Phil Johnson, Todd Friel: Michael Brown is NOT Orthodox, is Dangerous
After discussing Heidi Bakker (who Brown recently promoted as a solid believer on James White’s Dividing Line episode we have called Elephant Room 3), the two discussed Michael Brown.
Statements from the two about Michael Brown include:
Todd: Do we lump him in or is Michael a clear-thinking charismatic who happens to affirm some of this kookiness or is Michael Brown right in the middle of it? Phil: He is right in the middle of it.
Phil: He promotes these charismatic extremists, including some of these very worst heresies that he downplays…He is capable of defending an orthodox doctrine, but he defends people who deny it. In the end, he sows so much confusion, my counsel to people is to steer clear of him. I don’t think he’s a positive influence at all.
Todd: [After naming the speakers at the aforementioned conference], these are the high profile leaders of the NAR movement…[Brown] is right in the middle of it…Michael is these people. Phil: He’s been deceptive about it. Whether he’s self-deceived or not, I don’t know. But he’s been deceptive about it…he is up to his nostrils in the [NAR].
Todd: What do I do about Michael Brown? He’s a well liked guy… Phil: I think he’s capable at [sounding orthodox]. I’ve heard him do debates along side James White, and he can hold his own in contexts like that…That’s my advice to other people. Tune him out. Because whatever he may say that is right is mixed with so much confusion that the bottom line of the whole mess is that he’ll leave you in so much confusion he’s not helpful at all.
Todd: Do you believe Michael is orthodox in all regards? Phil: No, I do not believe he’s orthodox. He’s sub-orthodox…I’ve been asked if he’s a Christian, but I don’t see how someone who knows Christ and affirms Scripture, how he could affirm the errors he does…It’s confusing enough that I can’t recommend him to anybody.
Todd: Sola Scriptura? Clearly not. Phil: Right…he doesn’t really believe in the sufficiency of Scripture.
Todd: [Editor’s note: This is abbreviated] Let’s talk degrees of separation. Michael Brown is different from a Heidi Bakker. Phil: Right. And I would write her off…I’ve never heard her speak the Gospel. Todd: So Heidi Bakker, you’d go so, ‘clearly, goofy”…and that’s clear and obvious, but what would you say about the person who embraces Heidi Bakker? Phil: I’d say they’re self deceived…Todd: But Michael Brown does. Phil: That’s why I say he’s dangerous….Todd: So this is a degree of separation…Phil: [Brown] is not anyone I would encourage someone to listen to…he’s endorsed enough error you cannot say definitively that [he’s a Christian].
Todd: What about people who embrace Michael Brown? Phil: Well, you know my good friend, James White, embraces him. And it drives me crazy that it does because I think it confuses people who love and who’ve been influenced in a really good way by James. But, his refusal to be candid about Michael Brown’s constant apologetic for charismatic zaniness I think is something that concerns me.
Todd: Would you debate [along side] Michael Brown? Phil: No, I wouldn’t do anything in partnership with him. I wouldn’t. He does a massive amount of confusion, and I wouldn’t want people to think my affirmation of him means he’s not dangerous and he is dangerous…in fact, he is potentially more dangerous than Heidi Baker…
Todd: I do believe Michael has an agenda and I don’t think it’s just to bring peace and harmony between conservatives and charismatics…Phil: The heart of his agenda is to legitimize the wacky and far out charismatic branch. He’ll talk about orthodoxy and resisting extremism, but when it comes down to it, I don’t think he’s ever met a charismatic celebrity he doesn’t like. He affirms them all.
Todd: The adjective we should be using for Michael Brown is the “dangerous” Michael Brown and we should be avoiding him. Phil: Agreed.
Michael Brown responded on Twitter:
Please be aware that Michael Brown has had at least three agreements to debate JD Hall on cessationism, and has refused (the last time it was because a “Calvinist friend” said JD was “too dangerous).” Oh, the irony.
[Editor’s Note: One should pray that James White would find correction and seek repentance. You can listen to the program here]