Bill Johnson (pastor)

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Bill Johnson
Senior leader
Bill Johnson teaching.jpg
ChurchBethel Church
Personal details
Birth nameBill Johnson
Born (1951-07-18) July 18, 1951 (age 69)
NationalityAmerican
DenominationCharismatic movement
SpouseBrenda "Beni" Johnson[1]
Children
OccupationAuthor

Bill Johnson (born July 18, 1951) is an American Christian minister and evangelist. He is the senior leader of Bethel Church, a charismatic megachurch in Redding, California.[2][3] The church has grown in membership from 2,000 when he joined in 1996,[4] to over 11,000 in 2019.[5] Johnson has taken public conservative positions on same-sex marriage, abortion, open borders, and many other topics.[6] He is an author, functions as an itinerant speaker and has been featured in various media.

Biography[edit]

Johnson is a fifth-generation pastor and has held the position of senior leader at Bethel Church since 1996. He is known for leading a church and Christian movement with a large focus on miracles and the Holy Spirit. According to Christianity Today, Johnson has "considerable influence among charismatic Christians all over the world".[7] Johnson joined Bethel with a stipulation that the message would always be about revival, with an emphasis on God's supernatural presence. The church lost a thousand members over his vision.[7] However, under his leadership, the church has since grown from 2,000 members in 1996[4] to over 11,000 in 2019.[5] His father, M. Earl Johnson, previously held the Senior Pastor position from 1968 to 1982, when Bethel Church was part of the Assemblies of God.[7] Prior to this position, Johnson, along with his wife, served as the Senior Pastors of Mountain Chapel in Weaverville, California from 1978 to 1996.[8]

Johnson attended a John Wimber signs and wonders conference in 1987 with the specific goal of seeking a revival of healing. He left discouraged because he had been teaching the same concepts John Wimber had been teaching, but the outcome was drastically different. Johnson states that this discouragement brought about a realization that faith required risk, and after this realization, the healing miracles began to happen.[9] He traveled to Toronto, Canada in 1995 to attend some of the Toronto Blessing revival meetings. Johnson recounts receiving a fresh touch from God at these meetings that focused his life's work on pursuing the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.[9]

In 1998, Johnson, along with Bethel Senior Associate Leader Kris Vallotton, started the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry to train students to become revivalists. The school has over 2,000 students from 57 countries.[7]

Bill Johnson and his wife Brenda ("Beni") have three children, including Brian Johnson who leads Bethel Music.

Popular culture[edit]

Johnson has appeared in multiple documentaries, including Father of Lights and Holy Ghost Reborn, produced by Darren Wilson.[10] He has also been interviewed and highlighted in several CBN news stories.[11][12] He was featured on the cover of Charisma magazine in August 2016 with a story titled "Born for Revival."[13] Johnson was also a guest on Sid Roth's It's Supernatural in October 2016.[14] Johnson was featured in the 2018 documentary American Gospel: Christ Alone as a prominent figure in the prosperity gospel movement, emphasizing supernatural miracles as evidence of salvation. Johnson has also been the subject of criticism.[7][15]

Political and cultural views[edit]

In 2016, Bill Johnson outlined why he voted for Donald Trump in a Facebook post, where he criticized abortion, open borders, the welfare system, same-sex marriage, socialism, political correctness and globalization, all as contrary to God's will. His wife and senior pastor, Beni Johnson, has also supported Donald Trump.[6] Johnson again endorsed Trump in 2020.[16]

Bill Johnson opposes homosexuality calling it a sin and "violation of design".[17] In a Facebook video blog he elaborated on the issue stating that "God did not make those human bodies to come together, to fit, in that way".[18]

In 2018, his church publicly opposed three bills in the California state legislature that would have restricted conversion therapy as they felt the bills might have restricted their ministry. Their opposition included a released statement, letters to legislators and encouragement of congregants to contact legislators through a sermon titled "What Would Jesus Do in a PC World?" by senior associate leader of the church Kris Vallotton and tweets, also by Vallotton, that specifically addressed those that had "come out of homosexuality".[2][19]

Published works[edit]

  • When Heaven Invades Earth (Destiny Image Publishers, 2003) ISBN 0-7684-2952-8
  • The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind (Destiny Image Publishers, 2005) ISBN 0-7684-2252-3
  • When Heaven Invades Earth Devotional & Journal (Destiny Image Publishers, August 2005) ISBN 0-7684-2297-3
  • Shifting Shadow of Supernatural Power: A Prophetic Manual for Those Wanting to Move in God's Supernatural Power (co-author) (Destiny Image Publishers, August 2006) ISBN 0-7684-2369-4
  • Dreaming With God (Destiny Image, December 2006) ISBN 0-7684-2399-6
  • The Supernatural Ways of Royalty (co-author) (Destiny Image Publishers, 2006) ISBN 0-7684-2323-6
  • The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind 40-Day Devotional and Personal Journal (Destiny Image, September 2006) ISBN 0-7684-2399-6 ISBN 0-7684-2375-9
  • Here Comes Heaven!: A Kid's Guide to God's Supernatural Power (co-author) (Destiny Image, October 2007) ISBN 0-7684-2502-6
  • Face to Face with God (Charisma House, 2007) ISBN 978-1-59979-070-1
  • Strengthen Yourself in The Lord (Destiny Image Publishers, 2007) ISBN 0-7684-2427-5
  • A Life of Miracles: A 365-day guide to prayer and miracles (Destiny Image, February 2008) ISBN 978-0-7684-2612-0
  • Strengthen Yourself in the Lord (Audio Book) (Destiny Image, February 2008) ISBN 0-7684-2610-3
  • Release the Power of Jesus ISBN 978-0-7684-2712-7
  • The Essential Guide to Healing (co-author) (Chosen Books, 2011) ISBN 978-0-8007-9519-1
  • Hosting the Presence (Destiny Image Publishers, 2012) ISBN 9780768441291
  • Experience the Impossible (Chosen Books, 2014) ISBN 978-0-8007-9617-4
  • Defining Moments (Whitaker House, 2016) ISBN 978-1-6291-1547-4
  • God is Good (Destiny Image Publishers, 2016) ISBN 978-0-7684-3716-4
  • The Way of Life (Destiny Image Publishers, 2018) ISBN 978-0-7684-4272-4

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Beni. The Happy Intercessor. Destiny Image, 2009, pg. 21.
  2. ^ a b Hitt, Tarpley (July 20, 2019). "The Mystical Megachurch Ruling Over Soccer Star Megan Rapinoe's Hometown". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "Leadership Archive | Bethel Church". www.bethel.com. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Winters, Amanda (January 16, 2010). "Bethel burgeons under pastor's visions of prosperity". The Record Searchlight. Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Parke, Caleb (September 19, 2019). "Pastor Bill Johnson on the recipe for revival, how Bethel Church exploded onto the global scene". Fox News. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Lodge, Carey (November 10, 2016). "Bethel Church's Bill Johnson: Why I Voted For Trump". Christian Today. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e Wendell Jones, Martyn (April 26, 2016). "Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church". Christianity Today. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  8. ^ Biography. Bill Johnson Ministries Archived May 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on April 12, 2017
  9. ^ a b Johnson, Bill. When Heaven Invades Earth Destiny Image, 2003, pg. 88
  10. ^ Bill Johnson Film Credits. IMDb. Retrieved October 8, 2017
  11. ^ Strant, Paul. Living a Life of Miracles. CBN TV. Retrieved April 7, 2017
  12. ^ Strant, Paul Miracles Outside the Church Walls. CBN TV. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  13. ^ Staff Writer.Born for Revival. Charisma Magazine, 2016
  14. ^ Roth, Sid. Guest: Bill Johnson. It's Supernatural. Retrieved October 8, 2017
  15. ^ Carter, Joe. "9 Things You Should Know About the Bethel Church Movement". The Gospel Coalition. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Parke, Caleb (October 31, 2020). "California pastor explains Trump vote with 'clear conscience'". Fox News. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  17. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (December 8, 2016). "Pastor Bill Johnson Condemns Homosexual Practice As 'Violation' Of God's Design". Christian Today. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Johnson, Bill. "Video Blog #9 'Sin is a violation of Design...'". Retrieved March 10, 2020.[non-primary source needed]
  19. ^ Sandhu, Amber (March 28, 2018). "Bethel comes out against LGBT bills pending in state Legislature". Record Searchlight. Retrieved December 29, 2019.