease for even a moment to be God, He would never be able to regain His divinity. Of course, that hypothesis itself is extremely flawed and unbiblical.

    Like

  32. W B McCarty says:

    I apologize for veering somewhat off topic. But I can’t help myself. Today Bill Johnson’s Facebook page includes this teaching: “What’s really sad is that believers think that earthquakes, wars, and famines are the will of God.”

    Rejection of the pillar biblical doctrines of God’s sovereignty and omnipotence is a sure recipe for neurosis and faulty theology. I urge everyone who finds Bill Johnson’s claim plausible to reconsider it in the light of answers to the following questions:

    Q1: By whose power was God’s good creation subjected to futility? [Hint: Read Scriptures such as Gen. 3 and Job 1.]

    Q2: Whose will was worked out in the greatest crime of history, the cruel murder of the Son of God? [Hint: Read Scriptures such as Acts 3:12-18.]

    Q3: When we are saved, from whom are we saved? [Hint: Read Scriptures such as Rom. 5:9.]

    Like

  33. Craig says:

    W B,

    Well, if Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside” why would it be such a stretch if the entire Godhead did it? Perhaps He was sleeping [see I Kings 18:27] at the time of some of these?

    Like

  34. W B McCarty says:

    Craig, you correctly see what I perceive as the relevance of the my critique to the issue at hand. The statement illustrates a recurrent theme of Johnson’s teaching, which continually diminishes the powers and prerogatives of divinity not only of the Son but of all three persons of the Trinity.

    Moreover, if you review Bethel’s Statement of Faith, which appears above, you’ll notice it is largely silent on the attributes of divinity. I can’t help but think that a quite deliberate omission.

    Also, the Statement almost completely lacks citations of Scripture, which is most unusual for a statement of faith. The only doctrine that includes a citation is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I find it interesting that the only doctrine given support from Scripture is the very doctrine that figures so prominently in Johnson’s teaching–more prominently, as has been pointed out here, than the doctrines of sin and salvation. Not even the Gospel itself is dignified in the Statement by inclusion of a single citation.

    Does this come as a surprise?

    Like

  35. John Ashton says:

    Craig-
    Bill Johnson has a profoundly deep relationship with Jesus and his teaching reflects this. Tens of thousands, if not millions, will come to know the real Jesus as a result of his ministry.

    But you’ve concluded that his teaching does not represent the real Jesus. I’m not here to defend Bill Johnson, to “win” an argument, or to make concessions. My desire is to draw from my background to communicate to orthodox believers that his theology profoundly resonates with the heart and mind of God and is consistent with the tenets of Orthodoxy.

    It’s one thing to discuss reservations about the core beliefs of a church leader. It’s quite another to publically attribute “False Teaching” to a 5th generation pastor when the souls of millions are at stake. I urge you to exercise caution, and to consider the implications of the declarations you are making.

    Like

  36. Craig says:

    John,

    I disagree. Johnson does not preach the real Jesus as His Christology plainly shows. Once again, show me something definitively to the contrary by Johnson’s own words that Jesus was Christ/Messiah, Lord and Savior at the Incarnation. His teaching is well outside of orthodoxy as we’ve so plainly communicated.

    John, you wrote: It’s one thing to discuss reservations about the core beliefs of a church leader. It’s quite another to publically attribute “False Teaching” to a 5th generation pastor when the souls of millions are at stake. I urge you to exercise caution, and to consider the implications of the declarations you are making.

    And, it’s a shame that a 5th generation pastor would so pervert the person of Jesus Christ. And, it’s because there are many souls at stake that I’m doing this. And, I DO NOT take this lightly at all. There are eternal consequences.

    Like

  37. Bill Fawcett says:

    John, Seems like we have been here before. Johnson may be a fifth generation pastor, but by no stretch of imagination is he faithful to the 16 fundamentals or the position papers of the Assemblies of God from whence he came; in fact he has rejected the Assemblies of God as they would not let him be an apostle.
    (He prefers to have people gather around “fathers” rather than the doctrinal truths of the Word.).

    How does the “five generation” thing lend strength to your argument? Would a “fourth generation” pastor have less anointing? How about a “third?” Do you believe in a progression of anointing, or does each man have to go to the well for himself? Can God use a first generation pastor, who is faithful to the Word in a greater manner than a third geneartion pastor who is apostate? Are you getting it yet?

    And why the reliance on Johnson, not God? Have you made Johnson a god? Maybe a little christ?
    Let me make it clear- God has not placed the souls of millions at the mercy of how anyone speaks of Bill Johnson’s Christology. Nor would God’s eternal plan for mankind be thwarted if Johnson totally rejected God tommorrow or if his life prematurely ended. If your god is dependant on Bill Johnson, you serve a little god indeed.

    I urge you to exercise caution, and to consider the implications of the declarations you are making.

    Like

  38. John Ashton says:

    Hi Cherylu-

    I like your ramblings.

    My understanding is insufficient to represent the views of Bethel. But I did want to address your question as to what part of Jesus lay down His divinity. Perhaps it is the same part that declared, “I can do nothing ….”

    As far as the math, 100% God and 100% man does not equal 200%. It makes no sense and cannot be reconciled in our minds any more than topography makes sense in a 2-dimensional world.

    Contradiction is ingrained in the Universe. The world at the atomic level is entirely chaotic; at the macro level, it is entirely ordered and predictable. As of now, there is no unifying mathematical model that reconciles both “worlds”. I believe this fundamental propery of the Universe represents a disclosure into the mind of God.

    Ultimately, if you want to find something wrong with Bethel, you’ll find it. When I first got here, I had all sorts of issues. I lay down my right to be right, and now I see things differently.

    I cannot convince you of anything, nor is that my goal. But I can make an appeal. God promises that he will answer anything you pray in His name. Start by personalizing Ephesians 1: 17-19. It’s a blue chip, guaranteed-to-be-answered prayer! Pray it and keep praying it until it becomes part of your spiritual DNA. Ask God for revelation, knowledge and understanding with respect to Bethel. Look over some things I’ve said and ask for clarification, especially with respect to the Incarnation. I believe that “getting” this reconciles almost all contradictions we’ve discussed. Bethel has not ditched Orthodoxy; it’s just taken it 2-3 steps farther. That is my opinion. If you simply acknowledge that you might possibly need to realign some of your thinking, God will meet you right there. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate expositor and clarifier.

    I hope this provides a platform for addressing your questions. If not, let me know. 🙂

    Like

  39. John Ashton says:

    Bill-

    Ultimately, we have to follow where we believe the spirit is leading us. My thinking has been off many times before. I used to trust my reasoning more than I do now. If Bill Johnson has become an idol, then God will reveal this to me. But for now, I’m amazed at his wisdom.

    As I said, I’m not here to win an argument. But I do believe there’s a certain respect that is due to a 5th generation pastor.

    Is labeling him as a false teacher on the world wide web consistent with God’s heart and mind? If it is not, then how will this influence people’s decisions? Believers do influence history. Bill addressed this on Sunday.

    You said, “God has not placed the souls of millions at the mercy of how anyone speaks of Bill Johnson’s Christology. Nor would God’s eternal plan for mankind be thwarted if Johnson totally rejected God tommorrow or if his life prematurely ended. If your god is dependant on Bill Johnson, you serve a little god indeed.” If what you say is true, then why all the fuss about Bill’s heresy?

    Like

  40. John Ashton says:

    Craig-

    My only question, ultimately, is whether your published words about Bill Johnson are in alignment with God’s mind and heart towards Bill Johnson.

    Like

  41. Tim says:

    When I first got here, I had all sorts of issues. I lay down my right to be right, and now I see things differently.

    So the bottom line is, you actually discerned there was something wrong, but you laid down your right “to judge within the church” whether the teaching were of sound doctrine or not and decided to put aside the “gift” that God gave you, that being DISCERNMENT and went ahead and let yourself (your flesh) accept the “extra” knowledge that is outside of biblical foundation.

    Bethel has not ditched Orthodoxy; it’s just taken it 2-3 steps farther.

    You are admintting here, that orthodox biblical foundational doctrine, Bethel/BJ has ADDED to the scriptures. In other words receive “NEW REVELATIONAL KNOWLEDGE” and then add to the scriptures. An admission to extra biblical teachings outside of orthodox biblical knowledge (reading and thensome between the lines) of scripture outside of what has already been given.

    Like

  42. cherylu says:

    John,

    Did you even read all of the comment I made on the the statement of Jesus regarding the “I can do nothing” statements? Did they make even the slightest bit of sense to you? Can you not see that those verses taken in the simple context of the verses themselves do not mean that He had no supernatural powers? That He is not saying He laid His dvinity aside in those verses?

    C’mon John, you claim to have a Phd and a masters from two separate prestigious schools. Can’t you read those verses and see for yourself what they actually are saying without reading them through the lens of Bethel and Bill Johnson? Surely you didn’t get the degress you have without being able to understand the meaning behind a few simple sentences. As you would say, I am sorry if this offends you. But the fact of the matter seems to plainly be that Johnson has pulled this phrase totally out of context and made it to say something other then it’s literal meaning within even the sentence that it is found. That, John, is a dreadful way to read the Bible or any other written material for that matter.

    Like

  43. John Ashton says:

    Hey Tim-
    My discernment was misappropriated. The log in my eye was bigger than their splinters.

    I didn’t say or imply that Bill added to scripture. I just think he goes deeper than anyone I’ve ever heard. All his sermons are deeply rooted in scripture. You should hear yesterday’s.

    Like

  44. cherylu says:

    John,

    Don’t forget that I and some of the others here spent a good deal of time in the middle of this type of church and teaching. Although the church I was in never went so far as to say that Jesus laid His divinity aside. But there was a large amount of respect for Bill Johnson and Bethel there. He spoke at our church , folks went to conferences there, and youth went to the schools of ministry there. Our church was also very immersed in the teachings and conferences of others in the hyper charismatic movement. And as an aside, in my understanding of the hyper charismatic movement, Bethel is certainly right in the middle of it.

    All of that to say, I was surrounded by this stuff for years. So what I am saying I am not saying lightly. I started seeing many problems with the whole movement I was in, did much research, and finally got to the point where I knew I could not stay any longer because things just did not line up with what the Bible taught. And the spirit that was at work there was often not, if my discernment was at all correct, the Holy Spirit of of God.

    It was a very painful journey out, John. As I said, I have been there and done that.

    All

    Like

  45. cherylu says:

    John,

    I have been doing some more reading and last night ran across an interesting audio clip of Bill Johnson’s. You are right, he does say that Jesus is the eternal God.

    But as I have stated before, he turns around in the next breath and very effectively denies it by making such statements as “Jesus laid His divinity aside” and that “he had absoulely no supernautural capabilities.” To affirm it with one breath and effectively deny it with the next, is to say the least confusing, contradictory, and hopelessly incoherent. And your constant plea of “understanding the incarnation” does nothing whatsoever to change that for me. At best, my head is left spinning and thinking that he really must not understand at all the implications of what he is saying.

    Besides that, as I have said repeatedly now, I see no Scriptural evidence at all that he “laid His divinity aside,” or that He had no supernatural capabilities at all. As a matter of fact, as others and I have repeatedly demonstrated from Scripture, just the opposite is the case.

    Like

  46. John Ashton says:

    Hi Cherylu-

    I did read your questions and tried to answer succinctly. Of course Jesus had supernatural powers. The point I want you to consider is that if we’re going to contextualize Jesus, then we should give Bill the same benefit.

    A lot of people have their minds made up that Bill is teaching heresy. Bill shared yesterday that he recently lay hands on a politician and cured him of cancer. Which kingdom power was he drawing from: God or the enemy?

    Like

  47. cherylu says:

    ” Of course Jesus had supernatural powers. ”

    Not according to Bill Johnson!

    Like

  48. cherylu says:

    PS,

    Or does Johnson contradict himself in this too? Does he state elsewhere that Jesus has supernatural power after stating in his book that He had absolutely no supernatual capabailities whatsoever?

    Like

  49. cherylu says:

    John,

    Regarding the claim of having healed a politician of cancer. Forgive me for being a sceptic here. But are you 100% certain this is even fact? I have read of pronouncements of cures made only to have people die of the very disease they were “cured” from shortly thereafter or finding themselves in desperate medical situations because they believed they were cured when indeed they were not.

    It is very easy to pronounce a desease cured. It is quite another to follow through with that and find out if it is really so or not.

    And don’t get me wrong. As I have said before, I very much believe God is still in the miracle woking business today and can heal any one at any time. I just can’t any longer accept every pronouncement that that has happened as fact without further proof and follow up over a period of time.

    Like

  50. cherylu says:

    John,

    Above I made this comment: “But as I have stated before, he turns around in the next breath and very effectively denies it by making such statements as “Jesus laid His divinity aside” and that “he had absoulely no supernautural capabilities.” To affirm it with one breath and effectively deny it with the next, is to say the least confusing, contradictory, and hopelessly incoherent. And your constant plea of “understanding the incarnation” does nothing whatsoever to change that for me. At best, my head is left spinning and thinking that he really must not understand at all the implications of what he is saying.”

    The other alternative is, of course, that no matter how much Bill Johnson affirms that he believes Jesus is God, he really and truly does not. Remember my analogy yesterday of the magazine feature article?

    Like

  51. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-

    Bill said the guy went to the dr. and the cancer was gone.

    You said, “Of course Jesus had supernatural powers. ” Not according to Bill Johnson!

    That’s is not what Bill Johnson is saying. In fact, he’s saying the opposite. He was 100% God. My understanding of Johnson’s operational premises is that, as 100% God, Jesus came to reveal the Father; As 100% man, He came to model total submission to the Father.

    I’m a skeptic, too, and I can tell that you have seen some of the same abuse that I have. But I believe he’s telling the truth. FYI, I really want to see for myself. I’m really pressing in and asking to be able to heal, and am taking the upcoming training class for the Healing Rooms. I’ll keep you updated as the year progresses.

    Like

  52. IWanthetruth says:

    I think the bottom line here is that there is this prevalent idea of “Doing what Jesus Did’ in the minds of many with-in hyper-charismaricism. So in order to bring man to that level one has to interpret;

    1) at the baptism of Jesus, when the “dove” descended” that Jesus was then at that point “filled” and the “gifts” were then appropraited and so he was able to do the miracles…

    2) The only way that #1 could be possible and that we also fit in that same area is to recognize that Jesus was only a man and that until the Holy Spirit filled him, he did not become a “He” until that moment…

    3) And, since the teachings are Manifest Sons of God/Dominion theology, then it would only hold true, IMHO, that this type of thought would be in play. Jesus is nothing more than a man, as we are, and with the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit” at the time of Jesus’ baptism, then we also have the same anointing available to us, therefore, we can be just as Jesus was/is and perform all of the same stuff, making us little gods as is thought in this theological stance.

    4) So Jesus had to lay aside his divinity aside until the Holy Spirit came upon him at which time he became a divine person through the anointing and then became a HE… and so we will become a He as well, the “Church” and then the Church with the spirit of HE waill usher in the Kingdom of God in the end and rule the government so that the Spirit of Jesus will return to the earth……

    Does this fit within the theological stance of the hyper-charismatic??? The same gnotic junk that the early church had to fight against as well, which means that the scriptures are true… “There is nothing new under the sun….

    Like

  53. IWanthetruth says:

    By the way, in my first sentence… I think the bottom line here is that there is this prevalent idea of “Doing what Jesus Did’ in the minds of many with-in hyper-charismaricism. So in order to bring man to that level one has to interpret;…

    That level is really bringing Jesus down to mans level, not really the opposite….

    Like

  54. Craig says:

    John,

    at 8:41am you wrote: “But I do believe there’s a certain respect that is due to a 5th generation pastor.”

    A 5th generation pastor deserves the respect he EARNS by being the pastor — shepherd to the flock — that he should be. To continually violate the person of Jesus Christ is blasphemy no matter what sort of background an individual has.

    at 8:52am you wrote: “My only question, ultimately, is whether your published words about Bill Johnson are in alignment with God’s mind and heart towards Bill Johnson.”

    Given that Johnson maligns the person of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity I will answer your question with a question: What do you believe God’s mind and heart is towards those who spread LDS and JW theology?

    Like

  55. John Ashton says:

    Hey Iwantthetruth-

    I don’t know. Here’s a perfect example of where I just invoke the promise of God to give me wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The HS is the ultimate expositor. I’m learning the discipline of how to “press in”. Every perfect gift comes from the Father and He loves to lavish them on His children.

    It’s funny you mention what you did, because I”m asking the Holy Spirit what Eph 1:19 and 3:21 means, among others. IMHO the power and fullness Paul discusses are going to manifest themselves through our gifts. Actually, that’s not an opinion…just an educated guess 🙂 What is this power that works within us? Is it the same power that Jesus drew from. Jesus said we’d do greater things. What does He mean? If Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and we were raised up with Him and are in Him, what does that mean?

    If Heidi Baker is telling the truth about bush pastors raising children from the dead, then it would seem we’re brought up to Jesus’ level.

    Like

  56. Craig says:

    John, at 8:15am you wrote “As far as the math, 100% God and 100% man does not equal 200%. It makes no sense and cannot be reconciled in our minds any more than topography makes sense in a 2-dimensional world.”

    In the real world of orthodox Christianity Jesus was, is and will always be the unique 100% God-man.

    Like

  57. Craig says:

    John, at 8:15am you wrote “God promises that he will answer anything you pray in His name. Start by personalizing Ephesians 1: 17-19. It’s a blue chip, guaranteed-to-be-answered prayer! Pray it and keep praying it until it becomes part of your spiritual DNA.

    What is “spiritual DNA” exactly? I Intend on addressing this in part III; but, I want your interpretation, or what you were taught regarding this..

    Like

  58. Craig says:

    John, you wrote at 8:15am “Look over some things I’ve said and ask for clarification, especially with respect to the Incarnation. I believe that “getting” this reconciles almost all contradictions we’ve discussed. Bethel has not ditched Orthodoxy; it’s just taken it 2-3 steps farther. That is my opinion.

    As Tim so adequately put above, you are admitting Johnson has added on to the revealed Word of God. That’s not such a good place to be according to Scripture [II Peter 1:20-21; Rev 22:18-19; Prov 30:5-6]. And, going beyond orthodoxy by defintion is to venture into heresy.

    To reiterate: at the Incarnation Jesus Christ was the unique God-man as Luke 2:11 clearly attests.

    Like

  59. cherylu says:

    John,

    You said, “Of course Jesus had supernatural powers. ” Not according to Bill Johnson!

    That’s is not what Bill Johnson is saying. In fact, he’s saying the opposite. He was 100% God. My understanding of Johnson’s operational premises is that, as 100% God, Jesus came to reveal the Father; As 100% man, He came to model total submission to the Father.

    Here is a direct quote from one of his books. I believe it is WHIE: ‎’Jesus had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever! He performed miracles as a man in right relationship to God, not as God.

    So here he states that Jesus had no supernatural capabilites at all. Yet when someone quoted this more fully on Facebook on Johnson’s page, he answered under it that as God Jesus could do anything (my paraphrase) but that He put self imposed limitations or restrictions on Himself.

    So again, Johnson is making one claim and cancelling it out with another. Maybe he belives these were self imposed limitations, yet he is very adamant in the book that He had no supernatual capabilites. Notice the emphasis on NO by the use of caps.

    John, at the least can’t you concede that Johnson’s teaching is extremely confusing? If one is to read that statement in his book and take it at face value, what is one to think? Why that Jesus had no supernatual capabilites whatsoever, of course!

    Like

  60. Craig says:

    John,

    I would like your answer on this issue of Jesus having “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!” which indicates Jesus was merely a man as Johnson goes on to state. You can’t be God and yet not be God at the same time. To re-reiterate: Jesus was, is and always will be the unique God-man — 100% God-man.

    Like

  61. cherylu says:

    Craig said, “And, going beyond orthodoxy by defintion is to venture into heresy.”

    It seems to me that Bill Johnson is very good at giving a nod to orthodoxy on this issue, and then making an about face and charging ahead into some very heavy duty heresy.

    Like

  62. mbaker says:

    I don’t think it’s only New Age that some of BJ’s teaching seems to be like in some ways the same as, but it bears a lot of resemblance to the LDS teachings as well, and the JW’s in the respect that Jesus is/was ‘just like us”. Note that BJ preaches it that way so we can believe WE attain some sort of equal status, not only acceptance by God as sinners saved by grace, but through a special ‘anointing’ or ‘impartation’, attain god-like status equal to Jesus. If that were indeed true, in effect it would make us members of the Trinity too, and we know even in heaven (when we are perfected) that’s not going to happen. However, there is another contradiction of BJ’s in that if Jesus was just like us, with no divinity retained in His life on this earth except an anointing to do miracles, then we wouldn’t even have a Trinity right now because it wouldn’t have been eternal. We know nothing God decrees as eternal ever ceases to be, obviously, otherwise eternal life would make no sense. That simple fact alone should be pretty clear to these Bethelites if they just reasoned it out according to scripture instead of blindly accepting BJ’s “in and out” personal concept of Jesus.

    Like

  63. W B McCarty says:

    A “fifth-generation pastor?” Isn’t that essentially what Paul mean when he described himself as a “Pharisee of Pharisees?”

    How did Paul value his own arrangement of birth? He said it was “skubalon,” sheep dung. And, what’s skubalon then is skubalon now.

    Now if he were claiming to be High Priest of his people, that might be another matter. . . .

    Like

  64. W B McCarty says:

    John: “If Heidi Baker is telling the truth about bush pastors raising children from the dead, then it would seem we’re brought up to Jesus’ level.”

    Unless one believes in a non-divine Jesus, the working of miracles does not bring anyone “up to Jesus’ level.” The God-man, Jesus, has two natures: one human and one divine. Nothing in Scripture suggests that we will ever obtain a second, divine nature and become as God. In fact, Scripture strongly denies the possibility (cf. Isa 44:6,8; 45:5,21). To assert the contrary is to blaspheme.

    I trust, John, that you intended your claim in a more limited fashion than your words admit. Perhaps you’d like to clarify.

    Like

  65. John Ashton says:

    HEy Cherylu-

    I can see how a person might think BJ’s teachings are confusing. But Jesus’ words were more so. And you say that if BJ’s words are to be taken at face value…. What happens to Jesus’ words when we take them at face value?

    Like

  66. John Ashton says:

    WB-

    Nothing in Scripture suggests that we will ever obtain a second, divine nature and become as God. In fact, Scripture strongly denies the possibility (cf. Isa 44:6,8; 45:5,21). To assert the contrary is to blaspheme.

    Jesus said we’ll do greater things. He did not say we are divine.

    Like

  67. W B McCarty says:

    John: “Jesus said we’ll do greater things. He did not say we are divine.”

    You avoid the question: Does “doing greater things” than Jesus “bring us up to His level?” I think not!

    Like

  68. John Ashton says:

    As far as I can tell, no one has answered the question regarding which power Heidi, Bill, etc are drawin from. Is it God or the enemy?

    Craig-

    Saying Spiritual DNA just means that word becomes part of you.

    Like

  69. Craig says:

    John,

    Regarding Baker: first there must be some sort of validation. With that many claimed dead raisings, I’d think a few could be validated. Does that sound reasonable?

    you wrote: “Saying Spiritual DNA just means that word becomes part of you.

    Do you mean the Word made flesh?:

    “…It’s the Spirit of God that makes this thing [the Bible, which he’s holding] come alive to where we actually have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us again, where we become the living illustration and manifestation of what God is saying.” [1:24 – 1:37]

    Like

  70. W B McCarty says:

    John: “As far as I can tell, no one has answered the question regarding which power Heidi, Bill, etc are drawin from. Is it God or the enemy?”

    Your question is difficult to answer because it’s founded on a false premise. God holds all power. Even the works of the Enemy must be consented to by God, who is sovereign and omnipotent (cf. Job 1). Moreover, the reprobates in Matt. 7 perform miracles in the name of, and presumably the power of, the Lord. So, the source of miraculous power is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Your question is both founded on a false premise and irrelevant.

    John, you’re proposing pragmatism. What you should ask instead is whether the teaching that accompanies the (alleged) miracles lines up with the Word. That’s the only proper criterion of truth (cf. Deut. 13:3).

    Like

  71. W B McCarty says:

    BJ: “[I]t’s the Spirit of God that makes this thing [the Bible, which he’s holding] come alive to where we actually have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us again. . . .”

    According to John 1, “the Word” refers to the eternally pre-existent second member of the Trinity. Does BJ really intend us to understand that “the Word” actually becomes flesh in us as in Jesus? That would entail our having two natures, one of which would be divine. On face interpretation, BJ’s claim is heresy. Is there a reasonable, non-heretical interpretation?

    Like

  72. Craig says:

    The video and its corresponding quote are referenced in part II at the beginning of the last section titled “A New Age Christ?”

    And, yes, I interpret Johnson’s statement to be that we have two natures — one human and one divine. Is there another way to interpret it as Christian orthodoxy?

    Like

  73. W B McCarty says:

    BJ uses the word “again,” which I take as a reference to the Incarnation, but in context he seems to intend “the Word” as referring to the written Word. I’d have to put this down to deliberately provocative but sloppy expression rather than heresy.

    But, more generally, BJ’s deprecation in the video of the written Word is horrifying. His claim that the early Church lacked Scripture, which brought the approval of the audience, is patently false, as it ignores the OT. And his proposed (false) dichotomy between the Word and the Spirit–who gave the Word–is appalling! How can even an unregenerate person fail to take notice of problems such as these?

    There are so many problems in this short video. How did the Apostle Paul and the author of the Book of James interpret the command of Jesus to heal the sick? Do their words even matter to BJ? Is he a red-letter-only exegete?

    Like

  74. Craig says:

    W B,

    If you look at the Earl Paulk quotes following the video in part II they seem as though they could line up. Is it possible Johnson, with the word “again,” is referring to the “ongoing incarnation” a la Manifest Sons of God doctrine? I think so. Here are the Paulk quotes:

    “The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, was conceived in the womb of a virgin. The Word became flesh in the God man, Jesus Christ… Likewise, the Word of God must be made flesh in the Church in order for us to bear witness to the Kingdom which God has called us to demonstrate” [66]

    “…Natural conception and birth graphically symbolize God’s offspring in His Church. The Church is the womb of God’s Kingdom. God wants to quicken His Word, to bring it alive in us, causing us to live by His Word, not by sight or natural understanding.” [67]

    “All things have been given to us, even to the point of allowing us to share the divine nature of Jesus. Sharing His nature is a definition of the ongoing incarnation of God on the earth. ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory.’ His inheritance is already ours.” [68]

    Like

  75. Craig says:

    Here’s a new post which limits itself to a discussion of the paragraph containing Johnson’s “He laid his [sic] divinity aside” statement:

    Open Challenge to Bill Johnson/Bethel Supporters

    Like

  76. W B McCarty says:

    I’m thinking out loud here, so to speak, so please don’t misunderstand my position as fully developed or confidently held. I explicitly invite rebuttal or counterargument–not that doing so is generally necessary on an Internet blog 🙂

    On further thought, I think BJ’s statement is at least implicitly heretical in that it effaces the critical distinction between the contemporary believer in whom the written Word should dwell richly and the divine Jesus in whom the living Word, who was with the Father before the creation of all things, dwelt as a second nature apart from His human nature. In other words, BJ again offers us a merely human, single-natured Jesus rather than the unique God-man. In orthodoxy, there’s no “again”–no ontological recapitulation the Incarnation–involved.

    Concerning your question, Craig, it’s hard for me to definitively evaluate whether BJ intends teaching the same/similar doctrines as Paulk. From what I’ve read and heard, I think it’s fair to say that BJ could be consistently understood as teaching these doctrines. But the question of intent is more difficult to assess.. Certainly, the high esteem and–dare I say–reverence so often expressed by the greater Bethel community for William Branham and other figures from the so-called healing revivals of the 1940s, who were the theological forebears of Paulk, suggest that BJ may well intend a similar message, entailing similar serious errors and even heresies.

    But, if that’s the case, why isn’t BJ more forthright in acknowledging his sources? Is he trying to appear original? Or, could it be that he wants to avoid the baggage of the widespread awareness that the leaders of the 1940s healing revivals and the leaders of the Word of Faith movement who followed in their footsteps are entangled in multiple heresies? That would be a strong and serious accusation.

    I wonder, Has BJ gone on record denying a theological affinity with Kenyon, Branham, Hagin, Copeland, Paulk, etc.? Has he at any point clarified distinctions between his own theology and theirs that demonstrate he somehow avoids, or intends avoiding, their heresies?

    Like

  77. John Ashton says:

    WB and Craig-

    God is the source of all power and He is indeed sovereign. He has also delegated significant power to believers. Johnson claims to be drawing from God’s delegated power. I’d like you to comment on whether you agree with this, or whether you believe his power comes from the enemy.

    Like

  78. Craig says:

    W B, you wrote:

    Or, could it be that he wants to avoid the baggage of the widespread awareness that the leaders of the 1940s healing revivals and the leaders of the Word of Faith movement who followed in their footsteps are entangled in multiple heresies? That would be a strong and serious accusation.

    I would think that Johnson’s promotion of the Roberts Liardon library at Bethel proves he’s at least sympathetic to those you’ve mentioned in your comment (and more). He is encouraging Bethel attendees to “study” and “honor” past “revival leaders” in order to receive “access to their anointings.” Given this, I would say that he would agree with their doctrines as well.

    Like

  79. W B McCarty says:

    John, I frankly do not see any credible evidence that Bill Johnson is working signs and wonders, whether by the direct power of God or by God’s power mediated through the Enemy. Yes, I am aware of much anecdotal testimony of miracles. But, as far as I know, it’s exactly that: anecdote.

    But, I re-iterate: I don’t have a horse in the race. Whether or not Bill Johnson has been used of God to, for instance, heal a lame man has absolutely no bearing on the faithfulness to Scripture or his exegesis or theology.

    Having spent about 20 years in the Vineyard, sitting for much of that time under the personal ministry of John Wimber, I don’t have any theological presuppositions that rule out the possibility of miraculous healing. However, in Bill Johnson’s theology I sense a means-end confusion. I don’t mean that I find BJ’s teaching confusing. I mean that I find it confused.

    Miracles are a possible antecedent to proclamation of the Gospel. But, by his emphasis on miracles, BJ seems to implyh that they are a necessary antecedent to the Gospel or even an end in themselves. I have often seen BJ fans who are more concerned with an apparent/alleged reduction of temporal pain associated with a headache than with the salvation of souls.

    Consider that the abundance of miraculous works described in the Gospels is little in evidence in the rest of the NT. Are we to suppose that the Apostles, and Paul in particular, were inept disciples? Or, is the working of miracles less central to NT ministry than one might suppose based on the Gospels alone?

    BJ seems to me to have displaced the authentic Gospel from center stage, redefined it in terms of signs and wonders, and sold the result to an audience more concerned with personal significance and power than with the foolishness of God that is the Gospel.

    Like

  80. W B McCarty says:

    What’s amazing to me is that anyone would today incite others to honor these “fathers” of revival who allegedly contended–in some unspecified, mystical way–to lay the foundations for a promised contemporary revival that’s now been just around the corner for 50-75 years. The doctrines and practices of these “fathers” are straight from the loony bin.

    What should any sane person think of a father who refused even the palliative of soothing ointment to a daughter who suffered burns so serious they caused her death? Is that the sort of faith that’s pleasing to God? Surely these fans of such “fathers” whom they urge others to honor have spent the time to learn their life stories. If so, why do they so selectively cite their histories? Theirs are lies of omission, at the very least.

    Like

  81. Bill Fawcett says:

    I dunno; I’ve not labeled him as a false teacher. I do think he teaches falsehoods, and the fact that he is a so-called 5th generation pastor cannot change that fact. You think that deserves a “certain respect.” And yet he is not teaching the same stuff as the previious four generations, is he?

    >If what you say is true,

    You think it is not?

    Why all the fuss about Bill’s heresy? Well first, its good to see you acknowledge this heresy. Bill Johnson uses the internet to publicly promote his views. Bill Fawcett uses the internet to promote the views of the 4 generations of pastors who begat him. I guess its a good thing for someone to crack open a Bible when Johnson teaches to see if the things he says are true. In fact, it’s biblical.

    Like

  82. John Ashton says:

    WB-
    If miracles aren’t happening, Bj has quite a scam going.

    As I’ve said, what I like about Bill is that anyone can talk; he actually does it. I spent too much time at places where people become scriptureal connoisseurs. Ironically, Bill is one of the best expositors I’ve ever heard.

    I agree with you that, perhaps Bethel puts a little too much emphasis on miracles. But Bill’s not saying they’re a necessary prerequisite to the Gospel. I think his point is that if you have believers healing people of cancer, it’s going to reveal the love and goodness of God.

    Didn’t Paul do quite a bit of healing in Acts? I’ll have to re-read.

    As far as the last paragraph, I share your concern in principle. But I don’t believe the excesses in other churches are happening at Bethel. The only major question I have is whether Bethel is running things too much like a business. For now, I’ve put that question aside. But as far as redefining the Gospel? No. It’s actually the opposite. Bill stresses the responsibility Believers have to spread it, and to walk out the life of faith we are called to.

    Like

  83. W B McCarty says:

    John: “If miracles aren’t happening, Bj has quite a scam going.”

    You may be surprised, given my frequent criticism of BJ’s teaching, but I wouldn’t put it quite that way. Most churchgoers lack research training and undestandably tend rather credulously to identify as miraculous events that can be readily explained non-miraculously.

    I don’t intend that observation as some sort of demythologization of ministry. On the contrary, all good things come from God. There’s a sense in which it doesn’t much matter whether or not a blessing contravenes the known laws of nature. A blessing is a blessing. That’s precisely why the seeking of power to work miracles is, IMO, largely a red herring.

    John: “I think his [BJ’s] point is that if you have believers healing people of cancer, it’s going to reveal the love and goodness of God.”

    BJ’s claim makes good common sense. But, it’s neither the teaching nor pattern of Scripture. Defending my claim would entail inductively examining many healing narratives and isn’t really feasible in this context. Suffice it to say that Jesus appears to me primarily to have healed either to demonstrate His divinity and to express His compassion. He doesn’t appear to me to have healed in order to persuade people to repent of their sins. Moreover, both Jesus and Paul caution against the spritual attitudes inherent in seeking, responding to, and performing signs. Finally, there are few narratives in which healing brought about repentance and several in which it did not. The case for healing is a mixed one, at best.

    Moreover, those miracle-seekers who become obsessessed with revealing the love and goodness of God–an appropriate and necessary aspect of ministry in itself–often come to neglect their responsibility to likewise reveal the sin of man and the justice of God. I have heard one vocal BJ fan claim that people are now being regenerated without even the necessity of understanding personal sin. The message of the love of God, according to her, is adequate in itself. Now, I haven’t heard BJ teach exactly that. But I have many times heard him emphasize his points in ways that explain the twisted understanding of the fan in question.

    John: “Didn’t Paul do quite a bit of healing in Acts?”

    Yes, Acts reports several healings by Paul. But notice four things. First, the healings weren’t central to his ministry, which focused on proclamation of the Gospel and reasoned discourse (cf., e.g., Acts 17). Second, the healings seem to have declined in number over the course of his ministry so that eventually Timothy and Trophimus were not/could not be healed (cf. 1 Tim. 5; 2 Tim. 4). Third, it’s clear that Paul himself suffered from illness (Gal. 4, 6). [Whether Paul’s illness was his “thorn in the flesh,” as BJ emphatically denies, is a distinct issue, the disproof of which would not entail the disproof of Paul’s illness. Note that BJ demonstrates apparent ignorance of these passages in one of his talks on the subject of heaing.] Fourth, Paul emphasizes the superiority/precedence of the Gospel over signs and wonders (cf., e.g., 1 Cor. 1); he admonishes Timothy to preach the Gospel but never encourages–let alone admomishes–anyone to be about the ministry of healing the sick. Another source, James, views healing as the distinctive ministry of church elders not the church generally (cf. James 5).

    John: “Bill stresses the responsibility Believers have to spread it [the Gospel].”

    Given BJ’s aberrant theology, especially his Christology, I have some trouble identifying what BJ terms the Gospel as the authentic, biblical Gospel. In any case, my main point concerned the low commitment to the Gospel of BJ’s fans, not BJ himself. Certainly, one can’t be responsible for every act or omission of those who style themselves one’s fans. But I think BJ bears significant responsibility for his those of his fans who subvert the message of the Gospel to their quest for personal spiritual power.

    Like

  84. W B McCarty says:

    Reality Check Challenge:
    This is a simple exercise based on a crude version of what researchers term “content analysis.” Visit Bill Johnson’s Facebook page and count the following:

    1. The number of references to healing, demons, power over nature, and other miraculous workings.
    2. The number of references to the Gospel as the conjunction of the love and justice of God, whereby those who repent of sin can experience eternal life (what one of my former pastors termed “the way in”).
    3. The number of references to the necessity of living a life of simple, practical holiness–a life apart from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life (what one of my former pastors termed “the way on”).

    Now, express each of the three counts as a percentage of the total count. Next, choose any of the NT epistles and develop similar counts and percentages.

    Finally, observe; compare; explain. Post your findings, too, if Craig agrees that doing so would be relevant to this blog article. An interesting discussion of the pattern of ministry envisioned by Bill Johnson and his fans, on the one hand, and the NT authors, on the other hand, should emerge.

    Like

  85. Craig says:

    John, at 3/22 12:04am you wrote, “Ironically, Bill is one of the best expositors I’ve ever heard.”

    Apparently, you refuse to acknowledge plain evidence here to the contrary. As but one example: The Apostle John defines “antichrist” as the denial that Jesus is the Christ and/or as that which denies Jesus Christ came in the flesh [I John 2:22; 4:2-3].

    Johnson, on the other hand, defines antichrist as those “against the anointing.” As pointed out in previous comments here, Johnson actually identifies himself as antichrist because 1) he has separated Christ from Jesus in redefining “Christ” as “the anointing;” and 2) he denies that Jesus is Christ at the incarnation which effectively states Jesus Christ DID NOT come in the flesh — only “Jesus” did. In conclusion, not only is this faulty exposition, it is itself antichrist by the Apostle John’s definitions.

    Now if you can show me by Johnson’s own clear words that he affirms Jesus is Christ at the Incarnation, I’ll be happy to amend the above in a subsequent comment.

    Like

  86. Craig says:

    John, at 3/22 12:04am you wrote: “For now, I’ve put that question aside. But as far as redefining the Gospel? No. It’s actually the opposite. Bill stresses the responsibility Believers have to spread it, and to walk out the life of faith we are called to.

    Bill Johnson has stated, “the authentic gospel” is “the gospel of the kingdom” [WHIE p 27]. Why the distinction between the two?

    In redeeming man, Jesus retrieved what man [Adam] had given away. From the throne of triumph He declared, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore…’ In other words I got it all back. Now go use it and reclaim mankind…”[WHIE p 30]

    See more in The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II beginning at the “Kingdom Now/Dominionism and the Redefined Great Commission” section.

    Johnson’s friend Todd Bentley stated:

    “…We can preach the Gospel all day long, but that won’t save souls….” [Bentley, Todd. Kingdom Rising: Making the Kingdom Real in Your Life. 2008; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 67]

    Bill Johnson endorsed the Bentley book above.

    Like

  87. Craig says:

    While tangential to the article, I do think it would be interesting to see the results tabulated here.

    Further, as to #2, I would like something in printed word, video, etc. that clearly defines the Bill Johnson/Bethel view of Atonement.

    Like

  88. Scott says:

    The straw that broke the camel’s back here is simple: Bill Johnson is closely associated with Todd Bentley. They endorse each other’s books, and we know all about the Lakeland association. Bethel, IHOP, and Toronto Vineyard (John Arnott) are now officially a conglomerate of sorts and inextricably tied together. I’m sorry but the whole thing smells fishy. They have broken off from however one wants to put it – the orthodox, classical, historic – Biblical – faith. What’s the battle cry? It’s a “New Thing”, right? Sadly, yes a new – and completely different – thing. How anybody can honestly buy this Bill Johnson teaching is inexplicable. The Bethel masses have been and are continuing to be brainwashed and duped by this teaching. The guy’s Christology is absurd. Bill Johnson’s Jesus is a glorified man. Any true Christian that doesn’t think Jesus was divine (the hypostatic union) from start to finish in His incarnation ought to reevaluate what they believe. Yes, this is what Bill Johnson is spoon-feeding you folks – Jesus was a glorified man. If you’re falling for it right now, STOP! Get out of it and turn to the real unadulterated Jesus. The Jesus that died an excruciating death just for you, the Jesus that came like a point on a line for your life. Bill’s words are so careful and painstakingly chosen, so slippery they’re extremely unsettling. But even this novice can see right through immediately. He has an agenda, plain and simple. What ultimately is that agenda and where is it logically destined for? Manifest Sons of God? The “New Breed”? New Age Christ-consciousness? This kind of framework is heading for another shore, and i’m afraid it’s not the person of Jesus Christ.

    “Eternity bows to hammer on iron, the blood pours over the wood…the curtain tears, the animals know by the blackness in the air.”

    Like

  89. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    I have mentioned on numerous occasions that one can use Jesus’ own words to make Him a heretic. One example I used was from John 5, where Jesus says that He can do nothing of Himself. Later in the chapter, He says His own testimony is false.

    Here is one your responses:

    Jesus “could do nothing of Himself” because of the different roles within the Trinity.
    So, now that we have that answered, please explain how Johnson can say that Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside” among other comments in this same vein without being labelled a false teacher.

    In my view, we don’t have that answered. What it looks like is that you’re saying that one of the roles in the Trinity involves being incapacitated, powerless…whatever. But if this is true, then how can Jesus be God? How can the Trinity be the Trinity if one of its roles – or one of its members – is able to do nothing? And how many roles are there in the Trinity?

    At any rate, here’s the answer to the question you asked me: Johnson can say that Jesus “laid his divinity aside” in the same manner Jesus Himself said, in effect, that He lay aside His divinity by remarking that that He can do nothing.

    Now, I know that you’re going to pull out the proof text card, which is entirely fine. But you have to be consistent. I proof texted Jesus only to illustrate how you are proof texting Bill. We all know what Jesus really meant if we contextualize His words. If you look at the body of Johnson’s work over the past 2-3 years, it will be clear what he really means in saying that Jesus “laid his divinity aside”, assuming you understand the Incarnation.

    As of now, a lot of strong words are being said. Everything Bill does or says or writes is sifted through a Bill-Johnson-Is-Clearly-A-False-Teacher filter. So he can’t win…unless, of course, he repents and comes around to seeing things from your point of view. In my opinion, you have more to learn from him than he has from you.

    I’ve submitted that your conclusion – that Johnson teaches a Christ who is not divine – is not true. I’ve tried to make an appeal that it is inappropriate, given the stakes, to say he is a false teacher. This isn’t like arguing over something like whether TCU should be playing in the championship game. To the extent you are off base, Jesus is going to hold you accountable, not just for your words, but whether you have said them in love. There are millions of people who want Jesus, but who are wary of false teachers who hijack their humanity. I truly believe that Johnson has pressed into some great revelation as a result of meditating on verses such as Eph. 1:17. Given the level of your rhetoric, I feel you should be 100% certain that you represent the mind of God before you label Johnson the way you do. If you are wrong, you could be held responsible for each soul who acts upon your words.

    Even if you are right, I believe your rhetoric could be softened. Would you be willing to replace words and phrases such as “clearly” and “it should be obvious” with language that gives the reader more room to disagree? At the very least, I’d ratchet things down a few notches. For example, instead of saying that Bill is a “false teacher who holds heretical views”, why not say, “I believe that Bill Johnson is teaching some things that deviate from my understanding of orthodoxy. I’m going to post some of my concerns and would appreciate your feedback….” I think this quite different from sticking him under the “False Teaching” banner and then to argue from that conclusion. The way you and others write, it’s almost as if you have designated yourself as God’s delegated messengers.

    Given the stakes, I personally wouldn’t want to face the consequences of being wrong in my appraisal. Speaking only for myself, before attaching the “false teacher” label in front of the entire English-speaking world, I’d fast and pray for 2-3 days, pray Eph. 1:17 for a week, then fly out Redding and try to catch Bill in between services. You might get 2-3 minutes with him. Dann Farley is a pastor who seems pretty well grounded theologically. He has 30 minute slots available during the week. At the very least, you could find a leader from Fire Starters floating around. You can also find leaders on Saturday in the Healing Rooms who would probably be willing to answer your questions, especially if they knew you had come from a long distance.

    For now, you get me. While admittedly fumbling around, I believe I have a strong enough orthodox background to raise points that merit at least some consideration.

    The Bible says to judge not lest ye be judged. What if God revealed Himself and judged you solely in terms of how the words published on this site hold up to the Greatest Commandment? For the time being, I would like to appeal to everyone to take this into consideration.

    Like

  90. Craig says:

    John,

    Now you’re proof-texting me! My quote that you’ve italicized above was placed in conjunction with the link provided regarding the different roles in the Trinity. I”m OBVIOUSLY not saying Jesus was powerless — rather that He was obedient to His mission. And, just where does Jesus say “His own testimony is false?”

    If you want to proof-text Jesus to make Him a heretic that’s your business; but, I don’t want to stand anywhere near you when you do!

    Like

  91. Craig says:

    John, you wrote:

    At any rate, here’s the answer to the question you asked me: Johnson can say that Jesus “laid his divinity aside” in the same manner Jesus Himself said, in effect, that He lay aside His divinity by remarking that that He can do nothing.

    Now, I know that you’re going to pull out the proof text card, which is entirely fine. But you have to be consistent. I proof texted Jesus only to illustrate how you are proof texting Bill. We all know what Jesus really meant if we contextualize His words. If you look at the body of Johnson’s work over the past 2-3 years, it will be clear what he really means in saying that Jesus “laid his divinity aside”, assuming you understand the Incarnation.

    When Jesus told the paralytic “your sins are forgiven” was He powerless? Does anyone other than God forgive sins?

    I have 4 of Bill Johnson’s books; and, I’ve seen videos, heard audio online, read parts of his blog so I have read quite a bit of Bill Johnson yet none show Jesus to be Christ at the Incarnation but rather Jesus received the “title” of Christ “in an experience.” This is CLEARLY not what Scripture indicates. So, sorry, you’ve not made your case at all.

    What is obvious in Johnson’s work is Jesus was a mere man empowered by “the anointing.” In that, he is VERY consistent.

    Like

  92. Craig says:

    I suppose you’ll tell me Jesus was wrong in Matthew 23 because He didn’t acting “loving.” Or, perhaps Paul was wrong in 1 Corinthians 5 as you will interpret that as “judging.” Matthew 7 speaks of judging hypocritically. I’m not doing that. I’m exposing false teaching. Big difference.

    I am “contending for the faith” [Jude 3-4] and attempting to “snatch others from the fire” of false teachers [Jude 23; James 5:19-20].

    Like

  93. Craig says:

    John,

    My challenge from 6:06am still stands Now if you can show me by Johnson’s own clear words that he affirms Jesus is Christ at the Incarnation, I’ll be happy to amend the above in a subsequent comment.

    I’ll be waiting…

    Like

  94. Craig says:

    John, now let’s take your words in response to mine here…

    What it looks like is that you’re saying that one of the roles in the Trinity involves being incapacitated, powerless…whatever. But if this is true, then how can Jesus be God? How can the Trinity be the Trinity if one of its roles – or one of its members – is able to do nothing? And how many roles are there in the Trinity?

    …and answer them. These are good questions! And, we’ve already answered them. Jesus was not powerless. If He somehow “laid aside” His divine attributes He would no longer be God. Yet this is what Johnson claims. Not once. Not twice. But, over and over. Bill Johnson is the one denying the Trinity in making Jesus a man with “the anointing.”

    Here’s the link which explains the roles of persons of the Trinity:

    http://carm.org/ontological-and-economic-trinity

    and, here’s another:

    http://www.jesus.org/is-jesus-god/holy-trinity/the-roles-of-the-trinity.html

    Like

  95. IWanthetruth says:

    @John There are millions of people who want Jesus…

    Really? How do you support this statement with what the scriptures say about mankind?

    Like

  96. cherylu says:

    John,

    You said, “We all know what Jesus really meant if we contextualize.”

    So, would you please tell us in your own words what he meant? Not in Bill Johnson’s words?

    Like

  97. Craig says:

    John, you wrote:

    I’ve submitted that your conclusion – that Johnson teaches a Christ who is not divine – is not true. I’ve tried to make an appeal that it is inappropriate, given the stakes, to say he is a false teacher. This isn’t like arguing over something like whether TCU should be playing in the championship game.

    Again, I’m waiting for your quote from Bill Johnson which shows Jesus was Christ at the Incarnation. Absent that, then the only conclusion, given Johnson’s words in clear context, is that Jesus was not divine at the Incarnation.

    The stakes ARE high regarding false teaching. There are real souls at stake. When a false teacher is teaching a different Jesus, a different gospel, then the end result is no salvation from this teaching. And, a little leaven [Matthew 16:6, 11-12; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1] leavens the whole [1 Cor 5:6; Galatians 5:19].

    Like

  98. cherylu says:

    John,

    Just a quick question for you to ponder. You keep saying the context of Johnson’s words over the last two-three years shows he is not teaching a Jesus that is not divine. IF that is indeed true, don’t you think that he needs to make things a whole lot more clear to the readers of his books, for instance?

    What is the person supposed to think that picks up one or two of his books with some of these extremely pointed statements in them unless he goes to at least as great a length to explain exactly what He believes about Jesus divinity and how He laid it aside? And maybe explaining how he believes He can still be God even if He has absolutely no supernatural powers whatsoever? It really doesn’t work to make a passing statement that He is God and then turn around and say He doesn’t have the attributes of God and that He laid His divinity aside. When the latter is what is emphasized, that is what is going to likely be accepted as what he really believes. At least by a lot of people.

    Even IF he truly believes that Jesus is God in an orthodox way, he has left himself wide open to be completely misunderstood. Not everyone has spent the last 2-3 years at Bethel, been to every conference around the world that he has ever taught, read every single book or his comments on Facebook, etc to get the full context of all of his teaching in the last years that you say would eliminate this problem.

    So, my contention is that IF Bill is really orthodox, (and what I have read has definitely left me believing that is not the case,) he has brought this whole situation on himself by not clarifying controversial and inflammatory statements, by being unavailable to even those of his own church, by he and Bethel not bothering to answer questions from people that try to contact them, and by deleting probing questions from his Facebook page.

    And in the meantime, people like us are left with the only conclusions that we can come to. That he is teaching things that are truly unorthodox and false. And we are not the only ones taking it that way. From the previous comments here, it is obvious that at least one of his own fans understands him in exactly the same way.

    John, it is not like we are coming up with novel ideas of the way the Bible is to be understood here. We are standing on the understanding of the truths of the Word that have been accepted as the correct understanding for many hundreds of years. It is Bill Johnson and those that believe his teaching that are promoting a novel way of understanding all of this. As such, it seems to me, and I believe to the rest of those commenting here, that the burden of proof that he is correct lies with him and you folks.

    And so far, I’m sorry, but we just haven’t seen it.

    Like

  99. John Ashton says:

    Iwantthetruth-

    It looks like you believe millions is wrong Do you have a number in mind?

    Like

  100. Craig says:

    13″Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
    14″For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
    [Matthew 7:13-14, NASB]

    I guess it depends on your definition of “few.”…

    Like

  101. IWanthetruth says:

    Thanks Craig,

    I typed out a response hit submit and forgot to fill in name and e-mail. Of course I went back and it was gone. You said much better than I did in a lot less words.

    I agree, it is “few” according to the word of God. In fact the world (mankind) is an enemy of God and not running after Him to find him at all.

    Like

  102. IWanthetruth says:

    You know the more I read you John and the more I see the evidence, I believe the Jesus that is presented by BJ is the one and same Jesus of Mormonism. Nothing more than a man glorified.

    You have not convinced me one iota that Craig needs to retrac what he has printed.

    Like

  103. W B McCarty says:

    John, Bill Johnson’s book WHIE is widely sold and has obviously had many printings. If he didn’t quite manage to write what he intended. he could easily have made a correction at the time of a reprint. Because I have written or co-written more than one dozen books, I understand this process both firsthand and well. The absence of correction or retraction is itself rather strong evidence–even if not decisive evidence–that Bill Johnson wrote exactly what he intended to write.

    Another possibility, of course, is that Bill Johnson lacks the expertise to distinguish truth from heresy. I can’t rule that out, so I myself am reluctant to label him a “false teacher,” which denotes one who deliberately and knowingly publishes serious doctrinal error.

    Since you offer that Bill Johnson is one of the best Bible expositors you’ve heard, perhaps you can shed additional light on his training. I have read elsewhere that he completed one year of Bible school. Is that correct? If so, did he complete any courses in theology during his year of study? I would suppose that even one course in theology would be sufficient to expose a student to the basic Christological doctrines that are at issue here.

    Like

  104. W B McCarty says:

    John: ” If you look at the body of Johnson’s work over the past 2-3 years, it will be clear what he really means in saying that Jesus “laid his divinity aside”, assuming you understand the Incarnation.”

    You have said several times that what Bill Johnson means is both clear and orthodox. But you’ve ducked every challenge to spell out what he means. The proof, John, is in the pudding. And there’s no pudding on this table. All I see are empty representations that what Bill Johnson means is okay by you. Please pardon me if I don’t accept without specific evidence your personal representation that what he means is entirely orthodox. Given the stakes, I’d like to decide that question for myself. And, in saying so, I think I speak for others, too.

    So, again, I put the question to you: What does he mean by “laid aside his [sic] divinity?” And, can that meaning be reasonably squared with orthodoxy?

    Frankly, I have long since given up on extracting an answer to these questions from you. But I want to remind future readers of this thread of your persistent lack of response.

    Like

  105. John Ashton says:

    WB-
    I gave a fantastic answer earlier this March.

    My answer to you begins with this question: Do you believe Jesus was 100% man?

    Like

  106. cherylu says:

    John,

    Back on March 6th at 6:38 a.m. you said this: 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.

    Question, what is your working definition of the word “divinity?”

    BTW, it seems you have been ignoring everything I have written or asked you for some time now. Did I suddenly go invisible here? (Don’t think the smiley tags work here.)

    Like

  107. John Ashton says:

    Hey WB!
    You asked this question earlier:

    Please notice the editorial sic, clarifying that Bill Johnson wrote “his,” with a lowercase “h.” Now, you can verify later in this same statement that Bill Johnson and his editor(s) know that pronouns pertaining to divinity are customarily capitalized. Specifically, later in the same sentence he writes “given to Him” rather than “given to him.” My challenge question is this, Why does Bill Johnson write “his” rather than “His?”

    In response to your challenge question, I’ll submit that the KJV and ASB both use “his”.

    Like

  108. W B McCarty says:

    John, have you checked the definition of “fantastic?” I suppose that you intend some other word.

    As has been repeatedly stated, the orthodox view is that Jesus was (and is) truly God and truly man. Hence, it is true that He was (and is) a man. It is also true that He was (and is) God. The two statements are mutually consistent because Jesus had (and has) two natures, not one.

    As to “100% man,” I don’t approve the use of a percentage. Use of a percentage unnecessarily and inappropriately confuses the issue because the base of the percentage is unstated. As I suppose you know, a percentage cannot be properly interpreted without specification of the related base. Specifically to the case at hand, Jesus has two natures. Does “100%” refer to one or the other of His two natures or to the conjunction of His two natures?

    Moreover, the orthodox statement is qualitative rather than quantitative. Unless the idea of a 90% nature makes sense, the use of numbers unnecessarily confuses the issue.

    The Chalcedonian statement–“truly God and truly man”–was not arrived at haphazardly or casually. I would agree that it’s generally good to express a concept in one’s own words. But, when dealing with subtle theological questions, unless one is quite careful the result is apt to be unhappy or even heretical.

    The bottom line: The restated claim “Jesus was (and is) truly man” is both true and orthodox whereas the statement “Jesus was 100% man” is ill-formed and ambiguous.

    For convenience, here is the text of the Creed:

    We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

    Like

  109. W B McCarty says:

    John: “In response to your challenge question, I’ll submit that the KJV and ASB both use “his”.”

    You miss the point. Johnson uses “his” and “His” in the same sentence. It’s not the case that Johnson is merely following a convention that omits capitalization, such as used in some Bible translations. Instead, he uses contrasting capitalization. Why?

    Like

  110. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-

    Sorry. I’m not ignoring you … just busy.

    My definition of divinity includes every attribute of God. One thought. What would happen if Jesus DIDN’T lay down His divinity? What if He fully displayed Himself as God? As God, wouldn’t He have incinerated everyone with His glory?

    Like

  111. W B McCarty says:

    John: “Kingdom mathematics allows Jesus to simultaneously lay down divinity while being God. That’s my personal belief.”

    John that’s very post-modern of you. But can you really walk it out?

    Does “Kingdom mathematics” allow a statement to be both true and false? A promise of God to be trustworthy and untrustworthy? Someone to be both a true and false prophet? God to be both good and evil? A person to be both saved and unsaved? An oncoming bus to be both a figment of your imagination and an incipient fatal collision?

    Like

  112. John Ashton says:

    Hey WB-
    Johnson uses contrasting capitalization because he understands the Incarnation.
    We’ll never be able to agree on this because our definitions of the Incarnation are different.

    Like

  113. John Ashton says:

    WB-
    If you want to understand Kingdom math, then Bill talks about it in the series he did this summer on the renewed mind…..

    Like

  114. cherylu says:

    John,

    Still working on your definition of divinity here. You say it includes all of God’s attributes. But in your definition is the word divinity a synonym for the word god or deity? That is one of the dictionary definitions.

    And do you know what BJ’s definition of the word is?

    And by the way, the answer to your question about Him incinerating everyone is that His glory was veiled, not that He laid it down. Remember, He was transformed on the mountain before the eyes of Peter, James, and John. Here for a moment in time, these three men were allowed to see His glory–or at least a portion of it. But His glory being veiled or covered in some way is a different thing then Him not having it at all while on this earth.

    Like

  115. cherylu says:

    So John,

    Would you please give us your definition of the incarnation since you say it is different then ours?

    Like

  116. Craig says:

    John, I want to go back to this from 3/22 8:37pm:

    As of now, a lot of strong words are being said. Everything Bill does or says or writes is sifted through a Bill-Johnson-Is-Clearly-A-False-Teacher filter. So he can’t win…unless, of course, he repents and comes around to seeing things from your point of view. In my opinion, you have more to learn from him than he has from you.

    First of all, I do not have anything against Bill Johnson the person. However, I am critiquing his words against Scripture and historical Christian orthodoxy and he is coming up short. My “filter” is first and foremost the Word of God as led by the Holy Spirit. Following that are commentaries on the Word of God. When I find that Johnson’s Christology is similar to that of Cerinthus whom the Apostle John was specifically refuting (he was a contemporary of John) in his first epistle and identifying the Cerinthian teaching as antichrist (according to more than one commentary), I think it quite logical to conclude Johnson’s Christology is tantamount to the same; i.e. antichrist.

    So, this is not Craig’s point of view, it is the Apostle John’s point of view and, by extension, God’s point of view. I’ve no idea if Johnson is doing this wittingly or unwittingly. Perhaps he’s fallen prey to the “strong delusion” of II Thessalonions 2:9-12. However, either way, the end result is that Johnson is teaching falsehood and in so doing leading others astray.

    Your view of the Incarnation – which is no doubt influenced by Bill Johnson – appears to be a post-modern, subjective, and perhaps even fluid view rather than the accepted position of the historic orthodox Christian church as deduced from Scripture. And, all for the sake of defending Bill Johnson the man. Yes, I’m saying “the man” and not just his teachings for if you were serious and wished to defend the Christian faith and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who died for you and the whole world as a Christian should you would look to Him, HIS Word, THE Word, before defending Johnson’s word.

    I believe I have given you plenty of leeway here in which to present your points of view. I’ve now reached the point in which I’m going to raise the stakes in the challenge presented earlier. Either you post some quotes, or even A quote, which clearly indicates Bill Johnson affirms Jesus Christ was in fact Christ — and hence, deity — at the Incarnation, or do not comment here at all. Any comments you post unrelated to this will be summarily deleted unless and until this is addressed..

    The only latitude I will give you is to present your own view of the Incarnation (which I’m assuming is your interpretation of Bill Johnson’s view) in clear language — none of this “it’s because Bill Johnson and I understand the Incarnation and you don’t” sort of attitude.

    Like

  117. John Ashton says:

    That’s fine, Craig. I have pretty much said everything I have to say. I’m not sure what you meant about presenting my view of the incarnation. I’ve presented it 5-10 times already.

    Like

  118. W B McCarty says:

    John, I find that you’ve told us a bit about what you suppose the Incarnation is not but very little about what it is. It’s not possible for us or readers to assess whether your view is coherent and whether it’s consistent with Scripture without more details. Perhaps that’s the reason for your vague generalities. I hope not. So, please do elaborate.

    You’ve stated, or at least implied, that in your view of the Incarnation Jesus transitions from a “He” to a “he.” Presumably He later regains His divinity, transitioning from a “he” to a “He.” I’m curious to learn more about when and how, in your view, these transitions take place. For instance, many who follow the general outlines of the theology you’ve sketched appeal to the maxim that “like begets like.” If that’s the case and Jesus’ father was God, how is it that (in your view as I understand it) He did not come into the world as God–or at least as some mixture of God and man–rather than as an ordinary man?

    Like

  119. W B McCarty says:

    John, another question, if I may: Would it have been sin to worship Jesus during His earthly ministry? If not, given that you hold that He had laid aside His divinity, how could that be? Is it ever right to worship a being other than God?

    Like

  120. John Ashton says:

    WB-
    I’m not sure if this is going to answer your question. The Incarnation means that God became flesh. I used to believe Jesus was 100% God-man. I no longer think of it that way. Rather, I believe that Jesus was 100% God, and that Jesus was 100% man.

    I figured this out by working backwards. Over a period of time, I realized that the Incarnation shapes my life in a similar fashion to how it shaped Jesus’. He was 100% God. He could forgive sin and call down angels. He was also 100% man and subject to man’s limitations. Both cannot be true simultaneously, and yet they are. As a Christian, I understand that God is 100% sovereign. And yet He somehow has allowed me to remain 100% human. I have total free will, and my choices have eternal significance. And yet God is 100% sovereign. Both cannot be correct. And yet they are.

    In considering John 5, Phil 2:5-11. Hebrews, John 14:10, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that, while He was on earth, Jesus was operating from the same limitations that humans operate from. Insofar as this was true, Jesus put His divinity aside. Is this the same as saying He was not divine? Absolutely not. If you disagree with me on this, that’s no problem. It’s one of the huge mysteries.

    I am not saying that “Jesus transitions from a He to a he”, nor, for that matter, from a he to a He. From the beginning of time, He never for a moment ceased to be God. He was the perfect image of God. There was no transition. There was never a moment when He was not 100% God. And yet, somehow, he was 100% man on earth and took on the limitations of man.

    No. No problem at all in worshipping Him while He was on earth. I’m glad you brought this up. The people who were most knowledgeable in the Scriptures were the ones who didn’t recognize Him. Tears and perfume meant more to Him than scriptural righteousness.

    Like

  121. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-

    To be honest, I’m not at all concerned about the meaning of “divinity” or “divine”. Jesus is, was, and will always be God.

    Good point about Him being veiled. Happened with Abraham, didnt it? Then again, why not with Moses? I’m not trying to minimize your questions. It’s just that, given where I’m at right now, these definitions are academic, and they do not in any way affect the relationship I have with God.

    Like

  122. cherylu says:

    Hi John,

    I think you have probably answered my question without knowing it.

    And very frankly, I believe there is a lot of difference between saying Jesus veiled Himself, (or His attributes,) while on this earth and saying that He laid them aside. If you and Bill Johnson mean He veiled HIs attributes all of the time, that is a whole lot less problematic, to me anyway, then saying He laid His divinity aside and had no abilities to heal, etc and no supernatural capabilites. The first says to me that He still had His divine attributes and we just weren’t seeing them or He wasn’t using them, the second one–which Bill Johnson is saying as far as I can tell–is that He gave them up completely and didn’t have them any more. That is the place I can not and will not go.

    And I will not go so far as to say that He never used those divine attributes while on this earth. I believe sometimes He did and sometimes He didn’t. Remember for instance Him saying that He would lay His life down (death) so He could take it up again.

    Like

  123. Craig says:

    To the individual who has now attempted to post the same comment twice:

    I’m not going to release your comment as it has nothing to do with the article but rather is obviously sarcastic. Don’t waste your time or mine.

    Apparently, you either did not read or did not take heed to the Before You Comment tab at the top of the Home Page.

    Like

  124. John Ashton says:

    HEy Cherylu-

    After a while, you reach a point where you just say, “Wow!”

    There are so many questions – Did Jesus have to learn faith; Did His miracles get more and more difficult as time went on; Could he have performed miracles as a 1-month-old? The list can go on and on. Right now, what I’m most concerned with is that Jesus modeled for us what it looks like for a man to be totally submitted to the Father. The more “purely” human He is, the more I like it. If you want, read what I wrote on March 6. I think it’s pretty good, actually. My view of the Incarnation has become profoundly personal. I no longer see God as detached from my pain. This has been HUGE. But it’s my story. It has shaped my relationship with God. If it helps you, that’s great. If not, that’s also fine.

    Like

  125. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    FYI, even if we disagree on a bunch of things, I think you’re doing a good job in moderating all these comments. This website is very ambitious and very well-organized. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Even though I don’t share many of the opinions expressed here, the process is sharpening my faith. So, thank you for the job you’re doing.

    Like

  126. John Ashton says:

    Hey WB-
    I wanted to quickly respond to what you said earlier…. You wrote:

    John: “Kingdom mathematics allows Jesus to simultaneously lay down divinity while being God. That’s my personal belief.”

    John that’s very post-modern of you. But can you really walk it out?

    Does “Kingdom mathematics” allow a statement to be both true and false? A promise of God to be trustworthy and untrustworthy? Someone to be both a true and false prophet? God to be both good and evil? A person to be both saved and unsaved? An oncoming bus to be both a figment of your imagination and an incipient fatal collision?

    It’s a great question. Please understand that there is no way I can answer you.

    The polarities you’re presenting – good v. evil, trustworthy v. untrustworthy – are emblematic of Dualism. But you and I – and everyone here on this site – agrees that God is good. God is GOOD. (Ok…I’m going for the emphatic font….) He is PURELY and utterly GOOD. As such, His nature, His attributes, His counsel – none of these can contain anything that is NOT GOOD. The nature of God cannot (thank goodness) be expressed in terms of Dualism.

    So where does this leave us? It leaves us in a GOOD PLACE, even though it can be a very uncomfortable place.

    My understanding of the Incarnation was deeply shaped by Quantum Mechanics vs. Relativity. What is the nature of the Universe???? Is it chaotic??? Is it ordered??? It is both. And it is neither. And it is both/and. Everything that we can see with our eyes operates in accordance to orderly and predictability. And yet the fundamental “essence” of everything is completely chaotic! In this sense, the Universe reveals the Incarnation! There ARE contradictions, but only within the domain of what is GOOD.

    So what does all this mean? Well, for starters, I believe that Truth is made up of fundamental tensions. God cannot be good and evil But He can be God and man. He can be intimate and omnipotent. If God is LOVE, then look at the attributes of Love in 1 Cor 13. and try to make sense of them all. It’s kind of difficult! God says He is a jealous God. So how does that line up with Cor?

    Here’s my answer…..for now. (It will probably change in a month or two) Physicists think there is a unifying equation or paradigm – that will reconcile Quantum Mechanics and relativity. For Christians…..? Good news. We already have ours – it’s called the Holy Spirit. Faith requires the Believer to hold onto two “contradictions”.

    I could go on and on… At the end of the day, it’s about perspective.

    I hope this will help clarify some things.

    What I want to make SURE we all understand is that I’m just getting used to all of this.

    Like

  127. Craig says:

    John,

    Thank you and you’re welcome. I’m hopeful and prayerful that your interaction here will give you pause and induce you to further investigate Bill Johnson’s theology, especially his Christology. To paraphrase Mike Bickle of IHOP: don’t take my word for it, test my words against Scripture to see if they line up. But, in my case, I really mean it.

    Like

  128. Craig says:

    I’m working on a project at the moment and, I’m sure W B will respond to this and your other comment; but, I wanted to weigh in here re: dualism. Keep in mind that while God is sovereign He did allow Job to be tested, Peter to be “sifted like wheat,” and did not remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.”

    Like

  129. W B McCarty says:

    I have to take a breather tonight and will get back with responses to pending questions tomorrow or the day after. But. one quick comment concerning “dualism”…. When in the time of Noah God killed the “innocent” children of sinners who were unwilling to repent, is that what the typical person–Christian or pagan–would call “good?”

    Truly, God is good. But He is good in ways–for instance, His righteous judgment–that we are not apt to see as good in a fellow human. Hence, loaded slogans such as “God is always good”–which slogan I do affirm as true–can easily lead and do lead listeners astray.

    The frequent use of such slogans is one of my main concerns about the teaching of Bill Johnson. I am unclear concerning his actual personal views on any number of crucial topics. But I am acutely aware that many of his fans quite explicitly embrace erroneous or even heretical theology in part, I think, because of his sound-bite approach to theology, which is inherently unsound.

    Like

  130. John Ashton says:

    Hey WB-

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    1) God is GOOD regardless of how things appear. This is a tremendously painful and stretching issue. And it leads many, many astray. A person will not get very far saying that God is good unless there is a proportionately deep faith that carries him through the hard times that seem to call into questions God’s goodness.

    2- Soundbyte thelogy IS unsound. But some of the mos powerful truths in history have been encapsulated in soundbytes. So, yet again, I think we should exercise balance.

    Like

  131. John Ashton says:

    Perhaps circumspection will win the day. 🙂

    Many years ago I was at a conference with Ray Steadman and he was speaking on the topic of “What Is God Doing Today”” The answer? God is calling people to His name. He shared how, around 1961, he had been in Vietnam for a pastors conference. At one point, all 600 of them were lifting their heads and praying (shouting) out loud. Ray looked over to an interpreter and asked what they were praying. The interpreter said, “They’re praying that the Gospel will be unleashed in Vietnam for (I forget the number) 14 years.”

    Ray was THERE. I was sitting maybe 3 feet from him, and I’m thinking to myself, “Holy cow! The Vietnam War started right then and there!”

    God is always with us and His goodness never ceases.

    Like

  132. John Ashton says:

    Craig-

    We do disagree. The way I see it, no problem! I know two things for sure: 1) God is good and He is patient; 2) My heart is not total alignment with His.

    I trust that, as I seek Him, God will clarify things.

    Like

  133. W B McCarty says:

    It’s nice to agree now and then. And, it’s even nicer to be able to agree on some important points that many do get quite wrong.

    Some months ago folks were repeating Bill Johnson’s quip that “God is always in a good mood.” Would you say that God was in a good mood when he sent the flood?

    As I wrote, I’m taking a breather tonight. So, my question isn’t loaded or otherwise a big deal. I’m just curious.

    Personally, I’d say God was good in doing what He did in Noah’s day. But I don’t think I’d go so far as to say He was in a good mood–at least, not in the usual sense of the word “good.” God is a God of wrath as well as a God of mercy. I think it’s crucial to keep both these truths in mind. Doing so is part of proper motivation to share the Gospel. If God’s always in a good mood, why be concerned to reach the lost with the message of His love?

    Like

  134. Bill Fawcett says:

    I’ve pretty much sat out on this for a while, but would like to re-shuffle the deck with some thoughts from Hank Hannegraaf, who incidentally uses percentages.

    -begin quote-

    KENOSIS OF CHRIST- Fully God and Fully Man?
    While historic Christianity has always affirmed that Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man, some have argued that in order for Jesus to have been truly human He must have divested Himself of certain divine attributes. In fact, those who affirm this very novel view nearly always appeal to Philippians 2:5-7. Which, by the way, says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” The words “emptied Himself” are interpreted by a growing number of people today to mean that Christ actually laid aside certain divine attributes. But is this correct? Well as a matter of fact, it’s not.

    KENOSIS OF CHRIST- Proof in Scripture
    To say that Jesus surrendered even one divine attribute is to say that Jesus is less than God, and therefore not God at all! See, if God is deprived of even one attribute, then He is not fully deity. Of course references to his deity abound in Scripture (John 1:1; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 1:8). And by the way, this is not only affirmed by the Bible, it’s clearly affirmed by the creeds.

    KENOSIS OF CHRIST- Veiled His Glory
    Of course the question is asked: If Jesus didn’t give up His deity, then what did Christ empty Himself of? Well the context indicates very clearly that Jesus veiled His glory as a sign of his humility. He voluntarily makes Himself of no reputation. He sets aside His high position and waves His divine prerogatives because He loves us. But while Christ surrenders His divine glory, he does not surrender His divine attributes.

    —end quote—

    Like

  135. W B McCarty says:

    I’m no Hannegraaf fan. But I’d say he nails it and does so quite concisely and clearly. Good work, Hank!

    Like

  136. John Ashton says:

    Hey Bill-

    Good points, especially the first one. The main thing I wrestle with is whether Jesus essentially cheated by living out His humanity with a divine reserve tank.

    There has always been disagreements: Docetism, Arianism, Nestoreanism….. Throw in hyper Calvinism and hyper Arianism, and, well….lots of differenty ways to look at it.

    No matter, a great addition to the discussion.

    Like

  137. W B McCarty says:

    John, for benefit of readers who may not be familiar with the terms you used I would like to point out that none of the positions you mention is theologically viable. With the exception of the heresy of hyper-Calvinism, which didn’t arise until the 17th century, the heresies you mention all entail serious Christological error and were ecumenically determined to be heresy relatively soon after they arose. Granted, they’ve never completely gone away, with the possible exception of hyper-Arianism, for which I can’t immediately think of a modern counterpart. Since Arianism is itself a heresy–currently represented, BTW, by the theology of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, aka Jehovah’s Witnesses–maybe the word to stay clear of hyper-Arianism got around.

    Like

  138. Craig says:

    John, you wrote:

    …The main thing I wrestle with is whether Jesus essentially cheated by living out His humanity with a divine reserve tank.

    There has always been disagreements: Docetism, Arianism, Nestoreanism….. Throw in hyper Calvinism and hyper Arianism, and, well….lots of differenty ways to look at it.

    First of all, John, let’s get back to the imposed restrictions I set forth on 3/23 7:34am.

    You apparently do not understand the requirements for Atonement. A perfect sacrifice is the only way to atone for mankind’s sin. Man, being inherently sinful as a result of The Fall in the Garden of Eden, cannot provide the perfect sacrifice as no man can live a sinless life (even regenerate Christians cannot live sinlessly by the power of the Holy Spirit – contrary to Johnson’s elusions or flat out statements). However, it was going to be a “man” who would bruise the serpent’s head (Gen 3:16). An irreconcilable impossibility? No, He came in the person of the God-man, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. No, “divine reserve tank” as you term it – He came complete as the dual-natured unique God-man.

    Your second paragraph lists more than just doctrines that have been disagreed upon – the first three were officially denounced as heresy. Docetism was specifically refuted by both the Apostle Paul (Colossians) and the Apostle John (I John). Arianism was denounced as heresy in 381 at the First Council of Constantinople confirming the Nicene Creed. Nestorianism, the belief that Jesus and Christ are two separate entities (a doctrine that Bill Johnson is teaching in effect with the opening paragraph in chapter 7 of When Heaven Invades Earth and the claim that Jesus laid aside His divinity), was pronounced heretical at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 (Docetism was formally denounced as well).

    I’m assuming the way you wrote your last statement that you meant “hyper Arminianism” rather than “hyper Arianism” as it appears you were contrasting it with hyper Calvinism. I do not wish to get into a debate on Calvinism vs. Arminianism.

    Let’s get back on track. My challenge still stands.

    Like

  139. Bill Fawcett says:

    John,

    You need to stop wrestling over if “Jesus essentially cheated by living out His humanity with a divine reserve tank.” Seriously.

    Here is the simplest theological truth you will ever hear:

    Jesus doesn’t cheat.

    Probing deeper into the conflict, some envision our story as one big clever game in which Satan gained the upper hand in controlling the world (through the fall of Adam) taking God off guard. God then had to come up with a scheme to take it back – and be careful not to cheat in the process. Let’s be clear- God has no contract with Satan that He has to honor. There is no competition. No lease on the earth. God does what He needs to do, planned from BEFORE Adam, to accomplish what He needs to accomplish. And HE is the only one who could do it WITHOUT cheating!

    Like

  140. Craig says:

    I wish to clarify for the readership John’s statement from earlier:

    …good v. evil, trustworthy v. untrustworthy – are emblematic of Dualism. But you and I – and everyone here on this site – agrees that God is good. God is GOOD. (Ok…I’m going for the emphatic font….) He is PURELY and utterly GOOD. As such, His nature, His attributes, His counsel – none of these can contain anything that is NOT GOOD. The nature of God cannot (thank goodness) be expressed in terms of Dualism.

    Thinking in terms of God (the Trinity) vs. antigod (Satan) is a form of dualism. God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent — infinite. Satan, is powerful — and one should not discount his power — but, he is not sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent. Satan himself is a fallen angel. Satan can do nothing without God’s knowledge or approval. God’s ways are not our ways and we will never comprehend His ways in our human finite minds.

    Like

  141. John Ashton says:

    WB and Craig-
    Just to make sure we’re on the same page: Docetism, Arianism, etc., are heresies. But I think it’s pretty easy for believers to unwittingly embrace one or more…

    My question is whether it might be useful to discuss the issue at hand in terms of these points of view.

    Like

  142. cherylu says:

    John,

    I would very much like to know too if you have any quotes from Bill Johnson that shows he believes Jesus was God at the incarnation. With all of the other statements he has made, such a quote would be very helpful.

    Or since you go to Bethel, how about trying to catch him for one of those 2-3 minutes after services and ask him? (Remember, you did encourage us to fly out there for the purpose of talking to him or someone else first hand.)

    Like

  143. John Ashton says:

    Hey Bill!
    I enjoyed your last post… I like what you said: that God doesn’t have a contract with Satan…

    Maybe I should clarify. When Jesus suffered, did His divinity in any way give Him an advantage? If it did, then, in a sense, He did cheat. But I really don’t think He did. Now, this may sound academic. But for myself, it’s a huge issue. I always used to think that He was able to resist temptation because He was God. So this brings us back to the question at hand: How could Jesus be 100% human without laying down his divinity? (Is this a fair way to phrase the question?)

    Like

  144. Craig says:

    John,

    While I’m agreement that believers can embrace these heresies, the topic of this article — as spelled out in the article itself and expounded on here in the comments — is Bill Johnson’s doctrine and the associated falsehoods and outright heresies Johnson’s doctrine propounds or leads others to embrace. Strictly speaking neither Docetism nor Arianism are inferred in Johnson’s teachings. However, Cerinthianism can be deduced as well as Adoptionism and even dyophysitism (having two separate and distinct natures) and its near opposite monophysitism (having one nature rather than two). This is why it is SO important to stick with the hypostatic union both in doctrine and practice.

    Like

  145. cherylu says:

    John,

    Do you believe that you as a man can rely fully on the Holy Spirit’s power to totally and completely 100% resist temptation? Are you as a man able to never have one wrong thought, one wrong motive, do absolutely everything you need to do and refrain from ever doing a single sinful action throughout your whole life? Do you truly believe that this is possible for a man that is born with a sin nature? If you can not do so, why would you suppose that Jesus with no divinity could do so?

    Like

  146. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-

    Wow. You’re opening a can of worms! But it’s a great question! Unfortunately, we have to raise yet another “contradiction” that I hope is germane to this discussion. I’m dead to sin. In any given situation, I am free to not sin. The same Holy Spirit that indwells Jesus indwells me. Yet I sin.

    Jesus? For myself, here’s the question: Did He draw from His divinity to help Him not sin?

    I think other people might be able to address this better than I can.

    Like

  147. Craig says:

    cherylu was posing essentially a rhetorical question. Of course no man has ever NOT sinned. The obvious answer is in Jesus the unique God-man. Jesus was not a mere man empowered by the Holy Spirit nor did He “lay his divinity aside” in order to be solely empowered by the Holy Spirit. There’s not been a sinless man ever and there never will be. As I stated earlier: to atone for our sins HAD to be a perfect sacrifice. A man, being sinful by nature, could never fulfill that role; however, Jesus Christ, the God-man, could and did. Hallelujah!

    Like

  148. cherylu says:

    Yeah John, we sin because we are still sinners by the nature of our fleshly human selves that were born with a sin nature. We have the old nature and the new nature both within us when we are born again.

    So my question is, if Jesus was a man identical to us in every way and as God had laid aside His divinity, what on earth kept Him from sinning too?

    If He never once sinned throughout His whole life as we know to be the case from what the Bible tells us, what kept Him from it? Did He from the time of infancy onward know how to surender so completely to the Holy Spirit that He never once sinned? Never even once had an impure thought or motive in His mind or heart? Or what did keep Him completely pure all of that time?

    This paragraph that Craig wrote above speaks to this issue too: You apparently do not understand the requirements for Atonement. A perfect sacrifice is the only way to atone for mankind’s sin. Man, being inherently sinful as a result of The Fall in the Garden of Eden, cannot provide the perfect sacrifice as no man can live a sinless life (even regenerate Christians cannot live sinlessly by the power of the Holy Spirit – contrary to Johnson’s elusions or flat out statements). However, it was going to be a “man” who would bruise the serpent’s head (Gen 3:16). An irreconcilable impossibility? No, He came in the person of the God-man, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. No, “divine reserve tank” as you term it – He came complete as the dual-natured unique God-man.

    Like

  149. W B McCarty says:

    I’m just popping in before I head off to work. The question whether Jesus could have failed by sinning is, as I recall, a matter of dispute. Bear in mind that Jesus has two natures. His divine nature could not sin. So, what’s in view is the question whether He might have sinned in His humanity.

    Here’s the model I prefer. Please note that it’s merely a preference rather than a matter of orthodoxy, though I suppose some answers could be ruled out as unorthodox; such as, the answer that Jesus did sin.

    As to His human nature, Jesus could have sinned. But He did not. And, in avoiding sin, He did not draw on the resources of His divine nature. At least on that point and to that degree, I concur with Bill Johnson’s teaching as summarized in the sound-byte “Jesus didn’t cheat.”

    Like

  150. cherylu says:

    So W B,

    What do you believe kept Him from sinning in His humanity? Human nature is sinful from birth and there is no way we ever do everything perfectly. And even if one did choose to do everything perfectly outwardly by the power of the Spirit, what stops a person from ever having a wrong motive, jealousy arising in the heart etc? Those are not things that we can choose day by day to just not do. Our old nature is still there and rises up. What made Jesus any different in His humanity then the rest of us in our humanity?

    Like

  151. W B McCarty says:

    Cherylu, I dodged that issue because you had posed the question to John 🙂

    Ultimately, I don’t think we have a full answer to your question other than that Jesus was faithful in all that He did, which I admit is pretty much circular. But one aspect of the solution, at which you hinted, is that unlike us Jesus was not born with the burden of original sin, the marring of nature taking the form of evil predisposition and consequent rebellion against God inherited by all other descendants of Adam. The mechanism of transmission of original sin is much debated. However, all Christians agree that, like Adam before his fall, Jesus did not share that marred nature and the evil predisposition that accompanies it.

    So, in one sense, Jesus couldn’t sin because He is God. But in another sense, He demonstrated that sin is not an inevitable aspect of humanity, even if it is inevitable for us because of our condition of original sin.

    Off to work!

    Blessings,

    Like

  152. cherylu says:

    W B,

    If you say (assmuming this may be your answer to my last question) that Jesus was born a perfect man and did not have the sin nature that the rest of us do, why is this a fact? It is because He was born the God-man. So while He is human, there is still no way that we who are born with a sinful nature can do and be just exactly as He was. And that is what John seems to be saying.

    And I tend to think John would say that was cheating because our humanity is flawed and His is not.

    I don’t know if I am clarifying or further muddying the waters here!

    Like

  153. cherylu says:

    Ha, our last comments obviously crossed.

    But now how is John going to not say that He “cheated’ if He had a human nature that was not flawed while ours was?

    I think he is still left with the same thing. Either in His mind Jesus “cheated” or He had to be exactly the same kind of human we are, flawed nature and all.

    John????

    Am I putting words in your mouth?

    Like

  154. IWanthetruth says:

    cherylu says:
    March 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Regarding the question posed… scripture does say that if you say you are not a sinner (did I paraphrase that right?) you are a liar.

    So if Jesus was a mere man and not a God-man then Jesus lied and the scriptures lie about him!

    Like

  155. W B McCarty says:

    Cheylu, in the shower–from which I should learn to post in the first place–I recall that I should have mentioned that some Christians (e.g., Wesleyan Arminians) believe that the Cross canceled original sin. Although I strongly disagree,l the view has become so popular that few since the 18th century have been willing to label it as unorthodox/heretical.

    Really off to work, now!

    Like

  156. Craig says:

    Some of my best thoughts come to me while in the shower. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet figured how to write in the shower and quite often I forget what I was thinking by the time I get to where I can write them down!

    Like

  157. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-
    You wrote this:

    So my question is, if Jesus was a man identical to us in every way and as God had laid aside His divinity, what on earth kept Him from sinning too?

    My short answre to this is that I’m not as qualified as Craig, WB, etc to give an answer. 🙂
    My short theological answer is that Jesus wasn’t born into the “sin stream”, right? He didn’t inherit any of that from Adam. Because of this, it was possible for Him not to sin (and to be an atonement). As far as thoughts and desires? I don’t really know.

    But I am qualified to say (or repeat) this: As a human, it is very important to me that Jesus did not have any special advantage. (I think this is the topic for an entire book.) Is laying down His divinity necessary for this?

    But there IS something you said that I have to take issue with: You said that “our old nature is still there and rises up.” I’m not sure exactly what you mean (it’s so easy to read things into what people say). If it’s ok, I’ll take your words at face value. Our old nature is DEAD!!! 100% dead! . Now, this is a topic for ….. uh…… 3-4 books But PERHAPS the way we approach this issue from Romans 6 will shed light on the laying down divinity issue. Jesus is our model. Yes, we all sin. But we NEVER sin out of our nature. This gives me hope. This is all to say, let’s not resurrect a dead man. 😉

    Like

  158. John Ashton says:

    Craig-

    Do YOU have that shower disability too???? I thought I was the only one.

    Like

  159. cherylu says:

    Yeah, or right before you fall asleep at night! And you know you either have to get up to write them down, thus waking yourself up and maybe being awake another hour or two, or risk them being gone completely by the time you get up in the morning!

    Like

  160. cherylu says:

    Good point, IWTT.

    Like

  161. cherylu says:

    John,

    I think the question you asked me here at the end is one that will take us far afield in this conversation if we really get into it. W B stated that there is controversy over this, at least I think this is the same issue you are talkng about.

    You don’t believe Jesus could have any “special advantages” as a man over you, yet you say that he was born “out of the sin stream”– that he didn’t inherit that from Adam. You say that makes it possible for Him to not sin. But isn’t being born out of the sin stream in itself a special advantage? And if He had to “lay that aside” too when He laid His divinity aside, you are left with a man like us with a flawed nature. When then kept Him from sinning from the day He was born until the day He died?

    Like

  162. Craig says:

    And, that’s not my only affliction…

    Like

  163. Craig says:

    John,

    You reference Romans 6; but, you must also read chapter 7 in which Paul speaks of his struggle with sin. Now, some have stated that Romans 7 is Paul in his pre-regenerate state; but, that doesn’t make sense in the full context as Paul is making his case in Romans 8 that in living by the Spirit we can overcome sin. The rub, of course, is that we just cannot do this 100% of the time.

    While I cannot think of any other Scripture referencing Paul in any sort of sin post-regeneration [ed: by this I mean that while he refers to himself as “the chief of sinners” he’s referring to before his Damascus road experience], certainly Peter sinned as evidenced by Paul’s rebuke in Galatians 2 (which also displays Barnabas’ sin). Keep in mind also that in Galatians Paul contrasts life by the sinful nature with life by the Spirit. His audience was believers; so, of course, Paul’s point was that one must choose to be led of the Spirit rather than the sin nature (Galatians 5:16-26)

    The bottom line is that it’s impossible for us to remain sinless no matter how hard we “try” i.e., yield to the Holy Spirit.

    Like

  164. Craig says:

    Tim,

    Good point. Your paraphrase works for me:

    7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

    8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

    1 John 2
    1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
    [I John 1:7 – 2:2, NIV 1984]

    Apparently, the Apostle John was refuting a heresy which purported that we could be sinless back in his day. [This is one of the reasons I believe 1st century Gnosticism was more developed than most commentators contend.]

    Like

  165. cherylu says:

    John,

    1 John 1:8:10 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    As IWTT said earlier, we have sin and to say otherwise is to make Him a liar. It is here taken for granted about believer’s by the Apostle John.

    And I was thinking of the same reply to your when you brought up Romans 6 as the reply Craig gave. You can’t just stop at Romans 6. You have to read on.

    So again, what was it that kept Jesus from sinning if he didn’t have any special advantages over us?

    Like

  166. cherylu says:

    I think one of my afflictions is never catching all of my errors before I post a comment! Ugh anyway.

    Like

  167. IWanthetruth says:

    Yep… Nothing new under the sun, eh?

    Like

  168. Craig says:

    John,

    Perhaps this will help put things in perspective. Jesus Christ is first and foremost our Savior having made Atonement for our sins (the way in). He is also the author and finisher of our faith:

    2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:2, NIV 1984]

    And, through the power of the Holy Spirit we can “work” toward Christlikeness as we yield to the Spirit. However, we never attain equality with Jesus Christ.

    Gordon Fee & Douglas Stewart do a GREAT job of describing the “Already but not yet” in their book How to Read the Bible for all its Worth. (I don’t find the book a dull read.) We are seated with Christ in the heavenlies as a future inheritance; but, we are not there just yet obviously:

    1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. [Colossians 3:1-2, NIV 1984]

    I discuss this in both parts of the Kingdom of God is at Hand articles.

    Like

  169. cherylu says:

    John,

    You speak so much of how important it is to you that Jesus not have an unfair advantage.

    I went back and reread a good share of your testimony that you posted on March 6th. You talked a lot about the things you feared there and that emotional pain was (if I remember correctly) the biggest one of all. Then you went on to say how much you had been impacted by the Gethsemane story in Mark. I have listed what was said about Jesus experience in Gethsemane in all three of the Gospels where that is talked about below.

    In Matthew He spoke of His soul being very sorrowful, even to death. Mt. 26:38 And in Luke 22:44 [ed] it says that he was in an agony and prayed more earnestly and His sweat became like great drops of blood. And in Mark 14:33-34 [ed] he says again that His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Take a look at Isaiah 53 also.

    You said in your testimony that you became really aware that Jesus did indeed empathize with your pain after all he experienced there and that if He did rely on deity in doing that, “it didn’t help much.”

    My point here is simply this regarding pain–it has been amply demonstrated to you that God does know and feel your pain, with or without His divinity. So can you lay that down as something that you need to know that Jesus has no “unfair advantage” in?

    And then I would like you to consider this. I think that you may be looking at this all wrong in placing your emphasis on looking at Jesus as a model for us and insisting that if He has an unfair advantage, He is not the perfect model. Accomplishing the work of our redemption is the major thing that He came to do–to be a sacrifice for our sin.

    Can a man alone accomplish that redemption? I do not see how for several reasons. To be the sacrifice for all people of all time would surely require a greater sacrifice then that of a man with no divintiy, would it not? And we have tried to show from Scripture that no man can live sin free which is a requirement, obviously, of a perfect sacirfice. Only the God-man Jesus could do that. Would He of been able to do that if He laid His divinity aside? I don’t see how. Part of His attributes are holiness and righteousness. (And remember, you said that His divinity includes all of His attributes.) If those were laid aside would we have a perfect, sin free God man? Maybe I am missing something here, I don’t know.

    Maybe you need to quit being concerned about the “unfair advantage” here. Maybe you need to just take Jesus at His word when He says that with His Spirit in us we can do the things He said we would be able to. Is His Spirit in our reborn selves where He dwells not powerful enough to do those things when He wills and when we surrender to Him? Why do you have to insist that Jesus had “no unfair advantage” to think that He can do those things through us? Does that make any sense!

    If my theology is messed up here in what I have said to John, please someone help me out. W B McCarty, Craig??

    I guess I had better give it up here for now. I’ve spent a lot of time on this today as I reckon you can all tell by the amount of comments I have made here. Other commitments are calling.

    Like

  170. John Ashton says:

    Clarification time…. RE: Unfair Advantage/cheating

    I think there’s maybe a little misunderstanding. My x-country coach was an All-American. He knew what pain was all about, and it made my pain a lot easier. When he pushed us, knowing that he had “been there” made all the difference.

    Being human is hard

    Like

  171. John Ashton says:

    Hey Cherylu-

    I know I probably don’t need to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway: I could completely care less if your theology is “messed up”. So is mine. Jesus basically said that the people who are certain they’re right are usually wrong. My testimony is that being right is way over-rated. Jesus is right. And I’m in Jesus. That makes me right even when I’m wrong…right? (I know this sounds cutsie, but I think it’s a pretty good word, especially since I’m typing this in honky tonk bar – the only place in town with wifi…my power’s down…) Bottom line……. Zeph 3:17 God is wild about you.

    Like

  172. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    Besides correcting some of the Scripture references [note by “ed”] which may have been typos as they were very close, I don’t see anything wrong with what you’ve written although I prefer to state “Holy Spirit” or even “Spirit” rather than “His Spirit” (referencing Jesus). Perhaps W B may find something.

    I think your points come across well re: Jesus empathizing with our pain having experienced his own. He was also “in all points tempted yet without sin.”

    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. [Hebrews 4:15, NIV 1984]

    Like

  173. Craig says:

    Having run cross country, competed in 5Ks and run exactly one marathon in which I “hit the wall,” I know about that kind of pain. Being divorced and estranged from my (ex)step-children was a different kind of pain (obviously); but, I did not need to know that Jesus had experienced that same sort of pain — I took rest in Him, His Word and He got me through that.

    John, you and I will quite likely never experience the kind of pain Jesus went through on the Cross. Crucifixion is about the most cruel and inhumane death imaginable. If you don’t know the particulars I would suggest studying it. It’s a death by suffocation AND extreme physical pain. And, this is not even to mention the flogging He took before the Cross.

    Jesus slept. In that regard He was human. Creflo Dollar went so far as to say He was not God because of this [I used to have a low rez video but can’t find it at the moment]:

    Creflo Dollar: “Then somebody said, ‘Well, Jesus came as God!’ Well, how do you know? The Bible says ‘God never sleeps nor slumbers”. And yet, in the book of Mark, we see Jesus asleep in the back of the boat. Now, please listen to me. Please listen to me. This ain’t no heresy. I’m not some false prophet. I’m just reading this thing out to ya out of the Bible. I’m just tellin’ you all these fantasy preachers have been preachin’ all of this stuff for all of these years, and we bought the package.” (I’m not sure of the vintage)

    This is what happens when one doesn’t take into account the whole counsel of God, the entirety of Scriptures. The hypostatic union best explains the God-man Jesus Christ.

    Like

  174. Craig says:

    John,

    It’s not some sort of badge of honor to have “messed up” theology. Scripture admonishes us to continue to learn more about Scripture. In fact, given that Jesus is Himself the Word made flesh, shouldn’t we study His Word to get to know Him better?

    11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. [Hebrews 5:11-14, NIV 1984]

    We should learn to eat the solid food and get beyond just the “milk.” The writer of Hebrews goes even further warning of “falling away”:

    1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.

    4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. [Hebrews 6:1-6, NIV 1984]

    I will point out that there is much dispute over the last three verses above. But, I would take it as a warning nonetheless.

    [cont.]

    Like

  175. Craig says:

    [cont.]

    John,

    If by your comment “Jesus basically said that the people who are certain they’re right are usually wrong” you are referring to the Pharisees, keep in mind that those in Scripture were not “enabled by the Father” [see John 6:44 & 6:65]. One of the problems with the Pharisees is that they adhered to an extra-biblical oral tradition. Recall that the Apostle Paul is a former Pharisee; and, it was he who wrote the following regarding the Cross:

    18 For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

    20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

    26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” [1 Cor 1:18-31, NIV 1984]

    It’s the Cross which brings true wisdom — wisdom by the Spirit. Going further in the first Corinthian letter:

    10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

    16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord
    that he may instruct him?”

    But we have the mind of Christ. [2:10-16, NIV 1984]

    Like

  176. cherylu says:

    Thanks for fixing the references. The way you have them is correct so I reckon they were some of my famous typos. Way back in high school days, typing was the class I got my all time worst grades in. Never has been my area of expertise. The only thing that saves me is a word processor. But that doesn’t help if I don’t see my own mistakes.

    And “Holy Spirit” probably would of been better then “His Spirit.”

    Like

  177. cherylu says:

    I just realized that Mozilla Firefox, the browser I have that I use the least, actually has a spell checker that works automatically in blog comments. That ought to at least help some of my goofs if I switch to using it. I thought I would mention it for anyone else that may not be aware of that fact and may appreciate it too. It doesn’t pick up errors like double words, but does get wrong spellings. Yeah!

    Like

  178. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    I’m sorry if I sounded too flippant. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I made a royal mess of some great gifts God gave me…. And He still loves me… and not just in a “positional” sense. I warm God’s heart, even when I mess up. This is very hard for me to accept, given my background…. I’d love to share a story about this – my son and the baseball – but I’ll leave it up to you.

    And to piggy back off your last statement about the mind of Christ… Did you see that story about the guy who is building a 85,000 sf home in Bev. Hills? All these Hollywood bigshots are getting all offended. In reading that, it struck me how many light years they’re away from the mind of God. Pretty amazing, actually, how money can skew your priorities….

    Like

  179. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    You and I have shared some of the same pain…. athletically and domestically.

    Here’s another way to think about this…. We are called to a high standard as Christians… I excelled as a cross country runner. There is NO WAY I would have trained as hard if it wasn’t for my coach who had gone thru it all. If he had given a stop watch and the exact same workout routine to Miss Edson – my 4th period Geometry teacher – I would have lost most of my motivation…along with most of the rest of the team…. Hmmm… We might be able to get a bit of mileage out of this analogy (pun intended).

    Like

  180. W B McCarty says:

    Cherylu, Whew! Lots of postings! I hope I can catch up tomorrow 🙂 But here’s a quick response to what seems to be a key point.

    Jesus as the second Adam was situated, as to His human nature, in the same place as Adam, who was created without the sin nature that encumbers us. If one envisions a sort of race between Jesus and us, He does have an advantage. But the real race would be between Adam and Jesus, the two representative/federal heads of humankind. In that race, Jesus had no special advantage within His humanity. By avoiding sin he demonstrated that humankind is not necessarily sinful, despite the fall of Adam from which we, too, suffer.

    It’s hard/dangerous to go much further than these sorts of rather general explanations. Scripture tells us more about what Jesus did and why He did it than about how He did it. Since a core issue in this blog article is the issue of unorthodoxy I’m trying to stick–and hope that I generally succeed in sticking–to the main and plain without reflecting a personal/denominational bias. In part, the strong confidence I’ve expressed at times in comments under this article is due to my determination to speak only from the standpoint of a Christian consensus spanning multiple centuries rather than from my personal perspective. If I’ve at any point drifted across the highway median strip, so to speak, in this process, I’d be pleased to accept correction.

    Like

  181. Craig says:

    Many times I will write in MS Word, then copy and paste into the blog as I find the comments box rather small. It’s much easier to proofread in MS Word before posting.

    Like

  182. Craig says:

    I think most would agree they’ve wasted a part of their lives. I certainly have. A LARGE part. The Apostle Paul would and did say describe himself as the worst of sinners (1 Tim 1:15).

    Let’s get back to the discussion at hand re: Bill Johnson’s doctrine.

    Like

  183. Craig says:

    John,

    I think you are looking at this a bit askew. He is the potter and we are the clay. While we are to yield to the Spirit in order to attain Christlikeness, we will never actually reach that goal this side of glory. We’ll never be sinless. While “Jesus is our model” in one sense, we’ll never truly model His life of sinlessness no matter how we “try.” Just how far do we take the “Jesus is our model” analogy? All the way to a literal cross?

    We are to live a life of obedience. We are to live righteously by the aid of the Spirit as we yield to him. Jesus provided the Atonement so that we could be saved through faith from a death we deserve as a result of our sin nature. Jesus is the object of our faith, the author and finisher of our faith, more so than our “model.” See the difference?

    Like

  184. Craig says:

    W B,

    I think you’ve done great! My only concern is the bolded portion of this statement: “By avoiding sin he demonstrated that humankind is not necessarily sinful, despite the fall of Adam from which we, too, suffer.” Perhaps you meant to word this part a bit differently? Or, perhaps I’m just not understanding what you mean exactly.

    The rest is for the general readership:

    Scripture attests to the possibility that Jesus could in theory have sinned. Yet He did not. Therefore He provided the once for all Atonement (Arminians would agree with this statement as written while Calvinists would perhaps change by stating the Atonement was limited to the elect).

    So, does it matter that Jesus may have had an “unfair advantage” in regards to living sinlessly? I don’t see how. Jesus Christ is our Savior. We should rest in Him.

    Like

  185. W B McCarty says:

    Craig, yes, I have been unclear and could easily be misunderstood on this important point. What I mean to say is that Jesus proved that the human race as represented by Adam need not have sinned in the first place. Said differently, God did not create the human race with some sort of hidden flaw that made Adam’s sin inevitable.

    I could be misunderstood as meaning that, despite the original sin we inherit as a result of Adam’s fall, we are able to entirely avoid sin. Personally, I believe this is true in principle (God’s provision is sufficient) but not in practice (though regenerate and therefore not in bondage to sin, we do sin). On the other hand, a goodly number of Christians (e.g., Wesleyan Arminians) believe otherwise, holding a doctrine known as “sinless perfection.” I think that if you question them closely you will discover that they use a different definition of sin than the one I have in mind. They consider as sin only high-handed, knowing, more or less deliberate sin and suppose that they can avoid such sin. I consider sin any defect in action, word, thought, or nature and see sin as pervasive and inescapable even for the regenerate. Jesus’ command in Matt. 5:48 was, “Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” I don’t for a moment suppose that I rise to that standard nor do I anticipate doing so this side of Glory. Hence, unlike Jesus, I am a sinner.

    All that said, despite my quite strong disagreement with the Wesleyan position, I am not prepared to label it heretical. If Bill Johnson were to teach along the same lines, I’d give him a pass. As I wrote earlier, I’m not arguing here for my own position. I’m arguing for a historical Christian orthodoxy. My own theological beliefs and preferences are considerably tighter than my comments here might suggest.

    Like

  186. Craig says:

    W B,

    Thanks for clarifying.

    I must be less charitable than you as I would label any teaching which contends sinless perfection this side of glory to be in error at best and heretical at worst — and I’d lean toward the latter using 1 John 1:8-10 as part of my defense of this position. Of course, if sin is redefined that puts things in a whole new court. And, I keep in mind that redefining terms is characteristic of cults and/or the occult. But, I also realize different denominations have differing definitions.

    I do appreciate the balance re: historical Christian orthodoxy you display here. However, I’m not opposed to you stating your own personal denominationally biases or theological beliefs/preferences. It’s very difficult not to do so. And, if we disagree, we can agree to disagree. 🙂

    Bill Johnson does seem to teach sinless perfection this side of glory as evidenced by some quotes referenced in part II [see “Sinless at the Other Side of the Cross” section]. If anyone would like to discuss this, please do so in the comments section of part II rather than here.

    Like

  187. Craig says:

    I caught on local radio earlier this week and again today a program by Nancy Leigh DeMoss who is doing a series on Christology. It is certainly worth a few moments to read the transcript in the hyperlink. Here’s what really struck me by the way it was phrased:

    The humanity of Christ means that He is willing to save us, but if He was only human, He would not have had the power to save us. His deity means that He is able to save us! Because He is the God/man, He is both willing and able to save us. Praise the Lord! [bolding as per original]

    Stated another way: In His humanity He was willing, in His divinity He was able; consequently, He was both willing and able to provide the perfect sacrifice, the once for all Atonement.

    Continuing with DeMoss:

    So without ever ceasing to be fully God, without laying aside any of His Godness, Jesus took on, clothed Himself, in our human nature so that He could reconcile us to God. And if that doesn’t move you, nothing will. [bolding as per original]

    Earlier in this podcast she said:

    We’re dealing with things that are beyond our reach, and the secular world sees that as a cop-out. They say if you can’t explain it, it can’t be true, but the fact is, if we could understand this, if we could put Jesus in our little box that we could figure out, then He wouldn’t be amazing anymore. He wouldn’t be incomparable. [bolding as per original]

    In the show earlier in the week DeMoss spoke on the aberrant/heretical Christology of other cults, etc.

    Like

  188. W B McCarty says:

    Craig: “I would label any teaching which contends sinless perfection this side of glory to be in error at best and heretical at worst.”

    Speaking personally, I wouldn’t disagree 🙂 But I do try to reserve “heresy” for those errors that were identified as such by ecumenical councils, with the exception that I regard deviation from the Protestant Reformers’ teaching of salvation by grace through faith alone as heresy, despite the fact that doing so labels the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches as apostate. Please note that I’m not speaking to the spiritual condition of individuals within those churches. My judgment pertains instead only to the official teaching of those churches. I have known individuals within Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy who seem to me to articulate their faith in a way the comports with the Gospel as I understand it.

    Bill Johnson’s roots are in the Assemblies of God, a so-called Holiness denomination that descended from Wesleyan Methodism. So he likely had opportunity to acquire a doctrine of sinless perfection by that route. Privately, I would speak in very strong terms of the error I believe to be inherent in that position. But publicly I do my best to be a bit more ecumenical.

    I don’t mean to imply that you or others would do wrongly to challenge sinless perfectionism. From my perspective, doctrinal error is one important and highly prevalent form of sin. And, true love of the brethren demands that we gracefully do what we can to help others understand where they are in error and be ourselves open to criticism by others. However, the prevalence of heresy and near heresy within Evangelicalism leads me to feel called to focus publicly on the big picture and challenge only the most serious errors. In part, I’m able to do so because others are calling out even less serious error. So please don’t misunderstand my attitude as some sort of censure. Quite the contary!

    Like

  189. Craig says:

    W B,

    You’ve articulated your position well. I fully understand.

    I was not aware that the AoG comes from Wesleyan Methodism – nor did I know they hold to the possibility of sinless perfection. My understanding is that (at least currently) sinless perfectionism is not one of the AoG’s doctrines. Is that correct? Bill Fawcett?

    Like

  190. W B McCarty says:

    Craig, I don’t mean that sinless perfection is a part of the AOG’s official doctrinal position. As far as I recall, the opposite is the case. Bill, of course, would know for sure.

    I mean only that folks within the churches associated with the Holiness movement, as they transition from church to church and even denomination to denomination, tend to take their doctrines with them–sometimes even those doctrines that are officially opposed. So, whereas one might find very few people in, say, Presbyterianism who accept the doctrine of sinless perfection one would likely find more in an AOG, Nazarene, or Methodist church just as one might find more hyper-Calvinists in a Presbyterian church than a Holiness church.

    Like

  191. Craig says:

    Gotcha. From what little I’ve read of AoG, I’d be very surprised to find sinless perfectionism as part of the official AoG position.

    Like

  192. W B McCarty says:

    Yup, just as hyper-Calvinism (which I would somewhat inconsistently acknowledge as heresy because of its obvious negative effect on proclamation of the Gospel) is opposed by the official doctrinal position of essentially every Presbyterian church.

    Like

  193. peacebringer says:

    John,
    It seems this would be the appropriate thread to continue our discussions. First of all, I am not reading back over the nearly 800 comments here to get a further grasp of your viewpoints. Now clearly quite the discussion has gone on. There are 2 topics feel led to address with you. one is the ongoing comments regarding the nature of Jesus incarnation in a fuller extent than allowed in the open challenge thread. It is frustrating honestly that you won’t address specifically. I do want you to know that the unreased reply, Craig kindly shared with me you thoughts.

    Yes, Jesus was 100% God, and 100% human. This is the essence of the Son of God come in the flesh. If you eliminate either part of the equation then it becomes “something other than.” Now here is the issue with what Bill Johnson appears to teach. It seems that in order for there to be an ability for those that are only 100% human and do what Jesus did, we have to be able to “access” something and the arguement is that Jesus accessed this something to do it, being fully human. THis does not match Biblical context at all. There is no description of needed certain “annointings” to accomplish what God sets before us.

    Here is a prime verse: Matthew 24:23-16 (ESV) Mat 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.

    Now it is important to know that Christ in and of it self, refers to annointing, or smeared one.
    Not key elements in theses verses
    1: Focus on experience- Great signs and wonders. Don’t go chasing after an experience.
    2: Emphasis put on our being prewarned.
    3: Focus on it not being an “external” not in wildreness and not internal “inner rooms.”

    This is important to note. See, Bill Johnson concept and teaching seems to indicate that for us to “do what Jesus did” there has to be some “experience” and Jesus had to be fully man and undergo the experience inorder to have “Heaven invade earth.” See, this becomes a twisting of God as man, God with us, for it seems to indicate that God wasn’t with us, just some guy Jesus who used to be God, left it behind, and then was evalated through experience that we can all achieve.

    So the question of Bill Johnson’s view of Jesus incarnation is Critical. See Jesus while becoming human, did not stop being God, ever. Always God, always human. Now here is the thought about why God is with us is important, why the taking on the “human form.” It is God entering into the suffering. The sinless entering physical into the world, the creation twisted by sin as a consequence of departing from God, and doing what is needed to make it right. If Jesus stopped being God at any point, then there is no making things right. It was the point of “it is finished” that Jesus for the first time experienced a disconnect from the father, as he took on all of Sin. And even then, He did not cease to be who he was. He was as stated in collossians at all times “The fullness of the Godhead in bodily form.” Anyone who suggests otherwise is preaching “something other than.”

    Now, the other aspect of discussion, is on the “doing big stuff” for God. Yet, in God’s kingdom, it is the little, the small, the even inmperceptible that has most honor. You want to be important for God, find the little ways, the ways that bring no attention to yourself to serve Him and others. You indicated knowing you have “pride” issues. Well, then the answer to that is not having lots of people pray for your humility, but to start serving and setting self aside.

    I probably have more to say, but my train of thought has left me. But will engage more as thoughts come or responses occur.

    Like

  194. 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?
    Both
    6) Should we honor our parents or hate them?
    Honor them…

    7) 100% Man or 100% God?
    both
    8] Paper or plastic? (Sorry…couldn’t resist).

    Like

  195. cherylu says:

    It looks like there are two comments by Peacebringer on this thread this a.m. But what happened to the second one?

    Like

  196. Craig says:

    peacebringer was replying to an old comment of John Ashton’s and it’s thereby on another page buried in the comments section. Apparently, it’s some kind of glitch with WordPress that’s not rerouting it. Here is the comment:
    _________________________________________________________________

    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?
    Both
    6) Should we honor our parents or hate them?
    Honor them…

    7) 100% Man or 100% God?
    both
    8] Paper or plastic? (Sorry…couldn’t resist).

    Like

  197. peacebringer says:

    Interesting comment in light of some of your intial remarks of much of what goes on and proclaimed as healing really isn’t. You then go on to claim bill is one of best expositors while in past acknowledged there is much skethy exegesis…

    Are you aware of your own contradrictions?

    Like

  198. peacebringer says:

    Cherly, when reply directly to a comment, when the “threaded” comments option is selected in wordpress it goes to that point of conversation. Craig could turn off threaded comments resulting in it being one large thread but then wouldn’t necessarily get the flow of response.
    Craig if you want to turn off threaded comments you can do so.

    Like

  199. peacebringer says:

    John,
    praying over what to say to you after reviewing your comments and getting a deeper sense of who you are and what you are saying and going through. Before move into those comments you in your comments referenced Gramah Cooke. A while back ago spent some time praying and discerning and examining Gramah Cooke, mainly through what said on the internet as well as some other things. God showed me that he at one time was speaking truth, impacting others with His truth, and left the path, and has deviated to “something other than” God’s truth. Now, I know this by my experiential engagement of truth and have not done a word to word examination.

    Also at this point, feeling led to say that regarding Bill Johhnson, also have an experiential comment to make upon recently going to one of his clips to “view.” The experiential discernment was that Bill Johnson has at some point embraced a spirit of sensuality. It is there when ever view him. I asked God what i was seeing, and His reply was sensuality. Now, this is my experience and I can “misread” what God is telling me at times, but feeling led to point this out to you before getting more into what feel God is asking me to say to you. That I need to pray a bit more over before replying further.

    Like

  200. cherylu says:

    Craig and Peacebringer,

    Shouldn’t clicking on the comment in the recent coments box take you to that comment then? It usually does. But this a.m. it didn’t. As a matter of fact for a while there, clicking on the comments didn’t take you anywhere–it wasn’t working at all. I just scrolled to the bottom of the page and found what was there, but the rest was inaccessible unless you looked back through all of the umptey nine pages of comments that have gone on before.

    Craig, this is only a suggestion, but from my perspective I think it might be simpler to not have the nested/ threaded comments. I think it is too easy to miss reading everything being said when they are turned on.

    Like

  201. Craig says:

    Part of the problem likely is that I’ve broken up the comments into 100 block segments — otherwise it would take quite a long time for the page to load. I’ve a feeling the comment responded to was from well over 100 comments ago and hence one would have to go back through the pages to find it. I agree that WordPress should be able to take it back there; but, it may be some sort of glitch.

    As to the nested comments/replies: they work well in ongoing back and forth conversations, but not so well in responding to old comments. Food for thought.

    Like

  202. Craig says:

    Given what I just wrote re: nested comments/replies, on old comments it’s probably best to cut and paste the portion (into MS Word, etc), reference the date and time of original comment, and then make your remarks to the comment.

    Like

  203. peacebringer says:

    Okay here goes John. Please note that what I am about to say comes from love and concern. It is not meant to tear down or point fingers, it is about sharing what sensed based on your comments here. As I write these words, note that I don’t know you from anyone else, all I know is what your words have reveal of who you are in conjunction with asking the Holy Spirit what am I to say and if I am to say anything. I am to say some words, for the Holy Spirit has given me a burden to do so.

    Before sharing words, let me explain a little bit about who God created me to be. I am one who God has given a mind with the ability to wrestles with and deal with paradox. I have an ingrained desire to make sense. I understand that each of us know in part, I know that all of our understanding of God is flawed and limited. Now that being said, God has revealed Himself through His word. His word is not the “Rhema” experiential moment to moment engagement, which He does move and operate in, but His word is that which is written to reveal Himself to us, to help us to understand what we cannot possibly grasp in our own mind. Now with that I get concerned when here talk of “idolizing the bible” and spending a “year” not in God’s word and only in “experiencing.” For if you set aside God’s written revelation how do you have any determinent of what you experiencing being true. And, yes, there are many difficult aspects of understanding God that appears contradictory, but studing and rightly dividing the word of truth makes these clear. Now you went on to say the word of God is important, and you read more now than ever before, great. But for what end…

    John you have referenced “levels” and talk of “pressing in” that is part and parcel to the “Bethel” experience. Question is what are you pursuing, what are you pressing into? Are you pressing into an “experience” or “annointing” that is either internal or external or you looking to grow in knowledge and truth of God adn who He is and how you falter.

    You talk of not liking orthodoxy as something is missed. You go on about sitting under the teaching of highly respected teachers who upon examination find many of their words versus God’s words. That may be all said and done, for in essence the teaching that occur are all man’s understanding of God unless moments where much like your prayer, it is none of you and only God speaking. And yes, I understand the elation of being filled in the Spirit of such ocassions that brings great Joy. But those experiences are but momentary. God moves and God moves. The wind blows as it blows. Do you seek to know the creator or an experience said to be of Him.

    Take a look at scripture and the many and varied attempts at taking human means into dealing with the presence of God. Those instances did not end well for those so doing. It is easy to get off track. But any twist, God takes seriously. For God, in His divine empathy despises the twists. He hates the way folks take His way and bring corruption and filth. He hates how the waters get muddied. He hates how folks have access to living water and turn to drink “something other than” which ultimately is a draught of the blood of the martryrs. All of this brings great pain to God the Almighty. And for this, there will be judgment on those, just as before. And these are words God wants you to hear.

    For in reading your comments, there is at a core some depth of wanting to know God wholly. But your pain, your heart, your brokenness as led you to grab hold of that which is twisted. God knows full well your hurt and pain. He knows your distrust. He knows how you have been disappointed by those who have sat under. He knows you better than you know yourself. And there is great pain right now with where you are.

    In reading your comment John, I started with getting a sense of who you were and then it moved to just hollow empty words that were clouded. God has given you some discernment brother, but instead you embrace that which appeals to you. And the reason for this come from your heart. Know brother, that the Heart is deceitful above all things and despraretly wicked. It seeks after that which is not of God. The question is brother, do you accept a path deviating from truth, or do you seek Him and Him alone.

    Now here this, and if you listen to nothing else, listen to this. Yes, there are moments of true worship. There is some worship in spirit and truth, for there are some that truly seek Him. They have taken up broken instruments, and what they give is used or impure. Used by those who have other agendas in mind, and broken for the twisting that has been accepted results in impurity.

    You talked a lot about embracing experience and letting go of the “structures” that defined you. But be careful in recognizing grace and wanting spirit that you accept the “something other than” and become drunk on the tares leading to intoxication. When the intoxication is gone, what is left is pain. And the pain is deep, but becomes added to. God created us both with mind and heart. Thought and emotion. They are work together.

    You talked of seeing a psychologist to help you deal with the scars of your disability. You found solace in the science of Freud. There is no solace in Freud. Any truth there is twisted and distorted and will only lead to further twisting. As I say these words, know that called has called me into that broken field to touch broken lives. But make no bones about it, it is broken and twisted.

    It is time to bring this to a close, as soon have some work to do, and the sensed pain is beginning to cloud what I am to say. And I think that is a point, where there is intense pain, it can cloud the view. It can lead to accepting twists, for the pain is great. And I can say that I had chances of embracing twists in my own pain. But God spared me from things that could have done me harm. For there are periods of my life of desperate pain and needing to hear God. Yet, He moved as He willed. And that is a key. God moves as He wills. He are to grasp hold and surrender, but not of our initiation. For we respond. Ah, but that is all another topic for another time. Please pray and take these words to heart, for they come with love. You will not find the answers to pain at Bethel, and more will be created and there is great danger on the path you are going down that will lead to greater pain.

    Like

  204. Craig says:

    From Bob DeWaay as posted on Deception in the Church comes this analysis of Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth:

    Click to access orrel46.pdf

    “Signs and wonders that accompany a false Christology such as that of Bill Johnson do not thereby prove the existence of a great end-time revival. Rather, they prove end-time deception as predicted in the Bible.”

    Also:

    “…A psychic healing might be a real healing, but it is not from God. It is known to be false by the false teaching of the healer. If such a false teacher produced a real, verified healing, the teaching and teacher would still be false.”

    Like

  205. Craig says:

    DeWaay again:

    “The kenosis heresy is a damnable heresy [see II Peter 2:1 KJV; NASB/NIV render it “destructive” but “damnable” seems more apt to me] and it is as egregious as the Arian heresy, which still has life in modern times through the Jehovah’s Witnesses….”

    Like

  206. John Ashton says:

    Hey Peacebringer –

    Sorry for the long delay. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can as you raise some great issues. In short, the answer is that, yes, I’m getting much better at practicing the presence of God. What this basically means is coming into agreement with who He says He is. In doing training for Bethel’s healing rooms, it has been fascinating to listen to their approach. The focus is almost entirely about coming into alignment with God. The premise is that God wants to heal. All we (who work in healing rooms) do is come into agreement. As a result, the prayers consist more of proclamations as opposed to petitions.

    You wrote this paragraph: Take a look at scripture and the many and varied attempts at taking human means into dealing with the presence of God. Those instances did not end well for those so doing. It is easy to get off track. But any twist, God takes seriously. For God, in His divine empathy despises the twists. He hates the way folks take His way and bring corruption and filth. He hates how the waters get muddied. He hates how folks have access to living water and turn to drink “something other than” which ultimately is a draught of the blood of the martryrs. All of this brings great pain to God the Almighty. And for this, there will be judgment on those, just as before. And these are words God wants you to hear.

    I think this is emblematic of a prevailing sentiment about the mind and heart of God. As I read people’s responses, I get the sense of a prevailing perception of a God who is very ready to pronounce and enact judgment unless we are very careful to ensure that we are correct and accurate in our understanding of Him. It is important to be accurate in our understanding. If we are, the only real response is to fall to our knees in adoration and worship. But these are response that flow more from the heart than from the mind. I have no problem with Orthodoxy per se; Bethel embraces all of it, regardless of what people say here. The problem I have is with the overreliance upon the mind – upon human understanding. As Bill Johnson says, Jesus alone in perfect theology. If you go back and read what has been written on this site, you’ll see that there is a greater focus upon Orthodoxy than upon Jesus. It is true that we cannot know Jesus apart from Scripture. But Scripture only takes us to the door; at some point, there has to be a surrender of the heart, which is the only way it is possible to know Jesus in true biblical terms. The word “to know” is a heart knowledge, more akin to the knowledge a married couple has of each other than anything intellectual. Quite frankly, the God of too many people is not the God I want to spend time with. The culture at Bethel, by contrast, is predicated upon the idea that God is in a good mood and that fruitfulness flows from intimacy with Him. If you actually visit Bethel, you’ll find that it is a very happy and joyful place. Over the past few weeks, I’m spending most of my afternoons and evening just hanging in the cafe, enjoying the hundreds of happy, spirit-filled people who are passing through. There’s a very noticable absence of a heaviness of spirit that I see in most other bodies. At the end of the day, I think Bethel “gets it”, which is why so much healing is actually happening. What’s ironic is that there is a constant focus upon adjusting our thinking to God’s – accuracy and correct are indeed valued – but it is pursued from the platform of secure assurance, as opposed to “God’s not going to approve until I get it right.

    As usual, I’m being circumspect, but I think this cuts to the core of what, in my opinion, is the heart of the matter.

    Like

  207. Craig says:

    John you wrote: As I read people’s responses, I get the sense of a prevailing perception of a God who is very ready to pronounce and enact judgment unless we are very careful to ensure that we are correct and accurate in our understanding of Him.

    Speaking for myself I don’t feel that way at all. Worshiping Jesus Christ, worshiping God, begins with worshiping Him for who He is and how He has already been revealed. Not everyone has a good understanding of who He is. Certainly, a brand new Christian does not know the finer points of theology and worships as to their present understanding. But, we are to grow, to move on to the meat instead of the milk [1 Peter 2:2-3; 1 Cor 3:1-3; 1 Cor 14:20; Hebrews 5:11-14].

    However, as this post identifies, Johnson is teaching and preaching “another Jesus” as Jesus was not ‘born again’ because He “became sin.” Nor had Jesus “laid his [sic] divinity aside” as Johnson asserts. Starting at the wrong point will likely only take one further away from the desired destination. Starting at the right point and diverging from it will lead us away. We must “continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling” [Philippians 2:12, NIV 1984].

    Those hand-picked to be Jesus’ disciples in the beginning did not know very much at all. Yet, they followed Him and stayed with Him as He continued to reveal more and more things about Himself. Some followers ended up abandoning Him along the way proving that they never really were disciples to be begin with. That is what discipleship is about — following Jesus as He reveals Himself and sticking with Him. The more we read Scripture and seek Him through prayer, the more we walk in the Spirit [Gal 5:16-26; John 15:1-17], the more we learn of Him.

    In the OT, the nation Israel followed God for a time, then they fell into following other ‘gods’ by mixing the religions of the pagans with their own or just plain following the pagans’ religions outright disregarding their own. And, each and every time, God would send some sort of judgment in attempts to bring them back. After repentance, Israel would continue faithful for a time but then the cycle would return — the Deuteronomic Cycle. See Habakkuk 1:5-6 for another example in which God used the Babylonians for this purpose.

    This has occurred and is occurring today in the Christian Church as more and more are embracing Eastern style rituals including contemplative prayer — what you call “practicing His presence” — and other pagan practices. These only lead to “another Jesus.” God does not look kindly on that at all. And, judgment will eventually come if not in this life, then the next. What do you think was the reason for Jesus’ reply to “doubting” Thomas?:

    29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” [NIV 1984]

    The Christian religion is based on faith not sight:

    1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. [Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV 1984]

    Like

  208. Craig says:

    John, you wrote, …The problem I have is with the overreliance upon the mind – upon human understanding…

    The unregenerate do not have the capacity to view God apart from their own human understanding. However, the regenerate can but only by the power of the Holy Spirit; for, without the Holy Spirit then it is only “man’s wisdom.” This is the point brought out by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. A reliance upon those Spirit-filled individuals who put forth teachings throughout the history of Christian orthodoxy is not a reliance upon “human understanding.”

    Like

  209. john ashton says:

    Hey Craig-
    First, I have no problem with Orthodoxy, just the way it is interpreted.
    Second, who do you believe is the power behind all of these healngs?

    Like

  210. Craig says:

    John,

    We’ve been ’round this many times before on this thread. As to your first comment, you’ve made it clear you do not adhere to historic Christian orthodoxy with respect to the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. If you did, you would have a problem with the Kenotic heresy Bill Johnson is propounding. Jesus did not “lay aside” any of His divine attributes; and, He was Christ, Jesus Christ, at the Incarnation contrary to Johnson. This is basic Christology. To deny this is to believe in another Jesus and another Gospel as in II Corinthians 11:3-4:

    3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. [NIV 1984]

    To your second: Building upon the shifting sands rather than the firm foundation of the rock which is Jesus Christ [Matthew 7:24-27] — the real Jesus Christ as identified in Scripture and in orthodox Christianity — puts one on the broad road to destruction rather than on the narrow road and through the Narrow Gate who is Jesus Christ [Matthew 7:13-15]. Wolves in sheep’s clothing look sincere outwardly, but inwardly they are ravenous [Matthew 7:15]. You’ll know them by the fruit of the faulty doctrine and practices of their following — the fruit of the wolves’ bad tree, and these trees will be “thrown into the fire”:

    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. [Matthew 7:15-20, NIV 1984]

    In chapter seven of Matthew’s Gospel, note the teaching above, “A Tree and Its Fruit,” is in between “The Narrow and Wide Gates” of vv 13-14 and “The Wise and Foolish Builders” of vv 24-27 and following vv 15-20 is:

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ [NIV 1984]

    Jesus’ teaching here is clear. Many who perform the charismata identified above — not just a few, but many — will be called “evildoers.” These “evildoers” are both the wolves (bad trees) and the resulting fruit of these wolves.

    Please see “Look at the Fruit!” for a more complete discussion on this.

    9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. [II Thessalonians 2:9-12 NIV 1984; emphasis added]

    God Himself sends a “powerful delusion” to those who “refused to love the truth but have delighted in wickedness” so they’ll “believe the lie” and “be condemned.”

    I’ll stay on the side of historic orthodox Christianity. How about you, John?

    Like

  211. john ashton says:

    Craig-

    It is true that we’ve been ’round this many times before because you (nor anyone) have not answered my second question. The reason is that it places you in an untenable position: if you admit that it is Jesus, then Bill Johnson may not be as far off-base as you have maintained; if it is of the devil. then you risk denying the work of Jesus. Your third option is to admit that it is the power of Jesus but that it is being done by evildoers who do not know Jesus (such as Bill Johnson).

    As far as Orthodoxy, I’ll continue to hold onto it and embrace it, but not as tightly as did the Pharisees.

    Like

  212. Craig says:

    John,

    I do believe I have answered your question with my most recent comment. The first thing to determine is if Johnson/Bethel is actually healing. Where’s the proof? In any case, what do you make of shamen and other “faith” healers? They still do heal, don’t they? By whose power then?

    The Pharisees did not adhere to (Jewish) orthodoxy. Instead, their “tradition,” their extra-Biblical oral law, governed their practice of Mosaic Law. This is the issue Jesus berated them for over and over. Of course, they also over-looked some of the more important parts of the law: “justice, mercy, and faithfulness” [Matthew 23:23; cf Matthew 5:20, etc.].

    Interestingly, it was the Pharisees who saw Jesus as a mere man thereby denying His divinity, isn’t it?

    Like

  213. Kevin says:

    Hi John,

    I hope you are OK.

    I’m saddened that you seem to be going deeper and deeper into Bethel’s error and empty rhetoric!

    I think you’ll find I answered your second question ages ago when I pointed you to 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10. They are false signs and wonders (if indeed they are signs and wonders) and the author of all things false is the devil.

    Bill Johnson teaches that Jesus became sin and thus had to be born again. He teaches that Jesus had no supernatural capabilities in Himself. He teaches that we can have the same Christ anointing as Jesus. He teaches authoritative prayer instead of petitioning prayer. All of these things are totally contrary to the Jesus revealed in Scripture.

    For the umpteenth time, neither I, nor anyone else on this site, is defending “orthodoxy” per se but we are defending the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, it’s all about Christology and not orthodoxy.

    You wrote:

    “The premise is that God wants to heal. All we (who work in healing rooms) do is come into agreement. As a result, the prayers consist more of proclamations as opposed to petitions. ”

    This is a false premise. If that’s the case, why was Paul sick and afflicted and why couldn’t he heal his friends when they were sick? In fact, it is the “proclamations” which are more Pharisaical than anything else. Even Jesus prayed “not my will but your will be done”! The whole “authoritative” prayer thing completely turns the Biblical model for prayer upside down! If this is the case, one has to wonder to whom anyone is praying if it is so contrary to the revealed will of God for prayer!

    Oh John, I hope that like good Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress you will be freed from the dungeon and get back on the narrow way.
    In Him
    Kevin

    Like

  214. W B McCarty says:

    John, your argument is precisely that which was offered by the Roman Catholic Church against the Reformers of the 16th century: Since the Church’s relics, such as the partial left kneecap of St. Belvedere, so manifestly heal the sick, Protestantism and justification by grace cannot be true.

    Deut. 13 and Matt. 7 are clear in demanding of us that we’re to regard only fidelity to truth, not miraculous power, in considering the credentials of a supposed minister of God. As I suppose you know, God once used a donkey to prophesy (cf. Num. 22). What if the donkey had been used to heal rather than prophesy? Would that mean that we should approve the donkey’s theology as orthodox?

    Like

  215. W B McCarty says:

    John, I wish to expand on my remarks on the topic of miracles. To accept miracles rather than Scripture as the criterion of truth is not only to depart from orthodoxy (that is, the teaching of Scripture as understood and recognized by the entire Christian Church) but to depart from orthodoxy in a more fundamental and significant way than entailed by misconstruing the nature of Christ, for it is Scripture that testifies to the nature of Christ. I suggest that you consider carefully the assumptions that underlie your challenge based on appeal to (alleged) miracles. I remind you that, even if the miracles you cite are authentic works of God, the fact would prove nothing about the doctrine or standing with God of those through whom they were performed.

    Like

  216. peacebringer says:

    John,
    I have been super busy this weekend and not yet time to address your response in ways that I am comfortable doing so that deal with matters in the best loving and truth way I am capable of. There are a multitude of things within just last few exchanges I want to take time with.

    Like

  217. mbaker says:

    John,

    Just curious as to what Bethel teaches about eschatology. I went on a search since i believe this might tie in with the post, and I found they believe in ‘apostolic’ eschatology. What do they teach about what that means? Also what are your own end time’s views, and do you agree or disagree with Bethel’s?

    Like

  218. John Ashton says:

    Peacebringer, no worries about time… I’ve been tied up, too. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
    Mbaker, I’m not sure I even have any views about eschatology. I’m afraid that this is going to sound glib and evasive (it’s not), but all I know is that
    Jesus is coming back;
    It is not God’s will that any perish;
    There are far, far more people who want Jesus than many of us realize. I believe that tens of millions of Americans desperately want free grace, but doubt that it’s actually free;
    If He returns during my lifetime, I hope I’ll be able to spot Him in a crowd;
    I’m personally not putting anything into a retirement account.

    I know nothing at all about Bethel’s eschatology.

    I’ll try to respond to the rest later on… God bless all of you.

    Like

  219. John Ashton says:

    Hey Kevin-

    I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have these mysteries of the faith nailed down. I think you bring up a valid point regarding Paul. Bethel teaches that it is God’s will to heal. So what keeps it from happening? Is it our lack of faith? Or is it God’s will that some remain in disease. To be honest, I haven’t sat down with anyone to talk this out.

    At any rate, I was wondering if you could expand upon what you wrote. I’m curious how the authoritative prayer thing turns things upside down. My understanding is that too few Christians actually exercise their authority, which is why so few healings happen. What do you think of this. And how are proclamation Pharisaical? Are we talking about the same thing?

    “This is a false premise. If that’s the case, why was Paul sick and afflicted and why couldn’t he heal his friends when they were sick? In fact, it is the “proclamations” which are more Pharisaical than anything else. Even Jesus prayed “not my will but your will be done”! The whole “authoritative” prayer thing completely turns the Biblical model for prayer upside down! If this is the case, one has to wonder to whom anyone is praying if it is so contrary to the revealed will of God for prayer!”

    Like

  220. Craig says:

    John,

    Many Christians have not nailed down their thoughts regarding eschatology. It can be very confusing. Personally, even though I’ve studied it quite a bit by looking at Scripture, I can’t say I have it finalized. My leanings are premillennial (Jesus will return thus consummating our current age and ushering in the 1000 years spoken of in Revelation 20:4-6) with a pre-wrath Rapture (in my view the Rapture is to occur just before God’s final wrath which I construe as the bowl judgments of Rev 15-16). [For Rapture, see 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 keeping in mind the word “sleep” is a euphemism for dead/death.] The majority of evangelical Christianity is premillennial with a pre-tribulation Rapture (with the understanding there will be seven years of Tribulation beginning at or around the seals of Rev 6).

    Matthew 24 is a good place to start. You will see that all will know when He returns and many will mourn because at that point it’ll be too late to accept Christ as Savior:

    30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, 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. [Matthew 24:30-31 NIV 1984]

    Mike Bickle at IHOP teaches what he terms “Apostolic Premillennialism” with a post-trib Rapture meaning that the Rapture of the living will occur at the end of this current age and the 1000 years will commence just after (or simultaneously). I’m curious if Bill Johnson may teach the same.

    Like

  221. Craig says:

    John,

    Please consider this: Let’s assume that it is God’s will that all be healed. You pose good questions in that regard. If we’re not healed, is it our lack of faith? If so, if one could have perfect faith would we never be sick in the first place? Assuming “near perfect” faith then if said individual gets sick, and subsequently re-renews their faith and gets well again theoretically the individual could continue on indefinitely with no further illness and thus never die. Does that sound reasonable? Truly that’s the logical conclusion to the belief that God wants to heal all all the time — no death.

    This is the sort of thing Kenneth E. Hagin claimed. He said that once he realized God wants no sickness then he claims he was never sick after his teenage years despite being born with a congenital heart condition. Yet, it seems he had heart problems. And, he did eventually die:

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/hagandies.html

    …Hagin had been hospitalized in a cardiac intensive care unit since Sept. 14 [2003], when he collapsed at home…

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/septemberweb-only/9-22-11.0.html

    Like

  222. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    I don’t think it follows logically that you’d never die. I know that I would NEVER subscribe to that! And I don’t believe that when people don’t get healed, it’s necessarily because someone didn’t have enough faith. The operational premise at Bethel is that God is in a good mood and He likes to do good things. For us to walk in and exerpience these things, we have to take risks – steps of faith, if you will.

    I tried this last night. I recently met a young girl at Bethel who is from Europe. She has had a limp since birth. For some reason, my heart has been so moved for her (maybe because she reminds me of my son). At any rate, I felt I heard the prodding of the Holy Spirit yesterday afternoon to drive all the way down (25mi) to meet her in the cafe area. One of my dreams is that my guitar would actually become an instrument (no pun intended) of healing. I drove down expecting to see her….and she wasn’t there. I waited all night till the cafe closed and had a great time socializing and making some new friends. But I’m disappointed she wasn’t there.

    My point is that when I “hear God” it’s not always God. Hearing the proddings of the Holy Spirit is, for most people, an acquired skill. My “success rate” is higher than it was, but I’m still relatively a beginner. I also believe (it’s just my personal belief) that some people are more gifted in hearing God, at least in terms of “words of knowledge”. I also believe that there are periods in a believer’s life where God’s presence is manifest, and other times when God pulls away (I’m not saying He isn’t present) such that you can’t feel His presence as much.

    This is all to say that I’m learning and taking risks. Bethel is really big on taking risks and teaches that you develop your faith by exercising it. To be honest, I sometimes feel discouraged by my “failures”. But that cuts to the issue of my identity. They teach that whatever you do flows out of your positiion in Christ (which includes authority) and that He lavishly loves you and delights in you no matter what happens.

    That’s how I’d describe the culture at Bethel in terms of stepping out in faith.

    I love the story of Jonathon and his armor bearer when he said, “Maybe God will deliver us…” He knew that one of God’s names and attributes is Deliverer, and he took a step in accordance with what He understood about God’s character.

    I would disagree with anyone who says that God wants to heal 100% of our illnesses 100% of the time. Otherwise, why would he use Luke to tell us about Jesus? The leader of the HEaling Rooms said two weeks ago that no one really knows what’s going on here. His point is that we don’t really need to know; to have it figured out. All healing begins with focusing upon Jesus. The workers in the Healing Rooms have to come 60-90 minutes ahead of time, where they just worship. This is all new to me and I find it utterly fascinating.

    Like

  223. John Ashton says:

    Craig-

    I’ve been around enough to realize that no one really knows when Jesus is returning. When He does, I just want my heart to be in a place where I actually recognize Him. I think you and I agree that, while it’s good to read up and perhaps develop a sense of what the End Times will look like, it’s also possible for it to become a red herring that takes our focus off the real issue.

    While we’re on the subject, let me open a can of worms. I’d like to see what you think. I sometimes wonder if believers can actually change history. If God has a set date and time, can we change it? I’m pretty certain that Bill is on his knees crying out for more time for the harvest.

    Like

  224. Craig says:

    John,

    One of my aims in posting the comment on eschatology is to show you via Matthew 24 that all will recognize Him and that we won’t have to wonder about whether He has returned or not.

    God knows the end from the beginning regarding time as we know it as God is infinite. No, I don’t believe we actually change “history” per se as God knows which choices we collectively and individually will make. For example, while God relented in His judgment of Nineveh in the book of Jonah, He was not anxiously awaiting Jonah to get over to Nineveh to make his speech in order for God’s will to be done. He already knew the outcome. So, yes and no, I’d say. While we are to petition the Lord in prayer and God answers those prayers sometimes in the affirmative, I don’t see this as changing history from God’s perspective although it may seem that way to ours.

    Like

  225. John Ashton says:

    Let me quickly comment on the CT article about Hagen. My life was changed when I read “The Authority of The Believer”. To the extent he espouses a prosperity gospel of health and wealth, I’m at odds with him. But at the beginning of the book he described how early in his carrier he prayed Paul’s prayers in Eph 1 and 3 over himself thousands of times. His prayers changed more to declaration that began with thanksgiving for who Jesus was and what that meant specifically to him in any given situation. On this, I agree with him, and I have a great story.

    Last Wednesday, I was driving from San Jose to Redding. At one point, I felt an overwhelming urge to pray about my desire to become a mentor to young guitarists. Well, the next morning I drive into town to sub and, as it turns out, the school didn’t need me. I felt inconvenienced. As I drove off, my car suddenly broke down. I felt hugely disappointed. But (to my credit) I snapped out of it and started praising Jesus. I told Him I was bummed, but my focus became fixed upon “Jesus, what do you have for me in this…?” I get my car towed and am playing my guitar in the waiting room. A 22-year-old kid comes in and starts asking all sorts of questions.. Well, as it turns out, he’s a fantastically talented musician who attends Bethel. And the first thing he told me was that last night, he was praying for a mentor who could take him to another level as a guitarist. My car had to stay in the shop overnight, so he drove me to Bethel and we spent the morning and most of the afternoon talking about music. He was blown away by my knowledge, and I was blown away (and totally humbled!!!) by his extraordinary talent. I taught him about playing using different tuning, and he’s just mesmerized. He said that what I was showing him was exactly where he wanted to go. This was six days ago.

    Two nights later, I met a young couple. She shared some of her songs (great composer) and has a spectacular voice. She’s amazed by my playing and asks me for help.

    Musicians are notorious for saying “let’s do it” but never following through. But as of now, I have two musicians who want to learn from me and be recorded in my studio.

    What are the odds of the first encounter? I think this is what Hagen is saying. Christians are victorious! It’s not that bad things never happen. Hagen’s point is that we don’t need to default to resignation – abundance flows out of a heart of thanksgiving. I’m sharing this because I was totally acting on Hagen’s advice (which Bethel also ascribes to). See, I have “issues” with some of Hagen’s and Johnson’s teachings. But when these “issues” arise, I’m just going to God and saying, “Father, would you give me wisdom and revelation regarding what this guy said. You have promise this, and I’m cashing this promise it…” Well, His track record is 100%. I kind of laugh when people say that I idolize people like Johnson. The truth is that I greatly respect him, but I also disagree with some of what he says. But it’s no problem!!! When Bill and I are at odds, I ask God for clarification!

    All right… I hope this is helpful. See, in the end, the Gospel is profoundly personal! I sometimes feel that I’m part of an amazing and unique story (as opposed to a cog in a wheel). These events have truly bolstered my faith.

    God bless all of you.

    Like

  226. Craig says:

    Regarding Kenneth E. Hagin: Were you aware he believed and taught that Jesus became sin, died spiritually, took on Satan’s nature, went to hell and was subsequently, ‘born again?’ See video 3 of Walter Martin’s Last Stand on TBN. I’ve also quoted some of this stuff at the beginning of Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part II. Here’s the quote which is taken from his book The Name of Jesus which borrows heavily from New Thought adherent E. W. Kenyon’s book The Wonderful Name of Jesus:

    “Why did He need to be begotten, or born? Because He became like we were, separated from God. Because He tasted spiritual death for every man. His spirit, His inner man, went to hell in our place.”

    “…Physical death would not remove our sins….”

    “Jesus is the first person ever to be born again.”

    “Spiritual death means something more than separation from God. Spiritual death also means having Satan’s nature.”

    John, do you think this is good teaching?

    Like

  227. IWTT says:

    John,

    Do you have any recordings of your own? I would love to hear your music if any available?

    Like

  228. John Ashton says:

    Hey IWTT-

    I do have a recording. Unfortunately (for some very sensitive legal reasons that I’m hoping will soon pass), I really have to lie low. “John Ashton” is a pseudonym. If it’s ok with Craig, you can send me your email and I could email you a couple tracks… It’s solo acoustic guitar… Thank you much for your interest.

    Hey Craig-

    Is what Hagen taught good teaching? I’m not sure. Hebrews 2:14-15 and Colossians 2:15 (by way of example) seem to point to some intriguing possibilities. But I simply don’t have a deep enough biblical background to make anything approaching a definitive statement.

    But I am very, very confident in this. I’ve sat in the presence of witches, homosexuals and lesbians, New Agers (and all its derivitives), Scientologists, Unitarians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc, etc, etc. They all have one thing in common: No matter how hard they try, they lack the spark in their eyes than can only come from encounters with Jesus. None of them have it. None. None. A lot of them are sincerely trying to satisfy the unsearchable longings of the depth of their souls. Many of their eyes betray hope; but NONE are filled with the unshakable and immovable assurance that comes from accepting Jesus as one’s savior and truly surrendering to Him the terrifying and cavernous recesses of what the heart craves… and fears. I’ve also been in the presence of thousands of Christians, many (or most) of whom carry a heaviness in their heart and spirit. I was one of them. To an extent, I still am! 99% are completely sincere in their love of God. But most don’t understand how much God loves them. To many, God’s love is an abstraction. They don’t “get it”. They love God. They love truth. They have integrity. They search after God. But at the end of the day, when all the chips are down, they’re just unable to fathom how staggeringly patient and kind and merciful God actually is. This, at least, is my story.

    The linchpin of the Christian walk is that unconditional and complete forgiveness is simply impossible to fathom when you hold onto unforgiveness yourself. The incinerating brilliance of God’s grace – something that is almost too good to be true – can only be understood to the extent that we are willing (and able) to not only forgive others, but to come into alignment with Jesus’ prayer on the cross – that God forgive them… to let them off the hook for what they have done! When we agree with this, we release and renounce (i.e. repent) of any right to even hold onto to our disappointment that these people who violated us may actually get off the hook. This is so hard because it deeply offends our sense of justice. If we’re honest, I think that many of us are deeply, deeply reluctant to extend the same grace to others that we profess and believe that God has lavished on us. Ironically, it’s only by taking the horrifically difficult step of faith of releasing our right to judgment of anyone – no matter how horrific their sin against us – that we can EXPERIENCE and KNOW IN OUR HEARTS that God has forgiven us, and that nothing whatsoever can separate us, not just from His love, but His lavish affection.

    I have come to believe that this is the heart of the Christian faith. Theology is wonderful. It’s beautiful. It’s utterly rich and fascinating. But it is absolutely nothing but an spiritual albatross if we allow ourselves to use it bolster or rationalize our self-righteousness, because this is always tethered to bitterness. You see, for much of my life, I harbored this profound satisfaction that the people who violated me – physically and emotionally and sexually – were going to suffer God’s severe wrath and judgment for what they’d done to me. At least that was my hope.

    Then one day I realized the profound simplicity of the Christian walk – that I cannot experience God’s forgiveness unless I extend it to others. Yes, I enjoy “positional” forgiveness and justification. But when I was honest with myself, God’s forgiveness didn’t address the pangs of loneliness in my heart, and it didn’t keep me warm at night. My problem was that I wanted all the goodies without doing my part of the bargain. Unforgiveness was the barrier that kept me from walking in the fullness of God described in Eph. 3. It was comforting to a degree to revel in the glory awaiting me on the other side of heaven. But I wanted to EXPERIENCE the knowledge that I am loved this side of heaven.

    Until this issue is addressed in the believer’s heart, I do not believe theology is really even relevant. This is my personal opinion.

    Bethel is a happy place because so many of the people here seem to simply “get it” – they understand at a fundamental level that they are loved. I know this by looking in their eyes.

    Is their theology off in some ways? Absolutely. Are there some people in the School of Supernatural Ministry who have issues with anger and unforgiveness? Absolutely. In fact, I can see these issues exist, even among some of the leading pastors… just by looking in their eyes! But when your sole focus is Jesus – the One Who is perfect theology – it seems that issues like this kind of take care of themselves. This, I think, is why there’s an absence of heaviness in spirit here, and why there’s a very noticeable absence of judgment.

    I left the reformed/evangelical church because I just got tired of being right. I came to believe it’s way over-rated. I finally realized that, at the end of the day, being right can be a lonely place. I like Bethel because they seem to focus on Who is right rather than being right. Bethel is off-base in some ways, and I love to bring these things up to people who are willing to listen (and many do). But the culture here has changed the stakes. Jesus is right. I am in Jesus. Because of this I am right. So now I can relax, and it feels good.

    This is all to say that, perhaps, Hagen is out to lunch in some areas. Maybe I’ll think about him later. For now, I’m hardly reading anything other that Scripture because I want to receive God’s wisdom straight from God.

    I think this is the best answer I can give right now.

    Like

  229. Craig says:

    John, you wrote:

    Theology is wonderful. It’s beautiful. It’s utterly rich and fascinating. But it is absolutely nothing but an spiritual albatross if we allow ourselves to use it bolster or rationalize our self-righteousness, because this is always tethered to bitterness.

    I’m not bitter, John. And, I don’t think anyone who’s been commenting here is either. And, I know I’m not righteous except in Christ. I have no personal ax to grind with Johnson. My problem is that he, and Hagin, are not putting my Savior in His proper light. Jesus was not ‘born again.’ Jesus did not receive Satan’s nature. Think about the implications:

    You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. [John 8:44 NIV 1984]

    Like

  230. Craig says:

    Regarding IWTT’s email: I have no trouble giving his to you or vice versa but I’ll wait for him to give permission..

    Like

  231. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-
    I’m not too worried about whether you have bitterness; I still have enough of my own to lay down 🙂

    I totally overlooked one of your posts… I’ll try to respond later..

    If Hagen teaches that Jesus received satan’s nature, then my first impulse would be to agree with you that Hagen is in error. Then again, I haven’t looked at this in context. Azs I said, I don’t agree with everything he taught. I realize that this is pretty foundational, and, at least initially, I share your concern!

    But, again, I want to get back to the issue of fruit. I moved here because of the amazing things I heard about. What makes Bethel the place it is is that people seem to know Jesus and that fruit is flowing from this.

    Like

  232. Craig says:

    John,

    You really ought to read my post “Look at the Fruit!” You can skip down to “A Tree and its Fruit” section.

    Like

  233. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-
    I read the Fruit post. I believe Bethel is biblically grounded. A lot of amazing things are happening here.

    Just out of curiosity, could you give me a couple of names of churches in the United States that you feel are in perfect alignment with Orthodoxy?

    Like

  234. Craig says:

    John,

    I’m glad you read the post; but, I do believe you miss the point. The charismata, i.e., healings, prophecies, etc. are not the indicator of orthodoxy. In fact, Jesus own words say that many who practice these sorts of things will be told “I never knew you.” The reason: these things were not done according to truth, according to God’s will. If a psychic healer performs a real bona fide healing, for example, it does not make the practice from which the healing came through orthodox. The healing is thus a counterfeit. When Jeanne Dixon’s predictions came true, this did not make her a prophet in an orthodox Christian sense.

    Bethel does not adhere to orthodoxy contrary to your many words. As the article of this thread and many of the comments illustrate, much of Bill Johnson’s teachings are very clearly at odds with historical orthodox Christianity. Just like much of Kenneth E. Hagin’s teachings are not orthodox, which, from what I glean from what you’ve written here, his teachings are being promoted at Bethel also. The fruit resulting from these unorthodox teachings will be bad fruit — even if there are bona fide healings, even if the “prophecies” turn out to be true, etc.

    Jesus did not have to be ‘born again’ because He “became sin.” Jesus never took on Satan’s nature. Jesus did not die spiritually. If a teacher begins with a faulty Jesus, then his entire teaching is tainted and is not by definition part of orthodox Christianity.

    As to your last question: if a given church adheres to the tenets of the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds which affirm the doctrine of the hypostatic union, then they are orthodox regarding Christology — the person of Jesus Christ. Sadly, Bill Johnson does not adhere to basic Christological orthodoxy as his belief is that Jesus was not Christ at the Incarnation having received this “title” later “in an experience” because He “laid his [sic] divinity aside” contrary to Scripture.

    John, you keep making the claim that Bethel is orthodox or, “biblically grounded” as per your last comment, yet clearly it is not. When asked for some sort of proof to back up your claim, you provide none. With nothing to back up your counterclaim(s) your points are invalid unless and until you provide something to affirm it.

    Like

  235. peacebringer says:

    Wow, getting to be lost to dialogue around. Before able to sit down and share more of my thoughts, I am thinking John you would benefit from reading this poem God inspire a couple years ago: http://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/two-rivers/

    Like

  236. julie says:

    John,

    You said:

    “Theology is wonderful. It’s beautiful. It’s utterly rich and fascinating. But it is absolutely nothing but an spiritual albatross if we allow ourselves to use it bolster or rationalize our self-righteousness, because this is always tethered to bitterness.”

    Please keep in mind that the Spirit which resides in every believer is in the business of rooting out self-righteousness and bitterness; enabling us to be humble and forgiving. Focusing on correct theology would not prevent Him from doing His job. Correct theology will aid us in BELIEVING as we ought and walking out our life of faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross and gaining victory over bitterness and self-righteousness. Your statement reminds me of the repeated argument of, ‘you are either theological or spiritual.’ How about both?

    Like

  237. mbaker says:

    John,

    While I can appreciate the emotional connection you have found, I think conversely we have to ask ourselves if our emotions about Jesus, i.e. our love and appreciation of Him and what He has done for us translates into a spiritual albatross as well, if it overshadows or replaces correct theology.

    In fact, I should think that was a particularly important point to Christ in our sanctification process, since he included it in His prayer in John 17:17:

    “Sanctify them with your truth, Father. Thy word is truth.”

    While I believe the spiritual gifts continue, I don’t believe signs and wonders are necessary to prove the gospel real. Jesus did that already, so if we are primarily relying on a show and tell type gospel, based upon the emotional level of a church which feeds primarily upon ‘proof’ in the form of physical signs and wonders and prophecy, then we are missing the whole point of the atonement, and asking Jesus to prove Himself real by this method, rather than the cross.

    Like

  238. John Ashton says:

    Spiiritual pride is a cancer that will kill any and every church or revival. No one’s heart is immune to it. The Holy Spirit will always make us aware of pride, but He will never force us to surrender our hearts in submission. I have seen spiritual pride manifested everywhere, including yesterday in the cafe at Bethel by one of the students in BSSM. When God brings a person, church or movement to the point of breakthrough, there is usually a Y in the road leading either to pride or further breakthrough. The temptation after breakthrough is to take our eyes of our hearts off of Jesus and to place our trust in a methodology created in response to the breakthrough. Spiritual pride engenders an attitude that excludes and even ostracizes anyone who doesn’t buy into the methodology. I think Bethel is dialed in right now in many ways. But I also sense some things that could compromise or even derail revival. Mbaker and everyone, I completely agree with all of you that signs and wonders do not authenticate the Gospel. In fact (and this has been brought up over and over here!), they can actually lead people away from Jesus! The enemy is going to replicate miracles.

    I don’t think it’s possible to overemphasize Isaiah 61. I’ve heard people call this Jesus’ Mission Statement. But He says nothing whatsoever about physical miracles. Everything is about the heart, about healing the broken hearted. Jesus modeled this with the leper. I think Jesus knew that the real issue was the shame and guilt rooted deeply in his heart, and I that is why I believe Jesus touched him.

    Bethel is seeing breakthrough in the realm of physical (and emotional) healing. What I’m learning is that our “power” to heal comes out of our hearts being in alignment with God’s. I believe to the bottom of my soul that AUTHENTIC healing cannot coexist with a heart that harbors bitterness, pride and unforgiveness. It’s all about whether our hearts are in alignment with God’s. I think the bible is overwhelming clear that God is not too excited about our miracles or our correct theology if our hearts are puffed up.

    My personal experience is that my ability to discern pride and arrogance increase when I lay down MY pride and bitterness and arrogance and unforgiveness. Right now, I’m not concerned about anyone else other than myself in terms of matters of the heart. I’m in accountibility with a few leaders at Bethel who I’ve asked to bring up anything they see in me that smacks of pride. I have dreams about doing big things, but none of this can happen if my heart isn’t right. Pride and the absence of love negate, or at least tarnish, great works. Regardless of my accomplishments, I want people who meet me to walk away feeling they’ve been with Jesus. If I’m operating out of a deep understanding of how God views me, everything else falls into place. This is the foundation of life and ministry, and I believe Bethel basically gets this.

    My concern here is that there is too much focus upon how wrong Bill Johnson is and far too little appreciation for how many people are being led to Jesus. To the extent his Christology is errant, does this negate the salvation of hundreds of thousands of people? I’m serious. Should Bethel follow Toyota and issue a salvation recall because Bill isn’t preaching the correct Jesus? His whole point in “Jesus laying down his [sic] divinity” is to emphasize his [sic] humanity, not to detract from His divinity. Accordingly, I am appealing that we not lose sight of the big picture. I think Bethel’s “We Believe” statement is on the money; nothing I’ve seen here suggests an absence of “the real”Jesus. To the extent pride is cultivated, His power and power will be veiled and compromised on both sides of the stream.

    Like

  239. Craig says:

    John, you wrote:

    My concern here is that there is too much focus upon how wrong Bill Johnson is and far too little appreciation for how many people are being led to Jesus. To the extent his Christology is errant, does this negate the salvation of hundreds of thousands of people?

    Given that Johnson has a faulty Christology, then, logically Johnson is promoting “another Jesus” and “another gospel” which leads people to “another Jesus” and thus no real salvation. That is the crux of the matter.

    I think Bethel’s “We Believe” statement is on the money; nothing I’ve seen here suggests an absence of “the real”Jesus.

    Without nitpicking Bethel’s “We Believe” statement (which I could), his books and audio betray this seeming orthdoxy. At best we then have a contradiction which would lead to the question of which one to believe. Going by the preponderance of the evidence, we would have to go with the faulty Christology which points to “another Jesus.”

    Like

  240. John Ashton says:

    [I also wanted to respond directly to Julie] ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s not one or the other. You are so, so right!

    Jesus is perfect theology. Jesus. That’s it. What the Bible teaches about the heart does not negate the mind. BOTH are essential! Correct theology does not negate spirituality. The issue is balance. Bethel, in my view, is closer to balance than most churches I’ve seen. As I mentioned above, things can and may change. But at least for now, I like it here.

    Like

  241. Craig says:

    John,

    BTW, IWTT gave me permission to give you his email. I sent it to the email address you use when commenting on this site.

    Like

  242. John Ashton says:

    Craig-

    What you said yesterday at 7:49 seems to imply that there are many, many people – not just in Redding, but all around the world – who profess Jesus as their savior but are, in fact, not saved. I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior on August 7, 1970. I had never even heard of Bill Johnson until 2009, and I didn’t read ch.7 of WHIE until last month. Given that I agree with everything Bill teaches in ch.7 – including that Jesus laid aside his [sic] divinity – have I lost my salvation? Did I lose my salavation the moment I came into agreement with what Bill teaches in ch. 7, or does the fact that I agree merely prove that I have been deceived all along and was never saved to begin with?

    I would welcome input from anyone else.

    Like

  243. Craig says:

    John,

    The questions you pose about yourself are for you to answer.

    As to those who’ve professed ‘faith’ in “another Jesus” I stand by my comment. As has been said a number of times, we worship in both spirit and truth. Salvation comes from faith in the person of the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Once one is saved they are justified by Christ’s atoning work on the Cross and indwelled the Holy Spirit — the anointing spoken of by the Apostle John in his first epistle. Once justified then the process of sanctification begins as one yields to the Holy Spirit and allows oneself to be pruned as necessary. This is a life-long process even though salvation is instantaneous. If one does not receive promptings or checks by the Holy Spirit, if one is not growing, then one should question their salvation.

    Salvation is not in signs and wonders or in a “Jesus” other than the one in Scripture.

    Like

  244. peacebringer says:

    John,
    Personally will start getting into some more in depth answers soon. But in terms of your most recent question, do many who “profess” as saviour but in fact are not, if a very real issue. It is a biblical concern. “Many will say Lord, Lord” and so on. IThere will be many who think they believe, and profess such, even claim to have done many great works in His name, but He knows them not. “Depart.”

    n 1st John we are given the test for discernment… if any one proclaims that Jesus is not the son of God come in the flesh, it is false. See for me that is one of key issues. Now I don’t know you, your heart and whether or not your truly believe that Jesus is not the Son of God come in Flesh.

    Jesus was always “God.” And in spite of what Bill Johnson teaches, no one will be able to call a storm. None of us is going to turn water into wine. And so on, these are done with the Godhead working in communion. Bill Johnson teaches pursuit on an “external annointing” something Jesus warned against.

    See the basics come down to the starting points, the basics. And that is 1st who Jesus is, and 2nd who we are in relation to God. An important understanding as well is having a sound theology of suffering. The whole “bethel” mindset misses that.

    Now that being said, it is clear in reading that you have a heart for following God and surrender. Like us all, you have own ways falter in understanding. It is those misunderstandings that can lead to deception, and there is deceptive things going on at bethel, there is a spirit of seducation with Bill Johnson. There is dangerous spiritual manifestations that even young kids are being introduced to. There is much that is not right. Be careful of “experience” because it is a key component in deception. There is quite a bit more to discuss, but wanted to get those thoughts going.

    Like

  245. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig and Peacebringer-

    Peacebringer, I appreciate the fact that you recognize my heart’s desire to fully surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ. For myself, this has entailed laying down unforgiveness and bitterness. I am only speaking for myself. I spent most of my life trying to make myself immune to humiliation; now I’m seeking out humility. It’s very, very painful and often embarrassing, but I have come to believe that whatever is the opposite of humility (pride? puffed upness? haughtiness? arrogance?) keeps me from beholding Jesus. So thank you. I think surrender encapsulates my desire to collectively lay bitterness, pride, etc. at the Cross. I happen to believe that it is the promptings of the Holy Spirit that are compelling me to a place of submission and humility.

    However, it has been stated here that,

    “Given that Johnson has a faulty Christology, then, logically Johnson is promoting “another Jesus” and “another gospel” which leads people to “another Jesus” and thus no real salvation.”

    Since I agree with Johnson’s Christology, does it follow, logically, that my salvation is not real? Given the seriousness of this with respect to myself and thousands of others, I’d appreciate a direct “yes” or “no” answer. Also, I’d appreciate a direct answer as to whether I was a Christian up to and until I came into agreement with his Christology. If yes, then did I lose my salvation by believing Bill? Or did my believing Bill merely prove that I was always worshipping another Jesus because if I was indeed indwelt by the Holy Spirit, I would never fall for such faulty theology?

    Like

  246. Craig says:

    John,

    Once again you’ll have to answer your own questions regarding yourself.

    Like

  247. mbaker says:

    John,

    There are two very important points here to consider:

    Bill Johnson claims that Jesus did not receive the ‘title’ of Christ (the anointed one) until His ministry began by the baptism of John. Then Johnson claims the Holy Spirit gave Jesus the anointing for his ministry by an external or ‘smearing’ of the oil of the Holy Spirit. Bill Johnson claims we too can have the same ‘anointing’.

    Bill Johnson then claims that Jesus was ‘born again’ at the resurrection.

    Now I ask you to consider the dichotomy in these two statements. In the first place, if Jesus was already the Son of God at His birth, which the Bible clearly says, why would He have needed a separate anointing to begin ministering in that capacity?

    Now let’s examine the second statment of Johnson’s:

    If Jesus was already the only begotten Son of God why would he have needed a rebirth to that same position? And if He had only received an external anointing to minister healing and perform miracles, the same one Bill Johnson claims we can have, how could He have identified Himself as the only begotten Son of God, (rather than simply a mere man), and taught forgiveness of sin and eternal life came only through belief in Him, without blaspheming?

    And, if we can have the same anointing as Christ why can’t we ourselves give people eternal life and save them from sin, simply by imparting this external anointing as Johnson suggests? If we could do that, why do we even need to go through Jesus?

    Like

  248. peacebringer says:

    John,
    From what I can tell, I am not alarmed at this point in interactions with you to suggest that you have crossed over the line. Only you and God know for sure. I can state based on God’s gifting in me that Bill Johnson has submitted to a spirit of seduction. There are people who at times God has led me to conclude they have crossed a line. However, there are certainly statements that suggest that there is a lot of faulty theology or missed understanding. There is also a couple things that made me go “huh.” Those things do not entail “crossing the line” but is danger for a world of difficulty and pain.

    Now there are very real deception dynamics and those dynamics answer some of your very questions. Yes, worship in spirit and truth starts with submission. God has given us specific tests in His word related to deception. Is Jesus the son of God come in flesh. That has the 2 elements of the hypostatic union. He is the Son of God. He did not give up that part of Him, he is always the son of God. And he came in flesh, he took on all the fraility of humanity (and yet was without sin). Now there is a lot about that we don’t grasp, but rather than taking an expansive view, a view that we don’t understand the concept fully, Bill Johnson takes an agenda driven, reductionistic view that ultimately is sensually driven. I recognize those are loaded words, but what feel needs to be said.

    The other test is that of the lust of flesh, lust of eyes, and pride of life. These are the essential sin types that drive us away from God to “something other than”.

    There is much that goes on at Bethel that is by people who truly seek God fully. I have stated my thoughts on Kim Walker-(Smith is it now?) Yet, all there are being deceived and led to being open to forces other than Jesus, the King of Kings.

    You asked about the healings, and what about true ones. Well true ones happened at Lakeland too…the question is how can it happen when there is falseness or deception. A number of things-

    God shows up when people call on Him in surrender, particularly in worship. He does have compassion and does still heal. It is for His glory.

    There are pyschological manipulative things that transpire, take some time examing for example Darren Brown, or the guy who used to do “phony healing” shows that I forget his name at the moment. See Obama and the last election. He did use hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming in his speeches. I have read reports of people that say there is a part of them, a voice that said “vote obama.” At any rate the point is there are very distinct acts of manipulation.

    And the 3rd element is one some have a hard time believing there are demonic powers, spirit. Do an examination of Kudalini for example.

    One of the things that happen that is so deceptive is that there is a lot of truth, but along side the truth is words and phrased of altered meeting that gets you to accept the bad with the good. (Rat poison if you will.) There are at times purposeful acts that create being torn between two things and get to accept small things that don’t measure up that gets you engrained.

    Then there is the altered meaning of words. YOu can have one meaning, the words used sound great, seem to have the same meaning but they really mean something different and you do not realize it at the time until find yourself accepting that altered meaning.

    One last element and the important one for each individual is that the deceived do so out of something within themselves. Something that is attracted to the bait r/t the 3 sin types mentioned earlier. It in essence can even be own “expectations” of how God may act, but ultimately are things that come from self. Note, such expectations led to crowd turning on Jesus with “crucifiy him.” At any rate all this is complex, but rather simple.

    Now note, John, I am not going to tell you that God has not brought you to where you are, but His bringing you there has NOTHING do to with Bill Johnson and his seductive spirits.

    Like

  249. mbaker says:

    John,

    I want to tell you that in the process of writing my comment at 5:33 there were two others before mine. Mine was referring to Johnson’s contradictory teachings, not as to whether you are saved or not, because only God knows who are His. He says if we believe in Him we are. That still does not mean we should follow or ignore faulty teaching about Him because, to me at least, that dishonors all He has done for us in Spirit and in truth. I have had to repent of that myself.

    I can’t speak for the others here, but I just wanted to make sure you knew that’s where I come from.

    Like

  250. Meg says:

    MBaker you said: “If Jesus was already the only begotten Son of God why would he have needed a rebirth to that same position?” Just a thought, but did Jesus, because He came to earth as a man, then have to be “reborn” into heaven as God in a man-suit, so to speak? Never before had God in a man’s body come back into Heaven.
    John: Thank you for coming onto this site and sharing what those at Bethel experience. Having just watched the “Gopsel of John” with my children, I found it fascinating that the Pharisees did not recognize Jesus. He would repeat over and over again, “I speak the truth,” yet the were convinced that He was of the devil. As a person, that is sobering; that those who considered themselves well-versed in the Torah and in knowledge of the Patriarchs of the faith, yet did not recognize the One who was to fulfill the law.

    Like

  251. Ruth says:

    I have read these comments and would like to post a few.

    First a quote I recenlty read:

    This, then, is the other rule laid down by the Lord: we are to disregard the specious displays and look for fruits. He says: “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” He illustrates His meaning by a parable. No one is so foolish as to go into a field full of thorns and thistles and look for grapes and figs. Such fruits we seek on a different plant, which is not so full of barbs and prickles. The same thing happens in our gardends. Seeing a tree full of apples or pears, everybody exclaims: Ah, what a fine tree that is! Again, where there is no furit on a tree or the fruit is worm-eaten, craked, and misshapen, everybody says the tree is worthless and fit to be cut down and cast into the fire so that a better tree can be planted in its place. These tests, the Lord says, you must apply to the false prophets, and you will not make a mistake, no matter how good their appearance may be. If a wolf had put on twenty sheepskins, still you must know him to be a wolf and not be deceived by him.

    Now what is the fruit of a true prophet or preacher by which we can know that he is not a wolf, but a good sheep? It is not his way of living, his title, and office, nor his peculiar gifts of grace. For our Lord testifies and our own experience corroborates His testimony, that people are often duped and deluded by these external marks. The genuine fruits – as the Lord states at the end of His parable – is doing the will of the Father in heaven.

    Note that the Lord in this place is not speaking of Christians in general, but of prophets. True, all Christians are to do the will of the Father and are to be saved through doing it. People imagine they can know a true prophet by the fruit of his godly life and by his great successin the ministry. But Christ says: ‘Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of Heaven.’ Now, ‘doing the will of the Father’ refers not only to that will which is expressed in the Ten Commandments and to the obedience which God demands in His Law. For, since we cannot do this will of God perfectly in the present life, it would be impossible for us to glory in having done the will of the Father, and hence we could not go to heaven. But the will of the Father has been expressed in John 6:40 where Christ says ‘This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which sees the Son and believes on Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up on the Last Day!’ That is the only way in which we all, both preachers and hearers, are to walk if we are to be saved.

    Now, the Lord in this passage speaks, in particular, of preachers or prophets, whose real and proper fruit is nothing else than this, that they diligently proclaim the will of God to the people and teach them that God is gracious and mericful and has no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but wants him to live, moreover, that God has manifested His mercy by having His only-begotten Son become man. Whoever, now, receives Him and believes in Him, that is, whoever takes comfort in the fact that for the sake of His Son, God will be merciful to him, will forgive his sins, and grant him eternal salvation, etc – whoever is engaged in this preaching of the pure Gospel and thus directs men to Christ, the only Mediator between God and men, he, as a preacher, is doing the will of God. This is the genuine fruit by which no one is deceived or duped. After this fruit, which is the principal and most reliable one and cannot deceive, there follow in the course of time other fruits, namely, a life in beautiful harmony with this doctrine and in no way contrary to it. But these fruits are to be regarded as genuine fruits only where the first fruit, namely, the doctrine of Christ, already exists.’
    -Martin Luther

    Like

  252. Ruth says:

    If the quote I posted from Luther is correct, I believe BJ to be a false prophet and enemy of God.

    I have been to Redding, seen BJ at several conferences and heard his tapes. I have never heard him proclaim the Gospel of Christ – never. I have, however, heard him proclaim the wonders of man and I have seen a ‘charming spirit’ on him. Peacebringer calls it a spirit of seduction.

    I believe that BJ doesn’t like the true God of the Bible and has jettisoned Him and created a little god that suits him much better. This god is never angry, always wants us healed, and never judges us for our sin.( I have friends who have heard BJ say that God in not concerned with our sin, he only cares about our ‘destiny.’) Contrary to that, the true God of the Bible is a righteous of God of wrath and mercy (anyone outside of the blood fo the Lamb is automatically under God’s wrath), does inflict people with sickness – both Miriam and King Uzziah are exampes-both inflicted with leprosy by the Lord, and does, in fact, judge every word that we say.

    As far as the humanity of Christ goes, BJ tell us in WHIE when he says that if Jesus performed miracles as God, he, BJ, has no hope of copying that. He shows his cards in saying that if Jesus did them only as a man, the BJ can do them too. BJ wants to usurp the power and glory of the Son of God and steal them for his own, the same description of Satan in the book of Isiah.

    I’d say more, but I’m out of time on this library computer.

    Like

  253. Craig says:

    Ruth,

    Thanks for your comment. I believe you’ll like this post: “Look at the Fruit!”.

    Like

  254. mbaker says:

    Meg,

    I’m not sure of what you are talking about regarding your reply my question about why Jesus would need a rebirth as the Son of God when He already was. He needed no ‘re-entry’ slip into heaven as either man or God, because He was already God from eternity past, and still part of the Godhead even though He came to us in human form. That does not mean he abdicated His position as God because he was tempted and suffered all the human pain that we do. If we can receive an anointing to be just like Jesus on this earth, as Bill Johnson claims then why can’t WE remain sinless like He did?

    As far as your reference about pharisees: When we don’t recognize Bill Johnson teaching the concept of a Jesus who had to be born again to re-enter heaven because it is not in line with what the Bible teaches, I would remind you the reason that Jesus was angered at the pharisees was they added the their traditions of men to the word of God, thus changing it’s meaning.

    The Jews of the time even portrayed Christ’s coming differently than it was taught in the OT. They imagined Him coming as what THEY thought of as ‘real’ king, in finery and with all the royal pomp and circumstance surrounding Him. When their picture of Him did not line up with the man they actually saw, they mocked Him and had Him crucified when He told them the truth, that He was indeed the King of the Jews, as their long awaited Messiah.

    Now I have nothing against Johnson personally, but I do find his teaching about Jesus being born again and needing an external anointing to begin His ministry, when he was already God both erroneous and misleading.

    Like

  255. peacebringer says:

    Hmm, John and meg have both made a comment now about “recognizing Jesus.” It is one of the comments that John made that I found troubling. For when Jesus returns it won’t be a problem with “recognizing” Him at all. He will be quite clear. Any recognition really points more to other views not in line with Christianity at all. Would like further commentary on thoughts on the “recognizing Jesus” references. Now Meg, clearly was making some point different than what John was talking about, but I found it noteable.

    Like

  256. Craig says:

    Meg,

    The Pharisees as depicted in the Bible were not only hypocrites, they adhered to an extra-Biblical oral tradition which they felt Jesus kept violating. Yet, Jesus never did violate the Mosaic law only the Pharisee’s “tradition.” They did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, because the Father had not enabled them [John 6:44, 6:65, etc.]. However, one well known Pharisee did turn to the Lord, and that was Saul, now the Apostle Paul. And, he wasn’t the only one [Acts 15:5, etc.]

    Interesting that the Pharisees only recognized Jesus’ humanity while denying His divinity, is it not?

    Like

  257. cherylu says:

    Craig,

    I have been super busy and so have been away from this conversation. I just wanted to comment on one thing here though.

    Back on the 20th you made this statement, “Given that Johnson has a faulty Christology, then, logically Johnson is promoting “another Jesus” and “another gospel” which leads people to “another Jesus” and thus no real salvation. That is the crux of the matter.”

    As you know, I am certainly not arguing that Johnson doesn’t have a seriously faulty Christology. However, I am wondering if it is accurate that his theology is so faulty that you can say with certainty that he is promoting “another Jesus” and therefore “no real savation”. It seems to me that is a pretty strong claim to make. It may be true. However, it seems to me that there may be a line here that may or may not have been crossed.

    I think that if Johnson had not made the statement several times that Jesus is God and always has been God–even if the rest of his theology seems to totally deny that–I would be a lot more likely to agree with you on this. (And I agree 100%– He can’t be God and not God at the same time. But I notice that John Ashton seemed to assert the same thing. He called it “Kingdom mathematics I believe).

    I guess it seems to me that maybe a bit more caution is needed here in this area.

    Like

  258. Craig says:

    cherylu,

    This is something I state in the article itself right near the end, just before “The Good News” section:

    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.

    So, I’ve not introduced something new. You may want to reread the article and see what you think after that.

    Like

  259. cherylu says:

    I didn’t remember you said that in the article. Will probably have to go back and reread it. May not be right away though. Like I said, things have been really busy.

    Like

  260. Craig says:

    Keep this in mind as well. If I were to say, “Dr. Carl Gustav Jung was born in 1875” this would be a true statement even though Jung did not receive his doctorate till later, obviously, as he wasn’t born with it. In the same way, one could state, “Jesus Christ was born through Mary…” which may or may not mean linguistically that Jesus was the Christ at the Incarnation. When the same individual states that Jesus did not come from heaven to earth with the “title” of Christ having received it later “in an experience,” then that’s a pretty firm statement showing that Jesus was not the Christ at the Incarnation.

    Like

  261. john ashton says:

    Welcome Meg and Ruth, and great to see you again, Cherylu-
    Cherylu, I was just drafting a note addressing what you just brought up. I agree that it is going to far to say that Bill is promoting another Jesus that “cannot offer true salvation”. I believe that this can paint you into a difficult corner. Because I agree with Bill’s Christology, is my very salvation, by extension, in doubt? I think the gate to heaven is wider that we realize, and I’m afraid theology can be used to keep people out.

    Welcome, Ruth! I’m glad you’ve had a chance to attend Bethel. It’s not uncommon that two people can see the same thing and draw different conclusions. My sense is that the Gospel is proclaimed. But that’s just my sense. The culture in geared around the question of how far reaching our inheritance takes us. Bill Johnson and the staff at Bethel are admittedly going outside a lot of people’s comfort zones, including mine. Overall, I believe they are pursuing an alignment with the mind and heart of God that will bear unprecedented fruit. I think Bill would be the first to admit that mistakes are being made. Then again, the whole operating premise at Bethel is that if we realize the implications of resting IN the sufficiency of Jesus, we don’t have to worry about being sufficient, and we definitely don’t need to work or strive. One aspect of the “fruit” of this mindset is the buoyancy and lightness among the people walking its corridors. If your perception is different, I respect this.

    Being raised by an angry and raging father, I had a very hard time accepting the idea that God does not get angry at me. This is not a hill I need to die on, but consider this: If Jesus took ALL of God’s wrath, and if Jesus died for my past, present and future sins, and I am IN Jesus, then what part of God’s wrath and anger isn’t absorbed by Jesus? Jesus took all of my lashes. To the extent I do not understand grace is the extent to which I flagellate either myself or others. But the implications of grace are far more amazing than we realize, and I think God is far, far more tolerant of faulty theology than we give Him credit for.

    Our perception of God is profoundly shaped around our experience with our earthly fathers. I know of a few who are so patient and kind that they have almost never gotten angry at their children. Interesting, huh. When a father is operating from an abundance of compassion, mercy, kindness and forgiveness, his children rarely experience the trauma many of us endured. These children live out of their perceived abundance they get from their father and live their lives with a disarming freedom that (to be painfully honest) aggravates people like me. I spent many hours asking myself how these people worked so little to be so free. Then I met their fathers…

    I heard someone say one time that it’s not failure that terrifies us; it’s facing the reality of how great we could be. Eph. 3:20 points to the amazing and abundant things God does through us. In my opinion, one of the reasons Bill is offensive to so many people is because he is basically saying that Christians are only performing at 1% of their capacity. He is saying, in effect, “Look, our old religious ways simply aren’t working.”

    Meg, the Pharisees said Jesus’ miracles were of the devil. The same has been said here about the miracles at Bethel. Kind of interesting. It’s true that the enemy WILL replicate God’s miracles. But I’ve looked into the eyes and been in the presence of people who are under the grip of the enemy. I don’t sense the same spirit here at Bethel.

    Like

  262. Craig says:

    John,

    Here’s the Apostle Paul addressing heresy in the Corinthian church in his 2nd letter:

    3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5 But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6 I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

    7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.

    13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. [11:3-15 NIV 1984]

    And, Paul closes his 2nd letter with this:

    2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.

    5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. [13:2-10 NIV 1984]

    Like

  263. john ashton says:

    Craig-
    I think those are relevant scriptures, germane to this discussion. Two and a half years ago, I began asking to God reveal Himself past the box I believed I was putting Him in. I believe Bethel is the answer to my prayer. Bethel emphasizes worship. I really have to laugh when I hear people say that there’s undo focus place upon man. I’ve never seen a church so focused upon Jesus!

    I see contiguity here: solid scriptural fundation; genuine submission to Jesus; great teaching and worship; an overall wholeness in the people. This is why I ask if anyone can name me a church in America that is right of the money.

    I think your understanding of the Incarnation is flawed, and that this makes you unable to grasp what Bill is actually teaching about Jesus. If you, or anyone, wants to visit this again, I’d be happy to oblige. (Cherylu, to clarify, I don’t believe I ever said that Jesus was God and not God at the same time. But He was 100% man. The difficulty is that you’re having a hard time accepting this as an independent, discrete statement because it messes with our logic.)

    Like

  264. Craig says:

    John,

    So, what you’re saying in essence is that I just don’t “get” the Incarnation, and, further, all of those of the historical orthodox Christian church have not understood it; however, now we have Bill Johnson, John Ashton, and the rest of Johnson’s followers who do. Interesting. Shall we call it a “new orthodoxy” with respect to the Incarnation? I don’t think we need to revisit this subject John as per your offer since we’ve certainly done so ad nauseum.

    Given that Johnson has changed “Christ” from an ontological term denoting Jesus’ Messiahship and turned it into an “anointing,” a “Christ anointing,” that Jesus received in “an experience,” an experience that we too can have, Johnson has thus defined his teaching as antichrist as per the Apostle John’s first epistle. He’s made “Christ” as common as the acceptance of Johnson’s “another Jesus” teaching. Of course, it should go without saying that this is not “great teaching” in contradistinction to your claim.

    Given this, the worship flowing from this teaching is not worship to the true Jesus Christ of the Bible — the one who is distinctly the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, our Lord and Savior.

    So, while Paul mentioned false apostles in the 2nd Corinthian letter, do we have any today? Bill Johnson does fancy himself an “apostle” which is one of the reasons he is no longer part of the Assemblies of God as they do not recognize the “office” of apostle for today. Johnson goes so far as allowing another to, in essence, intimate he wrote Scripture in his followup to When Heaven Invades Earth, in the foreward to the 2005 book The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind:

    I’ve read the manuscript to Bill’s new book and believe Bill is in the good company of Peter, Luke, and Paul who also wrote second books. Just as Paul brought a second blessing to the Corinthians, [this book] will give a “second” blessing to those who have read the first book… [p 17-18]
    – Dick Mills, International Conference Speaker; Author, God’s Word For you and Marriage Bliss

    I do believe we can apply the Apostle Paul’s words here in 2 Corinthians 11 regarding “false apostles” as speaking of the likes of Bill Johnson.

    Like

  265. beyondgrace says:

    >Bethel is dialed in right now in many ways. But I also sense some things that could compromise or even derail revival.

    I’m catching up, but would like to address this. It seems like, for those in the “river” that the hope that somehow, someday we could get it right and then real revival would occur is a recurring theme. Recurring, because it never seems to happen, or has limited longevity. This line of thinking seems to suggest that what God is doing on the earth is totally dependent on us, and robs God of His sovereignty.

    It causes me to wonder if the disciples in the upper room had it “dialed in” or was Pentecost a sovereign move of God based on a promise. I understand that they were “all together in one accord” but perhaps were some NOT there, and not in accord? And if so, did that prevent Pentecost?

    I’m tired of striving to get it all together so that we can “see revival.” And historically, those events that we term “revival” seem to peter out after a number of years.

    I have great admiration for some of my brothers in die-hard reformed churches, which Charismatics would derisively term “dead,” who embark on a lifetime of discipleship and immersion in the Word. It seems they have traded the allure of “flash-in-the-pan” revival for a satisfying and fulfilling LIFETIME of fellowship with Jesus, followed by eternity of the same. Perhaps this was what Paul was speaking of when he tells us to “run the race.”

    The so called “gospel of the kingdom” seems to place an inordinate amount of responsibility on the church. It’s funny, because the premise seems to reject a works-based salvation, yet the corporate church assumes a works-based responsibility.

    Balance is required, and anyone who thinks a church must be “dialed in” is not promoting balance. We are never going to get things right, God said HE would build HIS church.

    -Bill

    Like

  266. beyondgrace says:

    >What I’m learning is that our “power” to heal comes out of our hearts being in alignment with God’s.

    If it is OUR power, then alignment is the least of our problems. God heals out of compassion. I don’t have to have my act together to pray for someone, and neither does the recipient. God may or may not heal.

    That being said, we also should have compassion for the infirm, and continue to exhibit that compassion for them whether or not God chooses to heal them with HIS power. And understand that so far, with just a few exceptions, sooner or later all of us will die unless the Lord returns and we are caught up.

    Seems like those in the river are “our” power hungry, Chill out, man; God has enough power to do it ALL.

    -Bill

    Like

  267. beyondgrace says:

    To clarify, its “easy” to be on a ministry team and anoint people with oil and pronounce them healed, or run around Wal-Mart prophesying healing to criipples, it’s not so easy to sit up night after night in the hospital with a demented 80 year old dying of lung and brain cancer, and then take care of his widow for years thereafter, If we are going to align with God’s heart of compassion, who is showing more compassion- the Wal-Mart prophet or the faithful servant?

    As a side note, most “river” churches have a demographic that is loaded on the young side. I’ve seen charismatic churches go into shock as their demographic starts to age and they experience multiple funerals for the first time. Changing bedpans will never be as exciting as treasure hunting, but I posit that it more accurately reflects the Father heart of God.

    -Bill

    Like

  268. Meg says:

    Mbaker
    In response to your post, I understand that Jesus’ anger toward the religious rulers of that day was because they seemed to want the Sabbath to rule the people, rather than the fact the Sabbath was created for the people among countless other things. Regarding the comment that was made about Jesus being “reborn” into heaven with a “new form,” as God in a man suit, was posed thinking about Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3, specifically John 3:13, when Jesus speaks being “cast down to the lowest state of wretchedness and shame.” (My source is Blue Letter Bible. If you have another source that you think is better, I would love hear about it. I am finding that there is really no better way to read the Bible, except in the original Hebrew and Greek, except I don’t know Hebrew and Greek and have found this site is a great place to start.)
    But then again in Phil 2:7, which I believe is the scripture in question, I am reading the words “…and was made,” that word being ginomai (Strong’s G1096) 1)“to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being 2)to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen (of events) 3)to arise, appear in history, come upon the stage (of men appearing in public) 4)to be made, finished (of miracles, to be performed, wrought), 5)to become, be made.
    So, with those two thoughts, did Jesus have to be “reborm” so to say, because He did come onto the earth stage as the second Adam? The first Adam never ascended right, but was put in a holding room until Christ came. As I studied this from my source, I am just asking, could Jesus possibly “lay down his divinity,” as Johnson writes, because He was coming on the scene as a new entity? He was God in a human body. Could a human body really contain all of God? Wouldn’t it disintegrate? I don’t know….I am just asking. I do think for anyone to think he or she has all the answers is so deceived. God is too big for our little minds to fully comprehend Him. Thank you for your thoughts. I am learning a lot.

    Like

  269. Meg says:

    Peacebringer said: “For when Jesus returns it won’t be a problem with “recognizing” Him at all. He will be quite clear.” From what I can see in scripture when Jesus walked on the earth, many did not recognize Him for who He was (John 7:31 “And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this [Man] has done?”) He was not recognized by His own disciples while walking on the road after His resurrection, or by Mary when she confused Him with the gardener. In His second coming, I understand that He will come on a white horse at the end of the age, but we are also warned in scripture that we don’t know the hour of His return (; and there will be many who have not gathered oil (these are believers) and are like the foolish virgins. Yes, they understand that they are going out to meet the Bridegroom, yet they do not know Him enough that decided to leave their oil still hoping to get into the feast. I can speak for myself, in referencing recognizing “Him”, I mean, recognizing the times and being sensitive to the preparation that the bride is currently going through to be ready for the Bridegroom

    Like

  270. Craig says:

    Meg,

    You will benefit from reading about the hypostatic union and kenosis both of which take all the Scriptures pertaining to Jesus’ nature and put them in doctrine form.

    Like

  271. Craig says:

    Meg,

    30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, 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. [Matthew 24:30-31, NIV 1984]

    Like

  272. W B McCarty says:

    If (as Bill Johnson continually insists as the theme of his ministry) we can, and should, be as Jesus was and do all that Jesus did. . . . Can we accept the prayers of Christians who pray in our name (John 14:14)? Can we give them whatever they in faith ask us? And, if we can do this, as Jesus did and does, what greater things (John 14:12) than this can we do?

    Were we born of virgins (Matt. 1)? Can we ascend into heaven as He did (John 3:13)? Can we be “above all” (John 3:31)? Are we, as He was and is, the great High Priest of Heb. 4:14? Are we the “only begotten” of the Father (John 3;16)? Is it true of us that, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58)?

    The bottom line: Is Jesus unique or not? If we believe that He is not unique, we join the Mormons as polytheists. If we believe that He is unique then we cannot be as He was (and is). And we cannot do as He did except in some limited sense. Where, in the complete corpus of Bill Johnson’s work, does he delineate this limitation? I ask because, without specification of the limitation, his instruction is either (at best) incoherent or (at worst) rankest heresy.

    Like

  273. mbaker says:

    Meg,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    “….did Jesus have to be “reborm” so to say, because He did come onto the earth stage as the second Adam?”

    I think there is an important distinction between the two in that the first Adam was created from the dust of the ground, the second Adam was begotten or born of God Himself. Therefore, He could not have lost His divinity as the eternal Son of God. He simply chose to take upon a human form Himself in the flesh in order to become the perfect sacrifice for the first Adam’s sin, as well as for all of us who would follow.

    See, that is what is so incredible about the whole thing, that it was God Himself making the sacrifice for all of us. This is why if we’re going to regard Christ as a mere man with only being externally anointed for ministry while he was on the earth, we miss the whole significance and beauty of the cross.

    I’m not quite sure of what you mean when you say the first Adam is in a ‘holding room.’ Could you elaborate on that?

    Like

  274. john ashton says:

    Hey Meg-
    I just wanted to add to what you said (I’m taking a break here in Bethel’s Healing Rooms). I think both sides may miss Jesus or, at least, be lacking in discernment. On the charismatic side, too much focus on signs and wonders could result in deception.

    Like

  275. Craig says:

    Meg,

    While I don’t personally use the Blue Letter Bible, I’m confused as to which transalation you use for John 3:13(?). I don’t see any version rendered the way you have here and the Greek does not even use the words you reference. Using just some other versions from the BLB site [with textual variants in brackets]:

    No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. [fn] [NIV]
    [fn: Some manuscripts Man, who is in heaven]

    “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, [that is], the Son of Man who is in heaven. [fn] [NKJV]
    [fn: NU-Text omits who is in heaven]

    And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven. [KJV]

    As to your questions: “Could a human body really contain all of God? Wouldn’t it disintegrate? I don’t know….I am just asking. I do think for anyone to think he or she has all the answers is so deceived. God is too big for our little minds to fully comprehend Him. “

    Please read through the links I provided in my earlier comment. We have to remember that Jesus is part of the Trinity which makes up the whole of God. All “parts” must be God. Theoretically, if one “part” would become “less God,” then the Trinitarian Godhead would be broken and God would thus cease to exist as He is the infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God. Think of the implications as the Son was there “in the begining,” [John 1:1; Gen 1:1] and “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being… [Hebrews 1:3]. To think of Him as less than God at any time has some serious implications. You are very correct: "God is too big for our finite minds to fully comprehend!"

    I’ll add this: Here’s an excellent explanation of the interrelationship of the Godhead titled, “The Ontological and Economic Trinity“.

    Like

  276. john ashton says:

    Beyondgrace/Bill

    Your insights are brilliant. If I’m honest. my pendulum has probably swung a bit too far in reaction to my reformed background. I especially appreciate what you wrote here:

    “I have great admiration for some of my brothers in die-hard reformed churches, which Charismatics would derisively term “dead,” who embark on a lifetime of discipleship and immersion in the Word. It seems they have traded the allure of “flash-in-the-pan” revival for a satisfying and fulfilling LIFETIME of fellowship with Jesus, followed by eternity of the same. Perhaps this was what Paul was speaking of when he tells us to “run the race.” ”

    Having attended Bethel for over a year, I share most, if not all, of the concerns you raise (and could share corresponding anecdotes). I feel your posts illustrate how the Body can work towards achieving balance.

    Like

  277. john ashton says:

    Craig-
    I’ll respond to your 4-23 7:23 am post as soon as I can.

    Like

  278. peacebringer says:

    John, I appreciate teh genuineness that this reply shows, and there is seeking God written within the words. Most of what you mention here can validate is truth. Then it gets to matters of Bethel. You talk of “dialing in” which obviously is a “catch phrase” and bethel language for getting to a certain “annointing” and presence. Jesus himself said if anyone says “annointing” Christ is over here or there don’t go there. It is not out in fields (external experienes) nor storehouse (deep inner-receding) but Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always with us. You did not mention or react on blog at all to the Two Rivers poem. It really highlights my and God’s concerns. THe paragraph you quoted from me that reference that, the concept was from the thoughs and images God gave to me in writing that poem.
    A lot of discussion has gone on about worship in spirit and truth. I have a blog article here: http://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/worship-in-spirit-and-truth-how-do-we/ that was written as sermon.

    Now as to salvation, God does and use what He will. The Word of God is what the seed is where that seed is sewn. He, they are folks that came to Jesus at the hands of charltans and deceivers such as Oral Roberts. Oh, and John, I am not the sort of man who only gets concerned about a theological difference. See God opened my eyes when all of the Lakeland stuff happened. Before I was one that would simply state, we all get something wrong. But God made it clear to me there are real spiritual things going on, and going on well beyond Bethel and Bill Johnson. There is not an area of evengelical church that is not been touched by one form of deception or another. Bill Johnson one hand, rick warren another. There is plenty strong delusion strings creating many a sticky web. Here, focus is one particualr strand and the seduction and sensuality at Bethel.

    Again, the Biblical test is The Son of God come in the flesh. I wish that Bill’s words really just were of emphasizing that the experience as God and Man on earth was far different than being in full communion without taking on humanity. And as for Bill Johnson, I would be even less concerned if his brand of the gospel did not seem all to familar with new age constructs.

    Like

  279. peacebringer says:

    Well, Meg, we are in the times. Time is running ever short. God has given us plenty to attend to, and much is going on. As you see increase in birth pangs, such as earthquakes in diverse places, you know time is near. But what is and will happen is folks will start making conclusions as to ‘what the church’ is supposed to do and elvate the church to things that are of Jesus and Jesus alone. Our job is to be SOBER MINDED and ALERT. We are to stand firm and endure to the end. Yet, there are many who do not love truth, and there will be great falling away. A great falling away is to occur before is return. I see seeds of apostacy and deviating from truth being spread by many like Johnson. There also many who will “think” they believe but accept a gospel of self-determinism and never accept Jesus as Lord.

    Like

  280. peacebringer says:

    John, we swing from one point to another as we are all “growing” and walking in the areas God has us in in getting to know Him more. This is if we are seeking him truly, and not our own heart. That is always the trick.

    part of the deception that exists comes in the whole “mind and heart” or “right and left” brain false dichotomies. It is to all work together, but it is not a dialiectical blending and superseding, it is working together in balance and alignment. The “contemplative” spirituality side pushes the contemplative to “transform” beyond the heart-mind, to a self-directed spirituality.

    The key element in all, is self. There are true and real external moments of filling with the Holy Spirit. There are evident times of being in His presence and walking in the Holy Spirit. There is moments of Spirit led internal examination and contemplation. But those experiences can be self-led, manipulated, and twisted. When self gets in the way and the deceitful heart has it sway, we form attachments in places other than God the HOly Father. Often based on our own ways of being hurt.

    Just thinking and writing on all this, there is a sense of the great and deep pain. What is it, in each of us that makes any of so easily swayed.

    As I said before, the problem here can lie with a proper understanding and theology of suffering. It is at that point much gets deviated. To understand we develop a reductionistic mindset. I wish Bill Johnson to me could be just labeled as bad, reductionistic theology (like Greg Boyd) but there is far more going on.

    Now as to your heart, thanks for sharing more of your wounds. There are many areas you still need to grow. Here is the risk though, when we have deep pain and desire to see God act in that, in the pain we can attach to things that promise God and interact with him but are only a facade equal to a movie set. Looks nice, but lacks true depth and substance. And in this case, there are powers looking to entrap. It is dangerous where you are my brother. Yet, there in all the varied deviations of the church a remenant. i pray you, Kim Walker-Smith, meg and others grow in God’s truth in spite of Bill Johnson and his spirits.

    Like

  281. cherylu says:

    I just want to pop in tonight long enough to wish all of you a very blessed day tomorrow as we celebrate His resurrection. For He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

    Like

  282. Craig says:

    This comment is meant to address Meg from 10:30am but is also for the readership at large. Meg, you cited John 7:31 And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this [Man] has done?”, yet some did not believe in Him. I had mentioned in an earlier comment that the only way one could come to Jesus is if the Father had enabled him [John 6:44,65]. I was just reading a bit of Andreas Kostenberger’s Encountering John (EBS), and the author mentions that the workings of signs and wonders in Galilee still resulted in the rejection of His own people [John 4:44] which reached a climax in chapter 12 as “they still would not believe.”

    Kostenberger states further: “What this makes clear is that signs by themselves are an insufficient basis for faith. Likewise, we should not think today that we will be able to reason anyone into the kingdom merely by skillful persuasion. This is not to discourage our evangelistic efforts; it rather challenges us to put our trust in God, not ourselves, as we seek to lead others to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rational argument and a presentation of the evidence for the historicity of Christ’s resurrection, for example, have their place; but they will not succeed, unless faith is engendered by the work of the Holy Spirit. As Paul indicates, even faith is ultimately a gracious gift of God (Eph 2:8-9), and accordingly, Paul’s own preaching was carried out, not in reliance on sophisticated rhetoric or persuasive powers, but with spiritual conviction and a demonstration of the power of God (I Cor 2:1-5).”

    1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. [1 Cor 2:1-5, NIV 1984]

    Note that, in context, the Apostle Paul is speaking of the Spirit’s power in the Word of God which Paul preached [Christ and Him crucified]. It’s the Word of God, the Truth of Scripture, the True Gospel message, which convicts as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, opens the hearts of individuals to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Neither signs and wonders nor men’s wisdom will convict. Jesus Christ is the Word, the Logos, made flesh [John 1:1]. Logos is also defined as “Message;” so, it’s the Word, the Message, the Gospel Message which gives life. (Holy) Spirit and Truth (Word).

    Like

  283. Craig says:

    Thank you!

    Like

  284. Craig says:

    Meg,

    I’ve been thinking about some of your comments re: 1st and 2nd Adam; and, I must admit, I was not sure where you were coming from on this. However, as I’ve been reading more on kenosis I came across the following in Peter O’Brien’s Commentary on Philippians (NIGTC) [Eerdman’s, 1991; p 209]:

    “A popular view that also draws upon an OT background (esp. Gn. 1:26-27 and 3:1-5) equates morphe [ed: Grk transliterated usually rendered “form” in v 2:6] with eikon [ed: Grk transliterated usually rendered “image”]…and interprets the entire hymn [vv 2:6-11] in terms of an Adam–Christ contrast…”

    Is this what Bill Johnson teaches? I could see this in context with some of his other teachings. However, O’Brien criticizes this view:

    “…It is very doubtful, however, whether the apostle intended to draw the Adam–Christ parallel at all, and the view has been subjected to linguistic, exegetical, and theological criticisms that have not been satisfactorily answered…”

    Like

  285. Kelly says:

    Craig and all,

    Thank you for all your insight. I have to admit, I am going to be tied up with some personal things until the end of the upcoming week. I would love to respond to all of the discussion questions, however, life is calling me to other areas. I am sure the conversation will move forward and I will jump back in or follow up with my loose ends if it seems appropriate. My apologies…Blessings to each of you on this amazing day.

    Like

  286. Craig says:

    Kelly/Meg,

    You’re welcome. Come back when you can.

    Like

  287. beyondgrace says:

    Meg,

    I don’t think there is ANY question whatsoever that when Jesus returns we will know EXACTLY who He is. Craig cited Matthew 24, I’d like to suggest two other scriptures that give us specific guidance in this area.

    1 John 3:2

    Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

    1 Cor 13:12

    Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    In the narrative of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17) we get a hint of how the revealed glory of the Son will appear.

    ” His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.”

    My vision is not very good at distances, and often I may not recognize a friend far off. But I have a very good ear and memory for voices. John 10 tells us that “the sheep follow him because they know his voice..”

    I could go on and on, but in summary, your thesis that Jesus could return at the end of the age and we might not recognize Him is a novel idea, and without scriptural backing. Please elaborate.

    Also would like to comment on your assertion that the 5 foolish virgins were Christians. This unique interpetation of the text, of course, belongs to Mike Bickle and most of the church would not agree with him simply on the basis of Matthew 25:11-12, which states “Later, the other virgins came too, saying, ‘Lord, lord! Let us in!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I do not know you!’

    This, of course, has parallels in what Jesus said back in Matthew 7

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’

    I have studied Mike Bickle’s notes on this parable (10 virgins), one of his favorites, and simply conclude that he tortures the scriptures in order to make HIS point. So I am curious- how did you arrive at the conclusion that the 5 foolish virgins were “Christians?”

    Let’s discuss this more. Thanks.

    Like

  288. Ruth says:

    John,
    I’m sorry that you had an angry, raging father. I understand how this clouds your perception of God. This is where the balm of Jesus comes in, as it says in the quote I posted earlier. God is merciful to us, forgives us, etc when we take comfort in the finished work of Jesus for us on the cross. He is kind and gracious to us. If you are not hearing this at Bethel, you aren’t being fed.

    My father was a disciplinarian. I resented it for a long time when I was younger and it felt like anger to me, but now I realize he disciplined me out of love. It instilled, well, discipline in me. When I meet people who were given free reign as children, I see the fruit of it in their lives as adults – you call it disarming freedom – I call it irresponsibility. I do think some people walk in more freedom than others, but lots of people are just wild. Have you ever read “The Harness of the Lord” by Bill Brighton? Look it up online and read it. It’s about discipline. My sense is the buoyancy and lightness you find at Bethel is more that of carnal Christians who are undisciplined. Yes, I’ve been to Bethel – but I didn’t like it. I went because a friend of mine was in the School of Worship – this was in the early 2000s – and I went for the ‘graduation.’ What I saw was a lot of smugness and pride.

    There is a difference between ‘God being angry’ and the wrath of God. Anyone who willfully resists the finished work of Jesus on the cross is under God’s wrath because they have rejected the only means He has provided for our salvation. But for Christians, the wrath of God was satisfied on the Cross when God the Father turned his back on Jesus. But that’s not to say that God doesn’t get angry with us. He can be angry with us and still love us. He accepts us, but He doesn’t leave us the way we are. We are so full of sin and pride and rebellion, but we don’t see it. When we are converted, God still has to cleanse us and He uses any tool He sees fit to accomplish that. That’s what trials and tribulations are for a Christian. We are so permeated with sin, we don’t know how much we stink and He has to scrub us clean – sometimes that means He has to take sandpaper to scrape off the thick crust of our sinful nature. We are prideful, smug and self-centered. Inside each and every Christian there exists a little Pharisee. But submitting to discipline yields the fruit of righteousness. You won’t find that teaching at Bethel. Bill Johnson mocks anyone who says that God gives us sickness (or any trial) to make us better Christians. That just proves to me that he doesn’t know God the Father and how He deals with us. Or, maybe it’s that God the Father doesn’t know Bill Johnson.

    BJ doesn’t talk about sin, death, the Cross, etc. It seems happy to you at Bethel because BJ takes the easy way. But don’t mistake an atmosphere of buoyancy and lightness for true Christianity. It’s easy to happy and buoyant when things go well for you. Jesus says that wide is the path and easy is the way to destruction but narrow is the path and difficult the way to eternal life. You know Bill’s got it pretty good at Bethel. He has a built-in fan club who cling to each and every word he says or writes (that’s idolatry) – everyone buys his books and CDs. It’s made him a rich man.

    Like

  289. W B McCarty says:

    Speaking of being born again, Did your church’s Easter service center on the focal point of the mission of Jesus: to save sinners from theirs sins (Matt. 1:21; 1 Tim. 1:15)? If not, you urgently need to find a new one.

    Like

  290. Meg says:

    Craig,

    I have looked up both your sources concerning the hypostatic union and kenosis, but noticed they were wikkis, a public forum that anyone, including Bill Johnson, can edit at anytime. Do you have a source that explains this at a deeper level? Thanks so much. This is fascinating…

    Like

  291. Craig says:

    Meg,

    I don’t have time to do an extensive online search at the moment. However, each time I’ve checked the Theopedia sites, they’ve been accurate. You could try a local library and search out Phillip Schaff’s The Creeds of Christendom which speak of the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds both of which explain hypostatic union and kenosis. These creeds were specifically adopted to combat Christological heresies which crept up in the Church. There may be other library sources which speak of these creeds and/or the two terms/doctrines in question.

    Thanks for asking as I appreciate you wanting to learn more about these important doctrines

    Like

  292. Meg says:

    WB McCarty said “The bottom line: Is Jesus unique or not? If we believe that He is not unique, we join the Mormons as polytheists. If we believe that He is unique then we cannot be as He was (and is). And we cannot do as He did except in some limited sense. Where, in the complete corpus of Bill Johnson’s work, does he delineate this limitation? I ask because, without specification of the limitation, his instruction is either (at best) incoherent or (at worst) rankest heresy.”

    This is a great point.

    Not being fully read on Bill Johnson (I was introduced to his teachings a little over two years ago), but having been around the charismatic circles, I believe the many charismatic leaders believe Jesus is very unique. I also believe these leaders recognize that we can do what He did, but in a VERY limited sense. I am speaking about my thoughts about what I have observed, but think they are just willing to explore the permutations of all of His attributes mixed with our humanity, personalities, manifestation of His glory in earth, etc. Personally, I think God is big enough to convict them if they are wrong. I also think they understand the burden of the call of a teacher, what a false prophet is, etc. I also think that He is big enough speak to the “little people.” Perhaps we just aren’t giving the Holy Spirit enough credit to do His job.

    The way we view life, at times can cause us not to see the truths that are right in front of us. I know you understand this. Our beliefs have to be backed up with truth found only from a lifetime digging in the word. Having discussed scripture with Messianic Jews, I realize how little we, who call ourselves Christians, know and understand the roots of our faith. I have heard rabbis from Israel discuss scripture and their insight far surpasses any pastor or teacher that I have heard here. Why does scripture mention that Jesus walked in Solomon’s Porch during the Feast of Dedication in John 10? There is a reason. There are layers of truth that blow my mind when sitting under the teaching of one who understands the Jewish culture and faith, which really are one and the same.

    Thank you for challenging me, but your words don’t lead most of the time, they build walls. I don’t sense much love from you. I have come to know a God that is gracious and full of love. He has dealt with the inner recesses of my own heart, breaking it to the place that I would wish on no one. And for that I glory in Him. I appreciate everyone’s heart on here as they seek truth, but may no one ever think they have a corner on THE Truth. Oh and thank you for praying for me. I need it!

    Like

  293. Meg says:

    Thanks Craig!

    Like

  294. beyondgrace says:

    Theopedia is a moderated wiki governed by statements of faith and a writing guide. I think you will find it to be a reliable and accesible resource.

    Speaking of Bill Johnson and kenosis, you may find this new article interesting:

    http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/2011/04/bill-johnson-and-divinity-of-christ.html

    -Bill

    Like

  295. Craig says:

    Meg,

    In part II of this article I attempt to make the case that Bill Johnson, as some others, is teaching Manifest Sons of God doctrine — the belief that we can attain our post-resurrection bodies in the here and now. Essentially, the belief is that we become “little gods.”

    Like

  296. Meg says:

    I am shocked. That’s quite a badge you bear. Congratulations, you deserve all the glory.

    Like

  297. Craig says:

    I have to admit, I don’t understand what Meg is referring to either(?).

    Like

  298. John Ashton says:

    I just wanted to submit a quick thought for consideration. I want to make it clear that no one at Bethel is suggesting Jesus was not divine. As I’ve said repeatedly, their understanding of the incarnation allows them to say that, because Jesus was 100% man, He DID lay down his divinity….or at least something close to this. Consider these scriptures collectively:

    1-Isaiah 7:15 says that there is a point in time when Immanuel will be able to choose right from wrong. Could an argument be made that if He was operating in divinity, that this choice would not be possible insofar as it is impossible for God to do that which is wrong?

    2-Hebrews 2 is clear that BOTH Jesus and mankind were made “a little lower than the angels”. No distinction is made as to who was higher. One possible implication is that they’re on the same plane.

    3-Hebrews 2:17 says that Jesus was made like us in EVERY respect. Taken as a discrete statement, this means that Jesus could not possess divinity precisely because WE do not possess divinity. If Jesus did indeed possess divinity, then Hebrews 2:17 cannot be true. What it says immediately after fits right in to what Bill Johnson is saying: His laying aside His divinity meant having to endure the same sufferings and testing we endure.

    4- Of course, as we’ve seen in John, Jesus says He can do nothing…

    All Bill Johnson is saying is that, to the extent that Jesus was 100% man, He was able to serve as a model for humanity of complete submission to God operating in all the limitations of humanity. Jesus demonstrated that we not only can, but are supposed to, draw our resources from another kingdom. When viewed in this light, his teaching seems incredibly simple and makes perfect sense. Johnson is offensive to many people because the Jesus he teaches is so huge, and that, to the extent we fail to appreciate this, we are operating at – what? – maybe 1% of what we should and could operate at? Living victoriously means far, far more than enduring until the end; it means co-opting the resources of our Inheritance to draw from the power resident in the other kingdom.

    ………….

    Personally, I believe there is more than enough room in the fullness of God’s counsel for charismatic and orthodox viewpoints.

    Like

  299. Craig says:

    John,

    I’ve now read through your lengthy comment, and, I’ve decided to post just this portion. The rest we’ve already been over before and I don’t wish to rehash.

    I’ll respond to this portion later today.

    Like

  300. cherylu says:

    John,

    Maybe you have already done this, I don’t remember. But would you mind doing it again if you have? This thread is waaayyyy….too long to hunt back for an anwer!

    Would you state your definition of “divinity” for us as you understand Bill Johnson using it?

    Like

  301. Craig says:

    John,

    Jesus wept [John 11:35] and Jesus slept [Matt 8:25; Mark 4:38; Luke 8:24] — yes, Jesus had a human nature. But, He also had a divine nature. He was and is the God-man. Stressing one over the other results in error.

    You say Bethel is not suggesting Jesus was not divine. Here’s a statement from When Heaven Invades Earth which is in the article of this thread:

    “The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil” [WHIE p 79]

    and, one from Face to Face with God which is used in part II of this article:

    “…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]

    This is making a clear distinction between “Jesus, the man” — not the God-man but “Jesus, the man,” in His humanity devoid of divinity — which is borne out in the rest of the sentence when he says “to the divine.” “Divine” in this sense is the “Christ anointing” as made clear in the 2nd quote above. Using Johnson’s redefinition of anointing=Christ would necessarily entail denying Jesus as being the Christ, before “the anointing.”

    If that’s not clear enough, here’s another quote from Face to Face:

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

    This makes it clear that Jesus could not even be called Christ until He received this “title” as a result of the “Christ anointing.” This quote is a restatement of the following one from When Heaven Invades Earth:

    Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.

    The word anointing means “to smear.” The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism.1 The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit. [p 79 WHIE]

    All this points to a plain ol’ “Jesus” at the Incarnation since, according to the Johnson view, Jesus did not even receive the “title” of Christ, Messiah, or the Anointed One until Baptism and, consequently, this is when He received the name [“The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit”].

    Bill Johnson can claim that Jesus was divine at all times during the Incarnation; however, his words above would run contrary to that claim.

    Like

  302. Craig says:

    John, you wrote: “Personally, I believe there is more than enough room in the fullness of God’s counsel for charismatic and orthodox viewpoints.

    Shouldn’t these viewpoints be one and the same? The Assemblies of God church, which is pentecostal and hence charismatic, has a basic belief system which adheres to proper Christology and the hypostatic union.

    This isn’t or shouldn’t be an either/or thing.

    Like

  303. Craig says:

    Meg,

    You asked for a source for the hypostatic union. Well, here’s a good one:

    http://carm.org/jesus-two-natures

    Jesus is the most important person who has ever lived since he is the Savior, God in human flesh. He is not half God and half man. He is fully divine and fully man. In other words, Jesus has two distinct natures: divine and human. Jesus is the Word who was God and was with God and was made flesh, (John 1:1,14). This means that in the single person of Jesus is both a human and divine nature, God and man. The divine nature was not changed when the Word became flesh (John 1:1,14). Instead, the Word was joined with humanity (Col. 2:9). Jesus’ divine nature was not altered. Also, Jesus is not merely a man who “had God within Him” nor is he a man who “manifested the God principle.” He is God in flesh, second person of the Trinity. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word,” (Heb. 1:3). Jesus’ two natures are not “mixed together,” (Eutychianism) nor are they combined into a new God-man nature (Monophysitism). They are separate yet act as a unit in the one person of Jesus. This is called the Hypostatic Union.

    Like

  304. Craig says:

    Also, I should note that taking the following quote from Face to Face with God and applying the logic and exposition brought forth in my previous comment which shows Jesus did not receive the “title” of Christ/Messiah until Baptism also implies we acquire divinity once we receive this same “Christ anointing”:

    “…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]

    The “little gods” heresy.

    Like

  305. Kevin says:

    Hi john, hope you are ok. JUst want to post a quick response to your latest comment. can you see your own contradictions or are you oblivious to them? you say all at bethel agree Jesus was and is divine yet you then quote Hebrews 2 to deny that affirmation. this is confusing to say the least. further, from Craigs quotes from bj books it is clear that his is a gnostic view. does Johnson affirm the eternal divinity of Jesus? yes! does Johnson deny the divinity of Jesus? yes! this, unlike some of the seeming paradoxes in scripture, is simply untenable in terms of Christian orthodoxy.

    Like

  306. Meg says:

    Thanks Craig for the info.

    I don’t profess to know all the answers, nor do I use big words to sound more intelligent than I am. I have no “thesis” to prove, but only questions to ask and learn from. Being a student of the Word, and not commentaries from great theologians or the like, I am committed to be able to stand on the last day, knowing of Whom I believed, not what someone else has said. I say this with all humility, knowing that I have so far to go. “For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb 4:12

    Bill, in response to the earlier comment. Please forgive me. I came on here seeking to find truth and found it: I saw the condition of my own heart.

    I have walked circumspectly concerning my own actions, reactions, offenses since experiencing a very real death in my personal life. All I have is Him. I have dies dozens of deaths and will probably die more before it is all over, but no one can take or add it my testimony. That is reserved for the Author and Finisher of my faith.

    1 Corinthians 2 is my prayer. My prayer has also been, “Give us the eyes of a blind man, that we may see.” Bartimaeus got it. We all think we see so well, yet our own hearts are blinded by our wisdom. We want to put God is a box. We want to categorize doctrine. In reading through all these arguments, I have felt more apart from God. It’s divisive. But it has lead me straight into the arms of the One whom I have known. But it was Love that lead me, not man. It was the Holy Spirit that wooed me, not man. Human logic doesn’t stand a chance in a Kingdom yet to come. The only time I have felt close to Him was when I came away and looked at the condition of my own heart, yet again and realized how desperately l need Him.

    Thank you for all your work, Craig! May others come to this site and find what I have: I need more of Him. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

    Like

  307. Craig says:

    Meg,

    I certainly don’t have all the answers either. And, I continue to learn daily. I learn from Him and I learn others who’ve learned from Him. The Christian Church has evolved over the centuries. The point of the creeds and doctrines are so that errors of old do not get replicated yet again. We learn from the past.

    To be a Christian only requires simple faith — faith in the one who has atoned for our sins, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. However, there are other religions out there and, worse, there are others within our own faith who look like the real deal yet are not who can and will lead astray. They are wolves in sheep’s clothes, tares amonst the wheat.

    Logic and the Christian life are not mutually exclusive. We should have one with the other.

    We must search ourselves to see if we are in the faith [2 Cor 13:5].

    Like

  308. Meg says:

    John, you said, “All Bill Johnson is saying is that, to the extent that Jesus was 100% man, He was able to serve as a model for humanity of complete submission to God operating in all the limitations of humanity. Jesus demonstrated that we not only can, but are supposed to, draw our resources from another kingdom. When viewed in this light, his teaching seems incredibly simple and makes perfect sense. Johnson is offensive to many people because the Jesus he teaches is so huge, and that, to the extent we fail to appreciate this, we are operating at – what? – maybe 1% of what we should and could operate at? Living victoriously means far, far more than enduring until the end; it means co-opting the resources of our Inheritance to draw from the power resident in the other kingdom.”

    Was thinking about this and thought about why was it that Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane “…he took with him Peter (the one that would deny him thrice) and the sons of Zebedee (the ones that wanted to sit on either side of Heaven) and began to be sorrowful and very heavy (the Blue Letter Bible states “this is the strongest of the three Greek words (85, 916, 3076) in the NT for depression.” http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexion/lexion.cfm?Strongs=G85&t=KJV).”

    Why?

    Was it because He felt sorry for them? Mankind? Was it because for the first time he was put in a place that he was able to relate to what it would feel like as a human to be possibly separated from God and thus reacted the way He did? I mean, depressed — that it such a human emotion. Can divinity feel that way? Or Divinity? (I don’t know! I am just asking what everyone else thinks.)

    Or did He feel for the first time what it was going to be like being separated from His Father? I purposely put the he/HE as I did. Please read it as such. Or was it both? Or neither?

    Perhaps this is what John meant when he spoke about understanding the Incarnation. I don’t think it was meant to be a bash, but perhaps we DON’T fully understand the Incarnation.

    Perhaps Bill Johnson is really saying that Jesus put restrictions on Himself to live as a man only while here on earth. Even in the Garden He demonstrated this for our benefit. Did He need to receive an anointing (“Take this cup from Me, but not My will but yours be done) by the Holy Spirit so as to connect Him to the Father since He limited Himself on earth to living as a man? Even though, He was truly God at the time? I don’t think BJ is denying that Jesus was (and is) God.

    If a God-Man died for our sins so that we can have access to the Father, then when we ask Him into our hearts, do we not then have to “die” to our own desires of the flesh, wills, etc. to have full access to the Father? In doing so (dying to “self”), from personal experience, I have heard and seen more that I could ever think or imagine. You talked about the “manifest Sons of God.” What are your thoughts about this?

    Like

  309. Craig says:

    Meg,

    You raise some good questions! Yes, Jesus was “heavy” for He know that He was to die a horrible death on the Cross. In order to Atone for our sins, Jesus Christ has to be the perfect God-man. He couldn’t be merely man, of course.

    But, here’s the thing. To stress Jesus’ humanity over His divinity is error. He was both. That is the point here.

    With this quote, ““The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil” [WHIE p 79], Johnson is stressing Jesus humanity over His divinity to the point of claiming it’s the anointing which links Him to the divine. This is unorthdox teaching. This is heresy. To try to explain this in other than the plain language here is to redefine standard orthodox Christian terminology.

    If we assume that the “anointing” was a requirement for Jesus to perform his miracles, then we reduce Him to less than God.

    If you want to know more about “manifest sons of God” teaching, then read Part II.

    Like

  310. Craig says:

    It has been pointed out that my last comment (4/28 4:37pm) which uses the term “God-man” could be construed as Eutychianism/monophysitism (see my earlier comment on 4/27 @ 6:53pm which briefly explains it as well as the orthodoxy of the hypostatic union) which is heresy. That was not my intention; so, I hereby apologize for my mistake. The correct way to refer to Jesus Christ’s two natures, both human and divine, is “truly God and truly man” or “fully God and fully man.”

    The term “God-man” is a convention and not heresy in and of itself as it depends on context; however, I want to try to cross all the “t”s and “i”s.

    Like

  311. John Ashton says:

    Craig-
    I like “truly God and truly man” much more than “God-man”.

    Like

  312. Craig says:

    I agree. Wait! am I agreeing with John Ashton? LOL 🙂

    Like

  313. John Ashton says:

    Who would have ever thought? I’m going to take a break here to breathe in this moment.

    Like

  314. Craig says:

    OK, since we’ve found a point of agreement, let’s see if we can find more. Sound good?

    The way I understand chapter 7 of WHIE, the anointing of the Holy Spirit at Baptism is the means with which Jesus received His title of Christ. Is this how you see it?

    Like

  315. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-
    As you know well, I’m circumspect in the way I look at many things. To be honest, i have never given any serious thought to when and how Jesus received his anointing (assuming he even needed to receive it) and how this relates to or is symbolic of the extent to which we can follow His steps. Given the number of things at Bethel that make me feel uneasy, i’m sure that it’s off-base in some ways; I’m always partly right in the things I discern, and Bethel, of course, is certainly not infalliable. I think you and I are not in agreement as to the length of the list of non-negotiables in the faith. In the end, I think it’s all about balance.

    As I said above, Beyondgrace made some extremely valid points about the charismatic church in general. Some of this is true of Bethel. Let me offer one example. I used to attend one of the churches under Bethel’s authority. The place was wild — people rolling in the isles, laughing, “manifesting”…. right in the middle of a sermon! If the same people were at Bethel, they’d last 20 seconds before security ushered them out. In some ways, Bethel’s order and structure resembles a reformed church!!! So here’s my question: Which church is operating in the Spirit? If Bethel is TRULY submitted to the Holy Spirit, then why does it squelch it when people are manifesting? Then again, are all of these manifestations authentic, or is it learned behavior??? Why, in other words, does the Holy Spirit manifest so differently at two sister churches? The bottom line is that Bethel has an image to maintain. The services are broadcast all over the world, and, to be perfectly frank, it has to regulate behavior in order not to look too out-of-control. Now, being somewhat of a purist, I simply cannot fully accept that explanation. If the “crazy and out-of-control” manifestations are 100% authentic, then it seems to make sense that both churches can’t be right. Insofar as this is true, I believe there is a degree of inconsistency, showmanship and, dare I say, insincerity that is manifesting. That is my honest opinion.

    You don’t see any of this at churches that are more grounded. Then again, to be frank, I think these churches tend to limit God.

    So here’s my “final answer”: Every church is off-base; every church has blind spots; every church is out-of-balance. Frankly, I think sociological principles play a larger role at “spirit-filled” churches more than people realize. The same is true at conservative bodies. At the end of the day, God is bemused by us. All He asks is for maleable hearts willing to submit to uncomfortable ideas such as, “Oh my, maybe we’ve been off-base here for decades….” At the end of the day, we need each other. Even if you and I disagree, your thought processes bring me back into balance.

    I realize that, in a very real sense, this may not settle anything. But if you and I can enjoy a beer – or even two – amidst the tension that emanates from our views, beliefs and opinions, I think Jesus, at least for the most part, is satisfied.

    Like

  316. Craig says:

    John,

    Well, it seems by the way you’ve answered the question that you understand the inherent contradiction in this particular doctrine. I’m glad you at least see my point.

    Balance = Spirit + Truth. Not one at the expense of the other. That’s how we are to worship.

    Blind spots are one thing, and I agree everyone has them; however, a logically inconsistent statement (of which there are quite a few in WHIE and chapter 7 in particular) should eventually be changed to adhere to logic. The book is about 7 years old. Perhaps it should be updated. That is, unless there is a different agenda.

    Like

  317. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-

    First of all, it would not surprise me a bit if I get an urge to really look into this in the detail you’ve dedicated to it, and coming to the conclusion that you’re right on the money. I like, and am familiar with your approach to truth.

    But there are two facets to a subtle wrinkle that I’d like to submit. First, we all agree that the goal of the game is to get the ball into the end zone as many times as possible. Once that is established, we can all play in the same league. But things get very interesting (and, perhaps, uncomfortable) when we find that 50 coaches all have differing (and sometimes opposing) philosophies of how to actually get the ball in the end zone, and that even within each coaching system, there can be considerable dissent. I loved Pete Carrol; Jim Tressel drives me nuts he’s so conservative. But they both win. My heart is with Don Coryell, but he never made it to the Big Show. Which (at least sort of) leads to the next point: Winning isn’t as important as how you win. Being right isn’t as important as how you are right. I get many of your points, and I agree with you more than I disagree. But I feel you have a bit too much of a personal stake in it. I say this tenderly… Your very personality is wired in ways that many people just can’t appreciate. But I think your passion for accuracy may be keeping you from seeing the bigger picture of what’s happening at Bethel. We’ve talked about the Incarnation…. My beer is going to taste just as good if you never see it “my way”. I think a more foundational line of demarcation is the way that Bill’s Christology is deeply embedded in the profoundly practical assumption that Jesus was a model that we can and must follow. To what extent we can follow this represents the boundaries of some of the subtle contours of thought that shape what may appear to be a faulty Christology, but are, in actuality, some brilliant insights revealed by the Holy Spirit born out of a sincere desire for truth.

    Like

  318. Craig says:

    The endgoal is the salvation of individuals from eternal damnation. We do this by preaching the true Gospel. Then, it’s the Spirit who convicts and enables the individuals’ desire to come to Christ. The first step of the unregenerate is recognizing their sinful condition and their need for a Savior. The individual must have at least a basic understanding of the Atonement. Next is repentance and the acceptance of The Savior, Jesus Christ, which then brings justification/salvation. Then comes the process of sanctification by the Spirit which continues until the day we take our last breath here on earth — whether by death or the Rapture. This process will involve some trials, tribulations and chastisement; and, it will require active participation. Does Bethel teach this or something resembling this?

    I view discipleship as two-fold: 1) preaching in order for individuals to be saved (justification); and, 2) teaching in order for those saved to grow in their faith (sanctification).

    Christianity is not driven by pragmatism. It’s about absolute Truth. Jesus Christ is the person as identified within the whole counsel of Scripture. So, let’s be sure the Jesus we present is, in fact, the one consistent with Scripture — not one of seemingly never-resolving contradictions.

    BTW, I’ve changed my Statement of Faith by rewriting somewhat ambiguous sentences, altering some and adding some including a sentence on Theophanies/Christophanies.

    Like

  319. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig!

    Half the human species is full of “seemingly never-resolving contradictions”. I had a lot of first dates – and not many second – until I learned that absolute truth is, in a very real sense, a matter of perspective, and is as elusive as it is compelling. If you think about it, the very grace that lies at the foundation (the unalterably true attributes of God) of our faith defies rationalization. Like a woman, it’s not meant to be understood so much as enjoyed. Whatever understanding there is results from it being courted, not harnassed.

    Like

  320. Craig says:

    John,

    Now, it seems you’re having a circular argument. You saw the point I was making earlier; but, now you’re going back and making it seem as though saying Jesus Christ receiving His title and name of Christ at Baptism, which by simple logic implies He was merely “Jesus” rather than “Jesus Christ” prior to Baptism, is OK as this would be just one of those things that “defies rationalization.” No, accepting this view entails that one believe Jesus was, in the words of Johnson himself “Jesus, the man” and not “linked” “to the divine” prior to His Baptism:

    “The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil” [WHIE p 79]

    Given that this is straight out of New Age teaching, shouldn’t this be amended? That is, unless this is exactly what Johnson intends.

    Like

  321. John Ashton says:

    Hey Craig-
    Sorry for long delay….

    I lived three decades in a New Age-Friendly part of the country…. We are in total agreement as to its dangers. New Agers are correct in the sense that they realize there’s a lot more “out there” than meets the eye. Insofar as Bethel’s beliefs reflect this, there are similarities. The difference is that the new agers don’t acknowledge the need for atonement and personal accountibility to divine authority.

    Like

  322. Craig says:

    John,

    You happened to catch me at the computer just now.

    Respectfully, I disagree with your assessment of New Age thought re: atonement and personal responsibility to divine authority. The belief is self-salvation (auto-soterism) and they make themselves accountable to their “spirit guide(s).” They see Jesus’ life as symbolically representing the way to salvation — “Jesus is our model.”

    I’ve been working diligently on an article which will illustrate some of this and more.

    Like

  323. peacebringer says:

    hey guys,
    Sorry for my absence from the conversation. Been busy getting work stuff done and preparing for vaction. Couple thoughts. Personally while respect the sentiment in “Truly God, Truly man” or “fully God, fully man” I think scripture gives us more apt description and really catches God’s full meaning. That is the phrase “Son of God come in the Flesh” it catches the fullness of it all. the fullness of God come into fullness of the flesh. It is Emanuel, God with us. John, if there was a setting aside divinity until some special “annointing” (sic) moment, then it becomes less than God with us and does more fully fit the New Age concept of Christ and the elevating the divine within. To me, Fully God, Fully man could be stated and believed by the new age set. As Craig pointed out, they think we can all be divine (note the root of that John, the new age is really very old age at core)

    I got news for you as well John, most of the USA has become “New Age” friendly from the popularity of Oprah, for the touting of things like the secret and other forum of repacking the “law of attraction” as well as the popularization of Yoga. It should be disturbing that The Bethel/Bill Johnson version of Jesus has more in common with New Age views than it does with scripture and the grasping of Son of God come in the Flesh.

    Like

  324. Craig says:

    peacebringer,

    Respectfully, I disagree with this portion:

    To me, Fully God, Fully man could be stated and believed by the new age set.

    The basic New Age belief is each individual has two natures: one human (of course) and one latent, not yet realized, divine. So, the New Age goal is to transcend humanity by reaching divinity. Putting “fully God, fully man” in the same sentence would be anathema to the New Ager.

    Or, perhaps I’m just not seeing what you mean by this(?).

    Like

  325. peacebringer says:

    Probably jsut not seeing what I mean, yes, to most people they consider the divinity latent, but they are looking to reach the “fully god” part of self and arriving at the “Bhudda” the “transformed” the “christ” state. Even in humanism and Maslow you have the reaching of the altruistic self. So fully God, fully man denotes something attainable, not necessarily of self. It is quite the contrary to fully God coming in the Flesh. Fully God, fully man does not really denote fully the hypstatic union and leaves room Kenosis and other heresies. Again, I reiterate that what John wrote is the best phrase. Son of God come in the Flesh. He gave it as a testing of spirits for a reason. A spirit can easily proclaim that Jesus was fully God, fully man but being the Son of God come in the Flesh is a whole lot more specific. The divinity was not “attained” it is not something that reached a “full” level. He is who he always as been. Again there is the verse that denotes that in Jesus “All the Fullness of the Godhead dwelt in bodily form.” WHich is really another phrasing of “the son of God come in the Flesh” both statements say the same thing. And this is critical.
    Hope you saw my point now in terms of the leway and twists in “fully God, fully man”
    And for a new ager, they want to achieve that level. “fully divine in their humanity” (mormons too for that matter)

    Like

  326. peacebringer says:

    Let me give you a specific examaple. In the Twin Cities here, the new is filled with the visit of the Dalai Lama who is one who is considered “fully god, and fully man”

    Like

  327. Pingback: “Christ” in the New Age « CrossWise

  328. Craig says:

    Sorry for not replying earlier as I was finishing up the article which was posted early this morning.

    I see what you’re saying; but, I’ve not heard of “fully God, fully man” pertaining to ‘humans’ before. I’ve always understood Maslow to mean that we are to actualize our highest human self. However, obviously, Maslow’s hierarchy has New Age overtones.

    I dunno, the way I see reaching the highest “Buddhic” state is by transcending humanity en route to achieving divinity. I’ll take your word that the Dalai Lama is considered “fully God, fully man.” I’d think it much more fun though to just go all the way and dispose of our “causal body” in favor of being “released from the trammels and limitations of the flesh” as manifested sons of God.

    Like

  329. peacebringer says:

    Heh, Craig, no problem am pretty busy here. the Dalai Lama is referred to as the “god king” and while Maslov is humanistic based and not new age based is shows the progressiont to get to a “full state” or “higher level” certain Maslow wouldn’t define as god or divine. He would be fully human.. Bhuddism claims to be “anti-religous” and not about dieties but you have the Dalie Lama as a reincarnated god/king who at this point even proclaims he could choose to stop reincarnating in order to avoid China’s influence on t he next Dalai…
    the point is, reaching a point of “full divinity” is allowed for in the phrasing of fully God, fully man that is not allowed for in “the Son of God come in the Flesh”

    Like

  330. Craig says:

    peacebringer,

    Interesting.

    On a related note, I thought the newest CrossWise article would be of interest to readers here: “Christ” in the New Age.

    John Ashton: I would like you to read it over and see what you think.

    Like

  331. Craig says:

    This new article expounds on the kenosis issue brought forth in this post:

    https://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-i/

    Part II will be posted in the near future.

    Like

  332. Martin says:

    Just a quick question. If we accept Christ into our lives, and surrender to his Lordship, and live according to the word in obedience, as a confirmation of that. What does that make us?

    Like

  333. Craig says:

    If one accepts the Jesus Christ of the Bible, accepts Him as Lord, lives by the Word, then they are a Christian by definition.

    Did you have a question that pertains to the article?

    Like

  334. Jon says:

    Why dont you just call Bill Johnson and ask him the big questions? It seems like you are slicing and dicing and exerpting…like you are trying to catch him in his words. His exposition in sermon is not a journal article. I belong to a reasonably conservative church and have been trained in recognizing truth. And I recently read some of Bill’s stuff. He didnt strike me as a false prophet. Clearly from all the back and forth you have on these comments, reasonable people can disagree. Have you ever called Bill and asked him for an interview? I mean, all these false prophet charges are serious. I mean, doesn’t Matt 18 tell us what to do if you have ought against your brother? Why malign the man in public?

    Like

  335. Craig says:

    Jon,

    Thanks for coming by. While I’ve not personally tried to contact Johnson, others I know have. And he’s not answered save for one guy who posted a comment on his Facebook and received a response on one question yet received nothing regarding a contradiction Johnson made in response to him.

    Nonetheless, Matthew 18 does not apply to public teachings which are to be exposed publicly. Since I don’t know Johnson personally, I don’t have a personal beef with him; so, again, this passage does not apply.

    Johnson’s errors are Christological ones which strike right at the core of our faith. Recall Jesus’ words about false Christs and Paul’s words in II Corinthians 11:2-4, 13-14. The NT is replete with warnings on false teachers.

    You wrote, “I belong to a reasonably conservative church and have been trained in recognizing truth.

    So, then, presuming you’ve read the complete post, do you not have a problem with the quotes of Johnson’s? For example, do you believe this one is truth?:

    “…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]

    Like

  336. Craig says:

    I guess this is a much simpler question: I’m assuming you know what it means to be “born again.” Given that you’ve “been trained in recognizing truth” do you not see the obvious problem with Johnson’s assertion that Jesus had to be ‘born again’ because He “became sin?” Did Jesus really become sin? If so, who paid the price for Jesus’ sin? If Jesus “became sin” how could He atone for ours?

    This is so obviously far from orthodox Christianity I’m really surprised that you do not see the theological implications in such a thing. If you sincerely do not, I’ll be happy to show you.

    Like

  337. Ah, the old Matthew 18 response… except that has nothing to do with the examination of unbiblical statements by the leadership. The examination of doctrine was something commanded, and used to be exercised up to recent times – without the need to apologise and have a group hug.

    That is because the examination of doctrine isn’t a personal attack, and it isn’t “falling out with your brother” much less “sinning against him” that would require an apology.

    IF a Christian in your church has stolen your credit card, then obviously you need to pop along and have a chat to him first, and if he won’t repent then you go with the elders, and if he still won’t repent you warn the entire church in your area that they have a thief amongst them. THAT is Matthew 18. Very practical.

    If a man who is held up as a leader and teacher preaches something unbiblical, and he does it in public, repeatedly, then you don’t hang around in fear of hurting his feelings before you respond. We all have the command to test the spirits, to judge doctrine and to reject the lies. If we fail to do that, we are less than Spirit-filled saints.

    (Actually the early church and apostles quickly disfellowshipped, publicly condemned and withdrew from any who preached a gospel that was not grounded in the truths Jesus taught them. This was to protect the weak, keep the gospel pure, and stop heresy taking root in the churches. If we had been following their example Craig’s blog and those like it wouldn’t have become necessary.)

    Like

  338. Sylvia says:

    Forgive me being off topic Craig but congratulations for 1 WHOLE YEAR of this blog bringing biblical enlightenment of truth in these ever growing deceptive days.
    It’s no small task to research and unearth error to the degree that you have relentlessly done here.
    You are clearly appreciated by most who come here but not least, I believe, by our Heavenly Father Himself.
    Keep it up faithful brother 🙂

    Like

  339. Craig says:

    Yes, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year! Time flies more and more as I get older and this year has REALLY flown by.

    Thanks for your kinds words. It’s only by His strength that I can do this. All glory to the God of the Holy Bible — the One who sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for our collective sins and who sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us and guide us into all Truth.

    Like

  340. Craig says:

    “Got Questions” was used as a source for this article and the site has apparently revised the information cited at footnote 25. The applicable verbiage has been updated/corrected substituting the current information with the now deleted portion. The “Got Questions” site previously had verbiage which could be construed as what is known as functional kenosis. So sorry for any misunderstanding or inconvenience.

    Like

  341. matt says:

    Craig,
    You stated above on Sept. 17 2011, “Did Jesus really become sin? If so, who paid the price for Jesus’ sin? If Jesus “became sin” how could He atone for ours?”

    -2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

    Maybe an exposition on this verse is neccessary. Because yes Jesus did become sin for us. I’m trying to follow you here. I try with Mormons for example to say you are right in saying Jesus is our elder brother, but He is so much more. Not disagreeing with them in statements that are right. Then putting it in proper context to show how we are His mother, brother, sisters if we do the will of God.(Matthew 12:50) Then showing how Jesus is so much more than that.

    Mother if we hide His word in our heart then act on it giving birth to it in the flesh. God says feed the poor to my heart. I do not abort the Word I act on it and it is realized in the flesh. One example. Spirit becoming flesh. Not a literal giving birth to physical Jesus but a giving birth to God’s will which is exactly what Jesus is. The very representation of the Father’s glory.

    I want to hear your commentary on the above verse however. I do not think Johnson is stating Jesus had sin. As you stated “Jesus’ sin”. He has repeatedly stated Christ lived a perfect life in the flesh.

    More his interpretation of the above verse.

    Like

  342. Craig says:

    matt, you wrote, “He [Bill Johnson] has repeatedly stated Christ lived a perfect life in the flesh.”

    Yes, and Bill Johnson also stated that Jesus was/is eternally God yet he claims Jesus “had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” thereby contradicting the former as God is by very nature supernatural.

    Perhaps you are unaware that both Kenneth E. Hagin and Kenneth Copeland propounded the ‘Jesus Died Spiritually’ (JDS) heresy having stated that Jesus died spiritually, took on the nature of Satan, went to hell, became sin and was subsequently ‘born again’ using the same identical methodology/proof-texts as Johnson [ie, Hebrews 1:5 then Acts 13:34]. [See part II for more.] No, Johnson does not go this far as he’s much too clever for that, yet he never explains himself leaving his discreete statements hanging.

    It is both irresponsible and inexcusable to play around with any sort of statement that Jesus was ‘born again’ because He ‘became sin’. Jesus Christ became a sin-offering to make Atonement on the Cross, not in hell, and He was NEVER ‘born again’.

    I’ve already explained 2 Corinthians 5:21 right in the body of the article. Perhaps you should read it again (starting right after Johnson’s statement):

    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…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…

    And, frankly, it follows that Johnson would state that Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead (contrary to Scripture) because if he adheres to the JDS heresy, Jesus could not raise Himself. This is not just carelessness, it is blasphemous heresy.

    Like

  343. matt says:

    Thanks for the reply!

    A member of the Eastern church named Apollinarius taught people that Jesus had a human body but no human mind. I wondered from some of the statements I’ve heard on here if that is the same position of some of the readers. I can’t remember at the time who commented but used Jesus’ words of knowledge as proof that Jesus was “all knowing”. I know He was in His Spirit but I do not beleive He exercised that in His flesh. He simply did what the Father does and says.

    I know that this very issue is what helped Theodosius to convene a council in Constantinople in A.D. 381. There they redefined the Creed of Nicea. It actually was held to clarify the relationship of Jesus’ two natures. One of the Great Cappadocians(Basil, Gregory,Chrysostom) actually stated, “If deity took the place of a human mind, how does that help me? Deity joined to flesh alone is not truly human!”

    I just wanted you to clarify since you put a great deal of emphasis on the Nicene Creed if you or anyone on here hold to the position of Apollinarius? Not an accusation looking for clarification.

    And yes I’ve been reading a lot of church history when I can between jobs and kids. So I’m trying to better understand the history of our faith. Thanks for getting me engaged.

    Like

  344. Craig says:

    I’m glad you’re studying! Apollinarianism was labelled as heresy as you’ve found. It’s for this reason that modern theologians stress the Chalcedonian Creed of 451AD which superseded both Constantinople of 381 and Ephesus of 431. This takes care of Apollinarianism, Nestorianism and Eutychianism (I’ll let you search those out).

    This is more adequately addressed in the 2nd Kenosis article:

    https://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii/

    From that article:

    “Historically, councils were called to establish creeds (statements of beliefs) in order to codify specific truths as borne out in Scripture while simultaneously refuting specific errors. The ecumenical creeds – those accepted by the Church catholic, as in universal, and not merely the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) but to also include Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches – have largely been uncontested over the centuries as to their veracity, or accuracy, compared to Scripture until the 19th century84 with the various kenosis doctrines…”

    Of the four ecumenical councils embraced by the Church catholic (universal) which include Christological discussions (Nicea in 325, Constantinople in 381, Ephesus in 431, and Chalcedon in 451), the Council of Chalcedon is the most recent and most definitive…

    Please direct further comments/questions over there.

    You wrote, “I know He was in His Spirit but I do not beleive He exercised that [omniscience] in His flesh. He simply did what the Father does and says.”

    Please read

    https://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-i/

    The above article addresses this subject.

    Like

  345. Pingback: false doctrines | KevStar.us

  346. Shan Norwood says:

    Jesus did not become God’s Son at his baptism or the resurrection. He was eternally God’s Son and always will be. He never gave up his Divinity or His divine attributes for one second while on earth. He came in the power of God as a man because He was God!

    Like

  347. Craig says:

    Shan,

    Amen to that! Now, can you tell that to Bill Johnson?

    Like

  348. Craig says:

    Quoting from my own commentary in the article:

    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.

    With the benefit of over 2.5 years of further study and understanding, there are things I would have written a bit differently in this article. For example, instead of “when individuals receive the Holy Spirit…” it should be, by properly interpreting Johnson, “when individuals receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit…”, as this is really what Johnson means.

    However, more importantly, I recall when writing the last sentence above (“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”) thinking, “Surely Bill Johnson has thought this through; surely he understands that this is the logical implication. How could he miss this, or how can he think something so obviously wrong?” But, having read numerous occult/esoteric material since this time, I’m quite confident that this IS the intention. In so-called “esoteric Christianity” (really an oxymoron from the true Christian perspective), Jesus was merely a man who was ‘christed’ at baptism, and He had set the pattern/model for all men to follow. This particular doctrine has been in place since at least the 2nd century in the early Gnostics. The more I understand Gnosticism, New Age/New Spirituality, and other esoteric/occult material, the more I see that the teaching of Johnson and other hyper-charismatics is really Neognosticism – a new Gnosticism.

    Like

  349. Marc says:

    Excellent post; Johnson is a bloviating false prophet who needs something fresh and new to tell his lemmings so that he won’t stop being in the limelight. His teachings, practices, and admonitions are extremely damaging in the least and outright heresy at the worst.

    Like

  350. Craig says:

    Thanks for your comment Marc.

    Like

  351. Amen Shan. Shout it from the rooftops until the Lord returns or takes you home! Bill Johnson may not listen but others will, by God’s grace. Bless you 🙂

    Like

  352. David Altree says:

    Jesus humanity vs. deity has been debated for years by many great scholars. The term “born again” has also been interpreted differently by good scholars–and probably much better than the people who created this blog. Bill Johnson is not inventing new doctrines. It’s a doctrinal camp. By your comments, I perceive you think all charismatic Christians are doctrinally incorrect. You probably have been taught that gifts and tongues ended when the Bible was canonized. There are no real scriptures to prove that point. 1Cor14 talks about gifts passing away, but one can only infer from that passage; and if you read it in context, I am not sure how anyone could say that canonization of Bible would do away with the spiritual gifts. You have a right to your doctrinal beliefs and I believe Bill Johnson does too! Maybe I should start a blog about how fundamentalist Christians are stealing God’s gifts his people. I would never do that because I know too many good Baptist Christians who love Jesus.

    Like

  353. Craig says:

    David,

    You’ve erected quite a few straw men with your “probably” presuppositions. In any case, perhaps you can point me to some literature illustrating the various meanings of “born again” as it pertains to the NT and Christian faith.

    BTW, I’m not a cessationist, as is the case with most of those contributing to this article.

    Like

  354. David Altree says:

    Have any of you looked at the doctrinal belief statement on Bethel Church website? If you believe that that tongues and gifts are for today, it’s very solid Biblical theology. If you have any problems with their statements then people like Jack Hayford, Derek Prince and Leonard Ravenhill are probably on your heresy list too! And while we are at, you should put Billy Graham on your heresy list because he did not believe in eternal judgment as the traditional church teaches it today.

    The Jesus was “born again” teaching has many facets; particularly depending in what doctrinal camp you were birth in. What did Jesus mean, when He said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the Kingdom of God?”
    There are doctrinal camps that teach you are born again when you received Christ and are baptized in water; there are camps that teach you are born again when you receive baptism of the Spirit you; and there are camps that teach we are born again through Christ’s resurrection.
    The term “born again” can and has be been taken out of context depending on the doctrinal camps and your interpretation on what born again means. So I ask this question–if you have a different interpretation of the passage of scripture, should we be put on trial? I don’t believe any of those camps are intentionally attacking the Divinity of Christ

    Here are some scriptures on being born or born again that may shed light on this subject:
    Rm 8:29: that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Is it God’s intent for Christ to be the first-born among many brethren? In Jewish culture the term first-born refers to a son. The first-born male child in a Jewish family had a privileged and status.
    Romans 8:29 does not refer to Jesus’ first and human birth at Bethlehem, it must, of necessity, refer to a second birth (being born again).

    He called Himself the “Son of MAN.” But He was born again of God by His resurrection, as you read in Romans 1:3-4:

    Our faith in Jesus is accounted to us for identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus and we become born again through the resurrection of Jesus.

    Co. 1:15 Christ, “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.

    Col 1:18: And He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have preeminence”

    Acts: 26:23: “That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the FIRST that should rise from the dead.

    This is my understanding and scriptural basis that Christ was born again. Now whether you agree or disagree with this interpretation may depend on what doctrinal camp you are in. I am not even saying this is the correct view, I am saying there may be a scriptural basis to come to this conclusion.

    The born again doctrine could also be in phases, in a similar sense as being saved. In other words, I am saved when I received Christ as my savior, but the completion of being saved doesn’t happen until I die and go to heaven. Born again happened when I received Jesus, but I won’t be completely born again until my personal resurrection. Usually when there are doctrinal debates that are marshaled on both sides, somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

    Every Christian that gives his/her life to Jesus is, and will be born again. Every Baptist, every Pentecostal, ever Seventh Day Adventist, and everyone including members at Bethel church are born again. Let’s not divide and slander good Christians on the mystery of “being born again.”

    Like

  355. Craig says:

    David,

    It’s not what is on any church’s doctrinal statement on their website, it’s the beliefs that are actually taught from the pulpit, in books, etc. And, this is exactly what this article addresses.

    Here’s the crux of the matter about “born again”: Was Jesus Himself ‘born again’? Of course not, as the whole idea that God would need to be ‘born again’ is blasphemous. Was He sinful; and, if so, who would atone for His sins? I’m being rhetorical, so please don’t attempt to answer.

    You’re confused on Romans 8:29. Jesus is not ‘born again’, He’s the FIRST-BORN (one time) Son of God. This is referring to the Incarnation, when the ever-eternal Word, the second Member of the Trinity, took on human flesh in becoming Jesus Christ, the unique God-man. He is the “first-born” Son; we become sons of God (lower case “sons”) only at the eschaton, the consummation, when Jesus Himself returns, at which point we receive our glorified bodies (Rom 8:30), which we are currently waiting for (Rom 8:25).

    But, yes Christ is the first one to rise from the dead, and it’s this fact which brings us the hope/guarantee of the glory to come (1 Cor 15:4,20). But, his arising from the dead is NOT being “born again”, as some sort of analogy to humans being ‘born again’. Jesus Himself described the process of being ‘born again’. It’s quite simple: one must believe in Him. John 3:16:

    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. NIV

    With that verse Jesus Himself explains what it means to be ‘born again’, which means gaining eternal life (John 3:3, 5, 14-15). [As a parenthetical note, when Jesus states “water and the Spirit” in v 5, He is not speaking about water baptism. By the construction of the Greek, the conjunction in the middle (kai), rendered “and” in the Greek, with a common preposition (ek) preceding, meaning “of”, beginning this prepositional phrase, conveys that they are one thing and not two, i.e, it’s one spiritual birth including water (symbolizing repentance) and Spirit (Holy Spirit indwelling). Anyone arguing against that is arguing against proper Greek grammar.]

    Like

  356. Craig says:

    David, you wrote: …I don’t believe any of those camps are intentionally attacking the Divinity of Christ

    What do you think of Bill Johnson’s statements below, both of which are in his book (co-authored with Randy Clark) The Essential Guide to Healing: Equipping All Christians to Pray for the Sick:

    Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7). While He is eternally God, He chose to live within the restrictions of a man who had no sin and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. In doing this, He provided a compelling model to follow.

    and:

    …While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Philippians 2:7). It is vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow.

    The bolded portion is clearly making the claim that Jesus “emptied Himself of divinity”, which is, as you say, “attacking the Divinity of Christ”. This is either blatantly self-contradictory (“While Jesus is eternally God…”) or Johnson conceives of eternity as separate and distinct from our temporal existence. This is in no way anything approaching orthodox teaching. The best explanation I’ve found is that it is taken from the heretical manifest sons of God teachings. In fact, I’m convinced it is, given other material of Bill Johnson.

    See here, and the article immediately following:

    https://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/assessing-bill-johnsons-eternally-god-declarations-amidst-his-other-christological-statements-2/

    Like

  357. David Altree says:

    The subject of the divinity of Christ has been debate by much better scholars than either one of us. Discussing and/or believing either side does not make you a heretic. Even Paul the Apostle said that God made in the likeness of man was a mystery. We all believe Jesus is the Son of God and the third Person in the Trinity, and so does Bill Johnson. Have you ever thought you might be confused? The Pharisees were convinced that Jesus was a heretic and author of the Bible stood right before them as they made plans to kill him. They were blinded by their arrogance and their knowledge of the scriptures. I bet you don’t even think Bill Johnson is a Christian. Do more time praying for Bill Johnson than judging him. I know that’s scriptural.

    Like

  358. Craig says:

    David,

    Either one explicitly denies the divinity of Christ with such words as “Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man” or one defends the faith (Jude 3) by exposing and correcting false doctrine like this. Making excuses for Bill Johnson, a mere man, over the clear words of Scripture and the orthodox teachings of the historical church puts one on perilous ground.

    You wrote, The subject of the divinity of Christ has been debate by much better scholars than either one of us. Discussing and/or believing either side does not make you a heretic.

    And the Apostle John in Holy Scripture states what heresy is, describing a particular doctrine as specifically antichrist (1 John 2:20-27, 1 John 4:1-3), namely anyone who declares that Jesus is not the Christ, or that Jesus became the Christ at some point later than his birth (or, more accurately, conception). Johnson does this very thing in a multitude of ways, as this article points out, and in the following more context is provided:

    Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It [Christ] is a title that points to an experience [Spirit resting upon Him after baptism in the Jordan]. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title [Christ]. He had to receive the anointing[“Christ anointing” resulting in Christ title] in an experience [Spirit resting upon Him] to accomplish what the Father desired.

    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 [after water baptism in the Jordan].

    The following notes the specific context in which Johnson refers to the Holy Spirit descending as a dove to be the “Christ anointing”:

    The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [“Christ anointing” by the Spirit after water baptism] there could be no title. [Face to Face with God: The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence, Lake Mary, Charisma House, 2007, p 109]

    and:

    …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, p 77]

    So, it was only when Jesus was anointed by the “outpouring of the Spirit” that he could legitimately be “called the Christ” for “without the experience there could be no title (of Christ)”. This indicates quite clearly that, according to Johnson, Jesus was NOT the Christ until “the outpouring of the Spirit”, meaning He must have been merely ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ prior to this “outpouring”.

    Yes, this is antichrist doctrine, plain and simple. Johnson himself has done a good job of explaining what he means.

    But, Johnson doesn’t even stop there:

    …The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil. [When Heaven Invades, p 79 of first edition]

    This means the converse is true, without “the anointing”, this receiving of the title of Christ when “the dove rested on Him” [Face to Face, pp 21-22], He couldn’t “destroy the works of the devil”. This is why Johnson states the following:

    …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. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow….Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help… [The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles, Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2005 p 50]

    But, with the “Christ anointing” as Johnson calls it, He could do all these things, because “The Father, by the Holy Spirit, directed all that Jesus said and did” [Face to Face, p 108].

    Bill Johnson is the one “blinded by arrogance”.

    And, this doctrine is paralleled in the Gnosticism of the 2nd century and some of the New Age / New Spirituality teachings of today. Here’s a quote from the 2nd century, from the Gnostic The Gospel of Philip, in which the distinction is made between Jesus’ water baptism by John (and our own baptism) and the “chrism” (actually, it should be “chrisma” = “anointing”), which is when the Spirit descended as a dove:

    The chrism [anointing] is superior to baptism. For from the chrism we were called ‘Christians’, not from baptism. Christ also was (so) called because of the anointing… [Schneemelcher, Wilhelm; transl. R. McL. Wilson New Testament Apocrypha: Volume One: Gospels and Related Writings © J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tubingen, 1990; English Translation © James Clarke & Co. Ltd, 1991 (Rev. ed.), Louisville, Westminster John Knox, p 200]

    And, from a 1907 work, which has influenced New Age / New Spirituality teachings, we have the following:

    The word Christ means “the anointed one,” and then it is an official title…When we say ‘Jesus, the Christ’ we refer to the man and to his office; just as we do when we say…Lincoln, the President…Lincoln was not always President, and Jesus was not always Christ. Jesus won his Christship by a strenuous life…we have a record of the events of his christing, or receiving the degree Christ. Here is where he was coronated… [Dowling, Levi The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ: The Philosophic and Practical Basis of the Religion of the Aquarian Age of the World © 1907 Eva S. Dowling and Leo W. Dowling, © 1935 and © 1964 Leo W. Dowling, (11th printing, 1987), DeVorss, Marina del Rey, CA; p 8]

    This is not a matter of “judging” Bill Johnson in the manner of condemning him; it’s a matter of assessing his doctrine using his own words. Johnson condemns himself, unless he repents of teaching this antichrist doctrine. The Apostle Paul both warns and instructs in such matters:

    17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18, NKJV)

    I’m taking note of Johnson’s doctrine, which is causing divisions (from the true Word of God), “contrary to the doctrine” we learned, and I’m suggesting to readers to “avoid” him. Defend him at your own peril.

    Like

  359. Craig says:

    I meant to add the following:

    This initiation [anointing] marked a tremendous change in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Up to that time, for thirty years, He had simply been the carpenter of the little town, and the son of His parents. He was a personality doing much good in a small sphere. But after the purification in Jordan, having ‘fulfilled all righteousness,’ He became the Christ… [Alice A. Bailey From Bethlehem to Calvary: The Initiations of Jesus, New York, Lucis Trust, 1937, pp 100-101]

    Bailey was a “former Christian” and an occultist who admitted to be a channel for an entity who identified himself as “Djwhal Khul” – obviously a demon. Her books are well-loved by New Agers / New Spirituality adherents.

    Like

  360. David Altree says:

    Craig,
    This is your quote: “And the Apostle John in Holy Scripture states what heresy is, describing a particular doctrine as specifically antichrist, namely anyone who declares that Jesus is not the Christ, or that Jesus became the Christ at some point later than his birth (or, more accurately, conception). Johnson does this very thing in a multitude of ways.”

    Bill Johnson is not in this category. When I see statements like this, it completely discredits you and I really see how biased and how warped your accusations are about Bill Johnson. The false teachers we are warned about in the Bible were in a completely different category. You are way over the line!

    Like

  361. Craig says:

    David,

    Did you even read all the quotes of Bill Johnson I provided? You can search them out in his books. The references are either provided specifically in my previous comment, or in this article itself.

    You can lead a horse to water…

    The lengths you are going to defend Bill Johnson, contrary to his own clear words, is mind-boggling!

    If you can take those quotes and interpret them in an orthodox way, please show me how.

    Like

  362. David Altree says:

    The Orthodox way is not necessarily and always the correct and only viewpoint. Orthodox Christianity has a history of antisemitism and has stolen the gifts of the Spirit from millions of people.

    I have met people from Bethel. They are some of the most Godly people I know. I am a big Bible fan and have studies scriptures for years. I am not some novice teenager in these matters. So I know the real deal when I see it. They all love Jesus and they all believe He is the Son of God who sits on the right of God the Father. They all believe in the Trinity. They all believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are crazy-in-love Christians for God and Jesus. Bill is not leading them away from Jesus, he has helped them into the Holy of Hollies and a deep personal relationship with Jesus and God the Father. They are not legalistic and they show the Father’s love to the lost and have saved thousands of people. They have a strong ministry to Muslims and thousands are being save.

    The proof is in the godliness of the people. You will know them by their love for one another! Are they a bit hyper-charismatic. Yes! Could some of the magnification be a fleshly response to the presence of God. Probably. So what! It’s there business with God, not yours.

    I perceive you are a great student of the Bible and you have great zeal for His Word. But honestly, I don’t see the heresies your are pointing out. Do I believe everything thing Bill teaches? No I do not. But I don’t put him in the same category as the false teachers that Paul was talking about.

    Like

  363. Craig says:

    The Orthodox way is not necessarily and always the correct and only viewpoint. Orthodox Christianity has a history of antisemitism and has stolen the gifts of the Spirit from millions of people.

    Yet another straw man. Our subject here is Christology, which the Council of Chalcedon (451AD) solidified as the Biblical teaching. It is still the standard by which we assess faulty Christology today. Johnson fails on multiple counts.

    The proof is in the godliness of the people…

    I submit that you cannot speak for each and every Bethel member, but more importantly, one cannot assess another’s status as a Christian, for only God knows the heart. I’ve met New Agers who are some of the most moral folks imaginable, seemingly “godly”, and just as fervent for “Jesus”, with their Jesus more in line with what Johnson teaches as opposed to orthodox Christology. It is adherence to Biblical Truth – most especially with regard to Jesus Christ, the object of our salvation – than outward appearances that is the determining factor. Jesus Himself stated:

    31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    The converse is true, if you do not hold to Jesus’ teachings, you are not really His disciples. Bill Johnson clearly teaches a different Jesus than the one revealed in the Word of God and by the Word of God Himself.

    …They all love Jesus and they all believe He is the Son of God who sits on the right of God the Father…

    Johnson has a very recent teaching about being at the right hand of God – to include the believer! Again, check it out for yourself. The title speaks for itself – Thinking from the Throne – and here’s one quote from it: “…In the SAME measure that the Father put Jesus at His right hand, in the same measure He has put YOU at His right hand, because YOU are IN Christ….”

    http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/thinking-from-the-throne

    I’ve transcribed a good deal of it and placed individual quotes from it, with explanatory commentary in this article:

    https://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/bill-johnson-claims-you-can-think-and-live-from-the-right-hand-of-god/

    Once again, Johnson’s teaching looks like Gnostic teaching.

    And are you really telling me you see nothing wrong with the following quote of Bill Johnson’s?!

    The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [“Christ anointing” by the Spirit after water baptism] there could be no title. [Face to Face with God: The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence, Lake Mary, Charisma House, 2007, p 109]

    Johnson is clearly implying that Jesus was not the Christ at birth (let alone conception), as Jesus could not have received the title of Christ “without the experience”, i.e, the “Christ anointing”:

    …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, p 77]

    With this last quote, not only does Johnson claim that Jesus received a “Christ anointing” (that is, the “Christ”, or Holy Spirit, anointed Him following John’s baptism, providing the title of Christ to Jesus), but Johnson claims others receive this same “Christ anointing” in imitation of Him. Does this mean we get the title of Christ at this point, also?! It would appear that way, and that’s just like Gnostic teaching, as in the quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Philip I used earlier!!

    Like

  364. Dr. David Tacha says:

    I’ve been reading the dialog back and forth on Bill Johnson and Bethel Church. It seems both sides of the issue have raised interesting and important points. To call someone a false prophet or teacher is a strong statement, but if justified may be warranted in certain cases. This led me think about what is a false teacher in a Biblical sense. I study the bible using principles of interpretation called apostolic hermeneutics. This is the theory of text interpretation letting Bible interpret the bible. This led me to examine the context and historical prospective of what the Bible defines as heresy or false teaching.

    Warning on False Teachers and Heresy
    Matthew 7:15
    Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
    Acts 20:28-30
    Paul warned the Ephesian elders in “After my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
    2 Corinthians 11:4
    For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
    2 Peter 2:1-3
    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.
    2 Peter 2:14-15
    They delight in deception, even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong

    Titus 3:10
    As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him
    1 John 4:1
    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    It is without question, the Bible warns us about false teaching heresy in the church; however, I would like to attempt to define what the Bible false defines as false teaching and heresies in context of the Bible.

    It is quite clear that the Bible condemns or judges those who were intentionally misleading and misguiding people by their teaching. Their motives were not pure; their hearts were not committed to God and His truth, and they exploited the truth of self-gain or money or power.

    Let’s examine what these teachings and heresies were from a Biblical perspective. I have investigated the religious sects and pagan practices and Greek philosophy at the time of Jesus and the Apostle. I believe this is needed to define certain passages of scripture.

    Judaizing Teachers

    Paul warned against Judaizing teachers because they taught that Christians also had to submit to certain rites of the Jewish Law in order to be saved. They held circumcision and the Law of Moses to still be binding. Paul condemns these practices throughout his writings. Some from Judea taught the Gentile converts at Antioch that they could not be saved, unless they observed the whole ceremonial law as given by Moses; and thus they sought to destroy Christian liberty.

    Gnosticism

    Gnosticism (from gnostikos, “learned”, from Ancient Greek: γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) describes a collection of ancient religions that taught that people should shun the material world created by the demiurge and embrace the spiritual world.

    Thus came the practice of extreme self-denial and self-abuse, perhaps in an attempt to reach a higher level of purity and godliness. In Colossians 2:8-23: “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement.” Paul continues to address false teachings on circumcision eating and drinking, and the worship of angels. In Col 19-23 Paul defines the practice of asceticism; “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch” These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

    Antinomianism

    Another doctrine of false teaching at the time of Paul was antinomianism, which advocated a separation of the body and soul so as to allow the body to do whatever it desires while supposedly maintaining a purity of the soul. 2 Timothy 3:2-9: Paul called them” lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful and arrogant; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. Avoid such men as these.”

    The False Doctrine of Docetism
    Another teaching that developed out of Gnosticism was that of Docetism. This was the belief that Jesus only seemed to be human, and that his human form was an illusion. The word docetai (illusionists) referring to early groups who denied Jesus’ humanity,
    Greek Philosophical Sect

    The problem at Colossae is clouded by an assumption that pervades commentaries and other exegetical works: that Paul’s warning to the Colossians to beware of “hollow and deceptive philosophy” (2:8) indicates that a Greek or local philosophical sect was invading the Christian congregation to entice members away.

    Essenes Doctrine

    The Essenes included abstinence from certain foods. The Essenes could touch neither oil, nor meat, nor wine. Sabbath-keeping was the strictest possible among the Essenes. They “abstain from seventh-day work more rigidly than any other Jews.” Their extremism on Sabbath-keeping comes out more clearly in another statement of Josephus, in which he notes that they “do not venture to remove any utensil or go and ease themselves”. The Essenes adhered to strict discipline. They avoided the pleasures of the body, prohibited marriage and possession of wealth or property, and all secular talk.

    Summary
    In summary, false teachers and heresy can lead us away from Christ’s sacrifice and atonement of sins, his resurrection, grace, the eternal Godhead of God the Father, God the son and the Holy Spirit, the inerrant word of God, and most important, God’s love and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    In recent church history, the teachings of Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and Unitarian churches can be defined as heretical and false teachings.

    After carefully examining the Biblical evidence of heretical teaching, I am not sure I can classify teachers such as Bill Johnson (Bethel church) a heretic as defined by the Biblical or in the same category as the Mormon Church. I don’t believe any scholar or any students of the Bible can interpret the Bible 100% accurate. Calvinism and Arminianism are great examples of Godly men who teach doctrines of the Bible quite differently. Which one and which camp is a true heretic?

    Conclusion:

    I would like to conclude by looking at Acts 18:24-28. This passage of scriptures tells about Apollos, “an eloquent man” who was “mighty in the Scriptures.” But he lack truths about the way of the Lord. The Bible tells how Pricilla and Aquila did not condemned him, but rather he was taken aside and taught more fully by loving. His motives were pure and he was teaching based on his knowledge of the truth.

    The Real Enemies of Truth and God’s Word

    In 2014, I believe the real enemies of the Christian church and the Bible are dissident liberalism, human philosophy, teachings of evolution, non-Christian religions that steal are youth away, liberal colleges, liberal seminaries, socialism, the news media, and teachers who sow discord among the brethren.

    Dr. David Tacha

    Like

  365. David Alree. says:

    Your straw man analogy is a bit annoying. This is your debating technique on invalidating my position. The straw man fallacy occurs in the following argument: Person 1 has position X. Person 2 disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially similar position Y.

    You do the exact same thing to me when I am presenting my views. However, as in the Wizard of OZ, this straw man has a brain!

    David Altree

    Like

  366. Craig says:

    Dr. David Tacha,

    Thanks for your comments. You wrote, It is quite clear that the Bible condemns or judges those who were intentionally misleading and misguiding people by their teaching. Their motives were not pure; their hearts were not committed to God and His truth, and they exploited the truth of self-gain or money or power

    This is correct; yet we cannot know unequivocally who is and who isn’t being intentionally misleading, as only God knows the heart. While you’ve noted Matthew 7:15, you’ve not cited the entire context, which includes vv 16-23. The fruit in this case is both theological orthodoxy as well as orthopraxy. Jesus describes some who were performing charismata, yet He never knew them. Apparently they were not actually saved, i.e., Holy Spirit indwelt. We do not and cannot definitively ascertain who is and who isn’t His. But, we can have an idea based upon a particular teacher’s adherence to theological orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

    Your understanding that the book of Colossians (written ~AD60) is about Gnosticism is not shared. Most think it referred to the mystery religions of the day, taken from Platonic philosophy, and that Gnosticism, though drawing from these mystery religions, was not prevalent until much later. In any case, one of the tenets of Gnosticism, which I’ve already demonstrated, was a separation of the man Jesus from the Christ Spirit (cf. 1 John 4:1-3; 2:22-23). This was found in the teachings of Cerinthus, who was known to John, as evidenced by Irenaeus’ writings, referencing Polycarp. It is at this point right here that I’ve identified Johnson’s Christology as Neo-Gnostic (in other works on here).

    Also, your description of the basis of Gnosticism is not all-encompassing. This “gnosis” was in the form of special or secret knowledge, and it was this secret/occult knowledge (mysticism) that provided the ultimate means for self-salvation (auto-soterism), the escape from the physical world. Yes, some used extreme asceticism as part of the process, yet others did the opposite, promoting licentiousness, with the understanding that the material did not “matter” (pun intended), nor did the Law (cf. 1 John 3:4-6), as it was the spiritual that was the ‘true self’. And this idea carries into the present time.

    I’ll not address the straw man that is your Calvinism/Arminianism comment.

    You wrote, In 2014, I believe the real enemies of the Christian church and the Bible are dissident liberalism, human philosophy, teachings of evolution, non-Christian religions that steal are youth away, liberal colleges, liberal seminaries, socialism, the news media, and teachers who sow discord among the brethren.

    I will agree that these are the enemies from without (outside the Church); however, there are certainly enemies within, and my opinion is that these are much more dangerous, as individuals feel safety inside the church walls. This is exactly where the wolves thrive, as evidenced by Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21-23. You may think I’m ‘sowing discord among the brethren’, but, I’m not so quick to count the likes of Bill Johnson among the brethren. Quoting Craig Keener from his review of MacArthur’s Strange Fire:

    …I suspect that when we cite the highest figures for the numbers of charismatics in the world, we recognize that not all of them are those we would feel comfortable embracing as spiritual or theological kin

    Also, I deleted your separate comment referring to my Statement of Faith. That particular thread is the appropriate place to put it, not here. Yet, you may wish to re-read my SoF before you post it there.

    Like

  367. Craig says:

    David Altree,

    Then perhaps you should not erect straw men, but stick to the subject instead:

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html

    Like

  368. David Alree says:

    The straw man analogy is your interpretation to invalidate my position. I do not agree with with your straw man analogy. I am just showing you are a straw man defined by your own definition.

    Like

  369. Craig says:

    Here’s the most recent example of one of your straw men, and my response to it:

    The Orthodox way is not necessarily and always the correct and only viewpoint. Orthodox Christianity has a history of antisemitism and has stolen the gifts of the Spirit from millions of people.

    Yet another straw man. Our subject here is Christology, which the Council of Chalcedon (451AD) solidified as the Biblical teaching. It is still the standard by which we assess faulty Christology today. Johnson fails on multiple counts.

    Now, just follow the steps at the link. Our subject has been Johnson’s Christology, while I’ve been promoting orthodox Christology to counter it. Orthodox Christology is “position X” (1). Yet you’ve brought in anti-Semitism, and your assertion that the Church has “stolen the gifts” as the definition of “orthodoxy” – “position Y” (2). Then, the implication is that my position – orthodox Christology – is this much broader thing you’ve made it out to be (3). Then you wish to use that as a basis to attack my position (4).

    Like

  370. Craig says:

    The bottom line is this: Let’s stick with the subject of this post and then only make direct responses to the comments in this post. I’ve shown multiple occasions of Bill Johnson teaching unorthodox, seemingly contradictory, and heretical statements, when compared to orthodox teaching as found in Scripture and the history of the Church. Yet, rather than attempting either to (1) refute what I’ve written, by either illustrating that I’ve somehow misrepresented Johnson’s position by taking out of context, misunderstanding, etc., or (2) conceding specifically that Johnson’s teaching is what I state that it is, you bring up other unrelated things or distort my position. Let’s address the specifics. This is why I have the comments section. I’m not going to continue spending my time knocking down straw men.

    Like

  371. Craig says:

    And for the record, this is the very first article on this site. There are many more that bring in additional data not known or found at this time. In addition, as I’ve learned more about not just Johnson, but correct, orthodox theology and aberrant theology, the newer articles encompass much more. Or, they are more narrowly focused, depending upon my aim.

    Like

  372. Dr. David Tacha says:

    I did not write an all encompassing definitions of each sect because it would have been quite detailed. I tried to stay in context of the scripture and direct claims of Paul. Certain sects have similar false teachings, so it can be difficult to be absolutely correct from the context of the Bible; especially when the Bible does not call out the sects names, only the dialog of false teaching that connect each sect.

    Like

  373. Craig says:

    My over-riding point was that you neglected (re: Gnosticism) one of the very points I brought up in this recent conversation, specifically on 1/23 @ 7:00AM (separation of Christ from Jesus, this doctrine Biblically refuted by John in his first Epistle – 4:1-3, 2:22-23), that you claimed you’ve been following. Moreover, this “secret knowledge” aka mysticism that I added is specifically addressed by Paul in Colossians 2:18 “…Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind” [NIV]. And in doing so, “He has lost connection with the Head…” [2:19]. That’s a very apt description of Bill Johnson, who has claimed recently – as I’ve mentioned already recently in this ongoing conversation – “…In the SAME measure that the Father put Jesus at His right hand, in the same measure He has put YOU at His right hand, because YOU are IN Christ….” Johnson even proof-texted this very letter of Paul towards his own esoteric teaching.

    Like

  374. Craig says:

    Interestingly, I’ve been reading a bit of the discipline of Linguistics, coming across a tactic known as wax and gold in which communication is at two levels. The important one is the “gold” which is encoded such that only those aware of this encryption will understand, while the “wax” is the innocuous form. If an unintended recipient of the “gold” decodes the message, calling out the speaker for the particular code, the speaker can deny it, claiming the innocuous meaning instead. I do believe I’ve observed this with Johnson’s teachings, as some very closely approximate occult doctrines (themselves obvious perversions of Christian truths), but with a bit more “Christian” dressing. An example is the “Thinking from the Throne” podcast referenced earlier:

    36:30]…until we all come to unity of faith and the KNOWLEDGE of the SON of God. Too many people think they know that don’t know. So the knowledge of the Son of God, to A perfect man. Look at the description. Millions and millions of body members come to A – singular – perfect man…a full-on revelation of the Person of Jesus, what He is like, how He is. To A perfect man, to the measure and stature – equal measure to the fullness of Christ…[37:34]

    No, we don’t EVER attain the “equal measure to the fullness of Christ”. But, this doctrine is strikingly similar in basic thrust to one known as “the law of divisibility” in the Agni Yoga teachings, as well as some of Alice Bailey’s Theosophical works, both of which are expressly antichrist.

    I think I’ve provided quite enough evidence of Bill Johnson’s faulty and outright heretical teachings. If either of the two recent commenters would like address these specific quotes head on, please do so. Otherwise, please move on.

    Like

  375. Dr. David Tacha says:

    In a former reply you said “Apollinarianism was labelled as heresy as you’ve found. It’s for this reason that modern theologians stress the Chalcedonian Creed of 451AD which superseded both Constantinople of 381 and Ephesus of 431”.

    Let’s talk about the Chalcedonian Creed. As I am sure you are acutely aware of this event, the creed was adopted at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, held at Chalcedon in 451 A.D, as a response to certain heretical views concerning the nature of Christ. Ecumenical Synod (the Roman Catholic Church) an assembly of bishops and other ecclesiastics representative of the Christian Church) also defined that no one shall be suffered to bring forward a different faith, nor to write, nor to put together, nor to excogitate, nor to teach it to others. But such as dare either to put together another faith, or to bring forward or to teach or to deliver a different Creed to (those who) wish to be converted to the knowledge of the truth, from the Gentiles, or Jews or any heresy whatever, if they be Bishops or clerics let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, and the clerics from the clergy; but if they be monks or laics: let them be anathematized (condemned).

    This creed was not without controversy as a second and third councils of Constantinople re-ratified the creed with certain additions in 553 A.D. and 680-81 A.D, respectively.

    The Council of Chalcedon was an important event in the church history as there were certain heretical teachings on nature of Christ and the Godhead. The purpose of a creed was to act as a yardstick of correct belief (orthodoxy); however, the creed is not the inerrant Word of God! The group of men who wrote the Chalcedonian Creed were not the original apostles, nor were they an eye witnesses of Christ or His disciples.

    I have a bit of a disagreement or concern over the creed that is not based on the Bible; “anyone who even slightly disagrees or would dare not to believe the creed should be anathematized and are considered heretics”. This led to witch hunts and murder of many great men and women of God throughout the Catholic Church. In the end, the Bible is my final authority. The Chalcedonian Creed is not the inerrant Word of God! The group of men who wrote the Chalcedonian Creed were not the original apostles, nor were they an eye witnesses of Christ or His disciples.The Bible calls the incarnation and the eternal Godhead a mystery. It’s exact understanding still remains a mystery to most of us.

    Now let’s get to your point of the heretical teaching of Bill Johnson. From your understanding and belief in the orthodoxy of the Chalcedonian Creed, you have declared Bill Johnson a heretic and he should be anathematized by the church. Am I correct? I then fully understand your view point and your dogmatic belief based on this premise, however, there just might be one major flaw in your premise. Did truth or interpretation of the Bible stop in 451 A.D? Does this mean that any debate on this subject is closed. If your answer is yes, then I cannot debate or discuss this issue anymore.

    I leave you with this one thought. The evolutionists believe the earth is 4 billion years old. Therefore, they must date all artifacts accordingly to their dogmatic and indisputable belief. It’s called circular logic.

    I believe you are sincere Christian in your beliefs and I ask God to continue giving you revelation of His Word. I have enjoyed this spirited debate, even though I personally disagree with your tactics, as public judgment of a Christian is serious business. By the way, I like the name CrossWise. Very clever.

    Eternally His,

    Dr. David Tacha

    Like

  376. just1ofhis says:

    David Alree stated (regarding Craig), ” I am just showing you are a straw man defined by your own definition.”

    I hereby give witness to the fact that Craig is definitively NOT made of straw, whether by his or anyone else’s definition. (insert emoticon smiley face here…)

    Like

  377. just1ofhis says:

    Having been subjected to Kenneth Hagin’s version of “born-again” Jesus, I find the “wax and gold” description very telling. After coming out of the WoF church and coming to a scripture based understanding via the Holy Spirit of where/why the teachings were so off (lots of correction and repentance, in other words); I became very interested in learning more about Hagin, especially in the areas of where his teachings came from.

    With Hagin, you get to the New Age fairly quickly via E.W. Kenyon, whom Hagin plagiarized, This proved very lucrative for Hagin. He achieved the same things that Bill Johnson has: prosperity, tremendous popularity, and influence on a global scale.

    This is one of the reasons that the idea of a “born-again jesus” (who is not the same Jesus Christ who is the Word of God made flesh, the Lord of lords and King of kings) becomes important to flesh out. It is and has been one of the common signs of a false gospel. It is an easy twisting of the Word of God to pass off on those who are desiring supernatural power and/or have a sense of being elite in some way.

    Craig has examined this exhaustively; and it would be good for those who question it to open their Bibles, pray, and consider closely what he has presented in this article.

    Like

  378. Craig says:

    I see once again you never engaged with the substance of the argument, instead erecting yet another straw man. Why do you insist on doing so, especially after I’ve specifically requested not to? I’ve never stated the Chalcedonian Definition is on par with Scripture, and it matters little if some misguided individuals used it to bludgeon others. In fact in this article I stated the following:

    Crisp continues stating that the ecumenical creeds which asserted proper Christology are “theologically binding” because they are “dogmatic reflection upon Scripture by the undivided Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”86 While noting that the creeds are “not infallible guides,”87 Crisp strongly believes the ecumenical councils have “not…in fact canonized substantive errors”88 due to Holy Spirit influence.

    [EDITED @ 10:58, the following quote is added, as this is what I intended to copy in the first place]:

    “…I think Scripture is the norming norm, the bedrock of all Christian theology. The ‘tradition’ consists in a cluster of different, subordinate norms, such as the catholic [universal] creeds, confessional creeds, confessional statements (e.g. Westminster Confession) and the works of particular theologians. But these are all subordinate to the Word of God.”89

    Oliver Crisp is careful to qualify their importance as subordinate to Scripture, which is why he is quoted. And the Chalcedonian Definition is, in fact, based upon Scripture. If you can show me a portion that is unscriptural, please do so. You may be the first. There were heretics who opposed it, of course, and there was also some in the Eastern Orthodox who opposed it primarily due to language differences. But, the fact is that it was unanimously ratified by everyone in attendance. Those future Councils clarified some language, with the last one specifying two wills in the Person of Christ rather than one [EDITED, adding the following for clarity:], though it was implied, it was not specifically stated at Chalcedon. Not all accept this, but I myself find this to be the Biblical position, having studied this at some length.

    The purpose of Chalcedon was to define proper Christology, as culled from Scripture, to defend the faith against the heretics – with “heretics” defined as those breaking from true teachings contained in Holy Writ, essentially heading their own sects. They were separatists.

    BTW, Chalcedon was not held near Rome (it was in Istanbul), and the standing “Pope” sent delegates in his place. And there was a power struggle, with some recognizing another leader (name escapes me) over the standing “Pope”. It was in no way a RCC Council, contrary to what RC Church would have us believe.

    You wrote, Does this mean that any debate on this subject is closed. If your answer is yes, then I cannot debate or discuss this issue anymore.

    There continue to be debates. I don’t think the Definition/Creed is an ironclad defense against heresy, as some have claimed “loopholes”. But, the bottom line is that, as I’ve stated before, it’s 100% Scripturally based, essentially a condensation of what the Bible states regarding the Person of Jesus Christ. And, as I’ve stated, Johnson clearly violates at a number of points, which means he clearly violates Scripture.

    You wrote, I have enjoyed this spirited debate, even though I personally disagree with your tactics, as public judgment of a Christian is serious business.

    You should read the early Church “fathers” (I don’t like the term, but we’re pretty much stuck with it.). They were much more harsh with their words than me. However, importantly, I’ve not made “public judgment of a Christian”. I’ve weighed Bill Johnson’s teachings publically, and found them wanting. Given that Johnson’s teachings are in the public realm, shouldn’t an assessment of those teachings be the same? And, please don’t trot out the “have you tried to talk to him?” argument. I’ve not personally, but I know others who’ve tried. He shrugs them off. He engages occasionally on social media (of which I have no part, so I find out from others), but it’s merely to pay lip service, as he continues teaching the same things. In fact, he’s recently gotten even more brazen in his false theology.

    Here’s my bottom line: I’m no longer going to allow any comment that does not specifically bring up one of the Johnson quotes and attempt to discuss them.

    Glad you like the name CrossWise. I don’t take credit for it, as I believe it was Holy Spirit-given.

    Like

  379. Craig says:

    You wrote, …The Bible calls the incarnation and the eternal Godhead a mystery. It’s exact understanding still remains a mystery to most of us.

    On this I agree 100%, but it seems you’re not quite comprehending the nature of the Chalcedon Definition. It wasn’t an attempt to explain the mystery, as the mystery is in the exact nature, the physical make-up of Jesus Christ (such as ‘how exactly were the two natures in Christ conjoined?’, etc.). The Godhead, of which the second Person of the Trinity was a part of Jesus Christ, will always remain a mystery to mere humans, as we just do not have the capacity to understand/comprehend deity. I like it that way. I WANT God to be beyond my ken!

    The Definition is meant to convey, in a sort of shorthand, the doctrine on the Person of Christ as specifically revealed in Scripture, and nothing more. It is not meant to go beyond it into philosophical speculation, though that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on how far one takes it.

    You wrote, Now let’s get to your point of the heretical teaching of Bill Johnson. From your understanding and belief in the orthodoxy of the Chalcedonian Creed, you have declared Bill Johnson a heretic and he should be anathematized by the church. Am I correct? I then fully understand your view point and your dogmatic belief based on this premise, however, there just might be one major flaw in your premise. Did truth or interpretation of the Bible stop in 451 A.D?

    Since I may not have fully answered this, here I will do so. Yes, according to the CC I deem Johnson’s teachings to be heretical. But, I don’t stop there. I go to specific Scriptures, as I have already in this recent conversation, most specifically 1 John 4:1-3; 2:22-23, and these verses are illustrated in the CC (“…to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably…”). On THAT basis Johnson violates both the CC and this specific Scripture upon which the section quoted is based.

    Now, does that satisfy you?

    Like

  380. David Altree, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and accept that you believed that you were playing the ball and not the man.

    The problem is, you make a number of rank assumptions about Craig without having done sufficient research to ensure you are correct. And each of them is wrong.

    Therefore, you are making objections to what you presume his arguments are based on your mischaracterisation of his doctrine rather than seeking to understand him and making objections to his declared opinions.

    Ergo, you have come at him with a lot of straw man arguments. That’s not to say you’re any more evil or mischeivoous than the next guy, you’re just starting on the wrong footing and therefore everything else you seek to construct is founded on the same error.

    I recommend asking questions first. If you take objection to something you think someone has said, ask if that is what they mean. Given the misunderstandings manifest in your comments, the odds are you will not have correctly understood and the request for clarification will be beneficial. Making incorrect presumptions will not allow you to engage constructively with someone and may reduce your reputation for credibility and turn people off future engagements.

    Like

  381. Craig says:

    Interestingly, yesterday at lunch I was reading a bit on Sociolinguistic theory (theory on discourse), and five points were raised. In brief:

    1) Knowledge of the listener…

    2) The principle of cooperation. Discourse cannot proceed unless each participant makes a positive attempt to further it. The constant interjection of irrelevancies makes discourse intolerable: ‘It’s no use trying to talk sense to you!’

    3) The principle of comprehensibility: the assumption that language will be used in its conventional manner

    4) The principle of context appropriateness: that all participants will correctly identify the context and will observe the appropriate social and linguistic conventions… (i.e., addressing people properly, e.g., not addressing an individual as if the speaker were addressing a crowd, etc.)

    5) The principle that vocabulary and linguistic structures exist to make the proposed discourse possible.

    As I was sitting in the restaurant eating and reading, I laughed out loud when I came to #2, given recent exchanges on here.

    Like

  382. Craig says:

    Dr. David Tacha,

    If you’re still reading, I wish to provide an analogy of sorts, a simple one. Given your background, let’s say you read the findings of another study and desire to duplicate it with the idea to further that particular study. The conclusion of the other study stated that the combination of xyz will achieve the desired result. So, you procure x, y, and z, then, using the exact proportions specified in that study, you find your result is not the same.

    You check your work: x had been used in the specified %, and the same was with y and z. You KNOW you did it correctly. You decide to try it again, from scratch. Yet again, you reach the same erroneous result.

    After checking your sources, you find that x was actually c, having been mislabeled; therefore, you were never going to achieve the desired results with that formula. You reacquire x, this time ensuring it is indeed x. Now your results are congruent with the first study and you may proceed as you had initially intended.

    What if Bill Johnson has c for x? This is essentially what I’ve found. And this means Johnson does not have the real Jesus, the One who provided Atonement, the One who can save the lost. Johnson’s Jesus will not provide the desired results.

    Like

  383. Carolyn says:

    This quote from Johnson encapsulates one of his most diabolical and false conclusions ever: “…While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Philippians 2:7). It is vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow.”

    He says, “I am now unsatisfied with my life…”

    Speaking from my own vantage point, I see this as the reason why many Christians have become enamoured with Harry Potter and mystical Word of Faith teachings, the signs and wonders movement and false teaching that promises things that are inconsistent with the facts.

    What will flip the switch for these people out of false teaching? Probably when they decide to get honest and stop making excuses for themselves and their false prophets whose words seldom come to pass as spoken. We are addicted to personalities, to witchcraft, sorceries, shamanism and illusions. You must admit, it makes our ordinary lives a whole lot more exciting, which is the bait that has been so successfully used to snare us.

    But the thing is, when we are worshipping a false Christ, there are always these frustratingly, false dichotomies that we are struggling with. The equations just don’t fit. Suffering versus Kings Kids. Submission versus control. Self control versus out of control. God does not change his mind versus he is doing a new thing…a new thing….a new thing………….

    We are attracted to the concept that we can take charge of our own low estate, we can create our own success and we wager that trials are for the weak minded. James says we must accept our low estate, actually be happy about it and find our source and supply in God, (which also agrees with all other Scripture). So here we see a disagreement with the modern Christian/New Ager if there ever was one!

    James 1:9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heatand withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
    12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

    Like

  384. Carolyn says:

    Craig, I enjoyed reading your brief outline of the benefits of proper discourse skills. Communication fascinates me. It’s refreshing when someone gets your point or when you are tracking on the same line of thinking. However, with so many coming from different positions, communication is not always so neat and sweet. But…even when communication is not tracking smoothly, if there is mutual respect and consideration, there’s a better chance of being heard.

    As always, I appreciate your effort to bring honesty and forthrightness as well as theological perspective to the conversation.

    Like

  385. Carolyn says:

    Addendum: For all my talk of good communication, I think I failed to convey my thought adequately. When we are watching a debate, as an onlooker, we can see the tactics that the opposition is using. Just as in parliament, if they can’t win on an issue, they start attacking their opponent. This is something I noticed in this debate as well. The issue is not Johnson, it is the error of his teaching. Craig, as the opposition is not the issue. Error is the issue. If common ground is to be reached, it must be reached on the issue.

    Like

  386. Carolyn says:

    After sorting my thoughts this morning, I can no longer agree with my above resolution for common ground. The issue for those who wish to hang out with Bill Johnson is not truth vs error. It is not a defence of the gospel. It is a defence of Bill Johnson. How can you win with a false dichotomy such as that? It is neither this nor that, but something else. And when someone has this kind of reasoning….no one wins. The debate was never about a common issue. And IMO, never will be unless the decision is made by the the blind followers of blind guides to stop listening to them, stop hanging out with them and stop defending them. Then there could be an honest debate about a common issue.

    Like

  387. Canada says:

    This whole Bethel thing (it surely is not a church) and anything to do with it is as demonic as they come. Run from it!

    Like

  388. Jim says:

    There are serious scriptural misunderstandings (whether deliberate or not, but worrying either way) by those who say that Jesus had to be born again. John 14:23 sums up what happens to a new (biblically honest) believer in the real Christ, and 2 Cor 5:17 is the result. There is also a constant outworking of the new creation as evidenced in good deeds, spiritual fruit and gifts all within an appropriate amount of humble fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13).

    If Jesus needed to be born again, he had to be totally bereft of the Father and, bizarrely, his divine self! That is to say a mere man born of Adam’s line, and takes kenosis way beyond Paul’s intended meaning. For Johnson to hold this view and also that Jesus is eternally God is utterly contradictory, and it beggars belief that he’s not aware of such a bi-polar stand.

    Like

  389. Craig says:

    This is why I’ve focused so much on Johnson’s writings. I think, at root, they are neognostic.

    Like

  390. Jim says:

    The somewhat troubling aspect in every discussion about another person’s stand on biblical interpretation is where the line (if indeed we can call biblical doctrine linear from a right or wrong perspective) exists whereby that person is in the territory of ‘another gospel’ or ‘another Jesus’ as viewed by God and not man.

    The more I consider God the Father and the risen Son, the more I feel I know so little. Too often I can get to the stage where I seem to be arguing like some medieval theologians did about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin! However, I do think that the debate you host here, Craig, has a place, but it is difficult to dialogue when one person’s gospel is another person’s false gospel. Offence is taken so quickly and easily, and so we often tolerate some irrational benhaviour during online forum exchanges. Thank you for tolerating mine haha!

    And it’s pretty clear that Jesus and the NT writers were far less tolerant that we are towards error. They mostly didn’t try to win the argument; just came out and said ‘you’ve been bewitched’! (Gal 3). Far easier 🙂

    Like

  391. Craig says:

    To be fair, I think Paul’s statement in Gal 3 has the benefit of knowing where the misguided had departed–plus he was recognized as an authority. I won’t go into the particulars, but I’d spend a good amount of time in this passage, and, though it’s been a while, I recall roughly how I translated 3:1: O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?. He’s being a bit hyperbolic but empathetic at the same time. It wasn’t really their fault so much that they fell for someone’s deceptive trickery.

    As for me here, as I figured, I’ve grown a bit since starting this blog. My time on a ‘Hebrew roots’-type blog really helped me to learn some things I’d not considered before. That and my own individual penchant for self-study.

    But, those debates in the early church were highly charged!

    Like

  392. Jim says:

    Hebrews roots in a negative or positive way with respect to scripture, or was it that such knowledge produced a more ‘refined’ and nuanced perspective? I’d be interested to get a better handle on your experience if possible. Any past posts?

    Like

  393. Craig says:

    I’ve never posted on the subject at all. It was a blog–now no longer allowing comments–that was a very diverse mixture of individuals. Some denied the NT completely, i.e. they were Jews who don’t believe the Messiah has come yet. Others only accept part of the NT. Still others accept the NT but deny the Trinity in some fashion. Some accepted the Trinity, but had other believes that would violate Chalcedon. Quite a wide range. And the comments had an equally wide spectrum of individuals with poor exegetical skill and excellent, though filtering many things through this or that prism (eisegesis).

    Let me finish this up on the Independent Thoughts thread…

    Like

  394. Jim says:

    Not sure if you’ve seen this in your Bethel studies. Very much a mix of ‘perfect Son of God’ who still needed a baptism of power from the Holy Spirit to achieve anything. Then there’s the platonic journey into hell to perform the OT ‘saints’ rescue mission, followed by a lot of wailing and braying from the crowd. It’s 2012 but still there today, even in more muted form.

    Like

  395. Craig says:

    Not sure if I’d seen that clip, but I don’t have (don’t want to invest) the time to watch the whole 1.5 hours. I did listen a couple minutes in and heard the usual stuff. Then I forwarded to about the 47 minutes mark and heard him say, “…a people possessed by his presence” while folks were wailin’ and brayin’. Deceived people. And one who might be a deceiving deceiver.

    As an aside, if you delete the “&app=desktop” at the end of the video url, you can get a cleaner link–which may not have as many commercials.

    Like

  396. Craig says:

    For something a bit more grounded:

    Like

  397. Craig says:

    In case you hadn’t read part IIIa of the Johnson New Age ‘Christ’, here’s a quote from the 2nd century Gnostic Gospel of Philip:

    The chrism [chrisma, aka “anointing”] is superior to baptism. For from the chrism we were called ‘Christians’, not from baptism. Christ also was (so) called because of the anointing. For the Father anointed the Son. But the Son anointed the apostles. And the apostles anointed us. He who is anointed possesses all things. He has the resurrection, the light, the cross.

    Like

  398. Jim says:

    That gnostic quote is almost word for word what he states in the first section. Paraphrased, ‘The purpose of Jesus coming to die was not so much to enable salvation but that in doing away with sin, allow the believer to be baptised by the Holy Spirit and power’.

    Like

  399. Craig says:

    Are you familiar with Andrew Strom?

    Like

  400. Jim says:

    Yes I’m familiar with Andrew Strom and see his warning messages occasionally.

    Like

  401. Craig says:

    Did you see his video on recent healings I posted earlier?

    Like

  402. Jim says:

    Not yet Craig.

    Like

  403. Craig says:

    It was my second comment after your most recent one, @ 7:01 AM timestamp.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.