Seth Udinski, FISM News
Beni Johnson, the wife of Bethel Church’s lead pastor Bill Johnson, died Wednesday evening after a long battle with cancer. She was 67 years old.
Bill Johnson posted a picture of his wife on Facebook titled “Healthy and Free” on Thursday as a way of announcing her death. Since 1996, the couple had led the global megachurch together.
Johnson had battled breast cancer since her diagnosis in 2018. “When this all began in March and I walked out of the doctor’s office shocked,” Johnson said when she was first diagnosed. “I asked Jesus, ‘what do I do now?’ I heard Jesus tell me, ‘just love me.’ I said, ‘I can do this.’ There has been so much peace and at times those decisions that have to be made the peace has helped me navigate through.”
The cancer gradually grew over the next few years. Last week, Johnson was placed on in-home hospice care as her suffering intensified.
Bethel Church is known for its belief in faith healings and resurrection prayer campaigns on behalf of congregants who had recently died.
This has proven to be controversial among evangelicals. On one side of the issue, many argue for the validity of such prayer initiatives as this, believing that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead can and should be used to do the same for their departed loved ones.
On the other side, many point to scripture that clearly teaches that it is far better to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 1:23, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Many Christians, while having a healthy hatred of and aversion to death, believe that it is both unwise and unloving to ask God to reverse a physical death by removing a departed saint from His presence and bringing them back to the broken world from which they were just freed.
Regardless of position, the Bible teaches that believers should place their hope not merely in an earthly resurrection, but the glorious final resurrection of the saints where we will be united with Christ and with all those departed believers for all eternity.
In addition to her husband, Beni Johnson is survived by her three children and 11 grandchildren.