The Strange interpretations of Bill Johnson's teachings
Because of Bill Johnson’s adherence to the Latter Rain teaching of William Branham (and others), Johnson has a slanted interpretation of Scripture. One example is one the most important Scriptures revealing to us who Jesus is. “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. Jesus’s face shone with God’s glory, similar to Moses’s after he came down from the mountain…” (“Face to Face with God” 2007, Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL; p 200.)
The glory came from within him, not from outside. This glory was the same that was in the Old Testament Temple. This is what is expressed by John “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (Jn.1:14)
Its purpose was to show his closest disciples who he really is, not who they are or what is available to them. Nor is it available to us today. Branham used the word realm as well, Johnson applies it to believers when it is exclusively about who Jesus is.
Why would he get this wrong? Because he has an agenda. Everything that is of Christ is applied to us. It’s not about Jesus it’s about us, an experience we can have, “our potential.” Here is what the Bible says on this account. Matt. 17:2 “He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” Peter speaks of this glory Luke 9:29-30 “and as He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.” V. 9:32 the disciples “saw His glory.”
Transfigured in the Greek is the word is metamorphoo. It means a change of appearance of what is seen outwardly. This is not an inward change. What was once veiled, contained in His flesh is no longer. This is what is meant by Heb. 10:20 “By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” The glory was in him. The disciples were able to see the inner glory that was veiled by his flesh, what his inner nature really was. Jesus was the visible manifestation of God in human form. Heb.1:3 states “the Son is the radiance of Gods glory and the exact representation of his being.” Jesus prayed in Jn17:15: “with the glory which I had with thee before the world And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self was.” He gave his closest disciple a glimpse of that Glory that was within him.
This verse also refutes Johnson’s false kenosis concept where Jesus put aside his deity somewhere, somehow, before he was incarnated, before he was man. No, he carried within him. For God cannot stop being God even if He does not use his power.
1 Peter 5:1: “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed.” Peter explains that because we partake of His suffering now, we can participate in His glory later. This glory is not us but the Holy Spirit in us who will transform us from mortal to immortal.
The Lord's Prayer
Another important Scripture which is slanted by Johnson is the Lord’s prayer, which is about the return of Christ and establishing His kingdom for Him to rule upon the earth,
“This is the primary purpose for all prayer—if it exists in heaven, it is to be loosed on earth” (Heaven invades earth, Johnson: 59). “Such an invasion causes the circumstances here to line up with heaven” (ibid.).
Johnson misinterprets this to fit a “kingdom now” message that he holds to. He further explains“In what is known as the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said clearly and concisely: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10). The will of God is simply this: ‘On earth as it is in heaven.’ Isn’t that basic? Isn’t it refreshing? When we pray, ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” we’re praying for the King’s dominion and will to be realized right here, right now. That is a life-transforming, paradigm-shattering way to ‘do’ normal Christianity. God has not kept His desires secret; He wants the reality of heaven to invade this rebel-torn world, to transform it, to bring it under His headship.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind pp. 32-33)
We are supposed to be pilgrims on earth on our way to heaven, that is normal Christianity. This reverse is not a subtle difference, it can be far more important than one thinks. For he is stating by a shift of our thinking we can make this happen and all this is to occur before Jesus returns.
Does he mean God is going to change our world to be like heaven now by our prayer? Or that Christians are to establish a visible kingdom of the church on earth and call it the kingdom of God! It seems both are valid.
We can understand what Johnson actually means by Associate pastor Kris Vollaton’s post on his website: here is a portion.
“I will not embrace an end-time worldview that re-empowers a disempowered devil.
I will not tolerate any theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations and the Lords Prayer that earth would be like heaven.”
Johnson further states, “Pray that my Father’s kingdom would come and His will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.’ Was this prayer a sort of a wish upon a star, intended to be prayed by billions, but only to be experienced by a few in some distant eternity? No, I don’t think so! I think Jesus actually expected us to believe that when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can pull heaven down to earth” (When Heaven Invades Earth, p.18).
Bill Johnson’s wife, Beni explains how this works: “A thin place is where heaven and earth are close. It is easier to experience the spiritual realm in these places. (Prayer Changes Things: Taking Your Prayer Life To The Next Level, p.65)
Jesus gave us no such explanation, instead he described His kingdom as not of this world, not to be established now, we must conclude that his descriptions are not the Scriptures intent.
In keeping with what Jesus did commission, what Jesus meant in his prayer is that we are to pray for the spread of God's spiritual kingdom on earth through the preaching of the Gospel and the conversion of hearers who will then submit to God's will in their individual lives, as he supplies our needs. Our having the goal of maintaining a relationship of peace with all. And that we be kept from the evil one, being used for him.
Luke 11:2-4 “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one." Matthew adds “for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Mt.6:13).
This is a prayer for the return of Christ that has been prayed for nearly 2,000 years; for his will done on earth as it is in heaven can only be accomplished when the Messiah returns, it is then his kingdom comes. In the meantime, the evil one is the prince of this world (Eph.2:2). The church does not accomplish this but prays for it.Until He literally returns the world we live in is still affected by the curse and is fallen.
Reality problems with Johnson’s interpretation of kingdom now.
Acts 1:6-7 “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
1 Cor. 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”
If we are establishing the kingdom now, the unrighteous are still here. Jesus said when He returns he removes them for his kingdom to commence (Mt.25; Col.3:6).
In fact Paul tells us of the timing 2 Tim. 4:1 “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.”
“very rapidly in these last hours of history. That acceleration of revelation is beginning in our day. It's about the purposes of God being unveiled on the planet. On-going revelation and encounters with the power of God launch us into understanding of things we've never understood before." (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 68)
That is because the revelations they receive is not from the Bible. A gnostic, a mystic will always speak of lost truths to be restored, or new truths to be discovered.
“It is absolutely impossible to live the normal Christian life without receiving regular revelation from God.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, p. 58)
That revelation would be the Bible but then we don’t need to read it, you instead say “The key is to be spiritually discerning–to open our spirit man to direct revelation from God.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, p. 60)
After John, the Bible is not an open book but a completed revelation. Misquoting and misrepresenting the context of Scripture is often done by Johnson, because he has an agenda. To convince others of their extraordinary power we have which is the same as Jesus. That is what he believes is being unveiled.
William Branham claimed his revelation was in line with the Bible. Instead of extracting from the text Branham inserted what he thought should be in the text to fit his own predilection. He said “you have to read the Bible between the lines.”
Branham presented a “progressive revelation” of the Word. False teachers are those who do not teach its original intent, because they do not seek what Scripture actually means. They conform it to what they want it to mean. One of the best examples of Bethels non - conformity to Scripture is the Bible mixed with practicing Yoga (another religions practice to find you are god) to bring the gospel.
This Misquoting and misrepresenting is clearly by Johnson’s statement “Does God ever cause sickness?” He explains that, “You can only give away what you have, and this is why Jesus was able to give away peace in order to calm the storm” (he ignores the story that Jesus rebuked the storm, he did not calm it by releasing peace onto it, but removed the storm). He asks the question, “Can God give away sickness?” Answering his own question by a self assured answer, “No, God cannot get sick, therefore God cannot give away sickness, because you can only give away what you have.”
Stating God cannot give sickness because has none, is a false presentation that affects ones view about God. Scripture contradicts this all through history. The fact is that God is in control and can use it for chastisement (which Johnson does not seem to believe). There are many examples from the Bible of God giving (causing) sickness, affliction:
Many will quote Exodus 15:26: “For I am the LORD who heals you.” But the whole Scripture reads, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians.”
He afflicted the Egyptians and he will do so to his own people, his special treasure if they are not obedient. In Exodus 4:11, the Lord converses to Moses about him being his representative he states: “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?”
Despite what Johnson insists God himself tells us he does the very thing Johnson denies can take place.
“But the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors’ (1 Samuel 5:6).
“So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper” (Numbers 12:9-10).
“And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him.” (2 Chron. 26:19-20).
The Lord warns in 2 Chron. 21:14-15: “Behold the Lord will strike your people with a serious affliction – your children, your wives, and all your possessions; and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines.”
In 2 Samuel 6:6-7”Uzzah put his hand out to stop the Ark from touching the ground and God struck him and he died.”
When he says of God “You can only give away what you have,” it is just wrong in so many ways. No one should be ignorant on this matter like Johnson is. Or maybe it’s not ignorance but willful neglect to teach the whole counsel of God, to leave out what God actually says that goes against his homemade theology.
So when he says “I refuse to create a theology that allows for sickness.”
Maybe he should say, “I refuse to create a theology!”
While some of his statements, interpretations are onerous there are those that can only be categorized apejorative and are banal the way they are being used.
“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). He says this to make us to be equal with Christ, he was anointed and so are we in the same way.
Jesus is portrayed as a person that could only do miracles in His Earthly ministry because He had the Holy Spirit and learned to do this.
Instead of exalting Christ, the “Anointed One,” he exalts man claiming the same miracles,even greater miracles than Jesus can be done by all if we are trained in the supernatural and learn to use the anointing.
John 14:12 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
Johnson again misinterprets the Bible not portraying it accurately so that people think they have this same power. He does this so often that he is writing his own Bible.
Johnson: on John 14:12 “If you aren't seeing these "Greater Works" in your life, then something is not right.”
The problem is that it means a greater extension to the work of the gospel message, not greater miracles! It is works, our labor. We see this from the Scripture itself. No apostle did a greater miracle than Jesus, but according to Johnson we are seeing them today in “his church.”
This puts a guilt trip on those who do not enter “the realm” of signs and wonders.
I want everyone to consider this point because it is crucial to understanding the message being conveyed in Scripture. Jesus had many disciples (Mt.20:17; Jn.6:66-67; Acts 1:15) but he did not give ALL his disciples the same ability, he only gave to His twelve disciples “power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1-2). So to address Johnson’s premise of all of us having the same ability as Jesus, the answer from the Bible is absolutely NOT!
And even the twelve were unable to use it indiscriminately. In failing, his disciples asked Him privately why they could not cast a particular demon out. He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:16; Mark 9:28-29). Just because Jesus gave them this authority does not mean they could use it at their discretion any time they chose. This authority was not enough to accomplish every task; they needed a complete reliance on God.
Johnson makes this statement which presents the totality of his view. Jesus did not say “My sheep will know my Book;” it is His voice that we are to know.” (Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth, p. 93.)
Do we seek knowledge of the Holy one from the Scripture or from a voice? Any voice detached from the Scripture, which does not coincide with Jesus’ nature, his intent or truth is not from God. This is a gnostic view.
To the Devil whose voice Jesus heard “he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4)
Jesus said “The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Lu 8:11-12)
If the accurate word from Scripture is not preached, one cannot be saved, furthermore, they cannot grow. Rom 10:17 faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
“My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” Jesus makes it absolutely clear what he meant “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” (John 15:3)
It was later meeting a few dismayed disciples after the resurrection, “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Lk. 24:27)
The examples are endless. Throughout Jesus ministry he referred to the written Word to prove what He was teaching was the truth, and who He is (stating, is it not written?) This continued as the policy for the apostles also (as it is written; for it is written).
Bill Johnson comes along and tries to detach people from learning from the Scripture as our priority, where all spiritual truth of God is to be found. “My sheep will know my Book;” it is His voice that we are to know.” (referring to Jn.10:27). This word is what we read today, for His word is spirit and it is life For even Jesus explains the Comforter is sent to us from the Father, he is called the Spirit of truth, who testifies of Jesus (Jn.15:26), and Jesus himself tells us the word is truth (Jn.17:17).
William Branham said the Church is built on “The Rock of Revelation” (he did not mean the last book but new revelation)
Will Bill Johnson become the new William Branham? Not sure, he certainly is on the same track. Branham spoke of reading between the lines to understand what is written.
Bethel’s teachers are replacing the children’s bread with fake food of their own. The attendees are not being taught the Bible, the teachers are using Bible words for their own revelation and agenda. This is what Johnson means by following “off the map” of the Bible (When Heaven Invades, p. 76). It is not a priority for one’s spiritual understanding.
You can be assured when you have a secondary view of the Word, you will then lack understanding which affects your ability to interpret the word accurately and it will then affect how you teach the word.