Two Christian Leaders Have Branded Me ‘Dangerous.’ Here’s My Response

They criticized me for refusing to condemn certain Charismatic leaders. But they're the ones out of step with Scripture.

By Michael Brown Published on January 12, 2018

In a remarkable interview on Too Wretched for Radio, Todd Friel and Phil Johnson branded me “dangerous,” called me “sub-orthodox,” said I was “willfully self-deceived,” stated that I’ve done “enough damage,” and alleged that I’m “on too many radio stations.” These are just some of the charges they brought. They joined a recent wave of hypercriticism which included social media posts by people like Pastor J. D. Hall, who referred to me as more dangerous than most murderous jihadis. (He since removed that post, as far as I know.)

What do we make of such charges? And are they worthy of response?

I Take ‘Dangerous Dr. Brown’ as a Compliment

To put this in context, I get slandered, maligned, misrepresented, and attacked on a daily (or hourly) basis for many reasons. Like standing against LGBT activism. Critiquing radical Islam. Presenting Jesus as Messiah to my Jewish people. Challenging atheism. Confronting doctrinal errors in the Body. Not being a Calvinist (or a Catholic or something else). Being pro-life. Being pro-Israel. Being pro-Holy Spirit.

I actually have a “hate mail” file where I store the latest attacks, which often include death wishes (like, “I hope your heart fails,” or, “You’re an idiot; I hope you die slow from pancreatic cancer” — misspelled, in the original, of course). I even receive death threats.

To me, this is a crown of honor, a sign of the Lord’s favor, and another indication that our message, by God’s grace and to His glory, is making an impact. I rejoice, in accordance with the Lord’s words in Matthew 5:10-12.

And so, when I was informed that Todd and Phil had branded me “Dangerous Dr. Brown,” I took this as a compliment from heaven (the exact opposite of what they intended). Their malicious words were like water to my soul.

When I was informed that Todd and Phil had branded me “Dangerous Dr. Brown,” I took this as a compliment from heaven.

You see, I have often prayed that the Lord would make me dangerous: dangerous to the kingdom of darkness, dangerous to the devil, dangerous to dead religion, dangerous to the status quo of a sinning world. May we all be dangerous in that sense of the word!

As for Todd saying I was on “too many radio shows,” I was shocked that a brother in Christ would say such a thing. Was he calling for some kind of censorship? Was he suggesting that only shows that line up with his particular definition of orthodoxy should be on the air? Aside from that, I felt great encouragement here too. To me, it was another sign of coming ministry expansion, allowing us to reach more and more people with the Word of God.

So, these zealous brothers have not hurt me in any way, and I hold no ill will towards them. Sadly, though, they have hurt themselves, they have hurt those who follow them, and they have dishonored the name of the Lord by being divisive and sowing discord. (See Proverbs 6:19, which teaches that it is hateful in God’s sight to sow discord among brothers.)

Unbiblical and Self-Righteous Criticism

You might say, “But you’re missing the whole point. These men are doing God’s work. They are exposing error and rebuking false teachers. This is healthy and positive.”

I don’t doubt that in some cases, they are doing God’s work, and I deeply appreciate that. Constructive criticism is a lifesaver. And I don’t doubt that there are plenty of problems in the charismatic movement, of which I serve as a leader. (For more on this, see below.)

Unfortunately, their criticism, which can only be branded hypercriticism, does far more harm than good. It is destructive, not constructive. It tears down without building up. It strains out a gnat and swallows a camel. It uses double standards. It pronounces people guilty by association. And much more.

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The recent wave of hypercriticism says this: We will not evaluate you by your life work. We will not evaluate you by what you have written (in my case, more than 30 books and more than 1,000 articles) or taught (thousands of sermons and teachings and broadcasts and debates). We will not evaluate you by the fruit of your ministry (souls won, disciples made, churches planted, Bible schools launched, or humanitarian works started). We will not evaluate you by your character. No, we will evaluate you by this criterion: If you will not condemn so-and-so as a false teacher, you yourself are suspect.

Not only is this unbiblical, it is ugly, it is judgmental, and it is self-righteous.

What the Controversy is All About 

So, in recent days, on social media and elsewhere, I have been challenged to condemn Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, and Carl Lentz (among others), since they are allegedly false prophets and false teachers, all of them hell bound (I kid you not). And if I don’t say they are hell-bound sinners? That proves that I’m willfully self-deceived and dangerous (in the bad sense of the word).

And what does that say about friends of mine, like Dr. James White, who is a cessationist and a Calvinist? He is now suspect too, since he remains my friend! (For our responses to this nonsense, see here and here.)

To repeat: These hypercritics do not hurt me at all. I live for God’s favor, and His favor is more than enough. Plus, by His amazing grace, we are reaching more people today than at any other time in our ministry work, by far. (Any good that comes of this is all to His glory.) But these hypercritics do hurt many others, sowing discord, engaging in unequal weights and measures, and even rejecting wonderful biblical truths in the name of a hyper-narrow orthodoxy. In short, they have things totally upside down, majoring on the minors and throwing many healthy babies out with some bathwater. (In their view, there are no healthy babies in the bathwater.)

For example, during the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards wrote The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God (1741) “in which he gives a list of signs which are not evidence that a work is not from the Holy Spirit.” In other words, these things do not prove that a work is not from God.

He elaborates that if a work (1) is unusual, (2) is attended by bodily effects such as groanings, tremblings, and outcries, (3) occasions attention and talk about religion, (4) constitutes great impressions on the mind, (5) incorporates various means, such as good examples, for its success, (6) has imprudences or irregular conduct, (7) is intermingled with delusions from Satan, (8) has someone who falls into errors, or (9) earnestly promotes judgment from God’s law, none of these signs indicates that a work is not from God (B. J. Oropeza, Time to Laugh).

Instead, the work was to be judged by the fruit it produced. Did it draw people to the Jesus of the Bible? Did it bring people under the authority of God’s Word? Did it produce repentance from sin to holiness? Did it result in a burden of love for the lost?

If it did these things, Edwards reasoned, then the work was clearly from the Lord, since the flesh can’t produce this and Satan won’t produce it (nor could he).

The hypercritics are either ignorant of these wise words or reject them. They are willing to condemn charismatic brothers and sisters to hell because some of them shake or fall in meetings or some of them have been guilty of secondary doctrinal aberrations. Forget the overall fruit. Forgot your otherwise orthodox teaching. You shake too much in the meetings!

Is Heidi Baker a Non-Believer?

In the case of Heidi Baker, forget about the thousands of gospel-based churches she and her husband Rolland have planted in Mozambique. Forget about their sacrificial ministry to the poorest of the poor. Forget about her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from the Kings College in London. Forget about the content of her books. Just look at her shaking and acting like she’s drunk! She’s obviously a false teacher, going to hell, and if I won’t condemn her, then I’m willfully deceived. (If you think I’m exaggerating, go here.)

What’s interesting is that I have no official ministry relationship with Heidi. I’ve ministered together with her in a conference once (in Germany, a few years back), and I had her on my radio show once. That’s it. Her ministry in Germany was great, our fellowship between meetings was solid, I found her to be very serious about the Lord and quite compassionate, not to mention with high ethical standards. And I was blessed by two of her books that I read.

The hypercritics are willing to condemn charismatic brothers and sisters to hell because some of them shake or fall in meetings.

Is it possible that she might sometimes minister in ways that would be out of my comfort zone? Could be. Is it possible that I might question whether she was always under the influence of the Spirit when ministering? Maybe so. (I’m simply answering hypothetical questions. Nothing controversial happened when we were in Germany.)

But even if I differed with the way she ministered in a meeting, the last thing in my mind would to be condemn her as a non-believer. Yet that’s exactly what hypercritics do (and want me to do). In fact, some of them have damned me to hell for simply affirming what the Bible says about the gifts and power of the Spirit for today.

Truly, my heart goes out to these critics. They have no idea what they are missing.

‘Wingdings,’ Augustine and Miracles

What’s ironic is that I wrote a book in 1991 titled Whatever Happened to the Power of God: Is the Charismatic Church ‘Slain in the Spirit’ or Down for the Count?, addressing abuses in our movement. And in April of this year, I have a new, quite different, and far more detailed book coming out titled Playing with Holy Fire: A Wake-up Call to the Charismatic-Pentecostal Church. So, yes, there are serious abuses in our movement, and we’ve done a poor job of self-policing, hence the need for this book.

But none of this is enough for the hypercritics. Unless I affirm that Bill Johnson and Mike Bickle are hell-bound false teachers, I am sub-orthodox and highly suspect, if even saved. May the Lord have mercy on these critics.

Phil Johnson once commented that Bethel Church’s Jesus Culture worship was a “bigger” and “far more important issue than abortion” since the leaders of Jesus Culture were “false prophets who are ushering people into hell.” (This is an exact quote.)

Todd Frield once said, “Take a look at 2,000 years of church history. The only time you see any of these miracles, signs and wonders within the last 2,000 years, since the time of the apostles, were from fringe wingding groups.” I guess he’d include people like Augustine among the wingdings.

Augustine once held to Todd’s view but had to change his position after documenting more than 70 miracles in a two-year period. In his magnum opus, The City of God, he explained that he “realized how many miracles were occurring in our own day and which were so like the miracles of old and also how wrong it would be to allow the memory of these marvels of divine power to perish from among our people,” noting that these miracles attest “the faith which proclaims that Christ rose in the flesh and ascended into heaven with the flesh.”)

John MacArthur is Wrong About Charismatics

Pastor John MacArthur, whom I respect and honor, and with whom I have some deep disagreements, once said, “the Charismatic Movement as such has made no contribution to biblical clarity, no contribution to interpretation, no contribution to sound doctrine.”

It would appear that he has forgotten men like Oswald Chambers and A. W. Tozer, whose deep spirituality was directly connected to their experiences in the Spirit. Or leading charismatic biblical scholars like Gordon Fee, Craig Keener, Ben Witherington, and Peter Davids, among many others. Or leading charismatic philosophers and theologians, like J. P. Moreland and Wayne Grudem, among many others.

Rather than us coming together as believers to make a glorious impact for Jesus, we are condemning each other, sniping at each other and warring against each other.

Pastor MacArthur also alleged that “there is essentially zero social benefit to the world from the Charismatic Movement. Where’s the charismatic hospital? Social services? Poverty relief? This is a scam.” (This statement boggles the mind and is refuted thousands of times a day by charismatic churches and ministries worldwide. Yet Phil Johnson affirmed it on my radio show.)

Pastor MacArthur even said that the charismatic “movement itself has brought nothing that enriches true worship.” (Sorry about that Hillsong, Bethel, IHOP, and an endless stream of other charismatic songwriters and worship leaders. For documentation of all these statements, with fuller responses, see my book Authentic Fire.)

Yet it is aberrant statements like this which have become the test of hypercritical orthodoxy, an orthodoxy that is sadly out of step with the testimony of Scripture and the ongoing ministry of the Spirit worldwide.

We Should Trade Condemnation for Unity

The real shame is that the world is dying without God and America is sinking into moral and spiritual oblivion. Yet rather than us coming together as believers to make a glorious impact for Jesus, we are condemning each other, sniping at each other and warring against each other.

My appeal, as always, remains the same: My brothers, if you have differences with me, then let’s sit down behind closed doors and open the Word together and pray. And, if you’re a respected leader in the Body and want to engage me in a constructive, non-name-calling, formal debate on the essential issues, let’s do it. The more, the better!

If, however, you insist on branding me “Dangerous Dr. Brown,” then I will wear the insult with honor, remembering that Paul’s accusers called him a plague, an agitator, and a troublemaker (see Acts 24:5). Sounds pretty dangerous to me.

 

I have written this response at the invitation of The Christian Post.

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  • PatronOfHeaven

    I used to be a student of Marshall Sylver, a professional hypnotist. Not because I wanted to make people bark like a dog onstage or do the chicken dance, because I wanted to learn persuasion. Let me just say that charismatics, from my experience are really just hypnotists. The power of suggestion is strong when the person making the suggestion is trusted. These people put their faith in God’s word, which is expressed by charismatics, thus they gain trust in their deliverer of truth, but don’t realize they are accepting suggestions that the body reacts to subconsciously. To condemn these ‘pastors’ can be dangerous because it can harm the faith of the church’s patrons. I say it’s better to allow someone to believe in something fake as long as they are also believing Jesus Christ which is truth. His truth will trump any phony beliefs at the end of our lives. With this point I wonder why some protestants believe Catholics goto hell, because according to their sola fide mindset, we are going to heaven simply because we accept Jesus Christ as our redeemer and King. Any of the other pious devotions to the Saints will not get us into heaven. In my understanding, faith trumps deeds, but both are necessary to enter the heavenly gates.

    • Paul

      Considering Jesus cares about truth it is a stretch to find any value in embracing something you consider to be fake.

  • Mike & Jodi Lee

    I am relatively new to The Stream and now I get on this page almost every day. One of the things I look for first, Mr. Brown, are your articles. I appreciate your willingness to take on tough issues, as well as the way in which you defend your positions and state your case. We have too many “I just want to get along” Christians who are willing to compromise virtually everything to appease others. I stand with you, Sir.

  • Becky

    2 Timothy 3:4-5 I am shocked to learn that anyone who claims to love and follow Christ would condemn you, Heidi Baker, Mike Bickle, etc.! I only recently learned who these folks are. I see nothing but fruit from them. How can “Christians” pick and choose which Bible verses to believe in? All my life, I only heard the Holy Spirit’s Name whenever people got baptized. “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Oh what a third world country we are when it comes to faith and the authority and power of God! Matthew 11 and 12 speaks of God being happy to reveal his mysteries to those who have childlike faith rather than those who view themselves as clever. It is a badge of honor to live for God and by His leading and be labeled “dangerous” for it! Hallelujah! Continue to separate your children of “wheat” from weeds, God!

  • Linda

    Who are Todd Friel and Phil Johnson? Never heard of them. Are they solid church and community leaders?

  • GLT

    Dr. Brown,

    I very much enjoy reading your posts on the Stream and have been greatly encouraged and greatly blessed many times by what you have written. I find you have a tremendous insight into the human condition and an ability to relate the needs of the human condition with the saving grace which is found in Jesus Christ. It is obvious you have been blessed by the Holy Spirit in the work you have been doing. I have also been blessed by the ministry and work of Todd Friel. Though I find him a little over the top at times, I believe he is also blessed by God in the work he does and the impact he can have on those honestly seeking the truth.

    That being said, it is important to note none of us are perfect and none of us are always correct in our views.

    However, in this instance I’m afraid I must side with Todd Friel, not with the content and nature of his criticism, but with the intent of it. Mike Bickle and Heidi Baker are not people we should be looking to for leadership or putting our trust in as spiritual teachers. I would encourage everyone here to investigate the ministries of Mike Bickle and Heidi Baker and draw your own conclusions.

    • Kathy

      I agree with you, GLT. I consider Dr. Brown to be a trusted voice of truth, but I, too, must take issue with him concerning this article for the reasons you cite.

  • This is unfortunate. I’m most definitely not a charismatic (Reformed and Calvinist in fact), but if someone can affirm the Nicene Creed, we’re on the same team. I’m all for making distinctions, and pointing out where I think harm is being done, but we live in a fallen, messy world, and God uses the whole big mess to accomplish his redemptive purposes in history. He uses fallen, misshapen people who often do, say, and believe wrong things, and he still accomplishes his purposes. I just finished reading/writing my way through the Old Testament, and boy is it clear that God uses messed up people. Then this morning, just reading Matthew’s genealogy, it hit me again! “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham,” and God never sees fit to apologize for the prostitutes, the liars, fornicators, adulterers, murderers, etc.????? NO! So let’s not major on minors and rejoice with those who call on the name of the Lord!

    • Kathy

      Absolutely, Mike, but to ignore and not point out harmful errors in other believer’s thinking is not loving and caring for them as we should.

      • Of course, but it all comes down to one’s assessment of harmful, doesn’t it.

        • GLT

          Yes, it does, and when we see people rolling on the floor, kicking and screaming, supposedly under the influence of the Holy Spirit, one is forced to ask the question; how does that line up with Galatians 5:22-23 where the fruits of the spirit would seem to be contrary to such events?

          • Oh, I agree, what is one to do? If we were to focus on everything we thought was “harmful,” as Kathy says, would we do anything but turn into Cassandras? I don’t have any idea what the answer is. My “life’s verse” is I Cor. 8:2. But notice what Paul says in the preceding verse. We are not called to skepticism, but epistemological humility. What this means, I think, is we need to be very careful about what we do think is genuinely harmful. And bottom line, my friend, is that we cannot save the world, or the Church. Again, what the right answer is, or balance, I have no idea.

          • GLT

            “What this means, I think, is we need to be very careful about what we do think is genuinely harmful.”

            Yes, we do need to be careful about what we label as harmful. However, after 30 plus years of studying false cults and aberrant doctrine I can assure you the teachings found among the Mike Bickles and Heidi Bakers of the world are extremely harmful to the church of Christ. I have experienced this harm first hand on more than a few occasions. They not only adversely affect those within the church, they also have a very negative impact on those outside the church watching what we say and do. This can easily be seen by with no more than a cursory survey of youtube pages and blogs which focus on this subject. I would suggest you do just that if you doubt what I say.

          • I’m not doubting what you say at all, and if one’s conviction is strong and assessment plausible, then one must speak. But it must be done in love, and it doesn’t sound like the guys who are criticizing Dr. Brown did. We also need to distinguish being co-belligerents in the culture war, and theological compatibility. I have many problems with Catholicism, and of course Judaism, but those who are conservative and embrace those faiths are with us against the hostile totalitarian secular culture, like Dr. Brown is. But like I implied, there is no definitive answer to the dilemma. One must go with one’s own conscience.

          • GLT

            “But it must be done in love, and it doesn’t sound like the guys who are criticizing Dr. Brown did.”

            I agree completely, which is why I said while I agreed with Tood Friel’s intent I did not appreciate his tone and content.

            “I have many problems with Catholicism, and of course Judaism, but those who are conservative and embrace those faiths are with us against the hostile totalitarian secular culture,…”

            Again, I am in complete agreement.

        • Kathy

          Sent you a response, but accidentally sent the reply to myself.

      • Kathy

        You did write you are “all for making distinctions and pointing out where I think harm is being done”. What would you assess as being harmful, or not?

        • Hey, Kathy. That is the question isn’t is. As I replied to GLT below, I have no idea. I guess the question might be, where does my assessment of things really matter. I think those that criticized Mr. Brown were not being helpful. What exactly are they trying to accomplish? It seems to me more counterproductive than anything. Is not in this day and age Mr. Brown on our side? It also comes down to blowing wind, and really understanding who we actually have persuasive credibility with. Pentecostal Christianity is transforming much of Africa in a Christian direction. Is it horrible because it’s not Reformed and what I would prefer? No, I praise God for it!

          In my latest reading/writing through the Old Testament, again, I came across what has become one of my favorite verses that speaks to this. I often pray this, and thank God for it, on Sunday mornings before church. It is Is. 26:8:

          Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

          I think about the literally billions of people all over the world, like me, awaiting the Lord’s day of worship of our Savior, and their hearts rejoicing in their Savior God, his name and renown being the desire of their hearts. I don’t care how screwed up their theology is, in my opinion. Their hearts rejoice in him!

          If God brings people into my life who are genuinely searching and questioning, I’ll try to persuade them of what I believe orthodox Christianity teaches, and why they should too. And of course, my family is fully persuaded of my faith and worldview because I’ve invested my life persuading them. Other than that, I’m not sure sure about the value of calling out everything I disagree with in public forums. This is my two cents for what it’s worth.

          • Kathy

            Very thoughtful, Mike, and I commend you for sharing your orthodox Christian views with those that are seeking the Lord. Since I am not very familiar with the Pentecostal Church other than what I read or hear, I can only reference the church I’ve had the most actual experience in.

            What I mean by harmful is if a person is taught another means of salvation contrary to what is in Scripture, like salvation acquired through the practice of water baptism, participating in church sacraments and ascribing solely to that one particular church as being the only true way to salvation. As Biblical Christians, we understand that is not the case.

          • Kathy, I replied and thought I saved it, but it’s not here! Ugh. If it shoes up somehow, then it will be here twice. I came back because I had another thought. My ambivalence can come off sometimes seeming as relativism. It most assuredly is not. Being Reformed in my theological perspective means I have a strong conviction about the nature of sin, and its power. The first T in TULIP is total depravity. We lived in a fallen world full of sinners, and sin distorts everything. Every thought, every action, every inclination, every motivation. Nothing we do or think is wholly pure. Believing this and after 57 years of life has compelled me to give people the benefit of the doubt. And I’ll try to reconstruct my other comment in a separate one.

          • For some reason they will not publish my comment. Maybe because I put a link to my website, Keeping Your Kids Christian. I saved it this time, though, and we’ll see if this time without the link it gets by the censors:

            OK, I said it was interesting you mentioned water baptism. Every Catholic believes this, but I’m not ready to consign them to Hell. And I had an experience last summer with a guy from the Church of Christ, which believes you must be baptized in water after a confession of faith to be saved. It was difficult for me to see this guy as a heretic, even if some see the CoC as a cult. I can’t do that because I believe they are completely wrong on baptism. Ironically, I’d met him because he owns a publishing house, and I’m getting a book published. He decided they couldn’t published it because it seems many in the CoC believe Reformed theology (Calvinism) is positively evil. If the thief on the cross could make it into paradise with zero theological content, then I’m trusting God is going to be a lot more merciful than many Christians when it comes to those they think are theologically confused.

          • Kathy

            I have had that same thing happen to me and couldn’t figure out the reason…thought I followed all the rules. It’s frustrating when you’ve wasted your time, especially with a lengthy reply.

            Yes, they do believe that about baptism and participating in the Eucharist, but if by doing those things they think they are then “good to go”, that is a problem. I know many “going-through-the-motions” Catholics, along with other denominations, of course. I honestly don’t know what to think about the CoC belief…isn’t baptism commanded by Christ, of a professing believer, that is, not an clueless infant?

            Do you ascribe to predestination and election in Calvinism? I wasn’t so sure, but am leaning more and more in that direction for a number of reasons. Yes, I’ve referenced the thief on the cross many times, mainly that he wasn’t baptized, didn’t have time to perform good works, etc. and yet solely because he trusted and put his faith in our Savior, he was received by Him. But, are Christians trusting in Jesus like the thief, or in their church affliliation, or performing certain rituals, etc? That is the big question.

            We are warned about false teachers many times in Scripture, so I still believe it’s important to point out heresies and prompt people to question what they are taught. I am no exception…I would like others to steer me in the right direction if I am floundering.

  • m-nj

    Two comments.

    1) The issue of whether what these “leaders” (Lentz, Bickel, Baker, etc.) are doing is drawing people to the “Jesus of the Bible?”. Yes, some throw around Jesus’ name, but the Jesus they present and claim to serve is often not the Jesus of the Bible. That makes them false teachers (whether they are actually save or not is between them and God).

    2) Quoting a charismatic who is quoting Edwards to try to justify the supposed work of the Holy Spirit in these recent movements is laughable (and not holy laughter, but sad laughter). Edwards was merely making observations about the revival that the Lord was working in his time. He certainly DID NOT PROMOTE OR ENCOURAGE his hearers to seek after these manifestations of the Spirit, in complete contrast to what these “leaders” you seem to be defending do all the time.

    I was saved in an church in the early 1990’s which was both Calvinistic in its theology and non-cessationist in its practice. But the pastor and elders clearly denounced the crazy charismatic movement of that period. Tt has only gotten worse since then, and we do well to warn those listening or influenced by us to stay clear of it. You will be held accountable by the Lord for not warning people who listen to you.

    • Kathy

      I have not had experience with the charismatic movement and tend to lean more on the side of doubt regarding it and with John MacArthur. I experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit, prompting my conversion, but not through the means of “seeking after these manifestations of the Spirit”. Yes, and are these “leaders” preaching the Jesus of the Bible or of their own making.? So, I agree with your post.

    • Bryan

      I find as much to disagree with from John MacArthur and RC Sproul as I do from the charismatic side. I grew up in a OPC church and my wife grew up in (among others) a Pentecostal church. They both worship the same God. We searched for churches for years as we went through college and then moving around. We’ve always used Bible based teaching as the main criterion for choosing which church to go back to and potentially invest ourselves in.
      I agree with Dr. Brown that if the condemnation of him and his ministry is due to his association with specific people or non-condemnation of specific people, who are proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, then that is a poor reason. I’m pretty sure from the Predestination side of the argument, God is going to save those He will save, whether they’re charismatic or not.

  • Patmos

    “No, we will evaluate you by this criterion: If you will not condemn so-and-so as a false teacher, you yourself are suspect.”

    If they have evidence, and can back their charges against those people, they shouldn’t concern themselves with who joins the chorus or not. Ridiculous.

  • Mike,

    Keep your nose in the Scripture,
    Your hands to the Heavens,
    And your ears open to God.

    As to the rest, when you have done all you can do, stand.

  • Ken Abbott

    Phil Johnson has worked closely with John MacArthur in the “Grace to You” ministry for many years. He has been a very discerning interpreter of the near-heretical, frankly heretical, and outright whackdoodle elements in American Christianity. I would listen carefully to what he has to say but give a fair hearing to Dr. Brown as well. Anyone whom James R. White knows and can work with has my respect.

  • Craig Roberts

    Comparing yourself favorably to the apostle Paul just because people disagree with your approach to ministry is only “dangerous” in the sense that it is dangerous to flatter yourself.

    Saint Paul himself wrote “Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, quarrels, and fights about the law, because they are useless and empty.” (Titus 3:9)

    One thing I admire about Charismatics is that they tend to be too busy speaking in tongues, getting slain in the spirit, or some other freaky manifestation, to waste time squabbling about who’s really a Christian.

  • tz1

    What I find strange both about the apparent accusations and the response is there is nothing substantive.

    One of the problems with the Reformation is that everyone believes the bible is true, but equally believes that it says different things (e.g. adult v.s. infant baptism, and I can argue either/both sides but it comes down to something outside of the text).

    Neither SJW like “condemnation” – of a person, not of an explicit or implied doctrine, nor a false unity is the answer. Nor is keeping everything behind closed doors since offenses are often public (consider if someone said Gay Marriage is valid).

    Jesus is the Truth incarnate, alive and active. In seeking the truth, we seek Christ. There is no contradiction in him.

    In the post there was some talk of a woman having charismatic ecstasy. OK, what error do you think she preached? Error can and is to be corrected. But error is about truth, not aesthetics, i.e. beauty. Some consider charismatic practices ugly, but the question is whether they are true, and ultimately good.

    But we never seem to get to the point to ask the correct question

    • The Evangelical

      I think it’s kind of the nature of these polemics ministries. I wish these things were addressed more fully in formal debates rather than constant, shallow attacks based on little evidence

  • Elizabeth Litts

    I am so sorry–Dr. Brown I know–this rest of these mentioned -except for John McArthur–I never heard of. Dr Brown has nothing to worry about-

  • Kevin Quillen

    the pure, simple message given by Christ has been so confused, twisted, and gainfully used by man that it is no wonder the world rejects Him. Organized religion must fall. Read the Bible prayerfully for yourself and do not rely on a man for your understanding. Simply live out the life exemplified by Jesus. The world will see Him and accept Christianity and be changed. There is very little to be gained by church attendence.

  • I admire the zeal of Pentecostals, but I can’t help wondering if it’s based on human experiences rather than the Holy Spirit. Here’s a simple test of whether tongues-speaking is miraculous:

    a-one person speaks in tongues, b-two others write down their interpretations, and c-compare the written interpretations to see if they essentially match. This would work with three people who are native Spanish speakers from the same region, or French, or Japanese or whatever.

    If the interpretations don’t match, either the tongues-speaking is not real, or at least one of the other two can’t interpret.

    Your thoughts, Dr. Brown?

  • Stephen D

    I know people who are fine, upstanding citizens, highly educated in Christian matters, expert in public prayer, whose conversation is superbly biblical, whose preaching (if they preach) is full of sound doctrine – but whose utterances and influence have not evidently won souls for Christ.
    I also know a poor, uneducated woman, drably dressed, whose face is somewhat deformed so that her speech is slurred and difficult to understand, who prays only haltingly, who never expresses herself on matters of doctrine. Who could tell whether she was a Calvinist or an Arminian or whatever? But this woman has led strangers to Christ.
    “By their fruits ye shall know them”.

  • John

    Thank you for being dangerous! I grew up in the “main-line” Methodist Church, and later attended “main line” Southern Baptist Churches wherever my job took us. These main line churches are NOT dangerous to the devil or his work. I was able to attend Heidi and Rolland’s first US 7-week Harvest School in Sarasota FL. At Harvest school the emphasis was on our identity as adopted sons and daughters of the Father. It was a tremendous blessing and growth opportunity for me. I have also come to understand that by and large most pastors preach and teach from their educational knowledge only, rather that by the Spirit. Unless the Spirit speaks, the sermons are useless. The Spirit says “My Word, SPOKEN BY MY MOUTH, will not return void.” Yes, it must be God’s word; but, it is useless unless HE speaks it!
    I pray I will become and always be very dangerous to the works of darkness!

    • The Evangelical

      “Unless the Spirit speaks, the sermons are useless.”

      Only that which is God breathed should be taught from the pulpit, and educated individuals take great pains to ensure the proper handling of God’s Word. Do you believe anything other than the Bible is “God Breathed”? If not, then they are preaching by the Spirit if they exegete the text and preach the truth of God’s Word to the body.

      The manner in which they do it doesn’t matter so long as it’s the truth. To address your point, if the Gospel is proclaimed either by an educated person who exegetes the text, or an uneducated person who repeats the truth that the educated person has taught him, it is just as effective because it’s the truth of the Gospel that changes hearts.

      • John

        I mostly agree. I think we mostly agree. I stated that it must be God’s word. I believe the manner does matter. I believe what “else” is said should be under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. A pastor does not only read and quote the Bible. He normally gives illustrations and examples to help his people understand. Only the Spirit knows which illustrations He wants used. For that matter, only the Spirit knows which specific truths He wants preached on a given Sunday. For that matter, only the Spirit can effectively lead a soul winner in a one-on-one encounter. I saying the manner must be under the Spirit’s anointing. It takes more that just proper education. “The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing”. As you know.

  • Hmmm…

    A genuine body of Christ vision may be broader than most will allow. There’s a strong tendency to limit it to their denomination, some to their single church. We are warned not to say: “I have no need of thee” to other members of the Body. I truly think we are many, many parts, some mentioned here, with very diverse callings and purposes – all needful – and we need the other parts more than most of us know. True persecution will likely fine tune this understanding, but all who are working with other camps are more the wiser and stronger.

  • Chip Crawford

    The brothers making those statements about charismatic believers put themselves on bad ground. Not only are they patently false in their negative claims, they are in danger of the scripture applying to them that warns not to embrace the form of religion and deny the power. Most would openly deny the claims of empowered missionaries, the numbers, the miracles which happen mostly overseas where there is very simple believing. Yet they have abounded for decades. Some cannot be hidden. Both kingdoms are working side by side. We should be about unity and purging our hearts of division like this, suspicion and charges against brethren. That is the worst, decried in scripture. Again, these men are on bad ground, requiring grace that leads to repentance for allowing such things to grow up and speaking them out like this.

    • The Evangelical

      There is a range to the cessationist theology. There is a distinction between the “gifts” and the “ministry of the Holy Spirit”. Many soft cessationists like Paul Washer don’t deny the miracles happening in the mission field, but they see them as different from the normative gifts described in the new testament for the whole body.

      • Chip Crawford

        Whatever “they see” affects them only. They needn’t suffer trepidation over the gifts, however they slice and dice it. If they don’t believe, they’ll not be bothered with them. Personally, I can’t see pretending there’s a cutoff when the word does not give one. It is clear enough about OT things no longer relative, practices that are superseded by Jesus’ redemptive work. There will be a standing before Jesus to give account one of these days rather soon. I’d rather have stuck with his word and hear a “Well done,” than have played fast and loose with it, hearing “Well …” God bless.

        • The Evangelical

          They certainly are not playing “fast and loose with it”. They perform systematic theology and correct errors because they honor the Word. Of course, there are methodological differences and sometimes they go into error, like any of us. But many of them honestly are concerned over certain charismatic practices as leading people away from the faith.

          Here’s a question I have been wrestling with recently to consider: where is the cutoff for the New Testament canon? Can you prove that the canon is closed from scripture alone? Is there an explicit statement in scripture setting the cannon? What about the Old Testament?

          I think you’ll find that our doctrine of scriptural sufficiency and the canon is not explicit in scripture and that the systematic theology that leads to those conclusions are the same that lead to cessantionist beliefs.

          • Chip Crawford

            Sir/Madam: When you know the one who spoke the stars into existence, glory upon glory, yet speaks to us in that still, small voice, you would finally come to rest. The scripture you dispute says that if you don’t have the spirit of God, you’re none of his. All this dicing and slicing is just claptrap, and you are flapping in the wind. Continual doubting the very canon-ness of the canon is inviting the devil to keep you in just that – perpetual doubt. Personally, I find him very poor company. I’ll stick with the Father who has me in the hollow of his hand, and warns me about such as you, well meaning as you may be. If God is not God to you, then what’s the use? If it’s up to your struggles and burbles and gurgles, then you are your own God – again, lost as a goose. Bad place to be, sir/madam. I’d move …

          • The Evangelical

            What is your foundation for accepting all 66 books of the Bible? Why don’t you accept the Catholic books of the Old Testament? Why don’t you accept the Didache or the Shepard of Hermes as scripture?

            This is not some wasted intellectual exercise; this is apologetics–a defense of the faith. How can you defend the faith against attack if you don’t even know why you believe what you believe?

            I’ll ask again: on what basis can you reject the systematic theology used to defend cessationism when that same system is used to defend the canon of scripture?

            You can’t reject cessationism because there is no explicit verse in scripture that states that the gifts have ceased, because there is no explicit verse that gives us the canon of scripture either.

            You defend the canon of scripture based upon Church history, and yet Church history widely supports the ceasing of the gifts after the apostles’ time.

          • Chip Crawford

            Sir/Madam: Let me try again, perhaps from a different tact … I am not interested in climbing fool’s hill with you. That would be backward going – huh? You know, the devil and his cohorts love to string along smart folks like you. Go ahead – make ’em laugh. But, whatever you do, get saved. Make Jesus your lord and savior and then do what he says to do about this. Working out your own salvation does not mean obtaining it. Jesus already got it for you. If you claim to be saved, have the spirit of the living God within, then repent of going your own way. God will forgive you as you submit yourself to his lordship and do his own thing. Presently, you are working with other spirits. Plain. Simple. Saved or lost – follow God. He has a much smarter plan for your life and time(s). God bless you.

          • The Evangelical

            I’m simply pointing out your lack of consistency. You have already shown that you do not desire what you stated earlier, “We should be about unity and purging our hearts of division like this, suspicion and charges against brethren.” I won’t judge your state with God, and I encourage you to do the same. I have no reason to doubt your confession, same as you. Please open yourself up to the diversity of the body to include those who engage in systematic theology and love studying and defending the word.

            We are standing on the shoulders of giants who have given us a systematic understanding of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the physical resurrection of Jesus, the imputation of righteousness, salvation by faith alone, and other essential doctrines of the Gospel. This did not come about by waiting for God’s whispers, but by a careful examination of his word in scripture.

          • Chip Crawford

            Mt 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. I’m not against you or charging you as are those attacking Dr. Brown, which was the context of those statements. It is part of your skew that you, either knowingly or otherwise, missed that and/or re-assigned those words. And, unity of the brethren, is about everyone being brethren. I’m not sure you are indeed saved and that is a sincere concern. Eternity placement rides on the issue. I know you mean well, but feel you are seriously misaligned in your focus, missing key, significant things that come by spiritual revelation of God and his kingdom truths and operation. I realize the flesh loves the intellect as a problem solving realm, but God has the answers on a higher plane. I find you scoffing of such and that is a concern and that you are man-centered and carnally minded. You must be born again. Sir/madam: You will fall in love with the spirit realm the moment you actually experience it. The things of this carnal, heady, reasoning realm will pale in light of God’s enlightenment. God bless.

          • The Evangelical

            What evidence would convince you of my salvation? Haven’t I offered a clear confession and acceptance of Gospel truths? What basis do you have to doubt my confession?

            What other “spiritual revelation of God” are you talking about? Even Dr. Brown admits that only scripture is God breathed. So is he missing this revelation too?

          • Chip Crawford

            The body of scripture is God breathed in general, but not specifically to each one’s understanding. You can read something over and over, hear it preached and so forth, but one day it “dawns” on you. The revelation of its meaning goes off inside of you and changes you in that area, becomes a living truth to you. It stops being head knowledge and becomes heart knowledge. We’re not vitally linked to everything we are aware of in the word. Paul prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened so that we can behold larger than our current parameters. So many pass their entire Christian life assuming head knowledge is pretty much it. Thankfully, there is more. God is not one aspect; the revelation of him is eternal. It’s revelation after revelation of what we “know.”
            If you offered a “confession” of salvation, it went missing among your words. If you are a child of God, you are a disobedient one. God never told anyone to continually thrash and churn about the bible and continually foment doubt about it. He called us to settle down and do it, grow in it and, yes, see into it more and more deeply as we worship and have our hearts before him.

          • The Evangelical

            There are many disagreements about how to interpret scripture and what it means, but there can only be one valid interpretation. So theologians and apologists seek to carefully study the scriptures to determine what that truth is so that we can follow it. How is this disobedience?

            I think that you are anachronistically applying your modern understanding of the Bible to church history. The people of God discussed and debated the truths of the Gospel based upon scripture since the beginning. Are you willing to claim that the majority of the church fathers were disobedient or not Christian themselves?

            The Spirit does not ensure that every Christian will have an infallible interpretation of the word. The verse discussing the Spirit leading us into “all truth” is specifically referring to the apostles…hence why only the apostles produced God breathed scripture.

          • Chip Crawford

            It is very, very simple. Maybe that is the problem. ASK GOD. He says to ask him when you lack wisdom. HE KNOWS. He’ll tell you. But if you mock his means of relating, by his spirit to your spirit, and require something in the carnal, natural realm, then you are disobedient and have disqualified yourself. He can get it across to you if you will trust him for the answer and believe he does what he says. Faith is required in dealings with God. We are to grow in it. you have chosen to attempt to work things out by your efforts alone, and that’s bad. You do what he says to do. One must seek God and wait on him, and be obedient to what he says to do, including other areas that don’t appear to relate to what you are asking about. It’s having Jesus as your Lord in reality in daily life, not just a pass to Heaven. It’s not automatic, but it is sure. It’s the narrow way, but it leads to LIFE. I’ve had it both ways. LIFE is better than what I can produce by my own efforts alone.

  • Sandra Miljkovic

    Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character (1Cor15:33). Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble (Proverbs13:20). The righteous choose their friends carefully (Proverbs 12:26). For through wise counsel you will wage war, victory lies in an abundance of advisors (Proverbs 24:6). Open criticism is better than hidden love (Proverbs27:5). Whoever rebukes a man will later on find more favor than someone who flatters with his words (Proverbs 28:3)

    • Chip Crawford

      Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
      But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
      If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (1 Peter 4:12-14)

  • heuristic

    There are only two groups of people in our churches today: 1) Those who believe that the King James Bible is God’s inerrant, perfect, infallible, inspired and preserved words; and 2) Those who don’t believe that we have God’s pure words today! If you don’t believe that the King James Bible is God’s pure word, then which one is it?

    • The Evangelical

      For the New Testament it’s Koine Greek and for the Old Testament it’s Hebrew. Any translation is dependent on the original delivery of God’s word in those languages as well as an examination of the textual variants present in our collection of texts.

      • heuristic

        The Evangelical, Do you speak any of those languages you speak of? God translated it in English. Also there were three languages Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.

        • The Evangelical

          No, I speak English, so I want a translation that is closest to the original words of the autographs based upon all available manuscript evidence with textual variants pointed out.

          I don’t want a translation based upon a Greek codex that was based upon around 12 manuscripts (as opposed to over 5000 like modern ones) with textual inundation in the book of Revelation because Erasmus could not find a Greek book of Revelation and had to translate from the Latin.

    • Mike

      You don’t actually believe this, do you?

  • Earl Baker

    I’m an AOG Pentecostal. I agree that calling Dr. Brown dangerous is a shame, BUT Mr Brown does let these leaders get away with LYING on his program. He needs to do better. You don’t need to call them hell bent sinners to call them on their nonsense.
    He brought Bill J. On his program to promote his book and beforehand they talked about some of the shenanigans and Bill FLAT OUT LIED about what he promotes. Sozo prayer, fake glory clouds, angel feathers, grave soaking.
    Sir, grave soaking has made it all the way to their bethel church in Akron where they lie on A. W. Tozers grave and Bills support is well known.
    Noticed you didnt mention pastor Carl Lentz who needs to be booted from the pulpit.

    • Chip Crawford

      I hope Dr. Brown corrects that practice if indeed he allows double dealing where many could be misled. That’s a stiff accountability for that type of thing. Have been proud that people find out that homosexuality is wrong from the program, and Dr. Brown’s assertion that we must tell them what is right, the truth. Paul called heretics and defectors by name and mentioned their deeds. It’s not loving those “ministers” to give them a platform to deceive! Say it isn’t so. Dr. Brown.

  • I “attended” Bethel church Redding Ca, for four years via the Internet, grateful for it. I then moved to Redding and went to services regularly and enjoyed some of their teaching classes. Loved FIRESTARTERS and appreciated pastor Dann Farrell’s solid biblical teaching. The only reason I am not there now is because of their strong embrace of preterism.
    The only thing I have differed with the author of this article on, is his propensity to have a problem with condemning outright all izslime. I totally hate izslime and totally distrust every single muzslime on the planet. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should should EVER be protective of any muzslime for any reason. If we can’t get this they will win by our ignorance and attrition.

  • David Lovi

    Dr. Brown considers it a “crown of honor” to defend heretics and be called out for it. Hmm. Sorry to tell ya doc, that is not something to be proud of. The danger with you is that because of your education and academic pedigree, people respect your opinion more than the simple false teachers you represent and defend. Therefore you are indeed dangerous to the Gospel and the cause of Christ in the world. Truly you need to repent or you may indeed be found guilty of causing others to sin by following these false prophets and teachers. It is actually shocking how dense you think people are when you say you know nothing about the teachings of Todd White and Benny Hinn etc. it just shows that you think pleading ignorance is an excuse for your behavior. Well, the Lord knows.

  • Mike

    Nice try Mike, but your “spin” won’t bear up under scrutiny!
    You claim you are unfairly maligned by so called hypercritics (aka people who are holding you accountable) when you supposedly are “Confronting doctrinal errors in the Body”!
    REALLY?? I actually LOL’d at this claim!
    Your unwillingness to speak out against the most outrageous, bizarre and unbiblical garbage imaginable has earned you this distinction. You are simply being dishonest and cowardly by refusing to take a stand against these charlatans that you continue to defend and promote!

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