We greatly appreciate the continued fight and work you do to show the lies and error of these false pastor’s, apostles, prophets and more. Thanks Patrick, may God greatly bless you.
Bill Johnson’s Offensive Doctrine of Offense Inoculation
I just finished watching a Youtube video of Bill Johnson, Pastor of Bethel Redding entitled, Paying the Price for Revival. I was so upset by his continued demotion of the Word of God I thought I should try to expose his lies, so I wrote this article.
Offense Inoculation? You are probably thinking, What on earth does that mean? Let me try to explain. In my book, The Deliverance Delusion, Exposing The Curse Deliverance Myth, I have a chapter entitled, Influence Inoculation, Deliverance Buzzwords. Here is an excerpt from that chapter:
“The American Heritage Dictionary’s primary definition of inoculation is, “The act or an instance of inoculating, especially the introduction of an antigenic substance or vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.” The secondary or informal definition of inoculation is, “A preemptive advertising tactic in which one party attempts to foresee and neutralize potentially damaging criticism from another party by being the first to confront troublesome issues.”
The first definition refers to a medical technique. This is a process in which a weakened version of an offending agent, such as a virus, is introduced into a person. The person’s body then builds up a resistance to guard against future attacks that may come from a stronger, more virulent form of the same virus.
The second definition refers to an argument technique. A weakened version of an offensive argument is introduced to the person, strengthening that person’s mind against more influential attacks. In other words, a weakened version of a sound biblical argument is introduced to the person, which strengthens that person’s mind against the influence of an actual strong biblical truth.”
While I wrote that chapter to illustrate how curse deliverance ministries deceive their clients into accepting their false doctrines, it is very applicable to this message by Bill Johnson. He was attempting—and probably succeeded—to inoculate his followers from the influence of biblically based arguments coming against him and Bethel from all over the world. The fact that he has to offer this thinly veiled attack on Scripture is good news from my perspective. It tells me the truth is beginning to encroach upon the doctrines espoused by Bethel. Now, please notice that I just used the word, “doctrine” twice so far, once in the title and again here. I have a very specific reason for doing so as I will show.
Following are comments by Bill Johnson that he made in the video beginning at the 12:20 minute mark:
“God will offend your mind to reveal your heart. He will offend your mind to reveal your heart. And it’s not as though the intellect is important (sic) it’s just that the mind will never lead you into revival. You will never get there intellectually. You see we all love the concept of the peace that passes understanding. I was looking at the word this morning because I became fascinated, not for the message even, but I became fascinated with this, this, it says the peace that surpasses understanding. That word surpasses actually says its elevated, it’s almost like in a governmental role, it is so far superior, peace, its governmentally exalted and superior to all understanding. Its superior. It is, it is intellectualism from God’s perspective, because it is a person. And, if you want the peace that passes understanding you have to give up your right to understand. And its not a message now against the mind, against understanding, against wisdom. I believe in all…those are some of my most favorite things is to understand stuff. But I know by experience, and I know as I read through history the heart takes you where you need to go. It’s the surrender of the heart, it’s the yieldness to the work of the Holy Spirit saying “God, I don’t know what this is but I am so hungry.”
“And it’s not as though the intellect is important (sic) its just that the mind will never lead you into revival. You will never get there intellectually.”
Taken out of context, this statement is far from damnable. However, within the context of his overarching point, it is a demotion of the Word of God. In other words, when people become offended at Bill Johnson’s double-speak it is because they are not listening to their heart. What did the Founder of our Faith say about understanding?
But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
As I read this, it seems clear that for salvation to occur, a person must hear and understand the message. Furthermore, this person becomes a seed of revival. Should we suppose that the person should abandon understanding the message after salvation? Is that how a crop of a hundred is achieved?
Looking at it from another perspective, lets again go to the Pioneer of our faith:
Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
If a person does not understand, the devil is able to steal what was sown in their heart. If this is all about the heart leading us, as Bill Johnson frames it, then how is the evil one able to steal it? I don’t know how this could be clearer. God sows to the heart, but a person’s understanding prevents theft of the message. Yet, Bill Johnson has demoted understanding from playing a critical role in our relationship with the Father.
If you have investigated the Bethel movement to any significant degree, you know that “doctrine” is cast in a rather unfavorable light by Bill Johnson and his followers. Yet, his comments above represent an anti-understanding doctrine that he has promoted for many years. It’s a doctrine swap.
This is not the first time I have addressed his propensity to demote the Scripture. In 2008 I wrote an article in response to two he wrote in which he distinctly promotes “fresh revelation” over the written Word of God. Here are some samples from my article and a link:
(From his article Apostolic Teams)
”There are major changes in the wind right now. For the last several years people have started to gather around fathers instead of doctrine.”
“Apostles carry a blueprint in their hearts concerning the church and God’s purposes on the earth. They are used to bring fresh revelation to the church.”
(From his article Faith)
”So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Notice it does not say, faith comes from having heard. The whole nature of faith implies a relationship with God that is current. The emphasis is on hearing…in the now! In Genesis God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. As Abraham raised the knife to slay his son God spoke again. This time He told him not to slay his son, as he had passed the test of being willing to do anything for God. It’s a good thing that Abraham’s only connection with God was not just over what was said, but was based upon what He was saying!”
These subtle lies have a ripple effect. Want proof? Andy Reese, author of a Sozo manual called, Freedom Tools, emerged out of Bethel and Bill Johnson’s doctrines. In fact, Bill Johnson wrote the forward. Here is a quote from Freedom Tools:
“In many people God chooses and uses the screen of imagination and impression because it can often be the most flexible and amenable for His input. He speaks to us in a form superior to actual written or oral speech. He, from our spirits, causes a “flow” to bubble up from within us.”
Are we seeing a trend here? More from the instructional section of Freedom Tools:
“Ask Jesus to show a memory, a symbol, etc. Go with what is presented. If nothing comes, simply skip to the next step without knowing the origin.
Frame what is true. This is often already spoken by God in His Word and not a simple fresh statement—though both apply, a fresh word is usually powerful and intimate.”
“Among our teams and individuals who experience this kind of ministry, it is a given that we are all just taking notes on the Holy Spirit. We refer almost all questions to Jesus.
Jesus walked this way.
He said only what he currently heard the Father saying, did what He currently saw the Father doing.”
Sound familiar? These are the Bethel doctrines, but Bill Johnson really does not like that concept. Here is his view on doctrine as stated in his article, Apostolic Teams:
“While doctrine is vitally important it is not a strong enough foundation to bear the weight of His glory that is about to be revealed through true unity.”
This is fortune cookie theology.
Let me point out parenthetically, that Sozo is a Trojan Horse that inculcates clients with these same false teachings and does so within an informal hypnotic setting in which any intellectual dissent is branded as a “religious spirit.” Sozo is a cancer spreading through the Body of Christ.
So, the sly message Bill Johnson is imparting to his flock is,
If anyone is offended at the revival at Bethel, it is because they are leaning on their own understanding. Now his listeners are inoculated against those offensive, influential, biblical criticisms.