Power Through Communion?

This is a critique of The Power of Communion: Accessing Miracles Through the Body & Blood of Jesus, by Beni Johnson with Bill Johnson, Destiny Image Publishers, 2019.

In 50-plus years of pastoral ministry, we have never viewed Communion, The Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist as a means to acquiring power. Nor have we ever read any Christian material that presents Communion as such. But here it is thus presented by Bill and Beni Johnson of the Bethel Church in Redding, California. 

We also note the word “accessing.” This term is often used by those who practice magic, in that by performing various rites and rituals, power is granted, protection is given, and knowledge is gained. In Scripture itself, when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, as in Luke 22:14–23, He said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). It is a remembering of what our Lord Jesus did for us on the cross. Indeed, our sin, and all of it, was laid upon the Suffering Servant of Israel—Jesus—Emmanuel. When we observe Communion, this is our focus: a remembering, not a seeking for power. 

Paul then spoke the very same thing in his first letter to the Corinthian church. Below is the passage, from 1 Corinthians 11:23–26. 

(23) 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, [24] 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.” [25] 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.” [26] For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 

The verses that follow then are of critical importance. Here is 1 Corinthians 11:27–30: 

27) 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. [28] Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. [29] For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. (30) That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 

The question must be asked then, are the Johnsons using Communion in an unworthy manner? If the elements are taken in order to access power, has not a barrier been broken down and instead of a “remembrance” Communion becomes a means of magic? 

Additional notes 

On pages 12 and 13 is the following: “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.” 

The words “applied the blood of Jesus to our families and communities” would fit perfectly into something a shaman or magician might say. Can an individual or group do something like this? Can they actually apply an event to others who are not present? Our answer can only be NO! This would be nothing more than magic. 

Then, on page 14, we find “pleading the blood of Jesus over their lives.” We might pray for others but to “plead” is something removed from Christian practice. 

On the same page we find, “declaring Heaven over their lives.” Sounds loving and caring, but it is still nothing more than magical. “Declaring heaven” sounds wonderful, but is it Biblical? Do we see examples of this in the New Testament? 

A dear friend of the Johnsons had a son who was struggling, and she declared one day, “I call him back from the powers of darkness” (p. 16). The idea is grand and loving, but is it a kind of magic? It is one thing to pray for a person to be safe spiritually, but to “call him back” implies that one had the power to do so. Only God has this prerogative and power. 

Then Communion becomes for Beni Johnson a “tool for intercession.” Here is a decided movement away from “remembrance” to something a magician would identify with (p. 17). And she goes on to say, “When I take Communion, I take it as a prophetic act, applying it to any situation that is weighing on my heart. A prophetic act is a Holy Spirit-inspired physical action that disrupts the atmosphere.” This is nothing more than magic, occult-focused magic. She continues, “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). 

(Note: Beni Johnson will take Communion, alone often, and many times a day.)

Beni describes Communion as “A Weapon of Warfare” (p. 20). This sounds spiritual, but it is not Biblical in any sense. Taking Communion is a remembering of the work of Jesus on the cross; it is far from a weapon of warfare. 

In a later chapter Beni writes of a man who “felt like the Lord told him to start making declarations over the land” (p. 42). He then would walk around and declare the sovereignty of the Lord over the land and start “remitting” the sins of those present in his hearing. While this seems quite spiritual and empowering, it has no Biblical precedent or warrant. It is magical and to the point that he assumes the power of God to forgive sins. 

In the chapter titled “Sozo for all mankind,” Beni speaks of a time when her husband Bill was having some health problems, and part of her dealing with this was to take Communion for him (p. 51). While it purports to be loving and supportive, it has a strong taste of magic. She writes, “We knew that healing was ours because of the cross, and we applied it through Communion” (p. 53). So much of that which is magical has to do with power, and she sees accessing power by means of taking Communion. 

“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” (p. 56). Here we find the word “align,” which is a word she frequently uses. By align she means agreeing with and acting out Biblical truths, which seems proper for some but is really doing something that supposedly causes the Holy Spirit to do something. In fact, we are able to declare healing over our bodies. Not sure how this “aligns” with Scripture. 

Now, Judy Franklin is introduced to the reader, and Beni says, “she is also highly anointed in taking people on heavenly encounters” (pp. 74–75). It is explained that Judy had known peace after actually experiencing being in heaven and was able to help others find the same. At a retreat, Judy “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. . . . It was so special for me to get to see them . . .” Beni continues this. 

This reminds me of the channelers, the psychic therapists, and also life coaches who do this very same thing. The Johnsons assume that anything supernatural must be from the Lord and perhaps do not realize that such practices and experiences are common in the occult/magical world. 

Beni treasured gifts of charms and pendants, which she strung together.

Her favorite was a compass which “spoke to me in a reassuring way about God’s presence in my life” (p. 77). 

Then Beni met Dr. Raymond Hilu. She had a friend who was her “health coach,” and who had “overcome stage four cancer through holistic means” (p. 83). This friend talked to her about Dr. Hilu who had a holistic clinic in Spain. (Make a Google search for Dr. Hilu, and you will find his short video.) As it turned out, her health coach went with Beni to Spain. Beni writes, “I truly believe that this daily alignment was a large part of my healing process” (p. 82). 

Concluding remarks 

Health and life coaches are everywhere today, along with the psychic therapists, channelers, and holistic healers, and here in this book essentially about Communion, we find a self-identified follower of Jesus embracing, even promoting, alternative, occult-oriented forms of healing. How many others are doing the very same as a result of the stamp of approval given out by Beni Johnson and a host of others? 

Most of us could use some form of healing; after all, the world we live in is toxic at minimum. And we know that our Lord Jesus heals us. I have had two concrete healings by the power of the Holy Spirit, these back in the Jesus People Days. Yes, normally we are not seeing the outpourings of our Healer as we did during times of awakening, but they still occur. For those who are in Christ, the one great cancer—our sin—is gone, and we are healed of the monster injury. 

We are all going to die of something, and as we age, our bodies break down little by little or even suddenly. And it is legitimate to seek our Lord for healing, but healed or not, we stay Biblical and do not turn to the holistic healers, the acupuncturists, the life coaches, channelers, and other practitioners of occult/ magical arts.

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