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Are All Christians Demon-Possessed Until Proven Innocent?

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Bill Johnson, heresy hunted true prophet

My friend Mikael Skogsén is a pastor with a strong prophetic gift who regularly updates his Facebook with testimonies about words of knowledge, healings and salvations that happen in his everyday life. I got his permission to share one of the testimonies, which I did yesterday on my Swedish blog. It’s an amazing story about how he and his friend were eating on a restaurant, when suddenly Mikael starts prophesying about the waiter’s fiancee in Germany and proclaimed healing in his aching back. The man was of course eventually saved.

Now, some people started to suspect and accuse Mikael of using the power of psychic spirits, similar to occultists in Asia, which would produce apparent healings that eventually result in depression and even worse ailments. Now, I’ve grown accustomed to heresy hunters, people who spend too much time on the Internet arguing that millions of charismatic Christians are possessed by Kundalini spirits and that influential Pentecostal leaders like Bill Johnson are false prophets. I’ve argued against their bad arguments time and again. That’s not new. What really bothers me is that it seems that many of these people automatically assume that if a Christian experiences supernatural stuff, it must be demons.

See, when heresy hunters attack Bill Johnson or Todd Bentley they at least have a lot of resources online to base their judgment on (even if they all-too-often aren’t doing much research). These are famous pastors whose theology and practice have been publicly debated. But Mikael Skogsén isn’t famous. The people who commented on my post hadn’t even heard of him before. And yet, the knee-jerk reaction is that his supernatural ministry is demonic.

This is an absurd consequence of frequent heresy hunting. In practice, every single Christian who experiences miracles is presumed to be demon-possessed until proven innocent. I don’t think this is an exaggeration at all; I remember reading through a forum some time ago where the hunters discussed who modern-day true prophets were. The only ones they could come up with were Christian leaders who didn’t experience any miracles, but like the hunters spent most of their times complaining of how others were false prophets.

Defending their view, heresy hunters often point to Biblical texts about how there will be false prophets and false signs and wonders (Mt 24:24, 1 Jn 4:1 etc). But the existence of falsehood does not mean that we should a priori assume that all Christians who do miracles are demonic. In fact, “no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:3), and “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” (Mt 7:18)

To assume that a Christian pastor whose miraculous ministry results in people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior is demonic is like assuming that a nurse is a murderer. Surely, it’s not impossible that Christians are demonised or that nurses are murderers, but it is unreasonable and unlivable to assume that this is normally the case until proven innocent. You won’t get much treatment in the hospital if you a priori assume that the staff there want to kill you, and you won’t do much for the Kingdom of God if you a priori assume that everyone does everything in the power of Asian demonic spirits.

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7 Comments

  1. Peter says:

    Indeed. Though from what I have read about Mr Bentley, it would seem criticism is justified. And Bill Johnson needs to be careful of his theology – I think, for example, he has recently said that Jesus had to be ‘born again’. Like all things in life, a balance should be had.

    • Irene says:

      A person who left Bill Johnson’s school asked why can’t Bill heal his own son from deafness but he claims healing others miraculously all the time? She spent a couple years in the school and said out of every prophetic word that came true during her years there, many more prophetic words did not. But in Bible time, this is not what prophesy was about. Could you imagine that the prophets were right only occasionally?

      I believe in miracles. But I don’t believe in any of those who claim to be the newly chosen apostles today. The apostles in the new testament can pick up snake with bare hand and drink poison and not get hurt. Moreover, they don’t own any properties but were totally dependent on God. Now which of the modern day apostles dare to give up their wealth?

      How is it possible that with o many miracles claimed, not even 10% can produce medical records for proof? Miracles are possible. But with so many faked ones out there, one cannot tell which is a true miracle anymore.

      • Peter says:

        I think Bill Johnson should be criticised for some of his theology, but in the end none of us are 100% correct in our understanding.Even me lol. But I dont think it is appropriate to criticise him for not being able to heal his own son. It is God who heals, NOT the individual. God never promises healing, but in His mercy and grace He does heal directly sometimes. We often cannot know why one person is healed, and another not. But we do not know if his son will not be healed at some point, do we? And even if he isnt, is that so surprising? I think not.

      • Peter says:

        re apostles in many ways I agree. I dont like anyone calling themselves an ‘apostle’ today, though strictly speaking they can if the word is understood to simply mean ‘messenger’ etc. But your reference to picking up snakes and drinking poison is incorrect – this comes from the so-called long ending of Mark’s Gospel which scholars have shown to be a 5th century (likely) addition to the original. It is NOT part of Scripture and should not be used to justify anything.

  2. Irene says:

    Why agree? It is debatable whether a fruit is good or bad cuz are the pastors leading people to follow Christ or leading people to follow something else while using Jesus’ name?

    The problem is with today’s technology, everyone wants to write about miracles with as many as possible readers following the writer like a star. But in Jesus’ time, the disciples actually spent time in praying and performing the miracles in real so people can believe. I so pray to witness a miracle myself so that I can believe. If I only read about it, how do I know if it is true. I can create a blog now and make up a god, and write as many miracles as I like, even if none is real. I want them to be true. But more importantly, I want to worship God in the truth, not worshipping Him based on what I would
    do like to see.

    I attended the Toronto Airport Conferences where Heidi Baker was one of the guest speakers. I don’t know what the truth is. But my personal belief is that many attendees who rolled on the floor and spoke in tongues (according to them) or shook non stop were not influenced or controlled by any spirit. But the people just wanted to make themselves believe or feel superior that they got the Holy Spirit, for the routine was exactly the same as modern new age exercises such as imagery and rekkei. I could also roll on the floor, babble some unknown sound, and shake. In fact I did something similar when I was in College in order to please a professor who belive in these rekkei and imagery stuff. But trust me, I wasn’t controlled or experiencing any spirit when I did those things. I am not saying everyone is faking it, only God knows the truth who is real and who is not. But I sincerely prayed and humbled myself on my knees to receive impartation from those who claimed to be controlled by the Holy Spirit at the conference, and absolutely nothing happened to me. I wanted to experience the Holy Spirit. But I wanted to worship God in truth instead of just creating the manifestation on my own to feel good.

    In retrospect, it cost 180 dollars to attend the conference (not including food or transportation or anything) as a regular person. Not sure how much a VIP ticket cost. So, an opportinity to have encounter with the Holy Spirit cost 180 dollars? That does not sound like what the Bible teaches. So all those pastors who can call on the Holy Spirit to attend the conference at will on any day didn’t have faith to ask God for provision based on donations to finance the conference so that the poor can also attend? How about freely you have received and freely you should give. These people get the Holy Spirit for free (if what they claim is true) but they charge others 180 dollars? And only those with VIP ticket can get a personal impartation from Heidi Baker but not others? What is the biblical basis for this? I passed by the VIP zone with no intention to sit, but a lady immediately raised her voice at me saying I cant sit on all the empty seats on her right for those seats were not for me. I was passing by looking for Heidi Baker on the opposite side, not trying to sit in the VIP ticket zone. But this lady’s pride and scorn for me told me that charismatic Christians who claim to be marked by the Holy Spirit is not necessary someone who resemblances Jesus in anyway.

    So don’t attack the attackers. But ask yourself if all those charismatic you are trying to promote resemble Jesus in anyway? What is your research? Did you research that Bentley had an affair, kicked an elderly lady in the head, and yet he was the apostles appointed by the pastors in NAR. Is leading a room full of people to roll on the floor the same as leading these people to follow God? It does not mean everyone is a fake. But just like the non charismatic, some are true followers and some aren’t. And the number of miracles claimed or size of followers are not a reflection of one’s holiness. Matthew 7:21-23.

    I believe that miracles are possible. I want to experience miracles not because the miracles matter the most but because then I know who the real God is. I don’t think any of us can put God in a box and say that there should or should not be miracles today. In the end, it is up to God. But I don’t believe that every miracle claimed is true. Don’t attack each others in writing or relay what you have not witnessed. That just confused people like me and make us suffer for we don’t know what to believe anymore. But please show your miracles to more people in real life so that we can believe because we really want to. We really want to believe and follow the real God, we want to see real miracles in real life to glorify God. We don’t want tone believe in a God based on who can argue the best or who claim more miracles or have more followers. The fruit is in the love shown, not in anything else.

  3. nmylnar says:

    I recently read a lot of your wealth posts on here. What do you think about Bill Johnson’s theology and personal practices re: wealth? I love listening to Bethel sermons but I saw a picture of his $200K car and looked up his address on Zillow and he bought his house for $800K. I realize he made this $ on book deals and speaking engagements (most likely?) but still…he lives in a part of CA not exactly known for wealth, meaning his standard of living is leaps and bounds above that of most of his congregants. Plus, I visited their church and all their old sermons cost money. (Wow, seriously?!). I’m having a hard time finding good charismatic teaching that doesn’t also come packaged with the Prosperity Gospel (with the exception of Dan Mohler). I’ve even heard Heidi and Roland Baker have mansions in the U.S.

  4. Nathan says:

    As nmylnar above stated “I’m having a hard time finding good charismatic teaching that doesn’t also come packaged with the Prosperity Gospel ”

    Sometimes Johnson makes statements such as “Do not try to find Biblical answers for everything that happens” and I feel a bit doubtful

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The author

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Check out my YouTube channel!

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