Michael Brown recently said that Hank Hanegraaff – who left Christianity for the idolatry and heretical doctrines of the Eastern Orthodox Church – still affirmed all the “fundamentals” of the Christian religion. Perhaps being a scholar in Hebrew doesn’t exactly equate to an educated opinion on interfaith apologetics, but Eastern Orthodoxy, in case you didn’t know, denies Penal Substitution, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, and promotes things like the veneration of Mary, Saints, and icons. This apparent inability to recognize what is and is not authentic Christianity didn’t stop James White at Elephant Room 3 from bringing on Michael Brown to discuss together why he (and according to Brown, charismatics like Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson) are orthodox (lower-case “o”) believers.
The accusation from White and Brown is that we should be able to embrace the good in someone while yet acknowledging the bad. Nevermind, of course, that Michael Brown never himself elaborates upon the bad of hyper-charismatics and for James, hyper-charismatics are not bad enough that we should not give them a boost in propagating their material or reputation as Christian teachers (at least when it comes to Brown). Both Brown and White plead ignorance when it comes to what the most infamous charismatic charlatans believe. On the Elephant Room 3 episode of the Dividing Line, White said he was unaware of the teachings of people like Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Jack Deere or C. Peter Wagner. While it might be reasonable that White is unfamiliar with Baker or Johnson (depending upon what color the sky is in his world), it’s almost unbelievable that White wouldn’t be familiar with two of the most prominent names in 20th (and 21st) century evangelicalism and – in particular – the Third Wave of the charismatic movement, Deere and Wagner.
Brown was eager to nominate Baker and Johnson as two “solid” charismatics who really love Jesus and are to be recommended, but Brown continued to plead ignorance regarding Benny Hinn and other dangerous teachers (this is four years after Brown went on Hinn’s program, saying he would research Hinn and determine whether or not he was a solid teacher after the announcement of his appearance on Hinn’s program caused such an uproar).
But what Chris Rosebrough pointed out on Facebook the other day demonstrates what James White seems to have forgotten about false teachers…they lie. For James White, his problem is theological because – as James says – “theology matters.” White forgets that people who teach falsely sneak in under false pretenses (2 Peter 2:1) and secretly introduce heresies (Jude 1:4), and come disguised as Christians, wolves wearing sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). For James, his startlingly un-Calvinistic charitable anthropology has him ignoring what the Bible says about how false teachers teach falsely, which is by deception.
Ironically, while Hanegraaff has left the Christian faith (except in the opinion of White and Brown), it wasn’t terribly long ago that Michael Brown was challenging Hanegraaff for correctly assessing charismaticism as widely fraudulent. Hanegraaff wrote, “The Counterfeit Revival,” and had a few things to say about the fraud of charismaticism:
John the Apostle warned, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). This warning is particularly relevant today, as Christianity is undergoing a paradigm shift of major proportions — a shift from faith to feelings; from fact to fantasy; and from reason to esoteric revelation. This paradigm shift is what I call the Counterfeit Revival.
Prophets of the Counterfeit Revival claim that a bloody civil war is going to polarize the entire Christian community. On one side will be those who embrace new revelations. On the other will be those who obstinately cling to reason. One “prophet” went so far as to say, “God is going to renovate the entire understanding of what Christianity is in the nations of the Earth….In twenty years there will be a totally different understanding of Christianity as we know it.”1
Some of the most recognizable names in the Christian community are endorsing this paradigm shift with little or no reservation. The appeal is so staggering that churches on every continent are now inviting their people to “experience” God in a brand new way. It is now estimated that seven thousand churches in England2 alone have embraced the Counterfeit Revival. And with each passing day the numbers are escalating dramatically.
Sardonic laughter, spasmodic jerks, signs and wonders, super apostles and prophets, and being “slain in the spirit” are pointed to as empirical evidence of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. The form and function of the church are being so radically rearranged that even the secular world has taken note.
Michael Brown, whose role in the New Apostolic Reformation is to be its intellectual (faux) voice of reason and its chief apologist, took Hanegraaff to task in the following screenshot from his retort to Hanegraaff, which Rosebrough found in the dustbin of historic reality:
The first thing we notice is that Michael Brown has not changed his mantra, which is the very mantra that he has James White repeating like a puppet; surely charismatics aren’t all that bad. After all, they’ve produced some good material, and why can’t we promote their good material? The transcript of the above screenshot, if you find it hard to read, is as follows:
The fact is, Hanegraaff does not say one positive word about any of the leaders or movements his criticizes. Not one! Needless to say, this is absolutely astounding. Have John and Carol Arnott, Mike Bickle, Paul Cain, Wes and Stacey Campbell, Guy and Janis Chevrea, Randy Clark, Gerald Coates, Paul Crouch, Kenneth Copeland, William DeArteaga, Jack Deere, Jesse Duplantis, David du Plessis, Mar Dupont, Colin Dye, Claudio Freidson, Kenneth Hagin, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, Charles and Francis Hunter, Todd Hunter, Rick Joyner, Bill Ligon, Francis McNutt, Bill McCartney, Larry Randolph, Richard and Kathryn Riss, Oral and Richard Roberts, James Ryle, Karl Strader, John White and John and Carol Wimber done nothing good or praise-worthy for the Church? Readers drawing all of their information from Counterfeit Revival might actually think the answer is yes! [Editor’s Note: I’ve put emphasis on the names you might – if the color of the sky in your world is different from James White’s – you might recognize].
Michael Brown wrote these affirming words of these out-right heretics in 1997. And yet, when Brown is questioned on these individuals directly, he says that he can neither affirm nor reject their teachings. In fact, the most notable of these names is Benny Hinn, of whose teachings Brown says he was unaware when he went on Hinn’s program in 2014 and who he still says he can neither affirm nor reject. And yet, he affirmed Hinn – as well as the whole gaggle of false apostles and prophets – in this piece in 1997.
Michael Brown is deceiving, and James White has been deceived. Brown’s own words demonstrate that he knows who all of these people are and commends them for all the positive things they’ve done. That includes the Kansas City prophets and IHOP cult-leader, Mike Bickle, Todd Bentley ordainer and restorer and NAR Apostle, Rick Joyner, men who RC Sproul very directly called “heretics” like Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland in his piece called None Dare Call it Heresy, “Christian Curse” prophetess, Marilyn Hickey, the guy who teaches God is not omniscient, Jesse Duplantis (seriously, that’s just the beginning of that guy’s issues), the Holy Ghost Bartender, Rodney Howard-Browne, the fellow who said God would strike him dead if he didn’t raise 8 million dollars for a now-defunct medical school, Oral Roberts, and the Vineyard founder, John Wimber.
The line to congratulate these charlatans on all the “good” they’ve done forms to the right.
Aside from the absurdity of it, the question is if Michael Brown was affirming these people in 1997, why does he now – when asked – act as though he hardly even knows who these people are? The answer is that Michael Brown has a problem with truth telling. And by that, I mean, he lies a lot.
[Contributed by JD Hall, HT Chris Rosebrough and Fighting For the Faith Crew]
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