07 June 2012

Being Excited to Read Bill Johnson's "Hosting the Presence" is Not a Good Thing

You can tell a lot about someone by the books they read. Of course, simply reading a book is far from an endorsement. That is why you can tell even more about a person by what books they are excited to read. Perhaps that is why it was so intriguing to see this tweet from Kerri Weems, who is the wife of Stovall Weems, pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, FL.
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Here we find Kerri Weems, wife of the pastor of a prominent mega church, eager to read a book written by a man who is well known among the charismatic and dominionist circles. Bill Johnson is pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, CA, and heads a ministry that he refers to as an "apostolic network." He is known for advocating signs and wonders, from the manifestation of a "glory cloud" to sparkling glory dust descending from the rafters.


Johnson claims that the miraculous is a regular occurrence at his church, and desires to move these signs and wonders beyond the church walls:
Healings, ranging from cancer to broken bones, to learning disorders and emotional healing, happen with regularity. This is the children's bread. And these works of God are not limited to revival meetings. The church is learning how to take this anointing to the schools, workplace, and neighborhoods with similar results. Bill teaches that we owe the world an encounter with God, and that a Gospel without power is not the Gospel that Jesus preached. (Source)
Sadly, such an approach to the Gospel is a detrimental one. The Gospel does not require the power of signs and manifestations, rather, the Gospel is power! There is no greater miracle that our God could render than to take a lifeless sinner and breathe into him the breath of salvation.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
Yet it seems that, for Bill Johnson, the appearance of a so-called "glory cloud" is a greater work. Tragic indeed.

Bill Johnson also is identified with the concepts of the Latter Rain movement. Apologist Bob DeWaay explains further:
Johnson believes that there will be a great end-time revival that will be initiated by an “Elijah generation”[1] (a concept from the heretical Latter Rain movement) that shall transcend all other generations of Christians in regard to their ability to do great works of power. Johnson claims the following about himself and associates: “We will carry the Elijah anointing in preparing for the return of the Lord in the same way that John the Baptist carried the Elijah anointing and prepared the people for the coming of the Lord” (Johnson: 184)[2]. 
Supposedly these elitists will set off a great revival of signs and wonders greater than those of Jesus. This miracle explosion, they expect, will cause a great revival before the return of Christ. Johnson states, “I live for the revival that is unfolding and believe it will surpass all previous moves combined, bringing more than one billion souls into the Kingdom” (Johnson: 23).
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Knowing this, perhaps one can better understand what is being stated in the description of Johnson's book Hosting the Presence, which Kerri Weems is so eager to read:
Are you hungry for an encounter with Jesus? Do you want to make an impact on the world? In this power-packed book, Bill Johnson discusses how you can be a person who hosts the Presence of God. Though all believers obviously have the Spirit of God within them, there is more that enables you to be so full that you overflow His Spirit into your world. Take a journey and meet many great prophets and kings from the Old Testament who were known as people of the Presence—people who, in Johnson’s words, “God wanted to be with.” In this succinct and powerful book, Johnson encourages you toward a pursuit of the Presence of God above all else. 
Bill Johnson writes: “We are enabled to partner with the Kingdom of Heaven and see it released here on earth! The Presence of God within us will bring reformation to the world around us—encountering a loving God!”
(Source
In a previously published book, When Heaven Invades Earth, Johnson presented some some rather dangerous and erroneous teachings. The aforementioned article by Bob DeWaay continues with a review of When Heaven Invades Earth. Of particular concern is the false Christology which is set forth by Johnson in this book:
Bill Johnson embraces a doctrine that teaches that during His earthly ministry Jesus operated only as a man and not God. Johnson claims that Christ laid aside His divinity. Johnson says, “He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God . . . . not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us” (Johnson: 29; emphasis and ellipses in original). Johnson’s theology requires that Christians do greater miracles than Jesus. If Jesus’ divinity had any influence on His mighty works, then we might think we could not do the same (and rightly so). So Johnson embraces what is often called the kenosis heresy—that Jesus laid aside His divine nature. He writes elsewhere: “He laid his divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father . . .” (Johnson: 79). (Source)
Suffice it to say that Bill Johnson is not someone that most would want their pastor, or their pastor's wife, to be learning from. The reader may recall that not too long ago, Stovall Weems handed his pulpit over to popular pastor Steven Furtick.
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Furtick has been launched into pastor stardom over the past couple of years, and has over time been embraced by some of evangelicalism's prominent leaders. James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel has not only preached at Furtick's Elevation Church, but he has welcomed Furtick into his own pulpit as well. And while Steven Furtick was away preaching for Stovall Weems, Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church was taking the stage at Elevation. Of course, these friendships most likely began with the inception of the Elephant Room conference, which has served better than anything to usher some questionable teachings into mainstream Christianity.

Yet, Furtick has demonstrated that he fosters some dubious friendships, especially as he seeks to align himself more and more with the Word Faith crowd. Not only has he declared that T.D. Jakes is his favorite pastor, but he has also referred to Joel Osteen as a "great man of God." He has extolled the ministry of Joyce Meyer and next month he will appear alongside Meyer at the upcoming Hillsong Conference. As recently as this year, prosperity-preaching T.D. Jakes was warmly accepted by both Driscoll and MacDonald at the Elephant Room 2.

We are seeing the Word Faith movement rapidly being mainstreamed, with many thanks, it would seem, to men like Steven Furtick. Should we be concerned when we see the wife of Stovall Weems, who himself preached at Steven Furtick's Code Orange Revival, anxiously "digging into" a book written by someone such as Bill Johnson? It would seem from the tweets shown above that the Weems and the Furticks are more than mere acquaintances, and presumably are friends who influence one another. May we anticipate that the types of teachings Johnson espouses are the next to filter into the mainstream?

As we pray for God's sovereign mercy over the current state of the visible church, may we rest in the knowledge that even this apostasy we are witnessing was foretold (2 Tim. 4:3–4). And, resting in that truth, may we be ever unwavering as we boldly contend for the faith and share His Word.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)
FURTHER READING
"Code Orang" Speaker Stovall Weems
What is the New Apostolic Reformation?
"We Can Work It Out," is Steven Furtick Qualified to Have this Conversation?

7 comments:

  1. With the exception of Bob DeWaay all of the names mentioned here qualify for the designation of "apostigelicals". Men and women of faux-faith who do not exalt the Lord Jesus, but rather themselves, their co-hearts, and their false gospel. For those who may consider these to be errant brothers and sisters in Christ, think again and Jude 3&4 again that EBenz has provided in the post. These people sneak into the church and are usually doctrinally correct for a while, but then their lust gets the better of them and they come up with their own particular brand of garbage to push-off onto the church. Other Scriptures like 2Peter chapter 2 and 1John 2:19 indicate that such people are not saved now, nor will they ever be saved. Hard for some to swallow, I realize, but Scripture says what it says.

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  2. Amen Darrel. I pray God does not allow this beast to rise up!

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  3. Wolves in sheep's clothing. May God have mercy on us.

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  4. Such madness


    There's only ONE WAY to God and that is through Jesus Christ. No amount of glitter, gold, miracles, healings can save a person. None of these things are evidence that they are from God AT ALL.

    Btw I have a problem with people calling themselves Apostles or Prophets in our day---there are no more Apostles or Prophets.. If they would do a careful perusal of God's word they'd know the truth. The very fact that they claim to be Apostles is cogent proof they are false teachers.

    The Bible plainly teaches that these two ministries of prophets and Apostles were (foundational)- "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone"-Eph.2:20

    Once the foundation-(the apostles and prophets) was laid their ministry was finished. And 2 Timothy 2:19 says "God’s solid foundation stands firm "So the apostles and prophets were the slab of concrete so to speak already laid and the chief corner stone is already there-Jesus Christ. So unless they have some kind of spiritual jackhammer and bust up the foundation of the Apostles that has already been laid and unless they can remove Jesus Christ who is the chief cornerstone then they are laying down "another" foundation which totally contradicts the Bible.
    "For NO one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid which is Jesus Christ"-1 Cor.3:11.

    "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness"2 Cor. 11:13-15.

    I shake my head at the craziness going on in the visible church

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  5. "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12

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  6. Very unfortunately, this taints the true supernatural interventions of God in the lives of "ordinary" individuals. True healings do take place, true deliverances do take place, true visitations do take place, but they are authentic, not like this. I experienced a visitation as a child. These visitations are sovereign and do not come as Bill Johnson and others teach - our achievements or believing the "right" thing. Jesus did send us out to heal the sick, cast out devils and set the captive free. The false teachings taint the true experiences of the supernatural God we serve.

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    1. I don't doubt certain things that God has done. However, when we have experienced certain things that are no doubt supernatural in our own lives, unless there are 2 or more witnesses as the word of God says,-John 8:16 even mentions, we should just keep those experiences to ourselves. Sometimes on rare occasion I've had something happen that I knew was instant and from God but I could only share with a very close friend or my mother. She has shared with me things that no doubt were from God as well. However to share them in general to the public would not be wise as many things just get misconstrewed and distorted being misunderstood by many and then taken by others who are so credulous to build their case.---Pr.12:23). However when it comes to raising people from the dead, I don't believe this miracle is happening anymore although some people claim that it happens in remote places such as Africa...

      Majority of these are false filled with frauds. They are always done at their meetings or churches.. Jesus didn't go to a building and have all the people meet him there.. Noo he went around the countryside and people came to him and he healed them instantly. His healings were not personal neither. He never ever emphasized healing or raising the dead and nor did his disciples. It was always the GOSPEL as primary and up front as MOST important.

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