Friday 19 June 2015


For Bill Johnson and his followers, the presence of signs and wonders is more important than anything else—the more of the miraculous the better.

Should believers be willing to “go off the map”—go beyond what is found in the Word—in order to embrace the realm of the miraculous?

Johnson claims, “For decades the Church has been guilty of creating doctrine to justify their lack of power.” 

He warns believers of the danger of embracing a “powerless Word”: "Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scriptures enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map—to go beyond what we know."

The above (in blue) **  is an attempt by Johnson to denigrate scholarship and the Word to pave the way for believers to venture into the exciting realm of the miraculous. 

Firstly, to set the Word against the Holy Spirit does not make sense. The Holy Spirit can only prompt believers to embrace the things found in the Word, not anything that is outside the confines of the Bible. After all, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). And the Word is the Truth (John 17:17). Needless to say, we don’t have to set the Word against the Holy Spirit. How can we set one person of the Trinity against another person of the Trinity? Both work together to fulfill a common purpose. Most of the time, we can only know what the Holy Spirit is saying when we have a firm grasp of the Word. 

In fact, Christians with a firm grasp of the Word should be more secure—not have a false sense of security as Johnson insinuates—for then they will be able to overcome deception. Those who do not emphasise the objective Word but depend on emotional highs and the leading of various spirits are more likely to falter and be deceived.  

Secondly, the Bible is our “map”. To go “beyond what we know”, as Bill Johnson asserts, is to go beyond the bounds of Scripture. When we denigrate the Word and exalt the realm of the supernatural, we no longer have any guide, compass or plumb line. We will be treading on uncharted territories. Whatever supernatural phenomena that we assume as originating from the Holy Spirit may not necessarily be so. That’s dangerous and leaves us at the mercy of deception by diverse spirits.

“I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.”
(1 Corinthians 4:6)

Thirdly, every teacher claims that he or she stands for the truth. But how do we know the truth? Start with the objective Word. Study the whole Word. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s illumination. Learn know how to rightly handle the Word. And then within the constraints of the Word, be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit.

Fourthly, following "off the map” as Johnson teaches, would mean downplaying the Word on the grounds that it hinders the working of the Holy Spirit. Satan would be most glad if believers take this position. This will set believers up for deception by diverse spirits. For deception goes hand in hand with the following: Letting our minds be on passive mode, setting aside of discernment, and downplaying of doctrine and scholarship. As such, believers will play into the hands of the devil if we adopt such a position.

Fifthly, many believers assume that whatever a world famous teacher says must be correct without carefully examining what he teaches—and the spirit behind his teaching. Many say to themselves, “Considering how great is his influence and how great are the “fruits” of his ministry, whatever this illustrious teacher says must be correct.”

But we should not be intimidated or easily influenced by any teacher, no matter how well-known, illustrious or respectable he or she may be. We cannot say to ourselves or others, “Coming from this great man of God, it must be right.” That’s highly dangerous. That is tantamount to prematurely forming our opinion before we have ascertained the validity of his message. No one is free from error, no matter how great he or she is. 

Test all things; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

The apostle Paul emphasises the importance of sound doctrine which should be upheld at all costs. We need to hold fast to the Word, which must be preserved intact in its unadulterated form.

  • Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)

  • Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1: 13-14)

  • But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it. (2 Timothy 3: 14)

While it is true that not all the acts of Jesus (or the workings of the Holy Spirit through believers) can be recorded in the Bible (John 21:25), this must not to be used as an excuse to justify “going off the map”.

To imply that the Word should play a less important role in the believer’s life for the sake of greater supernatural experience—that we should be willing to be "led by the spirit" and follow "off the map if we want to be more adventurous and venture into the realm of the miraculous—is another gospel.

The Holy Spirit works in various waysquiet as well as dramatic:

By the way, Bill Johnson also preaches another gospel in another instancethat Jesus operated only as a man and not God during His earthly ministry. But did Jesus set aside His divinity when He came down to earth?

What does apostle Paul say of those who preach another gospel?
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:8-9)

The Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice (Sola Scriptura). Do not let anyone convince you otherwise.

  • I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. (Psalm 138:2)

  • Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

What could be some of the reasons for Johnson’s stance of downplaying scripture—“going off the map”—in order to pursue the supernatural and miraculous realm?

  • Could it be his bizarre practice of “sucking the anointing”, promoted among his followers?

                                      Lying on the tombs of departed saints in order to suck the anointing


If we are unclear as to what Johnson really means when he says that we need to “follow off the map—to go beyond what we know” (as mentioned in the lintroductory paragraph at the top), this doubt no longer exists

Why? By this stage, you would have realised that Johnson has really gone "off the map" by denying the deity of Christ, by encouraging members to lie on tombs to suck the anointing, by endorsing New Age teachings and by associating with the outlandish antics of mystic John Crowder. 

In our mad scramble to pursue miraculous signs, are we willing to downplay the primacy and supremacy of God’s word (Sola Scriptura)?

No, we must never go "off the map”—that is, entertain doctrines or practices that are beyond the sanction and bounds of the Word. 

And all miracles or supernatural phenomena should be tested for authenticity against the Word: 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1)

 For more, search in Facebook for  #gravesucking and “Bethel Church and Christianity” 


Excessive preoccupation with signs and wonders has its dangers.

At the end of the day, what do we want?
Embrace God and His Word, obey Him and make it to heaven.
Or downplay the Word, experience all the signs and wonders we want, and get shut out from heaven.
Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

(Matthew 7:21-23)

What do you think is the true measure of a believer? Does it rest solely on how much anointing or power he or she has? Or how many spectacular feats he or she can perform?

Is there a rationale for pursuing signs and wonders?



“While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Phil. 2:7). It's vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God.”






Bethel Church's Bill Johnson: A comedy of errors, Part 1

Bethel Church's Bill Johnson: A comedy of errors, Part 2

What does New Age believe? According to Ray Yungen, “Everything that exists, seen or unseen, is made up of energy—tiny particles of vibrating energy, atoms, molecules, protons, etc. All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this ‘God-energy,’ then we, too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself.”


For a quick overview:


    The perfect recipe for deception by diverse spirits is when believers chase after signs and wonders and downplay the significance of the Word in their lives. Denigration of the Word, herd instinct, setting aside discernment and following leaders who are spiritually blind all lead to deception with disastrous consequences.

  2. There is no doubt Bill Johnson is a controversial figure. On one hand, he has many senior Christian leaders on his side in this region AND, on the other hand, he has many detractors as well.
    A Facebook friend advised me to listen to Bill Johnson as, according to her, I can learn much from him. This is my answer to her: Thanks for advising me to listen to Bill Johnson. He seems an affable, charming guy who has written many books. And I know he has many admirers and followers. But once I realised that Johnson has “gone off the map”—by denying the deity of Christ, by encouraging members to lie on tombs to suck the anointing from departed saints, by endorsing New Age teachings and by associating with the outlandish antics of mystic John Crowder—I immediately STOPPED listening to him.