An Act of Well Honed Manipulation

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Proper exegesis, proper hermeneutics comes from time well spent in careful study. As a society we have enmassed a wealth of resources and information, and live in an information age, as answers to our questions are literally at our fingertips.

As Christians, we have the promised guidance of truth and revelation through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have the written word of God which confirms truth to us as we study. Discernment is a gift, but it comes with understanding how it operates.  Surely we are a people who are able to spot a manipulator no matter how well-honed he appears. We are called to think soberly and to judge righteously, speaking against all teaching not supportive in scripture.

If you believe the man in the following video, Bill Johnson, is speaking through the presence and revelation of the Holy Spirit, if you believe the things said here are prophetic, you will just as easily believe the one who is to come claiming to be Christ – yet is not – the one who will fulfill the prophecy of Matthew 24 and sits on the throne. He too will perform great signs and wonders.

The deception and falling away from Christ will come that easily for you.

Why?

This man is a liar, and he is not a prophetic man of God, and these manifestations of signs and wonders as God’s presence and God’s blessing on His people are not found in the bible, which makes them false signs and wonders! Yet, he speaks as a man from God, so remember Christ said many would come in His name and would be deceived.

Christ also said that He would not leave us as orphans!  It is the desire of God for us to known Him through Christ, not feathers and dust, but  through repentance as sinners, gaining knowledge through His word – Jesus is the Word – and written, the confirmation of our faith!  He does not drop feathers. He does not rain down gold dust or appear as smoke.

Wasn’t the death of Christ enough for you to believe?  If not, you never will.

Nothing God does is offensive to us because we are in agreement with all that He says and does. Christ died for us. We are repentant. We delight in His ways!

Remember, proper study is needed and your eyes will be opened to see the truth.

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61 thoughts on “An Act of Well Honed Manipulation

  1. “Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”
    It’s grieving to post scripture such as this in reference to a supposed man of God. But in light of all the information out there and the words out of his own mouth there really is little left to say except Titus 3:10-11. Bill Johnson has been approached by email, facebook, been invited to blog sites to discuss and defend his teachings and even recently publicly challenged at one of his own meetings.

    “Pastor Bill Johnson Gets Rebuked Publicly In Front Of 18,000 At Chicago “JESUS CULTURE” Meeting!!! ”

    The time has come to focus on the sheep, his time has come and gone, it’s apparent from his lack of willingness to engage in any type of conversation, except some minor “tweets” here and there. No accountability and I don’t mean to men; but to God…..but as Bill says “God’s in charge, he’s just not in control”….So maybe that how he convinces himself, I don’t know and I now don’t care, he has proven time and time again that there is no understanding of the deep things of God.
    He is all dog and pony show and not a very good one at that. “Follow signs and wonders till the follow you”…..Really, has he ever read the word and how signs and wonders ARE NOT to be followed????

    Men like Bill Johnson are to be rejected after the first and second admonition period. As far as I can tell he has had several hundred (if not more) admonitions. The alarm continues to be sounded for the sheep but these guys are not and will not heed the warnings. That door is closed, they are wolves and their intent is to deceive.
    Matt. 24-25 ” For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before.”
    What’s their goal???? To deceive the very elect of God….and we must not forget Christ has told us in advance. We need to spend our time, prayer and focus on the sheep that are still trapped by these men…..Good word M’Kayla, God bless your work and ministry.

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    • You are absolutely correct. I watched that same video just before I put up the article. I say a job well done to the man who rebuked Johnson. I saw the comment that he did not do it the right way. Well, where does that thinking come from? A man who will stand and continually lie and manipulate people who have entrusted him to preach Jesus publicly needs a public rebuke. Too bad those in the audience chose to stay and applaud Johnson and did not head the warning.

      Johnson seems so perplexed in his video. He is not. He is manipulating people, plain and simple. And that attitude as tho he can’t quite understand God is one in which many use, those who believe so heavily in the supernatural, as God is just some crazy kinda guy who does all these bizarre things! Well, that is not what the bible teaches.

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  2. In the video it’s very clear that they are GOING AFTER (earnestly desiring) weird signs. They are pursuing these signs. Now, they will guage their spirituality by the frequency of these signs occuring, and their focus is shifted away from Jesus toward feathers and gold dust.

    Funny thing is that those signs are meaningless and petty.

    In the book of Acts, the “signs following” the preaching of the word were healings, miracles and deliverance from demons, and not superficial signs.

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  3. As I have posted before I spent years in the prison ministry and seen hundreds accept the simple salvation message of Jesus Christ never did anyone ever fall backwards,roll on the floor, act insane,make animal noise,yell in tongues act stupid,or jerk around as do the pentecostals or tv preachers do its just stupid emotions.Also no gold dust or feathers from heaven.
    Maybe he took LSD in the 1970s since he talks this nonsense!

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  4. Mkayla
    I was quite taken with Johnsons new gospel toward the end of the vid , the one where folks on planes see gold dust and they are saved.!!! Come on Bill , is that really the gospel!!Fifteen minutes of BJ subjective double speak and not one reference to the scripture , except for a few disdainful , of the cuff , out of context remarks.Yep I agree with Pat , the man is more than a heretic though, he’s a ravenous wolf , and little do the bethel crowd know that the’re on the menu.
    I truly do not know what to say that hasn’t been said multiple times. This is tragic, its gone far beyond that of being frivolous ignorance.

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  5. Thinking through what has beeen presented in this vid throws up a few disturbing scenarios.
    I believe we can say with confidence that these manifestations are not from God, so what does that leave us with

    That the “signs” originate from the demonic, maybe this is plausible.

    That the signs are the result of a small number of folks , unbeknown to Johnson, who are pulling these stunts on the sheeple.

    That these false signs are perpetrated with the full knowledge and consent of Johnson, in which case this would be the most diabolical abuse of pastoral care .

    I do find it unnerving that while Johnson claimed to out of the country on the occassion of one of those ” glory cloud” manifestations, he appeared to have an intimate knowledge of what was in the ” cloud” .Coincidence, who knows , but I think Johnson does.

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  6. Shucks, the Jesus Culture video was removed because of a copyright claim. Didn’t know that Johnson could copyright a public rebuke. Funny, it was up for two months, and was not removed until I posted something like this:

    “What is Johnson saying at about 00:54” ? (this was as the rebuke concluded)

    It appears to me that Johnson, in a disgusted manner – on mic – called the rebuker a “dog.”

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  7. ***** THE BILL JOHNSON CHALLENGE *****

    Let’s start a global internet competition: The first person to post a video or text of Bill Johnson CLEARLY annunciating/explaining the true Gospel of Salvation thru faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, will win a prize!

    And, if it turns out that he does preach the true Gospel (regardless of feathers and gold dust), then we may re-adjust and re-evaluate our stance toward him.

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    • You said it yourself long ago Ian – Anyone who is teaching opposite the bible is not being led by the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t outright deny the gospel, he just no longer preaches it. I say no longer, but I don’t know if he EVER did. So..since we are called to that task, the very fact that a PASTOR does not is the same as DENIAL. All of his books and teachings speak of things not taught in scripture, so again, denial. He stands and makes public acclaim to these manifestations, manipulating people – denial. The list goes on and on.

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  8. Ray – you bring up excellent points. How deep does the deception go? A friend of mine was at a meeting where “jewels” appeared – supposedly diamonds, rubies, emeralds, etc. I urged him to have them appraised by a jeweler as he was starting college and could use the money to pay for school. I knew what the jewelers answer would be but wanted this young lad to hear it for himself. Common costume jewelry – used in plays and theater.

    The gold dust is nothing more than milar – a substance used to make balloons and the feathers are common goose down. If any of it was real – there would be no need for an offering to be taken.

    I have been asking myself a question lately, would any of these people still “minister” if no book table or offerings were involved? In other words – would they minister with no video cameras or money? There is your answer.

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  9. @Anybody:

    Does anybody another location of the video? I would love to use it on our own website. Bill Johnson/Jesus Culture never bothered about rights, and now …

    But anyway, the original should be out there somewhere 😉 If anybody locates he clip, please respond here and download the recording immediately!

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  10. Javanut
    I really don’t want to watch the vid again and be robbed of another 15 mins of my life, but i do recall , whether on this one or another vid , where Johnson is talking about the gold filling thing. This is just ridiculous, why would God give out a substitute, if God heals , is he going to use something secondrate, its like a man saying that he had his leg healed , but God only gave him a prosthetic replacement, or a person that claims that they were healed of heart disease but all they got was a pigs valve. If God is going heal, I believe He does so to the original design. It just goes to show where Johnsons heart is.

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  11. ***** THE BILL JOHNSON CHALLENGE *****

    “2 Cor. 11:3-4 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth ANOTHER JESUS, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. ”
    I think it’s safe to say that Bill Johnson is preaching and teaching another Jesus. If one would take out all of the “signs, wonders, feathers, gold dust, drunken glory, fire tunnels” etc. there’s not much left and no solid foundation on which to stand.There has certainly been enough proof and evidence of this over the last several years of dissecting and discerning his messages and ministry. This blog alone shows that and they are many others that have taken the time to study the Word and hold these types of ministries to the light of the Scriptures and found them to be false. This is CLEARLY shown.

    One has to remember that these ministries are not going to outright deny or take Christ’s name out of their teachings…..how else would they fit into the “Christian” world ??? They are making merchandise of the sheep.They are wolves period.
    I don’t want to “win a prize” I want to be found faithful and continuing in God’s Word. Warning others and helping all who God is bringing out of this deception.

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  12. I took the “Bill Johnson Challenge” ( i might win a prize!) and did a bit of surfing the BJ vids on Youtube, and nope, i drew a blank. Didn’t find anywhere where i heard with my own ears the simple gospel of Jesus Christ clearly explained.

    He does appear on video to be a tired, weary and joyless man.

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  13. Hi M’Kayla,
    I’ve wondered about this type of ‘manifestation’ (or perhaps that should be; ‘infestation’?) & recently spoke with a Pastor friend of mine who actually listens when I question such things. He told me of an occurence of this ‘gold-dust’ & said he was as stunned as the next person when it happened. I have no doubt that he was being straight with me, because his question was, what did I think about it? When I answered that I regard as unlikely to be coming from God, his response was to ask how could it be of benefit to the enemy to produce such signs, as they made folks praise God, rather than him. My answer to that is this;
    If Satan can get people to believe that such displays are God’s work, then there will be a tendency (understandable, but unbiblical), to look to such things as proof of God’s blessing & therefore, of the legitimacy of what is being taught by preachers present. You know; “Well he must be a man of God, because the shekinah glory of God appeared!” This is of course warned against in the scriptures, this looking to supernatural signs as proof that ministry is God-blessed, but people do it all the time (sigh), so it makes sense to me that Satan would cause such things to happen, knowing that he will fool some into following false teachers when they produce the same signs. My friend received this very graciously & promised to give the matter much prayerful consideration, especially as he acknowledged my point that the scriptures make no mention of such things as gold-dust, feathers, etc, & he agrees that we should therefore tread carefully. I think we should do more than that, but at least my words weren’t summarily dismissed. So now I have two Pastors I’m praying will have their eyes opened!

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  14. Religious experiences are self- centered, and self serving, imaginative and conjured up in a person’s mind that usually results in making a person feel good about themselves and God. Check out what God says about the false prophets and shepherds in Jeremiah and Ezekiel!
    True scriptural/spiritual experiences convict the soul, has a debasing-self effect and most often empowers the soul through the revelation of the truth that Jesus is, in the transformation and renewal of a person’s life into the image of Christ (most often a very uncomfortable yet empowering experience!).
    Most people who chase after religious experiences are those who either have not been instructed in what God’s purpose or process, or those who choose a self-centered existence(“God exists to bless me and show how good he is to me”).
    Matthew 7:21-23 totally correct! Just let me point out that not only did God not “know them” but they did not do God’s will. Such are the people who run after religious experiences with God, but do not learn how to know him, and do his will.

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  15. Quote from friend…
    The religious experiences that are ascribed to and promoted in the church are not supported by or evidenced in the Scriptures. I call them religious experiences because they are not spiritual experiences of the Christian. They are a quasi-self-centered euphoric fuzzy feeling imagination. The spiritual experiences described in the New Testament contained a Christ centered focus and often a directive element needed to guide the early Christians. I do believe those also exist today but not in the current prophetic/apostolic movement that is taking place today. I’ve talked to Bill Johnson when he preached here years ago and he did not show me or explained to me that what was taking place in his church and through his preaching had anything to do with Jesus-discipling all nations.
    It is very sad today that people are looking for religious experiences instead of looking for the Christ of the Bible. They desire spiritual nourishment and yet refuse to find that nourishment and revelation of the truth in the word of God.

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  16. He states, looking good to other people is important to you (pause) you are about to hit a speed bump.

    It seems to me that it was important enough for God to speak this to the church then it must be important! I know, some will say that this is about tongues, but I think it is about church services, period as well.

    Pil 4:5 says, Let your moderation (self-control) be known unto all men.

    KJV
    1 Corinthians 14:23 – If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or UNBELIEVERS, will they not say that ye are all MAD!
    1 Corinthians 14:33 – But God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. KJV
    1 Corinthians 14:40 – Let all things be done decently and orderly.

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  17. Putting the pieces of the “mystical” jigsaw together, i’m getting to understand why the plain and simple gospel is not proclaimed in this movement, and that is bcos they think that is to preach by “the letter”, and they say “the letter kills”. Whereas, “the letter” Paul was referring to was the OT law, and not the NT Scripture. He was speaking it in the context of people who wanted to teach the OT law, thinking that they could become righteous that way.

    It would be ridiculous to think that the letter which kills is the NT scriptures – the actual letters Paul wrote, that they were the “letter which kills” , or the four gospels are “letters which kill”.

    But all is not so clear cut in that movement. i know of two brothers who look up to BJ, who are both genuine Christians and who do preach a Biblical gospel. I’m praying that their eyes be opened, though, to the bad influence of BJ.

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    • Ian, the more research, the more reading, praying and comparison with scripture, the more clear false teaching becomes as just that. It took me a good amount of time, but once I saw it everything changed.

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    • John, truth mode on, and telling my age here, but – When I saw the first pic it reminded me of when we were kids in school back in the days of projectors. When the projector light was switched on and the room lighting shut off the result looked just like that – dust. We were not amazed or in awe, we knew what it was. If the children of the Lord, who are called by His name would take on spiritual sobriety they would see the resulting truth – dust bunnies. Ok, maybe smoke machines since they are wanna be rock stars, but the Glory of the Lord – nope.

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  18. ian vincent:

    You stated, “And, if it turns out that he [Bill Johnson] does preach the true Gospel (regardless of feathers and gold dust), then we may re-adjust and re-evaluate our stance toward him.”

    Based on your statement, we must not forget that Bill Johnson teaches that Jesus was “born again” and that Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead. Further, Johnson is up to his eyeballs in the Word of Faith and Prophetic movements, and recommends known hyper-heretics, false prophets, and blasphemers.

    When discussing the falsies, Jeremiah chapter 23 should be included as Required Reading. God has zero tolerance for false prophets and false teachers. There is no fellowship between God and the falsies, He is against them (Jeremiah 14:14; Jeremiah 23:31-32; Jeremiah 29:9; Ezekiel 13:9; Matthew 7:21-23; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Peter 2:1). Unless they repent and are born again, God will deal with them severely at His appointed time (Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 20:11-15).

    False teachers who “preach the gospel” do so to sound Christian and keep their foot in the door. Jesus warned that they honor Him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:8-9).

    If Bill Johnson is a Christian, let him repent, renounce, and set the record straight. Then, and only then will I “re-adjust” and “re-evaluate” my current position.

    Bud Press

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  19. “……they think that is to preach by “the letter”, and they say “the letter kills”. ……”

    And yet the word of God is sharper than a two edged sword…
    I am not ashamed of the gospel…..
    …Even the power to save…

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  20. i have a little comment i like to post when all else has been said and it says it all for me – it is my angry lamb/sheep sound “BAH”.
    TO GOLD DUST, GLORY CLOUDS, ETC., ETC.,….simply “Bah”

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  21. Re:

    “…we must not forget that Bill Johnson teaches

    a) that Jesus was “born again”

    b) and that Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead.

    c) Further, Johnson is up to his eyeballs in the Word of Faith and Prophetic movements,

    d) and recommends known hyper-heretics, false prophets, and blasphemers.”
    .
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    .

    And don’t forget to include his teaching that Jesus lay aside His Deity.

    Bill Johnson should clarify each of these points, if he is able to. Maybe someone could arrange an interview with him and get him to clarify?

    .
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    I wonder how many Christians today would understand WHY BJ is wrong on these points, or even be able to articulate these points any better than BJ does? Perhaps, not many.

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    Yes, WOF is heresy, but plenty of the anti-WOFers are just as bad, by merchandizing their products and by collecting tithes off people, and doing very well financially off these heresies.

    .
    .
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    Cessasionism is also a heresy,

    .
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    And to putting forward strawman arguments and twisting the Scriptures is just as much false teaching as WOF, NAR or the prophetic movement.

    .
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    .Re:

    ” If Bill Johnson is a Christian, let him repent, renounce, and set the record straight. Then, and only then will I “re-adjust” and “re-evaluate” my current position.”
    .
    .
    .
    Amen!

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    • Ian, you seem like you are taking up for him. I don’t understand because given your background it doesn’t make sense to me. He is a well known, sought after false teacher and yes, many Christians are able to not only call him on his teachings but understand the biblical truth he should be teaching. I know for certain a man who lives in the same area has repeatedly invited him and his sidekick pastor to coffee to better understand and discuss his stand, the latest was just this morning. The offers go ignored. These men are not after the truth, they are indeed wolves to be dealt with.

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  22. Better than inviting for coffee, send him the specific points you would like him to clarify, and let him respond in his own time, either in text or in an interview. Maybe one of the big publications will do that, but i won’t hold my breath.

    Whoever interviews him should not be a cessasionist, as that is a false premise to begin with.

    Cessasionism is partly to blame for the extremes in the other direction, as people over-react to such a ridiculous doctrine.

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  23. ian vincent:

    You stated, “Bill Johnson should clarify each of these points, if he is able to. Maybe someone could arrange an interview with him and get him to clarify?”

    There is nothing new to what Bill Johnson teaches. The “born again Jesus” or “spiritual death of Christ” garbage was around well before Johnson came along. It has been thoroughly refuted by apologists, cult evangelists, and other discerning Christians.

    Years ago, Christians confronted Benny Hinn for teaching that when Jesus died on the cross, He took on the nature of Satan, sinned, and had to be born again in hell to purcharse our redemption. This is classic Word of Faith garbology, and is blasphemous to the core! There is plenty of info on the internet to refute it.

    Stating that Jesus was “born again” in any way, shape, form, or fashion should raise the hair on the back of our necks and cause an acute case of righteous indignation. Why? Because it attempts to reduce our perfect, sinless Savior to a mere sinner in need of salvation.

    Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is the heart of the gospel. Any deviance whatsoever results in heresy, and leads people into the arms of a false “Jesus” and its false apostles (2 Corinthians chapter 11). Some people aren’t satisfied with denying Jesus’ death of the cross, they take it further and spit in His face.

    Heretical teachings are incapable of saving a sinner destined for eternal punishment.

    Anyone, I repeat, ANYONE who believes and/or teaches that Jesus was born again does not know the Jesus of the Bible. Knowing the real Jesus Christ is essential to salvation, but they deny Him. Their doing so will result in grave consequences (Matthew 10:33; 2 Timothy 2:12; Titus 1:16; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 1:4).

    I am passionate about Jesus and who He is, and make no apologies. I become angry when false teachers blaspheme my Savior, and when people look for loopholes to try to figure out why the false teacher committed blasphemy.

    Indeed, if a person claims to be both a Christian and a “god,” clarification isn’t needed. He or she isn’t a Christian. Period!

    Finally, Ian Vincent, remember that words are important; they build-up or destroy. When you make statements, I suggest that you back them up with irrefutable documentation, as opposed to generic remarks. That way, readers won’t have to ask you to “clarify” each of YOUR “points”.

    Bud Press

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  24. Better than inviting for coffee, send him the specific points you would like him to clarify, and let him respond in his own time, either in text or in an interview.

    Ian,

    I think you know better than this. Many have attempted including a group I know of, that have been attempting to get him to answer their “pointed” points on his Facebook page. He refuses to do so no matter what. Instead others attempt or do answer for him.

    If I can find it in my 1000 e-mails in my in box I will see if I can find the post from facebook where he essentially says he does not answer to those who “question” his theology.

    I sure wish folks would quit this “contact him” junk. Many have tried and HE WON”T ANSWER! and when he does it’s all about his authority, after all he is an apostle!!! (sneer)

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  25. I have twice engaged Johnson on his FB page, however the answers were incomplete, snarky, or smug, and the conversation abruptly ended when I asked for answers to which he did not respond the first time.

    I believe that the conversation on his Christology, after he replied, was deleted.

    A recent question about the use of smoke machines – his son Brian mused in a twitter post “Do lights and smoke increase the anointing in worship?” was deleted within hours.

    The problem is that even if you can engage him, he is teflon.

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  26. It seems to me that the Bethel/WOF folks are trying to attract people to the Gospel by appealing to their desires to be healed and/or see “signs and wonders”. However, doesn’t the Bible say that these things will *FOLLOW* the gospel? I mean, everyone wants to be healthy, wealthy, and happy. But doesn’t this method really just lead people into idolatry? And is the true Gospel ever presented? Do people understand the horrible depths of their sin? Are they grieved by it because it has separated them from the holy, just, and merciful God? (I guess we know the answer to that.) Wonder how their ministry would change if they stopped their own “brand” of preaching, and just read through the Epistles a few times. Might be refreshing.

    My pastor brother-in-law has begun parroting BJ in his blog and church website. And their “worship team” is doing their best to imitate the Jesus Culture. I am so sorry for him and his family and congregation that this is the garbage he sets his heart on.

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  27. Listening to this I couldn’t even make it half way. It always blows my mind the crowd they draw and how these people sit and listen to this rubbish, unreal. He isn’t even preaching the gospel from the Bible don’t these people even notice that much. Unbelievable how blind one can be but, Satan is good at his job isn’t he.

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  28. Another update on the church I’ve been attending, and sadly the last update 😦

    I’m going to have to leave. I sent an e-mail to the couple that I talked things over with. They gave a copy of it to the pastor. He read it and then e-mailed me.

    The second e-mail that he sent me was a bit condescending, and is the main reason that I am leaving.

    Here is a portion of the e-mail:

    “It concerns me whenever believers take on the mantle of “doctrine police.” It usually is a result of a perception they have of God and typically confuse theology for relationship. Believe me, having been steeped in the Christian faith for 30 years, I have encountered this innumerable times. It would appear to me that you, perhaps, are struggling with yourself. I have been there myself, so I know what it looks like. I do not want to stand in the seat of the Pharisees, who themselves judged Jesus when he did things outside the accepted parameters. You might be more closely identified with them than you like to admit. It’s worth considering.

    A classic response from those with legalistic tendencies is to label someone a heretic or a false prophet if they teach something a bit differently than what they are familiar/comfortable with. This is a very serious accusation. Beware of confusing opinion with orthodoxy. It would appear to me that you struggle with this.

    Personally, I have a tendency to become the “elder brother.” This is not a good thing I assure you. You too seem to struggle with this in my humble opinion.

    My experience has been that those who take it upon themselves to be “defenders of the truth” typically struggle in having a close, intimate relationship with God. Is this true of you?”

    (End of e-mail quote)

    Sigh…..This was in response to my e-mail in which I told him that yes, I do think that Dutch Sheets, Bill Johnson, and others are false prophets who teach false doctrine.

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    • Hi. I know it is quite upsetting, but the honest truth – this response is quite typical. It is what I heard when I spoke out against Todd Bentley, and then later on other issues. Doctrine police, pharisee, inner issues, in need of healing, unloving, – the list goes on and all of us who take a stand, even providing biblical support for our concerns end here. I have often read these stories here on my blog and on others. Those who support and teach false doctrine and prophecy have forgotten we are called to search scriptures for truth, to judge prophecy and teaching, having God given discernment to judge good fruit from bad, and they have gone the way of following other gods. They are without excuse. You have done a good work and my heart goes out to you. I am reminded of Eph 6, after having done all to STAND. 🙂 I know that God will provide comfort and will continue to lead you in His great and all knowing will. I pray that you will be a source of information and guidance to many along the way. Feel free to hang around and pop in. I haven’t done much lately, but hope to get back to it as soon as I can. I praise God that you are out!

      Blessings and peace to you.

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      • The “elder brother” thing was popularized by teachers at Toronto. This, of course, demonized the elder brother. The point of that parable was not so much to make the prodigal great and the faithful brother less, but to show the fathers heart to recieved those who repent. Now is it used in a derogatory sense.

        And yes, the reaction is fairly typical. I would suggest you get a copy of “The other side of teh river” by Kevin Reeves. My story too.

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          • Yes, it is, although it seemed to paint Brownsville with a broad stroke, without any specific references to abberation. My observation was that, while it had some issues, especially after Steve Hill left, it was dramatically different, being a revival of repentance. I didn’t see the “holy laughter”, the animal noises. They did not even allow personal propehcy until it deteriorated at the end. I’d love to discuss that with Kevin sometime.

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  29. @Arwen,
    I too am sorry and agree with M’Kayla; that this is unfortunately the typical response from leadership that have and are allowing leaven to seep and mingle into the church. I also know the pain and frustration that comes from engaging in trying to get through; and in the end being talked down to.Basically told how many spiritual issues you must have and how dysfunctional your relationship with God has to be, since you don’t adhere to these false teachings and “real experiences” that must be from God.

    What I never hear in these types of “experiences” is the fact that they all walk away saying “it must be God, Satan wouldn’t do that”……yet not one of them has ever testified to, stopping in the middle of their “experience” and asking God if this is of Him. Instead they seem to be satisfied with “wondering” if it was God. These guys are leaders they should know the Word of God enough to know the scripture that speaks of testing and trying the spirits!!! And what in the world is a “mantle of “doctrine police”…..really?? Again I’m sorry and will be praying for you too. Every time I see this type of treatment coming from a supposed leader I get irked and angered. Thanking God that He has lead you out and knowing the He will supply you with the fellowship and encouragement you need. God bless you.

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  30. @ Arwen you probably provided a ‘flashback” for more people than you realize. As the others have said, the response you received is typical. No discussion around scripture, just accusations and condescension. … YOU are the one with the problem, etc.

    I always knew intellectually that there is some way to be thankful for the pain I experienced in my own leaving of charismania, but it was really only recently that I actually experienced a true thankfulness in my heart for how things ‘went down’ If my former pastor had not finally shown his true colors I would still be caught up in it all. It has taken me more than three years to really see the hand and mercy of God in that one simple thing. I am finally thankful for how it went. It was painful to lose friends, trust, and confidence, but the pain helped me wake up. And as you know, there is One who is the lifter of our head.

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  31. Thank you all. 🙂

    I’m sorry I didn’t respond until now.

    Thanks for letting me know that the “elder brother” thing was popularized by Toronto 😦 Wow. I wondered where in the world that attack came from. Now I know – it’s repeated.

    Exactly — I have no idea what “mantle of doctrine police” is supposed to mean. We’re all supposed to be discerning and testing things that come from spiritual leaders.

    I showed the pastor’s response to my sister, and she’s going to talk to her best friend about it. My sister’s best friend said that I caused quite a drama at the church by my letter. (My sister’s best friend is the church secretary.) So…she’s going to ask her best friend about what all happened that I don’t know about. (What this ‘drama’ was a reference to.) My sister thinks that they may be painting me as a bad guy there — at the leadership level.

    The other interesting thing is that they never put the sermon that I had an issue with online.

    So…it seems that something else was going on behind the scenes other than what I was aware of with the pastor’s letter to me.

    I hope that this gives other people the courage to stand up and start questioning some of these things. I knew other people were bothered by some things going on.

    I’m still hurting and trying to work through all of this.

    Thank you for the recommendation about the book. I will have to look into that sometime.

    Why is so much of the charismatic movement so messed up? Why do people have to start deviating from Scripture when we are warned constantly in Scripture that these things will happen in the last days? Shouldn’t people want to be more vigilant about their doctrine?

    Why do people like entertainment based Christianity that is irreverent?

    I do want to state that I did go one more time after I received the letter, on the urging of a friend. He wanted to see how people would respond, as well as to see whether or not the elders would approach me. The associate pastor did, and she wants to meet with me sometime, but her life has been pretty hectic. Her mother was sick for a long time and recently died. She is the one person in leadership that I think might respond positively to me.

    However, the senior pastor gave another sermon sort of involving contemplative prayer. (He didn’t call it that, but it seemed to me that that’s what it was about.) I do have to say that at least he said that whatever someone ‘heard’ from God should be consistent with Scripture. He did emphasize that. However, the “activity” that he had people do at the end of the sermon seemed to open people up to hear from anything — kind of like a back door to false spirits. He had people close their eyes and he did kind of a guided imagery thing where he instructed people to be silent before God and asked us all to ask a question of God: “How do You see me?” Then, he had everyone talk to each other about what they heard.

    Needless to say, I didn’t participate in that activity. Instead, I just prayed for the church and for the situation.

    Yes, I do think that God speaks to people and answers prayer, but the idea that we should be silent before God, ask a question, and then just listen rubs me the wrong way. I’ve heard people say that it’s a problem in prayer for us to do all the talking — that we should instead be listening to God — but where is that idea really in the Bible? There is no listening prayer that I can find anywhere. God has given me direction before, but it’s never been in a time in which I’m just sitting somewhere quietly ‘listening’ to God.

    Of course, after the activity, people reported hearing from God how much He loved them. But demons give the same message to people entrapped in the New Age. They claim that “god” tells them that they are wonderful and loved, etc. Yes, God does love us, and yes, that is Scriptural — but how does anyone know that it was really God that was speaking to them? Whether or not something is a message of love can’t be the only criteria people use for judging these supposed words from God.

    What if it is a lure by a demonic spirit to tell people how special they are so that the person will continue in this ‘listening prayer,” and then subtly introduce false things, or get them to trust in a familiar spirit?

    Yes, maybe some of these people need to hear that God loves them — and maybe some of them really did hear from God, but what if it is a backdoor?

    I hope that those who participated in this activity and felt that they heard something will test any future words with Scripture, so that if it is a demon trying to deceive them that they will spot anything that contradicts Scripture in the future.

    I don’t know – it just seems like a dangerous practice to me — very similar to guided imagery.

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  32. And why can’t people read “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” and it be a profound, heart rending message of God’s love? Why is it that some new age exercise is seemingly more meaningful? Is it because many have lost their belief that the scriptures ARE the very words of God?

    RE Arwens post -The fact that the introductory exercise the leader used was egocentric is telling and typical of the movement. It’s pretty much all about ‘me’ My destiny, my calling, my gifts. It is a funny slant in the prophetic and charismaniac movement. There is an underlying belief that if we just saw ourselves correctly, our emotional issues (insecurities, fear, lack of passion, weakness) would be healed and we’ll become awesome and powerful (witnesses of the gospel, of course).

    Scripture of course says there are no answers in ourselves, even after we are born again. After we got out of charismania, we (finally) found a pastor who loves the scriptures and always keeps them front and center. I literally cried for the first four weeks just to hear someone treat them with such respect and bring Jesus into view. I hadn’t realized how muddy my view of the Lord had gotten.

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  33. @ ruthsongs,
    You’re so very right. The words in Scripture ARE what God says about us. There really isn’t a need for any special revelation about this from God — whether it be a personal prophetic “word” that someone gives, or whether it be “hearing” from God through listening “prayer.”

    I realize how much that I need to repent of — by buying into this even a little bit for a period of time.

    Thank you 🙂

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  34. @ ruthsongs,

    I didn’t have time to give a fuller response when I sent the last message…so let me expound on what I was saying….

    When I first started going to the Vineyard in my hometown (when there was a different senior pastor there), I see that that particular church still had issues — especially in regard to the personal prophesy area. Various members in the congregation used to give “words” to New Members, babies dedicated, people baptized, people going off on mission trips, weddings, and in prayer and ministry time. At first, I thought this was really neat — I’d never seen anything like this before. I thought it showed how much people loved one another, and I thought it was really encouraging. However, after a while, it started to bug me. I started to notice that all the “words” were basically the same — that the people would be great men and women of God. I realized there was no way to test those “prophecies.”

    I remember it really bothering me when the people in the church were praying about getting a new building. They were seriously considering a certain building that had been used for another purpose. Thus, they invited people to come forward and give “words” about it. People gave “words” about that building being an amazing place in which God’s truth would shine forth, and that it would be a pillar for the community.

    Needless to say, they chose not to go with that building (I don’t remember why), and of course that “prophecy” never came true.

    I think that there can be real prophecy, but I think that the way they used it in this church was not right. I think real prophecy is a lot rarer than that, and I would think that it wouldn’t simply make someone feel special or loved.

    At first, when I started going there, I did want God to speak to me through people. God convicted me of this fairly early on, praise God. However, I think I was still clinging to this a little bit.

    I never thought about the “me” stuff that you listed above. I think that you are spot on. It seems to be one of the biggest issues in charismatic and Pentecostal churches. Although I think that the home church and the one that I attended while at graduate school both emphasized the “me” stuff. That may have been one of the things troubling me while going to these to churches (under the new pastors) — something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

    The church in the town where I attended graduate school never got into the personal prophecies in the way that the church in my hometown did, of which I’m thankful. However, the new pastor there definitely gave messages that were more “me” centered than the church at home. I never heard that pastor preach the gospel at all. Towards the end, as it got closer and closer to my graduation, he used less and less Scripture in his messages. I didn’t like most of his sermons.

    I had only listened to a few sermons by the new pastor in my hometown before moving back home. He’s never really preached the gospel since I came home in May. I now know that he is just as “me” centered — if not more so — than the new pastor from the city where I attended graduate school.

    So much in the Vineyard churches seems to depend on the pastor and church leadership — and whether or not the members of a particular congregation stand up for Scripture. I’ve been in a couple of solid Vineyard churches in which the pastor expounds on Scripture and does not incorporate any of these things into his messages. Now I’ve been in a couple of churches that are opposite of that. I know that my experience in these churches are no where near as bad as some have had. This is probably true of all charismatic/Pentecostal churches — much depends upon the pastor, church leadership, and the laity.

    Scripture has to truly be seen as what it is — the very words of God. There can be no substitute.

    What I’m struggling with the most is what having a personal relationship with God really means. I’m trying to examine this subject in light of realizing that much of what went on in the church in my hometown was in error, even the stuff that I had accepted at one time. I know I bought into more than I should have.

    I never thought about the charismatic message that you said about there being an underlying sense that if we just saw ourselves correctly that we will be more powerful, etc. I guess I hadn’t thought about it because I hadn’t seen that in the messages of some of the pastors that I respected. However, this is probably the message that Rob and Jim both were teaching. (Rob = the new pastor at the church in the community where my graduate school was. Jim = the new pastor at the church in my hometown.) Yet, again — I knew something was off, but hadn’t quite figured out what it was. This is the gospel that both of them seem to teach (in all practicality). How disturbing that is if this is the “gospel” that many charismatic and Pentecostal churches are teaching.

    And how much of that might I have bought into?

    I definitely would like to prayerfully consider this — as I’m trying to sort through all of this — truth from error, as I try to define yet again what God says it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ

    Thank you so much for sharing.

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  35. i am curious…since I cannot find the video…what was the rebuke given to Bill Johnson in Chicago? What did it entail? Does someone has a clip they can send me?

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  36. @ Ryan,

    I think I know what you’re referring to. There was a video on youtube that someone posted of someone in the audience rebuking Bill Johnson for his support of Todd Bentley — restoring Todd Bentley to ministry without actual proof of his repentance. I don’t know if I saw the actual video, or if I just read a transcript of it. I also don’t remember the exact details, but it had to do with Bill Johnson’s role in “restoring” Todd Bentley to ministry.

    When I saw the reference to the video, I was hoping that it would be another leader rebuking him on the stage for false teaching. It wasn’t, sadly. It was someone in the audience yelling at him. I guess the person was escorted out of the building by security.

    Someone commented that it sounded like Bill Johnson called the person in the audience who had called him out a dog under his breath.

    If that wasn’t it, then I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

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  37. @Arwen – I have repented of much, and things still come up. I was deep enough into it that most of my repentance involves repenting of pride. I was considered ‘prophetic’ and started buying into the lie that every thought that flew through my head was from God. It sounds like you have not bought into as much as I did.

    I also ignored the still, small voice that told me things were ‘off,’ but God in His mercy opened my eyes and my husband’s eyes at virtually the same time. I am humbled to know He so gently and consistently nudged and prodded until I could see what was going on. I am now truly thankful for the pain of leaving a church of which I had been a part for over 10 years. The pain has been exchanged for a careful, thoughtful approach to scripture, a real appreciation for teachers who carefully teach, and a deep gratitude for the the way in which a Sovereign God has recorded His will in the Bible and the wisdom He wields in deciding what is and is not revealed.

    I would only say to take your time in sorting things out… rest in Him.

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