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December 16, 2016
Dr. Michael Brown -- Excusing Christo-Politics with NAR Theology
By Anthony Wade
Dr. Michael Brown spent this election season playing partisan politics over the Gospel. Now he is trying to excuse it.
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. -- Philippians 3: 18-19 (ESV)
Dr. Michael Brown is at it again. Instead of defending and promoting the most egregious false teachers and false prophets, he is now defending his own indefensible involvement in this past election season. Now, I recognize that he places himself in a difficult spot because he fancies himself a theologian but also hosts a radio program that often deals with contemporary cultural issues. This apparent conflict does not always need to be so conflicting unless you are trying to be so. The truth is that the problem for Dr. Brown lies not in his radio program but in his NAR affiliation and idolizing of America. Now to hear Dr. Brown tell it, not only is he not NAR but he seems skeptical that it even exists at all. Denial is indeed a powerful defense mechanism when your Gospel beliefs contradict your religious beliefs. Recently Brown interviewed NAR darling Bill Johnson and Brown conducted such a softball interview you could have mistaken it for Sean Hannity interviewing Donald Trump.
I do not understand why Brown does not just admit his NAR affiliation and identity. If he is not a card carrying member he clearly is an adherent. He ascribes to the essentials of the seven mountains heresy, which teaches that Christians need to take over the seven cultural mountains in society. Now hardcore NAR believe this is required in order to facilitate the second coming of Christ and I would guess that is where Brown parts ways because he is too learned scripturally to publically state something so obviously not in Scripture. That is the religious chameleon that Michael Brown is. He is NAR "lite." Likewise, he is word faith "lite." He would never be so silly as to claim that he is a little god or has the power of creation but he has no problem coddling up to those that do. He has no problem writing a book decrying antinomianism and greasy grace but think Joseph Prince is his brother in Christ. That is Dr. Michael Brown. Enough correct theology to pretend that he does not stand with the very people he always stands with.
This past election season however, it was Donald Trump he chose to stand with. He was a virulent opponent to Hillary Clinton and engaged his followers as such. Sure he parsed his words like Hillary's presidential hubby but at the end of the day it was crystal clear who he thought Christians should vote for. Beloved we must understand that this is the script of the NAR, who believe that government is one of the seven mountains they must conquer. They are obsessed with this country and a revival that is simply not found anywhere in the Bible. They essentially believe that if they can ever convince the unbelievers in this country to behave better morally, that God will somehow stay His coming wrath. They would never admit this of course but that is what their actions reveal. America is Sodom beloved. Not just in the 21st century either. It always has been. It is a pagan nation of multiple religions that serve multiple gods. But folks in the NAR, like Dr. Brown, love Sodom. Who can blame them? We do not have to deal with real persecution like the rest of the Christian world. We have all the toys we want, sin and excess. We build spiraling cathedrals to pretend to worship God that would rival the Tower of Babel in their opulence and arrogance. If we ever start to feel a little convicted, we just send down a "missionary team" to build a playground in some remote third world country and suddenly everything seems right in the world again. With this as the backdrop, let us examine a recent article (linked above) by Dr. Brown defending his indefensible behavior in this election season. His attempt here is to try and leverage the Bible to say that Christians should be involved in the carnal morass of politics.
"Is it dangerous for Christian leaders to mix politics and religion? Is that a confusion of their calling? Or is it important for Christian leaders to address all areas of life, including politics? -- Dr. Michael Brown
Appealing to human wisdom and reason, Brown sets his stage to defend Christo-politics. The first clarification we need to make is the usage of the term "Christian leaders." Who is it that Brown is referring to? The only leaders the Bible speaks of are pastors, teachers, and elders. The elders have a primary responsibility to the operation of the church. Pastors and teachers have a primary responsibility to the Gospel. None of them however have any calling or responsibility to the politics of man. Remember the church is supposed to be separate from the world. We are supposed to be a shining city on a hill, which means we stand out. So yes, it is most certainly a confusing of their calling. If you have a secondary job, like Dr. Brown with his radio program, your primary responsibility stays with the Gospel. It stays with being the ambassador for Christ the Bible commands us to be. It means we must be wise with those on the outside.
So ministers of the Gospel should address all areas of life for the church, through the Gospel. What does God say about how Christians should behave towards each other? What does it say about how we are to behave towards our neighbors? How does it say we are to behave in the marketplace? What does it teach us about dating? Marriage? Sex? God did not leave any stone unturned when it comes to the instructions He has left for us. But those instructions are for us beloved, not the lost. God even lets us know how futile it would be to try and impose our beliefs upon them by expressly telling us that the ways of God are foolishness to them. The things we believe are utter nonsense to those who do not share our beliefs. Yet the NAR and Dr. Brown think it is a "Christian" thing to enforce our beliefs upon them? Is that evangelism or a spiritual mugging? I use this analogy a lot. The world is the Titanic. We have already struck the iceberg and the ship is going down. Jesus is the lifeboat. He is the only chance they have to be saved. Dr. Brown and the NAR crowd want us arguing over who is best qualified to steer the ship into the icy depths instead of pointing people to the lifeboat. Brown continues:
"If Donald Trump as president keeps his word and successfully repeals the Johnson amendment, which has greatly muzzled religious political speech, this question will become more relevant for Christian leaders in America." -- Dr. Michael Brown
Here we see Dr. Brown reveal what truly matters to him and it is not the Gospel. It is Sodom. The reality is that if you care about the cause of the Gospel, you embrace the Johnson Amendment, which forbids pastors from preaching politics and taking sides. Beloved, we have a church today that barely preaches the Gospel to begin with. Can you imagine how little it will be preached if they are allowed to discuss politics freely? Religious political speech should be muzzled. Did Jesus speak about the politics of His day? Absolutely not. He was completely apolitical and apathetic. You want the Temple Tax -- go catch a fish. Should we pay taxes -- render unto Caesar. I know the NAR folks twist the Gospels badly to try and pretend it isn't so but they only look foolish trying to do so. Remember, the disciples all wanted Jesus to intervene politically and deliver them from the oppression of Rome but He came for a greater purpose. The deliverance of them from sin and death! Two thousand years later we still stand around asking for temporal relief of some sort when the Gospel is all about a greater purpose. Brown continues:
"Some point to Jesus' comment in John 18 when He said to Pilate shortly before His crucifixion, "My kingdom is not of this world"" But in saying this, Jesus hardly meant that we should not be involved in the affairs of this world. After all, feeding the hungry and clothing the poor and educating our children and working our jobs are all of "this world." Should we stop doing these things and simply go on a mountaintop to pray"" -- Dr. Michael Brown
In debating circles this is what is known as "reduction ad absurdum." It is a logical fallacy which attempts to support its side by drawing absurd conclusions on the other side. No one in their right mind is suggesting that Christians go hide on a mountain. The reality Dr. Brown cannot escape is that this world is not the kingdom we should be concerned about. The Bible assures us that this world is indeed passing away. There will be a new earth. I do agree that Jesus had farther implications for saying this to Pilate but the crux is what Dr. Brown tries to avoid through absurdity. This world is not the kingdom we ought to be concerned with. Even the examples Brown provides are simply silly. You cannot compare acts of charity and taking care of the neediest in society with carnal politics. Do not lose this beloved because that is the absurd argument he is truly making. That since we concern ourselves with the poor we also therefore must concern ourselves with politics. What's the difference? The Bible commands us regarding taking care of the needy. Widows and orphans is the number one theme in the Bible after salvation. Politics? Not so much. In fact the only time politics is vaguely referenced it is with great disdain and contempt that Christ held for it. Back to Brown:
What about Phil. 3:20, where Paul wrote that "But our citizenship is in heaven""Interestingly, it was this same Paul who, at strategic times, invoked the fact that he was a citizen of Rome, assuring he would receive better treatment than a common criminal. His point in Phil 3 had to do with those who lived with a fleshly, earthly carnality and he was saying to his readers, "you are not like them! You are heavenly people living in this world." -- Dr. Michael Brown
Brown starts throwing it all against the wall hoping something sticks but it simply does not. No one is suggesting that Christians should give up their individual rights but rather that they consider their kingdom citizenship first. If you look at every time Paul invoked his Roman citizenship it was for the advancement of the Gospel. He USED his Roman citizenship to further his kingdom assignments and goals. Oh and if the people he preached to resisted, he simply moved on. He did not try and change their culture or legislate his beliefs. I just love the irony God pours out sometimes when someone tries to defend themselves by leveraging the Bible. It is a two way sword. It cuts back. Politics by definition is earthly, fleshly, and carnal. It seems anyone who enters it becomes corrupt on some if not all levels. Unwittingly, Dr. Brown correctly used Philippians 3 to defend why would should not be involved in politics. Paul is indeed saying that we are heavenly people living in this world and we would be wise to remember that before muddying our hands in the slop of carnal politics. Brown continues:
"But that doesn't mean that we don't fight against injustice or champion the cause of the needy, nor does it mean that we remain silent on important political and social issues." -- Dr. Michael Brown
Here is where it gets a little tricky. The first half of this statement is true. We ought to champion the cause of the needy and stand for justice. The Bible says that one of the three things the Lord requires of us is to act justly. The nuance of course is in how we conduct our lives, not in how we demand others conduct theirs. This is the macro point that NAR and most Christians today miss. The Bible is not given to us by God so we can beat people over the head with it. The admonitions and instructions are for our benefit, in our individual lives. We understand the value God places on life so we know not to get an abortion. Not to use that knowledge to force other people to adhere to our beliefs. That was what the Crusades tried to do. Secondly, the political solution is always a selective one. It relies upon trusting fallen and sinful men and women to do what they promise us they will. The last Republican president had complete control of Congress for five years and never once brought up abortion. Yet what about the hundreds of thousands of people who died in the war he pursued? Do they not matter to God as well? Loving justice means railing against all injustice, not just the cause du jour while turning a blind eye to other injustices. The solutions are not political beloved. The battle is a spiritual one and will not be solved by carnal men implementing carnal means through what are often empty promises.
Brown offers up an intriguing argument with the battle to end slavery. What I always find a smidge hypocritical when people take this angle is they overlook that there were more Christians arguing for slavery than against and using the Bible to defend the practice. Perhaps the larger point is that slavery is something imposed upon another person, like war. Today's hot button issues are legal choices that sinful people make. That is simply comparing apples and oranges. One could also make the argument that even in the 19th century; the leaders of the church were better served tending to the sheep and preaching the Gospel. Is God sovereign or not? What has He commissioned us to do? We are not charged with reviving this country. We are not charged with installing a theocracy. Quite frankly, most people who would insist on legislating their faith would not survive a theocracy. The same people often screaming against abortion are the same ones screaming at poor people to get a job. One of the other things God requires of us is to love mercy. Not just be merciful but to love mercy. Some of the most unmerciful people hide behind stained glass while hurling their stones at the very people who need the Gospel the most.
"Or course we can get involved in politics in a partisan way, becoming appendages of a particular political party, which is a real mistake." -- Dr. Michael Brown
In typical Brown fashion he states something that is a definitive as something that might happen. This statement is ridiculous. The church is not only an appendage of the Republican Party it is a whore to it. Just look at who Dr. Brown defended this time! A thrice married billionaire who bragged about moving on married women like a b*tch and grabbing them by their genitals. Now you can decide he is the best choice or the lesser of two evils but do not try and make what is clearly evil, good. We noted last month that Franklin graham took $125,000 from Donald Trump in 2012 and then voila! He endorses him when he runs and paves the way for him to get his Pentecostal street cred. Before you get all weepy about Graham being a benevolent overseer of two charities realize those charities pay him in excess of $850,000 annually in salary. The larger point here it to pretend that this mistake has not already occurred is silly. In 2012 Graham removed the Mormons as a cult on the Billy Graham website because Mitt Romney was running for the GOP. That is what happens when people who claim to represent Christ get involved in politics and it is why we should not. Brown concludes:
"I am confident I am not alone in sensing that it pleases God and helps His people when we, as ministry leaders, bring the Word of God to bear on every area of life, politics included." -- Dr. Michael Brown
Well, I am confident that Dr. Brown will not be alone in making this mistake but a mistake it remains. He has not brought to light one scripture supporting his NAR beliefs because there are none. If you think ministry leaders getting involved in politics helped the people of God this election cycle then I wager you were not paying any attention. It divided the church sharply and it remains so to this day. It elicited a brutal and wicked hypocrisy from believers, who spread lies and gossip like it was the Gospel. Oh, and what about the Gospel? Where did Christ finish in this election? The last bit of irony that escaped Michael Brown is found in one of the only Scriptures he referenced, Philippians 3. Verse 20 clearly states that our citizenship is in heaven. It starts however with the word "but"; indicating a contrast that can only be found in the preceding context. That context can be found in our key verses today. If verse 20 says "but we are citizens of heaven," then these people in verses 18 and 19 must be citizens of the world. They walk as enemies to the cross. Their own end is destruction. Their god is their belly -- whatever fills them. Not only that but they glory in their own shame and their mind is set only on the things of this earth. That might as well be a definition of politics beloved.
But we are citizens of heaven. Let that resonate. One of the biggest absurdities in the church is every four years we turn to a carnal world, select a carnal man, and think he is going to solve all of the spiritual problems we face. Then we ascribe righteousness to him that he does not deserve. We pretend he is God's choice. So called Christian leaders have likened Donald Trump to Elijah, David, and King Cyrus. Abortion, the Johnson Amendment, war, social justice -- all deck chairs on the Titanic. The ship is still going down and Jesus is still the lifeboat. We are not called to get involved in who the next king of Sodom will be. To take sides and confer false righteousness to evil. No matter how you try to dress it up. If you are called to ministry then you are called to the Gospel. It is time we get back to it.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- December 16, 2016