I believe when Jesus wants to draw out a point, to really underline something, he blows it sky high into a scandal! What do you think?
So a year ago or so I hardly knew who Bill Johnson was, or cared that much. A friend of mine who attends Bill Johnson’s church loaned me a book of his a few years ago. (I was recently reminded that, at the time, I thought they were joining a cult or something. Yes, I was that suspicious!) I read parts of Bill Johnson’s book and used a few stories from it at my nursing home concerts (like this one about forgiveness) and handed the book back.
I had heard that Bill Johnson was associated with ooky stuff like gold dust manifesting or some such nonsense… I suspected this was staged or faked and he might very well be a quack. “Why do Christians have to be so weird?” I thought to myself and moved on. (I later came to the conclusion that, if true, I suppose it wasn’t such a big deal for a street sweeper in heaven to dump his dusty dirty pile down a sewer grate portal and into a meeting of Jesus people.)
Then Bill Johnson was attacked publicly on my Facebook page. Nothing boils my blood more than Christians attacking other Christians so I investigated Bill Johnson and really came to love the man and greatly appreciate his ministry. You can read my response to this attack here: Bill Johnson, A False Teacher, Really?
So I picked up a book of his at the Christian bookstore called Hosting the Presence. I had listened to a talk of his by the same title on Youtube which I highly recommend.
So as I was reading his book and came to page 46 and thought, “Wow Bill, you just can’t leave it alone. Don’t you know you were tarred and feathered and branded a heretic for this and you bring it up again?!?” (I looked up the date of the book release and realized it was around the same time that he taught on this.)
Of course, I now know where he is coming from, and the extremely important point he trying to make, but most people don’t and label him as such and such, write him off, and walk away.
By the way, that’s the safest and most non-life altering and boring thing to do most of the time, so if that describes you… good for you. Who has the time to investigate and search out things for yourself anyway? Right? I mean we have shows to watch and dishes to wash and… ok, I realize I’m being a jerk but this reminds me of a quote from Einstein:
Of course we also unjustly condemn people for being ignorant don’t we? There is nothing wrong with being ignorant! Ignorant just simply means “we don’t know something”. We all start out our lives not knowing anything! A great deal of what we “know” anyway is wrong and never gets cross-examined. We spend our whole lives ignorant of most everything, don’t we? But, are we learners? Do we really want to know the truth about ______? (Fill in the blank)
So I suppose unresolved conflicts in my life are like a sliver in my brain. I still find it upsetting that Bill Johnson was condemned before the facts were investigated.
So I suppose this is my feeble attempt to right a wrong and clear a man’s name. Much harder to do than to smear a man’s name!!! I was under the deluded impression that if I defended him then that would have some weight. I soon discovered that instead what happens is that you get thrown under the bus with them. That’s ok by me. I’d rather be under the bus then, by my silence, be part of the problem.
Born Again Jesus
Bill Johnson writes in his book Hosting the Presence:
“In a very real sense Jesus was actually born twice. The first time was His natural birth through the Virgin Mary. The second was His resurrection.”
“He said Jesus was born again? Heretic alert!” Is the reaction of some. “Why listen to a man who is controversial?” I have heard others say (If that were the case, no one would ever become a Christian! AND, I would expect any true follower of Jesus to be controversial too!)
He then quotes Scripture:
But God raised Him from the dead... And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, “You are my son; today I have begotten you” (Acts 13:30, 32-33).
So what is he getting at? Why is this important?
As believers in Jesus, Christ’s resurrection becomes our resurrection! In fact I’ve come to learn by searching through the Scriptures for myself that Christ’s life is a vicarious life that was lived on our (all of humanities) behalf. You and I get in on his life! As you put your trust in Jesus, his perfect sinless life is credited and imputed to you. (Jesus was even baptized on behalf of all who never were or could be.) His death, burial, and resurrection becomes your death to sin, burial to your old life and slavery to the law and then born again into a new way of life by the Spirit of God. Read Romans (specifically chapters 6-8) that explains this.
So, What else has been credited to us? The Bible tells us everything!
“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Romans 8:32 NLT
What does everything mean?!?
Jesus said we must be born again. He died and rose again to make this possible. He wants us all to find the abundant life and to live a resurrected life!
How? Prayerfully read this and you will find out!