Church Education Resource Ministries
History of the Word of Faith Movement
The major doctrines of the Faith movement were plagiarized by Kenneth Hagin from the teachings of E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon (1867-1948), who gained much of his theology from the mind-science cults, predominantly metaphysics. He incorporated these teachings with his Christian beliefs in an attempt to satisfy the desires for, as he termed it, a new type of Christianity which people had been longing for. Hagin adopted many of these ideas, adding his own theological views gained from his days in classical Pentecostalism and healing revivalism. The five central doctrines of the Faith movement: Revelation Knowledge, Identification, Faith, Healing and Prosperity, however, were all taken from Kenyon's writings, a man who often drank from the well of the Metaphysical cults, particularly, New Thought and Christian Science (http://www.africanaquatics.co.za/_christian/_articles/word_of_faith.htm).
Word of Faith Theology Features a blend of mysticism, dualism, flavors of Gnosticism, and other teachings from the metaphysical cults.
Some of the false doctrines of the Word of Faith movement
Someone wrote a comment on amazon.com about the Word of Faith movement which I have included below.
The Word of Faith movement is deceiving countless people, causing them to grasp after a way of life and faith that is not biblical. Our hope is in the Lord, not in our own words, not even in our own faith (Psalm 33:20-22). Our faith comes from God in the first place (2 Peter 1:1), and is not something we create for ourselves. Everything around that teaching involves prosperity and what God wants to do for you. Truth is that is partly true. It's not exactly a lie; it's just OUT OF BALANCE. God does want to heal and restore us. But that's not the only thing He wants to do. And when we start majoring in the minors, we get off balance.
Following are examples of the Prophets and Apostles Problems:
1. Paul had a chronic illness with his Eyes
2. Timothy had stomach problems
3. Jonah was depressed to the point of death
4. Peter was crushed in His Spirit after rejecting Christ three times
5. Billy Graham who has personality preached to over 200 million people, yet he has a disease that is killing him. And he was sadden because his wife died is this because of a lack of faith or from God punishment to un-confessed sins?
6. Stephen was stoned
7. James the Great was beheaded
8. Peter was Crucified upside down, Jesus even told him he would die this way John 21
9. Jesus only owned the Clothes on his back, he never married, he was hated, tracked down, betrayed by a close friend, falsely accused, wiped, tortured, and Murdered. And He said others would do the same to us (Mat 10:22, Mat 24:9) was this because Jesus sinned or had a lack of Faith? Why would He warn us if it were not true?
10. 200K believers die every year just because they are Christians from all over the world, is this due their sin?
We ask, knowing we have not yet been given a "yes" from Him for here and now. Yes, we know and confirm it is His will for us to be healed, but that may not be until heaven. We pray for our request (please heal Father) and ask "if in your will." We can't forget that. I've read and know you believe that. But that's not what's being taught if you follow the above statements. By stating otherwise "I am healed Father from this sickness".... that is going against how He asked us to pray. We pray and have faith He can do it, even now. But when we are not healed, we trust in Him and whatever purpose for that is. Like Jesus prayed when facing the cross... "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." He is our example on how to pray..
GOD DOES HEAL. I've been lead to see that He doesn't heal everyone the same way. (Consider the miracle in Acts 9:32-43) We know that God wants to ease our suffering. And in our healings, He's also giving us a taste of the future... our future restoration. With our healings, we see that God wants to reveal himself to us. I also understand that God wants me to pray for healing... And when I'm healed, God uses that healing to build my faith. Scripture is clear that God is more concerned with my faith, heart and devotion, than my physical healing. That is what effects eternity and secures my future. It's my faith that God wants to build. And most of the time, all I see narrowly is how He is or is not coming through for me. Disappointment and bitterness can then sink in. But God wants to do more than heal me physically.
Obviously not all Word of Faith teachers hold to all the same doctrines and the list above is exhaustive. Below are some names of some of the Word of faith teachers.
While I would love to write about every false teacher in this movement I realize that I do not have the time nor space to do so.
Benny Hinn - False Prophet
by Sandy Simpson, 5/6/00
This is an update on the Jesus Christ Slated To Star With Benny Hinn ... IN PERSON! story we sent out a month ago. It contains transcripts and many audio clips as well as links to TBN RealPlayer clips of the "This Is Your Day" on TBN. Since I put the original story out Hinn has been making more and more outrageous claims. That there has been almost no hue and cry from the ranks of orthodox Christianity on the subject of Hinn's latest claims below shows the sorry state of the "Church" today. How much more evidence do Christians need to stand up for the truth? How many more millions of lives will Benny Hinn drag down to spiritual ruination before some Christian leaders make their voices heard loud and clear. From my vantage point, I only see a few discernment ministries laying their necks on the chopping block for the truth, and they do it ALL THE TIME! It's time for other Christian leaders to be counted on this issue. What Benny Hinn is doing is EXACTLY what Jesus Christ warned us about in Matthew 24:
Matt. 24:23-27 At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!' or, `There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, `Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
This is a call for the body of Christ to rise up and cast this wolf in sheep's clothing firmly away from its ranks and call him what he is -- a heretic leading a cult! We have a duty to warn people against the likes of Benny Hinn before those who do not know the Lord NEVER want to know Him ... and those that do shipwreck their faith. If we do not stand against the likes of Benny Hinn and instead continue to call him a "brother in Christ", I am convinced that we will be judged for being "ashamed of Jesus Christ". I'll take the word of the Lord Jesus Christ any day over the word of Benny Hinn. Here is a good quote from Al Dagar about those who are unwilling to stand up for the truth.
"To seek unity with false prophets without challenging their errors leaves one's own beliefs open to question. Those who defend heretics, even if they do not believe in their teachings, are guilty of lending credibility to their heresies, and will be held accountable to God for the souls that are destroyed as a result. It's up to those that know the truth to defend the Church against false teachers whatever the cost to unity or to personal benefit." (Al Dagar, Media Spotlight Special Report, "Latter-Day Prophets: The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets and the Kansas City-Vineyard Connection", September, 1990, (p. 11).
I believe God, in His grace and longsuffering, is allowing people like Benny Hinn to test true believers. While Hinn struts, postulates, makes up stories out of whole cloth to grow his following, and collects obscene amounts of money to do "ministry", he has lately "kicked it up a notch" by going directly against what Jesus Christ warned us about, thereby proving beyond any doubt that he is a false prophet. I believe that God is allowing this last days test for Christians to see if they will love the truth ... or go running after myths. When He comes, will He find faith on the earth (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/hinnfalse.html)?
Benny Hinn's public Statements
Lets look at some of Hinn's public
statements and compare them to the scriptures.
In the text below Benny Hinn says that Jesus will appear Physically in Kenya Africa.
"The hour is urgent. Many of you have known me for many years. But I am telling you right now, things I haven't said years 'n years 'n years ago. I believe - here this, hear this! I believe, that Jesus, God's Son, is about to appear physically, in meetings and to believers around the world, to wake us up! He appeared after His resurrection and He is about to appear before His second coming! You know a prophetess sent me a word through my wife, right here, and she said 'Tell your husband that Jesus is go'n to physically appear in his meetings.' I am expecting to see, I am telling you that - I feel it's going to happen. I, I, I'm, I'm careful in how I am saying it now, because I know the people in Kenya are listening. I know deep in my soul, something supernatural is going to happen in Nai - in Nairobi Kenya. I feel that. I may very well come back, and you and Jan are coming, to - Paul and Jan are coming to Nairobi with me, but Paul, we may very well come back with footage of Jesus on the platform! You know that the Lord appeared in Romania recently, and there's a video of it? Where the Lord appeared in the back of a church and you see him on video walking down the isle? Yeah! Paul do you remember when I came on TBN years ago and showed you a clip of the Lord appearing in our church in Orlando, on the balcony on the wall? Yeah. You, you remember that? [Paul Crouch] Very well, I saw it! [Benny Hinn] That was '80, 80 something, '86, what - whatever. You know I always wondered why the Lord, why did He do that? Do you know why, now I look back? That was the beginning of the greatest move of God in our church. Because '83, '84, and '85 were horrible years for me, horrible years. Eighty-six the blessings of God began, but they began with a - with this manifestation of the Lord's face on, on the balcony, that stayed for eight weeks. Eight solid weeks! The Lord has done this in the past, but He is about to do it again, now hear this, I am prophesying this! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is about to appear physically in some churches, and some meetings, and to many of His people, for one reason - to tell you He is about to show up! To Wake Up! Jesus is coming saints!"
- Benny Hinn, April 2nd, 2000
What does the Bible say regarding Benny Hinn's claims that Jesus will appear physically?
Matthew, Chapter 24, Verse 23,
New International Version
At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it.
The Bible warned us of false prophets and teachers that would appear in the last days, which I believe we are living in. In verse 24 it says that the false teachers will perform many signs and will be able to deceive many. Hinn no doubt has fooled many, and no question the true elect know that he is a false prophet. No one can claim when Jesus will appear, because when he does appear everyone will know it, and no man will have predicted it! He will come as a thief in the night (1 Th 5:2).
Other Benny Hinn Statements
Lord also tells me to tell you in mid 90's -- about '94 or '95, no
later than that -- God will destroy the homosexual community of
America . . . He will destroy it with fire.
The Spirit of God tells me -- an earthquake will hit the East Coast of America and destroy much in the 90's.
The Spirit tells me -- Fidel Castro will die in the 90's . . . Holy Spirit just said to me, it'll be worse than any death you can imagine"(1989).
Other websites that debunk Benny Hinn
Bill Johnson is a well known Word of Faith/Third Wave author and pastor. He has written the books When Heaven Invades the Earth the Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, Release the Power of Jesus and many other Word of Faith/Third Wave Books which can be purchased on amazon.com. Bill tries to model after Benny Hinn, whom has had a great influence in his life. In a letter to me, Bill thanked me for comparing him to Hinn. I have to wonder what Bill's flock would say if they knew that he highly values the message of one that prophesied damnation to homosexuals, Fidel Castro, and personally claimed that Jesus would appear physically with him on one of his crusades.
Review of Bill's book Release the Power of Jesus
This book features some outstanding graphics and I applaud Bill & his graphic design team for their efforts. However, as I will explain this book features much false doctrine.
Bill states the premise of the book on page 35 and states that this book is about "releasing miracle power." On page 19, Bill explains a story of a boy whom got his feet healed and according to Bill, this whole event was captured on video. I ask Bill to release this video to the public and convert it to digital for view on his website. I seriously wish to see this healing episode. The following pages up to the end of the chapter Bill talks about a number of healing experiences. While I do believe that God can heal people, I believe the Bible is quite clear that the gift of healing has ceased. I challenge Bill and Bethel healers to "heal at will." Please go into a hospital, elderly home, DD center and start healing! There are lots of DD centers in Redding (lived there for 4 years) and I ask Bill to go to Quest, or some other center and heal away. If Bill refuses, I ask why? The disciples and Paul could heal at will and so should anyone that has this gift. If one were to look at the Gospels & the book of Acts and study it, they would come to the conclusion of there being six characteristics of the miracles of Jesus & the apostles and they are as follows (John MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, 262-263).
The apostles healed with a word or a
touch (Acts 9:32-35)
The apostles healed instantly (Acts 3:2-8)
The apostles healed totally (Acts 9:34)
The apostles were able to heal anyone (Acts 5:12-16)
The apostles healed organic diseases
The apostles raised the dead (Acts 9:36-42)
On page 32 Bill makes quite an assumption and states the following "It can't be stated more plainly. Those who believe in Him will demonstrate signs and wonders." Bill continues and states in the same paragraph that we have access to everything that he had available. John MacArthur says the following;
Jesus miracles must, after all, be the standard by which we make such an evaluation. No one before or since has performed as many signs and wonders as he did during his earthly ministry (John 20:30; 21:25). His miracles were strikingly different from those produced by the modern Signs and Wonders movement. None involved psychosomatic infirmities; all were visible and verifiable. They were, in short, true signs and true wonders (Charismatic Chaos, 162).
I once again challenge Bill to show me this videotape of the healing he mentioned earlier in the book. I desire documentation and evidence that such healings are really happening. When Jesus healed, even his enemies could not deny it. On page 33 Bill asserts that raising the dead is possible for those that are filled with the Holy Spirit. If Bill or anyone at Bethel can raise the dead, please do so. I have a list of people I desire him to raise one of which would be John Wayne. Jumping to page 99 Bill says the following regarding the disciples and the feeding of the 5,000 "their obedience helped release the miracle." This is false assumption. Jesus could do miracles by his own power and did not need his disciples to perform miracles. Jesus is full omnipotent, because he is God and He does not need the faith of his disciples nor anyone to heal and do miracles. On page 104, Bill tells of a story of him healing a woman in Germany. What amazes me is that Bill has failed to mention the name of this woman or leave any sort of documentation or evidence so that the reader can verify this healing. Later on the page does Bill tell of 83 people that were healed of deafness. Again, he cites no documentation nor lists no witness to substantiate this story.
On page 121 Bill says, "But Jesus didn't say to pray for the sick. He said to heal them.." That command was issued to the disciples in Mt 10:8, ESV "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay." The command was issued to the disciples and not to modern day Christians. On page 123, Bill says, "Unbelief and offense are two of the biggest hindrances to the miraculous." How unbiblical such a statement is! By such a statement is Bill saying that the ability to perform miracles all relies on me and my belief or unbelief. The Bible teaches that God is the creator of the universe and nowhere do the scriptures state that God needs me to perform a miracle. God can perform miracles regardless of my state of mind. On page 143 Bill says the following "the responsibility of every leader in the Church is to become exposed, and remain exposed, to the miracles of God and the God of miracles. Sincerity and genuine concern for the people of God are important but cannot take the place of such exposure." Lets look at what the scriptures teach on the responsibility of the minister (all scriptures quoted from the KJV).
Rom 10:14-How shall they hear without
1 Cor 1:18- For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God
2 Tim 4:2- Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
The primary responsibility of the minister is to PREACH THE WORD, not to experience miracles. Bill has it wrong here.
On page 168 Bill says the following "God cannot be properly or even accurately represented without power. Miracles are absolutely necessary for people to see him clearly." This is hellfire false doctrine here. People need to hear the salvation message and this is the most important thing for people to see. People must see that they are doomed to the hellfire and are a heartbeat away from hell. They must see Jesus and they must repent of their sins. Isa 45:22, NIV "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other." Its not about them seeing the miracles, its about them seeing the gospel! The sinners is doomed to the fire, and are a heartbeat away from the burning hell where they will scream, and burn. Jesus came to save mankind from this fire, and He gave the gospel to man, and this is all that is needed. People do not need miracles, for they need the gospel!
One final note in the recommended
reading list pretty much the majority of the list are either books by
Bill Johnson (8/15) or books by someone associated with his church.
It sure appears that Bill's theology does not go much outside of his
movement and other false teachers in the third wave (Word of Faith)
movements. I strongly discourage anyone from buying this book as this
book is loaded with false doctrines.
A review of Bill's Book Strengthen
yourself in the Lord by Katie
Analysis of the Scriptural heresy in Strengthen Yourself in the Lord by Bill Johnson---this is my homework---please grade it with a pen in one hand and a grain of salt in the other...
Page 34: "Strengthening ourselves in
the Lord is an essential part of stewarding our heart.
The tools that I have learned to use to strengthen myself in the Lord have become calculated
responses to the warning lights of my heart."
OK, but maybe Bill's wrench and hammer might not tighten our screw and washer. What this means is he's an individual person with a unique walk with God, and we would be wise to steer clear of the temptation to duplicate his experience, since the Holy Spirit wants to show us the way we should walk. We are called to take up our cross and follow the Lord, not take up other peoples' crosses. God has given us liberty to develop our own tools. It is possible that by using Bill's tools, we might forsake the tools the Lord would rather us find out by the power of the Spirit and the Word without the self-help book provided here
(see 1 John 2:27). Also, see 1 Corinthians 12:29--- "Are all apostles? Are all prophets...?",
meaning, we are all different creations with different needs and patterns of growth.
Page 36: "As I said in the previous chapter, God has made clear what we are becoming----the potential we are all called to grow into throughout our lifetime. We are becoming kings and priests of the planet, following the lead of our Elder Brother, Jesus. This is why Hebrews tells us to "fix our eyes on Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2)"
Hebrews 12:2 encourages us to be strong in the face of intense trials by looking to Jesus for strength. It does not say to look on Jesus so we can turn into kings and priests. In Revelation, it says that He has already made us kings and priests. We are already such to God; while it is true that there is a learning process, it cannot make us become kings and priests. There is a distinction between becoming righteous in our walk and God's kings and priests as He ordains them that would be wise to recognize.
Page 38: "Only a passionate devotion to God and an unwavering conviction about the identity and purpose He has given us will be stronger than the enemy's resolve to distract us. If we are not convinced of our purpose, then we will entertain the enemy's lies and invite his destruction into our lives."
For clarity, read 2nd Peter, chapter
1, which is somewhat in conflict with Bill's statement. It
is God's work and goodness that enables us to follow Him, not our resolve, clear thinking or
understanding. He is the author and finisher of our faith, not our getting the picture right or
our rock-like resolve. While resolve is important in building up our faith, we would be wise to
recognize that it is God's power in us that strengthens us.
Page 46: "He is not, nor has He ever been, the sort of Father who brings torment, sickness, or persecution into the lives of His children to teach them how to be more Christ-like."
This seems to be heretical, when we consider 2 Cor. 12:7-10: "Because of the surpassing
greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me----to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." So, Bill seems to sideskirt the way God works in his statement, which could be to the detriment of some readers.
Page 56: "Thanksgiving keeps us sane
The power of the Spirit keeps us sane and alive, not our ability to give thanks to God.
Page 57: In reference to 1 Timothy,
4:1-5, Bill comments "He [Paul] is saying thanksgiving
sanctifies whatever it touches."
Page 58: "Thanksgiving actually changes the very nature of the food into something holy."
This seems to be an error. Paul is saying the Word of God and prayer sanctifies whatever it touches, and that by giving thanks, we recognize this before we partake of the food. We need to guard our minds so that we can catch what appears to be scripture-twisting. It seems to be an over-reaching of Bill's authority and a way to make a method out of opinion which isn't based on Scripture. (Even though Bill says he does not intend that his book is a method, he reiterates that it worked for him, and writes the book as though we should follow his lead, hence the title, "Strengthen Yourself in the Lord", not "Bill Johnson's Autobiography: A Man who Strengthened Himself in the Lord.")
Page 59: "Thanksgiving accomplishes the divine justice of the Kingdom, where the enemy is destroyed by the very thing he intended to use for our destruction."
This seems like over-reaching in light of the Word, which tells us to put on the full armor of God, that we may be able to withstand the enemy. It does not tell us that thanksgiving will destroy the works of the devil, in 1 John 3:8, the verse used to substantiate Bill's opinion. This chapter only shows the nature of those that are with God or against Him, and doesn't mention thanksgiving one time. (This seems similar to the curriculum, Growing Kids God's Way, which uses unrelated verses to support personal opinion.)
Page 60: "When I stay close to the presence of God through thanksgiving, I not only become aware of His absolute ability to invade the impossible, I sense His radical love and delight in me!"
Page 61: "If you want to discover the ability of thankfulness to bring you strength in difficulty, you need to keep counting these things until you come to the conclusion---it's time to rejoice!"
The Word does not seem to support that thanksgiving alone will do all that Bill says it will do. It can be combined with prayer, sacrifice, humility, love and a mulititude of the fruits of the Spirit to yield strength in difficulty, and this is what the Lord teaches us through the Spirit of Truth.
Page 72: "While the nature of praise
and thanksgiving [sic] is different, they should always go
together, because they are sequential steps toward strengthening
ourselves in His manifest presence."
For some believers, this can have the effect of creating a legalistic approach to God, and not to encourage us to give thanks and praise as He leads us. (This brings to mind David, who is the main character in Bill's book. He strengthened himself in the Lord by pursuing a relationship with Him and abandoning his strength for God's strength. He didn't need a book apart from the Living Word on how to grow with God. Shouldn't we do the same as David--just strive after God, and all these things will be added unto us? The answer is yes.)
Page 83: "Interestingly, for the most part in the New Testament, we are not doing the building. God is doing the building, as are the men and women He has commissioned to disciple His body."
So, why so much emphasis on Old Testament practices? Sharing testimony is good for building the body. Rehearsing it as a matter of religious practice outside of the New Testament is not in the New Covenant. We should be led by the Spirit to action, which is the primary emphasis of the New Covenant.
Page 83-84: "Jude writes, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit" I believe that 'praying in the Holy Spirit' here specifically refers to praying in tongues, and that Jude is associating this particular activity with building ourselves up in our faith."
If we review the New Living Translation, we can read, "But you, dear friends, must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed by the Holy Spirit." Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but I think if Jude wanted to tell his friends to pray in tongues, wouldn't he have done so? But he asked them to pray as the Holy Spirit leads them. That is a difference. Again, consider 1 Corinthians 12:29--- "Are all apostles? Are all prophets...?" where each are given grace according to their measure of faith. So, we might not all acquire tongues, but we can still pray in the Holy Spirit as He moves us. Many of us have experienced that without needing to pray in tongues, and have edified the Body. So, this is another way that Bill is supporting his opinion without providing clear evidence of it by the Scripture he uses as his example.
Response to page 85: The standard of righteousness set forth in the Word can be acheived by all believers, regardless of which gifts they have been given. Being young pastors or old, your expression of faith is your intimate relationship with the Living God, and that is known only between the two of you. "Let no one look down on you because you are young", and be encouraged by the gifts. But don't think that if you don't possess the gift of tongues or healing or otherwise that you are lacking. As God said to the persecuted Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
Page 86: "Sometimes pastors and others in ministry fall to this pressure by trying to give an explanation to something that God is not explaining. Much bad theology is created in such times of pressure---it pleases man by bringing an artificial peace, but is not found in the nature of God."
I would tend to agree with Bill, but unfortunately it is true of some of his work as well. He has many wise things to say, and some opinion that is sticking itself out over the Word. Whenever men add their opinions that aren't supported by God's word, it makes their whole work risky to eat.
Page 88: "And one of the first gifts the Spirit gives to believers to release the hidden things is the ability to pray in tongues because He knows we need this tool to train our hearts, minds, and bodies to perceive and agree with what He's doing."
While we may seek any of these gifts as the Spirit of God leads us, the Bible shows us that each are given gifts according to their faith. So, size 5 shoes won't fit everyone, just as tongues aren't given to everyone, but to those who the Lord wishes to give it according to their faith and purpose. Bill's statement has potential for discouraging those in the body without this gift, especially those that aren't cognizant of the gifts they've been given.
Page 94: "No freshly spoken word from God will ever come to you that does not contain its own ability to perform itself!"
Or rather, the Word that God has spoken will come to pass, which is what the verse is really saying on page 94. This is true only if the Word is God's. There is a difference between Word and word. For example, we should test the spirits to see if they are from God and
"Thankfully, you don't need to understand the Word in order to show the Lord that you trust His Word as truth.You start moving down that railroad track to your destiny by simply receiving the Word."
It reads as though he is talking about the Word of God from the Bible in this statement, whereas the whole context communicates that what comes from a prophet or someone calling themselves a prophet can be treated the same way as the Word. This can be confusing, especially to a new believer, and especially since Bill makes no effort to encourage discernment when receiving a word from a fellow believer (see also the bottom paragraph on page 98 and page 102). But, since Word is capitalized, we interpret this as the Living Word, God's gift to us, which God put in our hearts, and which he gave in the Bible. Isn't it absolutely necessary that we understand God in order to accept Him? Isn't that our purpose? Correct me if I'm wrong.
Page 111: "But when the people stopped keeping the testimony, their faith for the miraculous diminished, and so did their obedience to His commands."
This seems to be putting the practice of keeping the testimony up as the cause of their loss of faith, when what caused it was simply their change of heart, their shift in their faith, according to the Scripture. Also, since keeping the testimony was Old Testament practice, and in the New Testament God says he has put His law in our hearts, there is no longer need to rehearse these things since the Spirit of Truth has been given to us. In fact, God has said He has made the first covenant obsolete and has found fault with it because His people were unfaithful to Him (Hebrews 8).
He will reveal His testimony through the Word, which is alive in us. Testimonies are helpful in building faith, but it does not follow that we lose our faith in the miraculous if we don't hear of healings or miracles very often. That is opposed to the New Covenant, which says "And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their family, saying, 'You should know the Lord.' For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will already know me. And I will forgive their wrongdoings, and I will never again remember their sins."
What gifts one receives and whether or not they share testimonies is an personal issue to the individual believer since our levels of faith vary. Our faith is also the reason we ask God to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us, so as we grow and change,
so does our response to God. "The bedrock of an automatic response" does not really mean anything here. Our responses to situations relate directly to our relationship with Him, and they change with time.
Page 112: "Forgetting is a downward spiral that begins with the very natural tendency to gradually talk less about the cancer that was instantly healed, for example. Other things start to occupy our minds. But then, the less we keep the testimony in our conversation and our minds, the lower goes our expectation to see the miraculous."
Page 113: "Failing to keep the testimony not only makes us forget who God is, but who we are."
Again, this is based on Old Covenant practice, and those who stick to those practices while denying Jesus choose to keep a veil over their heart. Sharing testimony of what God has done in your life is a matter of listening to God's prompting you to share it. So, what would happen to a person with memory loss, who couldn't relay the testimony? Would he fall away from the knowledge of God because Bill believes that our words carry the life of our faith (Word of Faith movement)?
Even Jesus said that a wicked and perverse generation seeks after a sign, but the only sign it will be given is that of Jonah. What I believe that Jesus means in saying this is that we have to submit ourselves to the point of death and total dependence on God in order that He bring us into line with His discipline and rule in our hearts. To me, that is the greatest of the signs and wonders----the work that the Holy Spirit does in our hearts when we sacrifice what is dearest to us for His will in us. He came up to bind up the wounded in heart and body, but moreso in heart. I remember when Jesus said, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." He yearns for us to follow Him without requiring these things, and this is evidenced repeatedly in Scripture. God has given us a sign. His Son suffered greatly and died because of the joy set before Him. This generation ought to be willing to do the same for the sake of the Kingdom. We must grow closer to the Lord before we receive signs and wonders, not before.
Jesus only performed miracles when the Father told Him to, and He needed to convene with God often. He also didn't perform miraculous healings without first going through a growth process that God led Him into (see also Isaiah 66, when God corrects Israel about their expectations of Him). Men that Jesus sent out didn't heal every person who asked, since it says in Luke that whole towns had leprosy, but only one was sought after (Luke 4:25-27). So, Bill's doctrine is not in line with the Bible when he says that "...he heals all your diseases, and he does not veto any request" (see newspaper article attached).
Yes, it is true that all that Jesus touched were healed, but he did not touch all of them. As the Ostranders said, "All who came to Jesus were healed", but they did not point out that we cannot operate in the same capacity unless we know the Lord has allowed us to discover and nuture a gift of healing, has directly told us to pray for all we meet and we know we possess the gift of healing. Who else besides Jesus was sent in such measure to sit and heal all those who approached Him? There is no other example in the Bible of this outside of His own. Otherwise, we are only banking that if we pray for everyone, the Lord will heal some of them as He wills, and it risks becoming sensationalism or mysticism.
Page 141, entire page: It would be wise for those who seek gifts to look for confirmation that they are seeking the one God wants them to seek.
Page 150, last pgh: While Bill believes that they should push to the appropriate level of faith to reach a cancer-free zone, perhaps we could again consider Luke 4:25-27. (Elsewhere in the book, Bill also calls it a 'mistake' to pray that 'thy will be done' when praying since we "already know it's His will that we should be healed", and "it's not hard to know God's will---it's that heaven be done on earth", when the Lord does not always reveal His specific plan for us our personal lives.) Jesus makes it clear to us that the Lord heals and mends whom He wills, whether it be all who come to Him or only one person in one town. We do not have the privilege of knowing which individuals He will heal, only the hope of our will to be healed in body. But as He wills us to be healed in spirit more than body, sometimes He will even allow cancer to ravage us that we may turn back to Him. Here healing goes deeper than body, and I bear witness to such a healing in my own mother, which I have shared with a few of you, and will share again if you want to hear it.
At this point I ask myself:
Why is there a need to stick to this material? Will it really provide secrets that we can't get from the Bible? What more can be gained if there are so many confusing things to sort through?
I have found some truths in this book, but the above findings render it wholly unpalatable to me. It is good that Bill encourages us to pursue the gifts of the Spirit, but it would seem that the emphasis on his approach is somewhat inappropriate. Whenever error is mixed in with the truth, it deceives. Take for example the Q'uran, which contains much of the Bible mixed in with its own doctrine. So, what if we decided to spend a year or so sorting through the Q'uran because it had some good things we could take away from it? Why not
instead just get our meat straight
from the Bible rather than pick the maggots out of the meat? Jesus
said that salt that loses its flavor becomes worthless and is only
fit to be thrown out into the street to be trampled by men. Do not be
carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our
hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which
are of no value to those who eat them. (Hebrews 13:9)
Here is a video review of Bill Johnson's book A Life of Miracles.
Life of Miracles video Review
Below is a review of Bill Johnson's book Dreaming with God.
Dreaming with God video Review
I wrote a article in a newspaper regarding Bill Johnson's ministry
Record Searchlight ran a series on Bethel.
I contributed my thoughts in one of the articles.
Article #1 Bethel burgeons under pastor's visions of prosperity
Article #2 Faith healings, dead raising teams part of Bethel experience
Article #3 Bethel's
signs and wonders includes angel feathers, gold dust and
The Bill Johnson Story - My
experience with Bill and Bethel. You may also wish to look at the text transcript.
I received an email from an
individual whom had a unforgettable experience with a female
student/attender of Bethel Church. This person claims that this
particular female was/is demon possessed. To hear his story click on
the audio file below.
Demon Posseessed Bethel Church
Some clips taken from the Audio
Cassette message entitled Enduring
Faith recorded 1/11/04 at Bethel Church of Redding,
God heal's All Your Diseases
God heals all your Diseases and he does not veto any request
Johnson's comments on God
Johnson's comments on the Church
In the audio byte below pastor Bill Johnson claims that Jesus Christ was a human being and only got victory over the demonic powers by his relationship with God the father. Johnson says in his own words that Jesus put His divinity aside.
Bill Johnson's Kenoticism Theology
This teaching has flavors of Kenoticism in nature. Biblical scholar Millard Erickson explains what Kenoticism is.
Christian Theology, Millard J. Erickson, pp. 749
According to this view, what Jesus emptied himself of was the form of God. The second Person of the trinity laid aside his distinctly divine attributes and took on human qualities instead. In effect the incarnation consisted of an exchange of part of the divine nature for human characteristics. His moral qualities, such as love and mercy were maintained. While this may seem like an act of the Son alone, it actually involved the father as well. The father, in sending forth his Son, was like a father who sends his son to the mission field. A part of him went forth as well. What we have here is a parallel in the realm of Christology to the solution offered by modalistic monarchianism to the problem of the Trinity. Jesus is not God and man simultaneously, but successively. With respect to certain attributes, he is God, then he is human, then God again... While this view solves some of the difficulty, it does not account for the evidence we cited earlier to the effect that the biblical writers regarded Jesus as both God and human. Moreover, the indications of an apparent continuing incarnation (1 Timothy 3:16) militate against the maintenance of this theory, innovative though it be.
1 Timothy, Chapter 3, Verse 16, King James Version
And without controversy great is
the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in
the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on
in the world, received up into glory
This is the most condemning audio file where Bill clearly denies essential Christology doctrine.
was born again
In this video a woman in a Bethel service claims to have the power to forgive sins and send people to Heaven
Bethel Woman can forgive sinsBill Preaches the Health and Wealth Gospel and says that God does not allow for sickness and disease.
Also to note that CERM receives dozens of emails from people all over the world asking for advice and discernment on Bill Johnson and his teachings. I received one email report of someone being fired because they did not agree 100% with Bill Johnson. I find it amazing how far the Charismatics will go just because someone does not agree entirely with one of their teachers. Its amazing that a family that so desperately needs an income and is hurting in other areas, receives no quarter by these so called "loving Charismatics" for disagreeing with Johnson and his lies and deceptions.
We have already been 'through the ringer' in church leadership, as my husband was fired from his worship leader position for 'not being on board' with Bill Johnson. We have had two deaths recently in the family and I don't know how much more stress we can take.
One such email of a man and his wife discovering the errors and lies in Bill's teachings is below. NOTE that I later received an email from this man that he and his wife departed from their church.
A email report of a church that idolizes Bill Johnson
A email asking me for help rescuing a lost family member from the Bethel "cult."
A email from Benjamin telling me all about his expereince at Bethel Church and a Fire Tunnel.
Then people go through it. Now, I
am not sure, but I think it has to do
with the Holy Spirit and fire as well as being slain in the Spirit. I
remember when I went through it I got this amazing feeling! You can check
out this youtube video here to see what one looks like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-4pyiYAlzg . As you can see they seem to
show being slain in the Spirit which is a unbiblical practice. The advocates
of the 3rd wave and WOF movement take verses out of context when trying to
prove that slain in the Spirit is a biblical practice. One verse they take
out of context is Acts 2. If you want to read more on why Acts 2 does not
support being drunk you can read about it here:
http://www.letusreason.org/Pent21.htm . As for concerning anything more with
Bethel, I remember hearing that people there see angel feathers fall from
the ceiling. Other than that, I have not read Bill John's books, but they
look really creepy and weird.
From a Katie who is passionate about stopping and warning others of Bill Johnson's false teachings
Randy Clark on the Bible Answerman
(1) Weighed and Found Wanting: Putting the Toronto Blessing in Context by Bill Randles, 1994
"With TBN, CBN, and Charisma Magazine and a host of other sources, error is having a field day these days! Never has the scripture been so easily fulfilled. II Timothy 3:6-7 "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Eleven chapter e-book with appendix from a Pentacostal minister's perspective. EXCELLENT!
(2) Randy Clark Resigns From Vineyard by MKG, PFO, January-March 2002
"I was told that my Arminian leanings were alienating me from about 70% of the Vineyards. ... More particularly my open view of God was alienating me from many Vineyards," he wrote in his letter. Clark revealed his association with open theist Greg Boyd, stating that he had invited Boyd to speak with him at two of his conferences over the past few years. But, Clark maintains, it has only been recently that he read Boyd's volume on the subject, so "I guess I was a case of guilt by association."
(3) Randy Clark by Apologetics Index
On January 6, 1994, he was a guest speaker at the Toronto Airport Vineyard (now Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship). With about 120 people in attendance for a four-day revival meeting, what a secular reporter later called the Toronto Blessing "fell." Just prior to this occurance, Clark had been anointed by Rodney Howard-Browne
(4) The Toronto Blessing and the Laughing Revival by Gary Gilley, Think On These Things, October 1999 - Volume 5, Issue 10
Soon Howard-Browne began influencing others, but on a small scale. Then, while preaching at Carpenter's Home Church in Lakeland, Florida, in 1993, laughter in the Spirit once again broke out bringing Howard-Browne out of obscurity. One of his disciples was Pastor Randy Clark from St. Louis, Missouri. It was Clark (who had already experienced strange phenomenons in his church) who preached the revival sermon in Toronto that ignited the whole movement. The Revival has since spread like wildfire, especially in Vineyard and Charismatic circles, and in recent years has penetrated all kinds of denominations.
(5) The Toronto Blessing - Part One by Dr. Nick Needham, Highland Theological College, Dingwall, Scotland IV15 9HA, UK
An account of how Randy Clark received the blessing or anointing of the Spirit from Rodney Howard-Browne is found in the paper What in the World is Happening to us? This was written by Bill Jackson of the Vineyard movement to try to show that the TB is a good Biblical thing. Here is Bill Jackson's account of how the TB began: Randy Clark is the founding pastor of the Vineyard Christian fellowship in St. Louis. Missouri. After years of seeing little fruit and power in his ministry- he became desperately hungry for God. Hearing of unusual manifestations of God's presence through the ministry of South African evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne Randy attended one of Rodney's meetings in Tulsa Oklahoma. Randy was powerfully touched and, in going home, began to see a similar outbreak of the Spirit among his people.
For more detailed information on the Word of Faith Movement check out these websites.
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