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The Fable of Justin Johnson’s (Grace Ambassadors Church) Mid-Acts Pauline Dispensationalism

Updated: Jan 28


Jeremy Johnson appears to be the man who runs the website for Grace Ambassadors, and the pastor of Grace Ambassadors Bible Fellowship, who puts out a lot of videos on this cliche of "Rightly dividing" and "Mid-Acts Pauline Dispensational," thought oddly there never seems be any people in the room to whom he is allegedly preaching to in any of those videos. The whole thing seems a bit odd and strange, and his behaviour as peculiar coming from someone that has taught a lot of people over the past few decades, as if he is attempting to make it appear that he is preaching to people, while in fact preaching to an empty room.


As mentioned, “rightly dividing” is a cliche in this guys writings and it absorbs everything. The truth though is, he is not right dividing but falsely dividing and disharmonizing the entire Bible with his false dispensationalism.


Johnson embraces the same type of false gospel as all hyper-dispensationalists do (such as the ravening heretic Peter Ruckman, and also many dispensationalists that might not be lumped into the hyper category), teaching different gospels for different time periods which equates a false gospel since the true gospel has never changed. This is similar to what Doug Stauffer teaches in his book, One Book Rightly Divided book, (though it appears Stauffer may have changed his view and beliefs on this somewhat now).


Johnson’s “Mid-Acts Pauline Dispensational Right Division” is founded upon or based around the premise that,

“Jesus Christ gave the Apostle Paul a new, distinct gospel – the revelation of the mystery – which contains the instructions to the church for today.”

Johnson claims here that Paul taught a different gospel than the other apostles and Christ. This is definitely not so, thus his foundation is corrupted. The gospel that Paul preached wasn’t new or distinct. It was the same gospel that Christ preached, that the other apostles preached, that John the Baptist preached, that the prophets of old preached and that will be preached in the Great Tribulation by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev 7) and the angel in Rev 14. From the Garden of Eden to the future Millennial Kingdom, the true gospel is repentant faith in the Messiah, by the grace of God. The gospel has never changed and will never change. There is not even one hint at such an abstract idea found anywhere in the Word of God. The evidence for this is extensive, but Heb 10-11 is more than sufficient. Abel is give as the first person born again though repentant faith in Heb 11, and we see Abraham’s salvation for instance there as well, and recorded in Gen 15:1-6, around 4,000 years ago, which was justification by faith alone (Hab 2:4) in the (coming) Messiah (Gen 15:5-6) which is referenced in the NT in Jam 2; Rom 4; Gal 3. Rom 4:20-25 tells us if we believe like Abraham did, then we also can be justified by faith like Abraham was.


He is interpreting the word “mystery” completely out of its context and meaning to come up with this presupposition. The word “mystery” has nothing to do with the gospel but with the truth that God Himself would dwell in man. That was the mystery, hidden in the OT and revealed in the New, along with the new truth that Gentiles and Jews would belong to the same local body of believers, nor separate like they were in the OT.


This isn’t some minor issue. Believing that the gospel is different in different ages is not the gospel of Jesus Christ but “another gospel . . . which is not another; but [a] pervert[ed] . . . gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:6-9; 2 Cor 11:4) which corrupts the liberality and bountifulness or “simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor 11:3).


That is the biggest issue with Johnson’s hyper-dispensationalism. But there are other issues I will briefly point out below.

The Errors of "Mid Acts Dispensational Right Division"


Johnson makes the following arguments about “Mid Acts Dispensational right division,” that in someway are meant to support this new theory of his (through its not really new, only an old heretical teaching repackaged with a new name and slight nuances), followed with a Biblical rebuttal:


1. Johnson writes, “‘Mid-Acts’ refers to when in Scripture the current dispensation of Grace began (Ephesians 3:1-2)."


Yikes, talk about corrupting this passage of Scripture in Eph 3, that has absolutely nothing to do with when the “dispensation of Grace began.” Salvation has always been by the grace of God and never by any other way, contrary to Johnsons claims (that salvation has been by works in some so-called dispensations). How did Noah get saved way back in Gen 6, around 4,500-5,000 years ago, long before any Scripture had even been canonized? “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen 6:8). Noah wasn't saved by works, but by grace through faith, as Heb 11 further expounds for us, "Noah . . . became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (v. 7).


In anther article he claims that,

“This present age began when the mystery information was revealed to the Apostle Paul in the middle of the book of Acts (1 Corinthians 9:17).”

1 Cor 9:17 has absolutely nothing to do with a new dispensation beginning with Paul and the book of Acts gives zero indication of anything like that. This is a fable, and a lie. He is also corrupting the word “mystery” which I elaborate on two points below.

Johnson has to corrupt the meaning of “dispensation” and read into it what he presupposes, namely following the heresies of one serial adulterer, thief and false teacher—C.I. Scofield—from whence many of his errors stem, whom is favourably quoted by Johnson on his website and clearly kin of heart. The word “dispensation” here (“oikonomia”), found 7 times in the NT (translated dispensation x4, and stewardship x3) literally means stewardship, which means administration or economy, that is, the management or administration or overseeing of something, such as a household or household affairs. That was Paul’s responsibility, to the Gentiles primarily, though he also preached continually to the Jews, as noted in every town he entered, first going to the synagogues and preaching the gospel to his Jewish brethren.


2. Johnson writes, “Jesus, in his earthly ministry, ministered to the circumcision.”

And that proves what? He ministered to the circumcision because He came for the Jews first and foremost as promised (Matt 1:21). “He came unto his own” (Jn 1:11) But what happened when “his own,” (Jn 1:11), “his people” (Matt 1:21”), rejected Him, when “his own received him not” (Jn 1:11)? He turned to others, those of the uncircumcision: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (Jn 1:12). This occurred in Matt 23, His last scathing and condemnatory reproof of the scribes, Pharisees, elders, chief priests and the lot, followed by His turning from the Hebrews completely until the future time of His second coming (vv. 34-39). Lukes account in Lk 13:23-35 gives even greater detail on this matter, of God closing the door on Israel temporarily, and then turning to the Gentiles (Rom 11).

3. Johnson writes, “The mystery of Christ was first revealed to Paul.”


False teachers always corrupt the truth of scripture by interpreting out of context, privately interpreting Scripture, and falsely dividing the Word of truth. Johnson is guilty of all three, even though he brashly claims to have the key to some interpretation that no one else has. A sure mark of a false teacher is firstly his false doctrine and then secondly, proclaiming some “new” teaching with a “key” to unlock that “new” teaching. If the teaching didn’t exist historically in the true local churches, the promised pillar and ground of the truth, then its simply not true. Believers today are not some special group of people that have gained insight into something new in Scripture that no generation had prior to them. The old adage is true, 'if it's new, it's probably not true.' The mystery of Christ was not first revealed to Paul, and even if it had, it doesn't prove anything for his "mid-acts dispensationalism." Paul was the apostle, and penman, that God used to spread the "mystery of Christ" to the whole world.


In another article he claims that,

“The information revealed to Paul contained an unprophesied ‘new creature’ called the Body of Christ . . .”

The body of Christ in the NT is the local church, which is mentioned by Jesus in Matt 16:18 and 18:17 and then during the time when Paul the Apostle was still an unconverted Pharisee: Ac 2:47; 5:11; 7:38; 8:1, 3. So Johnson is lying here about it being “an unprophesied ‘new creature’”. What was actually unprophesied concerning this, was the mystery that Jews and Gentiles would be part of the same body, the same local church, the same assembly (Eph 3:1-6), which was very different than how things had been under the Old Covenant, where Gentiles were seen as unclean, filth, and dogs (Matt 15:26; Mk 7:1-5).


He misuses Col 1:25-26 in attempt to prove his point but he interprets these passages not within their context. What is the “mystery of Christ” spoken of by Paul here, which Paul says “now is made manifest to his saints,” and not only to Paul? Paul tells us in the very next passage: “this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (v. 27). The Lord Jesus Christ dwelling in the saint is the “mystery of Christ” in this passage. Was this first revealed to Paul? I think not. This was mentioned by the Lord Jesus to the 12 apostles on multiple occasions, such as Jn 14:17; Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4-5; etc. In Acts 2 and ongoing it is fulfilled firstly in the 12 apostles and then in those who were saved that day and going forward. They all well knew the “mystery of Christ,” so its fallacious what Johnson writes about Paul’s “new” gospel. The Jewish world at large, and the Gentiles, did not know the mystery of Christ, hence Paul’s reference to it and his revealing of this mystery. Only those that were already regenerate understood it, and vast majority of those were based around Israel. As already mentioned, the gospel has always been precisely the same; nothing has ever changed.


Johnson also uses 1 Tim 1:16 to support his fallacious presuppositions, but that which was “first” that “Jesus Christ might shew forth” in Paul was NOT a new gospel but “all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” The pattern is the longsuffering which is what Christ wanted to shew forth in Paul’s life. Once he had been a great persecutor of Christ and now he was going to be greatly persecuted for Christ. That was first what Christ wanted to show through Paul, so it would become a pattern in all true believers hereafter.


The word “mystery” is also used in Eph 3:3-6 and Rom 16:25-26, both referring to the truth that God would bless both Jews and Gentiles and make of them one body under the New Covenant, i.e., one local church with no division between the two groups of people as had existed in the temple throughout the Old Covenant, and the Gentiles seen as dirty people (which is further confirmed by the revelation of God to Peter in the dream he had in Acts 10). This was a “mystery” because it was hidden in the OT but revealed in the New (defined in Eph 3:5). In Eph 3:3-6, the word “mystery” is found twice (vv. 3-4), with v. 5 telling us what the word “mystery” means and v. 6 explaining what the “mystery of Christ” is:

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”

Thats it. No new dispensation by Paul, as Johnson falsely teaches.


To get to his presupposed theories, Johnson has to deny the immediate context, the greater context and the Bible rightly divided, misusing words in Scripture to come up with some new teaching.


4. Johnson writes, “Prophecy and mystery are different (Acts 3:19-21 vs Rom 16:25)”


Again, this does not prove his point even one inch, because the Bible defines for us what the mystery is in each case it appears.


His belief that “the authority, instruction, and purpose of the church today is found primarily in Paul’s epistles as revealed by Jesus Christ,” is founded upon no Scriptural authority. Not even one passage remotely confirms this to be true, while the entire NT confirms it to be false since many other books of the NT provide teaching on the local church, including the Gospels.

5. Johnson writes, “Peter and Paul taught different messages (Peter prophecy, and Paul mystery).”


Again he is teaching heresy concerning this. Peter and Paul taught the very same doctrines and messages and gospels, even though he says in expounding this point that “Peter and Paul never taught the same gospel.” This is absolute heresy. They taught nothing different at all. He has to read his error into all the passages and subjects he covers under this point, and ignore what the context and the rest of the Bible teaches. This is plainly an “error of the wicked” (2 Pet 3:16-17) who wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction.


In expounding this point, he says that “Peter’s gospel of the kingdom to Israel was limited to the circumcision.” This is egregious. Peters gospel was not the “gospel of the kingdom to Israel” and neither was it “limited to the circumcision.” Was Cornelius of “the circumcision”? Cornelius was a Roman Gentile that heard the one true gospel of Christ preached to him by Peter whereby he and his household were saved (Ac 10-11).


Under this point, he claims “six major issues of distinction between what Peter taught and what Paul taught.” (source). He also says that “The main similarity between the two messages exists in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:10).” The big problem here is the “Lord Jesus Christ” that Johnson presents is not the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible, since the true Lord Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of the gospel and faith, while the gospel and faith that Johnson presents is contradictory to that found in Scripture (cf. Gal 1:6-9; 2 Cor 11:4). For instance, he claims under one of the alleged distinctions—“Justification”—that Peter taught “Salvation and the law; justification by faith in Jesus as the Messiah accompanied by necessary works,” whereby wresting and corrupting the passages “Jam 2:24; 1 John 2:24; Mat 19:27; Heb 10:26” to somehow prove his point.


None of those scripture teach what he is saying. He clearly doesn’t seem to understand the truth (while all saved people do understand, and they don’t believe a lie—1 Jn 2:20-21, 27) or how to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Peter’s gospel is exactly the same, and James and John and Matthew and Hebrews are not written by Peter. Funny how he uses no passages penned by Peter to prove his point. Because there are none! Other alleged distinctions that are corrupt and false in his list of six are Israel and Prophecy, The Church, God’s representation, and Destiny. The only one that is partially right is “Apostolic responsibility.”

6. Johnson writes, “Prophecy has been interrupted.”


Prophecy has not been interrupted. Sure, not many prophecies are being fulfilled in our present time until the Great Tribulation begins, but that doesn’t mean no prophecies are being fulfilled. Prophecies are being fulfilled such as the apostasy of the last days (2 Tim 3:1-13) and the heresies of false professing believers who love to have their ears tickled with fables (2 Tim 4:3-4) and the bones in the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezk 37), where the first three of four parts concerning Israel have been fulfilled, “And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD” (v. 6), the meaning of which is given in vv. 11-14. Amongst other things concerning Israel, the first part of the prophecy of Zeph 3:9 has been fulfilled in the last century, “For then will I turn to the people a pure language,” which language is Hebrew, a language that had been severely polluted over the last two millennia but is back to its pure state now post-Israel return to her land, while the second part remains to be fulfilled, and will be in the Great Tribulation, “that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.”


7. Johnson writes, “The gospel of the kingdom is not the gospel of the grace of God.”


This is a lie. They are one and the same. Nowhere does the Bible differentiate between the two. What he proceeds to further expound under this point is plain heresy. The twelve apostles did indeed preach the cross after Christ’s sacrifice was completed, he just doesn’t appear to understand what true Biblical evangelism is either.


8. Johnson writes, “Israel’s Church and the Church, the body of Christ, are different.”


No they are certainly not. Nothing in Scripture even hints at such an idea, and Scripture in fact speaks directly against it (e.g. Eph 3:1-6). They are exactly the same, which is precisely (and ironically) what Paul was preaching in Eph 3, a passage he corrupts to further his error.


9. Johnson writes, “We study the Bible in the light of Pauline Dispensational Right Division.”


That is a made up fable, not found anywhere in the Word of God. It is plain heresy.


In his SOF he writes,

“We are instructed to follow him [Paul] in doctrine, manner of life, purpose, and faith as he followed Christ.”

Yes we are instructed to follow Paul but also instructed to follow the entire NT (which Paul himself even says! — 2 Tim 3:16-17) and that which applies out of the OT. NOWHERE does God’s Word ever even remotely indicate or hint at the idea that only Paul’s writings are to be followed by Gentiles in our day. Its a ridiculous argument that holds literally no weight. This contradicts a lot of scripture including Peter and the other apostles and prophets who wrote the N.T. The entire N.T. is for churches, even aspects of the O.T. (see Jam 5:10; 1 Cor 10:11). While we know that Paul holds a unique place as the apostle to the Gentiles and he was given some wonderful revelations of church truth, he was not the only apostle who wrote for the churches. The non-Pauline N.T. epistles are as much for the Church as Paul’s are. Paul’s revelations in no way contradict those of the General Epistles, and he did not preach a different gospel from the others.

Its also a lie that “Paul details the instructions and information he received of Christ as being secret since the world began, hid in God, but now revealed to the church.” (SOF). As already mentioned under point # 3, the things that are secret, i.e., “mystery” were (a) Christ dwelling in all born again believers through His Spirit, and (b) the union of Jews and Gentiles into one body. Thats it. Nothing else falls under “mystery” that was given to him by revelation of God. Everything the Paul teaches, besides these mysteries, has a foundation elsewhere in Scripture, only to be expounded in greater detail in the revelation from God to Paul, especially things concerning the local church and false teachings and the doctrine of separation.


Part of his so-called “Pauline Dispensational Right Division” includes his heresy that people were saved in the OT by works. That is a false and corrupted and perverted gospel (Gal 1:6-7; 2 Cor 11:3-4) which means he is “accursed” (Gal 1:8-9) and a false brother (Gal 2:4-5) and a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15; Ac 20:29-30).


They’ve taken this heresy so far, that they’ve even changed the words of popular hymns and made their own hymnal to reflect these heresies. On their FB page they indicate that things are different in their church, and,

“One is the big white Grace Hymnals in all the pews. We made our own hymnal by collecting, revising, and sometimes totally rewriting our favorite hymns so that they agree with the Bible rightly divided.”

I guess if you corrupt the teachings of Scripture, the very words of God, then its certainly no big deal to corrupt the hymns written by humans.


10. Other errors and heresies that Johnson believes and propagates:


  • He teaches other elements of a corrupted gospel, besides what is mentioned above, in particular denying and rejecting the Biblical doctrine of repentance. He denies true Biblical repentance, which involves “turning from sin” (e.g. Lk 13:1-5; Ac 3:19, 26; 14:15; Rev 9:20-21; 16:9-11; etc), claiming in his statement of faith that salvation does not involve “turning from sin.” He actually completely omits repentance or principles of repentance from his gospel, as noted on his page, “How To Be Saved From Death To Life,” while the bible is clear that there is NO salvation without true Biblical repentance. Of course this is a false gospel, since repentance is an important element of the gospel (See also here). He also claims the following about salvation in the more detailed statement of faith: “in other dispensations God required certain performances to accompany faith for salvation.” Nowhere does the Bible ever make that claim. Gods gospel has never been by works, which would be a perverted gospel (Gal 1:6-9). I defend the view that salvation has never changed, including under the Old Covenant, here. In the same sentence he adds the caveat that salvation was still by God’s grace, to diminish the condemnatory effect of his false gospel, but that is only a red herring, since “if [its] by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Rom 11:6). This “damnable heresy” (2 Pet 2:1) that perverts the true gospel (Gal 1:6-9) further compounds his false gospel of works under the Old Covenant age, which he calls the dispensational age of law, claiming that all the apostles besides Paul taught this works-gospel, including Christ since Christ was still under the old dispensational age according to Johnson. It is blasphemous to charge God the Son with preaching a perverted works-gospel. Again, read here as to why Salvation Has Never Changed — Justification Has Always Been through Repentant Faith, by God's Grace.


  • His teachings on baptism are plainly heretical, denying and rejecting the necessity to be water baptized and proclaiming that baptism was a work necessary under the works-law-gospel of the OT, which is serious false teaching and heresy. In his article "Should I be Water Baptized" claiming that "Jesus commanded . . . baptism . . . for the remission of sins." No, He actually didn't. It was John the Baptist (Mk 1; Matt 3; Lk 3) and Peter in Acts 2:38, and it wasn't as Johnson makes it sound here, as if baptism actually was part of salvation, which he claims later in the article that baptism was obedience to the law and necessary for salvation in the OT (this would be baptismal regeneration, a false gospel that exists nowhere in the Bible!) What John the Baptist and Peter were teaching was baptism because of the remission of sins. That is a meaning of "for," (as any dictionary will tell you) like when it's used in a wanted poster, e.g. 'Billy the Kid Wanted for Murder.' — NOT to commit murder but because of murder. It's also used as such in the Bible, something I deal with here. The entire article is absolutely loaded with error and heresy and corruption of scripture and doctrine. It's worse than heresy and on its own reflects an unregenerate state of this false teacher who doesn't understand truth and then eisegetically corrupts the Word of God to fit his "new" heresies to make himself out to be "some great one," like the demon possessed Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8, who feigned faith to get himself a following (vv. 9-24). But the born again apostle Peter saw right through it, exposing his wickedness for all to read about (cf. 2 Tim 3:8-9).




Conclusion


Time fails me to delve deeper into his teachings at this point, and undoubtedly I would keep finding many more fables and heresies, based simply upon the one being exposed here, since “a little leaven leaventh the whole lump” (Gal 5:9) which Paul stated here concerning doctrinal error.


Justin Johnson is a false teacher. Plain and simple. Though this verdict hasn't been exhaustive, I believe it's been sufficient. His “Pauline Dispensational Right Division” is totally man-made and has zero Biblical mooring and is in fact a clear false division of Scripture. Its also nothing new and is simply hyper-dispensationalism repackaged and regurgitated under a new name with some nuances. Many dispensational teachings are in error and all hyper-dispensational teachings are heresy.


Which makes a person wonder why he went down this path of heresy, though I do not know from what path he came from. There appear to be hints of his motives, such as,

“Though the mid-Acts description is tedious it does have its advantages: it communicates ‘we are different’ . . . it gets peoples’ attention, and it makes a nice satirical jab at denominational nomenclature . . .” (source).

Or,

“when we live in such a present evil world and a diverse marketplace of ideas we must carry some distinction to describe our doctrine as separate from the rest.” (ibid).

There is only one doctrine in God’s Word, not more than one or different ones in different ages. One doctrine, just like “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all…” (Eph 4:4-6). One, not two, just like there is only one type of Christian in the Bible, not two (i.e. the carnal “Christian”, or the lukewarm “Christian”, or the backslidden “Christian”, or the “Christian” in unbelief).


There is no doubt that Justin Johnson is a false teacher, in the very sense of the title. His teachings causes one to question the gospel, believe a false gospel, question other doctrines, the very books of the Bible, and at the very least ignore what many of these books declare, since they are allegedly not for the Gentile in this New Covenant. He is a dangerous false teacher that’ll cause people great confusion and doubt in the very words of God.


He fits into what Matt 23:23 says,

“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”

He should be treated like how Paul the Apostle would treat him:

“To whom [“false brethren” v. 4] we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” (Gal 2:5).

Or Peter the Apostle,

“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (2 Pet 3:16-17)

This passage by Peter really hits the nail on its head. Johnson is unable to understand the things that Paul was writing about (2 Pet 3:15-16a), so he wrests them out their meaning, which means to twist and torture and stretch them to give them meaning that fits his presuppositions. But he is doing it to his own destruction and if you are a true born again believer and listen to him, I would say,

“Beware” my friend, “lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (2 Pet 3:17)

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