Bill Johnson is the lead pastor of Bethel Church, in Redding, California. Bethel is the sending church for Jesus Culture, and a frequent key speaker at their conferences.
(Read FULL ARTICLE HERE. Some reformatting has been done for clarity, and some comments from the article as of this posting have been left in for instruction. These are common objections and well-responded to by the author and commentors. )
It is with great sadness that I write this analysis of Bill Johnson’s book, When Heaven Invades Earth. I do pray for him and other pastors who teach these things. I also pray for those in their churches. There are people I love dearly sitting in their pews. Throughout the book and the teachings I’ve heard, there are many things I disagree with (doctrines such as healing in the atonement, the anointing, impartation, dominion theology). Instead of trying to refute every point, I’ve tried to identify some of the more significant errors.
“Salvation was not the ultimate goal of Christ’s coming… [The ultimate goal] was to fill each born again person with the Holy Spirit.” (Johnson, p71)
“This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
“The gospel is the story of the Father wooing the hearts of mankind through His love.” (Johnson, p101)
“The present day understanding of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom means to preach a message that will bring as many people to conversion as possible. But what did preaching the kingdom mean to Jesus? Every instance in which He either did it or commanded it, miracles followed.” (Johnson, p185)
Jesus summed up His message with these words: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
“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. This meant then that every true believer would have access to the realm of life that Jesus lived in.” (Johnson, p138)
“…the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
“Without [signs and wonders/miracles], the world suffers, God is grieved, and we are the most to be pitied” (Johnson, p119)
“We are most to be pitied if we think we’ve reached the fullness of what god intended for His Church here on earth.” (Johnson p186)
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-20)
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)
On page 48 of his book, Bill Johnson uses Hebrews 11 as a summary of faith. He fails to include those who by faith “were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated--” (Hebrews 11: 35-37). Throughout history God’s people have always endured hardship and persecution. A good God is one who upholds and strengthens His own in the midst of suffering so that He is glorified by doing so.
“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Mat 24:24)
For Brian Houston (
For Bill Johnson it becomes: “Jesus came so that we can do supernatural miracles”
The Devil tried to entice Jesus (after the fast in the desert) to do supernatural things or get involved in worldly kingdoms – see http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%204:1-13;&version=31;
The Devil is trying the same enticement to Christians through people like Bill Johnson, Brian Houston, Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, etc.
Jesus is the God man, He was made altogether like us in human flesh, He felt pain, He got tired, He grew up from infancy etc this is all true. However, to leave it there as Johnson seems to is not the WHOLE truth. Orthodox Christiainity through all ages has affirmed while the above is true in regard to Christ's human nature, it is equally true that Christ is also fully Divine in nature. All of the creeds have affirmed this doctrine and it is summed up in the phrase, Christ is both fully man and fully God, one person with two seperate and distinct natures.
With that said, what you said about the atonement is indeed true, it just isn't the whole truth. Jesus needed to take on human flesh so He could die (God can't die remember). Yet, and this is the error, Johnson wants to assert that in taking on flesh Jesus also took off Divinity. Johnson does this because he wants us to see Jesus more as our model for supernatural life than the most exceptional Person ever.
Thus, in Johnson's zeal for making supernatural signs and wonders an everday Christian thing he tosses the Divine nature of Christ making Him our entirely immitatable example. It is true that Christ is our example, but again not the whole truth. This is because He also had Divine attributes and a calling (Messiah) that none of us share in.
I must add on the calling aspect that the signs Christ performed in His earthly ministry were confirmatory in nature in regard to His messiahship and message (gospel). That is why He could tell John the Baptist when asked by John "are you the one?" Jesus replied, "The dead are raised the sick are healed..." In short Jesus said "You see the signs don't you?" This again mitigates our ability to immitate as the signs performed by the Messiah and His apostles were intended to be unique confirming their ministry and the new covenant gospel message. Thus, they would hardly be unique and confirmatory if Bill Johnson is correct and these things are to be going on all the time.
I am not saying that these things can not and do not happen today, but I am saying that the particular manifestation of signs and wonders under the ministry of Christ and the apostles was unique, and that was the point.
Sorry for the brevity, but those are the 2 things to take into consideration. 1. Christ did not dump His divinity at the incarnation, and 2. Signs and wonders performed by the Messiah and His apostles would hardly be confirming of their message if signs and wonders were a normal everyday thing. That's what makes them signs (pointer to something) and wonders (an unusual occurance)after all.
You can read more here:
3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
4 At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. 5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, 6 he said, “Listen to my words:
“When there is a prophet among you,
I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
7 But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
8 With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?”
9 The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them.
To everyone hating on Bill Johnson - You are naive to talk against God's servant.
This forum and others like it are utter rubbish. What is the point of hating on men and women of God who walk with God daily? You're only fighting against God himself.
I ask how many of you here posting negative comments about Bill do as Jesus commanded us and "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." Not only are we to do these, but dare to refute Jesus himself when He says: "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
Even if Bill does have some bits of theology wrong (I'm not at all backing your statements) since He is living and growing in Christ won't God give him revelation on these if what he currently preaches is destroying God's church?
Anyway have a good day everyone!
Well that's begging the question, I can't see Bill's personal relationship with God but I wouldn't put him in the same catagory as Moses. We are called to test all things, rather than just suspend our discernment. Here's one that will throw you for a loop, I walk with God daily too...I disagree with Bill Johnson...whose side are you on? Why is your criticism of me not fighting against God like my criticism of Bill?
Is Bill more of a Christian than me? Why is he untouchable but I am not?
"Even if Bill does have some bits of theology wrong (I'm not at all backing your statements) since He is living and growing in Christ won't God give him revelation on these if what he currently preaches is destroying God's church?"
God takes teaching error far more seriously than you seem to think He should. God gave His entire church the final revelation in scripture, I don't need men and their private conversations with God I have a Bible as my authority. Bill has that as well, he is in no need of some private word from God saying, "Hey Bill, you are teaching error..." That's the Bible's job and that was the point of the post, a Biblical examination of the teachings of Mr.Johnson.