In 2016, Anthony Wade came down hard on Christian apologist Michael Brown for showing a stunning lack of discernment over the years. In light of the company he keeps (see the wolves he associates with here), should we have any confidence in Dr. Brown at all? Should someone who knowingly runs with ravenous wolves be considered credible? “Who we choose to lend our credibility to matters to the people who see us and listen to us,” reminds Wade.
Surprisingly, even though there’s an abundance of evidence to prove that Michael Brown, who is a charismatic, shares much of the of NAR false signs and wonders beliefs, some highly regarded Christian luminaries choose to not only defend him, they go to great lengths to marginalize his critics. Anthony Wade, who happens to be an Assemblies of God pastor and a cessationist, says that as far as he’s concerned Dr. Brown has lost all credibility. In a blog post over at 8:28 Ministries, Wade explains why he believes the Christian community should be very wary of Dr. Michael Brown. He writes:
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. — 1Timothy 4: 12 (ESV)
Dr. Michael Brown has always been somewhat of an enigma to me. Clearly a learned scholar who has command of ancient languages, Brown also has a compelling testimony of God saving him many decades ago. Something unfortunate happened though on the way to the present day. He developed a huge blind spot regarding Charismania. He was the primary teacher at the false Brownsville revival, which was no revival at all of course. Anyone with an ounce of discernment can watch the videos of the spasmodic twitching and uncontrolled tics being blamed on the Holy Spirit and see that. Over the years Dr. Brown has written fantastic articles and books on theology and is a vociferous defender of our faith. Except when it comes to Charismania. When it comes to the dark side of evangelicalism, Dr. Brown has simply never met a heretic he could not make an excuse for. He has defended Hillsong. He has defended Joseph Prince. He has defended Benny Hinn and spent a week on his television program. Just last week he interviewed/protected Bill Johnson. What’s the matter with this picture? All of the above are some of the most dangerous and obvious wolves today that are devouring the sheep of the Lord and scattering people away from Jesus Christ. There is simply no debate beloved. Prince preaches a dangerous antinomianism that even Brown has written a book denouncing, although he thinks Prince himself just has a “hole in his theology.” Never mind the bloodied sheep hanging from his jowls. Hillsong is one of the largest worldwide sources of heresy in preaching, music, and cultural relevance. Their founder and lead pastor has written a book called “You need More Money” for heaven’s sake. The fruit does not hang much lower! Benny Hinn is a demonstrated false prophet, false healer, and false revivalist. He is the poster child for what is wrong in Christianity. Bill Johnson of course fancies himself a living apostle and is one of the leaders behind the NAR, false signs and lying wonders theologies, and the shift away from the Bible towards experiential Christianity. These things are not in dispute beloved. They simply are not. As Brown has come under more and more scrutiny he seems to become more and more defensive. This brings us to his latest article:
My intent here is to apply the same biblical rules of discernment to this obvious attempt to discredit the people who try to hold him accountable. To accomplish this, I will try to respond to his points as they come up in the article:
“As a lover of God, a lover of His people, and a lover of His Word, I welcome godly, ethical discernment. And as a lover of God, a lover of His people, and a lover of His Word, I reject ungodly, unethical discernment.” — Dr. Michael Brown
This is simply untrue. If he were a lover of God, His people and His Word, then he would abide by Titus 1:9, which requires him to rebuke false teachers. Reasonable people can always disagree about teachers on the periphery. We are talking some of the biggest and obvious heretics on the planet today. Brown also does not welcome discernment. What he welcomes is the chance to appear to be the voice of reason. For example in the comments of this article there is an exchange between him and discernment blogger Amy Spreeman about why Brown blocked her on Twitter for daring to ask about his support for Bill Johnson. Brown tried to claim it was because he did not “have the time” to respond to her and instructed her to call his radio show. This is a common tactic for Brown, who seems to have plenty of time to write but never any time to respond in writing. Instead, it is always an invitation to call his show because then he can pretend he is trying to engage his dissenters. Two points on this. First, it is simply shameful self-promotion. Secondly and more importantly, nothing gets resolved on his radio show because he dominates the time, sets up strawmen arguments at the start of any potentially contentious segment and answers critiques and questions with other questions. How do I know? I called into his program after he spent a week on the Benny Hinn show. While Dr. Brown was kind enough to give me ten minutes it was primarily ten minutes of him filibustering, commercials, and nothing got resolved.
“Unfortunately, I have also seen the real damage these ministries can do, as their websites become almost glorified gossip columns, repeating the latest accusations against other leaders (almost with glee, it seems), believing the worst rather than giving the benefit of the doubt until the facts are known, and seeing themselves as divinely-appointed policemen called to set the Body right.” — Dr. Michael Brown
Nice try. Discernment ministries are not “setting the body right.” They are driving the wolves away from the sheep. You know, as the Bible instructs us to. Not only is this a strawman argument but it is designed to cast aspersions upon those who would seek the truth. By the way, if someone writes something without checking facts or giving enough time, I would agree with Dr. Brown that they are not doing the work of God. But that is not who we are really talking about. True discernment ministries, such as the work of Amy Spreeman are not gossip columns. I can give two topical examples from my own ministry. One time a couple of years ago, Brian Houston said in a sermon that Christians and Muslims serve the same God. No question about it. I heard it. I chose not to write about it however until I heard Houston respond to the criticism because it simply was not in his prior teachings. Anyone can make a mistake beloved. Houston may be one of the worst prosperity pimps on the planet but he has never supported Chrislam. Sure enough he came out in a few days and even though he lamely blamed the media, he said he had misspoken. Good enough for me. To this day when people try and level this charge against him I defend him because the only thing that matters is the truth. The second example was when Victoria Osteen said that we worship God for ourselves and not for Him. I gave her the benefit of the doubt for a week waiting to hear if she would say she misspoke. Instead she and Joel doubled down on the heresy and THAT was when I wrote about the incident and how worship within the church has become as narcissistic as Victoria admitted to.
The point Dr. Brown misses here is we are not talking about some new preacher that has said something controversial. These are not unknown quantities. The people we are talking about in discernment ministries have established histories of heresy. Years and decades in many cases. They have been rebuked over and over again and refuse to correct their doctrine. While Brown seems infinitely concerned about the wolves, we are concerned with the sheep. There is a price to pay for being deceived by Hinn, Johnson, Houston, and Prince and it is eternal. I find nowhere in Scripture that we are to give wolves the benefit of the doubt and therein lies Brown’s blind spot. To him there are no false teachers or prophets. All are brothers in Christ to him. To people who are discerning, they are wolves and are not brothers and sisters. Jesus teaches us after all, who is our mother and brother except they that do the will of the Father.