I have been an admirer of Dr. James White for years now. When I think about the ministries that have been the most influential in shaping my thoughts on theology and philosophy, the ministries of John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and James White are top of mind. For that reason, I am sad to post this particular article today. However, I don’t think James White has left me with much of a choice. I love James White and I am sure I will continue to benefit greatly from his ministry. He has far too many positives for me to list here. But lately, he has acquired a con, and that con is not insignificant. That con comes in the ministry and teachings of Michael Brown. I have resisted the urged to blog about this for a very long time now. With Michael Brown’s recent defense on the DL of angel dust and divine fog, coupled with his recent denial that the doctrine of the Trinity is fundamental to the gospel or to Christianity, and the fact that he is having a virtual reunion of the who’s who Toronto Blessing/Brownsville revival in a couple of months, I felt that I had to join the fracas.
I am going to keep this post brief and to the point. There are three or four issues that I want to cover. First, I want to address the seriousness of heresy, and then blasphemy. Then I want to talk about how Christian leaders should deal with those who teach heresy and blasphemy and how they should deal with those who promote those teach heresy and/or commit blasphemy. Finally, I may interact somewhat with the objection that the criticisms of James White for his relationship with Michael Brown is a matter of fundamentalist degrees of separation. This is a tactic used in modern culture by feminists, abortionists, homosexuals, and the gender dysphoria crowd. Anyone employing it should be aware that it is not in keeping with Christian ethics.
The New Testament use of the word hairesis to describe false doctrine is severe. Peter describes it as destructive and regarding such teachers, says that their destruction is not asleep. The second chapter in 2 Peter addresses heresy in a direct and unambiguous manner. It is damnable. Paul uses the same word in Gal. 5:20 to tell us that those who practice heresy will not inherit the kingdom of God. Indeed, the practice of heresy could not be more serious. This is why we want to be very careful in how we use the term. I am not claiming that Michael Brown is a heretic. I am also not claiming that he isn’t one either. Whether Brown is a heretic or not is not relevant to my argument. That said, I do believe that it is obvious that Michael Brown associates with, is good friends with, and wholeheartedly endorses numerous charismatic heretics. I am not going to attempt to make that argument because I believe that Brown makes it obvious given the people with whom he associates.
Second, according to the Scriptures, divine worship is a sacred activity. God is holy, high and lifted up. Our worship of God should be solemn, honoring, respectful, in every way. The songs we sing and the way we sing them. The manner in which we pray. The way we conduct ourselves, our mindset, and our heart attitude. Yet, Michael Brown has for years, endorsed this thing called “holy fire.” Holy fire is associated with absolute hyper-emotional, sensational, mystical behavior that turns what is supposed to be the solemn worship of the awesome God of the universe into a profane and utter chaos. People jerk and shake and hiss and speak in unintelligible gibberish. They fall on the floor for no reason whatsoever. Leaders often lay on their face in the pulpit just laughing. The make claims of physical manifestations, like glory clouds, angel feathers, and heavenly dust. It is some of the most insane and bizarre practices you could ever witness. These acts are nothing short of an outrageous blasphemy and mockery of God and His Christ. Michael Brown is on record defending these practices and he has done so for years. I am not writing to convince charismatics that their preachers are, many of them, heretics or to convince them that what they call worship Scripture calls blasphemy. I am writing to those who wonder what to make of the James White-Michael Brown relationship.
I have said that Scripture condemns heresy in the strongest way. It is a matter of life or death. Scripture also condemns blasphemy of the sacred. Modern Charismatics are filled with heretics and routinely practice worship that is actually blasphemy. Michael Brown does not take Scripture seriously in its condemnation of heresy or blasphemy, choosing rather to read back into ancient worship practices the modern insanity witnessed in many, if not most charismatic churches.
To add insult to injury, Brown was recently asked a question about the Trinity. Does someone have to affirm the Trinity in order to be a Christian. Well, yes, they do. That is the short answer. That is the orthodox answer. That is the answer than most of us would give, including James White, without the slightest hint of consternation. However, for some strange reason, Michael Brown took over five minutes to answer that question and never said yes. In fact, he said no. And then he attempted to provide all sorts spinning, gyrating answers in order to explain himself. Remember, the context was Oneness Pentecostals, not brand-new converts. Brown even said that he met a person who had been a JW for years who he thought was genuinely born again. Now, I accused Brown of rejecting Nicea on Twitter and was accused of twisting Brown’s comments. However, if Nicene Trinitarian theology confesses the Trinity and condemns those who deny it as heretics and Brown only agrees with half the confession, then that is essentially a denial and rejection of Nicene Trinitarian theology. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. The Nicene Creed pronounced a series of anathemas:
As for those who say, There was a time when He [the Logos] was not; and, He was not before He was created; and, He was created out of nothing, or out of another essence or thing; and The Son of God is created, or changeable, or can alter – the holy catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes those who say such things.
When Michael Brown rejects the anathemas of the Nicene Creed, he rejects Nicene Theology. What the Church pronounced at that fateful event, Brown rejects. In his recent answer to the question on the Trinity, Brown asserted that Oneness Pentecostals believed the fundamentals of the gospel. In other words, the Trinity is not one of the fundamentals of the gospel. If there is no Trinity, there is no God the Father to send God the Son to satisfy divine wrath. And if that is the case, there is no gospel at all.
Now, Dr. White and I have corresponded briefly on FB. In that correspondence, Dr. White sent me a link to a follow up that Brown did after creating his latest firestorm. In that link, found here: The Line of Fire, Michael Brown can be heard beginning around the 4:00 mark defending his answer and doubling down on his view that Oneness Pentecostals can hold to the fundamentals of the gospel, the fundamentals of Christianity while at the same time rejecting the Trinity. How? Well, Dr. Brown says, there is a lot of ignorance out there. No biggie. In fact, Brown actually claims that James White says that around 80% (this has actually been corrected in the first paragraph of a follow-up: click here) of Oneness Pentecostals are saved because they ignorantly deny the Trinity. Isn’t it the case that those who preach the prosperity gospel are ignorant? Aren’t Mormons ignorant? Aren’t Muslim’s ignorant? Since when is ignorance an excuse? I am pretty sure that Scripture points to the affirmation of true doctrine as an indication that one possesses true faith. Does God actually elect people to eternal life only to leave them wallowing in heresy? Doesn’t God bring us out of our false beliefs about himself quickly? If one can be ignorant of the Trinity and be saved, why can’t they be ignorant of Jesus Christ and be saved? I mean, if I can ignorant deny that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and be saved, then why can’t I deny that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and be saved? In fact, if I can deny that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and be saved, why can’t I ignorantly proclaim that Mohammad is Allah’s last prophet and be saved? And if I can’t be ignorant of just these things, who is making that decision? James White? Michael Brown?
I appreciate James White and I love the work he has done for the kingdom. But we preach and teach and talk accountability all the time. I hear it all the time. James has talked about it a lot. But guess what! I never see it in action. It is a joke. James is being called to account by all kinds of men and rather than stopping to check himself, to question himself, to search his heart, he is busy defending his reputation and that is too bad. For guys like me, little nobodies, just the working stiffs that no one knows, that is VERY discouraging.
Michael Brown should be deposed from ministry along with his Charismatic charlatan associates. Brown is a PR man. I find his answers and arguments to be fitting for CNN and Washington politics than for the Church of Jesus Christ. James White should immediately disassociate with Brown for the sake of his own ministry and for the sake of divine truth. Michael Brown is a friend of God’s worse enemies: heretics. He is a promoter of blasphemous practices that he calls holy fire. It is a mockery of Christianity.