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Why Bill Johnson says the Bible is not enough

One of the core beliefs at Bethel Church in Redding, California, is the need for new revelation from God, which is in contrast to the so-called old revelation of the Bible as it has been understood for the past 2,000 years.

New revelation can refer to many different things. It includes knowledge about what’s currently taking place in heaven and new interpretations of Scripture that are based on direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, apart from a historical and grammatical hermeneutic. It also includes what Johnson calls “new revelation of Jesus.” And it includes creative ideas–such as fresh music lyrics that will result in mass conversions to Christianity and breakthrough inventions in science and medicine.

However, Bethel’s teachings about the need for new revelation inevitably shift the focus away from the written Word of God in Scripture, insofar as it has been understood for the past two millennia. Their teachings also place Bethel outside of historic Protestant Christianity, based on the 16th century Protestant Reformation, which has taught that the church is to look to Scripture–not new revelations–for its beliefs and practices.

On this note, consider that even Pentecostals and charismatics–who believe in present-day miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as the gift of prophecy–have held that the Bible contains all that is necessary for living the Christian life. See, for example, a position paper published by the Assemblies of God—the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination—which upholds the sufficiency of Scripture. It’s titled “The Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Authority of Scripture.” And see the post written by charismatic theologian Wayne Grudem titled “The Bible is enough.”

But, clearly, Bethel leaders disagree that the Bible is enough. To show you what Bethel teaches about new revelation, take a look at these words written by its senior leader, Bill Johnson.

Bill Johnson on the need for new revelation

“I’m convinced that the pace of revelation will increase 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)

“It is absolutely impossible to live the normal Christian life without receiving regular revelation from God.”  (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 58)

“The key is to be spiritually discerning–to open our spirit man to direct revelation from God.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 60)

“We are the most to be pitied if we think we’ve reached the fullness of what God intended for His Church here on earth. All Church history is built on partial revelation. Everything that has happened in the Church over the past 1900 years has fallen short of what the early Church had and lost. Each move of God has been followed by another, just to restore what was forfeited and forgotten. And we still haven’t arrived to the standard that they attained, let alone surpassed it. Yet, not even the early Church fulfilled God’s full intention for His people. That privilege was reserved for those in the last leg of the race. It is our destiny. As wonderful as our spiritual roots are, they are insufficient. What was good for yesterday is deficient for today. To insist that we stay with what our fathers fought for is to insult our forefathers. They risked all to pursue something fresh and new in God. It’s not that everything must change for us to flow with what God is saying and doing. It’s just that we make too many assumptions about the rightness of what presently exists. Those assumptions blind us to the revelations still contained in Scripture. In reality, what we think of as the normal Christian life cannot hold the weight of what God is about to do.” (When Heaven Invades Earth, Kindle edition, pages 162-163, emphasis mine)

“I am convinced that as His government and Kingdom rule increase on this earth …  the Church will receive revelation like we’ve never known…. But first we must learn to hunger for and receive revelation as part of our everyday lives. That revelation will help us to carry out our earthly assignments with greater precision and wisdom.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 56)

“There are vast resources of revelation in heaven for the areas of education and business, the arts and music, and these resources have yet to be tapped anywhere near to their fullness…. Our job is to tap the revelation of the Lord in our area of talent or gifting so that we can accurately and powerfully reflect the King and His Kingdom.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 67)

“Presently, every denomination, church, and group seems to have revelation into certain Kingdom matters. Nobody has the whole picture…. But in these last days God is going to release a Spirit of revelation over the Church… We are coming into an hour where there will be a common revelation…. an hour when the people of God will simultaneously hear and see similar revelations, no matter the church or group.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 68)

“The anointing on a coming generation will be great enough that the natural order of things will no longer apply. With a low-grade anointing and revelation, we have to live by natural principles and restrictions to get spiritual results. But Jesus brings this revelation, which is almost frightening. He says, ‘Lift up your eyes,’ meaning, ‘With the way you see things right now, you cannot operate on the revelation I want to give you. But there is something available for a coming generation where the anointing is so extreme that every person will be ready for the harvest.'” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 153)

“Revelation comes piece by piece, layer upon layer, to generation after generation.” (Hosting the Presence, Kindle edition, page 52)

“In this hour the experience will help to open up those portions of Scripture that have been closed to us. No one in their right mind would claim to understand all that is contained in the Bible for us today. Yet to suggest that more is coming causes many to fear. Get over it, so you don’t miss it!” (When Heaven Invades Earth, Kindle edition, pages 104-105)

Allegedly, new revelations will enable Christians to perform greater miracles than those performed by Jesus, reap the greatest harvest of souls in history, and bring God’s kingdom to earth. We wouldn’t want to “miss it,” would we?

But, notably, apostles and prophets like Bethel’s own Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton are the gatekeepers to these new revelations.

So here’s Bethel Redding’s bottom line on new revelation: you’ve gotta have it, and they got it. But are you willing to trust their interpretation of what God really means rather than contending for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)?

—–

Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

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15 Responses to “Why Bill Johnson says the Bible is not enough”

  1. Michael Says:

    Really well, done, Holly, thx and God bless you. Right now watching the latest youtube vid from *Laura* of Last Days Ministries re: the WoF and there are obvious ties with those heresies and the nonsense that comes out of the NAR, but I wanted to pop over to read this from you.
    Any chance you might get involved in more video exposés on this stuff, or do you prefer just the written work?
    (Btw, did you see the latest previously unreleased gold-dust/glory-cloud vid from Bethel, along with the ‘liver-quiver’ testimony from one of their ‘worship leaders’?? It falls right in line with this ‘new revelation’ type stuff you’re talking about.

  2. Holly Says:

    Michael, thanks for your encouraging words. Yes, I have given video some thought and am hoping to move in that direction in addition to my writing, as God allows. I have been intending to watch the latest video of the glory cloud. Is the testimony you referenced included in that video?

  3. Chris Says:

    What Johnson teaches is a direct contravention of 2 Thess. 2:15, and his listeners would do well to heed the warning given four verses before that.

  4. Roger Monk Says:

    QUOTE: “Presently, every denomination, church, and group seems to have revelation into certain Kingdom matters. Nobody has the whole picture…. But in these last days God is going to release a Spirit of revelation over the Church… We are coming into an hour where there will be a common revelation…. an hour when the people of God will simultaneously hear and see similar revelations, no matter the church or group.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 68)

    Erm…. Has Bill ever read the various contradictory revelations/prophecies that pour out of the mouths of the many modern day prophets who all claim to have a ‘direct line’ to hear what God is saying to us for an upcoming ‘season’ (e.g. for the new year 2018)

  5. Roger Monk Says:

    QUOTE: “Everything that has happened in the Church over the past 1900 years has fallen short of what the early Church had and lost. Each move of God has been followed by another, just to restore what was forfeited and forgotten. And we still haven’t arrived to the standard that they attained, let alone surpassed it. Yet, not even the early Church fulfilled God’s full intention for His people. That privilege was reserved for those in the last leg of the race. It is our destiny. As wonderful as our spiritual roots are, they are insufficient. What was good for yesterday is deficient for today.”

    Hmmmm…..,just wondering, has Bill been taking lessons from the LDS (Mormon) missionaries in Redding????

  6. Michael Says:

    Hi Holly … Thanks so much for replying to my reply…I actually get ignored most of the time, like 90% it seems, so really, thanks! 🙂
    The vid I saw on the ‘glory cloud’ (ugh) came in an email notice from charisma magazine (which I get their notices/updates, but no, I’m not a subscriber or donator to them or any of the ‘ministries’ they promote. The vid included the ‘testimony’ from a worship leader from bethel…if you want I can fwd the link to you here or elsewhere if you want, but I dont want to infringe or violate policy.
    I get that mag’s notices just to stay aware of the latest nonsense/false doctrine/practices by some of the charismanics out there.
    A couple months ago they kept sendind vids of a guy named David Taylor? I think? who was INSISTING that God The Father was going to be making ‘PHYSICAL’ appearances at his crusades, and had already done so. They even insulted Jesus by saying ‘No messin’ around with the Son this time, but THE FATHER HIMSELF would be showing up’!
    As if Jesus is some weak subordinate or something.
    I think I still have that vid-link held in email storage. I was shocked that basically NO ONE covered that false prophecy, …I tried to tell a few youtube discernment type ministries about it, but it fell on deaf ears, as do most of my attempts to find fellowship and get involved in exposing counterfeit things being taught or practiced in ‘the church’ or in Jesus’ name.
    idk why, except I think maybe rumors are spread about me by some enemy out there (I know I have enemies, and I’ve made my share of mistakes, but not to be deliberately hurtful, but there are some real snakes in the grass that think that messing with ppl is a game) and ppl buy into gossip rather than deal with the person directly), but it I cant explain the sudden cold-shoulder treatment I so often get (from christians) it makes no sense to me, unless I’ve got a copycat impersonator, or a false accuser out there … But anyway, I hope you get this reply and let me know if there’s anything else I can do.
    How does a magazine like theirs continue to promote NAR, false prophets, false healers, even apparently ‘demonic transferrences’ and continue to be considered representatives of the charismatic or pentecostal part of the body of Christ? Maybe they think theyre just relaying the news, but they seem to endorse alot of strange stuff.
    God bless you, Holly, thanks again.

  7. Holly Says:

    Michael, thanks. I found the link to the Charisma Glory Cloud video and testimony given by Jeremy Riddle. It can be viewed here: https://charismanews.com/video/69102-spirit-led-filmmaker-releases-never-before-seen-video-of-bethel-s-glory-cloud If you find the video about David Taylor, please send me a link.

  8. roger olson Says:

    thanks Holly. I agree probably with Wayne Grudem. and with Hank Hanegraaff, STR.org, Let us Reason, Matt Slick. etc. I really don,t know much about Bethel and really don,t have the time. I have a family to raise here in KY. and probably looking at moving overseas where my wife is from. there is no way over there that Bethel has any inroads. But some of this is because of people like John MacArthur,etc who reject Spiritual Gifts are for today that they go after any body that does. I would suggest seeing what Dr. James White had posted on his facebook page a few weeks ago. He said that anybody that says that spiritual gifts are not for today have to do that from outside of Scripture. as he says that there is not in Scripture. and he is one that holds that they are not for today and appeals to tradition, i think. at least that is how it came across to me. and i am again saying to Study Scripture and Do Scripture. I am not interested in any wackyness and yes i know that is what is said is going on out in Bethel. I can not just jump on a plane and go out to see. thank you.

  9. Kit Says:

    Well done Holly. You have certaily put in some time to prepare this. However, I do believe that a lot of what Bill Johnson states is actually true. What I would state clearly though is that there is no further extra-biblical revelation; only a deeper and clearer understanding of what already exists in God’s word. We are not to go beyond what is written. I do believe that Bethel leaders are receiving their revelation from spirit guides; the same spirit guides Alice Bailey said would at some point come to the earth. Bless you

  10. Cheryl Says:

    Roger, interesting quotes. The one regarding this one:

    “Presently, every denomination, church, and group seems to have revelation into certain Kingdom matters. Nobody has the whole picture…. But in these last days God is going to release a Spirit of revelation over the Church… We are coming into an hour where there will be a common revelation…. an hour when the people of God will simultaneously hear and see similar revelations, no matter the church or group.”

    Yeah, that divine revelation will be on the day of judgement when and a light is shined on Bethel, Redding deceptions.

    Oh, and Bethel, Redding has influenced many (hundreds I’m sure, maybe more) churches in other countries along with Hillsong, it’s a global infection. Good to know what they’re up to if you start to hear trigger words/phrases so you’ll know to head for the door. It starts subtly and increase.

  11. roger olson Says:

    Cheryl. let me ask you one thing. are all Spiritual Gifts still in play today or some of them?

    there is no “New Revealtion or New Word” from God.

    I believe though that All Spiritual Gifts are for today. and Dr. James White in a face book post said that there is no where in Scripture to point to that says that Any Spiritual Gifts are not for today. He is one that says they are not all for today and uses tradtion to say this.

  12. Roger Monk Says:

    I just received an e-mail in my in-box with the somewhat ambiguous heading: “Bill Johnson: The Greatest Subject in the World!”.

    Here is the link to the subject of the e-mail: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1123664406272&ca=3df96e41-ea36-48bd-9958-9d5b3da552d2 at least to get the context 😉

  13. Michael Says:

    https://youtu.be/VsctYQhixTc

    Hi Holly …. Here’s the link to the vid from Charisma Mag on ‘Apostle David E. Taylor’
    I hope the re-paste works here.

    I hi-lited key points below to save you a bit of time…the whole thing is about 24+ minutes.(times are approx.)→

    •4:30ish- Gives a testimony of calling
    •9:00-11:00- Ppl give witness accts of personal encounters w Jesus after reading Taylors’ book
    •11:00→- Lists cities God the Father would ‘PHYSICALLY’ visit
    •15:30-A prophesied promise The Father shows up at Taylors’ crusade
    •16:30- ‘Healings and slayings’
    •17:00- Jesus photographed on stage
    •17:30- More prophecy
    •18:00fwd→- More healings and slayings
    •20:15- Photo of Jesus on stage
    •22:46- Prophecy that God the Father would appear at the August 2017 Crusade

    *The above bullet points↑ are what’s claimed on the video, not my personal claims.
    I realize this was last year, but I was surprised that I heard almost nothing said about this. I tried to tell a few others but was pretty much ignored.
    I wonder about the follow-up, and why this e-magazine that supposedly represents charismatics or pentecostal christians continues to promote/endorse NAR, false prophecies, false healings, etc.
    If I am in the wrong here, I will publicly apologize, as I dont want to bear false witness or condemn ANYone, I just want the Truth of Jesus to be put forth and it seems these kind of doctrines and practices being put forth in Jesus’ name are often either nonsense at best, but may be very deceiving and dangerous, imo.

  14. R. R. Says:

    Thank you for staying on top of this group. I consider them the most dangerous group calling themselves “the church “ today. Unlike the WOF who want your money ( great wealth transfer) these people are taking you into spiritual places that a Christian should never go. They are literally after your soul. Although this is considered New Age, there is nothing new under the sun. This is rehashed paganism. If these got the Jews in trouble, rest assured it will be same with them. Run for your life from the NAR. Great job Holly.

  15. Sharon Ressler Says:

    “We are coming into an hour where there will be a common revelation…. an hour when the people of God will simultaneously hear and see similar revelations, no matter the church or group.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 68).

    This suggests a simultaneous way for all who receive messages coming from spirit guides to uniformly receive announcement that the Antichrist figure has arrived.

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