William's Reviews > When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles

When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson
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's review
Nov 25, 2011

did not like it
Read on November 25, 2011

This book was so abysmally bad I'm not even sure where to begin. It's not worth one star, but sadly Good Reads doesn't have a "no stars" rating option. When the Introduction begins by stating Johnson's affinity for Aimee McPherson and Smith Wigglesworth it doesn't bode well. I resent wasting time reading trash of this nature, but as a pastor it's sometimes necessary in order to respond to questions raised by church members who are exposed thanks to other churches and pastors that lack an understanding of basic credal orthodoxy and any sense of godly discernment. Johnson epitomises the absolute worst of Pentecostalism--a sectarian movement itself that is the convergence of the absolute worst theology, practise, and sectarianism to which Protestantism ever gave rise; a movement that claims to abound in charismata, but utterly lacks the gift of discernment; and that has succeeding in reviving every heresy known to Church history.

Most serious of Johnson's errors is a revival of the kenotic heresy. His basic premise is that Jesus gave up his divinity in the Incarnation and performed his miracles strictly in the power of the Holy Spirit. For Johnson this then means that any Christian indwelled by the Spirit can do the same--or greater. This is an abandonment of basic credal orthodoxy. What we believe of the Logos and the Incarnation is at the core of Christianity and when it is abandoned one is left with something less than Christianity. Johnson's Jesus is a false Jesus, not to mention a Jesus who could never accomplish his saving ministry. Granted, in later comments I've found from Johnson on the Internet, he affirms the divinity of Christ, but such affirmations ring hollow in light of Johnson's consistent teaching. While he may affirm Christ's divinity ontologically, he very clearly denies it functionally.

One could go on and on. The core teaching that undermines the Incarnation is the worst, but Johnson affirms the usual Restoration and Dominion theology that is common to the "signs and wonders" movement. His teaching is also strongly gnostic and as with much Pentecostal teaching, is strongly elitist. Those who study the Bible and take sound exegesis and theology seriously are condemned as holding to the letter rather than the spirit of the law, which of course, he says brings only death. (This is itself an example of his abysmal exegesis found through the book--and almost every other book I've read from the Pentecostal camp.) According to Johnson, those who have the Spirit--the elite corps--and are guided by the Spirit are the real Christians and from them will arise "Elijah's Army," ready to greater things than even Jesus did in the final generation. Hogwash. St. Paul addressed thinking of a similar nature when he chastised those in the Corinthian church who called themselves "Spiritual". Jesus established his kingdom two thousand years ago and has empowered all his people with his Spirit and to anyone who has the blasphemous hubris to claim he can outdo Jesus I simply ask: What can you do to top dying, rising again, and ascending to heaven for the redemption of mankind?

Don't bother with this book. It has no redeeming qualities. It undermines the most basic teaching of Christianity and is itself sub-Christian. And if you find any church or group enamoured of Johnson and his rubbish, run away.
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Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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message 1: by D (new) - rated it 1 star

D Posey Thanks for this concise critique. Very helpful.

Alyse I noticed the false doctrine within the first few chapters and threw this book in the trash. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what was wrong with it, but I am glad you could explain it for others.

message 3: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah Wow. As a pastor you had to read those parts? I love the sense of absolute acceptance you have towards others in the body of christ. Actually it sounds like sheer hatred. Please be careful when you say you are a pastor and make comments like this. It makes other pastors look bad. I mean, the actual good ones. Like Bill Johnson. This comment had so much rage and ignorance I almost threw up.

William Rage and ignorance? I read the book that I not be ignorant about Johnson's teaching. Rage? No. A lack of patience for wolves in shepherd's clothing? Yes. Good pastors don't teach heresy and unbiblical doctrine to lead the sheep astray. Johnson doesn't need any help from me to look bad. As for the comment regarding the body of Christ: you've confused heretics for Christians. At the core of Johnson's book is a rejection of the most basic elements of credal orthodoxy. His Jesus is a false Jesus. He's as much a heretic as those who espoused these same teachings when they were condemned by the Church 1700 years ago. As Christians we recite at the end of the Athanasian Creed: "This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved."

message 5: by Trish (new) - added it

Trish Harvell Can you explain more of your impression and understanding of the false teachings in more simple terms?

William I thought my review was very straightforward. What is it that needs further explanation?

message 7: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Colvert a friend has been accepted to a Christian school and they asked her to read this book before starting classes. Clearly a bad choice

message 8: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Colvert a friend has been accepted to a Christian school and they asked her to read this book before starting classes. Clearly a bad choice

Mayumi Instead of being influenced by others, try reading the book with a neutral mind..

This book, alongside many other books, helped me in getting to know the teachings of Christ better .

Isn't that the ultimate aim of spreading the gospel -such that more sinners are saved.

God has been performing miracles in my life when I started to place Him as the Centre.

I believe every person who calls themselves a Christian should hunger after God and seek him continually, with fervent faith and perseverance.

William I agree that every Christian should hunger for God and seek him continually. That's not the issue. The problem in this case is with Johnson's theology. It's not about being influenced by others; it's about reading with discernment and judging whether what he's written measures up to the standard of Holy Scripture. At that, Johnson fails abysmally. Following God means seeking him in the Word in which he has revealed himself, but Johnson doesn't follow that Word. To the contrary, he consistently twists and abuses it to further his own agenda.

message 11: by Noelle (new)

Noelle So sad that you don't get it William. Do ask God to show you. He will.

William And therein lies the problem with Johnson and his ilk. The authority on which genuine Christianity is built lies not in personal revelation, but in the Word of God written in Holy Scripture. God has spoken very clearly on these matters in that written Word. To seek after personal revelation in the hope that a new "word" or "prophetic interpretation" will somehow trump the Word already given is both foolish and presumptuous.

message 13: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany THANK you for knowing your Bible!

Spencer R I see no rage, ignorance, or hatred in this post, only anger at the fact that Johnson is leading so many to a different Christ. I've also reviewed this book, and I also had a hard time getting through this book. If it weren't for the review and reading it for my wife (who is Norwegian and who wanted me to know more about Bethel because they are gaining ground in Norway), then I would have put the book down early on. It's simply terrible. Scripture is read out of context. The theology if way off. Thanks for helping to shear this wolf in sheep's clothing.

message 15: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Lauridsen Are you a catholic?

William Yes...Anglican, not Roman.

Hazel Thank-you William. Your comments on this book were very helpful in my understanding of why I felt so uncomfortable when I attempted to read it but found I could not finish it. also my discomfort when around the Bethel "groupies" that I sometimes encounter at church and Christian conferences.

message 18: by B (new)

B A Completely agree with William... thanks for defending and contending for the faith...

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