Joe Carter at TGC, when talking about Bill Johnson at Bethel Church says,
The Johnsons are frequently criticized for their teachings, which often veers from the suspect to the outright heretical. A prime example is Bill Johnson’s….it is always God’s will to heal someone:”
Some educated people, like the famous Erasmus, who was defeated by Martin Luther over an informal fallacy of a category error[*], are dumb at the most fundamental level. Or as Luther says, dumber or less educated than grammar school children, swinging on the monkey bars.
The gospel they use to condemn others of being heretical would make them twice as guilty, if not more. To shoot their opponent with their bb gun, they must shoot themselves with a .50 cal. pistol. Yet they do it anyway, somehow thinking they, “got them”?
I do not know the whole teaching of Bill, and so will not comment on him, but only on this one thing being said. What Bill said is correct, if “God’s Will,” is meant as ethics, since “God’s Will” can mean either Christian ontology or ethics. And from my limited exposure, it seems to me, this is how Bill means it. (Let me give this quick side note. If Bill meant “God’s Will,” as God’s precept and when you criticize him, taking it to be ontology, then congratulations, you just committed the sin of slander and bearing false witness.) When asking what God’s will is for me, then the context is about ethics. Christian ethics is what God commands us to do. The bible commands us to have faith to be healed. It is not a suggestion, just as it is not a suggestion to repent of your sins in Jesus name, in faith. It is a command. James 5 says if you are sick then pray in “faith.” James is not merely saying to pray if you are sick, and then “see what happen.” James command is to get healed by faith, and if you have sinned you will also be forgiven.
Because it is always God’s command for healing when you are sick, then it is always God’s Will for healing.
When the disciples failed to heal the boy in Mark 9, due to their lack of faith, Jesus went behind them and healed the boy anyway. Why? Because it is always God’s Will to heal by faith. It is always God’s will to forgive sins, because it is His commandment to us. God is still alive, even if some Christians do not like this fact. Thus, God’s commandments still stand today. If it is always God’s will for His commandments to be believed and obeyed, then healing and forgiveness is always God’s will.
On ultimate level causality, God causes all things. This is sometimes referred to as, God’s will. God caused, Thomas the Twin, to doubt Jesus resurrection; this was “God’s Will,” on the ultimate or only real level of causality. But God’s Will in regards to ethics, (what you ought to do) is to believe God. And so, Jesus rebuked Thomas, even though Thomas went along with God’s Will (causality) by not believing in Jesus’ resurrection. Even when God causes us to sin, for God causes all things, it is invalid to conclude this is what we “ought to do.” Paul clearly says in Romans 5 that God caused all people to be born as guilty sinners, and causes them to do sin. However, God’s commands all to repent, despite that He causes all to be born sinners, separate from their freedom and choice, (Acts 17 “he now commands all people everywhere to repent”). You cannot conclude, “Because God caused me to be born guilty and caused me to be control by sin, that it is “God’s Will,” for me to be a sinner.” No, what God causes and what He commands are not the same category. Color and numbers are not the same category. Why do I need to say this to grown adults?
Jesus rebuked Thomas, not on grounds of God’s causality, but of ethics. Jesus told him to do God’s revealed command, which is to believe in the Son of God.
Look, what happens if we mix categories up?
G.1. (~P) If God caused(ontology) the Apostle Thomas to not believe Jesus’ resurrection, (~Q) then it is right(ethics) for Thomas to not believe what Jesus commanded.
G.3. Thus. (~Q).
Or in a simply form:
B.1. If God planned unbelief, then ok to not believe.
B.2. God planned unbelief.
B.3. Thus, it is ok to not believe.
Again, this is unsound and false. It does not matter if it is ontology level 1, regarding God’s sovereign plan about reality, or if it is level 2, regarding God’s direct causality right now. To go from ontology to ethics is not a necessary connection. It is invalid and a false description of reality. It is invalid to conclude an “ought” from your observations, which is an “is.” What you observe is at best what something “is”; although, I would be cautious to even affirm this, due to the logical fallacy of empiricism and induction. There is not a necessary connection (p), to an (q) ought. Those who practice this fallacy, practice a doctrine of witchcraft and divination. It is a demonic stronghold over the mind. It has similarities to ouija board practitioners.
God caused the Pharaoh to not obey His command, by making the Pharaoh’s soul hard. However, this secret causality of God, does not negate His command(ethic), to let His people go. The same is with the gospel call to repentance. God might decree, and then cause human reprobate F or H or O, to not believe the gospel; however, what they “ought” to do is what God commands and not what God causes or decrees. The Pharaoh was a lawbreaker by disobeying God’s command to let His people go; therefore, He is accountable. Now, Responsibility is not based on Pharaoh’s freedom, but on God’s sovereign control to hold Pharaoh accountable to His command, period. Pharaoh did not resist God’s causality, because nothing can. Pharaoh is guilty because he disobeyed God’s command.
This is a similar stupid mistake that Erasmus made in mixing up ontology with ethics. Even if God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh is judged by God’s Will, that is, by God’s command to let His people go. We are also judged by this same impartial standard. We are judged by God’s commands.
This gospel of Jesus Christ is not narrowly about the forgiveness of sins, for that is only the doorway into the life of the Spirit. This gospel is about all the benefits it acquired, at that time and place (not another time, and another place), in Christ’s atonement. Galatians says that faith in Jesus grafts one into the promised blessing of Abraham. What does this promise of God mean? This promise includes, according to Paul, the Spirit and miracles. And let us not be naïve; if Paul is mentioning the Spirit and miracles, in context of the New Testament, it must be presupposed this is a common experience in the Galatian church. Yet, Scripture argues this common miracle experience is based on the very old promise that God gave to Abraham. God is merely letting His “Yes be Yes.” He is being faithful to His promise. God is not like man; God does what He promises, even if it is thousands of years later; and even if the people to who God promise did not realize this promise meant an abundant/common experience of miracles and Spirit in the New Testament Church; yet God knew, and He is faithful to do what He promised.
Thus, Jesus’ death and intercession grants this blessing for all individuals who have faith in Him. This is said on the relative level ontology. On ultimate level ontology, it was not accomplished by their faith; rather, Jesus’ atonement did, and it was accepted and declared as final and good by the Father. As stated earlier about God’s direct and arbitrary-sovereignty that gives all things their definition, the same is true here as it is for all things. God’s sovereign choice decided that based on Jesus’ work the Elect are righteous and worthy to be adopted as His son’s. This act is good and righteous for God the judge to do so, because God thinks it is so. Therefore, faith as a purchased gift is sovereignly worked in those to whom this reconciliation was for. The Elect’s souls are far too weak to resist God’s power to awaken their tiny souls into the unstoppable power and life of His Spirit.
Isaiah says that Jesus as a High Priest, accomplished healing for His elect. In fact, Matthew 8:17 quotes this passage as demonstrating Jesus fulfilling what God promised. The point is that the blood and intercession of Jesus purchased this healing gift for those who take it by faith. Thus, it is not surprising to discover that faith for forgiveness of sins is accomplished by the same way. Jesus’ blood and intercession purchased it and all individuals predestined to be in the Covenant, will have faith to take it. Jesus says in John 15 we are “appointed,” or that is predestined for good works. To Jesus this predestination of fruit includes loving others and having faith to ask and get anything from God.
Hebrews 10:29 (NLT)
“Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.”
“To say you can have faith, but God still might not heal you,” logically means, you trample the bloodshed of Christ as trash. It despises the compassionate nature of God. Healing is a provision of the Blood of Jesus as a High Priest, which is stated in Isaiah 53, and reaffirmed in the New Testament (Matt 8:17). At the time and place of Jesus’ atonement (not something else), both forgiveness of sins and healing was accomplished. Furthermore, the blessing of Abraham was accomplished by the same means. Both are based on the finished atonement of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if you negate “faith healing,” because it is produced by the bloodshed of Jesus as a high priest, then you logically negate “faith forgiveness,” because the bloodshed of Jesus is the cause of both. If you throw out one, you throw out the other. Bye, bye, forgiveness of sins: see you later. There is only one Bible and one definition of the atonement. And this definition makes both healing and forgiveness based on the finished work of Jesus and received by faith.”
The truth of the matter is the God is “obligated,” to answer our prayers once God makes a sovereign promise to do so. (i.e. Obligated to His nature that cannot lie.) 1 John says that God is “just,” to forgive us our sins, not “merciful.” 1 John 1:9 (LEB), “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, so that he will forgive us our sins.” Because of God’s sovereign promise to honor Jesus’ atonement and honor the promise of forgiveness of sin, when one asks in faith, God therefore, is “just” and “faithful” to forgive. You could be weird and call it, “forcing God to do our will,” but that would be a strange way to say it. God cannot lie. God is faithful. When God makes a promise, then He must fulfill it, or contradict His own nature. It was in God’s own freedom and sovereignty to make the promise to begin with. And so, He will sovereignly and happily keep His sovereignly made promise. To sovereignly break the promise, would be to deny Himself.
What pathetic moron will say, “even if you believe in faith for salvation in Jesus, because God is sovereign, He might not forgive you, because it is arrogant to assume, God’s Will.” Lord forbid, we believe in “faith-forgiveness,” because it would mean God is not sovereign, right?”
Despite their rhetoric, the Bible is not their (non-faith-people, traditionalist, atheist) first principle for knowledge. Rather, it is their experiences, emotions, traditions and human empiricism. The kingdom of self dominates their tiny souls, because they start with their human speculations first, rather than God’s word. They would do us all a favor if they came out from the closet and just said, “Sola Empiricism,” and “David Hume alone.”
However, some do not even try to hide the fact that they are spiritual sluts with empiricism and human speculation and human superstition. With a straight face they ask me, “why do we not see so many miracles today, unless God does not want it?” They are like the people from Jesus’ hometown who said, “This is Joseph’s and Mary’s son,” and then in unbelief demand He prove by miracles who He claims to be. But their unbelief made that impossible. These peers did not start with God’s revelation; rather, their starting point for knowledge was their human observations. Scripture records it was due to their lack of faith, and not the lack of Jesus being willing and able to heal. With such people I am asking myself, what happen to starting with God’s revelation for knowledge? Where did God go? Why is it so automatic for them to start with a “human” speculation and “human” superstition? If they only mean to do a personal attack (a logical fallacy) by saying, “Oshea (or Johnny), how many miracles have you done,” then why do they default to argumentation that the politicians use? Is it because politicians are such good examples for how to argue for truth? They are like the religious leaders who slapped Jesus and demanded He prove His claim as God by prophesying. They harlot themselves with David Hume’s empiricism in the open streets, and then march back in their pulpits, and after wiping off their sweaty faces, they say with a straight face, “solo scriptura.” Maybe if they could stop humping on empiricism for just a few seconds, they might wake up and realize the disgrace they are committing against their own souls, and against those who hear them.
But for you. Start with God’s revelation and believe Him. He wants you to know about all His benefits and to rely on Him to be faithful to fulfill all His promises, including both the spiritual and material one. Paul says in the prayer in Ephesians 3 that as we trust in Jesus’ great love for us, He will make our souls His home, and by this we become strong in the inner man. Trust in God’s policy of thought and action of favor to you, that always triggers on the highest, lowest, longest and widest application of life.
[*]Martin Luther’s point about confusing the category of an imperative and indicative is the first I know of who shows a category mistake with God’s causation and command. Vincent Cheung has been a help to me to understand this is greater clarity. See his, Systematic Theology, Healing and Atonement, and the essay called, “Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11
 Vincent Cheung helped me to see this clearly in this passage. See, Vincent Cheung, Predestination and Miracles.
 Oshea Davis. Intercession and Predestination.
 This definition, I do not know if it is original to Vincent or not, but I learned it from him in his Systematic Theology book. “Love is God’s policy of thought and action of favor.”