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November 17, 2022
Dr. Michael Brown Blaming the Lost and Defending His War Against Them
By Anthony Wade
A needed refutation of tortured defenses for the church engaging in culture wars...
"I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. - Isaiah 42:6-8 (ESV)
I feel bad sometimes when writing about Dr. Michael Brown. He is someone who has contributed greatly to the theological discussions in this country for decades. He so often seems so conflicted with what he must know are carnal arguments designed to excuse behavior he should not be engaging in. I remember the kerfuffle over false prophetess Jennifer LeClaire claiming a "sneaky squid spirit" was stalking her. Now anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex and a bible must know how utterly stupid this false prophecy was. When one sees how Jennifer makes a living off fleecing the flock, they must also conclude that the sneaky squid spirit was just another low point in the mockery she makes of our Lord and faith. Not Dr. Brown. He excused it, had her on his radio show, and agreed with her tortured and absurd defense of the indefensible. This was one of the incidents that led me to call him a gatekeeper of the NAR. The other major problem Brown has is his obsession with everything dominionist. He was a rabid Trump supporter who would occasionally write a piece questioning Trump, so, he had plausible deniability. Nevertheless, Brown continues to defend this incredibly idolatrous theology and the above link is yet another attempt by him to defend what he must know is simply wrong. As you read with me, see if you feel the same sense of a tortured man, trying desperately to defend the indefensible.
"Have you ever wondered if the church should continue to engage in the culture wars? After all, we will never eradicate evil from the world, and sometimes it feels like the water is pouring into our boats faster than we can bail it out. Plus, every time we gain ground on one front, we seem to lose ground on another. Why bother fighting these time-consuming, emotionally draining, financially costly battles? Wouldn't it be better if we put all our efforts into winning the lost, thereby making an eternal, irreversible impact?" - Dr. Michael Brown
Yes! Brown opens up showing he clearly understands that not only is his approach wrong and unbiblical but that he knows the right answer! First of all, let's start with the obvious. If you are engaged in what you describe as a "war" then you must realize the confrontational aspect of what you are engaged in. Wars have enemies that must be defeated. Violence to accomplish goals in war is largely justified and acceptable to men. So, I would ask Brown honestly, who he thinks is the enemy of the culture wars? He might try and get cute and claim sin or Satan but the correct answer is the unsaved. The correct answer for who is the enemy of the pro-life movement would be people on the pro-choice side. They have goals that are opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. The same would go for any other issue. The term culture war infers a difference of opinion as to how culture should be and thus a "war" over it. Except the lost are not supposed to be our enemies beloved. Only Satan could design such an insidious plan. To make Christians, who hold the keys to heaven in the gospel, loathe the very people that need the gospel the most. To go to war against the people the bible says are walking darkness and think the things of God are foolishness to them. What are we supposed to be doing with them? Brown answers that here. The lost are to be "won" for Christ through the preaching of the gospel, thereby making an eternal, irreversible impact. Again, yes!
"Some would also argue that things will only get worse before Jesus returns, and since we know He's coming very soon, there's no use trying to slow down, let alone stop, the onslaught of evil. We're just trying to forestall the inevitable. How should we respond to these objections and concerns? When it comes to the theological objection, namely, that things will only get worse before Jesus returns, I have two responses. First, although there are verses that speak of darkness and apostasy before the Lord returns, there are also verses that speak of a glorious harvest of souls coming into the kingdom at the end of the age. Some passages even speak of light shining brightly in the midst of gross darkness. In short, as I understand the relevant portions of Scripture, the end of the age will be characterized by parallel extremes of good and evil, of divine activity and satanic activity. I hardly see a picture of only gloom and doom." - Dr. Michael Brown
This is a typical Brown tactic. He designs a strawman argument that he fully prepared to knock down. The theological argument is not merely that time is running out, which it is, but that the overall canon of scripture does not call for our involvement in the politics of man. Jesus' entire ministry saw Him ignoring the politics of His day and His people were being greatly oppressed! His disciples all wanted Him to deliver them from Rome but His ministry is about so much more. His gospel is so much more. Dr. Brown knows this. As for the strawman, I also disagree with the interpretation Brown provides. The glorious harvest of souls has absolutely NOTHING to do with the cultural issues of this world. It has to do with again, winning souls to Christ through the preaching of the gospel! The light shining brightly is supposed to be the church preaching the gospel! That is the only thing that penetrates the darkness! Does Brown honestly think that forcing poor women to travel to another state for their abortion is how we pierce this present darkness? Satan must be laughing at someone so biblically learned avoiding the clear instruction of scripture. There is nothing divine about passing legislation that has no eternal consequence.
"Second, none of us know how soon the Lord will return, which means that we can't say, "We know this is the final generation, so why bother to impact the culture?" I came to faith 51 years ago, and we were told Jesus was coming any minute back then. The prophecies were all lining up and the bestselling Christian book of the day made it clear that we were in the tail end of the last days. That was more than one-half century ago! Just think of how completely paralyzed the church would be if every generation had this same mentality. "Why bother taking a stand? We're out of here any minute now!" That cannot possibly be a biblical way to think." - Dr. Michael Brown
Actually, it is not a biblical way of thinking at all but since Brown only offered it as a strawman argument it is also irrelevant. To be clear, the bible writers say the time is short and that was written thousands of years ago! Why such a discrepancy? Because divine inspiration means we believe God wrote the bible and a day to Him is like a thousand years to us! The POINT however is not about how we think or what we feel but what God said! He said the time is short! He said we need to redeem the time! Brown's characterization of a Christian feeling that hey we are outta here soon is unseemly and inaccurate. I have a never met a Christian who ever espoused such. The issue is God wants us to always operate as if the time is short because to Him it is! Tomorrow is promised to no one. Engaging in cultural wars is like fighting over the deck chairs on the Titanic when you ought to be directing people to the lifeboat. By the way, preaching the gospel is taking a stand and if the church "only" engages in the gospel, they are not to be considered "paralyzed."
"Having addressed this theological objection, let me respond to the larger question of why we as followers of Jesus should engage in the culture wars at all. Why should we fight against abortion? Why should we oppose racism? Why should we stand up to injustice? Why should we push back against LGBTQ activism? First, if we don't engage the culture, the society will collapse. After all, if we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16), without us, the saltiness will be gone and the light will not shine. And with the culture in freefall, it won't be long before anarchy reigns, before our liberties will be taken away"perhaps even our children taken away." - Dr. Michael Brown
So, you think establishing a theocracy in America will prevent societal collapse? What part of walking in darkness do you not get? And do not dare to parse this out. What Dr. Brown and dominionists are arguing for is a theocracy. Having the government enforce laws based solely upon our faith. The opposite of our faith by the way is not anarchy. That is insanely stupid. Let's try to break this down simply. The issue is not that we do not have laws codifying against sin. The issue is sin, period. Your laws, edicts and judicial appointments are not going to stop sin. Let me give you a for instance. If we believe that abortion is the sin of murder, and we force a woman living in Texas to go to California to have that abortion, we have accomplished nothing. Wrapping your Jesus up in barbed wire will only end up with bleeding people. There is only one thing that has the power of salvation and conquers sin and that is the gospel! Are you sensing a theme yet? The saltiness has gone and the light has dimmed because the church is engaged in cultural wars instead of preaching the gospel to the lost. Let the lost get saved and then they will decide to not get an abortion, hopefully. What Dr. Brown and dominionists never see is that the church is the reason why the society is in a free fall. Sure, there are cultural reasons as well but the church has long since abdicated its ordained role of presenting the uncompromised gospel of Jesus Christ to this dying world. Instead of correcting our ways, we judge the world, which is not our role. We convict the world of its sin, which is also not our role. We then try to force them to modify their behavior through our self-designed culture wars, you guessed it - not our role. Meanwhile, the only thing that is our role, the gospel, we withhold from them. Then we blame them for an impending societal collapse. What sheer arrogance.
"Second, if we don't push back against a sinful society, we will lose our conscience and our souls. How can we see evil on full display in front of our eyes and do nothing? To do nothing is to desensitize and dehumanize ourselves. Third, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:8-9, "at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)." It is in our spiritual DNA to do what is right and good because, by our very born again-nature, we are light. This is the opposite of the fable of the scorpion and the frog, in which the scorpion stings the frog as it sits on the frog's back while the frog swims across the river, as a result of which they both die. When the frog asked why he did it, the scorpion explained that he couldn't resist the urge, since this was his nature. In the same (but totally opposite) way, standing up for justice and contending for mercy is what we do as light. It's our nature." - Dr. Michael Brown
No one is suggesting that we do nothing when faced with sin. The people God brings into our sphere can benefit from our friendship, wisdom, and truly being salt and light. I tell the story often of the two case managers who once worked under me. One a Jesus loving child of God and the other, well, not. The unsaved person was constantly trying to get the Christian in trouble or even fired for her expressions of faith to which she only responded with kindness. This went on for two years. Then the life of the unsaved women fell apart and the first person she turned to was her Jesus loving peer because she had something that was needed - peace. The unsaved woman then came to Christ and His glorious salvation. That is being salt and light - not "pushing back." Unfortunately, the unsaved view Christians as those people trying to force their beliefs down their collective throats. Manipulating Supreme Court justices. Demanding legislation. Picketing and rioting. Revering wicked politicians and wicked pastors. They view Christians as hypocrites, and they are right. The gall of claiming to have a nature that pursues mercy while extending our accusing finger at the world and screaming sinner! Because, you know, Jesus right?
"Fourth, doing good also means opposing evil, and there are many verses in the New Testament that clearly call us to do what is good. What then, does that good look like in action? What would doing good look like if you were a slaveowner who became a Christian? Just giving your slave a cup of cold water? Or setting your slave free? Fifth, as we oppose evil, as we call out injustice, as we push back against immorality, we are becoming more like Jesus, being conformed to His image. This is part of our preparation for eternity." - Dr. Michael Brown
Ok, if being conformed to the image of Christ means fighting culture wars why didn't Jesus say so? Or better yet, why did He do the exact opposite when He walked the earth? In his tortured slave analogy Brown fails to see that forcing people to not legally sin does not actually stop them from sinning and that only the gospel has that power. While the New Testament tells us what to do in our lives that can be considered "good" it in no way then demands that we force everyone else to behave as we do. What is truly sad here is that Dr. Brown uses lesser evils to fight his perceived greater evils. That is dominionism. People like Mario Murillo and Greg Locke are just more honest about it. To them the Republican Party is the godly choice and if you vote Democratic you are going to hell. The problem is the people Brown believes in are just as evil as the people he would rail against.
"Sixth, God makes clear over and again in His Word that the kind of spirituality He is looking for does not consist of long-winded prayers or pious displays of fasting. Rather, He says clearly, our fasting must be the backdrop for our holy actions, setting the captives free, caring for the orphan and widow, standing up to injustice in the courts (see Isaiah 58)." - Dr. Michael Brown
There is nothing holy about forcing our faith upon the lost. That would mean the Crusades were holy. Only the gospel sets the captives free. There is nothing about the chosen political affiliation of Brown the remotely wants to see justice in the courts or pleads the case of the orphan and the widow.
"Seventh, just as we feed the hungry and give to the poor, helping those we can even while knowing that we will never eradicate hunger and poverty, we do the same with the culture wars. We help those we can help. We save a baby's life when we can. We get an ungodly sex-ed curriculum removed from our local school. We expose discriminatory treatment of a minority colleague in the workplace. Every life counts, and every battle won has significance." - Dr. Michael Brown
This is so disingenuous. To lump in feeding the hungry and fighting discrimination with campaigns designed to codify our beliefs upon the lost is simply unfair and a poor comparison. The real problem of course is the fact that Brown wants to use one group of corrupt and evil men to pit against another. The reality however is that the chosen group, the Republicans, want nothing to do with combatting hunger and poverty. Heck, hungry and poor people try every day to come into this country and Brown would argue they should be thrown out. Realize too that no one is suggesting that as parents and community members we cannot choose to make our case for why one curriculum is bad for our kids and others might be more beneficial. The problem is that the dominionist thinks their answers are holy and righteous and all other opinions are evil, words Brown has used in this very article, and thus they seek permanent legislative or judicial decisions to enforce their beliefs. What Brown and the dominionists argue is for these causes to be taken up by the church.
Eighth, since the Messiah's mission includes bringing justice to the nations, and since we are His voice and His hands and feet in this world, pursuing justice is part of our divine mission (see Isaiah 42:1-8).
This is not so clever sleight of hand. The referenced scripture, which we have made part of it the key verses for this devotional, is a prophecy about Christ. It is a great foretelling by God of the plan He has for the salvation of man. The word nations is used to portray the gentile people of the world and not meant to infer political argument. The pursuit of justice Jesus will undertake is related to sin and salvation, not the passage of immigration law or the banning of marriage we feel is beneath the teachings of scripture. The key verses reinforce that the world is indeed walking in darkness and God opens their eyes through either the acceptance of the gospel or through judgment for rejecting it. The Lord is HIS name and He gives His glory to none other. Not Michael Brown, politician or pseudo-Christian operative. He gives no praise to carved idols and the pursuit of dominionism is indeed a carved idol beloved. It is quite possibly the last idol of the church age. These passages have nothing to do with seeking carnal men to pass carnal laws and wrapping it up with false piety. God does not seek better behavior from us before consideration for salvation. Rather, He seeks faith from us in Him and through Him. We then see sin as He does and our works start to match our faith. Dominionism skips the salvation part and seeks to cure sinful behavior through the efforts of sinful men. That is not what Isaiah is prophesying here and not the plan of God.
"Ninth, by standing up for the downtrodden and hurting, we demonstrate the depth of our relationship with God. As the Lord said with regard to the godly King Josiah, "He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD." (Jer. 22:16) That is a truly striking verse." - Dr. Michael Brown
Brown continues his litany of strawman arguments that have nothing to do with the original topic he proffered. This was supposed to be defending the church being engaged in the culture wars it seems so enamored with. This can hardly be described as standing up for the downtrodden and hurting. The side Brown has chosen to affiliate with is notorious for not being on the side of the hurting and downtrodden. King Josiah by the way, was King of Judah. That means he reigned over God's people, not the lost.
"Tenth, when we oppose evil and do good, we are functioning as the Lord's witnesses, thereby calling the society to account and setting a standard for others to follow. This, too, is part of our gospel calling. The reality is that, until Jesus returns, we will be in a tug of war with the world, sometimes making real progress and sometimes losing ground." - Dr. Michael Brown
Sigh. It is most certainly not our job to call society to account. That is God's job. The arrogance is overwhelming. Dr. Brown thinks that there are sneaky squid spirits and calls Benny Hinn a good brother in the Lord but he thinks he is capable of judging the nations, wow. What is worse, is he thinks God has called us to judge the nations. Bill Johnson. Kris Vallotton. Joseph Prince. The guy sitting next to you in church service checking his Facebook feed during the sermon. Brian Houston before he had to resign. Carl Lentz while he was cheating on his wife with the babysitter. None are righteous Dr. Brown! None seek after God! What part of scripture do you refuse to understand! Dear Lord and you think this is part of the gospel? The tug of war we will always be in until Christ returns is between us and the world in our lives - not that we have arrived and they have not so let me stick my nose into the details of their sin! We set a godly standard by living our lives according to scripture, like in the example above of the two case managers who used to work for me. We cannot "set a standard for others to follow" by demanding that they follow! What part of they think the things of God are foolishness do you not understand?
"But either way, we must keep our grip and maintain our resolve, wanting to hand things to the next generation in better shape than we received them while knowing that ultimate victory awaits the Lord's return. And while we also keep the Great Commission first and foremost in our hearts and minds, we recognize that Jesus didn't simply call us to win the lost but to make disciples.
This is how disciples live." - Dr. Michael Brown
Yes, but we cannot make disciples without first winning the lost. By removing the actual preaching of the gospel in favor of passing legislation, we never get to step two. Brown and his dominionist allies remind me of James and John from Luke 9 after seeing the Samaritan village reject Jesus. Did they respond with love and compassion? No. They asked if they should call down fire from heaven. Scripture says Jesus rebuked them much like Brown needs to be rebuked today for this in a never-ending line of writing designed to excuse his own idolatrous behavior. Brown may indeed mean well but that is no longer relevant. The unsaved are not our enemies. We are not at war with them. Even if we genuinely believe they are wrong on certain cultural issues our job is to represent Crist in our lives and present the gospel to them through the collective efforts of the church. There is no legislation that can save us as sinful human beings beloved. There are no judicial decrees that can save the human soul. By the way, the "nations" of the lost go beyond our carnal shores. Hating the outsider is not Christian either. Do not follow other men or place your faith in their solutions. Your lesser perceived evil is just your opinion and either way, at the end of the day, remains evil.
Reverend Anthony Wade - November 17, 2022