Jan Markell, Embracing the Spirit of Error
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Jan Markell, radio host of Understanding the Times Radio has exhibited an extraordinary lack of discernment. Once viewed as a sound discernment ministry, speaking out against the heresies of Roman Catholicism, ecumenism, and many other false teachers parading around in the church, Markell’s Olive Tree Ministries has slid deep into apostasy over the last few years.
It began when Jan Markell started promoting Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger, back in 2012. The Harbinger was a book on the NY Times Best Sellers list that made arduous claims regarding the application of Scriptures to the United States and twisting them completely out of context. For example, Cahn claimed in the book that Isaiah 9:10, “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with smooth stones,” is a reference to the rebuilding of the World Trade Center in New York. The book is replete with false information, bad doctrine, and twisted Scriptures. Yet, this didn’t deter Markell, as she and Cahn were both contributors to the Christian news website, Worldnet Daily, who was also heavily promoting the book at the time.
Markell, and her partner-in-crime and co-host, Eric Barger, co-hosted a radio program in July of 2012 in which, according to the description, “continued questioning Jonathan Cahn on important issues and accusations flying around the Internet and on radio.” The radio program then spent the remaining time defending Cahn’s false teachings, twisted Scripture, and dangerous theology. Markell and Barger were confronted by multiple ministries, including Worldview Weekend, regarding their continued promotion of this dangerous book and false teacher, yet she persisted in sin and continued to ignore the Scriptural warnings given to her.
Before this debacle, Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend was a regular fill-in and supporter of Markell’s ministry. As stated before, she was apparently a strong proponent of sound biblical doctrine and a solid discerner of truth. At the time, it was baffling that she could become so caught up in this false teaching and such a staunch defender of heresy. After Howse decided he had no choice but to distance himself from Markell’s ministry, Markell’s co-host, Eric Barger put out an article repudiating the “kind” of discernment that had been perpetuated around them. I personally reached to Markell, asking her to consider the truths being presented to her by Howse and others, and to seek reconciliation. Eric Barger responded via email,
Just so you understand, my article was not about any individual but about the culture in the discernment community. It has become “push my pet peripheral theologies and call it discernment” and you dare not disagree with some of them or suddenly YOU become the target.
Worst is that some discerners have decided that rejecting pleas for dialog before going public against others is the way to go. It’s shoot first and talk later. I won’t repeat stuff from my articles here but knowing what I know from behind the scenes, I am first shocked, then saddened, and finally in a state of no confidence concerning the work and integrity of some of that I thought were the most trustworthy people in our circle. No wonder the heretics and emergents laugh at us.
Markell, herself, also responded to me via email, saying,
We’re not calling out Brannon Howse here. We’re addressing the entire discernment community who chooses to heavily bash, bash. I know he is naming me on his program and you might ask him to lay off. There is a rule in radio that you do not do that. 99% of radio networks throw off any ministry that calls other broadcasters out by name and scolds them. It is just not ever done. It is as unprofessional as you can get. We have stayed light years away from even naming the discerners we have in mind here, although they have all tried to roast this ministry, Eric Barger, etc., and many, many more.
Now, keep in mind, that Markell’s ministry was a discernment ministry that regularly engaged in public attacks against others that they deemed to be false teachers. However, when they are confronted about their public promotion and perpetuation of false teachings, all of a sudden, this kind of discernment is unacceptable.
Fast-forward four years later, another one of Jan Markell’s co-hosts reaches out to Pulpit & Pen with a complaint against us regarding our exposing of the false teachings of Anne Graham Lotz. Brandon Hines posted an article on Lotz, who was heavily promoting Pagan prayer circles and the Jewish mystic, Honi. Jill Martin Rische writes to us and threatens to expose Pulpit & Pen on her and Jan’s next radio program. She says,
Just because some people today have twisted circle making to their own ends does not make the ancient judicial practice of it pagan mysticism or witchcraft—and just because Anne Lotz quotes Honi from the Jewish legal text, the Mishnah, does not make her guilty of endorsing mysticism.
We are currently finishing a segment on polemics and internet apologetics (I co-host with Jan Markell on Understanding the Times radio), so we will add to it an examination of the Pulpit and Pen’s methodology. You are welcome to send me a statement or I can excerpt your comments here. Whatever all of you say, printing accusations against another believer based on poor historical research is bearing false witness and you should retract this article and apologize to Mrs. Lotz.
First, the extent that Jill, Jan Markell’s co-host, goes to defend this heresy is astounding. But keep in mind, Markell had already told me that “there is a rule in radio that you do not do that,” that is, publicly attack another ministry. So, Markell tells us that it’s against the rules to publicly attack another ministry on radio, while her co-host is writing to us threatening to publicly attack our ministry on their radio program. Needless to say, we told her to pound sand, and we never heard from her again.
But their promotion of false teachings and bad theology has not ended. On November 19, Markell hosted a radio program with patriotic political Scripture-twister, Michelle Bachmann, in which they compared Donald Trump’s presidential win to Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal. Bachmann, who said back in July, that God may be “lifting up” Donald Trump because he “might be the only one who can save America,” said on Markell’s program last week regarding Trump’s victory,
This in my mind can only be described as something analogous to Elijah and the prophets of Baal, because in the natural, never would this have happened. This only happened in the supernatural and I believe it is because believers saw that we were on a precipice.
Brannon Howse responded to this by tweeting,
“If Michele Bachmann wants republican victory over false prophets like Elijah why pray with false prophet like Lou Engle? Dems don’t do this,” Howse says.
Markell, it appears, has jumped onto the bandwagon of the New Apostolic Reformation’s false teachings regarding modern day prophets and apostles. The kind of Scripture-twisting and heresy that Markell used to fight against has now become the foundation of her ministry. She has become deeply immersed in unbiblical traditions of men. Markell was once surrounded by solid Bible teachers, yet continually refused to acknowledge the Scriptural truth the presented her with. This is a mark of a false teacher. She was easily drawn away to man-made myths. Now she has surrounded herself with false teachers, like Jonathan Cahn, Michell Bachmann, and others, to suit her own passions–prophetic patriotism. Her first passion, it seems, is not the promotion of the Gospel or the cross, but the salvation of America and Israel as a nation. She has put herself in a position to where she will partner with any false teacher or promote any false doctrine, as long as it advances this cause. Jan Markell and Olive Tree Ministries has become a dangerous hotbed of unsound teaching and is a ministry that should be marked and avoided.
[Contributed by Jeff Maples]
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