I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
1John 2: 21-26
When I first heard of Bill Johnson, I was drawn to his charismatic demeanour, and the things he was saying sounded exciting.
I was first alerted to dig deeper when someone in my previous church asked me to lead worship at one of his prayer meetings. He said I needed to learn some new songs, and urged me to listen to songs from Bethel. He had previously been urging me to learn songs coming from IHOP, and to listen to sermons by Mike Bickle.
This led me to see if there was a connection between Bethel and IHOP, and I discovered that the link is the New Apostolic Reformation.
I also read about the heresies involved in Bill Johnson’s teaching, and the cultish practices in his church.
Bill Johnson teaches that Jesus received the Christ anointing when he was baptised.
This is no different to the new-age teachings of Christ consciousness.
“Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It 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.
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.
Johnson, Heaven Invades Earth; p 79.
“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 [“Christ anointing” by the Spirit after water baptism] there could be no title.”
Johnson, Face to Face, p 109.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 1 John 4:1-3
He teaches that Jesus and emptied himself of his divine nature when he came to earth, and did everything as a man.
“Jesus did everything as a man, laying aside His divinity in order to become a model for us”
Johnson, Bill Strengthen Yourself in the Lord. 2007
“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.”
Johnson, Bill. Release the Power of Jesus. 2009
“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…”
Johnson, Bill, When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. 2003
“Jesus Christ said of Himself, ‘The Son can do nothing.’ In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning—it means NOTHING, just like it does in English! He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!…He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God.”
Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth, p 29.
“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…”
Johnson, Bill, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles. 2005
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:12-14
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:7-9
Bill Johnson also teaches a false repentance.
“Renewing the mind begins with repentance. That is the gateway to return to our original assignment on earth. Jesus said, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ To many Christians, repent refers to having an altar call where people come forward and weep at the altar to get right with God. This is a legitimate expression of repentance, but it’s not what the word repentance means. ‘Re’ means to go back. ‘Pent’ is like the penthouse, the top floor of the building. Repent, then, means to go back to God’s perspective on reality. And in that perspective there is a renewal, a reformation that affects our emotions, and every part of our lives…”
Johnson, Bill. The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles. © 2005
The pastor at my previous church started to preach that “We don’t need to say sorry to God, as all our sins – past, present, and future, are forgiven. This pastor is extremely influenced by Bethel.
If I was to offend you in some way, then came to you and said, I won’t say sorry, because I know you’ve already forgiven me,” wouldn’t this be very hurtful and assuming? If we say sorry to each other and ask for forgiveness, then surely it’s all the more necessary to do this with our Heavenly Father?
This is True Repentance
Repentance is the noun form of the verb repent which means “Godly sorrow for one’s sin and a resolve to turn from it”. Erickson, Millard J. Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology. 1986
The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms defines it as, “The act of expressing contrition and penitence for sin. Its linguistic roots [Ed: etymology] point to its theological meaning of a change of mind and life direction as a beginning step of expressing Christian faith (Acts 26:20).”
McKim, Donald K. Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) is more thorough noting true repentance affects our intellect, emotions, and will. As to the intellect, “…human beings must apprehend sin as unutterably heinous, the divine law as perfect and binding and themselves as falling short of the requirements of a holy God…” As to emotions, repentance involves, “…an earnest appeal to God to forgive according to His mercy…” The most important element is the understanding that to repent is an act of the will; we must choose to turn from sin. Repentance is not a one time event but the constant choosing between alternatives. However, equally important is that God takes the initiative. It’s a paradox of sorts “reflecting the mysterious relationship between the human and the divine personalities”. The choice is to follow Him or not .
Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (Gen. Ed.) The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1988
Bill Johnson teaches that Jesus was born again!
See Video below
For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 2 Corin 11:4
Bill Johnson teaches that everyone is essentially good.
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” Romans 3:9-12
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Bill Johnson teaches a different gospel.
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 1:8-9
Bill Johnson teaches that the gospel is miraculous physical healing, and if anyone says that God doesn’t miraculously heal, or that He would even bring harm rather than healing, they’re teaching a different gospel.
Bill Johnson teaching that the Gospel is about healing, and that Jesus was born again.
The True Gospel
The gospel of Jesus Christ is about spiritual healing: repentance, salvation, and spiritual regeneration. I’m not denying that Jesus heals – He does! Healing can be a powerful witness to unbelievers, and an additional blessing to believers.
The central focus of the Gospel is that Jesus died for us, taking the punishment for our sins, and rose again, so that if we believe in Him, we will be saved from eternal wrath and damnation, and will live with Him forever.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,” but God who is rich in mercy “made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved Ephesians 2:1-10