Book Review: The Power of Communion – Beni Johnson

With thanks to Famine In The Land and Rick Becker, a review of Beni Johnson’s book “The Power of Communion”.

“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:  The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 


Rick Becker writes:

The title of the book serves as bait to attract a generation obsessed with signs and wonders. The false premise that believers can access “miracles through the body & blood of Jesus” will deceive those too lazy to study the word of God, and gullible enough to believe every story in this book. It will become clear that Beni Johnson’s book is not a result of rightly dividing the word. Charles Spurgeon said “discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” In this book, there’s very little “right,” very little “almost right” and a great deal of wrong. In true New Apostolic Reformation fashion, Johnson veers off the map (scripture) and into the forbidden territories of charismatic myths, dominionism, mysticism, the new age, and other errors.

 

All quotes are from The Power of Communion. Destiny Image, Inc. Kindle Edition.

The NAR terminology and overuse of certain biblical terms in this book is a give away of what to expect. Here follows a list of the words followed by the number of times they occur:  Atmosphere – 5, Shift – 7, Expectation – 7, Suddenly – 11, Prophetic – 15, Release – 18, Tool – 19, Miracle – 19, Declare – 20, Encounter – 24, Presence – 25, Testimony – 26, Heal/healing – 85, Power – 94.

Some of the errors in each chapter are highlighted below:

CHAPTER 1.  WONDER WORKING POWER

Beni starts off by describing her own church background. Her parents were leaders in their church, and Beni was exposed to people encountering God.
Beni:  “People began to come up, and right away they started to manifest physically.They were crying and rolling around on the ground, encountering the Holy Spirit in new ways.”
She confesses that she “had no idea what was going on”, but “knew it was from the Lord.” (p.9) “New ways” really means ways that are not found in scripture, so the “knowing” that Beni experienced was based solely upon emotions.

Beni:  “On Sunday, April 9, 2017, our church body ended a corporate fast. My husband preached a wonderful sermon on the impact of Communion, and at the end of the service we took Communion as a congregation. We prayed together, applied the blood of Jesus to our families and communities, and celebrated what Jesus did for all mankind.” (pp.12-13)
Israel had to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to their doorposts to protect them from God’s judgement. This act is used to justify the modern and unbiblical practice of “pleading” or “applying” the blood of Jesus for protection or deliverance. The continual sacrifices under the law came to an end once Christ shed his blood (Hebrews 7:27).  His blood is effective in redeeming individuals, and delivering them from God’s judgement. Those who attempt to reapply the blood over others or communities, are partaking in a futile and unbiblical exercise.

Beni:  “Any time we are entering a season of prayer for an individual or an issue, we are co-laboring with God. When I use Communion during these seasons of prayer, I joyfully get to do my part in declaring Heaven over their lives.”  (p.14).
The Apostle Paul when addressing division in the Corinthian church, referred to himself and Apollos as “God’s fellow workers” – 1 Cor 3:9. This does not mean they were equal to God.  Verse 6-7 makes this clear: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” This is an important distinction to make, as Bill Johnson believes Jesus came to model life for us. As far as miracles are concerned, Bill believes that whatever miracles Jesus performed, we should be able to do and even improve upon. This is based on a faulty interpretation of John 14:12. Only God can decree and declare things into existence, but delusions of grandeur have caused those who have bought into NAR teachings to believe their declarations contain power and are causative.

Beni:  “When I take Communion, I take it as a prophetic act, applying it to any situationthat is weighing on my heart. A prophetic act is a Holy Spirit-inspired physical action that disrupts the atmosphere. Sometimes, I’ll feel as though God wants me to do something tangible to activate something that I’m praying into. During those moments, I simply ask the Holy Spirit, “What should I do about this?” Then, I’ll feel prompted to—for example—take my shofar into the prayer house that we have at Bethel or go to a specific place to take Communion. In completing the prophetic act, we are releasing something into the atmosphere that helps the answer to our prayer to break through.”  (pp.17-18)

In this article, Beni states that there is something miraculous about the sound of a Shofar:We discovered there is a sound in the Shofar that breaks things and releases things in the spirit realm.”
This discovery has come two thousand years too late for the apostle Paul. Provoked in his spirit due to all the idols in Athens, Paul could have used the sound of a Shofar to break and release things in the atmosphere. All that Beni actually discovered is the new age – something she unashamedly promotes.

Beni’s version of communion is far removed from the biblical description. Jesus made no mention of prophetic acts that disrupt the atmosphere:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
1 Cor 11:23-26.

The book is littered with testimonies/stories –  approximately 30 in the book.

A young woman who had been sick for seven months texted Beni and asked for help. After asking a few questions, Beni discovered that the young woman’s boyfriend had been married to a witch. Beni came to the conclusion that the young woman had been cursed, and advised her to take communion daily and “apply the blood of Jesus over her own life and send every curse meant to harm her back to where it came from.That evening, the woman felt better She then prophesied to her body, and by the morning was completely healed. The story does not end there; it seems as if the curse was reversed: “A few days later, she told me that her boyfriend’s ex-wife—the very woman who had been cursing her—had come down with the exact same symptoms that she’d been experiencing for the past seven months.” (pp.23-24)

Beni correctly states that communion is exclusively for those who are born again (p.168), and since she advised the lady to take communion, one must conclude Beni considered her to be a believer. But how can a believer be cursed by a witch in the first place? Christ became a curse for us, and every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling within. Sending curses back to their source are practices found in Voodoo magic and witchcraft, not Christianity.

CHAPTER 2.  THE POWER OF THE BLOOD

Beni:  “We’ve heard of wonderful testimonies surrounding Communion—people being healed, couples who were dealing with infertility taking Communion every day and getting pregnant, and of people falling out in the middle of taking Communion. They had an encounter with the Lord that was so powerful while they participated in the sacrament  that their bodies could no longer stand up.” (p.27)

How many times is communion necessary in order for a woman to fall pregnant? At what point will she access the miracle working power? Throughout the book, it seems as if communion has become a vain repetition, with communion itself being the object of faith.

Beni:  “The blood of Jesus paid for everything. It washed us white as snow, so we could enter the presence of the Lord without an intermediary and without fear. The blood of Jesus gave us freedom and authority. Hell has been defeated for all eternity. And now we get to boldly release Heaven on earth.” (p.41)
This is a steak and arsenic sentence  – food & poison, truth & error.  How do believers “release Heaven on earth?”  Where is this concept taught in scripture?

Beni shares a short testimony by Henry Gruver, a “powerful intercessor” who made a trip to Wales in order to “pray and release the kingdom.” I won’t even bother repeating the tall story Gruver recounts about reclaiming an entire mountaintop for kingdom purposes, but I want to quote from an article by Gruver (Beni provides the link at the end of the chapter). Gruver says he was walking along the Wye river, when he heard teenage girls screaming. When he got to the area where he thought the screams were coming from, there was no one there. At that point, God gave Gruver a vision; he saw Roman soldiers capturing young girls from villages Some were abused before being killed.

The Lord said to Gruver: “This happened back in the third century, and their innocent blood is still crying from the ground.” Gruver asked God what he should do, and God told him to “remit those sins.” God told Gruver this act would take back the “stronghold,”  free the ground and the entire creation in that area, so Gruver obeyed and forgave the sins of the Romans. Gruver writes: “What do you do after you have remitted the sins that were committed in an area? Then it is time to release the goodness of the Lord over the land, and over those who are currently living there.”
If you find this story confusing, that’s because it is. Gruver’s story can only come from one of two sources – his imagination or deceiving spirits. But that’s clearly not a problem for Beni and Bethel, who revel in any far out story containing a supernatural element.  Although Beni does not quote this particular incident in the book, she endorses Gruver’s teachings and affirms her belief in this kind of practice (geographical ownership)  in Chapter 6.

CHAPTER 3.  SOZO FOR ALL MANKIND

Testimonies can be encouraging and have their place if they align with scripture, but they are not a conclusive means to establish sound doctrine. Scripture is the only infallible source a believer can rely on. Not so in the NAR – testimonies (usually exaggerated and unverifiable) seem to carry more weight than scripture. After a discussion with a cessationist in a coffee shop, Beni writes “When I started sharing what God had done in my life, the gentleman didn’t have anything to say. People can argue with theology, but your testimony is your most powerful tool.”  (p.53)
But what if your experiences have deceived you? Beni believes that a believer can be cursed by a witch, and that the cursed believer should simply “apply the blood” and return the curse to the sender. Is Beni’s own testimony that her prophetic acts can wake up angels, a powerful tool, or a powerful deception?

Beni:  “We deny the power of the cross when we deny the power of God healing today.”(p.54)
If Beni understood the power of the cross, she would realise that believers cannot be cursed! The issue of healing will be addressed below.

Beni:  “Every Saturday morning, we host the Healing Rooms at Bethel. People come for prayer for all sorts of physical, emotional, or spiritual ailments. The first place they go, after they arrive, is into our large sanctuary that is transformed into an encounter room. There, they can worship, sit quietly, or walk around while intercessory dancers, artists, and musicians fill the atmosphere with hope and expectancy. There is such a sweet presence of God there.” (p.55)
When special effects in the form of smoke and glitter are purported to be God’s presence at Bethel, it’s safe to conclude that the sweet presence at Bethel’s healing rooms is not from God. These encounter rooms are the perfect place to schedule a Sozo course for the needy.  Bethel & co have hijacked the word sōzō (save, deliver, heal) to describe their inner healing and deliverance course. Bethel describes their Sozo course as follows: “Sozo ministry is a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry aimed to get to the root of things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With a healed connection, you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called.”  Bethel’s Sozo course is steeped in mysticism, the occult, and therapies that will lead their victims into greater deception and turmoil.

Beni:  “When we take Communion and declare total health over our bodies, we are aligning ourselves up with what the body of Christ did for us. If we believe what the Bible says, that “by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5), then there has to be something important in the act of partaking in His body during Communion. His body suffered so that our bodies wouldn’t have to. When we take the bread, we are testifying that He is the healer, that we don’t have to walk in sickness, that what Jesus did on the cross changed everything.” (p.56)

Healing does not always refer to physical healing, and the context of Isaiah is primarily spiritual healing (from sin): “But he was pierced for our transgressionshe was crushed for our iniquitiesupon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” Isaiah 53:5

While the effects of sin such as disease are included in the atonement, physical healing is not guaranteed during our earthly life. When Peter quotes from Isaiah 53, he does not equate Christ’s work on the cross with guaranteed physical healing; in fact the context excludes diseases: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25

Our physical healing will be complete when we receive our resurrection bodies. God may graciously heal some according to his will. Paul had ample opportunity to use the illnesses of Timothy, Trophimus, and Epaphroditus, as an example of 3 believers who failed to exercise their faith, declare their healing, or miss the “power” that’s in communion.

The chapter ends with more testimonies of how the “healing power of communion”supposedly facilitated a miracle.

CHAPTER 4.  CONQUERING THROUGH PEACE

In this chapter, Beni recounts her battle with cancer. One of the stories involves Judy Franklin. Franklin is one of the authors of  “The Physics Of Heaven”  – a book that explores “the mysteries of God hidden in sound, light, vibrations, frequencies, energy, and quantum physics.” (Bill and Beni Johnson contributed with chapters). The book has nothing to do with heaven, and everything to do with the new age – it’s heresy!

Beni speaks about finding peace daily during her battle with cancer. The peace she was looking for, was a peace she had previously experienced  “in Heaven.” (p.74)
She had this experience at a retreat with Judy, who apparently is “highly anointed in taking people on heavenly encounters. She leads people in encounters with the Lord in which they get to experience Heaven with Him. It’s a powerful gift.” (p.74) It’s a gift the bible does not mention. But Judy is special it seems, as God takes her on trips to Heaven, explains scriptures to her, and gives her new revelations.
This is an excerpt from Judy’s Chapter in “The Physics of Heaven” :
“The next thing the Lord told me was that soon He would release a sound from heaven that will literally change the structure of how we think. This new sound will transform us like the transformation spoken of in Romans 12. Our minds will be renewed so that we think like Him and are no longer conformed to this world but conformed to the will of God. Bringing heaven to earth is our mandate, and to do that we need to think more like heaven.”

Judy’s mandate is not from Heaven;  it’s from an angel of light. Beni recounts how Judy facilitated a heavenly encounter: “she had us all lie on the floor, and she began to take us on a journey to Heaven. I was lying on the floor, my head underneath a chair, visualizing Jesus. Almost immediately I went into a vision. In it, I saw my two grandmothers who had passed on.” (pp.74-75)

The trip to heaven, was all in the mind or a demonic encounter. Visualization is NOT a technique taught in scripture – it is employed in Eastern Religions, mysticism, the new age, and Shamanism. It’s a bridge between the physical and spirit world. Using the imagination to achieve a form of spiritual enlightenment or altered consciousness is an invitation to deceiving spirits, and an angel of light. Beni’s guided tour into the heavenlies was an experience that produced something she “had never felt before.” She realised that what she was feeling was “heavens peace.”
According to scripture, the peace of God surpasses all understanding, but we should never abandon our understanding of scripture in order to “feel peace.” Prayer, not visualization, is the means through which we obtain peace.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7
The Chapter includes an example of what some would classify as a “word of knowledge”  – “Soon after I got the diagnosis, I received a word from a friend. He saw the word “benefit” and heard, “Beni is fit for the next season.” (p.81)

CHAPTER 5.  THE FIGHT TO REMEMBER

According to scripture, the last days will be characterized by times of difficulty, depravity, deception, and a departure from the faith (2 Tim 3:1-7;1 Tim 4:1). This biblical view does not fit in with the Bethel’s postmillennial eschatology. Their solution is simple: Ignore scripture, and let stories determine truth.
Beni:  “Bill spoke about the power of testimonies recently. At Bethel, sharing testimonies is a big part of our culture. We have a two-hour senior staff meeting each week where we spend 90 percent of the time sharing about what the Lord is doing all over the earth. It’s amazing to hear about the miracles. The world is truly getting better all of the time.” (p.95)

There is power in the gospel (Rom 1:16), not in the testimonies of men and women. But Bethel believes testimonies are powerful due to their domino effect on faith. Beni tells the story of their son Eric who had been “releasing the power” of the testimony. Some youngsters that had been diagnosed with autism had experienced “miraculous transformations.” Eric shared the testimony of this powerful healing from autism about ten times, and each time there was another healing related to autism. Beni gives the reason for these successive healings: “The testimony increases the faith in the room, and the faith in the room grabs ahold of what was paid for 2,000 years ago.” (p.96)
That’s pure word of faith heresy, which means that at the end of the day, healing depends upon ourselves and a force called faith, not God.

Erwin McManus is the lead pastor of Mosaic church in Los Angeles. Beni shares a quote from his message at Bethel’s Open Heavens Conference: “..he started to unravel the differences between humans and other creations. And, ultimately, he said, “Faith is what makes us human…. No other species needs hope. Hope is what connects us to the future…. In the same way that bees create hives and ants create colonies, humans create futures….You have the power to create the future, but the moment you lose hope is the moment you’re disconnected from the future.” (pp.96-97)

Ah, nothing like some word of faith heresy thrown in to tickle the ears of wannabe gods. Even a broken clock is right twice a day – not everything false teachers say is going to be incorrect. Beni gets it right:
“One day, I was imagining His suffering, and I realized, “He stayed up on that cross!” Jesus was fully God and fully man. He didn’t have to do anything He didn’t want to do. He could have taken Himself right off of that cross if He’d chosen to, but He stayed.”
(p.102).

“Each time we take Communion, we are testifying to the enormous, radical love of God. We are reminding ourselves that we had a debt that we could never, ever repay and that we were condemned to death; there was nothing we could do about it.”
 (pp.106-107)
While the lure of accessing power and miracles will attract many, the odd truth statement from Beni will unfortunately catch undiscerning folk who will be fooled into a false sense of security. Will they compare the rest of her teachings with scripture? Will they believe all the testimonies?

CHAPTER 6.  RELEASING THE POWER OF COMMUNION

Beni has some strange beliefs and practices. In one of her blog posts she writes about tuning forks bringing healing: “We need to tune our lives to love. When we tune our lives to love it brings healing. One thing about this 528 HZ tuning fork is that science tells us that the sound of this fork brings healing. .”

Here’s another: “A thin place is where heaven and earth are close. It is easier to experience the spiritual realm in these places.” – Beni Johnson, Mystics, Mystical Experiences and Contemplative Prayer.

In 2016 Beni felt as if God wanted her to take communion daily for the two weeks preceding the elections. In this chapter, she suggests that there is something special about the time and place of prayers:

Beni:  “So every day at high noon, I would take my little cup and wafer and remember all that Jesus did for us and all that He was doing in our nation. High noon has become an important time for me to pray. When the sun is at its pinnacle in the sky, everything is exposed. I like to think about the light flushing out anything that’s been hiding in the dark places. It’s a powerful time to intercede for God’s light and truth to expose any hidden things. I was born to pray. When I go up to the high places—a mountaintop or the top of a city building—to pray and worship, I feel as though I’m doing what I was born to do. I’m in my element. I often go with a team of friends to various places to intercede, and in the last few years we’ve added Communion to the arsenal of tools we use during these times.” (pp.109-110)

While Beni states that communion is not a “magic pill” or means for us to get our wishes, Bethel clearly use it for unbiblical practices. Strategies of the “Spiritual Warfare Movement” raise their ugly head: “One of the ways that we can tap into the transformative power of Communion is by taking it into our communities. I have more stories of specific prayer walks in The Happy Intercessor. These walks are a chance for us to take ownership over our land and the atmospheres over our cities.” (p.111)

As an example “of this kind of geographical ownership” Beni shares the story of “Anne Kalvestrand, a powerful intercessor at Bethel.”  BSSM students from the class of 2015 who were of Armenian or Turkish descent travelled to Turkey for the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Holocaust. The students visited the areas where some of the conflicts took place and “poured the Communion elements onto the ground, praying for the trauma of the genocide to leave the land. The Armenian students forgave the Turks and prayed for salvation to come to all of Turkey.” (pp.111-112)
Very often something seems noble, pure, and the intentions righteous, but our task is to compare these kinds of practices to what scripture teaches. Beni goes further and invites a seemingly absent God to be involved in the situation: “When those Turkish and Armenian students stood together and poured out Communion into the war-ravaged soil, they wereinviting the reality of the resurrected Christ, the One who is victorious over sin and darkness, into the history of that land.” (p.113)
How does one “Invite” or to use another popular phrase “partner with” the omniscient God who controls history and ensures all his purposes and plans come to pass? We are mere vessels and servants, but in the NAR and Word of Faith movements, people are elevated: “Every time we take Communion, then, we are reminding ourselves that we are Christians—little Christs. When we remind ourselves who we are, we can reveal to the world who He is.” (p.113)

Beni’s next story is about a Roadrunner that kept coming to Bethel’s prayer meetings, which they felt was “significant.” The bird managed to get inside one day as a cleaning team was busy. At some point the bird was spooked and ran into a glass window and died. They were so perplexed by this incident that: “Bill went to the Lord and just asked Him what was going on with this bird. Very clearly, he heard, “What I’m bringing into the House, had better have a way of being released from the House or it will die in the House.” (p.127)
With a complete canon of scripture at their disposal, it seems incredulous that Bethel need omens for guidance. Beni ties this story into the theme of communion by adding:
“I want to encourage you to release the power of Communion from the four walls of the church and into your family, your business, your community, etc.”

So lets ask the question – where is this taught in scripture? Have you released the power of communion into your business? You should according to Andy Mason, the head of “Heaven in Business” –  an initiative of Bethel Church that “won’t stop until we see the fullness of what Christ paid for manifest in our lives, business, communities and nations.”  Beni shares Andy’s testimony in this chapter. Andy had a friend whose one business was lacking growth, and needed a breakthrough.
Andy:  “I felt like we should take Communion, pray and bless the business, believing that Jesus had already paid for everything within his business.
The man dropped Andy off at the station to return home, and within hours the man “discovered that the once-stagnant workplace had suddenly received at least ten requests for quotes from all over the world from huge international companies.They were in business! The owner was so blown away by the presence of the Lord that he couldn’t work for the rest of the day.” (p.118)

Visualization is also taught at Bethel’s Christian School. Beni shares one of the teacher’s stories about how they teach communion to the children. The children write down their sins on paper, and then “With that paper in their hands, the kids move into a soaking time where Tawny invites them to see Jesus on the cross and ask Him to show them what carrying their sin felt like.” (p.125)
After communion they destroy the paper in a “prophetic act” and dance on it to the music of “an old song called, “Stomp on the Devil’s Head.”

Beni:  “There is no area of your life that Communion with God cannot improve. Take these testimonies as your own. The Bible says that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy” (Rev. 19:10). Whatever God has done before, He wants to do again. Grab a hold of them.” (p.127)

How do I grab a hold of someone’s testimony? It’s a pity Beni does not elaborate on Revelation 19:10. How did she miss “the testimony of JESUS” – everything must point to Christ. The angels, prophets, and the apostles testified of Jesus. The scriptures testify of Jesus (John 5:39). There is no need for a road runner to die an untimely death in order to give someone a revelation. Should I infer that Jesus will pay for everything in my business based on a “testimony.” Do I need to soak and visualize Jesus to appreciate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross?

Why should these “testimonies” of “miracles” be repeated in the lives of others – Beni has the answer: “God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So when you hear of a miracle that has happened in someone else’s life, you know that God has just set the legal precedent of what He wants to continue. Testimonies are not just fond memories. They have a lifespan that’s eternal. They continually give God praise.”
(p.95 – quote from Chapter 5 but pertinent at this point)

Where does Beni get her strange teachings from, here’s a clue from Bill Johnson’s Facebook page:

“Anytime you hear a testimony there is a covenant from God to duplicate the miracle” – is NOT taught in scripture!
“We release these testimonies as prophecy “– NOT  taught in scripture

CHAPTER 7.  THE POSTURE OF OUR HEARTS

Throughout the book, there are some statements that are valid, but then are totally ruined by the surrounding context. For example : “Even though I love our free-flowing worship, there is something so beautiful about a formal liturgy.”  I agree wholeheartedly with this, and with Beni’s next comment on what is missing in many communion services –  “a sense of soberness…there needs to be a sense of gravity about what we are getting to participate in.” Unfortunately her observation is ruined by the rest of the paragraph:
“Often, when we focus so much on what divides us, we can miss out on honoring some valuable aspects of different Christian traditions.”
In some cases division is necessary: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them“Romans 16:17. One would imagine that a book on communion would at least name the heretical practice of transubstantiation – the belief that the elements change into the actual flesh and blood of Christ. Instead, Beni points to the false religion that practices transubstantiation as an example of how to honor communion: “I think we can learn from the way the Catholic Church honors Communion, teaching the children what it means and making a special event of their first occasion.” (p.132)

Beni tells the story of Damaris Stevens who runs the communion services at Bethel. Understaffed and discouraged, Damaris poured out her heart to God during one service, and heard him say : “You’re thinking about the work and not thinking about the joy in the work”  She paused, looked around the sanctuary, and saw things in a different light – literally! – ” All of a sudden, it felt like the whole room changed to a deeper color as I looked around at people taking Communion. They glowed! Not like a light, but more like their colors became vivid. Like, as they took Communion, they went from analog to high definition. (p.141)

Damaris experienced another “miracle,” she realised that she would run short of the elements during two services, and so she prayed.

“On both occasions, though, something strange happened. Trays of bread and juice would go out to the congregation to be passed along the rows of people, like they were normally. But instead of returning almost empty, trays began to return to her full, as if they hadn’t been touched. “Usually, there is only a little bit of bread and a just a few juices left, if any. But for every service on these two occasions, it was like the bread and juice had been replaced every time someone picked up an element. It felt like a little miracle just for our team to show us that God really cared about what we were doing for the church.” (pp.142-143)

Beni:  “Communion is not a magic pill, and God is not a vending machine. He does not want us to eat a wafer and drink some grape juice every day so that He will grant our wishes.” (p.145)
I agree, but then why teach that we can access miracles through communion and grab a hold of others testimonies? Why teach that communion can “improve” every area of your life? Why teach that God has set a legal precedent he wants to continue after a miracle has taken place?

CHAPTER 8. DEVELOPING THE HABIT – BILL JOHNSON

Bill:  “An impartation of thankfulness would have the greatest impact on the hearts and minds of people. It would literally change the world as we know it. Thankful people attract breakthrough.” (p.149)
No it won’t Bill – Only the gospel will have an impact on the world – and according to scripture, the world is only getting worse. This same gospel does not teach the law of attraction.

Bill has one section in his chapter with the title “Partaking Worthily.”
This is the text Bill is about to comment on:  “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died
1 Corinthians 11:27-30

Bill:  “Paul gives us a somber warning in verse 27  This is an interesting part of communion. Communion hurts you if you’re not saved, but advances you if you are. The anointing of God doesn’t always have the same effect on people. The presence that brings you peace will sometimes irritate others.” (p.151)
We’ll examine whether Bill’s first sentence is correct. His second sentence is just your typical NAR word salad.

Bill’s explanation of the text:  “He (Paul) is saying there are people in the body of Christ who will go to heaven, but because they did not realize the meaning of what was in their hands, they reduced communion to a religious ritual.  Without realizing it, they removed the tool that God had put in their life to bring divine health. And for that reason, many are weak or sick, and some have even died. Yet presumably, week after week, month after month, the miracle was in their hand but a wrong perspective cancels out the power of that moment.” (pp.153-154)

What Bill gets half right –  the Corinthians were abusing the Lord’s supper, but it was worse than reducing it to a religious ritual: “For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?” 1 Cor 11:21-22
What Bill gets wrong – communion is not a tool for divine health, or a miracle in your hand.
What Bill twists – Bill gives the reader the following impression: There are sick and deceased Corinthians who could have been healed but failed to realize the miracle in their hands – the power of communion. Bill wants us to believe that if we could just change our perspective, we could access the power of communion.The passage gives the cause of the illness, but Bill conveniently ignores this fact.
What the passage really means – some healthy Corinthians fell ill or died because they partook of communion in an unworthy manner: “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” (vs 30) The Corinthians were not weak, sick, or deceased due to a wrong perspective on the benefits of communion, but because of a failure to discern the body (vs 29)  In other words, communion hurt “many” believers in this instance.
What Bill failed to mention – Verse 32: “But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
The Corinthians were not sick because a witch had cursed them or because a demon of infirmity had attacked their mortal bodies. They were sick or dead because God had brought judgement. In what will be shocking news to any Bethelite who reads this – God used sickness to discipline believers. Matthew Henry’s commentary on verse 32: “The apostle was addressing Christians, and warning them to beware of the temporal judgements with which God chastised his offending servants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: he many times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to bear trouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. The apostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord’s table. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at this holy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, to condemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divine judgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against the irregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at the Lord’s table. Let all look to it, that they do not come together to God’s worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeance on themselves.”

Bill:  “Everybody knows you get a new body in Heaven. There’s no sickness there, there’s no weeping there, there’s no pain, no conflict, no confusion. In Heaven, everything is wonderful. So, it’s important to see that this part of His provision is for now. “By His stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:5). Peter quoted the passage from Isaiah in this way: “by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). Notice it is past tense. It has already been accomplished on our behalf.” (pp.156-157)

As I have pointed out, the context of 1 Peter excludes physical healing in this life. There are many stories of healings and miracles in this book, but not one doctors report confirming any kind of miraculous intervention. The Johnson’s have faced their own set of challenges during which they all had rely on  medical intervention for help. Eric Johnson is 85 to 90% deaf in both ears and relies on a hearing aid. Brian Johnson was medicated and hospitalized after a nervous breakdown. In 2015 Bill Johnson underwent surgery to remove a growth in his intestine. In 2018 Beni required surgery for breast cancer. In each case, medical intervention was needed, Bethel’s own “healing rooms” could not help.

Bill ends the chapter, with what Bill believes, not what scripture teaches: “I believe that the Lord is going to release unusual miracles of healing in the taking of the bread. He is going to release unusual miracles of deliverance to people and family members, who are maybe a thousand miles away or more by our taking the juice (representing the blood) and pleading the blood of Jesus over their lives. (pp.164)

CONCLUSION.

On the one hand the book states that “Communion is not a magic pill, and God is not a vending machine.” On the other hand the book is full of testimonies that create the impression communion solves certain problems that nothing else will.  It’s difficult to not come to the conclusion that the more you take communion, the better your chances are for whatever breakthrough is needed. Beni shares that she usually takes communion daily, sometimes multiple times a day, and describes it as a “tool” in her “intercessory toolbox.”(p.12)  But that’s not all Beni believes communion is useful for:
“It is a powerful tool, not only for intercession, but also for healing. Take Communion, take it often, and apply the healing power of Jesus to your bodies! (p.55)

Paul does not mention these added bonuses communion apparently offers. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, the “power of communion” would have been activated (to use Bethel terminology) as Christ had already been crucified and resurrected. While Beni does make some true statements, the few nuggets of truth are overshadowed by stories and false teachings.Teachings that don’t belong to Christianity in any way. With this statement, Beni condemns herself  “Jesus died for our sins and our sickness – anything that threatens to steal, kill or destroy our life in Him is not of Him” (p.52) The words steal, kill and destroy can be found in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Many associate the thief in this verse with the devil, but Jesus was in fact referring to the false teachers of his day. It’s abundantly clear that Beni is teaching false doctrines, doctrines that will steal, kill, and destroy. This book, “is not of Him.”

Source: Rick Becker, Famine In The Land blog, http://fitl.co.za/2019/03/20/book-review-the-power-of-communion-beni-johnson/ Published March 20, 2019 (Accessed March 22, 2019.)


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