Skip to comments.Bill Johnson;Experience Based Spirituality...Charismatic Post Mortem
Posted on 04/23/2016 5:12:00 PM PDT by pastorbillrandles
What do you get as a by-product of the previous fifty years of Apostasy as developed in the Charismatic World? You get Bill Johnson, Bethel Church and the Jesus Culture band!
The following is a chapter from my recently revised book, BewareThe New Prophets-a Caution regarding the Prophetic Movement. .
Chapter 8 Experienced Based Christianity
What would you think of a Bible school that sends young people out to literally prostrate themselves on the graves of deceased preachers so that the students can absorb the anointing that lingers on the graves? What about a church in which a mist con- taining feathers, gold, and jewel dust descends on the worshippers in the sanctuary? How about a church conference which features prophetic tattoo readings as one of the workshops?
What would you expect of a church which is a combination of the Word of Faith error and the prosperity gospel of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, the signs and wonders of Oral Rob- erts and Benny Hinn, the false assumptions of the spiritual warfare and hyper-deliverance movement, the prophetic movement I have been describing in this book, and the gnostic mysticism of the Toronto Blessing?
You dont have to wonder any longer for there is such a min- istry which is currently the most recognizable and influential face of the prophetic movement. I refer to Bill and Beni Johnson who co-pastor Bethel Assembly of Redding California and its related ministries, including Jesus Culture youth band and Bethels School of Supernatural Ministry.
Bill Johnson, a noted conference speaker and leader, is the author of several best-selling books and considered to be an apostle and leader within the Apostles and Prophets movement. Hundreds of thousands have been affected by his ministry and have attended retreats and conferences where they have been imparted with the anointing.
In order to fully understand the prophetic movement in its current state, we must examine the teachings and ministry of Bill Johnson in the light of the Word of God. Didnt Jesus warn us not to be naïve but that every tree is known by its fruits?
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.(Matthew7:15-20)
The primary fruit of any professed prophet would be the teaching. (The same would go for any pastor or apostle or anyone who stands in the name of God).
Lets examine some of Bill Johnsons teachings.
The Word of Faith Movement
It doesnt take long to see by reading his books that Johnson is a proponent of the Word of Faith teaching, popularized by Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. Therefore, it is necessary to give a brief overview of WOF teaching to be able to see where Johnson is coming from.
In a nutshell, the WOF teaching is based on a gnostic inter- pretation of the Fall and of redemption. The following is their explanation:
When God created Adam, He gave him all dominion over the earth, to rule and reign as Gods regent. However when Adam fell, by obeying Satan, he handed that God-given dominion over to Satan, who became the god of this world. God, the Father, couldnt just come in and take the dominion backAdam had given it away.
God had to find a way for a man to come in, as a man, and undo the folly of Adam, gaining back the authority given to Satan by Adam. Jesus is that man. (The WOF teachers do acknowledge that Jesus is God but believe that He laid aside His own Divinity in the Incarnation).
As a man, Jesus came into the world, resisted all of the temp- tation that Adam and Eve and the human race succumbed to, and died on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
But there is a twist, for the WOF teachers insist that salvation wasnt secured for man in Jesus death on the Cross as a substitute for our sins. Rather, Jesus first had to descend into hell and suffer the torment of Satan and his minions until God was satisfied that it was enough and could legally raise Him from the dead.
Of course, the Word of God says that Jesus death on the Cross was sufficient, and that when He said, Telestai! (It is done), it really was done. But Copeland and Hagin teach that it wasnt fin- ished until Jesus had literally become sin and endured demonic torment in hell.
The fall, according to WOF, was as much about the loss of power and authority as it was about sin and alienation from God. Therefore salvation is about restoration of power and authority, as well as forgiveness of sins. We get the power back and can now exercise dominion over this life and take authority over evil.
Because of this skewed view, WOF is a power religion. This is why WOF Christians frequently speak in terms of authority; they bind and/or loose angels and demons; they decree, rebuke, and otherwise speak in terms of releasing peace, grace, or mercy into this situation or that.
The essence of this theology is the restoration and practical use of the authority to the believer.
The ideal in WOF circles is that of the born again man of power and authority, the miracle man who has come in to the revelation knowledge of who he is in Christ, and demonstrates the power of the anointing to a lost world. There have developed extensive mythologies around truly historical figures such as Smith Wigglesworth, John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, and William Branham. These are the men who really took authority, they say, and showed us all what any believer could do, if they have but the faith and anointing to do so!
The WOF is an offshoot of an earlier expression of these very ideals, the Manifested Sons of God, once repudiated by the Assem- blies of God in the 1940s but now widely embraced in this new form. MSG is based upon an erroneous interpretation of Romans 8:19, For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Traditional Christianity has held that this verse refers to what happens at the bodily coming of the Lord. When Jesus returns, the curse on Creation will finally be removed, and the true children of God will be manifested.
But the MSG teach that this verse means that the Creation is waiting for the church to attain to the knowledge of the power and authority, in order to manifest our Sonship to the world, through signs and wonders. All of this must occur before Jesus can come back!
This is the context in which to understand where Bill Johnson, Jesus Culture, and the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry are coming from, as they seek to bring the church into the power and anointing of their mystical revival.
Three of Bill Johnsons Teachings
Johnsons teaching goes errant on so many levels that it is hard to decide where to begin. For the sake of brevity, I will address three areas of concern: a) Johnsons teachings on the Incarnation; b) the anointing (Holy Ghost); and c) and his theology of experience. I urge you to be the judge according to the test in Deuteronomy 13.
In his teaching on the Incarnation, Bill Johnson states, and rightly so, that Jesus Christ is God. But Johnson also emphasizes to an unbiblical extreme that Jesus completely laid aside His deity:
Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldnt cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, the Son can do nothing of Himself. He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow. If He did miracles as God, we would all be extremely impressed, but we would have no compulsion to emulate Him. But when we see that God has commissioned us to do what Jesus did- and more- Then we realize that He put self-imposed restrictions on Himself to show us that we could do it, too. Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by The Father-without the Fathers help.1 There are several problems with this teaching of Johnsons. For example, it is theologically inaccurate to say that Jesus had no ability . . . and that Jesus set aside His Divinity. It is danger- ously close to being a denial of the Deity of Christ, for divinity by definition cannot be set aside nor could God ever be said to lack ability in any sense.
In the Incarnation, the eternal God became a man, though He never ceased being God. He always had all power, but restrained Himself, declining the prerogatives of power and majesty, which are inherent to Him, that He might live and die for us as true man.
Another problem with this is that Johnson asserts that Jesus performed miracles to set forth a model for us . . . to show us that we could do it (the miracles) too . . .
This is at the very heart of the Word of Faith teaching from which Johnson has emerged. Supposedly, we as individual believers, can and should be doing all of the miracles of Jesus, in the power of the Spirit. To Johnson, Jesus came in the flesh, partly to show us, that we too could do what He did!
This quest for miracle power is misguided and has led many into deception. Jesus didnt do His miracles to show us that we can do it. The miracles of Jesus are manifestations of the merciful God, whether they be the ones in the Gospels, or in the Book of Acts, or those done in His name throughout the world today. These signs will follow those that believe. We are not to seek them. It is only a wicked and adulterous generation (which) seeks after signs.
Johnson actually posits that any believer has the potential to experience most of what Jesus experienced in the Gospels, even the Transfiguration! He states:
Most all of the experiences of Jesus recorded in Scripture were prophetic examples of the realms in God that are made available to the believer. The Mount of Transfiguration raised the bar significantly on potential human experience The overwhelming lesson in this story is that Jesus Christ, the Son of man, had the glory of God upon Him. Jesuss face shone with Gods glory, similar to Mosess after he came down from the mountain.2
Johnson seems to fail to appreciate that though Jesus became as one of us in the Incarnation, His uniqueness cannot be safely diminished. Imagine a spirituality spent seeking to attain a transfig- uration! No wonder Johnsons students go to such lengths seeking gloryexperiences.
The second aspect of Johnsons teaching that is dangerous and has led to the reckless mysticism in which so many associated with Bethel are involved is what he teaches about the Holy Spirit, particularly the anointing. Johnson states:
Christ is not Jesus last name. The word Christ means Anointed One or Messiah . . . [Christ] is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.3
First of all, here is an example of a teacher setting forth an unbiblical separation between the person Jesus and the word Christ. This is a very dangerous thing to do; it is similar to what the New Age movement claims, and it is being done towards a similar end.
New Agers want to establish the (false) idea that Jesus was merely an enlightened person, one who was anointed (Christed) at thirty years old, very similar to other remarkable human beings such as Ghandi and Zoroaster. This anointing is a self-realizing experience.
Johnson seems to be trying to establish that just as the man Jesus had to be anointed with the Holy Ghost in order (as a man) to do the miracles He did, we too can have the same experience to do the same thing, for Jesus is our model.
The Bible doesnt do this with the word Christ. The apostles never relegated Christ as being a title, nor as being an experience. Christ is a designation of Jesus deity. Scripture insists that Jesus is the Christ, and it refers to Jesus as Christ, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself . . . Christ is an eternal person, chosen of God, thus anointed with the Holy Ghost.
When Jesus came into the world, He already was Christ; he never had to become Christ.
On the same subjectthe anointingJohnson continues:
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.The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means anointed one. Without the experience [the anointing] there could be no title.4
Do you see the problems Johnsons teachings on the anoint- ing raise?
For example, did Jesus become the Christ at His baptism? If Christ is only valid upon an experience, what was Jesus before the Holy Ghost came upon Him in the Jordan? Was He merely an unqualified man with a title up until then?
Johnsons view on the Christ is strikingly reminiscent of an error which emerged early in the history of the church and was repudiated as heresy. It is called adoptionism. It holds that Jesus was a devout man who did not become Christed until He was thirty years old when He was anointed of the Holy Ghost. It was by the Holy Ghost that He did His miracles, but the anointing left Him when He died on the Cross. If Jesus could do these things (through revelation knowledge and the anointing), so could any other believer.
There is a passage in 1 John 5 that refutes this very error about the Christ:
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.(1 John 5:6)
The heretics were teaching that Jesus was not Christ until He was baptized in water and anointed with the Spirit. He remained Christ until He shed His blood. But the apostle insists that He came by water and blood; that is, He was already Christ when He was baptized and remained so on the Cross, and through His resurrection. The designation, Christ, was and is more than an experience; it is inherent to Jesus, the Divine God/man.
Finally, Bethel is actually dangerous in its approach to doctrine and experience.
What is it in the teachings that has opened those exposed to it, to such practices as:
False Prophecy? Visualization? Fire Tunnels? Grave Soaking trips?5 Visualization, contemplative prayer and meditation practices? Chanting, Soaking, and Spiritual Drunkenness? Toking the Holy Ghost to get High on Jesus? In addition to normal prophetic words, those who attended Bethels Power and Love Conference in February 2014 received readings based on their tattoos and piercings. Doug Addison can interpret the hidden messages on your body and even train you to do the same. You dont even have to fly to where he is; for the reasonable fee of $150, he can tickle your ears over the phone for thirty minutes.6
Believe me when I say I have just scratched the surface of the irrational, unbiblical, and even anti-biblical practices of Bill John- sons influential ministry. How do confessing Christians become so open and undiscerning?
There is one aspect of Bethel that is perhaps the most dan- gerous. Johnson, like so many Pentecostals and evangelicals who have preceded him, has a strong anti-doctrinal emphasis. To the neo-mystics of the New Apostolic Reformation, doctrine has a deadening effect and is valid only to the extent that it induces experience. Doctrine is the letter which kills, and leads to head knowledge, as opposed to the personal experience of God, based upon individual revelation.
Those who insist on adherence to true doctrine are caricatured as Pharisees.There are familiar clichés in these circles such as God is offending the mind to reach the heart, and a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with a doctrine. These kinds of preachers often delight in saying, I am going to upend your theology now . . . as they unveil the latest nugget of ther own revelation.
Jesus made a frightening statement regarding those who hold to Bible Study vs. experience, You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me (John 5:39). If our study of the Bible doesnt lead us to a deeper relationship (an encounter) with God, then it is simply adding to our tendency towards spiritual pride. We increase our knowledge of the Bible to feel good about our standing with God, and to better equip us to argue with those who disagree with us. Any group wanting to defend a doctrine is prone to this temptation without a God encounter . . . Jesus did not say My sheep will know my Book, it is his voice that we are to know.7
Johnson is deconstructing those who seek scriptural knowledge as being in danger of spiritual pride, increasing in knowledge in order to feel good about their standing with God, and to be better able to win arguments with those who disagree with them! What a pastor! It is almost as if he would discourage the desire to grow in scriptural knowledge!
But on the other hand, it is the ones seeking deeper knowl- edge (than that which Scripture reveals?) and a deeper encounter with God (experience) whom Johnson considers to be blessed. Imagine a young person sitting under a steady diet of this and you will see why Bethel, Jesus Culture, and the School of Supernatural Ministry are given over to the most sensual mysticism!
Chapter 8 footnotes
1 The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, Destiny Image Pub- lishers, first edition, January 1, 2005, pg. 50 2 Bill Johnson, Face to Face with God, 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL., pg. 200
3 Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth, Destiny Image Publish- ers, 2005, pg. 87 4 Ibid. 5 http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/2011/07/bill-johnson-and- john-crowders-leaven.html; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L- rHPTs8cLls https://www.facebook.com/photo.
6 http://gospelliving.blogspot.com/2013/04/why-jesus-culture- bethel-church-and_15.html 7 Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth, pg. 93)
What does RIP mean?
It's old skool...
Like on tombstones or at funerals. You do funerals don’t you?
that was my first thought but then I thought it was perhaps an acronym like BTT- thanks
In John’s Gospel account, the seekers after signs were the ones Jesus turn off with His deepest spiritual lesson on the Manna, chapter six.
I know people who do that all the time and you know what?
NOTHING ever changes.
Wow that is a lot of stuff to read. I hope you got permission from the author to post that much of his book. ;-)
I noticed you had to read Johnson’s book in order to do your expose. That has to be difficult. Just reading your thread gave me a kind of cynical dirty feeling in that it appears that all these cults interject just enough truth to snare someone into their false religion. It makes it difficult to sift the wheat from the chaff and if you are not well grounded in the word and in sound doctrine, some of the mystical gobbledygook could draw you in.
The WOF movement is a tempting alternative to sound doctrine. People think they can become like God and change the world by just speaking their own world into existence.
Thanks for an interesting post. When are you going to put your book on Kindle or audible? I like to read in my car with the text to speech option. I spend about 3 hours a day in my car. I get through about 2-3 books a week sometimes.
Mormon 'proof' of truth.
Ye shall know them by their fruits.
This was printed in the Deseret News on 26 Nov 1856.
Now sisters, list to what I say
With trials this world is rife,
You cant expect to miss them all,
Help husband get a wife!
Now, this advice I freely give,
If exalted you would be,
Remember that your husband must
Be blessed with more than thee.
Then, O, let us say,
God bless the wife that strives
And aids her husband all she can
T obtain a dozen wives.
Sources: Paul H. Peterson, The Mormon Reformation of 1856-1857: The Rhetoric and the Reality, Journal of Mormon History 15 (Spring 1989): 59-87 accessible at
Original text of the hymn, printed in the Deseret News: http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/deseretnews1/id/5903
I am trying to get it on Kindle, but have had technical difficulties, I am a technical moron!
Most of us have been there; at one time or another.
I always wondered about that. Their powers of "binding" Satan sure don't work very well seeing as they have to keep doing it and that dude keeps slipping out. You'd think it might finally occur to them they might be getting something wrong. ;o)
I know some women who listened to one of these preachers who begged for money and called it *seed money* and sent them money thinking that it was sowing for something they wanted and NOTHING ever materialized.
They were really confused about why. I mean, after all, the guy PROMISED.
Doesn’t seem to occur to them that these guys are lying, false prophets, etc. They just swallow everything - hook, line, and sinker. It’s sad, really, to see people so focused on the material and so greedy.
You mean some people have gotten out?
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