The verses Johnson cites from Ephesians are often misinterpreted by NAR false teachers. They do it by ignoring the second half of the sentence they are citing. Jesus did not seat us in heavenly places to change our perspective of this world. The dominionist is always focused on the wrong world. The full sentence reveals that He did seat us in heavenly places SO THAT in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace towards us in Christ Jesus. So when does this apply for believers? In the coming ages. Johnson uses it however to present his central theology:
"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
This is where experiential Christianity is born. Johnson actually is teaching here that this revelation he has, which is biblically inaccurate, must be accompanied by experience. The scripture itself is no longer sufficient for Bill. Now it must be partnered with our personal experience of this revelation. The problem is that Bill forgets that the heart is the most wickedly deceitful thing ever created and that while our experience will lie to us, God and His word never will. Not satisfied, Johnson doubles down on his heresy:
"Revelation of biblical truth is an invitation to experience that truth. For example, God would never reveal Himself as a Savior merely to increase our spiritual intelligence. He shows us who He is as our Savior that we might experience His salvation. This knowledge of salvation is of little benefit if it is not accompanied by the salvation He promises. In the same way, He doesn't just enable us to see Him as our provider to make us smarter; He does it so that our hearts would be opened to experience and trust Him for His provision in the daily parts of our lives. Being seated in the heavenly places is a wonderful truth, but it must be accompanied by experience for its purpose to be fully realized. We know that the promise to be seated in heavenly places has become our own experience when we see and think differently. We see from His perspective, and the mind of Christ becomes our norm. This is the ongoing challenge of every believer that we must constantly affirm." - Bill Johnson
Now that his premise has been offered Johnson blows it up. The notion that biblical truth is only an invitation to experience that truth is asinine. Biblical truth is presented to us so that we might experience faith in He who wrote those words. To see them play out in our life should only serve to reinforce our faith in Christ - not in our life. Johnson then tries to get cute and present the fact that knowledge of salvation is useless without the actual salvation but what is missing in this example? The unsaved person has no knowledge of salvation! The things of God are utter foolishness to them. We are speaking of course about believers. Listen, I am not suggesting that experience does not play a role in our lives but Johnson gives it the preeminent spot. What Bill is doing here is his specialty - minimizing scripture in favor of personal experience. What Bill Johnson is advocating here is make ourselves equal with God because He promises us in the coming ages we will sit with Him in heavenly places.
"Biblical meditation is probably one of the most forgotten biblical disciplines. And yet it is here that these wonderful truths of Scripture take root deeper than the lies given to us by the surrounding culture. Eastern meditation is different in that it requires its practitioners to empty their minds. That is dangerous, as there are many powers that look for vacated places to fill. Biblical meditation is where we fill our minds with truth and bring it up over and over again for consideration. The word meditation can be translated "to mutter" which speaks of our willingness to repeat a truth over and over to ourselves. Oftentimes in that journey, the Lord adds to our understanding until that truth becomes a part of our character, our personality. As some would say, truth becomes cellular. It becomes a part of who we are." - Bill Johnson
Here is another reason why Johnson can be so dangerous. If one truly focuses on the word to hide it in his heart, that is wholly biblical. The problem is while Johnson says the right thing here, he teaches the opposite in his ministry and his church. For example, Johnson believes everyone can be taught the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is anathema. He even operates a school to teach you the gifts. I saw a training video once for Bethel worship leaders. They were taught that they all had the gift of prophesy were encouraged to lead worship accordingly. This was accomplished during the periods of time known as "free praise" (when there were no lyrics being sung) by the emptying of the mind of the worship leader. They were taught whatever popped into their heads must be from God and to start singing it as a "prophecy." I saw this firsthand with an itinerant worship leader at my old church who sang for 15 minutes how we need to "jump in the river if we wanted a hug from Jesus." Bottom line here is we know this is not what Bill Johnson practices or he would not go such great lengths to downplay scripture.
"Our purpose is revealed in our design. But whenever society removes the concept of a Creator from its consciousness, it creates liberties we were never designed for--which actually work to destroy us. Once the designer is removed, so is design. You can't have design without a designer. When our design is gone, our intended purpose is undermined. When purpose is removed, so is our destiny. When we have no God-given destiny, we have no need for accountability, which destroys all that's left of the fear of God--the beginning of wisdom. This helps to explain the erosion of society where if a man feels like a woman, he has the right to choose to be one. Such nonsense is only logical when the boundaries of design are ignored. We find that we were created in the image of God Himself. That is a stunning design, revealing a purpose that is beyond our capacity to dream for ourselves. Whenever we remove the idea of being created in the image of God, we lose the value of human life. Abortion testifies to this tragedy, as do many similar atrocities. The absolutes must be held in place. They serve as anchors in turbulent waters. Without them, we are at the mercy of every whim and fancy of what is popular in culture at the moment. The boundaries set by our design are restrictions. But all of God's restrictions are for the purpose of increased life. None of them are punishments. They are avenues of liberty, discovered identity and increase. They result in the greater freedoms and experiences we were all made to delight in. A "no" in one part of life is a "yes" in another part of life. He is a life-giver! His restrictions are to keep us from the things that kill, steal and destroy. Think of it as the double yellow line painted down the center of the road on a two-lane highway. Cars traveling in opposite directions at high speeds come within a few feet of each other countless times. This happens day after day, with no problems. But without the restriction created by that painted line, there would be certain death and suffering for countless numbers of people. Yet because of the restriction created by the lines, we get to our destinations safely. God's restrictions are guidelines for safety but also ultimately for enjoyment. He created all things for His delight and for our pleasure." - Bill Johnson