Learning Etymology with Bill Johnson: A New Age ‘Repentance’?

Many prominent authors and conference speakers add fuel to the fire of fear assuming that because the new age movement promotes it, its origins must be from the devil

-Bill Johnson1

Etymology is the study of the derivation of words, the history/origin of the elements which make up a word.  For example, the Greek word (transliterated) pharmakeia is translated to English in the New Testament as medication, magic, sorcery, and witchcraft.2  Obviously, the English word pharmacy is derived from this same word.  Hence pharmakeia is part of the etymology of the English word pharmacy.

There are at least two instances in which Bill Johnson breaks down words in order to help the reader understand the meaning.  However in each case, Bill Johnson explained the words in a way which went beyond their actual etymology and true meaning.  In his book Dreaming with God is the following:

A good way to remember the intent of the word desire is to break it down by syllables.  ‘De’ means ‘of.’  And ‘sire’ means ‘father.’  The question should not be, ‘are my desires from God?’  The question should be, ‘With what, or with whom have I been in communion?’*  I can communicate with God or the enemy… 3

For the record, the asterisk above replaces a footnote in the original text which indicates that the portion in quotation marks is from Lance Wallnau.  While it’s possible the above was a sort of mnemonic device (a concept such as the general rule for spelling in English “i before e except after c”) in order for Johnson to make a larger point, it should have been stated for the sake of correctness that this is not the actual origin, the etymology of the word desire to alleviate any potential confusion.

The word de, a preposition,can mean not just “of”, but also “with”, “by”, “for”, “from”, or “in” in Spanish, French, Latin, and other languages.  The word desire is a shortened form of the Latin desiderare with its origin explained in the following:

Early 13c[century]…“long for, wish for,” original sense perhaps “await what the stars will bring,” from the phrase de sidere “from the stars,” from sidus…“heavenly body, star, constellation”…4

So, as can be seen, the word’s derivation is essentially “longing for what the stars will bring” which has absolutely nothing to do with the Wallnau/Johnson claim above.  While the word sire does mean “father”, this is not part of the etymology of the word desire.

Here’s another example.  In Johnson’s book The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind is the explanation of the word “repent”:

Renewing the mind begins with repentance.  That is the gateway to return to our original assignment on earth.  Jesus said, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  To many Christians, repent refers to having an altar call where people come forward and weep at the altar to get right with God.  This is a legitimate expression of repentance, but it’s not what the word repentance means.  ‘Re’ means to go back.  ‘Pent’ is like the penthouse, the top floor of the building.  Repent, then, means to go back to God’s perspective on reality. And in that perspective there is a renewal, a reformation that affects our emotions, and every part of our lives…5

In the first example with the word desire the intent of Johnson/Wallnau may not have been clear, however, with Johnson’s repent he appears to be making the explicit claim that his explanation is the true meaning and origin.  Nevertheless, the word’s actual etymology proves Johnson wrong.

The term comes from the French repentir with prefix “re” from Latin (“again”) and penitire (“regret”) which is itself derived from Latin poenitire (“make sorry”) which in turn comes from poena (“punishment”).6  Obviously, within the word is the recognition of and regret for wrongdoing.

With this sort of carelessness with the English language, one must wonder how Bill Johnson handles the Word of God.   As has already been shown here on CrossWise, Johnson is similarly haphazard with Scripture as he reinterprets terms and concepts.  However, despite Johnson’s botching of the etymology of repent, it appears to be similar to the orthodox Christian understanding of the term.  Or is it?  Johnson’s phrase “God’s perspective on reality” is rather peculiar.  We’ll return to that in a bit.  First, let’s establish the meaning of repent from an orthodox Christian perspective.

Orthodox Christian Meaning of Repentance

Repentance is the noun form of the verb repent which means “[g]odly sorrow for one’s sin and a resolve to turn from it”.7  The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms defines it as, “The act of expressing contrition and penitence for sin.  Its linguistic roots [Ed: etymology] point to its theological meaning of a change of mind and life direction as a beginning step of expressing Christian faith (Acts 26:20).”8

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) is more thorough noting true repentance affects our intellect, emotions, and will.  As to the intellect, “…human beings must apprehend sin as unutterably heinous, the divine law as perfect and binding and themselves as falling short of the requirements of a holy God…”  As to emotions, repentance involves, “…an earnest appeal to God to forgive according to His mercy…”  The most important element is the understanding that to repent is an act of the will; we must choose to turn from sin.  Repentance is not a one time event but the constant choosing between alternatives.  However, equally important is that God takes the initiative.  It’s a paradox of sorts “reflecting the mysterious relationship between the human and the divine personalities”.  The choice is to follow Him or not .9

In terms of how repentance relates to salvation, the ISBE notes:

Repentance is only a condition of salvation and not its meritorious ground. The motives for repentance are found chiefly in the sinner’s experience of God’s kindness (Rom 2:4), love (Jn 3:16), and earnest desire that sinners be saved (Ezk 33:11; 1 Tim 2:4), of the inevitable consequences of sin (Lk 13:1-5), of the universal demands of the gospel (Acts 17:30), and of the hope for spiritual life…and membership in the kingdom of heaven (Mk 1:15).…A consciousness of spiritual poverty dethroning pride…surrender to God…spiritual hunger and thirst, are all part of the experience of one who wholly abandons sin and heartily turns to God who [alone] is able to grant eternal life.10

The words repent and repentance are translated from the Greek (transliterated) metanoeo and metanoia respectively.  In the definitive A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Early Christian Literature, Third Edition (BDAG) the definition for metanoeo is “feel remorse, repent, be converted”.11  Similarly, metanoia means “repentance, turning about, conversion”.  Now let’s look at the etymology of these Greek words.12

Meta is a preposition in the Greek (and is used as a prefix in English) meaning “with”, “among”, “in company with someone else”, “take”, “bring something along”, “behind”, “after”, et cetera, basically meaning “in the vicinity of”.13

Noeo means “to grasp or comprehend something on the basis of careful thought, perceive, apprehend, understand, gain an insight into”; “to think over with care, consider, take note of”; “to form an idea about something, think, imagine”; or, “to pay heed with intent to set appropriately, be minded”.14

Note again the Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms definition near the beginning of this section which states, “The linguistic roots point to its theological meaning of a change of mind and life direction as a beginning step of expressing Christian faith…”  This seems to capture the etymological root of the Greek word metanoia (the noun form of the verb metanoeo) keeping in mind the first part of the Westminster definition, “the act of expressing contrition and penitence for sin.”  Once we understand God’s holiness and righteousness as compared to our unrighteous, sinful condition, we perceive/comprehend/gain insight into the mind of God and act accordingly in penitence.

The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology states similarly that repent has the meaning “to turn back, away from” sin feeling “[h]eartfelt sorrow for sin” with a call to conversion.  “Repentance is the theme of the preaching of John the Baptist (Mt 3:1; Mk 1:4; Mt 3:8).  Baptism in water unto repentance is accompanied by confession of sins (Mt 3:6; cf. 1 Jn 1:8-9)…Generally…metanoia can be said to denote that inward change of mind, affections, convictions, and commitment rooted in the fear of God and sorrow for offences committed against him, which when accompanied by faith in Jesus Christ, results in an outward turning from sin to God and his service in all of life…”15

This establishes the orthodox Christian understanding of repent and repentance.  Now let’s look at how some of the unorthodox/heterodox16 define the terms.

Unorthodox/Heterodox definitions of Repentance

In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary used by the Unity School of Christianity is the following definition of repentance:

The Greek word metanoia is translated ‘repentance,’ which has been interpreted to mean an admission to God of sorrow for past sin and a resolve to be good in the future.  The field of action for that which has been assumed to be goodness in the sight of God has nearly always been in conduct.  The whole Christian world has in a measure failed to discern the teaching of the New Testament about mental laws.  A proper translation of the mission of John the Baptist is: He came into all the region round about Jordan preaching immersion in mentation for the doing away with shortcomingMetanoia means change of mind, middle mind, transformation of the mind, change of thought and purpose.17

The word “mentation” is not defined, but by the usage it seems to indicate a transformation of the mind by contemplative/meditative prayer.  [See “‘Christ Consciousness'” and “The ‘Christ Within’ or ‘Inner Christ’” sections of the “‘Christ’ in the New Age’ article here on this site.]  Apparently, in the Unity view, mainline orthodox Christianity has had it wrong all these years with the focus on sin.

In New Ager Cynthia Bourgeault’s book The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message is a reinterpretation of Jesus’ earthly ministry as a “teacher of the transformation of consciousness”.18   She agrees with fellow New Age author Jim Marion as she writes:

…Jim Marion’s wonderfully insightful and contemporary suggestion is that the Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from.  It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns the world into a different place.  Marion suggests specifically that the Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus’s own favorite way of describing a state we would nowadays call a ‘nondual consciousness’ or unitive consciousness.’ 19

Apparently Bourgeault and perhaps Marion are not very well informed as this teaching is hardly new having been around for quite a while in the Eastern religions which have infiltrated the US for at least the past 100 years including inside the Church.

Bourgeault also defines metanoia for the reader:

…It doesn’t mean feeling sorry for yourself for doing bad things.  It doesn’t even mean to ‘change the direction in which you’re looking for happiness’…The word literally breaks down into meta and noia, which…means ‘go beyond the mind’ or ‘go into the larger mind.’ 20

Similar to Unity, Bourgeault espouses the contemplative/meditative as a vehicle to the transformation of the mind.  What does “go into the larger mind” actually mean?

…I sometimes joke with my Centering Prayer students that when they sit down to do their twenty minutes of meditation, they are really engaged in an exercise in repentance.  It’s true if you take metanoia in this alternative sense.  They are going beyond their minds, into the larger mind.  And Jesus, the master of repentance, is leading them there.21

Perhaps that would be akin to Johnson’s “go[ing] back” to “the penthouse, the top floor of the building” to receive “God’s perspective on reality”?

It’s interesting how terms meant to convey ideas in a figurative way are literalized instead and, conversely, how terms meant to be understood literally are reinterpreted metaphorically in the New Age and esoteric ‘Christian’ groups.

A Closer look at Bill Johnson’s Definition of Repentance

Bill Johnson rightly mixes repentance with renewing the mind.  Upon salvation/justification one must repent.  After this, each one must continue to repent for sins committed throughout their Christian life.  With sanctification comes the renewing of the mind as this is the process of sanctification as we grow in the Christian faith.  By submitting ourselves to the indwelt Holy Spirit rather than succumbing to the sinful nature (flesh) we continue to be sanctified (Romans 8:1-17; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:16-26).  And, it’s the Holy Spirit who convicts of the sins we commit as we live out the Christian life.

Yet, Johnson uses some peculiar wording as he explains both concepts.  Here’s the quote once again:

Renewing the mind begins with repentance.  That is the gateway to return to our original assignment on earth.  Jesus said, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  To many Christians, repent refers to having an altar call where people come forward and weep at the altar to get right with God.  This is a legitimate expression of repentance, but it’s not what the word repentance means.  ‘Re’ means to go back.  ‘Pent’ is like the penthouse, the top floor of the building.  Repent, then, means to go back to God’s perspective on reality. And in that perspective there is a renewal, a reformation that affects our emotions, and every part of our lives…22

Yes, weeping in an altar call, while “a legitimate expression of repentance”, is not the actual meaning of repentance as the definition is much more.  However, to claim that “God’s perspective on reality” is the full definition is not adequate needing both further elaboration and a reigning in.  Since God is omniscient, He has full “reality”; mere men do not and will not.  And as noted above, Christian orthodoxy requires penitence as part of the definition of the term repentance.

Sure, if we take the strict meaning of metanoia as from its etymology we could arrive at the Johnson view divorcing sin and penitence from the definition as we know it and, similarly, we could redefine desire to mean “longing for stardust” thereby adding to its accepted meaning by using its etymological roots.  However, just like there’s an established meaning for desire as a “longing” or “craving”, throughout the past 2000 years the Christian understanding of repentance is as described above in the “Orthodox Christian Meaning of Repentance” section.

Let’s continue with the above quote in order to keep Johnson’s words in proper context:

…Without repentance we remain locked into carnal ways of thinking.  When the Bible speaks of carnality, it doesn’t necessarily mean obvious, disgusting sin.  Most Christians have no appetite for sin; they don’t want to get drunk or sleep around, but because they live without the demonstrated power of the gospel, many have lost their sense of purpose and gone back to sin…23

This is not wholly untrue.  If we do not submit to the Spirit and consequently live by the flesh, we will be stuck in “carnal ways of thinking”.  But, it doesn’t necessarily take the “demonstrated power of the gospel” to keep the already justified/saved Christian from sin; it’s by submitting to the Spirit instead and living by and in faith.  But, this is Johnson’s usual lure: to give the reader/listener the idea that the Christian life is primarily about living in the supernatural realm:

…Having a renewed mind is often not an issue of whether or not someone is going to heaven, but of how much of heaven he or she wants in his or her life right now.24

This goes to Johnson’s faulty premise that we can literally ‘bring heaven to earth’ based on his esoteric understanding of the “Lord’s Prayer” (Mt 6:9-13).  As Grant Osborne explains, there will be a new heaven and a new earth in the age to come at which point the current age is no longer.  Heaven and earth are separate and remain so:

…[I]t is a prayer that the fullness of his will, known only in heaven at present, be fully consummated via the second coming.  This will come with the arrival of ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ (Rev 21:1), when the old order passes away and the eternal order will begin.  At present we cannot introduce his perfect will and lead the people of this world to embrace it.  But we can proclaim his name and guide those around us to follow his will more fully…25

The Apostle Peter explained that the heavens (the atmosphere surrounding earth, not God’s dwelling place!) and the earth will disappear (2 Peter 3:10-13): “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10b-d; NIV 1984).

There are different views of eschatology (end times) which we should not divide over; however, to assume that we can literally bring the heavenly realm down to earth in bits and pieces until Christ returns is not Biblical.  But, it is a New Age and Latter Rain belief.

Johnson also states, “The only way to consistently do Kingdom works is to view reality from God’s perspective.”26  Johnson claims that when Jesus tells Nicodemus one cannot see the Kingdom unless one is born again (John 3:3) He meant that with a “renewed mind” one can literally see the Kingdom in the here and now instead of Jesus’ intent that this will be in the age to come.27  But what exactly does Johnson mean by his line of thinking?

Johnson’s Word of Faith Roots Showing

Bill Johnson has roots in Word of Faith theology as evidenced, for example, by his belief that all Christians should be healed of all afflictions.  E. W. Kenyon is recognized as the originator of Word of Faith doctrine with Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr. popularizing it in the past 40 years or so.  In D. R. McConnell’s book (McConnell did his graduate work at Oral Roberts University) A Different Gospel, he notes how Kenyon appropriated practices from metaphysical cults such as New Thought, Unity and Christian Science in order to form his own theology.28  Of Kenyon he states

The typical pattern in such instances is to disclaim any similarities with cultic teaching on a particular topic and then proceed to teach exactly that.29

In the following, McConnell quotes from Kenyon illustrating this practice:

We are not dealing with mysticism, philosophy or metaphysics.  We are dealing with realities…we are dealing with the basic laws of man’s being, the great spiritual laws that govern the unseen forces of life.30

This is not a new metaphysics or philosophy.  This is reality.  This is God breaking into the sense realm. This is God imparting His own nature to the human spirit.31

Now here’s Johnson with his disclaimer on his repentance/renewing your mind teaching.  He sets this up by pointing out how some have studied theology to the exclusion of living out a life of faith contrasting that with the excesses of others who promote supernatural experience at the expense of any sort of theological orthodoxy thinking doctrine has no value.  Of course, that’s not incorrect.  This then prefaces the following statement:

Many Christians instinctively distrust the mind, thinking it is irredeemably corrupt and humanistic.  They point to Harvard and Yale and other universities that were originally founded on Christian principles, but which today promulgate deceptions and lies…32

He follows this tact for a time setting up the quote above on repentance.  After establishing his definition on repentance and how important a renewed mind is to ‘bring heaven to earth’, he makes this statement:

…He wants you to see reality from God’s perspective, to learn to live from His world toward the visible world…33

This sounds very much like a quote from Bourgeault’s book, “…the Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from”.  Also, compare this to part of one of the Kenyon quotes above “This is God imparting His own nature to the human spirit” plus the following quote from Kenyon:

This is not psychology or metaphysics.  This is absolute fact.  God becomes a part of our very consciousness.34

Is Johnson conveying with the above that we need to, in his words, repent, i.e. “go back” to “the penthouse, the top floor of a building” which means regaining “God’s perspective on reality” in order to “to live from His world toward the visible world” and that the renewed mind is literally the mind of God?  That we can literally see the supernatural realm as if we were God himself and “view reality from God’s perspective”?

Compare this to the following taken from one of McConnell’s footnotes:

…It should be pointed out that ‘Reality’ as Kenyon uses it is a term used in New Thought and Christian Science to refer to the spiritual realm and truths that were hidden by the sensations of the physical realm, which were not reality at all, but was considered ‘error,’ the opposite of metaphysical reality….35

This is describing the concept in Brahmanism, a subset of Hinduism, known as maya, or illusion.  The physical realm is considered a dream, illusion.  Kenyon above called it “the sense realm”.  As Ankerberg and Weldon explain, “…Essentially, the idea that the world is an illusion ‘hiding’ Brahman is a key teaching of Hinduism in America.  The teaching aims at supposedly revealing one’s inward divine nature by ‘contacting’ Brahman through occult practices such as yoga, meditation, and altered states of consciousness.”36  If Brahma/God is inside everything in “hiding”, then Brahma/God can be contacted by going inward via meditation/contemplative prayer and the individual can become “one” with “God” thereby possessing the very mind of “God”.  That’s the essence of Transcendental Meditation.

Occultist H. P. Blavatsky, one of the founders of Theosophy in the late 19th century and thereby contemporaneous with New Thought and Christian Science, utilized the term “reality” in the same manner, denoting the spiritual realm in opposition to the illusion of maya, the physical universe:

…When the spiritual entity breaks loose for ever from every particle of matter, then only it enters upon the eternal and unchangeable Nirvana. He exists in spirit, in nothing; as a form, a shape, a semblance, he is completely annihilated, and thus will die no more, for spirit alone is no Maya, but the only REALITY in an illusionary universe of ever-passing forms.37 [all spelling, capitalization, and emphasis in original]

Is this similar to what Johnson means?  Taking the same basic information from another Johnson book, When Heaven Invades Earth, we see the same concepts as explained above, “Repentance is not complete until it envisions His Kingdom”.38

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

If the Kingdom is here and now, then we must acknowledge it’s in the invisible realm.  Yet being at hand reminds us that it’s also within reach39

Note how Johnson compares the ‘visible’ to the ‘invisible’.  Is this like Kenyon’s ‘sense realm’ as opposed to ‘reality’?  Johnson continues with the same reference to Nicodemus in John 3:3 claiming we should be able to “see” the Kingdom now on earth rather than Jesus’ intention that this will be in the future at the consummation, the Second Coming.  Continuing with the quote:

…That which is unseen can be realized only through repentance.  It was as though He said, ‘If you don’t change the way you perceive things, you’ll live your whole life thinking what you see in the natural is the superior reality…40

Does this not appear to be expressing the same basic New Age, Eastern and Unity doctrines described above?

Meditating on Johnson’s Doctrine of Meditation

Considering the quote on Brahmanism above and comparing this to Johnson’s use of the word “reality”, what exactly does Johnson espouse regarding meditation?  In Dreaming With God is Johnson’s explicit promotion of meditation which he begins with the definitive statement ‘Learn the biblical art of “meditation”’.41 After quoting Psalm 77:6, he goes into his own definition utilizing the same methodology of Kenyon in making a disclaimer and then actually promoting the very thing disclaimed.  Yet, in this case he misconstrues the occult/esoteric practice of meditation:

…Biblical meditation is a diligent search.  Whereas religious cults teach people to empty their minds as the means of meditation, the Bible teaches us to fill our minds with God’s Word.  Meditation has a quiet heart and a ‘directed’ mind.  Mulling over a word in our heart, with a pursuit that springs from the inquisitive child’s heart, is meditation.42

First, notice that he seems to state the Biblically correct way to meditate on God’s Word in the first few sentences yet his concluding sentence runs contrary to what he just explained.  “Mulling over a word in our heart” is not diligently studying and meditating on God’s Word using our mind.  What he’s describing is actually a definition of occult esoteric meditation!

This is not unlike the way in which cultists work; i.e., making a series of orthodox statements and then concluding with an unorthodox sentence.  The mind is prepared for a logical, orthodox conclusion so that when what seems to be an illogical or unorthodox conclusion is reached instead, the hearer may reject it assuming he just did not hear or read it correctly or some other such reason.  This is known as cognitive dissonance, the uncomfortable feeling in holding two conflicting views at once, which results in some sort of action to alleviate this feeling, in this case which may be either by 1) rejecting the negative thought that the conclusion is unorthodox or illogical while mentally inserting one’s own orthodox or logical conclusion instead; or, 2) just dismissing the conclusion as a misunderstanding on the reader/hearer’s part; or, 3) assuming the speaker simply misspoke.

The teachings in Alice Bailey’s books [available from Lucis Trust, known initially as Lucifer Publishing] are recognized as the foundation for current New Age doctrine and practices.  Here’s a section from a book almost 100 years old describing meditation dos and don’ts as well as its purpose :

…The stage at which a man awakens to group realisation, and becomes a conscious participant in the activities of the group is brought about in two ways: through meditation, and through a series of initiations…There is much misconception these days as to what meditation really is, and there is a great deal of so-called meditation which has been truly described by a person not so long ago, as ‘I shut my eyes, and open my mouth, and wait for something to happen.’  The true meditation is something that requires the most intense application of the mind, the utmost control of thought, and an attitude which is neither negative nor positive, but an equal balance between the two.  In the Eastern Scriptures the man who is attempting meditation and achieving results, is described as follows… ‘The Maha Yogi, the great ascetic, in whom is centred the highest perfection of austere penance and abstract meditation, by which the most unlimited powers are attained, marvels and miracles are worked, the highest spiritual knowledge is acquired, and union with the great Spirit of the universe is eventually attained.’  Here this union with the group life is held to be the product of meditation, and there is no other method of attainment.

True meditation (of which the preliminary stages are concentration upon and application to any particular line of thought) will differ for different people and different types.  The religious man, the mystic, will centre his attention upon the life within the form, upon God, upon Christ, or upon that which embodies for him the ideal…We need to find our own method of approach to that which lies within, and to study for ourselves this question of meditation.43   

What are “initiations” and their purpose as defined by Bailey above?  By the context, an ‘initiation’ is associated with ‘meditation’ which brings one ultimately in “union with the great Spirit of the universe”.  In a book, of the same vintage as the one above, titled Initiation, Human and Solar, Bailey defines the term:

An initiation is an expansion of consciousness – a means of opening the mind and heart to a recognition of what already exists in reality.44

This “union with the great Spirit of the universe” accomplished by the “expansion of consciousness” corresponding to “a recognition of what already exists in reality” – is this the same as “chang[ing] our way of thinking until the presence of His Kingdom fills our consciousness” thereby gaining “God’s perspective on reality” as Johnson states above effected by using his rather vaguely defined method of meditation?  Note the last sentence of the first Bailey quote above: “We need to find our own method of approach to that which lies within, and to study for ourselves this question of meditation”.  Is this the reason Johnson’s description of the practice is so general?

Johnson asserts later in Dreaming with God, “While it’s true that God does not give His glory to another, we’re not another – we are members of His Body” (the capital “B” in original).45  Does he mean God will give us His full “perspective on reality” along with His glory, or perhaps as Kenyon would say “God imparting His own nature to the human spirit”?  Johnson then goes on to quote John 16:13-15 and explains his interpretation:

…the Holy Spirit is therefore leading us into experiencing all truth.  He receives all of His instructions from the Father.  It was the Holy Spirit upon Jesus that enabled Him to know what the Father was doing and saying.  That same gift of the Spirit has been given to us for that same purpose.46

Johnson is once again promoting the unbiblical and heterodox kenosis doctrine [see here for more] in effect denying Jesus’ inherent divinity and, simultaneously, he is claiming that we will be able to communicate with God with the same clarity and frequency as Jesus during His earthly ministry.  This is not too dissimilar from John Hick’s assertion that the Incarnation was not actual but instead metaphorical in that the human Jesus of Nazareth so communed with God that He “incarnated” God in a figurative sense:

The idea of the incarnation of God in the life of Jesus, so understood, is thus not a metaphysical claim about Jesus having two natures, but a metaphorical statement of the significance of a life through which God acted on earth.  In Jesus we see a man living in a startling degree of awareness of God and of response to God’s presence.47

Thus, as per Hick, Jesus is merely an example to which we should aspire.48  Similarly, according to Johnson, we can achieve the same level of communion with God as did Jesus as we repent, as per his redefinition of the term, and renew our minds by receiving God’s glory and thereby “view reality from God’s perspective”.

A New Age of Sanctified Imagination?

Elsewhere in this same book Johnson states, “A yielded imagination becomes a sanctified imagination; and it’s the sanctified imagination that is positioned for visions and dreams.  There is great paranoia over the use of the imagination in the Church of the Western World.”49  I suppose it could be argued that as we submit to the Holy Spirit as opposed to the flesh our entire mind is sanctified which would necessarily include our imagination, however, I contend that we can’t actually submit our imagination to the Spirit by itself as Johnson states.  In addition, Johnson’s words set up an expectation for visions and dreams when it’s the Spirit who gives as He determines (1 Cor 12:11).  But why is he using the word “imagination”?  Here’s Webster’s definition of imagination:

  1. (a) the act or power of forming mental images of what is not actually present; (b) the act or power of creating mental images of what has never been actually experienced…creative power…
  2. image in the mind; conception, idea
  3. a foolish notion, empty fancy
  4. the ability to understand and appreciate the imaginative creations in others, especially works of art and literature.50

Of the choices above the more generic #2 or the more esoteric #1 could apply given Johnson’s context although #1 appears more appropriate.  Johnson makes his meaning more obvious by the footnote accompanying this text:

Many prominent authors and conference speakers add fuel to the fire of fear assuming that because the new age movement promotes it, its origins must be from the devil51

Does Johnson really believe it’s safe to assume that doctrines and practices of the New Age Movement can originate with God rather than the enemy?!  Does he not understand that the New Age worships a different god (actually many different “gods” including the god of self)?  Continuing with the above:

…I find that form of reasoning weak at best.  If we follow that line of thought we will continue to give the devil the tools that God has given us for success in life and ministry.  In doing so we will be building a confidence in the power of darkness above the Spirit of God.52

So then, what of God’s sovereignty?  Is He too weak to carry out His purposes?  This is yet another example of the numerous false dichotomies Johnson promotes.  However, is he stating this as justification to promote New Age doctrine and practice himself?

It is clear that Johnson’s explanation of repentance and renewing the mind are at odds with historical orthodox Christianity.  While some of the wording is peculiar, this peculiar terminology and phraseology can be found in New Age teachings.  Is Bill Johnson embracing and teaching New Age doctrine whether wittingly or unwittingly?

1Johnson, Bill. Dreaming with God: Secrets to Redesigning Your World through God’s Creative Flow. 2006, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 86 (1st endnote).  Emphasis added.
2Strong, J., Baker, W. and Zodhiates, S. AMG’s Annotated Strong’s Dictionaries. 2009 (November, 1st printing), AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN; p 953.  Pharmakeia is Strong’s # 5331.
3Johnson, Dreaming; p 30
4Dictionary.com, “desire,” in Online Etymology Dictionary source location: Douglas Harper, Historian. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/desire>.  Available: <http://dictionary.reference.com>. As accessed 2/18/2012.
5Johnson, Bill. The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles. © 2005 Bill Johnson, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, PA; p 44
6McKechnie, Jean L. (Ed.) Webster’s New Twentieth Century (Unabridged) © 1983, Simon & Schuster, New York, NT; p 1533.  Dictionary.com, “repent,” in Online Etymology Dictionary source location: Douglas Harper, Historian. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/repent>. Available: <http://dictionary.reference.com>. As accessed 2/18/2012.
7Erickson, Millard J. Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology. 1986, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI; p 142
8McKim, Donald K. Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. 1996, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY; p 237
9Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (Gen. Ed.) The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1988, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; p 3.136-137
10Bromiley, p 3.137
11Bauer, Walter, Danker, F.W., Arndt, W.F., Gingrich, F.W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 2000 (3rd ed.), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL; p 640.  Also known as and hereafter identified as “BDAG”.
12BDAG, pp 640-641
13BDAG, pp 636-638
14BDAG, pp 674-675
15Elwel, Walter A. (Ed.) Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 1984 (10th pr. 1994), Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI; p 936
16McKim defines heterodox “[t]hat which is counter to or different from accepted orthodox belief in a church [p 127].  It seems to be a ‘softer’ term than heresy.
17Unity School of Christianity Metaphysical Bible Dictionary. 1931 (1955, 8th pr.), Unity School of Christianity (no publisher specified), Lee’s Summit, MO; p 552.  Underscore added; other emphasis in original.
18Bourgeault, Cynthia The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message. 2008, Shambhala, Boston, MA; pp 25-33.  Bourgeault self-identifies as per the back cover as “an Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference speaker”.  The book promotes contemplative prayer, mysticism and worst of all, Jesus as merely one path [pp 65-71] putting her squarely in the New Age camp as well as a promoter of religious pluralism.  In addition, “Shambhala” is a New Age term from the Buddhist tradition.  It is also spelled “Shamballa”and is known in Theosophy/New Age as the dwelling place of the governing deity of earth, Sanat Kumara, and his ‘Spiritual Hierarcyh’ and other associates.
19Bourgeault, p 30. Emphasis in original.
20Bourgeault, p 37.  In a footnote referencing her redefinition of meta and noia she claims indebtedness to Marcus Borg as the source [The Heart of Christianity. 2003, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, CA; p 180].   Also, interestingly, the first quote, “change the direction in which you’re looking for happiness” is Thomas Keating’s preferred definition as per her footnote. Keating, a Roman Catholic Mystic in the tradition of St. John of the Cross and Theresa of Avila, is a major promoter of centering prayer’.
21Bourgeault, pp 37-38.  Emphasis in original.
22Johnson, Supernatural Power, p 44
23Johnson, Supernatural Power, p 44
24Johnson, Supernatural Power, pp 44-45
25Osborne, Grant, Arnold, Clinton E. (Gen. Ed.) Matthew: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. © 2010 by Grant R. Osborne, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 228-229
26Johnson, Supernatural Power, p 42
27Johnson, Supernatural Power, p 45
28McConnell, D. R. A Different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement. 1988 (4th pr. 1991), Hendrickson, Peabody, MA; pp 43-55.  Back cover states McConnell, “did his graduate work at Oral Roberts University in theological and historical studies”.
29McConnell, p 45 citing Kenyon, E. W. The Hidden Man. 1970, Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, Seattle, WA; p 35
30McConnell, p 45 citing Kenyon, The Hidden Man, p 74.  Emphasis added.
31McConnell, p 45 citing Kenyon, The Hidden Man, p 137.  Emphasis added.
32Johnson, Supernatural Power, p 43
33Johnson, Supernatural Power, p 45
34McConnell, p 45.  Emphasis added.
35McConnell, p 55.  This is in a parenthetical note in his 53rd footnote.
36Ankerberg, John, Weldon, John. Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs. 1996, Harvest House, Eugene, OR; p 220.

37Blavatsky, Helena P. Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology: Vol 1 – Science. 1988 (unabridged from original 1877 first edition), Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, CA; p 290
38Johnson, Bill, When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. 2003, Treasure House/Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 38
39Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 38. Bold in original, underscore added for emphasis.
40Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 38. Emphasis in original.
41Johnson, Dreaming, p 132.  Bold in original.
42Johnson, Dreaming, p 132.
43Bailey, Alice A. The Consciousness of the Atom. © 1961 Lucis Trust (1st prtng 1922, this issue 9th prtng 1974 {2nd paperback ed.}), Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY; pp 110-112.  Underscore added for emphasis, other emphasis and spelling as per original.

44Bailey, Alice A. Initiation, Human and Solar. © 1951 Lucis Trust (1st prtng 1922, 14th prntg, 1980 (4th paperback ed.)), Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY; back cover.  Emphasis added
45Johnson, Dreaming, p 135.  Emphasis in original.
46Johnson, Dreaming, p 136.  Emphasis in original.
47Hick, John, The Metaphor of God Incarnate. © 1993, 2005 (2005 2nd ed.), SCM-Canterbury Press, Great Britain; p 102
48Hick; pp 109-110
49Johnson, Dreaming, p 67
50McKechnie, Webster’s, p 907
51Johnson, Dreaming, p 86 (1st endnote).  Emphasis added.
52Johnson, Dreaming, p 86

60 Responses to Learning Etymology with Bill Johnson: A New Age ‘Repentance’?

  1. Craig says:

    When reading this post one should keep in mind the Alice Bailey quote below:

    “The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished…The church must show a wide tolerance, and teach no revolutionary doctrines or cling to any reactionary ideas. The church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance [Ed: esoteric teaching]. The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated.”

    — Alice A. Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, 1919


  2. Brilliant work. This information will be used for a long time to come. We are commanded to “Test ALL things”, and when we “test” Bill Johnson’s theology, it comes up short…way short.
    Thank you for all your time and effort in reporting this information.


    • Craig says:

      You’re welcome! Thanks for your ‘perspective on reality’. 😉


      • Craig says:

        Two other things should be kept in mind while reading this article:

        1) During the time of Christ’s Incarnation a dualism was prevalent; i.e., the notion among some of the pagans was that all spirit was good whereas all matter, all that we can see (the “sense realm” as Kenyon would say) was evil. In the 2nd century this dualism was part of full-blown Gnosticism. This is the backdrop of the New Age movement and many cults and Eastern religions. The goal then is to somehow ‘escape’ matter in order to redeem oneself becoming part of the spiritual realm instead.

        2) The Latter Rain movement which includes Dominionism/Kingdom Now perverts the Biblical concept of the “almost and not yet” as Gordon Fee and Douglas Stewart explain in their book How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. From this article here on the CrossWise site is a quote from the book:

        “Very early, beginning with Peter’s sermon in Acts 3, the early Christians came to realize that Jesus had not come to usher in the ‘final’ end, but the ‘beginning’ of the end, as it were. Thus they came to see that with Jesus’ death and resurrection, and with the coming of the Spirit, the blessings and benefits of the future had already come. In a sense, therefore, the end had already come. But, in another sense the end had not yet fully come. Thus it was already but not yet.”

        The Kingdom is already but not yet. Here are my some of my own words from the article: “We are already raised up with Christ, yet we are still physically here on earth. However, since we have the future expectation of being raised with Christ, we are to already set our hearts and minds on heavenly things. Similarly, when Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand’ He was using this same principle. The Kingdom era has already begun; but, the consummation is yet to be fulfilled.”


  3. Hugo says:

    Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. The new age teaches that man is already god,that he just needs to use some sort of practice or meditation to realize it, thus falling into condemnation. What they call “rise of the Kundalini” is nothing more than mediumnistic development that may lead to demon contact or possesion. A spiritualy awared christian that prays a lot, reads the word, lives in economy and silence and calls upon the name of the Lord with all of his heart will experience the same sort of mediumnistic developpment but will be fill with the Holy Spirit, will become the vessel for the energies of the Spirit and will be purified in heart and renewed in intelligence, not by his own efforts or studies but by the strenght of the Lord. This process may take a few years and involve true hardship because one has to offer to the Lord everything he wants from life and give himself totally and unconditionaly. He litteraly has to die to himself, be reborn with Christ and take upon his shoulders his cross, meaning choosing to suffer for the poor and broken hearted. The main difference between the true christian spirituality and new age philosophy is that one is a spirit of humility, love of God and service to other, meaning that all gifts of the spirit is for the perfecting of the church and for the glory of God, while the other is a spirit of pride and void self- realisation, of love of self and misleadind others (like a guru that really thinks he is god). The path of the saint is sometime so hard that without the supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit, one would fall or go astray. While being perfected, the soul may feel like God has rejected her, that eventhought she walks in purity, she is not worthy of the love of God because she so grieves the imperfections of her nature, she cries for God to heal her because He has shown her what those imperfections were. It all comes down to the desert. If you want to have a purified heart and see God, you have to spend time in the desert of your own soul. You will be served by the mesure you serve. There is a lot more to talk about but the point is, you cannot conquere the kingdom of God in one day. It is a spiritual kingdom that is very real and that you can have access to if you really want to humble yourself to the point of nothingness (for a time) and seeks God’s face in prayer and peace of mind. If you do that, He will heal you and you will see. Your eye will be open like Balaam and you will see angels comming up and down from the sky… and that’s only a small aspect of this merveillous journey God his calling each and everyone of us who thirst enought for Him. It is not a kingdom of words or opinion or reason, it is a spiritual kingdom of experience and truth. Please, do not forget that the will of God is that everyone of us may come to the fullness of the revelation of his kingdom through the knowledge of Christ- not in word- but in spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only teacher of a mature spiritualy born Christian. What every true believer experiences when he “get saved” is the opening of the heart by the pooring of the love of God or Holy Spirit. But that is only the beginning of the journey and in no way is it a proof of a spiritual maturity. The first touch of the Spirit is to attract man to Christ, it is the start of a thirst for truth and God. What one does with that thirst is up to him. A lot of Christians starts to run and attend every church services and that is good but they forget to seek the growing of the spiritual man within by calling upon God with all they heart for a good period of time and without distractions.
    It is because of that fact, and because time is becoming short that you see the display of the anointing in certain chosen church circles. The purpose of the anointing is the fast maturing of God’s children that have not spend time in prayer and fasting as they should have. You have to be in serious confusion of who God is to think that he would send demons into his beloved church. It is because time is short and that the revival is aim in part at the youth that you may feel that some of the “anointed” preachers looks and talks a bit odd. Remember, it is not about them as they have not been perfected yet for lack of time and will, but the goal is to get as many as possible in faith . The result is a domino effect of “on fire christians” that have experienced the goodness and the joy of the Lord and are ready to bring the Gospel in every area of society. Remember, even under the”anointing” one may blatenly choose to sin and desobey God. That’s for one. The other things is that one may loose part of his natural mental abilities for a time while the renewing of the mind takes place. It as a severe humbling effect on the soul that serves the purpose of God in many ways.(wich I don’t have time to discuss here). That is why you may see some people looking dazed and confused. But it is only for a time, depending of the person. You cannot judge the validity of a revival by counting on miracles as it is not it’s true purpose. The purpose of the revival is the healing of the precious souls, the ones that are everlasting when perfected by the love of Christ. Knowing the Father is becoming one with His Son by the work of His Spirit. Not in theory but in truth. It is a completed work that opposes the material world because it takes time and commitment of it’s own. you litteraly become a love slave of the same nature as Christ.
    They may exist preachers that are misusing the “anointing” to make money. Rest assure that it is only for a short period of time, until they have brought to the Lord the souls they had to bring. Time is short. May God bless you all
    Please forgive my english, it is not my first language.


    • Craig says:

      Hugo, you wrote, ”You have to be in serious confusion of who God is to think that he would send demons into his beloved church.”

      You are Biblically uninformed. What about the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30)? The wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-23)?

      You wrote, ”It is because time is short and that the revival is aim in part at the youth that you may feel that some of the ‘anointed’ preachers looks and talks a bit odd. Remember, it is not about them as they have not been perfected yet for lack of time and will, but the goal is to get as many as possible in faith . The result is a domino effect of ‘on fire christians’ that have experienced the goodness and the joy of the Lord and are ready to bring the Gospel in every area of society.”

      Do you have Scripture references for this?

      You wrote, ”The purpose of the revival is the healing of the precious souls, the ones that are everlasting when perfected by the love of Christ.”

      Every true Christian receives an imperishable body but not until the resurrection of all the saints, first the dead then the living (1 Corinthians 15:42-54). At that point we will be ‘perfected’ and not before.

      You wrote, ”Knowing the Father is becoming one with His Son by the work of His Spirit.”

      The only way to the Father is through the Son, true. But, we don’t become “one” with Christ as you state. The Holy Spirit indwelling is the seal guaranteeing our future inheritance (1 Cor 1:21-22, Eph 1:13-14). “Becoming one” is a New Age-ism.

      You wrote, ”Not in theory but in truth. It is a completed work that opposes the material world because it takes time and commitment of it’s own.”

      Now you’re sounding like a dualistic Gnostic/New Age – if you didn’t previously. In Gnosticism (which is a New Age backdrop) the idea is that the material realm is evil while the spiritual is good. The goal is to escape the material through special/secret revelation (gnosis) in order to transcend the material. This doctrine is prevalent in the Eastern religions, Kabbalah/Cabala, etc.

      You’ve been reading the New Apostolic Reformation/Latter Rain playbook, which itself is a Christianized version of New Age. For your own spiritual benefit, you should read the Bible in proper context.


    • Craig says:

      Here’s another quote on renewing the mind from Face to Face with God [© 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL]:

      Through Christ, God has made it possible for every person to see the kingdom. Our conversion experience gives us access to that realm, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3, NKJV). However, it is our responsibility to develop this capacity, to train our senses to perceive God through renewing our minds and feeding the affections of our hearts on the truth. Otherwise, we will have no internal paradigm to keep us in tune with truth amid the prevailing cultural attitudes that surround us. [pp 89-90, emphasis added]

      This sounds not unlike ‘expanding our consciousness’ a la New Age. If Johnson wants to explain Biblical concepts he’d do much better by using terms accepted in Christian orthodoxy. In this case, “sanctification” would be in order. However, claiming we “train our senses to perceive God” is not in Scripture, but again, it’s in New Age. By “feeding the affections of our hearts on the truth” Johnson is speaking of the ‘truth’ of experience rather than the Truth of Scripture as the larger context of his quote makes clear. Here are his next words in the book:

      In the Western world this is a challenge, because we live in a culture that has embraced an almost entirely materialistic worldview. This worldview rules out spiritual reality and makes the physical, material realm the definition of reality…. [p 90]

      Once again, we have a false dichotomy. Research actually shows a growing interest in spirituality in the West. Yet, notice how Johnson pits the spiritual against the material. The truth is that we live in both. With Johnson’s emphasis on the spiritual, he’s stressing the spiritual in opposition to the material.

      When this quote is put up with the other Johnson quotes in the article and then compared to those of Unity, Bourgeault and Kenyon, the similarities are even more pronounced especially with the bolded portion above.

      This is a good opportunity to point out something in Craig Keener’s excellent commentary on John [The Gospel of John, A Commentary: Volume One. Hendrickson, Peabody, MA]. He states, like this article, that Jesus’ words to Nicodemus were regarding the consummation; however, he points out there is a current application:

      John plays here on more than one sense of “see”…[which] could refer to their future experience as in 3:36, but in John can also refer to spiritual perception… [p 536]

      A Johannine motif closely related to “knowing God” is “seeing God”; vision functioned as a natural metaphor and analogy for knowing…John follows closely the figurative language of the prophets, often developing the motif with double entendres… [p 247]

      So, this is to be understood in a figurative sense and not literal as Johnson (and other esoterics) has done. Keener goes on mentioning the mystics of the time:

      Some early Jewish interpreters in the more mystic tradition may have also understood “seeing God’s kingdom” in terms of visionary ascents to heaven, witnessing the enthroned king. Many pagans took for granted the postmortem ascent of the soul, but some sought various forms of visionary ascents while alive…If John considers such mystics at all in this passage, however, it is only to polemicize against them [p 538]

      Keener backs up my claim in the article.


  4. Jesus Wins says:

    My only comment to this is – RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Unfortunately, false teachers are capitalizing on Hosea 4:6 to spread their poison. It’s time Christians wake up and obey 2 Tim 2:15! Chikena!


    • Craig says:

      Jesus Wins,

      And right you are. Putting Hosea 4:6 in proper context it is speaking of knowledge of God’s Word not mystical, experiential knowledge. In Hosea, the knowledge was given to a true prophet to in turn give to the nation Israel as opposed to the false prophets of today who speak from their own vain imaginations – or worse.


  5. Bud Press says:

    “Many prominent authors and conference speakers add fuel to the fire of fear assuming that because the new age movement promotes it, its origins must be from the devil…” (Bill Johnson)

    Really? Well,

    Assuming that because the Mormon church promotes “The Book of Mormon,” its origins must be from the devil.

    Assuming that because Jehovah’s Witnesses promotes the “Watchtower” magazine, its origins must be from the devil.

    Assuming that because the Unification church promotes Sun Myung Moon as the messiah, its origins must be from the devil.

    And, asssuming that because the Word of Faith movement promotes man as “god” and Jesus was “born again,” its origins must be from the devil.

    You get the picture…


  6. Hugo says:

    You have to live it to believe it. I don’t know anything about the mouvement you are refering to. It is my testimony, that’s all. If you wan’t names, try Gregory Palamas, St John of the Cross, St John Chrysostom, st john Cassien, St Macaire the egyptian. It is true that those peolpe didn’t have to compose with modern medias and exposure like today. The vain pride is one of the things that is the most difficult to get rid of, imagine when you are on stage… 1 corinthian 15:45 states: The first Adam became a living being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. Also “the first man was of the earth, made of dust, the second man is the Lord from heaven” That’s KJV but you can also read “the second man comes from the sky” in other versions.The first man is animal, the second is spirit and it is happening on earth, exactly the way I told you to. It is a great mystery, no wonder why it should stimulate a lot of debates. The bible states to “ask for the Holy Spirit” well then, ask. Ask with all of your heart and hunger for God, persevere for a long time. You tell me about it after. And see if you tell me that God dosen’t perfect his children on earth.
    The vessel is the same, wether you are a jew, an american, an african. If you use witchcraft or worship false gods, you fall under condemnation. The vessel may become fill with unholy spirits then. But as a Christian, you ask the Father for the Spirit of truth knowing that it comes with responsability. now, you get save by faith in Christ, by that one touch of the spirit. That is true. And when you die, it is also true that you will be transformed. But the reason the urly church put emphasis on the importance on the elders, is that they were most likely to have grown in spirit and truth making them more likely to exerce spiritual authority.
    It is when you grow in the spirit that you can experience the gifts of the Spirit. The more you become like Christ by the outpooring of the Spirit, the more your prayers gets answered. It is like that. It is called “communion of the saints” . Now I know that lots of christian don’t believe in becoming a saint, in giving up their lives for the love of another and the love of God. Some say you are saint by faith and it is normal to sin. That, my friend is crap. the holy spirit does make you saint, does stop you from sinning if enough of it has been poored because of the thirst and engagement toward God. Every gifts of the spirit is for the church, not for one’s amusement or profit. that is the way to recognize the false teachers, if they are truly humble and give glory to God alone.”and no one is able to say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
    The more you receive Christ, the more you become Christ-like. they re is no turning back to the old nature. the new age talks about becoming one with God that is non-personal, becoming one with everything. there are no virtues involved, no spirit from above. Everything is already there, just have to get it unlock. That is satan blatant lie and have nothing to do with real sanctification that is coming by grace from above.
    Hebrw 6:4-6 4for [it is] impossible for those once enlightened, having tasted also of the heavenly gift, and partakers having became of the Holy Spirit,

    5and did taste the good saying of God, the powers also of the coming age,

    there is the good Word and there is the powers of the coming age, the taste of the heavenly gifts. It is all true and there is a distinction between them. Now somebody may call this mystical, I call it the Gospel. The answer is in your heart.
    Take the time to search it, how to talk to God with it and ask him to make it pure. It takes time but it is worthwile, evenmore so If you’re goal is to become a true ambassador of the Gospel of Jesus-Christ. first you get the enlightment of the heart, then the enlightment of the intelligence, then you see God. Remember you get new spiritual faculties that are hard to explain. You really know God
    and He calls you friend because anything he does, he tells you and keep nothing in darkness.
    Well, that is enough for me. you can choose to believe what I say or not. I have nothing to gain on this and don’t know personnaly any of the church you were referring to. I do not live in the US but I do know that the devil is playing his last cards and that there will be an major outpooring of the Holy spirit that will dsiturb because of it’s supernatural nature. The reality of God and the spiritual man will be revealed by God as something to aspire to. I would be very careful before condemning any pastor you don’t personnaly know. God did not forget about the US. He will restore the truth for the whole world to know, thus giving one last time to repent.
    With much love and much respect,


    • Craig says:

      Hugo, you wrote, ”I don’t know anything about the mouvement you are refering to.” And, also, ”I would be very careful before condemning any pastor you don’t personnaly know.”

      1) Since you freely admit you don’t know anything about Bill Johnson, perhaps it would be best not to make a comment one way or the other neither defending nor criticizing his doctrine.
      2) Critiquing doctrine is not “condemning” as you say. We are to test all things. If a teacher is teaching falsely, then he is the one causing disunity not those who are defending the faith [Jude 3]

      You wrote, ”The more you receive Christ, the more you become Christ-like. they re is no turning back to the old nature. the new age talks about becoming one with God that is non-personal, becoming one with everything. there are no virtues involved, no spirit from above.” You also wrote, ”…the holy spirit does make you saint, does stop you from sinning if enough of it has been poored because of the thirst and engagement toward God…” And also, “You tell me about it after. And see if you tell me that God dosen’t perfect his children on earth.

      1) The sin nature does not ever disappear [see 1 John 1:8-9] until the other side of Glory. We are purified only because of Christ’s sacrifice and His righteousness is transferred to us upon salvation. Sanctification is by the Spirit as we submit to the Spirit rather than the flesh. However, we never escape the flesh/sin nature. Keep in mind that John was writing to those in the church, presumably all believers, not unbelievers; yet, some of them were not [1 John 2:18-29]. If you can tell me you do not sin any longer you make Christ out to be liar, you are deceived, and the Truth is not in you (as per the 1 John verses cited earlier). I don’t think it wise to call Christ a liar.
      2) You are somewhat misinformed about New Age. While it’s true New Agers do not have the Spirit from above, the goal is to be moral (as they define it) with a goal of transcending the human nature and achieving their own divinity by self-effort. They truly believe they have godhood within themselves. And many currently claim perfection. Just as you wrongly claim is possible for the believer.

      I’m not familiar with all the names you listed at the beginning, but of the ones I’m familiar with they are mystics who were only embraced by the fringes of the ‘Church’. Yes, the last Adam (Jesus) is a life-giving Spirit, but we’re talking eternal life in eternity – not perfection in the here and now.

      I pray you’ll search the Scriptures – the whole counsel of Scripture – to test if what I’m saying is true.


    • Craig says:


      I’m making an exception to my policy regarding commenting for you as I usually will just delete a “comment” with a url and no text to explain the intent of posting. So, now I must ask you: what’s your point of posting this?


      • Craig says:

        Well Martin, with no explanatory note forthcoming, I’ll go ahead and provide some info for the readers.

        First of all, Robertson has promoted New Age doctrine himself. As Constance Cumbey reported in her book A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age “Messiah” [Pointe Publishers, 1985, E. Detroit, MI], Robertson himself has promoted the doctrine of maya as mentioned in this article. Cumbey quotes from Robertson’s book Beyond Reason: How Miracles Can Change Your Life:

        “The great paradox is that what we perceive as real and tangible is actually illusion”

        It don’t get no plainer than that as that’s the very definition of the term.

        In addition, Cumbey reports 700 Club hosting such well known New Agers as Jeremy Rifkin (I have one of his books), Buckminster Fuller Institute, etc. Robertson also proclaimed a number of forthtelling “prophecies” which did not come to pass.

        Also, in Cumbey’s book is the following:

        …If a person is otherwise biblical, signs and wonders may be mighty and wonderful confirmation of their anointing from the Lord. However, if one does not uphold God’s Word in its entirety, it may be a sign that their “anointing” is from other than Godly quarters. [p 148]

        In the footnote accompanying the above Cumbey references Deut 13:1-4, Isaiah 8:20, Daniel 8:24, Matthew 24:24, Rev 2:2 and Rev 13:13-14.

        Also, there’s this article here: https://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/by-whose-power-does-bill-johnson-perform-healings/


        • Craig says:

          I shall expound a bit on the two individuals I mentioned above who were featured on Robertson’s 700 club. Buckminster Fuller was a Unitarian (Unity School of ‘Christianity’) which means he’s a New Ager. As a globalist, he coined the phrase “Spaceship Earth” which means that the earth has a finite amount of resources and if we don’t do something drastic (find new ways of obtaining depleting resources, reverse population growth, etc.) the world will remain “unsustainable”. He’s most famous for inventing the geodesic dome one of which is a self-supporting “Spaceship Earth”.

          As re: Jeremy Rifkin, Cumbey quotes from his 1981 book Entropy [w/Ted Howard, Bantam Books, NY]:

          The traditional wisdom, as embodied in all the great world religions, has long taught that the ultimate purpose of human life is not the satisfaction of all material desires, but rather the experience of liberation that comes from becoming one with the universe [p 205]

          “Becoming one with the universe”? In Rifkin’s book The Emerging Order: God in the Age of Scarcity [w/ Ted Howard, 1979, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, NY] he contrasts Calvin’s view, which he claims leads to “the idea of unlimited material accumulation” apparently based upon a false understanding/portrayal of James’ words “faith without works is dead” thereby disparaging Calvin, with “the Charismatics” who believe, “the future will belong to the glory of the kingdom” which is a reference to Dominionism [pp 222-223] and its goal to, whether wittingly or unwittingly, bring in the antichrist’s kingdom:

          “The Charismatics’ proof of election or salvation is at direct odds with the Calvinistic view. It is this difference which sets the stage for crumbling of the old order and the emergence of the new…For the Charismatics, proof of election or salvation is supernatural, not materialistc. One becomes convinced that he is saved by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Like the Reformation person the Charismatic is in constant need of observable proof that he has been saved. But, whereas for the Reformation person, proof was to be found in hard work and material accumulation, for the Charismatic, observable proof is to be found in special gifts. To the question, how do I know that God resides in me, the Charismatic answers with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: ‘a powerful experience that convinces the recipient that God is real’…

          “…When a Charismatic ‘lays hands’ on someone, and in so doing, cures them of an ailment by the special gift of faith healing, there is no doubt that the results of the procedure are often observable…But is not the special skills or knowledge of people that cures the victim, but the indwelling spirit of God working its supernatural powers through individuals” [p 223]

          Would this be the “god” of whom a person becomes “one with the universe” as per his quote above?

          Continuing with Rifkin:

          If to be revolutionary is to challenge the existing authority with a new vision, then to be revolutionary today is to challenge the authority of science and technology; these are the principle assumptions upon which modern industrial society rests. The Charismatics are doing just that. Their challenge to the existing order is profound and could well end up turning the world upside down, just as the Reformation theologians did a half millenium ago [p 224]

          This was written in ’79 before C. Peter Wagner coined the term “New Apostolic Reformation”. Is it not clear the roots of the NAR?

          Back to Rifkin:

          “…The Charismatics believe that God can speak to each person today just as authoritatively as he spoke to the apostles 2000 years ago. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit sets up a frame of reference…His revealed truths are timeless. When they reside in the individual human being and reveal themselves through special gifts, they act to liberate people from the limited world of life and death, past and future. During these moments man and woman become at one with God and the unity of his total Being.” [p 224]

          “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit eliminates the need for efficiency and technique. In doing so, it sets up the conditions for a return to a balanced ecosystem…” [p 225]

          Alice Bailey, whose works form the basis of much of the New Age movement, states the importance of the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire” which must be “administered to us by Christ” [From Bethlehem to Calvary: The Initiations of Jesus, (c) 1937 by Alice Bailey, (c) renewed 1965 by Foster Bailey (8th printing (4th paperback)), Lucis Trust, New York, NY; p 22]. In this New Age theology, “Christ” refers to a ‘Christ spirit’, one that Jesus Himself received at the Baptism in the Jordan and Jesus becomes the Christ by virtue of this ‘Christ anointing’.

          The soul, which is the hidden Christ in all, mediates between the spirit (the Father) and the human being. Christ emphasised this when He called attention to man’s essential divinity, speaking of God ‘our Father’, as He was the Father of Christ…There may be future revelations of such stupendous wonder and beauty that as yet we can form no faintest idea of their possible outline. Otherwise God would be limited and static, and unable to do more than He has already done…[H]ow shall we we dare to say that no more is possible to God, when we are ready to receive it? For this we are fast preparing. Even Christ Himself told His disciples that ‘he that believeth on me, the works I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…” [pp 92-93]

          Notice how Bailey has reappropriated Christian terms and concepts to her demonic ends. Also, keep in mind my first comment on this thread.


  7. Martin says:

    I’m trying to add some kind of balance, to what i personally can only describe as bigotry. I have mentioned this to you on numerous occasions but with little effect. I’m trying to appeal to you, that as an academic person, surely you have to offer a more rounded opinion, perhaps offering people both sides of the equation?

    In the media – certain emphasis is placed on particular components of the story, in order to achieve sensationalism or emphasise some particular political opinion. The natzi’s showed pictures of the jews, then pictures of rats. It’s not rocket science.

    I don’t doubt your devotion to the correct view of theology. I do question the method.

    Like you, i share your anger at some of the practices of some of the new age christians. Having recently watched God TV attempting to raise money by appealing to viewers – i was shaking my head in disbelief.

    I feel sometimes that your blog/website is more spanish inquisition than promotion of correct theology and genuine welfare of the Gospel.


    • Craig says:


      I’m being very generous in continuing to allow you to post in view of the comments of yours I had to delete previously. I want you to remember that commenting on anyone’s blog is a privilege that the moderators do not have to grant.

      As for balance: just how much false teaching do we allow from a professing Christian minister? Unitarians claim they are Christian as but one example. Should we all just band together with the Unitarians and sing “Kum ba yah”? Please don’t answer as this is rhetorical.

      It seems you, as usual, miss the point. This post is about how Johnson mangles the English language as he tries to make his own theological statements. These statements look a LOT like New Age doctrine. Now if you think any part of the content of this post is untrue then you may state so and tell me and the readers why you think this is so. This post has NOTHING to do with miracles at all and even if it did the point of my last two comments was to illustrate (as if you hadn’t read this on CrossWise previously) that miracles are not the marker of Christian orthodoxy – doctrine is. And, I’m not impressed with anything that comes from Pat Robertson based on his past associations with blatant New Agers as well as false prophecies unless and until he publically renounces such. Again, no comment on this as we’ve already strayed from the topic of this post.

      My blog posts are not news reports; they are about exposing false doctrine. While no one has perfect theology and everyone makes a slip now and then, Johnson is quite consistent with his terminology in this article as I’ve sourced the quotes from 4 different books (when including the one in the comments section). And, again, it looks New Age to me when compared to the two sources used in the article as compared to Christian orthodoxy. If you can show me how my view in the specifics of this post is in error I’m all ears, so to speak.

      Any more posts requesting “balance” will be summarily deleted. Once again, you are forewarned. Perhaps you could start your own blog with which you could do whatever you please.


  8. Martin says:

    Essentially Craig – i think in trying to summarise some of your thoughts succinctly – i believe you are making the statement that satan can heal people, through some of the new age christian/charismatic movements. I would like to know why you believe this?

    I am in agreement that there are some very dubious behaviours in pentecostal/charismatic circles. Seeing some of the so called miracles in Bethel – gave me hope that i too could be healed of my particular problem. I have pleaded with God, heartbroken and in intense pain, asking him to remove this suffering, but i have had nothing back only silence? That does not echo a God who does not change and, who, in Christ – healed the sick – why would he refuse to do it now?


    • Craig says:


      As to you first paragraph [2/24, 11:37am], this was already discussed in the By Whose Power Does Bill Johnson Perform Healings? thread so I won’t rehash here.

      Martin, I am not unempathetic to your situation. I wish you were healed as well. I wish that none would have to bear the physical and emotional pain of sickness. But, it’s a product of The Fall. God can and does heal as I’ve stated on numerous occasions. He can even choose to heal someone while they are in the midst of false religion. Your assertion that God healed everyone is not true, however, when you view the entirety of the NT. Putting aside Paul’s thorn for a moment, Paul most certainly had eye problems as Galatians makes clear. Timothy had stomach issues. And, I’m sure you currently know others with physical afflictions whether Christian or non-Christian. And, I’m sure you know some non-Christians who are in remarkable health.

      God’s ways are not our ways. Blessed be the name of the LORD!

      There is still hope for your healing in this life, but my advice is not to put any hope in the example of Bethel in view of the many false teachings. However, even if you are not healed in this life, assuming you are truly a born again/born from above Christian – I’m not doubting, I’m just not affirming because I cannot know for sure who is and who isn’t – you WILL get a perfect body when Christ returns!


  9. Martin says:



    • Craig says:


      If you look at the very first comment I made on this thread you’ll see that New Agers claim ‘divine’ healing. Also, from the McConnell book:

      …Kenyon became increasingly concerned about the growth of the metaphysical cults because of their supernatural manifestations and practices, and the absence of the same in the denominational churches. Through his writings and radio sermons, Kenyon began to formulate a more radical theology of healing which he believed to be truly Christian, and yet which incorporated the metaphysical practices of divine healing and prosperity, practices for which he felt there were strong biblical precedents.

      Because he had no theological background in the more biblically sound healing movements that arose from the Holiness-Pentecostal tradition [ED: I’m not necessarily endorsing these as categorically true as I don’t know which ones McConnell does or does not endorse. I’m merely presenting his words in full context.], in formulating his “new type of Christianity” of healing and prosperity, Kenyon drew from the only background in these areas he did have: metaphysics. He did not do so because he agreed with everything that the cults taught and practiced, for it is obvious that he did not. In attempting to respond to the cults and offer a Christian alternative to their beliefs and practices, Kenyon did, however, incorporate metaphysics into his theology.

      His is a textbook example of a process recurring quite often in church history known as “syncretism,” which is the combining of two or more different, even contradictory, religious beliefs in an attempt to formulate one belief system. Syncretism can be intentional, or it can be unintentional…. [p 49]

      Here obviously McConnell states there are healings in the metaphysical cults.


      • Craig says:

        Hate it when this happens…

        In doing some more researching I came across a quote I had bookmarked which would have served this article better regarding the concept of maya and how it relates to the term “reality”. It’s from occultist H.P. Blavatsky from her Isis Unveiled: Vol 1 [1988 (unabridged from original 1877 first edition), Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, CA; p 290]:

        …When the spiritual entity breaks loose for ever from every particle of matter, then only it enters upon the eternal and unchangeable Nirvana. He exists in spirit, in nothing; as a form, a shape, a semblance, he is completely annihilated, and thus will die no more, for spirit alone is no Maya, but the only REALITY in an illusionary universe of ever-passing forms. [all spelling and emphasis in original]

        I may just insert this into the article…


        • Craig says:

          I’ve just added the quote (at footnote 37) with a new paragraph preceding the quote for explanation.


        • Craig says:

          I’ve just added some more info just after the lenghty Bailey quote which in my mind really should raise some eyebrows:

          What are “initiations” and their purpose as defined by Bailey above? By the context, an ‘initiation’ is associated with ‘meditation’ which brings one ultimately to “union with the great Spirit of the universe”. In a book of the same vintage as the one above titled Initiation, Human and Solar, Bailey defines the term:

          An initiation is an expansion of consciousness – a means of opening the mind and heart to a recognition of what already exists in reality.44

          This “union with the great Spirit of the universe” accomplished by “an expansion of consciousness” corresponding to “a recognition of what already exists in reality” – is this the same as “chang[ing] our way of thinking until the presence of His Kingdom fills our consciousness” thereby gaining “God’s perspective on reality” as Johnson states above by using his rather vaguely defined method of meditation? Note the last sentence of the first Bailey quote above – is this the reason Johnson’s description of the practice is so general?


  10. Arwen4CJ says:

    I just decided to listen to a sermon online from the church I stopped going to, and I am so glad that I stopped attending!

    In the middle of the sermon, the pastor asked some person in the congregation to come up and give an “encouraging word” that she’d had for a while, and which the pastor knew about, and decided that it was the right time.

    So, this woman came up and started leading people in a guided imagery session in which the people were to imagine that they were somewhere – -and basically have Jesus come up to them and embrace them and kiss them and hug them and whatever. 😦 She told them to “smell” and to “look around,” etc. The whole point, she explained, was that people were to feel loved by God. They were supposed to feel like His beloved.

    When she was done, the pastor started speaking again, telling people that believing in God and trusting in Him wasn’t enough. He used James as a reference, although he didn’t actually turn to James. He basically said that since even demons believe in God, that means it isn’t enough. We need to actually feel God emotionally. 😦 He didn’t mention that James wasn’t talking about feeling God emotionally, but was talking about faith that evidenced itself by works. Sigh…..

    He also included little tidbits about being still and meditating in his sermon, claiming that that is the mot important way to emotionally feel God.

    The pastor put such emphasis on hearing from God that you are His beloved, that you are loved, that you are special, etc. Anything good and encouraging so that you can feel good emotions, and then make the assumption that that is God.

    They used to talk about sin, about real, biblical sin. With this new pastor, sin almost seems to be defined as if you’re not feeling connected to God, that is sin. 😦

    I’d noticed it before with this prophetic movement — that they place such a great emphasis on experiencing God through emotion and feelings, and it seems like Johnson is trying to basically say the same thing with his definition of repentance.

    I think that you are really onto something in regard to their form of meditation being similar to the New Age teachings. It’s like they can’t seem to get enough of experiencing/feeling what they think is God. That must be the reason for the whole “soaking” thing that TACF and others in the movement promote. They are trying to connect with God and hear God whisper to them, etc.

    This seems to be a very dangerous practice because it does seek out emotional experience — where we are most vulnerable. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel loved?

    Yet, reality isn’t measured by how we feel/by emotion. Emotions change often, and we can’t rely on them. Truth is truth regardless of how we feel. We need to trust God because of who He is, not because of how we feel. It’s a bonus if we feel close to God or whatever, but that feeling isn’t what makes or breaks our relationship with God.

    Telling people that they have to feel God emotionally opens people up to being deceived. In every single New Age teaching, one consistent teaching is that “god” loves them. It’s all ego stroking, chasing after feelings and emotions. I see no difference between the New Age emotional experience and the prophetic movement’s teaching.

    I noticed all this feel good emotional ‘beloved’ stuff when I read a Graham Cooke devotional booklet that a person had at my internship site. It was all about feeling like you’re loved by God and trying to get a person to ‘listen” to that voice and believe that voice, even if it contracted Scripture. Graham Cooke said in the introduction to that book that if a ‘word’ you received from God went against Scripture, then it must only seem to go against Scripture. It was your job to make Scripture fit with the ‘word’ you received while in your devotional time! 😦

    Seriously, the stuff that people teach in this movement is scary stuff!


    • Craig says:


      Thanks for your comment. As for “experiencing God”, here’s a link I reference in the “‘Christ’ in the New Age” article under the “Christ Consciousness” section:


      “What would it feel like to be embraced by God? What would it feel like to become aware of how deeply you are loved by your Divine Source? It is possible to experience this! You can have a direct personal experience to feel the love your Creator has for you and to grow into the body experience of feeling the love you crave.

      “Spirit has the capacity to relate to us in any way we need and want. Relating to God as an energy force or love is certainly one approach to higher consciousness. Love, however, is best experienced in personal relationships–for example you cannot get love from a thing, only another person. We can know God through our hearts simply by wanting a personal relationship. This opens the portal for Spirit to fill us with the love and acceptance we need that we did not get as children or in our adult relationships.”

      In achieving “Higher consciousness” we see “His Kingdom” or “Reality”, i.e. the spiritual realm.


  11. Arwen4CJ says:

    Wow — that website explains exactly what the pastor and his accomplices are trying to teach people at that church and at many other churches in the prophetic movement!


    It floors me — the front page of the website (the part that you quoted and the rest) is almost identical to that woman’s “word” that she gave the whole church. She talked about feeling the experience of acceptance especially if a person felt rejected by parents or others who should have loved them.

    I almost want to send you the link to the “sermon.”

    The church needs to wake up!! All these false teachings are flooding into many churches without much opposition from the people who attend these churches.


  12. Thank you so much Craig for another insightful, well-researched and useful study. I know it will shake many as they see the truth. Sadly others will never be able to see the truth, having seared their conscience with a hot iron and blinded their eyes to what is going on. The devil is right now raising up an army for himself, a proud, domineering, aggressive and deluded army that will do anything they are told. They believe they are rescuing this earth while in truth they are destined to destroy it; they believe they are restoring while in reality they are breaking down every good, pure and biblical precept. Lord, help us in these last dark days! Lord, give us your wisdom, gentleness, perception and guidance until we meet with you in Person.


    • Craig says:


      Thanks for your comment. I’m hopeful this article will be seen by more.

      I was just re-reading this CrossWise article on Paul Cain and found another correlation on this redefinition of repentance. The Cain words will be italicized with my commentary from the article sandwiched in the middle:

      …they shut the Apostles…up in prison, they killed James, they stoned Stephen, and finally martyred all the Apostles with the possible exception of John, Saint John the Divine. I don’t think they killed him ‘cause he leaned on Jesus’ bosom and he had the heartbeat of God. God loved him so much. If you have intimacy with God, they can’t kill you. They just can’t. There’s something about [ya]; you’re connected to that vine; you’re just so close to him. Oh, my friends, they can’t kill [ya]. God takes care of them. He said, “I love them that love Me.” Isn’t that wonderful? So, I don’t think we have any record where they kill John…He may be the Enoch…as far as the martyrs are concerned. I don’t believe that he was martyred…

      That’s an interesting thesis: on the basis of the fact that the Apostle John had leaned on Jesus’ bosom and because neither Scripture nor, presumably, any extant historical evidence records John’s death, Cain conjectures that John was taken up like Enoch never experiencing a physical death. Consequently, if we were to have this same sort of intimacy with God we could not be killed. This sort of “intimacy” then provides the means to attaining manifested sons of God status – truly perfected saints, the invincible Joel’s Army:

      …I saw that when they shut the Apostles up in prison; they killed all of them, and except maybe John. Many spiritual saints were slain also because of their testimony throughout the past centuries. But this is what God showed me: But this army is invincible…But we may not reach that kind of perfection right away…But we can repent right clear down to the bottom; we’re gonna get to that kind of repentance. And if we fail after repentance, we’re gonna repent again

      Note how Cain seems to be equating “intimacy with God” to repentance which leads to perfection. So, essentially, if one repents one is in “intimacy with God” and this increasing “intimacy” leads to ‘perfection’ as in Joel’s Army/MSoG.


  13. Mary Matthews (MaryM007) says:

    So, according to Cain’s ‘logic/reasoning/revelation’, none of the other apostles had intimacy with God since they were able to be killed….???

    Just a quick comment to Martin (Feb 24 – 11:37am) – asked if satan can heal people…if he can put sickness, disease and death on people (Job is just one example), along with torment, etc…then he can also remove/stop it if it means you will remain in deception.

    ‘Lord, Lord, – did we not heal the sick in your name, raise the dead in your name, cast out demons in your name’ but Jesus answered, ‘I never knew you’….

    C.Peter Wagner, as chief apostle, has spread the word to preach the gospel of the kingdom, to quit focusing on the gospel of salvation. Without the gospel of salvation there is no one added to the kingdom….they remain in darkness.


    • Craig says:


      I’m glad you see the logical fallacy of Cain’s argument. Looking at it closely, we must assume the other Apostle’s ‘intimacy’ was not as complete as John’s. And, Cain’s mini-thesis is that if one can gain the same ‘intimacy’ as did John then one can be ‘raptured’ as Enoch and presumably John. Of course, this is just MSoG/Joel’s Army teaching.

      Johnson has termed the “authentic gospel” as the “gospel of the kingdom” in When Heaven Invades Earth [p 27].


  14. Iwanthetruth says:

    When men ate they reclined at the table, leaning on pillows. To be
    leaning on Jesus’ breast meant to be the one directly in front of the Lord,
    who had to lean back to speak to him. Jesus and John were certainly in
    close proximity but they were not cuddling. They were not embracing.

    Consider the same text in a different translation.

    “One of the disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to
    Jesus, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was
    speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him.
    ‘Lord. who is it?”‘
    John 13:23-25 (ESV)

    Read in this way, the passage gives a much different picture, one that is
    more biblically and historically accurate but which of course would not
    allow Bickle [Cain] to make his point
    165 Keith Gibson – Wandering Star


    • Craig says:

      I found an important explanation for “renewing your mind” in Dreaming with God which illustrates that it’s not so much about sanctification in the normal Christian sense (holiness, righteousness) but a means by which to cure societal problems by using creativity:

      Our heavenly Father is the Creator of all, and the Giver of all good gifts. His children should bear His likeness, which means they should be creative. When unbelievers lead the way in inventions and artistic expressions, it is because the church has embraced a false kind of spirituality. It is not living in a true Kingdom mentality, which is the renewed mind. The renewed mind understands that the King’s dominion must be realized in all levels of society for an effective witness to take place. Someone with a Kingdom mind-set looks to the overwhelming needs of the world and says, “God has a solution for this problem. And, I have legal access to His realm of mystery. Therefore I will seek Him for the answer!” With a Kingdom perspective, we become the answer in much the same way Joseph and Daniel were to the kings of their day. [p 39]


  15. Arwen4CJ says:

    With a quote like that, how can anyone claim that Bill Johnson isn’t teaching dominionism?

    Jesus never promised believers that we would be able to solve any or all of the world’s problems. He never told us to lead the way in inventions and artistic expressions in order for us to be real witnesses for Him.

    Jesus simply told us to love Him above all else, and to love one another. Yes, we are to spread the gospel, but He didn’t say we had to fix the world in order to do that. Yes, we are to seek first his kingdom – but I’ve always understood that to mean that we are to glorify Him and to make more disciples. He didn’t tell us to take over the world or any aspect of society.

    Also, I’ve always understood it to be the Holy Spirit who actually changes hearts and allows people to understand the gospel when it is presented. Therefore, we don’t “need” to take over all levels of society in order for an effective witness to take place. The only thing that we need in order to be an effective witness is to obey God and leave the results up to Him.

    The idea that we have to take over every part of society so that a person can be saved actually belittles God. I’m not a Calvinist, but I definitely think that God plays a role in people’s salvation.

    It is true that a Christian can use their talents and passions to point people to Christ — and this can be in the form of art and innovations or whatever — but it is certainly not a requirement in order for Christians to be an effective witness.

    That’s my view.


    • Craig says:

      Yes, by the larger context from the book he even speaks about the “seven mountains” (note that the term desire explained in the beginning of this article contains a quote from Lance Wallnau, a promoter of the “seven mountains”) which is Dominionism.


  16. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh, and the idea that renewing your mind means that we want to have dominion over every area of society is not what the passage about renewing your mind seems to mean in Scripture.

    Wow. 😦

    How can people listen and/or read Bill Johnson’s stuff and not come to the conclusion that he is going beyond the bounds of Scripture (sometimes anti-Scriptural)?

    How long are people going to tolerate these kinds of teachings before some huge split happens in the charismatic/Pentecostal movement? Before Christians in these movements start standing up and saying, “This is false doctrine — Bill Johnson and the like are false teachers. We want nothing to do with his teaching.”


    • Craig says:

      Just wait until the next CrossWise article comes out illustrating more problems with Johnson’s doctrine and how it compares with other false doctrine…


  17. Bud Press says:

    Craig, your hard work is, indeed, a blessing. You are addressing areas that have remained virtually untouched. Your research is revealing the dark underbelly of one of the most influential false teachers of our day.

    Speaking of Bill Johnson and the New Age, the logical conclusion to those who try to blend Christianity with New Age is to dump Christianity altogether and become full-blown New Age. The following is a quote from one of Bill Johnson’s followers. It is wrapped in New Age mumbo-jumbo through and through:

    “Quantum physically we flicker out of this realm 3500 times per second. So half of the time we’re not even on the face of the earth. A believers body who is in Christ is not limited to their physical body… their reality is spirit, Kingdom and soul. Heaven isn’t far away…it’s all around us and closer to us than the air that we breathe….We’re conditioned since birth to believe we live in one reality and so are limited by it’s limitations…some Christians need to de-sync from one and sync into the other. Change your thought patterns, it only takes 21 days to form a habit pattern and 3 days to break it. So what reality are we walking in? Been walking on water recently?” [Chris Newton, Facebook, March 1, 2012]

    The irony of the above quote is if you ask the average Christian what it means, they will draw a blank, and rightly so. But if you ask a New Ager what it means, they will agree and identify with much of it, and will probably ask if it was written by a New Ager.

    Unfortunately, when one believes in multiple realities, one has great difficulty in determining what is real and what is false.

    Bud Press


    • Craig says:


      Yikes! That’s some quote!

      >Quantum physically we flicker out of this realm 3500 times per second. So half of the time we’re not even on the face of the earth. A believers body who is in Christ is not limited to their physical body… their reality is spirit, Kingdom and soul.

      Astral travel. Manifests sons of God. “Reality” – sounds like Johnson’s version which means the spiritual in opposition to the physical. This sort of duality permeates Johnson’s words/thoughts just as it did in first century Dualism which comes from Platonism. It’s curious that many hyper-charismatic mystics accuse orthodox theology of adhering to a Greek mindset while they are Neoplatonists!

      >Heaven isn’t far away…it’s all around us and closer to us than the air that we breathe….We’re conditioned since birth to believe we live in one reality and so are limited by it’s limitations…some Christians need to de-sync from one and sync into the other.

      Bring ‘heaven’ to earth. This is the goal of New Agers who believe the Garden of Eden was in reality a spiritual state from which mankind fell. The goal in their eyes is to return to the same spiritual state as the Garden of Eden. As Joni Mitchell said in her lyrics to “Woodstock”: We are stardust [we have inherent divinity as divine sparks are inside everything] we are golden…And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden

      >Change your thought patterns, it only takes 21 days to form a habit pattern and 3 days to break it. So what reality are we walking in? Been walking on water recently?

      translation: expand your consciousness, your “Christ consciousness”, and you will have many exploits in the spirit world. Just like Jesus did. You can be just like Jesus.


  18. Craig says:

    While doing more research, I found this more succinct Bill Johnson quote which concisely illustrates his definition of repentance as progressively ‘seeing’ the ‘Kingdom’ the more one repents:

    Many Christians repent enough to get forgiven, but not enough to see the Kingdom.

    As I read Johnson I believe this initial ‘repenting enough to get forgiven’ means to be ‘merely’ initial conversion; but, once you get “the anointing” you are on the path to increase your ‘seeing’ into the Kingdom. This parallels a New Age concept.


  19. We are to “TEST the spirits to see if they are from God”. How do we do this? By the plumb-line of the teaching and/or practice of Jesus Christ and His Apostles as contained in the collection of writings we know as the New Testament! It is written that “The letter Kills but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6) yet the Lord, Himself declared, “the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life” (John 6:63). The writings of the New Testament scriptures are plain and clear. The man Christ Jesus was the embodiment of the Godhead (not in any mystical sense but LITERALLY–The Word which in the beginning was with God, and was God, became flesh). The Apostle John was at pains to point this out when he spoke of, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1) he wanted everyone to know that Jesus Christ was as much flesh and blood as a man could be!

    We see records of His great miracles, healings, resurrections every one of which proved His being the promised Messiah of Israel. Every one of them was attested as being true–even His enemies could not deny it! Then His Apostles, being filled with the Holy Spirit, received the power of God to do likewise. No one here is denying God’s power to perform Miracles, at least I do not believe so. The problem seems to be that the types of manifestations we hear being claimed by Bill Johnson and the Elijah List members are not found in the Bible. They ARE, however, found in the pages of Hermetical writings.

    The Apostle Peter spoke of those that wrest the scriptures to their own distruction (2 Peter 3:16). Bill Johnson seems to do the same not only with the scriptures but also with the English language itself! I call such the WWF (Word Wresting Federation). I never forget the way some describe the word “Woman” as meaning “the man with the womb”! “Woman” comes from an ancient word “Woefman” where we also get the word “Wife” from!

    As with Mr. Johnson’s shakey knowledge of the English language his knowledge of scripture (and the power of God) is woefully lacking!


    • Craig says:


      Thanks for your comment. Sadly, there are those who accept the hyper-charismatic teaching that Jesus performed all miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit instead of His divinity in view of the hypostatic union. Of course, this paves the way for all to potentially be ‘just like Jesus’. And, this view violates a number of Scriptures.

      I like your WWF – just remove the two “l”s and you’re there!


  20. Craig says:

    In Alice Bailey’s Theosophical/New Age/occult book The Soul and Its Mechanism [(c) 1965 Lucis Trust (1930, 6th prtg 1973), Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY; p 90] the author states that with “Christian Science and New Thought, a bridge has been constructed between the East and the West.” And, Kenyon continued building that bridge to Christianity, and, apparently, Johnson and others in the Word of Faith camp have added to it.


    • Craig says:

      In reading Andrew Louth’s excellent The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys I discovered that this Hindu/Brahman/New Age concept of maya was in Plato’s Republic (circa 380BC). You can read a lengthy Plato passage on pages 3-5 here:


      Louth comments that once one is awakened to this ‘fact’ “the soul must then unlearn its apprehensions of false reality [the physical world] and begin to accustom itself to true reality. Plato sees this as a gradual process…” Would that process be via Johnson’s version of ‘repentance’?:

      …That which is unseen can be realized only through repentance. It was as though He said, ‘If you don’t change the way you perceive things, you’ll live your whole life thinking what you see in the natural is the superior reality…


  21. Craig says:

    Thanks to Bud Press for sending me this Bill Johnson Facebook quote from yesterday:

    The most consistent way to display the kingdom of God is through the renewed mind. It is much more than thinking right thoughts. It is how we think – from what perspective. Done correctly, we “reason” from heaven toward earth. (Bill Johnson, Facebook, May 12, 2012)

    This adds even more credibility to my position that Johnson is teaching the doctrine known in Hinduism/Brahmanism as maya. In my ongoing research, I find this teaching also suggested by Plato(as noted above) and carried over into Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism, the latter of which apparently is enjoying a present day resurgence.


  22. Matt says:

    You know what I think is sad….! Young Christians read all these posts, and walk away more and more confused. I know because Im one of them. Im not saying Bill Johnson is 100% right, nor am I saying he is wrong 100%. But it seems, that every christian or pastor believes that their theology is the only correct one. I was witnessing to a young man, and this young man told me he refused to become a christian because they all acted self righteous, and they were just plain rude.

    I think another problem is that we (as a western group) do not take the time to study the bible in its fullness of context, and in the right view.

    The bible was wrote In Israel, to the Jewish people. It was wrote in 3 languages, Hebrew (old testament), Greek and Aramaic (New Testament).

    If you do not believe that healing is for today, then we might as well count 2/3 of the bible as just history of God, and not God’s character.

    Jesus said “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”.

    If you wanna know God’s heart, or what He is like….study Jesus.

    Jesus asks if He would find faith we He returned….

    Well we seem to be too busy arguing about faith, instead of building each other up in it.

    For example.

    In the book of Hosea, Hosea was told to marry Gomer ( a prostitute).

    Gomer keep committing adultery on Hosea.

    Hosea in this story represented God, while Gomer represented Israel.

    In chapter 2, God said ” “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and wall her in, so that she cannot find her paths. She will chase her lovers, but not overtake them; yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now.’ For she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold; which they prepared for Baal.”

    What did I will hedge up your way in thorns mean?

    In the Jewish culture, shepherds would put the sheep in a cave, and would build a wall of branches with thorns on the outside of it. So if the sheep tried to get out, it would hurt a little bit, and the would grow tired and frustrated…(representing her sin). And it would also keep the wolves out, from destroying the sheep.

    But many us in the western mindset, do not see it this way.

    The bible also says, if a brother sins, go to him in the spirit of gentleness.

    I do not see anyone who is walking in the spirit of gentleness on the forum.

    Listen, God knows the heart. And if you feel that Bill Johnson or any preacher is for that matter,
    contact the ministry and show them their errors in love and grace, as God has done to you.

    Hope all is blessed. This was kinda just ranted but hope you get the point.



    • Craig says:


      I grant you that many of my posts are not easy to read. They require one to really study the material. However, it’s my belief that if one does really read/study the posts (and check the footnote references as backup and further elucidation by putting the quotes in full context) the points made will come across.

      I don’t disagree that there are many ‘Christians’ who are rude and may become impediments to other’s salvation. Yet, we must remember that salvation is a spiritual thing. It does not depend on our witnessing skills or lack thereof, it’s the Holy Spirit who will guide individuals to salvation. And, Jesus said no one comes to Him unless the Father enables them (John 6:37,44,65).

      Does this post mention anything about healing for today, either for or against it? Well, no, that’s not the subject of this particular article. However, if you read the following you’ll see my stance:


      As for the orthodox definition of repentance, it’s very much spelled out in the post. It makes me suspect whether you’ve actually read the entire post or not.

      The point of this and the other posts on Bill Johnson is that his theology is a mixture of truth and falsehood. And, this is the very hallmark of false teaching. His definition of repentance goes beyond the Christian definition of the term. In fact, in points, it resembles the esoteric use of the term. THAT is the main point of this post. You may want to read the post again – or actually read it for the first time.


  23. Matt says:

    Also the word repent, means to change your mind…Thats the Greek meaning…which is the language of the new testament…and bill says that in his book many times. http://gospeltranslations.org/wiki/Biblical_Repentance/The_Meaning_of_Repentance


  24. In the Old Testament the word translated “Repentance” is נֹחַם(Nocham) which means “Sorrow”. The Greek is μετάνοια (metanoia) which means “a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done”. Biblical repentance does involve a change of mind, however it must also be as the result of the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit and accompanied with contrition!


  25. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?, part IV (Conclusion) « CrossWise

  26. Alan says:

    Craig, first of all, thank you for speaking the truth about one of the most dangerous of the false teachers out there. I noted that someone posted a video of a ‘christian’ TV show doing a mini-doco on Bethel. Pat Robertson seems to be the host. I recently came across a website with a picture of Pat Robertson on the front of TIME magazine, where his right hand is displaying a Masonic sign. Dr Cathy Burns has produced a book of Occult and Masonic symbols and signs, so it is easy to verify what this sign is and what it means. Many of the most popular ‘christian’ TV channels have occult and/or Masonic symbols in evidence, which fits in with the deception they promote. All part of the master plan I’m afraid.


  27. Lili-Mart Grobler says:

    Thank you very much. We are very concerned how well Johnson is received in churches wordwide and this article will help us and others to be wide awake and understand the source of Johnson’s teachings. God bless your work.
    Lili-Mart Grobler, South Africa


  28. Jim says:

    Craig, I have just spent an ‘entertaining’ evening listening to Richard Rohr (recommended by a close family member, so did them the honour of checking him out). He really is about as far out there as you can get in terms of New Age ‘Christian’ mysticism. He spoke very highly of Cynthia Bourgeault, so I googled her and your Crosswise article came up.

    What can I say? The list of departures from, ignorance of, and twisting of scripture is lengthy and amazing. I then listened to Rob Bell interviewing him. They are in total alignment. Presumably, so is William Paul Young who has written the forward to a recent book by Rohr. The video comments were mostly like: ‘I would go to a church started by this guy’.


    • Craig says:


      The only real positive I can find in all this is that Christ’s return must be close at hand. The current socio-political climate in the West–which is destroying the West–comes from this same delusion.


  29. Pingback: Bill Johnson Addresses Some of the Controversies Concerning Bethel Church | bewatchful.org

  30. Olivia Harris says:

    All of this is also tied into Masonry. If you ask me everyone is so worried about heaven and hell, good and bad, religious or non religious….i say all information has been tainted by man with only man telling us what is “true” and “not true”….which is their goal anyways…keep us apart to fight over things that do not matter! I believe in a creator of all things… (No name given for all worship is bad worship I feel), I pray every morning to the creator for positive energies and to keep everything negative out. The world changes for the worst everyday no matter what…negative energies taking over because of our dumb and useless arguments about the very things we only learned from humans who do not have our best interests at heart and are aiming for this right here….which is where I came across the word which brought me to this website. It is very interesting for research purposes… https://youtu.be/QP8fEziV-AA
    This YouTube video is how I came to looking for the meaning (all translations) of the word…Metanoia. I have been through videos 1-4 So far and see so many Masonic connections. Thank you so much for the beautiful research and work out into this article! They referred to it as a place…..funny how all religious beliefs have the same theories, with different names and origins, but when interpreting they all say the same thing in the end lol…wonder why. This is what they all aim for one way or another,(which sounds like New World Order goals no matter what religion you begin with). Interpret any way in your own religion any way you want. Which is all open for interpretation it seems anyways. While everyone is arguing I will be busy focusing on my positive energy, less on the materialistic, and treat everyone with love in my heart and intentions of positiveness!


    • Craig says:

      If all paths lead to God, then why does the world continue to discriminate against Christianity (and Judeo-Christian values generally)? For example, why is it that Muslims can deny baking a cake for a gay wedding here in the USA, while a Christian cannot? How can Islam be openly opposed, and even hostile, to gays, while Christianity is lambasted for its (non-hostile) stance against homosexuality?

      Now, going back to metanoia, why is it that other religions have a commonality regarding this term, while Christianity stands apart from them?


  31. Pingback: Bill Johnson über strittige Punkte im Zusammenhang mit Bethel Church | seiwachsam.org

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