A recent exchange between a caller and Dr. Brown perfectly displayed all of his tricks to avoid dealing with the problems he has calling out false teachers and carrying water for the NAR.
He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. -- Titus 1: 9 (ESV)
The above link is to a recent radio program from Dr. Michael Brown that was devoted to the issue of the gifts of the Spirit and cessationism. Dr. Brown opens with a monologue about his position versus that of John MacArthur. That is not the point however of this writing. The point is the interaction with the first caller, somewhere around the 20 minute mark. Within this call, we see a microcosm of what is so frustrating about the NAR gatekeeper Brown has become. Let us reason together once again beloved.
The caller is respectful and complimentary. I understand how he feels. So much of me wants to like Dr. Brown and wants him to see how egregious his errors are because his knowledge could be so useful for the kingdom. At some point however you have to ascribe to Bill Parcells theology which says, sometimes you are what your record says you are. The caller goes on to express concern with Dr. Brown cozying up to the likes of Todd White, Bill Johnson and Kenneth Copeland; whom the caller correctly identifies as false teachers. Dr. Brown's response is predictable and sad because it continues to confirm his new role as bagman for the NAR. Here are the typical elements in any confrontational exchange with Dr. Brown, all on display in his answer:
1. The "damn them to hell" card. Brown wants the caller to clarify first whether he means that Johnson and White are saved but have some holes in their theology or is he "damning them to hell." Dr. Brown pulled a similar trick on me when we spoke on his program about Bill Johnson and it is a diversion he often uses. What he is trying to do is shock the accuser into backing off so he can move away from the charge. If the person refuses to back away from the truth then Brown reframes the entire debate to be about one person trying to condemn someone to hell and the other (Brown) being more merciful and kind. The ruse is to make himself sound compassionate and the other person unhinged. Here is the why it is so deceptive. This caller never said Copeland, Johnson and White are going to hell -- God did. We do not get into the destinations of men but are required according to the key verse to call out false teachers. Dr. Brown refuses to call out any false teacher.
2. The "Sergeant Schultz" defense. I realize I am dating myself here but some may remember the old Hogan's Heroes sitcom. One of the characters was Sergeant Schultz who always swore that he saw nothing, heard nothing and knows nothing. It is amazing how the doctrinal level Brown, who knows multiple languages, suddenly turns into the Alicia Silverstone character from Clueless when asked about widely known false teachers. Brown's first response is that he has never met nor heard Todd White. Never mind that he has an eight day trip to Israel planned in June with White. Never mind that both White and Brown were speakers at a Christ for All Nations conference. Never mind that they both spoke at the 2017 One Thing Conference from IHOP. That was two months ago. Beloved there are only two possibilities here. One is that Dr. Brown knows full well who Todd White is or he simply does not care who he shares the stage with. Both are unbelievably sad statements. Who we share the stage with is who we give our credibility to. This was my main point when years ago I called Dr. Brown regarding his week-long appearance on the Benny Hinn show. He wasn't having it then and he has learned nothing since.
3. The "that heretic is a good man in the Lord" error. After dismissing any discussion about the unknown Todd White, Brown moves to provide cover for Kenneth Copeland. His opening premise is -- "I believe Kenneth Copeland is a brother." What follows is simply staggering:
"I 100% repudiate as heretical the view that he used to teach about Jesus dying in hell and becoming demonized and so on"If he still teaches that then I utterly repudiate that as heresy. To my knowledge he doesn't teach that anymore but I strongly differ with a lot of his word of faith emphasis." -- Dr. Michael Brown
First let us clarify the smokescreen Brown throws up here. Copeland most certainly still preaches the heresy of Jesus being the first born again and having gone to hell. Isn't it interesting here that Brown admits that even if he still taught this heresy today -- that all he would do is repudiate the teaching. Not the teacher! How can you rationalize saying Copeland is a brother and a heretic? This is the inconsistency that leaves many of us frustrated in trying to talk sense to Dr. Brown.
4. The "I am the critical voice in the Charismatic movement, wink wink" trick. Brown always tries to sound reasonable. To this end, he is often correctly critical of bad teaching with charismania. The problem is he does not ascribe these teachings to any human being. For example, Brown has written the definitive book against the teachings of hyper grace. Even my cat knows the king of hyper grace teaching is Joseph Prince yet when I asked Brown about Prince, he said he believed he was a brother that just had some holes in his theology. No! Heresy is not a hole! It is a cliff over which the sheep are being led by the wolves! Take this next snippet from the response to this caller:
"For decades I have written against and spoken against the prosperity gospel. I believe in God's provision. I believe God is an abundant God. I believe in the principle of sowing and reaping but I abhor the carnal prosperity message. I have a major chapter in my book "How Saved Are We" about it in 1990. I have a major chapter in my new book "Playing With Holy Fire" against it." -- Dr. Michael Brown
If you truly abhorred the carnal prosperity message then you would abhor those who spread that infection throughout the body of Christ. It does absolutely no good to write chapters in books against the prosperity gospel and then call the very heretics that preach it good brothers in the Lord. Why bother writing an entire book on hyper grace and then do an hour long fluff piece interview with Joseph Prince? You either are following the key verse or you are in violation of it. Paul always named names so people could mark the false teachers. There was a time when Peter himself was not being completely honest and Paul called him out by name. Instead of protecting the wolves, we are supposed to protect the sheep
5. The "I know him and you don't" defense. Then we come to Bill Johnson and I have heard this defense before as well. The most offered defense of false teachers is that the defender knows the person or "knows their heart" and the person practicing discernment does not. Brown pulled this card on me when discussing Johnson. Then when I tried to discuss the heretical School for the Supernatural, where Johnson claims he can teach you the literal gifts of the Spirit, Brown attacked me. His defense? He once taught there. My response was I don't care. I do not have to worry about your heart or Bill Johnson's because the bible assures me that both are the most wickedly deceitful thing ever created -- including mine. That is why we rely upon the verity of Scripture alone.
6. The "muddy the waters" tactic. Dr. Brown then claims there are false reports out there about Bethel and the example he gives is that they support grave sucking and how that is untrue. Well I guess Bill Johnson's wife didn't get the memo Michael. Do a YouTube search for Bethel grave sucking and enjoy the picture of Beni Johnson lying down on one grave and hugging the tombstone of Charles Finney. What does Dr. Michael Brown use to refute the video and photographic evidence? The fact that Johnson denied it when Brown asked him about it. Wow, that's some hard hitting journalism there. So Brown says that there are things attributed to Bethel that "we throw out" because they are false (except they are not actually false) and then there are things correctly attributed to them which I differ on (without explanation as to what).
7. The "secondary issues" ruse. Dr. Brown often offers these same arguments in a very learned and pious sounding defense. What usually follows is an attempt to dispose of all allegations as issues "secondary to the Gospel"; as he tries with this caller. Now let me be clear. There are secondary issues that I do not believe are worth losing a brother or sister over. Is that what we have been discussing though? When Todd White teaches that the cross does not reveal our sin but rather our value to God -- is that not an issue of salvation? When he runs around in the Holy Ghost sham movies pretending to heal people with the growing leg trick, is this not a matter of import to the body? Joseph Prince preaches a grace so bad that it leads people directly to hell and you thought so much of it you wrote a book on the subject! Is that really secondary to the Gospel? No beloved. That is the Gospel.
8. The "if your point was valid I would be with you" subterfuge. Brown always tries to sound like the more reasonable party in the debate. To that end he will try to take the high road after he has employed all of these deceptions. To this caller he actually says that hey, if you were right about Bethel I would be right there with you repudiating them. That has to be the most absurd statement Dr. Brown has made in this call. There is no place on this earth more heretical than Bethel Church. Forget the grave sucking and dead raising team debacles. They operate a school that teaches how to perform the gifts of the spirit despite the fact that the Bible says only the Spirit gives them out. Perhaps usurping the power of God is secondary to Dr. Brown but is sure seemed primary to God when He cast Lucifer out of heaven for it. Bethel also teaches healing on demand; robbing God of His sovereignty. They claim to have the unbiblical manifestations of gold dust, gem stones, angel feathers and glory clouds. They teach unmitigated prosperity gospel, which Brown claims as anathema in this interview earlier! They teach the word faith heresies and eastern mysticism. They are ground zero for the teachings of the NAR and dominionism. Before Brown tries to deflect that he may want to google the "anointing" as an apostle of Todd Bentley by the NAR and he will see Bill Johnson as the man praying over the charlatan. If you can look at all of this and cry, secondary; I fear for either your honesty or your sanity.
Either way beloved, I feel for the plight of the caller. He was allowed about two minutes to express his concern. He never got one minute to counterpoint. The rest was Dr. Brown regurgitating the same old tired defenses and shady debate practices he always employs. The main thing for us as the body is to recognize the patterns that people like Dr. Brown engage in when defending wolves. Remember we are pointing out the false teaching. If scripture says that they are hell bound then that is God they are disagreeing with, not you. Do not forget that the lovable Sergeant Schultz did know; he was just pretending to not know. If you say that someone is both a brother and a heretic, I am afraid you do not know what either of those words mean. We do not need to know a false teacher personally or gauge their sincerity. Only their teaching needs to be evaluated and if found lacking, rebuked. If you call out a false teaching you must also call out those who teach it. Do not let them muddy the waters, pretend doctrine is a secondary issue, or lie about your point being invalid. Titus 1:9 cannot be clearer even if Michael Brown refuses to see it.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- February 23, 2018
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 His purpose.