As an evangelical pastor, I have grown increasingly concerned with the influence of charismaticism on evangelicalism. From Kenyonism to Osteenism, from Oneness Pentecostalism to the New Apostolic Reformation, charismaticism and the doctrine of continuationism are responsible for the vast majority of false teaching today that regularly molests the church of her purity and soundness.
Modern day practitioners of charismaticism are the spiritual posterity of the ancient Montanists, who taught the nearly identical doctrines of new prophecy, apostolic gifting, and ecstatic utterance. The Montanists were anathematized by the early church as spiritual scoundrels and heretics, and for engaging in the very same practices and teaching the very same doctrines regularly espoused by America’s most prominent charismatics.
I do not hold that the majority of evangelical charismatics are errant brothers. I hold that many are not brothers at all, worship a god of their imagination, have replaced true religion with myths and fables and occultic practices, and that God despises their worship as being in neither Spirit nor Truth.
Charismatics seem unwilling to engage on this proposition in the religious marketplace of ideas, being satisfied to provide as their only defense their subjective experiences and a religious fervor that shouts down Holy Scripture in babbling tongues and nonsense words. In America, perhaps their chiefest apologist is Dr. Michael Brown, a principal figure in the scandal-ridden faux awakening, the Brownsville Revival, a man who unfortunately retains a seat at the table of orthodoxy thanks to a few friends who model, in their toleration of his aberrant doctrine, Tertullian’s unwise toleration of the Montanists. Treating one who has supported nearly each and every kind of bizarre, plainly unscriptural, subchristian and mystic practice as a brother in good standing is toxic to authentic Christianity and does not conform with the historic church’s treatment of such false teachers.
Michael Brown has defended the lascivious and profane behavior of Hillsong Church. Michael Brown has defended Benny Hinn from charges of false prophecy. Michael Brown has attempted to whitewash the history of Bethel Church’s participation in grave-sucking necromancy. In fact, there is hardly a spiritual scoundrel, religious ne’er-do-well, or charismatic snake oil salesman that Michael Brown hasn’t defended. While Brown claims to be “on record” condemning the “excesses” of the charismatic movement, like “abuses” of seed-faith teaching, the fact is, these records simply do not exist except in tangible hypotheticals and generalities. If I produced for you a list of the ten most obviously occultic and spiritually sinister false teachers in charismaticism, you will not find Brown being on the record rebuking them, but you will find Brown on the record defending them from criticism.
Meanwhile, Brown has repeatedly attacked those calling for discernment and caution regarding the false teachers Brown promotes. He has accused polemicists of slander, gossip, hypocrisy, and sin, and when proven demonstrably wrong about a particular topic, digs in deeper in further defense of the indefensible. I wrote an open letter to Dr. Brown about this very thing in January, and like all other attempts to discuss the issues of charismaticism and polemics with him, it received no response.
Brown, when pressed to provide a defense for his support of the most ungodly and occultic teachers of the movement he is partially responsible for popularizing, feigns ignorance. He didn’t know who Benny Hinn was (he claimed) when he yoked himself to him for a video series. Each and almost every specific question to Dr. Brown regarding a specific charismatic leader and their specific charismatic error is met with a confused stammering of supposed unknowingness. It is time for Dr. Brown to stop playing the part of polemical teflon or doctrinal jello, and provide an actual defense for charismatic behavior and continuationist doctrine.
Twice I have asked Dr. Brown to debate, twice with some agreement, and yet didn’t materialize. I know that Dr. Brown does not feel that I respect highly enough charismatics, and questions the profitability of our interaction with that being the case. I believe that perhaps Dr. Brown has been coddled for too long by certain Reformed leaders, who have countenanced the charismatic error as a secondary matter. I view the sufficiency of Holy Scripture a primary matter, and cannot provide Brown the charitable assessment afforded him by others. Nonetheless, a debate is meant to provide a direct clash of principles and contentions that is provided for others as a witness to learn from and make up their own mind regarding the validity of one view versus another. I do not believe that Dr. Brown wants to compare charismatic teachings to either the ancient Montanist heresy or the Holy Bible. Nonetheless, I urge him to debate me at a venue and time of his choosing.
Dr. Brown can see my views regarding the charismatic movement in this video, as produced last month at NorCal Fire.
As I demonstrated in that message on Modern Day Montanism, I believe it can be substantiated that God the Holy Spirit is demonstrably not at work among charismatics, as seen in the lack of spiritual discernment (a spiritual gift) and lack of self control (a spiritual fruit). The suggested resolution for the debate is as follows:
Charismatic evangelicals practice the ancient heresy of Montanism, should be considered aberrant and dangerous to the church, and be cast out of fellowship until they repent and are forgiven.
Source: JD Hall, Polemics Report, P &P Blog, http://polemicsreport.com/2016/10/22/its-time-for-dr-brown-to-debate/ Published: 22/10/2016 Accessed: 23/10/21016
Glenn Robinson said:
You maybe forgetting what Jesus said in Matthew 13:24-32.
That is a parable not a commandment. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A24-32&version=KJV
If the above was a commandment, Jesus would not have publically rebuked the Pharisees and Saducees. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=KJV
None of the apostles would have rebuked/ exposed false Christians/ false teachers either. e.g. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+2%3A16-18&version=KJV
It’s important to be able to tell the difference between parables, metaphors, hyperbole and actual commandents for Christians to obey.
If a Christian does not do that it leaves them vunerable to cults’ false teachings or even tragic self-delusions. e.g. hyperbole – rarely people obey verses 8-9, not keeping passage in context. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+18%3A1-10&version=KJV
Dan B. said:
“I hold that many are not brothers at all, worship a god of their imagination, have replaced true religion with myths and fables and occultic practices, and that God despises their worship as being in neither Spirit nor Truth.”
Occult practices. Maybe Dr. Brown’s own ‘Fire School of Ministry’ is one of those. It would be intersting to hear Dr. Brown defend that ‘school’ and give documented examples of ‘the supernatural’ that have occurred there. And for him to justify whatever the tuition is by revealing real-time, real-world examples of what students learn there and what skills students supposedly attain there.
Dan B. said:
And only tangible, verifiable, documented examples from Dr. Brown will suffice. Not the usual New Apostolic Reformation metaphysical, he-said she-said nonsense such as what flows out of Bill Johnson’s mouth like water from a fountain. We’ve heard enough of those to last a lifetime already.
Hey HSCW, I like the purpose you have with correcting and guiding the Church against threats, and your use of the Bible to prove your arguments are top notch. But that being said, I’ve noticed a lot of conflict occurring in the comment sections that I am concerned about. Paul writes about correcting each other when wrongs happen in the church, but he also says not to engage in pointless arguments that can be harmful to one’s faith and break the Church apart. I was hoping you and anyone in the comment section here could explain how the Bible tells us to take care of one another by disciplining and where the limits are drawn between loving correction (including tough love like Jesus in the temple) and bad correction.
It’s a blog.
So because it’s a blog you can’t help a brother in Christ out by teaching him?
We don’t encourage people to feed the trolls who linger here at times. Commenting rules are clear at the top. We expect Christians to abide by them, trolls usually don’t.
I’m not trying to troll, I’m legitimately asking for your advice. I apologize for desiring to learn from you if you don’t want to take the time to just answer my question. Can a Christian not ask an elder for advice and expect them to respond?
Brody – our apologies if you took our response the wrong way. You are not the troll, however a lot of dialogue going back and forth on these sites involves figuring out who is “trolling” and who are those actively and honestly engaging with the topic. You might be shocked to see some of the comments that don’t get through, some who claim to be Christians need a filter applied to their “tongues”. With 1570 views just today, “policing” comments is interesting.
Cheers, Team Churchwatch.
I understand the struggle with trolls, trust me on that. The comment section arguments are the reason I asked, because I’m tired of fruitless and divisive arguments going on between Christians. I spent almost a year arguing with a troll on YouTube who used your articles to back himself up, but his comments were very inappropriate. He told a woman to “shove her ignorant comments up her a–” and then proceeded to call her a “f—ing b—-“. Of course, he said he had no fault in his words simply because they were being used to correct and because of how Christ treated the Pharisees. Because of his ties to your blog I wanted to see how you believe we are called to treat one another, in the hopes that he was a one-off reader of yours and that you have better temperament. Thinker’s comment clarified everything well enough for me, so I’ll leave you be for now. I know you have a lot to handle with this page. Prayers for the best with y’all at Churchwatch!
So that means you can’t help a younger brother in Christ out and explain healthy correction in the Church?
The “younger brother” can find that information if the “younger brother took the time to read all the articles instead of trolling.
So you’ll answer people’s questions on women’s roles in the church and tithing and many other topics, but when all I ask is how to correct one another you respond with “it’s a blog”
Thank you, Thinker. That was a great link.
RocketRalph, Churchwatchers are usually extremely patient. They should also be given a HUGE amount of credit for the amount of critical comments they decide to display on their own blog. Only on Christian forums devoted to all topics in Christianity itself have I seen more animated discussion from both sides of the Christian fence.
Speaking for myself, I only appear to have more diplomatic skills online as I had years of experience with difficult clients and close relatives. It’s a skill that comes with maturity and learning things the hard way. People need to remember the wise saying “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”.
“[Churchwatchers] attack anyone who has an opinion …”
No; they attack anyone who is *opinionated* – arrogant, opinionated, spiritually dead ignoramuses, to be exact.
“No; they attack anyone who is *opinionated* – arrogant, opinionated, spiritually dead ignoramuses, to be exact”
Chapter and Verse please Georgie pie?
Here we go again. Another Hillsong basher allowed to BASH people because they have made comments.
Bash bash bash bash…….
Where does it say in the bible to attack ANYONE??????? PLLLLLEEEEASSSSEEEE
Give us all a break !!!!!!!!! What you are allowing is WRONG. You are BREEDING IT by allowing the one sided comments and nasty Hillsong bashing.
All the Hillsong Bashers on this website think they can ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK……
WHHHHHHHHHHHHERRRRREEEE does it say this in the bible please???????
Jesus didn’t say to bash fellow Christians – or are you guys making it up again.
Take the blog away – or at the minimum repent from allowing people to bash each other online.
It is full of hate. It is from hell and hurting other Christians. It is not done out of love. It is allowing and feeding hypocritical and self righteous behavior and PROVOKING this type of behavior.
Hey Bonnie, I noticed you asked for chapter and verse, plus you said Jesus didn’t say for us to “bash” fellow believers, yet I didn’t notice you refute their claims by providing Scripture yourself. Care to follow your own advice and back yourself up here?
“That’s why this ‘blog’ is from hell.”
more lies from you, ralph. you also have a baditutde.
Isn’t it funny how a comment asking about how to have a healthy conversation and correct one another in a Biblically sound manner led to yet another crazy argument about crazy arguments? All of you here have opinions and want to voice them, but what I have noticed is that none of you have used a single verse in your comments including ones that spoke of following the Bible! Ephesians 4:29 shows that we must not speak unwholesome talk, but encourage and build up one another. However, 1 Corinthians 5 also shows that those who are in the wrong and are part of the Body of Christ need to be corrected. Even when the punishment seems a little harsh. Colossians 3:12-17 is all about how we should behave as children of God by clothing ourselves in His character and forgiving one another after conflict occurs. In 1 Timothy 5:20 Paul instructs Timothy to reprimand sinners in front of the church, does this violate Ephesians 4:29 or the character of Colossians 3:12-17? Not at all, because God loves us so much He is willing to discipline, punish, and show us the correct way to do something just as any good father would for his children. So for Bonnie, these people believe Hillsong is wrong, so they are simply following the Bible’s commands to stay away and keep others from falling to deception. 2 Peter 2 makes a great example of how God treats false teachers, and we are called to imitate the character God has given us by His Spirit that dwells in us. While we don’t need to be rude, we must still follow the discernment of the Spirit and stay away from sin and deception. Point is, we can’t be a healthy body of Christ without discernment, correction, repentance, reprimanding, and also forgiveness, kindness, mercy, love, gentleness, and empathy. So if you want to argue for no “bashing”, support yourself with Scripture and explain why the Scripture you use negates the other verses which say otherwise. If you are all for bashing, explain how and why you think we should handle it by supporting your argument with Scripture as well and justify yourself too. But don’t just point fingers in an endless loop, because that’s when arguments become pointless, unfruitful, and harmful.
“[This web site] is full of hate. It is from hell and hurting other Christians. It is not done out of love. It is allowing and feeding hypocritical and self righteous behavior [sic] and PROVOKING this type of behavior [sic].”
If you don’t like what’s on this web site, then don’t read it (you must be pretty stupid if you aren’t able to figure that out for yourself – I assume you go to hillsong).