James White is probably the apologist I listen to the most these days. James Andersen, Scott Oliphint, and John Frame are the ones I probably read the most (outside Bahnsen and Van Til). I like Dr. White’s Dividing Line a lot. I agree with White far, far more than I disagree with him. He is providing a very valuable and much-needed service to the body of Christ today. Keep it up Dr. White! Don’t even quit.
Dr. Michael Brown is an animal of a different sort. Dr. Brown has a book out that is essentially an apologetic for the Brownsville Revival. I know. I have the book and have had it for years. The Brownsville Revival is the laughing revival that made its way to Brownsville, Florida a few years ago. Here is one clip from that event: Brownsville Mercy Seat. And here is another one: Sheer Blasphemy & Mockery. Just scroll through the clips and listen to the absurdity being asserted all in the name of Jesus Christ. And again here: Demonic Demonstrations or Mystical Nonsense.
Dr. Brown is on record defending IHOP and Bethel Ministries. In this clip, Dr. Brown is talking about extra-biblical words directly from God by way of the Holy Spirit: A Word from God. Brown thinks we should write it down. What does this say for the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. Brown then equates these words from God with the promises God made to Abraham. He even mentions an arbitrary principle some other man made up saying that the great the promise God makes, the longer it takes to be realized. Is that a fact? I don’t think so. I think it’s the product of mindless drivel that that man made up while in the process of trying to come up with something cool to say. I am sure many in the audience think its profound. It isn’t. Its baseless and mindless nonsense. Michael Brown recently had Bill Johnson from Bethel Church on his radio program. Brown whitewashed Johnson’s heresy repeatedly. The picture is that of a man tossing the limbs sheep over the fence into the jaws of the ravenous wolf. That is the picture. Watch the wolf tear the sheep from limb to limb. It is a sobering image.
Check out Bethel Church’s Tunnel of Fire here: Tunnel of Fire. Bill Johnson teaches that Jesus laid aside his divinity. Johnson teaches that Jesus was born again through the resurrection. Johnson instructs people to ask God to come to them at night in visions and dreams and tells people they should write them down. Here is another demonic practice that goes on at Bethel: Visions, and Dreams, and Words Oh My! Here Johnson, at 1:00 in tells us that he refuses to create a theology that allows for sickness: A Gospel that allows sickness is false. Two minutes into this clip, Johnson tells us that we are preaching a different gospel. We should be accursed! Pay attention folks. And it is Michael Brown who is the most credible apologist these charismatics have at their disposal. The leaven being produced by movements like the Brownsville revival, IHOP, and Bethel Church should never be classified as unimportant issues not worthy of division. When Michael Brown’s own church tells us that the primary evidence that someone has been baptized or filled with the Spirit is speaking in tongues, the only thing to conclude is that Michael Brown does not believe that most of us are filled with the Spirit. There is no middle ground here. Moreover, there is the question as to whether Michael Brown rejects the idea that genuine salvation can truly be lost. Brown had a wonderful opportunity to answer the question directly and clearly in his book concerning hyper grace. But as often is the case with Brown, his answer was couched to the point that it almost comes out as meaningless. I can say firmly and clearly that Brown is a marvelous apologist for charismatic heretics and heresies. He defends the heretics, the false prophets, and the charlatans with great skill. He keeps their money machines cranking out the green stuff wherever and whenever he is afforded the opportunity. And God is watching.
I now turn my attention back to James White. The one thing I find quite puzzling about Dr. White, as do many others, is the wink and the nod he seems to give to Dr. Michael Brown. It is not as though Brown’s behavior is light-hearted error. We are not just disagreeing over the issue of prevenient grace here. This is not Calvinism vs an inconsistent Arminianism. It is not that. What Brown is defending by defending men like Bill Johnson, Benny Hinn, Rick Joyner, and Mike Bickle is a perniciousness, a leaven, a cancer, a scourge that has invaded and infected Christianity. Add to this the band, “The Jesus Culture.” Here is a clip informing you of the theology of this band: Encountering God felt like electricity. This is not biblical Christianity. It does not matter how likeable Brown is. To defend a man who defends these heresies, blasphemies, outright mysticism and carnality is honestly very confusing to me. I love James White’s ministry. But I wonder if he understands that there are many of us who are curious if he realizes how antithetical his relationship with Mike Brown seems to be in terms of the overall thrust of his ministry. If Dr. White can defend Michael Brown, then how will he be able to justify criticizing someone else who might defend someone like Andy Stanley or, Matthew Vines. It seems like a very difficult position to be in because it feels so very counter-intuitive to me.
Is it a black and white issue? Can we say that Michael Brown does not love the Lord? That is a hard question. Can we say that Michael Brown loves the Lord? That is a hard question. And unless you see both of these as hard questions, therein lies the problem. I love the Lord and His word far too much to go out and affirm a man who affirms heretics in the church and enables them to continue to peddle their heresy. On the other hand, I cannot say that Michael Brown does not love the Lord. I simply won’t say that. I will do my best to state what I think is the obvious truth about Brown and let that truth guide and direct other’s and how they relate to Brown. If you are in an apologetic ministry, your endorsement of or friendship with someone who contradicts you at such basic levels can be quite problematic. I honestly thought that when Brown defended Johnson that White would draw a line. He did not. What does this mean? Who knows? I drew a line with Brown back in the Brownsville days. It hasn’t moved.