Bill Johnson: By His Stripes (A Response)
Bill Johnson: “I believe it is the provision of the Lord in his suffering on our behalf; Jesus bore stripes in his body through brutal beating as an atoning work to deal with the power of sickness and disease…”
Jesus did not need to go to the cross to heal your cancer. Throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus, he healed people. During his earthly ministry, Jesus appointed 72 people to go out and heal people and share the gospel. Physical healing, while miraculous, wonderful, and beautiful, was not the purpose of Jesus’ ministry—preaching the gospel (Mark 1:36–38), the good news of forgiveness of sin was the primary purpose of Jesus’ ministry. I promise you, a leper that was healed of their leprosy, but in turn rejected the gospel, received no lasting good from their physical healing.
We know why Jesus went to the cross. The apostle Peter writes, “He (Jesus) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree (cross), so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)
The phrase, “by his wounds you have been healed,” also translated as, “by his stripes” in 17th century King James English is first introduced to us by the prophet Isaiah about 700 years before Jesus’ earthly ministry. In describing the purpose and events surrounding the suffering servant (Jesus) in Isaiah 53. Isaiah records, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isa 53:5) The wounds Jesus voluntarily bore upon himself describe a healing from sin (for believers in Christ), as summed up at the end of the passage, “yet he bore the sin of many and makes intercession for the transgressors.” The same point the apostle Peter makes in 1 Peter 2:24.
While Bill Johnson’s sermon message is consistent with his legacy of an anthropocentric health, wealth, and power centered “gospel” message which appeals to the goals of every sinful human—it absolutely pales in comparison to the true gospel of Jesus. Where Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection was not to provide you with the things that will pass away (health and wealth), but rather, to provide you with true grace, mercy, holiness only available through the Christ Jesus leading to eternal life that is full of goodness, joy, love, kindness, peace…because it gives us fellowship with God Himself back in the Edenic state.
The theology of Bethel Church in Redding is carefully nuanced—where we find scriptural axioms mixed between tragic errors and old heresies—the result of a faulty biblical theology, bad hermeneutics, and frequent eisegesis. Over the next few days, I am going to catalogue and write on a number of significant (i.e. Bible, Jesus, gospel) errors and heresies openly taught/advocated by Bethel Church in Redding. I am not talking about minor differences that make one a Southern Baptist versus a Presbyterian, but rather, the difference between those saved in Christ versus those outside of Christ. The difference between those who have received and teach the gospel of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins versus those who have embraced and teach a different gospel centered around health, wealth, and power.