I've just recieved a email message containing Bill Johnson's latest tweet. I think my email client has great discernment.
I've always said that Bill Johnson is simply Tulsa recycled. And the argument is not new; I remember Haginites, back in the 70s, expounding the rhema word over the logos Word. In Tulsa-speak, the logos Word is the written Word of God, the rhema word is some sort of contemporary prophetic word. We don't hear these terms today, now, to some, the Bible is called "stale manna" and a prophetic word is a "fresh word."
For the record, I don't despise prophecy. I believe that God speaks today, and that He speaks into my daily affairs. I expect His guidance.
I've heard (and experienced) too many testimonies of God leading one to speak to this person or pray for that person to ignore His present involvement in our lives. But the rhema word does not establish doctrine, it does not set the rules for living and dying, it does not change the conditions for salvation, it does not set dates for the return of Jesus, and it never contradicts what is contained in the Holy Bible. The rhema word is subordinate to the logos Word.
And please note that when we set up the either/or argument, that is a false premise to start with. We don't have to choose. We get to have the written Word, which we esteem highly, AND God's daily guidance, which we test against the written Word.
Some may dismiss this tweet as just a bunch of twaddle, but I've run this past a few lovers of the Word (who are also Pentecostals) and the horror on their faces was most revealing. Some were seasoned saints, others babes in Christ. Johnson's message is not unclear; it does not need further explanation. It is simply disgusting.
Once we start down this slippery slope, apostasy is not far off. As expressed by one disciple of Johnson, the phrase "the wisdom of men" in 1 Corinthians 2:5 refers to Holy Scripture. Can you see where this is going?
"And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my
speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in
demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."
I'm stunned. And so would be the early church Johnson speaks of and with whom he wants to identify.
Contrary to Johnson's assertion, the early church DID have Holy Scriptures. And how they loved them. Let's take a look at a few quotes from their Bible:
"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."
"I will delight myself in God's statutes; I will not forget His Word."
"I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes."
"O how love I thy law! it [is] my meditation all the day. Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
"Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold."
"My son, attend to my (God's) words; incline your ear unto my sayings. Let them (the scriptures) not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart."
I dunno, it sounds like they valued the scriptures. The above quotations are things that believers in the early church embraced, recited, taught, and probably had memorized.
But don't take my word for it. We sent a "man on the street" to conduct a few interviews with those in the early church, and here's what the believers had to say:
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
"Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness."
"That we who first trusted in Christ (the early church) should be to the praise of His glory, In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word."
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words (New Testament scripture)."
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."
"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy (recorded in the New Testament), and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. "
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."