‘Christology’ That’s Departing From Biblical Christ
Bill Johnson of Bethel church Redding California, along with many others, has been departing from Biblical Christology for the last several dozen years or so.
I know the debate has been raging as long, with more arguments, categories, and subcategories, than most believers, including myself, imagined existed. Not a theologian, but curious researcher of late, I have come across excellent work by https://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ/
Because of the many theological ‘technicalities’, considering one aspect or another of Bill’s Christology compared with Scripture, and his tendency to smudged communication, and concepts, to prove or disprove Bill’s actual Biblical correctness or error may be rather intricate. For this reason I felt the straightforward quotes comparing Bill’s ideas with New Age proponents would give greater insight into the Biblical waywardness of Bill’s Christological concepts.
In a series of articles the writer compares Bill Johnson quotes from several of his books with New Age proponents, not only revealing the unBiblical slant Bill puts on his theology of Christ, but the eerily similar comparisons with numerous New Age writers.
Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?-3
Comparing Specific Christological Statements
Apparently aware of this Bill says;
“Many prominent authors and conference speakers add fuel to the fire of fear assuming that because the new age movement promotes it, its origins must be from the devil…”92 (Johnson, Dreaming with God; p 86)
“Given Bill Johnson’s words above, obviously, he sees no trouble with at least some New Age concepts or practices. And, of course, this illustrates that Johnson acknowledges there is a New Age movement.
As explained earlier, in New Age Christology, Jesus pre-existed as a human who had been reincarnated. Once “christed”, He was en route to becoming “the new World Teacher”.93 Conversely, “Christ” is God’s son who pre-existed as “God”. Here in the following is “Christ” as defined by a well-known New Age book by Levi Dowling first printed in 1907 (and presumably still in print) titled The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ:”
93 Dowling; p 8
We recognise the facts that Jesus was man and that Christ was God; so that in very truth Jesus the Christ was the God-man of the ages..94 (Dowling; p 8)
Central to most all (if not all) occult doctrine is the belief that all humans have two natures – one human nature and one latent divine nature. This divine nature is known as the “divine spark”, “seed”95 and/or the “Christ within” which must be awakened to begin “the Path” to self-salvation.96 The point at which one realizes and begins to actualize this inherent divinity is known as the ‘virgin birth’.97
95 Dowling; p 6
96Bailey, Bethlehem to Calvary, pp 24, 26; Bailey, Externalisation, p 592
97Bailey, Bethlehem to Calvary, pp 9, 21-22, 24, 26
This inherent dual nature in all humans makes us potentially the same as Jesus. Since the term “Christ” is used in many different ways in New Age / New Spirituality teaching, it is confusing and sometimes difficult to interpret meaning which is ultimately determined by context. In the following, in a book by Alice Bailey most likely originally written in the mid to late 1940’s, she is referring specifically to the person of the Incarnate historic Jesus at first; she then uses the term more generally in the second. That is, in the second case Bailey is indicating that anyone can expand their “Christ consciousness” by following Jesus’ example. By “the keynote of the Gospel story” Bailey means the so-called ‘good news’ that everyone can save him/herself and relate to the Father by our inherent divinity (awakened by the “Christ anointing” or, being “Christed”) and to humanity by our human nature:
…the keynote of the Gospel story [is] the human-divine nature of the [person of Jesus] Christ, relating Him to the Father through His essential divinity and also to man through His essential humanity. The Christian Church gave a wrong slant to the teaching by making Christ appear as unique, though the higher criticism (deemed so shocking fifty years ago) has done much to correct this false impression.98Bailey, Alice A. Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle. © 1950 Lucis, NY, (2nd printing, 1957), George S. Ferguson, Philadelphia, PA; pp 127-128
It seems quite possible that this “higher criticism” to which Bailey refers includes the kenosis theories at the turn of the twentieth century.
Also from Dowling’s book, who is usually affectionately referred to as simply “Levi”, is the New Age / New Spirituality teaching on two different aspects of “Christ”: the first is general, meaning “anointed” (or “christed”), while the second refers to a member of the false “Trinity” as indicated earlier:
“The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Kristos [ED: actually Christos] and means anointed. It is identical with the Hebrew word Messiah. The word Christ, in itself, does not refer to any particular person; every anointed person is christed. When the definitive article ‘the’ is placed before the word Christ, a definite personality is indicated, and this personality is none other than a member of the Trinity, the Son…”99Dowling; p 6.
Notice in the first three sentences the similarities between them and Bill Johnson’s teaching in the following:
Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It [Christ] is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title [Christ]. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.100(Johnson; Heaven Invades, p 79.)
…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him…101(Johnson, Face to Face, p 77.)
Per Levi, “every anointed person is ‘christed’” or receives “the anointing” or, “Christ anointing”, as Johnson calls it. As previously pointed out in the CrossWise article The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit, (article follows this one), Bill Johnson redefines Christ to “the anointing” and he subsequently redefines antichrist (spirit) to ‘anti-anointing’ in the same chapter of this particular book.
Confusingly, there is yet another aspect to the term ‘Christ’ in New Age Christology. It is also an ‘office’ or ‘title’ for the “Christ” of the current age. As noted above, there have been many “Christs” (or “World Teachers”) down the ages and, as previously stated, Jesus of Nazareth – more accurately, the now ascended “Master Jesus” – is the one for the Piscean Age, our current era/aeon (102), having earned this ‘title’ and receiving His coronation at His “baptism in the Holy Breath (Holy Spirit)”. This is explained in the Introduction to the book by Levi:
The word Christ means “the anointed one,” and then it is an official title. It means, The Master of Love. When we say ‘Jesus, the Christ’ we refer to the man and to his office; just as we do when we say…Lincoln, the President…Lincoln was not always President, and Jesus was not always Christ. Jesus won his Christship by a strenuous life…we have a record of the events of his christing, or receiving the degree Christ. Here is where he was coronated…103(Dowling; p 8.)
With the exception of the introduction, Levi’s book is written in chapter/verse format as if it were a Bible. Here is how the (fictional) account is presented:
…and now you stand ready to take the last degree. 6 Upon your brow I place this diadem, and in the Great Lodge of the heavens and earth you are THE CHRIST. 7 This is your great Passover rite. You are a neophyte no more; but now a master mind. 8 Now, man can do no more; but God himself will speak, and will confirm your title and degree. 9 Go on your way, for you must preach the gospel of good will to men and peace on earth; must open up the prison doors and set the captives free. 10 And while the hierophant yet spoke the temple bells rang out; a pure white dove descended from above and sat on Jesus’ head. 11 And then a voice that shook the very temple said, THIS IS THE CHRIST…104Dowling; pp 82-83.
Now let’s look at one more Bill Johnson quote we’ve used previously in part I to compare with the immediately preceding:
The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience there could be no title.105Johnson; Face to Face, p 109.
To reiterate, following is the latter part of the previous Johnson quote with additional context provided:
…It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title [Christ]. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.
The word anointing means “to smear.” The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism. The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit.106Johnson; Heaven Invades; p 79
As pointed out in part I, as per Johnson, logically Jesus was not Christ prior to this experience as this title was given only at the point when the Spirit descended upon Him as a dove [Luke 3:16; John 1:32]. Hence, He was merely Jesus of Nazareth until this anointing. This sure resembles the teaching of Levi above, does it not?
One other important thing to consider which is best illustrated by picking out a bit of one of Levi’s quotes above:
…When we say ‘Jesus, the Christ’ we refer to the man and to his office; just as we do when we say…Lincoln, the President…Lincoln was not always President, and Jesus was not always Christ…107Dowling; p 8.
“If one has this in mind, one could use Luke 2:11, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” [NIV 1984], to mean that Jesus is the future Christ and NOT that Jesus was born as the Christ. This would be similar to stating, “On February 12, 1809 President Lincoln was born.” – certainly, Lincoln wasn’t born President for he was elected to the office of the President later. In the same way, occult / New Age / New Spirituality teachings assert Jesus wasn’t born the Christ for he wasn’t coronated until He was around thirty years of age. Of course, Christian orthodoxy affirms that Jesus was the Christ, our Lord and Savior at birth.“
This is a major point here, where Johnson’s tho’ts align with New Age thinking, violating Scripture’s explicit pronunciation, that Jesus was always the Christ. Regardless of his understanding of what he is communicating, separating Jesus the man from Christ the anointed, is an heretical diversion from Biblical Christology. Jesus was always God, He did not become God/Christ when anointed. In Scripture, He is understood to be Jesus Christ the Messiah from birth. Whether Bill is confused, having difficulty communicating, or truly believes what he is saying, this concept that Jesus became Christ at a later time in His life, is an heretical concept, likely described in a technical theological term, which I’m not yet familiar with. (described in following article)
Bill’s emphasis on christos meaning anointed, should really to transferred to the understanding of it applying to Jesus Christ the Messiah. Jesus was and is Christ our Saviour not just the ‘anointed one.’ Making christos simply mean anointing plays into the New Age christ ideology. Whether intentional or not, this is the idea Bill has conveyed.
This is just part 3a of a series on Bill Johnson’s New Age Christ/Christology
Bill Johnson’s Christology Explained – Part 1
“In essence, Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, a recognized “apostle” by some, teaches that at conception, or at least prior to the Virgin Birth, Jesus divested Himself of all His divine attributes thereby living a sinless earthly existence by being totally reliant upon the Holy Spirit while receiving the power to do miracles at His baptism. This divine self-emptying is known as the kenosis doctrine as discussed here. The quotes used in this section are taken from six different books by Bill Johnson (and one sermon) to illustrate that this teaching undergirds his entire theology.
Jesus did everything as a man, laying aside His divinity in order to become a model for us.8Johnson, Bill Strengthen Yourself in the Lord. 2007, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 26
…Jesus did everything in His earthly ministry as a man who had set aside all His divine privileges and power in order to model the Christian life for us.9Johnson, Bill. Release the Power of Jesus. 2009, Destiny Image “Speaking to the Purposes of God for this Generation and the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
..Jesus set aside His divinity, choosing instead to live as a man completely dependent on God.10Johnson, Bill Face to Face, p 108
…He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin…11Johnson, Bill, When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. 2003, Treasure House/Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 79
The above quotes can be construed such that Jesus retained all His divine attributes yet chose not to exercise them; however, the following illustrates that He no longer had inherent deity:12
Jesus Christ said of Himself, ‘The Son can do nothing.’ In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning—it means NOTHING, just like it does in English! He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!…He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God.13Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 29
…Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’ He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow….Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…14Johnson, Bill, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles. 2005, Destiny Image: “Speaking to the Purposes of God for This Generation and for the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA; p 50.
Given that deity is by very definition supernatural, Johnson has, in effect, reduced Jesus to less than God. With Johnson’s claim that Jesus had no inherent ability to perform miracles in and of Himself, it is clear that Johnson means Jesus no longer had his divine attributes to utilize even if He so desired. He “had NO supernatural capabilities”; He was totally and completely a man but “in right relationship to God” by the Holy Spirit:
The Father, by the Holy Spirit, directed all that Jesus said and did.15Johnson, Face to Face, p 108
Analytic theologian Oliver Crisp describes this view that Jesus Christ performed all His miracles by the Holy Spirit rather than His inherent divinity/deity as “not conventional”.16 Furthermore, this doctrine is simply not Biblically accurate. Jesus certainly exercised His deity in providing life to whom He “is pleased to give it” [John 5:21, NIV 1984] during His earthly ministry pre-Cross [John 5:24-25; cf. Luke 23:43].17 This life-giving to the believer was performed by Jesus not as an agent through whom the Spirit worked but because Jesus had “life in himself” [John 5:26].18 In other words, the life Jesus Christ as God the Son gives to those who believe comes from God the Father since both are part of the Triune Godhead. Jesus was not an intermediary per se in this regard.19
__________________Footnotes For Paragraph Above___________
16 Crisp, Oliver D. Divinity and Humanity: The Incarnation Reconsidered. (Current Issues in Theology series) 2007, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK; p 25. Crisp continues, “A conventional view would claim that Christ was able to perform miracles in virtue of the action of his divine nature in and through his human nature in the hypostatic union.” Crisp is being polite in not calling this view heterodox or heresy given that Crisp’s point was that such a view violates the Chalcedonian Creed which itself was codified in order to combat the heresies of its day and to provide a means by which to judge future doctrine. To be at odds with Chalcedon is to be in the realm of heterodoxy.
17To make the claim that it was by the Holy Spirit that Jesus “gave life” logically implies that any Holy Spirit indwelt individual can give life to whom s/he chooses – obviously an incorrect assertion.
18Marianne Meye Thompson explains [The God of the Gospel of John. 2001, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI]: “[T]he Son partakes of the very life of the Father: the Son has life in himself. Therefore, when Jesus confers life on those who believe, they also participate in and have to do with the life of the Father because the Father has given the Son to have life in himself, even as he has it. Such predications assume and are dependent upon the conviction that there is but one God, one source of life. Jesus is not a second deity, not a second source of life, standing alongside the Father. Rather, the Son confers the Father’s life, which he has in himself” [p 78; italics in original, underscore added]. “[T]he Son exercises certain divine prerogatives and…exercises them even as God does….Jesus exercises these powers as no other figure – save God – can or does” [p 175].
19Herman Ridderbos expounds [The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary. 1997, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; translated from the Dutch by John Vriend], “Just as the Father as Creator and Consummator possesses life, he has given that possession to the Son, not merely as the executor of incidental assignments but in the absolute sense of sharing in the Father’s power. And it is on account of that power and authority that the great decisive ‘hour’ of God is not only coming but here” (during the Incarnation). [p 178; emphasis in original] _________________________________________________
Rediscovering Bethel Video Series: Reviews 1&2
The article series used here are from 2012. In a video series, ‘Rediscovering Bethel’, produced by Bethel in 2001, Bill endeavoured to clarify what he says many may have been misunderstanding, one of which was his explanations above on Jesus ’emptying’ Himself, or laying aside His divinity. Even tho’ he states that Jesus always was God, it doesn’t help to clarify the position he maintains, as stated in his books. A critique of episode 2 is linked below.
In the link below, “CHURCHepreneurs Richard Moore continues his review of “Rediscover Bethel” Podcast series. Bethel Church released a 6 episode series of podcasts dealing with the “myths” and “misconceptions” surrounding their theology, teaching, and practices. Richard will take 6 episodes to deal with what Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, and Dann Farrelly say about the DNA of Bethel. In this second installment, Johnson and Farrelly deal with the topics of Jesus, The Cross, and Preaching. The full episode of “Rediscover Bethel – Episode 2: Jesus, The Cross, and Preaching” can be found here.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2vRRZwN1Wg&t=4s (Bethel’s)
Richard Moore – Review #1
a https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9BC44G_uDw (#1: 9 to 30 min. mark)
Episode 2: Jesus, The Cross, and Preaching” can be found here: (Bethel’s) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2vRRZwN1Wg&t=4s
Richard Moore – Review #2
a https://www.richardpmoore.net/churchepreneurs-podcast/2022/2/28/rediscover-bethel-episode-2-review (#2: specifically – 1st 25 min.’s) ______________________________________________
Jesus Became The Christ After Rec’ing Christ Anointing
This section reiterates the previous content on the ‘christ anointing’ with more quotes.
Johnson makes the explicit claim that Jesus became the Christ after coming up out of the water at His baptism in the Jordan by John when the Spirit came upon Him as a dove at which point He received the “Christ anointing” (see quote further below) contradicting Luke 1:35/2:11 [cf. Matt 1:22-23/Isaiah 7:14, etc.]. Brackets are inserted to provide explanation:
Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It [Christ] is a title that points to an experience [Spirit resting upon Him after baptism in the Jordan]. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title [Christ]. He had to receive the anointing[“Christ anointing” resulting in Christ title] in an experience [Spirit resting upon Him] to accomplish what the Father desired.
The word anointing means “to smear.” The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism. The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit [after water baptism in the Jordan].20Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 79.
Admittedly, this is a bit confusing; but, with his concluding sentence above logic follows that if “the name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit” immediately following John’s baptism, then, by further implication, before baptism He must have been simply Jesus of Nazareth [again, contrary to Luke 1:35 / Luke 2:11]. Bill Johnson is more direct in the following:
The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [“Christ anointing” by the Spirit after water baptism] there could be no title.21Johnson, Face to Face, p 109.
In Christian orthodoxy the term “Christ” denotes deity/divinity22 which would mean that in Johnson’s Christology Jesus was not divine before the Holy Spirit came upon Him after His baptism by John in the Jordan and, consequently, Jesus would be made divine by virtue of this “Christ anointing” after which He is “qualified” to be called Christ. This is exactly Johnson’s intended meaning:
22 Grudem, Wayne Systematic Theology. 1994, Inter-Varsity, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 233-38, 543-554, 624-33. Also, Berkhof, Louis Systematic Theology. 1941, 4th revised and enlarged ed, 1991, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 91-5, 312-13, 356-66.
…The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.23Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 79.
This statement flows logically from all the previous statements. This “anointing” ‘enabled Him’ for He had “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever” having laid His divine attributes aside. To reiterate, if, as in the Johnson Christology, the ‘anointing’ “linked Jesus, the man, to the divine” then, as implied earlier, Jesus is merely a human made divine at baptism by virtue of the “Christ anointing” by the Holy Spirit coming upon Him. Further, one could infer that as others receive this same “Christ anointing” they too would be “linked to the divine” in the same manner. The following adds weight to this inference:
…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him.Johnson, Face to Face, p 77.
Johnson continues to drive home his assertion that Jesus was not inherently God but merely divine by virtue of the Holy Spirit as He was “perfectly trustworthy with the presence of God” (“the presence of God” being the “Christ anointing” or “baptism in the Holy Spirit”) so that the Spirit of God did “rest upon Him”. And we can enjoy this same privilege if we are just as ‘faithful’ proving that we are “trustworthy”.
This anointing [“Christ anointing” / “baptism in the Holy Spirit”] is what enabled Jesus to do only what He saw the Father do, and to say only what He heard the Father say. It was the Holy Spirit that revealed the Father to Jesus.27Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 80. Underscore added. This creates a logical fallacy within the Johnson theology: if Jesus could only see/hear the Father by virtue of the “Christ anointing” He received at John’s baptism, how could He know to ‘be about His Father’s business’ [Luke 2:49] as a 12 year old?
It was the Holy Spirit upon Jesus [“baptism in the Holy Spirit” / “Christ anointing”] that enabled Him to know what the Father was doing and saying. That same gift of the Spirit has been given to us for that same purpose.28Johnson, Bill Dreaming with God: Secrets to Redesigning Your World Through God’s Creative Flow. 2006, Destiny Image: “Speaking to the Purposes of God for This Generation and for the Generations to Come”, Shippensburg, PA; p 136
If the Son of God was that reliant upon the anointing, His behavior should clarify our need for the Holy Spirit’s presence upon us [“baptism in the Holy Spirit”] to do what the Father has assigned….This anointing [“Christ anointing”] is actually the person of the Holy Spirit upon someone to equip them for supernatural endeavors.29Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 80
The second baptism deals with…getting us filled with God so we can walk with Him and more effectively represent Him as His agents of power on the earth.30Johnson, Face to Face, p 58
Without this “Christ anointing” there seems to be no possibility that God could perform supernatural works through an individual (including Jesus Christ) in Johnson’s theology. The individual is simply powerless until this second “baptism in the Holy Spirit”. In addition, one receives the ability to “walk with God” only after receiving this “Christ anointing” / “baptism in the Holy Spirit”.
Jesus’ inherent powerlessness is carried all the way beyond the Cross to the Resurrection thereby negating the efficacy of Jesus Christ’s Atonement for our sins.31 He cannot even raise Himself from the dead contrary to John 2:19/10:17-18:
…The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless), and had to be spotless, (without sin).
The anointing Jesus received was the equipment necessary, given by the Father to make it possible for Him to live beyond human limitation…32Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 79
…Jesus gave Himself to be crucified. He did not raise Himself from the dead…His job was to give His life to die. The Father raised Him by the Spirit…33“ewenhoffman” Maintaining the crosswalk- sermon of the week Feb 27th 2011. <http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2011/03/01/maintaining-the-crosswalk-sermon-of-the-week-feb-27th-2011/> 16:45-17:00. Emphasis in original; underscore added. As accessed 03/11/12. Johnson stated the same basic thing on Facebook in mid-February of 2011 in an exchange with Kevin Moore: “…He needed to be raised from the dead. Acts 13 calls Him ‘the first born from the dead.’ He did not raise Himself. The Father through the Spirit raised Him…”
Of course He did not raise Himself from the dead; He could not as He was “powerless” except by virtue of the “Christ anointing” according to Johnson. Faulty Christology always has negative implications on the Atonement.
Bill Johnson’s Christology can certainly be described as heresy. It is known as separationist Christology34 for it separates Christ from Jesus and vice versa. By definition, as Cumbey states above, it meets the test of antichrist as it denies Jesus is the Christ [1 John 2:22] since He is only human (having “laid His divinity aside”) and becomes Christ only by virtue of the “Christ anointing” which also, in effect, denies Jesus is the Son of the Father (as opposed to merely a son) which in turn denies the Father [1 John 2:22-23];35 moreover, Johnson’s Christology denies that the person of Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [1 John 4:1-3] since it was merely Jesus of Nazareth who came in the flesh.
34 This term is defined in Heikki Raisanen’s The Rise of Christian Beliefs [2010, Fortress, Minneapolis, MN; p 208].
However, Johnson at times makes statements which appear entirely orthodox in and of themselves:
Jesus Christ was entirely God. He was not a created being. Yet He became a man and lived entirely by man’s limitations…36Johnson, Face to Face, p 199. Johnson’s phraseology here sounds not like ontological kenosis but rather metamorphosis instead: God the Son literally transforms Himself into a fully human being devoid of any deity/divinity.
The first two sentences are completely orthodox while the third is not, yet this third sentence is consistent with Johnson’s Christology as put forth in the foregoing. Confoundingly, these first two seem to contradict the rest of Johnson’s Christological doctrine – but, do they really? Keeping in mind the Alice Bailey goal of “transcending” Christianity by “preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages” let’s compare the above with these two quotes from the well known New Age book The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ:
Before creation was, the Christ walked with the Father God…The Christ is son, the only son begotten by the Almighty God…37Dowling, Levi. The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ: The Philosophic and Practical Basis of the Religion of the Aquarian Age of the World. © 1907 Eva S.
We recognize the facts that Jesus was man and that Christ was God, so that in very truth Jesus the Christ was the God-man of the ages.38Dowling, Aquarian Gospel, p 8
Notice how, in the New Age version, Christ is distinct from Jesus for Christ was God as God’s son while Jesus was merely a man. This is not inconsistent with the Christological views of Johnson as shown in this article. This will be explored in much more detail in Part II, Part IIIa, Part IIIb, and Part IV (Conclusion) of this article.
[For more on Johnson’s Christology, including more indications of a separationist Christology, see “The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit”.] ____________________________________
Nailing Bill Down – Holding His Feet To The Fire
Generally, there may seem to be somewhat of a loss, in trying to nail Bill down, as he verbally affirms the deity of Jesus, Who he claims always was God. Yet on the other hand he continues down the slippery slope of presenting a distinction between Jesus the man, and Jesus the Christ, the anointed one, who represents what man can become, by virtue of the ‘christ anointing’.
Putting his tho’ts in comparison quotes with New Age proponents, Bill is accountable to bring his christological ideologies, in line with the Biblical account. There is no confusion about his heretical appearing statements, proliferating his books.Those concerned with his perspectives about Jesus Christ have full right to hold his feet to the fire, so to speak. Until he clearly addresses, and corrects these errors, according to Scripture he is teaching heresy, regardless of all of the theological argumentation, justification, attempting to present his portrayal of Jesus as orthodoxically acceptable.
Links To Rest Of Series