James White’s Mere Christianity Checklist and Shady Litmus Test for Brotherhood

 

NAR prophet, Apostle and “general,” Michael Brown

Michael Brown is the chief apologist, prophet and Apostle of the modern charismatic movement. He has defended and/or partnered with, in one capacity or another, every single charismatic human stain on Christendom from Benny Hinn to Joel Osteen, from Mike Bickel to Bill Johnson, from Rick Joyner to Jennifer LeClaire. Michael Brown is a habitual, unrepentant liar, claiming such absurd things as not knowing what “NAR” stands for, calling it the “so-called NAR” or not knowing if it really exists (yet while denying its existence, says it does exist but he has nothing to do with it, even though he declares himself a “general”). As Chris Rosebrough has thoroughly documented, Michael Brown is indeed a proponent of the New Apostolic Reformation and in fact, is a part of it.

Michael Brown defends “glory clouds.” Michael Brown defends being slain in the spirit. Michael Brown said Benny Hinn is not a false prophet and helped Hinn promote his material on his television program. Michael Brown has defended the grave-sucking necromancy of Bethel Church Redding, while attacking Phil Johsnon and Todd Friel. Brown partners with leg-lengthening fake healer, Todd White. Michael Brown took to the pages of Charisma Mag to defend Hillsong’s sleazy stripper Christmas program, their dancing naked cowboy, and defended Carl Lentz during the gay choir director debacle (James White also defended Lentz at the time, taking Lentz’ word to him that he didn’t know about the gays leading his choir, which was proven false here and James White never retracted his support for Lentz or admit his gullible shame). Michael Brown defended Carl Lentz after his pro-abortion comments this year. Michael Brown is a wicked man who holds to wicked doctrine and he is an enemy of Christ’s Church.

But, James White wrote an expansive diatribe on his Facebook page, wanting you to know that he strongly affirms Michael Brown as a brother in Christ.

Benny Hinn could also probably pass White’s Mere Christianity litmus test according to Michael Brown.

White provided a checklist for a Mere Christianity (which is weird, because White is not a proponent of ‘Mere Christianity’ theory, but still used it to defend an enemy of Biblical sufficiency and proponent of unabashed Montanism).

 

 

In the video above, James White attacks “mere Christianity,” summarizing his opponents’ view, “As long as we’re trinitarians and as long as we believe in the resurrection, we’re good.” White’s argument is that a simple checklist of the creeds or confessions to determine Christian brotherhood is false and foolish.

And yet, White did just that to normalize Michael Brown. His checklist is as  follows, taken from his Facebook page.

Trinity? Check: more so than 99% of all believers I know (see his Answers to Jewish Objections to Jesus 5 volume set).
All aspects of Christology? Check
Virgin Birth? Check
Death, Burial, Resurrection of Jesus? Check
Biblical inspiration? Check
Scriptural sufficiency? Check
Biblical inerrancy? Bonus check!
Second coming? Check
Final judgment? Check
Absolute necessity of God’s grace in salvation? Check
Substitutionary atonement? Check (even defended it against Brian Zahn at IHOP)
Justification by faith alone? Check

A few things about James White’s Elephant Rooming of Michael Brown. First, there is no shortage of notorious false teachers who could easily pass this checklist provided by White. White needs to familiarize himself with some very, very basic polemics terms to exonerate himself of such gullible ignorance. First and foremost, White needs to understand the concept called Website Orthodox.

“Website Orthodox” refers to a notorius Bible-twister or false teacher having an orthodox statement of faith on their website, but ignoring it entirely in their body of work, sermons, books or teachings. It’s very easy to have an orthodox statement of faith or doctrinal statement on a website, and false teachers regularly use the tactic of pointing people back to the website whenever their orthodoxy is challenged. In truth, their “website orthodoxy” is simply cover for their theological confusion. For example, in 2016, Andy Stanley preached a series of messages that attack (explicitly) the sufficiency of Scripture and (implicitly) the inerrancy of Scripture. This followed up on a series of anti-Bible interviews, lectures, and comments. When challenged widely throughout evangelicalism, Stanley and the staff at NorthPoint church have repeatedly pointed people back to the NorthPoint Church website, which purports a high view of Scripture.

Notorious false teachers will always claim orthodoxy, in the same way that TD Jakes – a Oneness Pentecostal – claimed to believe in the Trinity at the Elephant Room. While some false teachers make a few widely-publicized errors regarding core Christian doctrines (like Benny Hinn’s infamous 9-person trinity teaching), most can affirm – and strongly affirm – everything in James White’s mere Christianity checklist. In a stellar post, Church Watch Central has already explained, point by point, why Michael Brown falls short of White’s checklist.here.

But, let’s talk about that checklist and see if it’s a good mark for the Mere Christianity of James White’s growing wide-tent ecumenism. We’ll add some variables to the experiment.

#1 Infamous teacher, Jim Bakker. You know him as the rapist, swindler, and ex-con with a doomsday prophecy show in Branson, Missouri.

 

Trinity? Check
All aspects of Christology? Check
Virgin Birth? Check
Death, Burial, Resurrection of Jesus? Check
Biblical inspiration? Check
Scriptural sufficiency? No charismatic holds to sufficiency.
Biblical inerrancy? Check.
Second coming? Check. Maybe tomorrow.
Final judgment? Buy your apocalypse survival buckets now.
Absolute necessity of God’s grace in salvation? Totally.
Substitutionary atonement? Yup.
Justification by faith alone? So he says.

Who denies the Trinity, anyway? Pretty much just modalists and Sabellians. Who doesn’t affirm Christology (maybe Todd White, in that clip where he said Jesus did not “live as God,” but he could probably clarify away that concern). Who doesn’t affirm the Virgin Birth? Pretty much every charlatan does, except for a few Socinians out there in academia. Who denies the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Even the Word-Faith people who think Jesus went to hell to arm-wrestle the devil still believe in the death and resurrection. Inspiration? That’s easy. Almost everybody. Heck, the ERLC website affirms inspiration. Inerrancy? That battle was mostly won in the 1980s. Even Andy Stanley would say he believes in inerrancy (because he’s website orthodox).

Who doesn’t believe in the Second Coming or the Final Judgment? Who says grace isn’t necessary in salvation? Only outright Pelagians deny any need for grace, and they’re few and far between. There are a lot of semi-Pelagians out there, but James White has made it pretty clear they’re his brothers, too. Substitionary Atonement? At least 9 out of the 10 top TBN heretics that would come to your mind if you had to name them would affirm substitionary atonement. Justification by faith alone? Well, that (in theory) should include every single Protestant (although let’s be honest, Hank Hanegraaff joined a church that explicitly denies Sola Fide and James White still wouldn’t renounce him as a brother).

We’re left wondering:
(A) if White is consistent in his mere Christianity checklist if he can’t denounce the brotherhood of certain men like Hanegraaff who cannot check off the list and:
(B) exactly how many heretics James White would affirm as brethren in Christ because they’re website orthodox. The narrow way is significantly broader in James White’s growing ecumenical world.

But what is this check mark by “sufficiency of Scripture” that White supplied for Brown? Is White okay? Does he understand the first Chapter of his own Confession of Faith? Is White really at 1689 LBC elder? Does White not know that professing the need for ongoing prophecy is an explicit denial of the sufficiency of Scripture? Is White so historically obtuse a s to be unaware that “Sola Scriptura” was a term orginally coined to dispute with charismatics?

White makes a theologically shallow (if not embarrassing) and illogical defense of Brown on the point of sufficiency. He writes…

He’s a charismatic, so he can’t believe in Scriptural sufficiency, for example! I definitely see an issue there—and MB is not ignorant of it, and would reply that he does not believe in continuing *canonical* revelation and would make a distinction in regards to any modern “revelation” and the term “theopneustos.” Do I agree with these distinctions? Nope. Does that give me the right to overthrow the above affirmations? NO.

Clearly, a charismatic does not believe in Scriptural sufficiency. If the Scripture is sufficient, we do not need prophecy. Duh. It’s not rocket science. But White says that Brown would reply he doesn’t believe in “canonical revelation” and would make a distinction. I think I speak for all reasonable, sentient individuals when I say, “So stinking what?” Who cares what Brown’s inconsistent, self-deluded distinction is? Is White a post-modernist? Every heretic can defend their heresy with an endless list of caveats and asterisks. The question is if Brown’s distinction of “canonical” is meaningful or correct and the answer is ‘no. In fact, and this is where White falls off the cliff of logic and all of his podcast listeners should recognize it, if White does not agree with Brown’s distinction (and he says he doesn’t) why on Earth did White check the box on sufficiency? That’s incredibly illogical.

Therefore, adherence to White’s mere christianity checklist isn’t actually required, but only the individual’s verbal affirmation that they do. White’s checklist is a worthless, shape-shifting bag of dung. It means nothing, can prove nothing, and asserts nothing, because it is completely captive to the individual’s own subjective perceptions of their own position. In other words, the list White provides to judge a person’s orthodoxy is pointless refuse because it allows the individual being judged to determine their own orthodoxy by the distinctions they themselves provide.

On one hand, White says Brown is wrong on sufficiency, and yet marks the box that Brown believes in sufficiency! This cognitive dissonance in Mr. White is truly astounding to behold.  It’s not theologically astute. It’s not meaningful. It’s not logical. What White is saying is that he can’t throw away Brown’s (wrong) distinctions, and must check the box because Brown says so! Well, at the Elephant Room, Jakes said he was a Trinitarian. Would White check that box, or would he actually attempt to be a Berean and see for himself?

While White, whose show is called “The Dividing Line” is increasingly tearing down theological lines of division, the rest of us will be over here not affirming the brotherhood of people actively abusing and hurting the Bride of Jesus.

(Contributed by JD Hall)

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