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You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don't participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. -- Ephesians 5: 5-11 (ESV)
In the spirit of full disclosure, I like Dr. Brown. I always have. I find him to be especially learned and articulate. It provides me little joy to have to write this, or the handful of devotionals in the past regarding his ministry. I want to reiterate there the word ministry because that is what we are speaking about. I do not now, nor have I ever doubted the sincerity of Dr. Michael Brown. As my former pastor used to say however, you can be sincere and sincerely wrong. Dr. Brown is a Charismatic and to that I say amen. I am as well but as the Bible prescribes, not as the current trends appear. I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and have written as such. I can take that completely biblical position and speak against the rampant abuses within Charismaniacal circles. The expression of the gifts does not mean we must leave the safety of the truth contained within Scripture. If anything, it requires we hold even tighter to these truths because these will determine what is false and what is of God. Remember many false spirits have gone out into the world beloved. Satan and his emissaries masquerade as angels of light. Our job is not to test the hearts of man. We do not have to because the Bible already assures us they are the most deceitful things created. So when I hear Dr. Brown or any defender of heretics say that they know they love the Lord -- they have missed the point. Remember that the average Jehovah's Witness believes they love the Lord profusely. So does the average Mormon. We cannot give a free pass to someone because they claim the same denominational title that we ascribe to. That is why God has given us His Word. To discern. To test everything and determine what is from Him and what is not. To not be led astray. Anything short of this is sloppy faith. If you are a minister and fall short of this standard it is spiritual malpractice.
Remember beloved that those called to leadership in the church are held to a higher standard of judgment. Acts 20 teaches us that they are responsible for the blood of their listeners. Titus teaches us that we are compelled to rebuke what is false so when I hear leaders like Dr. Brown say that he is not called to do such, he again misses the point. If you consider yourself called to church leadership and refuse the command found in Titus then you have not actually been called. We cannot teach believers that they cannot pick and choose what Scriptures to adhere to and then commit the same mistake ourselves. I have been on the radio program Dr. Brown hosts. This was right after his week-long appearance on the Benny Hinn show. I tried to explain to him that he cannot throw away his credibility on someone as blatantly heretical as Benny Hinn. Dr. Brown, while polite, was having none of it. It was at this point that I started to watch him more carefully and the emerging trend was disturbing. He dismissed the Benny Hinn incident by claiming to "not know" anything about what he teaches. He then went on to "interview" Bill Johnson, where he acted as if the New Apostolic Reformation was a made up concept by "heresy hunters." He lobbed softball after softball to Johnson. Never once addressing the egregious violations of Scripture he routinely adheres to. Nothing about the grave sucking, dead raising teams, gold dust, gem stones, angel feathers, glory clouds, mandatory healing, or the blasphemous school of supernatural he operates to teach people the gifts of the Spirit. In a recent article posted by Dr. Brown, he goes to tremendous lengths to sound as a reasonable guy who is being harassed by people who demand that he demean good brothers and sisters. Here is one quote that struck me as a good summary of the disconnect he suffers from:
"As a charismatic myself, I've written several books addressing errors within our own camp, and behind the scenes, for decades, I've spoken to leaders, sometimes with warning and rebuke. -- Dr. Michael Brown
Obviously it is impossible to speak to these alleged back room rebukes Dr. Brown claims to have had but I have no issue with taking him at his word. This highlights disconnect number one. Dr. Brown constantly thinks his primary responsibility is to the one who is teaching falsely as opposed to the sheep that are in harm's way. Now, do not get me wrong. If someone says something wrong he should be addressed in private as to see if he is willing to accept correction lovingly. That is not what we are speaking about here. We are talking about people who have espoused false theologies for extended periods of time and refused correction. As leaders in the church, our responsibility must be to the sheep of the Lord, not the wolves tearing them to pieces. That leads us to disconnect number two, which is far more damning and obvious. Dr. Michael Brown has simple never met a Charismatic he is willing to call false. He correctly points out that he has written books speaking against false teachings, even within the charismatic circles. The perfect example of one is his book against the false teaching of hyper-grace. A fine work exposing the lies and errors of one of the most insidious teachings today. Here is the disconnect however. Who is the king of hyper-grace? Hands down it is Joseph Prince. Joseph Prince actively teaches rank heresy every single week. He not only embraces the hyper-grace error but he puts it on steroids. He has preached the flood as an act of God's love and that the word "repent" only means to consent to be loved! His Benjamin generation sermon is one of the worst twistings of the Bible I have ever heard. Yet when I spoke with Dr. Brown on his radio show and asked him if he would be willing to call Joseph Prince false, he declined. He said that Prince was a good brother in Christ who has had a tremendous revelation of the grace of God but has some holes in his doctrine. What??? This cuts to the heart of the problem. Your book highlighting the errors of hyper-grace is absolutely useless if you are not willing to apply it correctly to those teaching hyper-grace! The sheep do not need to hear "buy my book", which is a typical refrain from Dr. Brown when asked questions on social media. I would remind Dr. Brown of what he probably knows full well:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. -- Romans 16: 17 (ESV)
As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. -- Titus 3: 10-11 (ESV)
Division in the body of Christ comes from those who teach falsely, not those who point it out. These persons get two warnings beloved. That is it. Why so harsh from God? Because it is the sheep that matter! The Bible makes it very clear. Explain the error to a brother once and then twice but after that you know they are warped and sinful. You know they are self-condemned. Have nothing more to do with them. Nothing. Dr. Brown however will not only have something to do with them but he will provide cover for them. He will provide a platform for them. He will take his credibility, earned over decades of services to the cause of Christ, and throw it away on the likes of Benny Hinn, Joseph Prince, Bill Johnson or Jennifer Leclaire.
Yes you heard that right. The latest radio guest he had on to provide credibility to was false prophetess Jennifer Leclaire. Beloved, I can understand that Joseph Prince is slick and often difficult to discern. Even Bill Johnson has the chops to confuse people. But Benny Hinn and Jennifer Leclaire should be low hanging fruit. Just this year, Leclaire has started her own school of prophecy run out of a motel room by the Fort Lauderdale airport. For 300 bucks you too can become a prophet! The calling of God or the fact that the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts? Nah. Jennifer can do it all for a little coin. She is kind enough to realize that "Prophet Bob" might have some credibility problems upon graduation so for another measly $300 you can join her "prophetic network" where you will enjoy being under Jennifer's "covering." Just this year Leclaire has prophesied that she was releasing the "angels of abundant harvest" and warned believers that a "sneaky squid spirit" might be stalking them. Last year she said God was raising up Ted Cruz as a modern day Ezra. She claims to have had direct revelations from God that could not have happened because they are based on her false understanding of the history of this country. Beloved, there is nothing true about Jennifer Leclaire but to Michael Brown she is a good sister in Christ as much as Bill Johnson is a good brother. Consider the following post taken from Dr. Brown's Facebook wall:
"Some of today's self-appointed heresy hunters are like a doctor who amputated his patient's head because the patient needed eye-glasses. They are like the hypocrites Jesus spoke of who strained out a gnat yet swallowed a camel, damming some of God's children to hell because of a difference over a non-essential doctrine or practice. It is very sad to see and terribly divisive and destructive. May God reveal to them the fullness of His truth and love, and may they discover the fullness of the Spirit's power." -- Dr. Michael Brown
Ahh, the old Pharisee card. You know that someone has run out of cogent or Biblical responses when they resort to comparing any criticism to that of the Pharisees. What they miss, including Dr. Brown here is WHY Jesus was saying they were straining out the gnat but swallowing a camel. It was that their adherence to the letter of the law was not aligned with their behavior. So sure they made it a point to tithe meticulously and then devoured the homes of widows. It is much like someone who writes a book against an error in theology and then refuses to point out who is in that error. What is the point of being able to say that you have written books against a dangerous false teaching but not be willing to warn the sheep who is feeding them this heresy? That is straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel. That is the definition of hypocrisy. Brown also engages here in creating strawmen arguments, one of his staples when trying to debate people. Jenifer Leclaire, Bill Johnson, Joseph Prince or anyone else Dr. Brown wishes to defend can still repent. No one is denying them that opportunity. I have seen no discernment ministry condemn anyone to hell, rather they are pointing out what teachings are from the pit of hell. The fullness of His truth and love is only found through correct doctrine. That includes the aforementioned truth about how divisiveness comes from false teachings.
This all leads us to have to come to the conclusion that Dr. Michael Brown is a gatekeeper for some of the most egregious heresies infecting the body of Christ today. This is why it is often frustrating for people who engage him in fruitless discussions about the false teachers he embraces. Because at the end of the day Dr. Brown himself rarely teaches falsely. He has taken on some false teachings very well. In fact, many of the false teachings of the people he supports he would probably denounce separated from the individuals. Except it doesn't work that way. Throughout the New Testament, Paul calls out the false teachers of his day by name. He does not stop at denouncing false theological teaching but goes on to warn the body of who is behind these teachings. He recognizes that he is responsible for the sheep, not the wolves. This is a realization that still escapes Dr. Brown and relegates him to the status of a gatekeeper for leaven into the body.
That brings us to our key verses today, which speak directly to these issues. In exegeting these verses it is important to first realize that greed is not just the greed for money, although that certainly plays a role. Benny Hinn is worth about 40 million dollars for example. Joseph Prince is worth five million. Johnson's status appears to be hidden well and Leclaire is just starting out in her fleecing of God's flock. They are also greedy for stature, fame, and applause. They are idolaters in the name of Jesus. Not Dr. Brown so much but the people he refuses to distance himself from. Brown comes in at the sixth verse however:
Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. -- Ephesians 5: 6 (ESV)