Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
So if you haven’t kept up to date with recent events in the life of the Church in America you probably haven’t been aware of the explosive growth of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). You may not even know what it is. I will deal more with their general beliefs in future emails. All of this has been brought about largely by the popularity of the music groups from NAR Churches or affiliated groups such as Hillsong, International House of Prayer (IHOP), and Bethel Church Redding (which has given us groups like Jesus Culture).
Each of these churches is complicit in leading people away from the Jesus of the Bible rather than to Him and even leading people away from the Bible. I will deal more with these churches in other posts but here I want to deal with Bill Johnson who is the Senior Pastor at Bethel Church in Redding. I want you to watch this video and see if you notice anything that contradicts Scripture. You might want to get a pen and paper ready!
Don’t Worship The Bible-Bill Johnson
In every sermon that I have heard from Bill Johnson he twists the Scripture and destroys the context of any biblical text that he uses. I have not heard all of them but I have heard a number of them. Just in case you didn’t grab your pen and paper to catalog the gross errors that Bill Johnson was sharing in this ten minute clip, let me enumerate a few.
He starts off by saying that Jesus didn’t say “pray for the sick, He said heal the sick.” This thought is wrapped up in his twisted theology which I will deal with in a future post as well.
He then goes on to say that it is difficult “to expect the fruit of the early church when we value a book they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have.” What are you trying to say Bill? Are you telling us to stop relying on the Bible for the actual words of God and rather turn to some subjective “vision” or emotional experience as the arbiter of truth? God’s word tells us that the Holy Spirit actually speaks through the Scriptures, not in spite of them.
II Peter 1:20-21 – “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,[b] 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God[c] spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
By the way Bill, they did have the Scriptures, they had the Old Testament.
Bill Johnson, Mike Bickel (IHOP), C Peter Wagner, and all the other NAR luminaries like to teach an anti intellectualism that downgrades doctrine and the knowledge of the Scriptures and looks instead to emotion, signs and wonders for truth.
I love how apologist Bob DeWaay deals with the anti-intellectualism of Bill Johnson. “An Invasion of Error: A Review of Bill Johnson – When Heaven Invades Earth”
“Johnson warns against “a powerless Word.” The only way God’s Word lacks power is if we refuse to believe and obey it. The suggestion is false and abusive to the Lord’s flock that people like Johnson, who refuse to be taught the truth but relish signs and wonders, have “power” while those who love and believe God’s Word are powerless.
“…The claim that we cannot know the Scripture but can know what the Holy Spirit is saying by other means is absurd. The Bible claims that Scripture is the Holy Spirit speaking to the church. The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures. We understand the Bible using our intellect.”
“…The absurdity of Johnson’s claim is such that it amazes me how many are deceived by it. For example, the claim that the Holy Spirit leads us into truth (which He does through Scripture) by some subjective means that go “off the map” and beyond an “intellectual approach” is disingenuous. Those who go off the map are going somewhere. If they have gotten information directly from the Spirit about where they think they should go and then follow it, they are using their intellect as well. The subjective information from the spirit realm must register in someone’s mind in order for them to act on it. So if the intellect is a bad thing when contemplating the Scriptures, why is it a good thing when determining which subjective impressions to follow?”
Bill Johnson goes on in the video supposedly in support of this notion of not relying on the Bible he said “Paul warned that the letter kills.” He said this to knock and put down the idea that we should be going to the Bible for truth and doctrine. Wow! Does Bill realize what the text actually says? Let’s read a little of II Corinthians 3. In verse 3, Paul says “…clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” So in the context the “letter” that Bill mentions is actually the Law of God written on tablets of stone. This is the 10 Commandments.
Continuing with 3:6 “…who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?…”
The fact is that the killing that the “Letter” does is exactly what it is supposed to do. Read Romans 5:12; 7:9-11 and Galatians 3:10. The Spirit brings supernatural life, this is true, but we learn about the Spirit through the Gospel that was proclaimed by Christ and the Apostles and was recorded in the Scriptures for us to read. The “Letter” is supposed to destroy our self-righteousness and take away any standing that we ever thought we had before a just and holy, God. The only way to know what the Letter is though is to read it or to hear it preached. Conviction is brought on by the Holy Spirit and repentance is granted. Broken and feeble we are then made into a new creation as the Spirit gives life!
Bill says we need to go “off the map” with the Holy Spirit. However, we know that the Holy Spirit made the map and has told us that those who work outside of the map are false prophets. Anyone bringing anything that is not in accord with the Scriptures is off the map. Bill Johnson makes it easy for us to know where he stands by telling us to go off the map.
In Galatia, false prophets came preaching false hope through adherence to the Law. Bill Johnson comes preaching false hope through adherence to a false spirit. Listen to what Paul wrote to the Galatians in 1:6-9 – “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”
Do you want to see the effects of Bill’s ministry? Just do a search for Bethel and Fire Tunnels. Watch the way that the people act when they are supposedly “filled with the Spirit” and then watch Andrew Strohm’s documentary False spirits invade the church – KUNDALINI WARNING (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBpw2oQrvMM) on the New Age in the Church. The Kundalini Spirit has truly invaded the Church. To learn more about the New Age, check out The Light Project – an 8 part series that compares 8 different cults to what the Bible actually teaches.