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Devotionals    H3'ed 3/4/24

Analysis of American Gospel Roundtable with Dr. Brown, Storms, Peters, and Osman

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This week a roundtable discussion was released by Brandon Kimber from the American Gospel movie series. This was a dialogue between two people from the Charismaniacal side of Christianity in Dr. Michael Brown and Sam Storms and two from the Cessationist/Calvinist side in Justin Peters and Jim Osman. The idea Kimber had was to provide both sides of the debate in a series that had solely focused on being correctly critical of the Charismatic excesses. Perhaps bridge some gaps or find some middle ground. A noble quest indeed and while all parties seemed to try and be genial in their approach, that seemed to take some of the edge off of the proceedings that needed to be there. What is following is a review, with general time stamps, to guide our discussion. There is a treasure trove of understanding to be gleaned, especially of the tactics often wielded by Dr. Brown when debating. At least this was not his radio show, where he routinely bullies his guests, but Brown remained one of the more skilled debaters in this discussion. Before starting, let me remind you of my position. In a world that is increasingly forcing bifurcated choice, I refuse to be bound by the limits of other people's minds. The truth I have always found to be somewhere in the middle and only the arrogance of man thinks he has totally figured out an infinite God. I think any reading of the bible destroys the concept of cessationism as well as Calvinism. That said, I think it is obvious that the manner in which the gifts are abused in Charismaniacal churches it is obvious we are doing these wrong as well. So, let us reason once more together, through the above link.

Let me preface this by saying that I thought it was a compelling discussion. It was also frustrating because Dr. Brown is very good at what he does in these settings. He avoids criticisms, sets up strawman arguments and muddies the water better than most. There were however recurring, obvious glaring errors on his part throughout. I think Justin and Osman had some weak arguments but there were fundamental underpinnings to the flaws in Brown and Storms' positions. Brown constantly supports his side with personal, anecdotal evidence but that is not evidence. For example, Justin shows a video proving Todd White is a charlatan. It is indisputable! Brown actually says that he does not see the video as evidence but accepts what Todd says to him in private as proof, what? He did the same thing regarding Bill Johnson, who he adores. When I was on his radio show, I presented things Johnson has said and taught and his response was that I don't know him and he does. So what? Brown knew Ravi Zacharias and how did that turn out? The opening agreement needed to be that we all accept that the human heart is wickedly deceitful above all else and thus, our personal experience counts for nothing. Instead, Brown used personal stories throughout as a defense and it went on unchecked.

The other massive sleight of hand Brown always pulls off is changing the definition for a false teacher. He did it to me on his show as well. A false teacher is someone who teaches falsely, unrepentantly, period. It is not my place to judge their eternity, that is God's job. My job is to explain biblically why they are false. What Brown does is he sets up early on the argument that the definition is that they are a hell bound reprobate and then he uses that constantly to never call anyone false. Storms used this specious tactic too. They couch everything. So according to Storms, Joel Osteen should not be in ministry, never preaches the gospel but Sam can't call him a false teacher because he is not ready to say he is going to hell. Matters of hell and heaven are left for God. If Joel Osteen is not false then no one is. By the way, Justin makes the point about some false teachers being deceived themselves and it is spot on. I have written about this many times. I can live with thinking Joel Osteen sincerely believes he is doing good and even doing God's work. He is sincerely wrong. Let's get on with the specifics from the roundtable:

At 11:28 Storms says why they do not call out false teachers as much is that neither he nor Brown can see their hearts. Yet, Jeremiah assures us how corrupt all of our hearts are. They use this constantly to defend not calling out false teachers. By this standard, a false teacher must wear a scarlet letter admitting to their status as being false in order for them to be sure. It is a bogus argument.

At the 14-minute mark, Brown says that if what Justin says about Benny Hinn were true, of course he would be a false teacher. Brown repeats this nonsense throughout and it is a recurring tactic of his. He pretends he doesn't know what anyone with a computer knows. The first time I went on his radio show it was to confront him regarding going on Benny's show for a week. He used the same, "I don't know" defense and it just does not pass the smell test. So, you never heard about the guy who waves the magical suit coat, had an affair with Paula White, and has fleeced over 50 million dollars from the flock and wants to gun down his enemies with a holy ghost machine gun? Odd because my cat knows who Benny Hinn is. By the way, my cat has far better theology than Benny Hinn. This gives us a glimpse into what we are dealing with. Joseph Prince can be slippery. Benny Hinn should be low hanging fruit dragging on the ground.

In this same conversation Sam says a recurring theme for him. That as long as someone espouses fundamental truth and he doesn't see unrepentant sin in their lifestyle, then he will give them the benefit of the doubt. He never connects doctrine as proof! How is preaching falsely and leading people away from Christ not living a sinful lifestyle?? Storms admits here that Hinn's ministry style is deceptive! How does that not disqualify him! This is what becomes so frustrating. They set up absurd thresholds and wield them to try and sound reasonable. In order to call someone false, Storms is saying they must openly espouse anti-Christ theology or be in an openly sinful lifestyle. By setting the bar to this ridiculous level, they can deftly avoid calling anyone a false teacher.

At 22:58, Brown claims he is not there to defend Benny Hinn but that is all he has done. He then tells another anecdotal story about how someone he was speaking to after the strange fire conference, which could have been me, started listing false teachers, people he knew, who he has served side by side with and with Sam. That is not the point! The people who served alongside Ravi Zacharias would swear to his godliness! They all loved his holiness teachings! All the while he had an international network of sex servants and masseuses who he groomed, and then spiritually blackmailed. Yet this is how Brown and Storms think. That their personal experience trumps everything. At 44 minutes we see the ultimate irony moment when Sam Storms defends Mike Bickle -

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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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