Since, Bill Johnson of Bethel was unable to raise Olive from the dead, that proves he’s a FALSE Apostle because one of the signs of a real apostle of Jesus is that they have authority to raise the dead.
-Chris Rosebrough (twitter dec. 2019)
The real issue here is if Rosebrough can logically deduce that if an apostle or someone claiming to be an apostle prays for a miracle, such as resurrection, but then fails, it “necessarily” infers false apostle. This of course, cannot be done as a sound argument, if Scripture alone is your starting point of knowledge. Now, if one wishes to hybrid Christian epistemology with the Pope or their speculative sensations, observations, history and other human starting points, then they might be able to make a valid, albeit, an unsound argument.
Part of the problem, might come from a strawman concerning the nature of Bethel asking for resurrection. When people were praying for the miracle, some were making declarations of faith as “word of faith.” That is, just like Jesus making “word of faith,” declarations with the fig tree or with Lazarus. Or like Joshua with the sun, or the woman asking Elisha for her child to be resurrected. The issue here is that a “word of faith,” declaration is not the same thing as prophecy. To make this short, a “word of faith,” like Jesus used it or other biblical examples is nothing more than a shorthand prayer. When the Shunammite woman said to Elisha that “all is well,” this was word of faith. (2 Kings 4:18–37) It was not a prophecy. It was faith that God was able to do what she was asking. She still acknowledge the reality saying, “Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me?’” She, like Jesus, both when questioned acknowledge the persons in question were indeed dead, yet, both made faith declarations about it.
This is like the criminal on the cross or Samson, when they summed up a whole bunch of doctrine about mercy in the shorthand phrase, “remember me.” Instead of saying, “father I ask, through your Son Jesus Christ, that you raise person x from the dead,” they make a word of faith, “they are not dead, but asleep.” Or, “Father, through your Son, forgive me of my sin,” as a word of faith, “I am already the righteousness of Christ.” Or, “Father, through your Son, heal me of this sickness,” as a word of faith, “sickness you have already left my body.” There is nothing complicated about this. It would take a bottom-of-the-barrel stupid person to miss this.
This issue is simple. It is about faith. Faith that God does what He promised. Faith that the blood of Christ is a guarantee for all it is promised for. God cannot lie. God was sovereign and all-knowing when He made the promise. He made the promises because He wanted to. Because He was sovereign when He made it, and is still sovereign, the promises are still guaranteed today.
A prophecy is something different. If a false one is given, then it would indeed make the person a false prophet. One problem with some sects, focusing too much on “word of faith,” rather than on “faith” itself, is that it can give mixed appearances. Some with weak faith, in the “word of faith” circles, focus on faith declarations as empty pragmatics, or a program, when they would be better served focusing on hearing the word of God, so that their faith is strengthened. With great faith, (the type of great faith Jesus pointed out) it does not matter how the prayer of faith is given. If you have strong faith, you will be given what you ask for. Thus, it is a non-relevant issue if it is a longer prayer asking the Father for something, or if it is given as a shorthand of a declaration. What matters is faith. Faith is always the relevant issue. This was Jesus’ focus, and it ought to be ours.
Thus, a prayer in faith that fails, does not lead to the necessary consequent of a false apostle, prophet or Christian. Such a case merely shows this person’s faith is not as strong as they thought it was. Now, a continued lifelong example of prayers and no miracles, at least according to Jesus, would prove you are not one of His true disciples (John 15:5-8). When the disciples asked why they failed in a ministry operation Jesus said, “Because of your little faith, (Matt 17:20 LEB).” Jesus went behind their backs and healed the boy. That is, despite God causing them to have little faith and failed to minister compassion, Jesus did God’s Will by healing the boy. Did this failed ministry moment, because of little faith, make the disciples “false apostles”? But I digress. Jesus, with these weak faith disciples, kept rebuking and comforting them to be better. They did.
One point of concern about this critique is that everything about this situation screams, “this is about faith in God,” or maybe, “faith vs. weak faith.” Their focus was about obeying God will (commandments), and seeking God’s promise and God’s power. Yet, religious fanboys see, “apostles.” It is easy to distinguish an empiricist, because they are so focused on people, on sensual things (sensations). Spiritual, intellectual and invisible things like God’s word and faith, are too intellectual and spiritual for their fleshly minds. They need to focus on men. They need robust histories, stories, heavy smelly books, elaborate traditions and colorful shadows. Because they cannot understand how a sinner like themselves is able to have faith to raise the dead, their focus is thus on other men, and how these other men cannot do it either. God was never in the picture. God was never there. They do apologetics against others by assuming God out of their arguments, when God is their defining epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. These fanboys, manage to talk about the Bible, sovereignty, and grace without God being there. If only in this aspect, they are miracles in how blind a person can be. They are practicing empiricists and atheists when they view the world and when they speak.