So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." -- John 11:3-4 (ESV)
It seems that Bethel Church and Pastor Bill Johnson are catching some heat for the recent prayer vigil for the resurrection of the two-year old daughter of one of their worship leaders. Little Olive passed away a week ago but reports are that the false teacher extraordinaire carries on while the world watches and cringes. The heat must have been pretty strong because Johnson filmed a video trying to explain himself. In it, he mangles the bible at every turn and openly admits he has no idea what he is doing. Lets us reason together as we sift through this statement.
"We have a biblical precedent. Jesus raised the dead. Jesus raised the dead. Not only that, He introduced Himself as the resurrection and the life. In fact, in John 11:40, He says, 'If you believe, you will see the glory of God.' So seeing what Jesus has accomplished, what He did in His lifetime, and then when you add to that that He commanded His followers, His disciples, in Matthew 10:8 to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cast off devils, to cleanse lepers. None of those are things we can actually do. He commanded us because somehow in our yes, he gives us the ability to carry out his mission. Being commissioned means we've said yes to his mission. This is our heart. So we've tried to run with a real conviction and devotion to the very thing that Jesus taught us to do. So He modeled it, and He commanded us to do the same." -- Bill Johnson
This is the slickness of the false teachings of Bill Johnson. He routinely leverages scripture out of context to support his overall false screed. It is confusing for most if they do not do the work of a Berean because John 11:40 does say what Johnson claims. He presents it though as if Jesus was teaching that belief in our life requires God to show His glory and then he translates that into believing for the resurrection of little Olive. Let me show you how insidiously evil this is. Lazarus has died at this point and Jesus instructs the people to roll away the stone to which Martha replies with her worldly logic and thinking that because days had passed, there would be a bad odor from the decay of the body. The telling part of verse 40 Johnson leaves out:
Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" -- John 11:40 (ESV)
Did I not tell you? What is Jesus referencing? We have to go back to the key verses today found earlier in the chapter when Lazarus was still alive. Mary and Martha sent messengers to Jesus to tell Him Lazarus was ill. Jesus answers through the messengers that this illness will not lead to death but is for the glory of God to be shown. This is known as historical narrative. John is telling the story of what happened. This is not a prescriptive text that teaches us anyone other than Lazarus can also be raised from the dead if "only you believed." Think of the implications of what Johnson is teaching here. That this story is God telling us that everyone can be raised from the dead. That is most certainly not what God is saying nor teaching here. Jesus introduced himself as the resurrection -- not you, I or even little Olive.