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

This is a new article written by Craig who commented and offered some great information under the article  Bill Johnson Falsely Teaches Scripture, the video sent to me by Heraldingtruth. Craig, now a new blogger, (his blog here – Crosswise) did a fine job in researching the biblical truths necessary to clearly reveal the false doctrine taught and freely offered by Johnson. This work leaves no room for doubt that what goes on at Bethel in Redding CA is not sound biblical teaching. It is with hopes and prayers that those who are followers of this false teacher will see the truth and leave his teaching.

Bill Johnson is the pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, is a noted speaker and published author throughout the ranks of charismania. He is involved with International Association of Healing Rooms under Cal Pierce, whose teachings regarding physical and emotional healing are one in the same. Johnson is a follower and teacher of Word of Faith with strong emphasis on the supernatural. He is also part of the New Apostolic Reformation, headed by C Peter Wagner whobelieves the church should be governed by a group of apostles and prophets (self appointed) and as his teachings show, he is a supporter of manifest sons of God in which believers will actually become the Christ. This same dangerous teaching can be found from people such as Bob Jones and Rick Joyner. As is well known, Johnson also supported and defended Todd Bentley after the fallout of the Lakeland Outpouring in 2008.  The very first clue deception is at work is when an emphasis is placed on the person not on Christ. This is the norm for Bethel’s teachings and those who are like-minded throughout charismania. How do I know? I came out of this stuff 2 years ago after the Lord gave me eyes to see.

Johnson’s teachings have found their way into many churches and ministries as has often been discussed here on my blog. I’ve heard many personal stories of churches completely taken over by Bethel, the members becoming blinded by the deception to the extent that some will  no longer give ear to the truth and to the warnings given to them.  It is so important to check his teachings with the Bible as this is a growing trend that shows no sign of dying off; another instance of Christianity slowly becoming something else. It is no wonder the Lord has laid the burden of exposing Bethel on so many.

It is the Lord that we follow, not a man.

_________________________

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

Part 2 here

September 17, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

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

Next he states:

And Acts 13 explains that…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Anointing”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Jesus was baptized to publicly announce Himself as God’s Son, and to pronounce the beginning of His ministry with the Holy Spirit’s power.  Jesus did not “need” the Holy Spirit.  However, to set an example for us, Jesus emptied Himself (Philippians 2:7) and relied upon the Holy Spirit’s power.  Jesus’ baptism and reliance upon the Holy Spirit is an example that we are to follow in our own lives.”[25] [see endnote 9 below on “Jesus emptied Himself”]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.  27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you.  But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in him. [1 John 2:20, 26-27 NIV; emphasis mine.  Underlined portion is rendered in other translations as “is true, and is not a lie”]

Johnson also speaks quite a bit about the antichrist spirit:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johnson’s Christology Defined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Good News!

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

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

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

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

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

[This article is not copyrighted and may be reproduced with the stipulation that all endnotes be included as these provide additional explanation critical to the document.]
Endnotes:
[1] “raideragent” Bill Johnson False Teacher. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzAwFYKe3h0> 3:40 to 4:55
[2] Bethel Church, Redding, CA home page <http://www.ibethel.org/site/>
[3] “ewenhuffman” Jesus is our Model- Sermon of the week 20 Dec 09. <http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2009/12/23/jesus-is-our-model-sermon-of-the-week-20-dec-09/> 33:48 to 34:57
[4] Here Johnson quotes Hebrews 1:5a and Acts 13:33-34b from the NKJV
[5] Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:22/Isaiah 53:9; etc.
[6] Got Questions? What is the Definition of Sin?. <http://www.gotquestions.org/definition-sin.html> par 4
[7] When taking the larger context into account by adding vv 36 and 37 it is clear the best definition for “corruption” is ‘the decay of the body after death.’  See Studylight.org diaphthora <http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=1312>
[8] Johnson, Bill “The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
[9] Got Questions? What Is Christology <http://www.gotquestions.org/Christology.html> The claim that Jesus Christ laid His divinity aside is known as the Kenosis heresy – the misunderstanding of the words “emptied himself” of Philippians 2:7.  Jesus was never less than fully divine; however, some of his attributes were veiled.  See http://www.theopedia.com/Kenosis.
[10] Johnson, Bill “Introduction.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 23
[11] Luke 2:41-52
[12] Johnson, Bill “The Works of the Father.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 98
[13] Johnson, Bill “The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
[14] ibid.
[15] Luke 2:11; I John 1:1-3; Matthew 1:18-23; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6
[16] Strong, James, Dr. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. fully revised by John R. Kohlenberg III and James A. Swanson; 2001, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; Strong’s # 1694; p 1495 “Immanuel,” ‘God with us.’
[17] Strong, Op.cit. Christos Strong’s # 5547; p 1542 “Christ, Anointed One, Messiah, the Greek translation of the Hebrew 4899 (cf. Greek 3323).  The Messiah is the Son of David, an anointed leader expected to bring in an age of peace and liberty from all oppression.  In the NT, the Messiah is Jesus, who came first to bring liberty from sin and peace with God and who will come again to bring all things under His control.”
[18] Theopedia Kenosis <http://www.theopedia.com/Kenosis>
[19] Berkhof, Louis The History of Christian Doctrine. 1975, Baker, Ann Arbor MI; p 121
[20] Johnson, Bill “Change Your Mind.” The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles. 2005; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 50
[21] Johnson, Bill “The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
[22] Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22
[23] Strong, Loc.cit. Chrio Strong’s # 5548; p 1542
[24] ibid. Christos Strong’s # 5547; p 1542
[25] Got Questions? Why was Jesus baptized? Why was Jesus’ baptism important?.
<http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-baptized.html>
[26] Johnson, Op.cit. pp 79-80, 134-135
[27] Johnson, Bill “Our Debt to the World: An Encounter with God.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 138
[28] John 3:16-18
[29] Romans 8:15, 8:23, 9:4; Ephesians 1:5  We are adopted as sons by Grace; whereas, Jesus is God’s Son by nature.
[30] Johnson, Op.cit. p 134
[31] ibid. Johnson p 135
[32] Johnson, Bill “The Kingdom and the Spirit” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 75
[33] Johnson, Bill “The Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit.” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
[34] ibid. p 80
[35] ibid. p 84
[36] Not an actual word, but made from the Greek, hagios which is ‘Holy,’ and pneuma which is ‘Spirit,’ for illustrative purposes.  It is understood that these two terms are never used as a compound word.
[37] Johnson, Op.cit. p 81
[38] Strong, Op.cit. anti, Strong’s # 473; p 1480
[39] Johnson, Bill “The Works of the Father” When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA;   p 99 (Here Johnson quotes Matthew 3:17 from the NKJV)
[40] Gospel Outreach Ministries Online. “Atonement” What is the Word of Faith Movement?. <http://www.gospeloutreach.net/whatwordfaith.html>
[41] Barker, Kenneth; Burdick, Stek, et. al. “Introduction: I John; Gnosticism” NIV Study Bible. copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society,  Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI; p 1905
[42] Strong, Op.cit. p 198 The word “Christ” put in brackets here is disappointingly omitted in the NIV; however, it is in the original Greek (Christos) and appears in the KJV and NKJV as well as other translations.
[43] Barker, Op.cit. p 1910
[44] ibid. p 1911 Bracketed portion is in “Late manuscripts of the Vulgate…”  However, this text is “not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century.”
[45] ibid.

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52 thoughts on “Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I

  1. Luke 1:41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
    This proves that it was God who became man, who already had the Holy Spirit in it’s fullness inside Mary.(Who by the way was not the mother of God but only an instrument in God’s perfect plan of reconciliation between Himself and fallen man)

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  2. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for writing this. As you may be aware if you have happened to read my comments on the subject in the blog world, Bill Johnson has been a concern to me for quite some time. I know quite a few here locally that are greatly influenced by him, his theology, and his church. IMO, the Christian world needs all of the information it can get on where this man is coming from since his influence is so big.

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  3. Hi again Craig,

    I keep thinking about this quote I came across from one of Bill Johnson’s books,When Heaven Invades Earth. It is found here:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=msDOo0EM6ucC&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=bill+johnson+jesus+was+a+man+in+right+relationship+with+God&source=bl&ots=9TQaLEl9_k&sig=rx4s7RSNW7RKG6eJi6YUr77XNM4&hl=en&ei=j6SFTOb1AYaesQPFt5z3Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    My that is a long link, I hope it works! And the site won’t let me copy and paste so I am just going to give a short bit of the quote here. It is, “While He is l00 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations man would face once he was redeemed. He made that point over and over again.”

    This quote sounds like Johnson believes Jesus was really fully God and yet there are the other statements that he has made. How do you think he meant this statement and how do you see it as being reconciled with the rest of what he says? Or is it reconciled? I keep thinking about this one statement and wondering if the rest of what I have said and the rest of what you have written about are completely accurate in light of this comment.

    This is an issue with him that I have found quite confusing and would really like to get to the bottom of.

    By the way, congratulations on your new blog! I have tried to comment there, but am having a war with WordPress. Don’t remember my password and they haven’t given me a new one although I have tried to get one twice now.

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    • Pretty dangerous that he can just put that out there for anyone looking to come across. In my experience in his teaching is to downgrade Jesus who “could not do” (just like it says in the link at the beginning), had to be ANOINTED to perform the miracles. This same anointing is available to anyone for the asking. Once you get this anointing through the laying on of hands by someone else who has it you will be able to do amazing miracles too and will be able to pass the anointing on to others. In essence the person becomes like God. This teaching has been out there before Johnson came around. After all, it started in the garden. The truth is, there is no true Godly power in this anointing. It is counterfeit and I believe is just like that of kundalini, reiki and chi. This explains the lack of true healing and deliverance in their gatherings and their healing rooms. If you were to read their “testimonies” they are low level – someone felt less pain or believed they were healed or felt something. Nothing at all like Jesus did, not even close.

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        • yeeeessssss! Even my own. And to that they will tell people it is because satan is trying to kill their faith and they need to keep proclaiming “I am healed in Jesus’ name”, or keep quoting scriptures over and again, both outloud so the devil can hear it.

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    • cherylu,

      It depends on WHEN Jesus IS fully God.

      Really, his whole Christology seems self-contradictory. That’s why I went to the trouble of spelling it out in paragraph form just under the Johnson’s Christology Defined section. The only logical explanation is he actually has a different view but he’s trying to couch it in ‘Christian’ terms so it sounds Biblically orthodox.

      When you add his statements “Jesus is our model” (this is the title of the sermon series from which the born again Jesus comes) plus these two quotes:

      “Many believe His power exists only to help us overcome sin. This understanding stops very short of the Father’s intent for us to become witnesses of another world. Doesn’t it seem strange that our whole Christian life should be focused on overcoming something that has already been defeated? Sin and its nature have been yanked out by its roots…”

      “Many in the church are camped on the wrong side of the Cross.” [from p 110]

      …he’s teaching MSoG. He’s just not quite as overt as Bentley was in Lakeland, for example.

      I will point this out in part II. Compare the words in the article and these I’ve just quoted with these from Alice Bailey (whose work provides a blueprint for the New Age Movement) in her occult/esoteric book From Bethlehem to Calvary:

      “The outstanding need of Christianity today is to emphasize the living, risen Christ. We have argued too long over the death of Christ, seeking to impose a narrow sectarian Christ upon the world. We have fed the fires of separation by our Christian divisions, churches, sects and ‘isms.’ ‘Their name is legion,’ and most of them are founded upon some sectarian presentation of the dead Christ, and of the earlier aspects of His story. Let us now unite on the basis of the risen Christ – Christ alive today, Christ the source of inspiration and the founder of the kingdom of God; Christ, the Cosmic Christ, the historical Saviour, the founder of Christianity, watching over His Church; Christ the mystic, mythic Christ, portraying upon the canvas of the Gospels and episodes of unfoldment so that all who live may know and follow; and Christ, alive today in every human heart, the guarantee of, and the urge towards the presence of Christ in man, the conviction of divinity and of man’s consequent immortality seem to be inherent in the human consciousness…”

      Of course, we know what “legion” is as the demons say that is their name in response to Jesus in Mark 5:10. Compare that to “demonic presence” in the article in which Johnson uses it for those with ‘religious spirits.’ This is the call to unity at the expense of doctrine within the hyper-charismatic wing.

      The “kingdom of God” which Bailey speaks of is the same one Johnson speaks of in his book — Dominionism.

      Now, having said all that I’ll explain the first sentence as to WHEN Jesus became God. Theosophic teaching is that Jesus was a man who became God; and, He symbolically provided the example for us to follow as evidenced by his five “initiations.” These were, 1) “virgin” birth (long rather twisted explanation); 2) baptism; 3) Transfiguration; 4) Crucifixion (dying to self); 5) Resurrection and Ascension. We, too, can reach this final step — MSoG.

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      • I should have mentioned: the Alice Bailey book was written in 1937. Most of her work was from 1922 or so through the early ’40s

        Sorry you’re having trouble with wordpress. I’m having similar trouble with the personal profile…

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      • It is a process of becoming. I have often heard him reference the lack of true healing or miracles and even his own “dead raising teams” who haven’t raised anyone to this date – WE ARE NOT THERE YET. Which implies he believes there will be a point that “believers” become more than what they are with the ability to do these miracles – signs and wonders – at such a high level that these acts will win the world over for his “christ”. It’s all slopped in there with the 7 mountains. It goes along the lines that he and others, including Cal Pierce believe somehow we have forgotten the true ways, the true work of the church and even those in the bible – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and even Paul MISSED IT.

        So whenever the terms “higher level, the next level”, etc. are being passed around it is because these people do believe they are gaining momentum and spiritual growth and achieve a higher plane. This is much like what is taught in eastern religions in the practice of meditation. One day they will be like their god achieving a nirvana like plane.

        There is indeed a connection between the occult, other religions and what goes on in our churches – what has been allowed and practiced for a very long time. Word of Faith is connected to the Laws of Attraction aka the Secret, etc. Eventually I will get into exposing this myself. So, in some ways the teachings of Johnson, Hagin, Copeland, etc. are right in there with Oprah and her gang of gurus and spiritualists – Tolle, Dyer, etc. Remember those who died in the sweat house not long ago? Same stuff.

        This is the problem when people think more of themselves than they should and cannot simply accept the fact that God did what He did because He is God and He is not like one of us. His ways are far beyond our limited understanding. They can’t leave it at that, always searching for more, a way to know, a way to explain to understand. And when their vain imaginings gets the best of them they believe or claim they have been given this “hidden knowledge”. Then they package it and sell it, pass it around, some freely as Bill Johnson does, and many, many follow and become blinded to the truth!

        Tongue in cheek, this reminds me of the Steven King book/movie Tommyknockers in which an entire town was taken over by the presence of alien beings. The townspeople lost the desire for food, began to loose their teeth and had all kinds of “knowledge” to create and a way of “knowing” that they had not in the past. They called their transformation “the becoming”. This is much like what goes on in these charismatic circles. There has been a great emphasis on “creation” or painting during worship services. There is also the very powerful but also very false prophetic movement which is a kind of “knowing”. I know this is a little off, to reference King and I don’t take the information going on here lightly. Its just that this “stuff” all comes from somewhere and every now and then I see a little piece going on in Hollywood and I wonder where they got that from. Ya know? (not really wonder, but…) It is probably very safe to assume the same demonic spirits that have stupified these people are the same ones who wisper in the ears of Hollywood writers.

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  4. The teaching that Jesus had to be born again is shocking, but this teaching is common in Word of Faith circles and has been taught by Hagin, Copeland and others.

    I agree it should be exposed whereever and whenever possible.

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  5. There are still things about my years spent in this whole atmosphere/teaching that give me the creeps when I think about it. This anointing, and “Holy Spirit” that was thrown around the room, poured out of a violin, sucked up through a pretend straw, caused people to laugh hysterically (over nothing) while rolling immodestly around the floor, and could be brought into the room through prolonged drumming, etc. etc, had so little resemblance to what we see in the Bible. A “new thing”?? I don’t think so! And to add to all of that, there were times when the “Spirit” and the “anointing had a really dark and unholy feel to it. I’m sorry, but I do not buy it at all.

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  6. I have been mulling over Johnson’s heretical teaching of the kenotic heresy on the video you previously posted–that Jesus was completely emptied of his divine attributes, became merely a man and only acted under the divine annointing brought upon him at his baptism–Johnson has been very sneaky about the way he phrases things in his books so no one can accuse him straight out of teaching these dodgy things. But by saying the Son of God wasbe born again he is clearly headed in a downward spiral. I have been too busy with the start of school again to post much–so thank you Craig, for your clear exposition here!

    But nobody is talking about another issue,that Johnson himself is preaching another gospel. I am troubled by this quote from his teaching of 8/15:

    “As so this ministry of Jesus that dealt with every single person that came to him with affliction or torment–he ministered to them. That’s the only standard to follow. I refuse to create a theology that allows for sickness. Now here we’ve got a problem…

    Alright, what Gospel is it? It’s the Gospel of Jesus. It’s the Gospel of the Kingdom.

    [Sighs] Okay. Let me illustrate. Paul refers to his thorn in the flesh, which has been interpreted by many as disease allowed or brought on by God. That’s a different Gospel. Jesus didn’t model it and He didn’t teach it. And Paul said, “You can’t change the standard.”

    That felt good. You guys alright?”

    Johnson conflates secondary issues not central to orthodox Christianity–such as healing in the atonement, with the things of “first importance”, which are clearly the gospel. Paul elucidates in 1Cor 15:11-4:

    “Now I would remind you, brothers, [1] of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”

    That is the gospel, that is the power of God to salvation for all who believe. No one is going to be saved from hell by believing that Jesus healed all who came to Him, or created models for us to follow. That is not the gospel of the kingdom, and as Johnson says, “You can’t change the standard.” He is preaching another gospel.

    That felt good! I hope you’re alright with it, and can see that this man is falsely preaching the gospel of the kingdom, as well as falsely teaching Scripture.

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    • Hiiiiii Karen.
      Thanks for the scriptures. You are absolutely correct in that there is much emphasis put on healing over salvation. Jesus healed ALL who came to Him because it was how He proved to the world that He is God. No one else has the power to heal, the raise the dead or even to forgive sins except God. This is what WOF misses. And this is the way they elevated the importance of man over God – the healing, the anointing, the power, the authority, the ministry, the gifts, the divine appointments – all having a part of the truth, but not the whole truth and many are led astray chasing after the next release of these things over their lives. In reality, nothing changes. All their talk and claims of healing and still people are sick, dying and going to hell. And as we have discussed in the past many of them, Johnson included, are or have been sick, on meds, have hearing aids and wear glasses, need sleep aids etc. So if they claim that signs and wonders follow those who believe, why aren’t the signs and wonders of healing miracles following them? Where is that fruit? Johnson can blurt out all the snappy phrases he chooses to, they do not change the truth, not matter how cool he comes off.

      Did you see the discussion here – https://mkayla.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/bill-johnson-falsely-teaches-scripture/

      Yes, he is teaching another gospel. His manner is very evasive to the truth – cunning is how I call it, manipulative. And I am very thankful that many people are coming forward to reveal the false teaching he is spreading throughout the world.

      Good to hear from you!

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  7. Hi Mkayla
    I am definitely nor WOF.
    I do not think you have this right
    Please show me a scripture that says that healing, tongues or gifts of the Holy Spirit has passed away.
    1Cor 13:12… then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
    Please don’t tell this scripture says so. This talks about one day when we are in His presence.
    You might tell me we have the Bible now.
    Well we think everybody in the world has a Bible or enjoy our privileges.
    Am I allowed to say then that nations who have not been reached or who do not have the Bible in their own language or maybe have nothing written in their language would be allowed to move in the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit?
    We do not want to pray for the sick because of the way people abuse it. We are scared to use the word faith because of abuse. We are scared to talk about the gifts of the spirit because of abuse.
    We must find a balance. Just because a few individuals who kill themselves, and others, because of the way they drive does not stop us who stick to the rules from driving. The same counts for believers, just because some people go to the extreme, will not stop me from believing and living the whole council of God.
    Faith:
    I have just read the Gospels again and noticed how many time Jesus said “your faith”. So obviously whatever they had received had something to do with “their faith”. Jesus also said what you believe you can have. The key is to find the balance and get rid of the extreme. Yes my faith works and will work as long as it is in accordance with the will of the One who gave it to me in the first place. Anything outside of this, whether I receive what I pray for (by my own power not by God’s) or not, have anything to do with the will of God and can lead to false teaching.

    Jesus said in Mark, those who believe will speak in tongues, lay hands on the sick and they will recover. We cannot ignore this because of people’s abuses. What about 1 Cor 12,13, 14, we cannot just act like it does not exist. We must preach the whole council of God and not just our own pet doctrines.
    I still lay hands on people and the words Jesus spoke so long ago still have power to heal. I do not walk in perfect health as I live in a fallen world. God sees fit to use me because I am a willing vessel not because I am perfect.
    I am baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues and I pray for people to be baptized and the same happens to them.
    If this piece in the Gospel of Mark is not for today then maybe the rest of the Bible is also not for today.
    The key is to find the truth in the Word and to stick to it. Do not make the Word say something it does not say, this will always get you into trouble!

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    • Harry, I’m confused. When you say I didn’t have it right, are you referring to the article as a whole or a section or even a comment that I made? I never said the gifts have ceased, I’m simply pointing out that we do not see healings in the same way the 1st century church did. I believe that we see in part, know in part NOW and I will agree that one day all the gifts, etc will cease as there will no longer be a need for them. So, please clarify.

      I still pray for people too. Some get healed, some do not and I leave it up to God’s sovereignty rather than run to a list of created reasons as to why this person has not been healed. I think we see the same way on that. But again, if you can copy specific quotes from me or the article that you are questioning it would be more beneficial to our communication.

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    • Am I allowed to say then that nations who have not been reached or who do not have the Bible in their own language or maybe have nothing written in their language would be allowed to move in the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit?

      I want to add that people who are not born again cannot possibly move in the gifts or power of the Holy Spirit. Such an instance is not supported in scripture. And I know that Loren Cunningham of YWAM and others support this idea, teaching that God put a piece of Himself in all nations/culture. It is wrong.

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  8. Craig,

    A good article!

    May it be read by those who need to read it. BJ for starters.

    But it’s not likely that many would understand what you are saying, or even think that the distinctions you make are important. They would say that those distinctions don’t matter.

    Funny how BJ says that it’s those who don’t follow after signs and wonders who are of the antichrist spirit. Has he read Matt 24:24?

    ian

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  9. Thanks Ian!

    My goal was to make the article readable/understandable, but, yet I knew it had to be somewhat technical. I hope the average reader can get the basic gist of it.

    Yes, at not just Mattew 24:24 — what about 2 Thess 2:9-12?

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  10. Oh, it’s very readable, just like the Bible is. I was referring to the spiritual blindness, which causes people like BJ to stumble over the plain words of Scripture. No one can be plainer than Scripture, as it is written, eh.

    Yes, not just Matt 24:24, but many texts.

    BJ does have some truth in what he says concerning a “powerless gospel”. There are groups which are proud of the fact that nothing ever supernatural happens, and there are groups which make salvation an ideology rather than an experience from God. That’s true.

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  11. Just wanted to clarify (because of Harry’s post), You do believe the gifts are for today but one day will cease (when Jesus comes again and all things are complete) but we do not see the gifts today like we did in the first century.

    If so, this is what I believe is supported in scripture. The healings Jesus did were to fulfill prophecy as evidence that He was/is the Messiah. That is was healing is for today, proving Jesus is who He said He is and that the unbeliever might be brought into faith. But to those who demanding a healing or any other sign Jesus had this to say in Matt 16:4 “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.

    Thank you for blogging on the subject.

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    • HI Sherrie. Yes!

      It has been forgotten or laid aside that Jesus came to give his life for us so that in Him we can live eternally with the Father. He healed to prove He was what He claimed and because of His compassion. Many today forget this truth and place much emphasis on man, the healing. They believe it is their “right” to be healed, to live this life without sickness or disease and go as far at to “command” or “demand” the healing to be gone. They lead others on a path that puts the healing as an idol, chasing after it rather than seeking the will of God, giving testimony to the fact that God has allowed them to have this illness but still trust Him, believe in Him, encouraging others on their way.

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  12. Hi Mkayla
    Sorry if I got it wrong when you said “. No one else has the power to heal, the raise the dead or even to forgive sins except God.”
    I thought you meant God won’t use anybody else to heal. It is still done by His will and His power.
    I only commented on still being sick even though God uses me as you said Bill is still sick even though he claims miracles.
    We must remember miracles only prove we might be goats and not sheep.
    Always remember look at the fruit not the works.

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    • Harry, thanks for clarifying. I’ve been looking at the word over everything – fruits, works, etc. Because I always find the truth in the bible – always.
      Blessings to you. 🙂

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  13. There is no problem at all with a sick person praying for others to be healed, and seeing them healed, and yet not being healed themself.

    Some of us believe Paul’s thorn was an eye disease. Many were healed thru Paul, but he couldn’t “heal himself”.

    Thankfully, the truth does not rest upon what anyone has experienced or not experienced.

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  14. Unfortuneately, it does.

    Charismatics go overboard on experience.

    Anti-charismatics go overboard on their absence of experience.

    Like, McArthur’s theology is based on his lack of experience of the Holy Spirit, and not on scripture. He twists the scriptures out of context to try and prove that the gifts have ceased.

    And charismatics tend to twist the scriptures so that experience trumps the authority of scripture.

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  15. S,
    You put up a very long comment. Are you asking my opinion in what this person or ministry is stating? It’s a lot to take apart and I want to make sure I understand correctly before I take it on. This is also why I haven’t approved it.

    Thanks

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  16. Yes, I was more looking for your input rather than posting it.

    There were some additional correspondence with this pastor that clarified his doctrine which is now being called the “New Covenant of healing” and health that is ours through heir-ship, not law and works.

    According to him Deut 28 and and all sickness, illness, poverty, and curses of the old testament were conquerered at the cross. All who believe are not subject to them and will be healed. (I, too, believe that but not necessarily this side of heaven or in this flesh.) God heals whom He wills to heal for His purpose but this doctrine believes it is His will to do so now and if it hasn’t occurred it’s because of the confession of your own mouth. This pastor says Joni Erickson Tada’s testimony has kept many believers in bondage because she believes God has used her injury for His glory. They are not extremely charsmatic and do not teaching the greed claims of name it and claim it. But are much more subtle. Anyway, my heart was breaking because my daughter and her husband are in a similar church and so confused about doctrine. The last post was a cry for help. God opened the door for us to present the information to them. They were not open to it but when I ensured them that truth was truth no matter how you investigate it and even a jury does not decide without listening to both points of view they took the packette of info with verses refuting the doctrine. God has given me comfort in that they are both believers, trusting in Christ alone and His atonement on the cross. They are His kids. He loves them. He will guide them. We have been obedient in giving them truth about a harmful doctrine and now it’s up to them to walk out their faith. Thank you again for your website.

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    • Hi S. Thanks for responding!

      This is typical word of faith garbage. We are healed when we say so, with our own words by our God given authority and power. Those who are not healed have not spoken the words correctly, have not recited the correct scriptures enough times, have not yet learned how to “effect” their healing or have not been taught how to pray effectively for the healing to manifest in the body. And there is more.

      In the NT we read Jesus healed all He touched because He is God and it was how He proved to others He is the Messiah sent by God, the one the Jews had been waiting for, the one prophesied to come. We do not have the same power or authority that Jesus had. To claim we do is to claim that we are God.

      Those who claim to be healers or who have healing ministries are usually sick themselves. The word says to watch for the fruit. Well, a true healer will heal period. And those involved do not heal, they are sick, wear glasses and hearing aids, have weight problems, heart problems, breathing problems, allergies and are on medications. They go to doctors when they are sick and have surgeries when they need them. They are liars.

      The most effective way to combat the confusion is through the word of God. There is the truth. We are told to lay hands on the sick and to pray for them. It is God who heals, but not everyone. It is left up to His decision and for His purpose. Now you pray for them to see the truth, as believers, they are probably praying for eyes to see. They are in the best position they can be in and God is faithful. Questioning teaching is how I found my way out. Good work. 🙂

      https://mkayla.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/areallhealed/

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  17. Some thoughts and questions re: Bill Johnson/Bethel. I thought this would be a reasonable post to share them:

    – Any idea if in his “born-again” claim, he is going hard core Word Faith saying “he was born-again, in hell” (ala Joyce Meyer, Copeland et.al.). Has he uttered the “in hell” part? Or do you think that all things considered this would be implied. Tough to tell, since some will say (like a pastor where I attend church will say) that Jesus died a spiritual death, but won’t tack on that he went to hell for it. If Johnson has said this, it’s a no brainer — heretic. Hope I articulated that right.

    – My first time hearing about Bethel/Bill Johnson, I was at the local zoo around a year ago. My wife and I ran into friends of her’s there from her former church. The two women I met were walking around the zoo with a list of things/objects that they were supposed to be looking for in the people that they came across. When they came across someone who sported one of the objects on their checklist, they were supposed to approach them and ask them if they could pray for “healing” for them. My interest was piqued, as I pleasantly assumed they were fellow believers, but also because my discerning spirit is always at work and I knew I had to delve a bit deeper into this. So I chimed in politely but pointedly and asked them “Wow, ok, so do you like share the Gospel with them too?” Their reply was “well, no not necessarily…it might lead to that, but basically we just want to know if they want to be healed”. That was all I needed to know, I just knew in my heart something was off, I could immediately sense it. They said it was a program they culled (I think) from a book by a man named Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, CA, and it was this cool new thing they were doing. I just sort of internally sighed, and my heart kind of sank. I knew…

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    • Scott,

      As to your comment as to whether Johnson believes the WoF doctrine that Jesus died in hell that will be brought forth in part II of the article. I’ve done a bit more research; and, to that end I’m currently reading Kenneth E. Hagin’s book The Name of Jesus which is taken largely from a book by E. W. Kenyon with a similar name. I don’t wish to go into any details as of yet until I’ve thoroughly digested this and some other info. I will say I’ve not heard/read Johnson utter the “in hell” part, though.

      As to your encounter with Bethel attendees at the zoo — this is consistent with Johnson’s book; ie, it’s more about “power evangelism” which I contend does not lead to a real conversion unless the true Gospel is related to them. And, with a false Jesus and a false Christ, how can a true Gospel be presented?

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    • I don’t know if he has linked the born again theory to the “going to hell” one. I think these false teachings – Jesus going to hell, being born again, etc. put Him at the level of man. Some things are hard for us to understand and some are above our understanding altogether. People like Johnson, Copeland, etc. come in with some “revelation” as tho they have been given this information from God. In reality they are demonic inspired because they remove Jesus Christ from the deity that He is – always was and always will be. 

      There are a few scriptures in the word that refer to the work Jesus did during those three days after the cross, but none of them refer to his torture by demons which some of these people teach. Since the proof is not found in the word we conclude them to be false teachings/teachers.

      I am aware of this “outreach” method – some go to pray for healing, some go to give a prophetic word. These teams go into all kinds of public places, even bars. Their reasoning is to “show God’s love” inferring that Christ’s death was not proof enough. Just think of the damage this does to an unbeliever who is prayed over for healing or given some bogus prophetic word – from God – then the healing, or the word does not manifest. What does that say to the unbeliever? Scary stuff. These people don’t want to preach the gospel because it has become offensive to them.

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  18. Thanks! “Bezel 333” from YouTube (you’re probably like “Huh”?) has a Bill Johnson project coming up on his site…if you’re not familiar with this, his presentations are very well done and are easily accessible from his YT page. I like them alot. Thank you so much. Scott

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  19. The good Reverend’s comments are extremely revealing with respect to his lack of understanding the doctrine of Propitiation, and the doctrine of Redemption.

    Paul admonishes all believers to “…adhere to SOUND doctrine”, and Titus 2:1, “You must teach what is in accord with SOUND doctrine”.

    The “born again Jesus” theology is not SOUND doctrine. It is UNSOUND doctrine. Think about it for a moment, if Jesus Christ needed to be “born again” or to get “saved” [those terms are interchangeable], then it’s reasonable to think that He sinned somewhere along the way.

    It then begs the question that if Jesus needed to get saved or born again, Who is His Redeemer? [Savior]? Obviously Johnson’s whole discourse does not line up with the truth of scripture, and now it becomes UNSOUND doctrine.

    Lastly, if pastor Johnson’s theological foundation is UNSOUND in one area, then is it not reasonable to assume that it could be UNSOUND in other areas? If so, there is crumbling and rot that sets in until there is an eventual collapse of his theological basis. The ones who suffer from this are those who sit under his false teachings.

    This fella’s theology is scary, very scary, and one should stay as far away as possible.

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    • Thanks David.

      If you do any more reading here on my blog you will see Johnson’s connection with Cal Pierce of the Healing Rooms and SOZO aka inner healing methods taken right out of the new age methodology, his alliance with the NAR, and all the very well known teachers and prophets of hyper-charismatics. He is a main leader and deceiver in what is now known as the emergent church, given heed to doctrine and practice of Catholicism and its mystics. Very simply, Bill Johnson teaches the way of the antichrist. There is no getting around it, no excuse to be found. His fame and fortune grows each day as many a deceived with their itching ears, loving and hanging on his every word. Yes, very scary indeed, and what will be their end. I shutter to think.

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  20. I have a question: Steve Backlund of Bethel Church states that we have the DNA of Christ. What does he mean by that? I believe this is false teaching, but I need to understand what he means by that. Thank you

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    • Word of Faith teaching claims that believers have the same power and authority as Jesus displayed while here on earth. In essence, we have the same power as God, or are like little Gods. The DNA claim is just another way of expressing the same belief. I’ve heard it a couple of different ways – one was when God breathed life into Adam, another being washed in the blood of Christ, having His blood, His DNA….And you are right, it is false teaching.

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      • Thank you so much for your quick response. I am impressed with how quickly you responded. I have been teaching our Bible study group of women about the false teaching so dominant in the body of Christ these days and how Bethel has infiltrated our church here in Yakima, Wa, in fact how I, myself about four years ago got caught up in the SOZO so-called-healing-ministry of Bethel. I have just begun alerting the ladies in my group and a few of them do not want to believe what I am alerting them to. They are currently attending a Bible study using Wendy Backlund’s workbook, and today I was trying to research and came across this “DNA” idea, and so needed to have some clarity to be able to share this next week when I meet with the ladies again in our Bible study. So, again, I so appreciate your quick response. Blessings to you and continued strength and encouragement to you as you alert us to these false teachings and ‘wolves in sheeps clothing’.

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        • Juanita, if I were you I would do a little more research on the DNA lie. I just threw a couple of pointers out there but if you are meeting with people who already doubt you will need concrete biblical evidence. I’m very happy to hear you are exposing the lies of Bethel and SOZO!

          God bless you!

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          • Thank you I will indeed do more research on the DNA lie. We are in the apostasy prophesied in the Word, and a great deception has overtaken. I am encouraging my ladies to read the Word for themselves, it’s amazing to me how many Christians do not know their Bible, nor do they read it often. They love their devotional books, and although some are good and inspirational I encourage them to read their Bibles to hear what Holy Spirit is speaking to them, and the devotional book as an extra read. Any one of us can be deceived, as I mentioned before, I myself fell into deception. I am so thankful Holy Spirit began to reveal to me His truth. I was amazed as I began my research how many scriptures there are that admonish us to test the spirits, test everything, be a Berean. And the Word clearly teaches us through many scriptures that there will be those wolves in sheeps clothing in the body of Christ.

            Blessings to you.

            Juanita

            ________________________________

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