Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jesus Culture Theology - Christ not God - Heresy

Bill Johnson’s Christology Explained

In essence, Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, a recognized “apostle” by some, teaches that at conception, or at least prior to the Virgin Birth, Jesus divested Himself of all His divine attributes thereby living a sinless earthly existence by being totally reliant upon the Holy Spirit while receiving the power to do miracles at His baptism.  
This divine self-emptying is known as the kenosis doctrine as discussed here.  The quotes used in this section are taken from six different books by Bill Johnson (and one sermon) to illustrate that this teaching undergirds his entire theology. 
Jesus did everything as a man, laying aside His divinity in order to become a model for us.8           
…Jesus did everything in His earthly ministry as a man who had set aside all His divine privileges and power in order to model the Christian life for us.9 
..Jesus set aside His divinity, choosing instead to live as a man completely dependent on God.10 
…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…11 
The above quotes can be construed such that Jesus retained all His divine attributes yet chose not to exercise them; however, the following illustrates that He no longer had inherent deity:12 
Jesus Christ said of Himself, ‘The Son can do nothing.’…He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!…He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God.13 
…Jesus had no ability to heal the sick.  He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead.  He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’  He had set aside His divinity.  He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow….Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…14 
Given that deity is by very definition supernatural, Johnson has, in effect, reduced Jesus to less than God.  
With Johnson’s claim that Jesus had no inherent ability to perform miracles in and of Himself, it is clear that Johnson means Jesus no longer had his divine attributes to utilize even if He so desired.  He “had NO supernatural capabilities”; He was totally and completely a man but “in right relationship to God” by the Holy Spirit
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