From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. - Matthew 4:17 (ESV)
and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. - Ephesians 2:6-7 (ESV)
Bill Johnson has always been spiritual Jell-O; difficult to pin down. That does not mean his heresies are not blatant because they are. It means the surrounding message can easily confuse because therein lies some truth. Like the devil - just enough truth to sucker you in to also believe the lies. Johnson is lead pastor at one of the most egregious cesspools of heresy on the planet in Bethel Church in Redding California. There is no false teaching they do not embrace. Prosperity gospel, false signs and lying winders, experiential Christianity, the NAR and accompanying dominionism, word faith; you name it. So when the above linked article appeared this week on Charisma News I was immediately concerned. Hope in a hopeless world sounds great but I know what Bill Johnson hopes in and it is not the Gospel. Let us reason once more together:
"When Jesus declared that the last days would be filled with war, famine, earthquakes and other disasters, He wasn't trying to discourage those who followed Him. Instead, He was describing the conditions into which He was sending His last-days army. Hope isn't just a feeling we search for; it's something we grab hold of and bring into every situation in our lives. We recognize how easy it is to become overwhelmed with personal problems, not to mention pandemic diseases, economic disruptions and political unrest. And yet the kingdom of God is real and present. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is at hand. In other words, the kingdom is in the here and now; it's within reach. Jesus modeled this beautifully when He slept in the storm. He is our example who can and must be followed. He was able to sleep in the storm because the world He dwells in has no storms. Period. He modeled living from heaven to earth. He shows us what it was like to dwell in heavenly places before the apostle Paul found language for it in Ephesians. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4-6, author's emphasis).
The point is, this reality is far too great to hold as a belief when unaccompanied by experience. To be truly seated in heavenly places in Christ must be measurable by the change in perspective and thinking that has occurred in my life." - Bill Johnson
We see the duplicity of Johnson's teachings right from the start. No one would argue that Jesus Christ told of the signs of the end times for the purpose of discouraging His disciples. Bill opens with such an absurd notion to draw people in but as we progress and peel back the onion we will find the core messages are always against scripture and against God. Should we bring hope into all things? Absolutely but the hope Johnson speaks of is heretical hope based on a false Christ and a false gospel that can only lead to a false salvation. Let me show you how subtle Johnson is. The moment this article changes is when he says that Jesus said the kingdom is at hand, meaning that it is here and now. No Bill, that is not what Jesus was saying at all. Johnson says this because it establishes the foundation for all of his theology. Bill Johnson teaches the "as in heaven so on earth" heresy that believes in bringing the kingdom into the world and essentially taking it over. It is advanced dominionism. It is the heart of NAR teaching. Bill's hope is in this world. So when confronted with war and pandemic Bill's hope rests in the false belief that God wants to bring heaven to earth to fix it for us.
The true reason the Christian hopes is in Christ and His work on the cross. So, it does not matter if this world falls into complete disarray because our hope is in the eternal. Specifically, being called out of this carnal mess and into the eternal with God - not that God is bringing heaven to earth to fix our carnality. The first key verse does not indicate that the kingdom is here and now because if it were there would be no need to repent. It would be too late. All Jesus is saying is that the kingdom is near. Time is running out. Repent.