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An Open Letter to Holly Pivec and Professor Doug Geivett Regarding Michael Brown

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I recently listened to the debate held between the yourselves and Dr. Michael Brown regarding the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Having debated Dr. Brown on his radio show twice before I share in your frustration that was palpable throughout the dialogue. It was especially sharp to call him on his decrying of anecdotal evidence when all he offers to defend his favorite wolves is the anecdotal "I know him" defense. But Brown is very good too at debate tactics and erecting strawman after strawman to avoid any substantive discussions. The truth of the matter is a like Dr. Brown. He is cordial, learned, and is usually spot on theologically -- unless you bring up someone's name. Right after he wrote what might be the best expose on greasy grace I asked him about Joseph Prince and he refused to call him a false teacher. He said he was a good brother who had some holes in his theology. Chris Rosebrough from Fighting for the Faith once cornered him on his show about supporting Jennifer Leclaire and her "sneaky squid spirit" and he actually defended it! Do I think that Dr. Brown is actively NAR? I don't think it matters much because since he refuses to denounce by name those that teach and believe falsely, he is essentially a gatekeeper for them. The link above is to an open letter he wrote to you this week and I just wanted to comment and offer some encouragement.

"The second word of my article was hyper-linked to the critic in question. Of course I identified the critic and of course I produced the source. (In this case, it was Wretched Radio's "Drunk in the Spirit" DVD). Some of her other concerns were equally flawed, and so, her entire article should be read with a large grain of salt. But rather than spend time addressing her other misstatements, it's best that we move forward, since one of Holly's biggest concerns is that I have grouped all NAR critics together." -- Dr. Michael Brown

Now Brown is correct that he provided the referent in the Wretched DVD but he glosses over the point you were trying to make. He took a DVD specifically about being drunk in the Spirit and tried to use it as a broad brush to paint all resistance to the NAR. He then slams your paper, claims there are other areas of misstatement but refuses to get into them.

"Holly offers this useful description of NAR: "The core NAR teaching is that the church must be governed by present-day apostles and prophets. The key word in that definition is 'governed.' By governed, NAR leaders mean that apostles and prophets must hold formal authoritative offices in church government. This definition has two important corollaries: 1) These apostles and prophets claim extraordinary authority, and 2) they claim to bring new revelation the church needs to advance God's kingdom." Based on this definition, I don't think I know a single leader who is part of NAR. Not one. I don't know a single "apostle" or "prophet" who claims "extraordinary authority." If I did, I would challenge them to their face. Do I know apostolic leaders who exercise "authority" over their network similar to that of a denominational head? Yes, I do. In those cases, the churches that look to them do so voluntarily, asking for oversight and accountability, similar to what happens in traditional denominations." -- Dr. Michael Brown

This is where Dr. Brown is at his best. Muddying the waters and mixing in some strawman arguments so that he accomplished his goal of sounding reasonable. Look at the two competing statements he makes:

I don't know a single "apostle" or "prophet" who claims "extraordinary authority." If I did, I would challenge them to their face.

Do I know apostolic leaders who exercise "authority" over their network similar to that of a denominational head? Yes I do.

Are these two statements so far off form one another? The issue seems to be authority being exercised where it does not belong and that is what makes it extraordinary. As for new revelation, isn't that what every false prophet today does? I know Brown bristles at this notion but a prophet today is actually adding to Scripture. We do not wish to splitting these theological hairs because that is the goal of Dr. Brown. To get so hung up in the weeds as to never see the forest before you. Bill Johnson and Mike Bickle, who clearly embrace NAR teachings, claim extraordinary authority but if you prefer to say that they exercise authority over a network similar to denominational head? That is fine with me. The bottom line is the cult of personality leadership that elevates one man over a portion of the body of Christ. What I find most amusing here is that Dr. Brown readily speaks about the NAR as a fact when he spent the entire debate with you insisting it didn't exist.

"Do I know any who claim some kind of "extraordinary authority" similar to that wielded by the Twelve? Absolutely not. Again, if I did, I would challenge such leaders to their face. Have I heard of so-called apostles who were abusive in their use of authority? Absolutely, and I have renounced this clearly. But I've heard of pastors doing the same thing. Authority can be easily abused. I have a whole chapter about that in my latest book, where I also address the misuse of the term "apostle" today." -- Dr. Michael Brown

This is the usual defense or Brown. He correctly states that he speaks against what is false. The problem is he refuses to name anyone as being false. When he went on the Benny Hinn program for a week he claimed to have never heard of anything directly from Hinn that would give him pause. To this day he claims he would not go on the show if he had it all to do over again but only because of the negative publicity that ensued. Never mind that Hinn is one of the most egregious false teachers and prophets alive today. The last time I was on Dr. Brown's show he affirmed that he considers Benny Hinn a brother in Christ. Brown then dives into more hairsplitting over Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Che Ahn, and Rick Joyner. Do not be suckered into this debate because it misses the point. The point is not whether they walk around with a "false teacher" name tag but what do they teach? The issue is not what they claim about themselves but what they claim about Jesus and what do they teach. Heidi Baker likes to roll around the stage laughing uncontrollably while shouting "shabba!" Ironically, this is the drunk in the Spirit manifestation which Wretched warned us about on that DVD. Che Ahn provides us with an interesting look at the problem Brown often faces. He is quoted as saying the following to Todd Bentley at an event last year:

"Todd, I just, I'm just so humbled because of what you went through, all of us have gone through. When I think of John Arnott being rejected by his brothers, in 1995. I remember I was kicked out of two movements,. But it was all part of the preparation, the breaking for the anointing and for you to share so candidly and with humility. -- Che Ahn

Todd Bentley is more despicable than Benny Hinn. This is a man who lied about the Holy Spirit telling him to kick and punch people to impart healing. His false Lakeland Revival culminated with the heads of the NAR themselves going to Lakeland to anoint him as a prophet before he fell from grace in an affair with his secretary. Now Brown is on record as denouncing Lakewood and good for him. But he will not renounce Bentley, Ahn or even the man who led the prayer for Todd that night and oversaw his eventual "restoration." -- Bill Johnson. Bill Johnson has embraced nearly every false teaching today. False signs and lying wonders including the creation of fake glory clouds. Prosperity gospel. Bethel is the home of experiential Christianity and the marginalization of Scripture. Mandatory healing on demand. He runs a school of the supernatural where he claims to be able to teach the very gifts of the spirit. The absurdities such as grave sucking and the dead raising teams originated at Bethel. Now because Johnson would never admit to any of this in an interview, Brown declares him innocent because he knows his heart. Yet he never squares his denouncement of Lakeland with his full embrace of Johnson. That leaves Joyner who neve met a false movement he did not support. He was involved with the Toronto, Pensacola and Lakeland debacles. Forget the nuances Brown wants to traffic in. These are the people he shares the stage with. These are the people he endorses and that is the issue. Call them NAR, Charimaniacs or heretics. It doesn't matter.

"So, for the sake of clarity, please take this article as an open invitation to you, Holly and Doug, to join me on the air to talk through the relevant issues, not to debate or argue. Can we do it?" -- Dr. Michael Brown

For the sake of protecting you both, I would advise against this unless it was moderated by a neutral third party. Dr. Brown has been at this for decades. While the last debate was interesting, it seemed that while you both were trying to be cordial, Brown was scoring points and not being called on it too often. He even had manipulated the moderator into his talking point about bad discernment ministries and good, which only serves to muddy the waters and cast doubt upon a crucial and biblical check on false teaching in these end days. On his radio show he controls everything and do not be surprised if he flat out mugs you, which is what he did to me last time. Manipulating the conversation, dominating the time, and speaking over any salient point I was trying to make. If you are going to speak to him make sure it is a fair encounter and focus on the teachings he turns a blind eye to by the people he considers brothers in Christ. Focus on his endorsement of the sneaky squid spirit and Jennifer Leclaire. Joseph Prince's antinomianism. Bill Johnson's never ending slew of heresies. You can tie them all back to the NAR at the end. If you choose to take this advice beware a common tactic Brown engages in. Once you call someone false who he wants to defend he will switch the subject to you consigning them to hell. It is a sympathetic rabbit hole you do not want to go down.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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