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Be Careful Whom You Damn.


Dr. Michael Brown
Michael Brown

It is true that the Scriptures often warn us againstdeception, and it is true that some preach “another Jesus” (who is not Jesus at all) and “another gospel” (which is no gospel at all; see 2 Cor. 11:1-4; Gal. 1:6-9). And it is true that many false converts will be shocked when Jesus says to them on that great and dreadful Day, “Depart from me” (see Matt. 7:21-23; 25:31-46).

All of us should examine ourselves to be sure that we are “in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5) and all of us should be diligent to “confirm [our] calling and election” (2 Pet. 1:10), and this does mean falling into performance-based religious exercises but rather living out our calling to be God’s children (see 2 Pet. 1:3-11; this is our response to what God has graciously done for us).

At the same time, we need to be very careful about setting ourselves up as the ultimate judge of who is saved and who is lost–meaning, among those who claim to be followers of the Jesus of the Scriptures.

Some have decided that I cannot possibly be saved because I am not a Calvinist (seriously), as exemplified by this comment posted to one of my YouTube debates: “I certainly wouldn’t call Brown a brother, he denies the gospel, he denies what Christ did on the cross and denies Jesus has the power to save and keep His Church without man’s help. Brown’s God is not God.”

So, according to Tim, because I don’t believe, with Calvin, that some “individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction,” that I’m not actually saved. (And yes, I hear from those who assure me that Calvinists are not saved.)

How myopic and wrongheaded can we be?

Most recently, because of my appearances on Benny Hinn’s TV show, talking about the Messiah in the Old Testament and the errors of hypergrace, I am now being damned to hell, along with him.

Responding to a blog article highly critical of me, Denise, wrote, “According to [2 John] v. 11 God counts Brown as guilty of the SAME wickedness as Hinn precisely because Brown not only greets the man, but promotes and endorses Hinn and his pulpit. Therefore he too, is to be just as rejected as the false teacher he welcomes. It is THAT serious to God.”

Another commenter wrote, “I would hope that God grants Mr. Brown repentance not only of hischarismatic heresies but also the arminian (remonstrant) heresy and that by God’s gracious Holy Spirit, He would convert him to the True Gospel which we are to contend for.”

So, I’m doubly damned, being both a charismatic as well as a non-Calvinist–actually triply damned, because I appeared on Benny Hinn’s TV show too.

But it gets worse. According to Brad, “I know it is the will of God that none perish, but it is also his will that men who teach little ones to sin would have been better off not to have been born. These men love mammon and hate God. I’m hoping Brown repents, leaves the ministry, and serves in a local church after his salvation. It would be better off for Hinn had he never been born. If either of you [referring to the bloggers] get the opportunity to plead with Brown to come clean, do so. It may not be too late for him.” (He actually wrote some stuff that was even more rancid, but this quote is sufficient.)

Worse still, a brother on Twitter was so upset with me appearing on Benny Hinn’s show, that he not only decided I was a charlatan but also claimed that God was not my Father. I had tweeted out to myTwitter followers, “What a longsuffering, merciful Father we have!” He responded by calling God my “imaginary friend”–in other words, he can’t be my Father.

This is nothing less than pathetic.

Others have come out of the woodwork with comments like, “What part of, ‘be not unevenly yoked together with unbelievers’ was optional for you all at Brownsville?” (I’ll be sure to let Steve Hill and John Kilpatrick know that they’re not saved either!)

Or this one, stating, “This is the ‘gospel’ Brown is now defending [with a link to a service at the Brownsville Revival]… Sorry, that looks a lot like satanism.”

And this one, which followed a YouTube link to the one of the most powerful altar calls I ever witnessed in my life: “Brown, repent of all your Charles Finney type emotional manipulation and semi-pelagian errors and learn to preach the true gospel.”

And how about this comment to my debate on cessationism with Dr. Sam Waldron, “Dr Brown claims to be sola scriptura [meaning, that the Scriptures alone are our authority for doctrine and practice] but how can I believe him, knowing he is an Arminian and a trinitarian, worse he is a charismatic.”

It looks I’m in really big trouble, being an Arminian (rather than a Calvinist), as well as believing in God’s triune nature (what a crime!) and–perish the thought!–being a charismatic.

To be perfectly clear, I’m not hurt by these comments, nor is this persecution for the gospel. (Obviously.) But I do hurt for the body of Christ and I do hurt for these misguided individuals (on all sides of the debate), and I long to see God’s people–those who are truly is–unite around his Son.

Because of that, I am truly blessed when readers of my Authentic Fire book post reviews stating that they were moved by my heart of reconciliation and honor towards those with whom I differ–and this truly is the expression of my heart.

So, let us all humble ourselves before the Lord, let us search our own hearts prayerfully, let us address clear error where we see it, and let us be careful whom we damn.

I for one am very glad that you are not my final judge, and I’m sure you’re quite glad that I am not yours.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MICHAEL BROWN

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Poly Is Not Always Jolly.


 

Michael Brown
Michael Brown

While the media continues to celebrate polyamory, the latest and most flexible variation of “family,” not everyone is happy with these new living arrangements, and some are now speaking up.

Not that long ago, there was another new twist on marital commitment, namely no-fault divorce. Why stay together if you no longer feel compatible? And isn’t it better for the kids to be spared from all this bickering? Surely divorce will be much better for the children.

Less than three decades later, researchers discovered what others already knew to be true: In a disturbingly large number of cases, divorce deeply scars the children, often with lifelong, deleterious results.

How long will it take before researchers discover that raising children with multiple, somewhat random, often biologically unrelated, not infrequently morphing parental arrangements is not in the kids’ best interests? And how long will it take before researchers discover that polyamorous relationships are not in the long-term best interest of the adults as well?

On a purely social level, despite the media’s best attempts to glamorize polyamory, complications are sure to arise, as reflected in a “Dear Prudence” (Emily Yoffe) advice column dealing with this very issue.

A woman identified as “Stuck” tells Prudence, “My daughter wants to bring her husband—and her boyfriend—for the [Christmas] holidays,” but her husband is against it.

Prudence replied, “Perhaps a generation from now many families will be having a very polyamorous Christmas. But we aren’t there yet.”

Prudence suggests that the daughter just bring her husband, Jacob, this time around (even though Jacob is perfectly happy with his wife having a boyfriend, as any well-adjusted husband would be), since, “Surely she knows there are simply occasions when she must make a choice about which man to bring.”

But of course!

Then there’s the effect of the unique nature of polyamory itself that is a recipe for disaster, as indicated by an extended post on a forum on the Polyamory.com website.

A forum member identified as “Shipwrecked” explains, “I practiced polyamory from 1995 through 2010, in a progressive west coast city with a large and vibrant poly community. I’ve attended countless poly workshops and poly-friendly gatherings, and read pretty much all of the major poly books. But despite all this I ultimately ended up alone, and lonely.”

One of the reasons given by Shipwrecked is that, over time and as people age, they tend to move to monogamous relationships, and thus the pool of potential polyamorous partners is reduced.

Another stated reason is that “polyamorous dishonesty and/or self-deception is often harder to detect than the monogamous variety.”

Shipwrecked also claims, “Polyamory creates constant reminders of your own aging and associated loss of attractiveness,” and because the partners are lacking the depth of commitment that should be the bedrock of a monogamous relationship—in fact, they might even be looking for new partners—the stability of these relationships is undermined.

Of course, there will be polyamorous readers who say, “I know plenty of unhappy, monogamous couples along with plenty of happy polyamorous couples,” but there’s no denying the fact that you’re not likely to get invited to the 25th anniversary of a polyamorous trio (or quartet, or whatever).

More importantly, what happens to the children? What effect does polyamory have on them? According to polyamorous parent Kamala Devi, “It takes a village to raise a child and it feels really good to have that kind of support,” speaking positively of how her polyamorous lifestyle affects her 6-year-old son. But what will her son say in 10 or 20 years?

In the words of “Anonymous Kid,” in an article posted on Mommyish.com, “My Parents Are Polyamorous And I Hate It.”

This young woman describes herself as “the all-American teen. Cheerleader, homecoming court, mostly A’s and the occasional B or two, cross country, charitable, and just kind of making my own way. I would say average except my parents are in a triad with this woman who I used to call mom. I haven’t called her that in years, but that’s a story for another time. For those that don’t know what triad is, it’s a three-way relationship. Mom and Dad. Mom and her girlfriend. Dad and the same girlfriend. The three of them together.”

As a kid, she said she was too young to care about this, but now she says, “I’m older now, and I’m struggling with why they can’t be normal?”

Why, she wonders, did all three of them have to come to her parent-teacher conference at her Catholic school, openly displaying their threefold affection?

Yes, “It’s hard enough being a teenager without parental units complicating the high school experience and making it worse.”

She writes, “New friends have come up and said, ‘So you have two moms and a dad,’ or they’ve said things like, ‘Your mom shares a guy with another girl? Gross.’ I’ve wanted to cry at times, and I don’t blame them.”

Is this just a matter of our society needing to become enlightened, or is there something fundamentally wrong—and selfish—with polyamory?

This teenager actually states, “I should be happy because I’ve got three ‘parents,’ but I’m miserable. I’m begging them to send me to boarding school overseas, so I can experience something normal. I’d rather be continents away than continue to be part of this family.”

Of course, this is just one story, and there will always be positive examples of successful, happy kids who come from polyamorous homes. But there can be no doubt that, just as the long-term effects of no-fault divorce have proven to be highly destructive, the long-term effects of polyamory will prove destructive as well.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MICHAEL BROWN

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Is a New Grace Reformation Taking Place Today?.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Is there a new reformation sweeping the Church today, a reformation as radical and important as the Protestant Reformation that rocked the world 500 years ago? According to a growing number of Christian leaders, the answer is emphatically yes.

Pastor Clark Whitten, author of Pure Grace: The Life Changing Power of Uncontaminated  Grace, claims that, “Little has changed in the Protestant church in more than 500 years” – until now, that is. He believes that Luther and Calvin “got it right concerning justification, or how one is saved. . . . But they missed it on sanctification, or how one is perfected into the likeness of Christ.”

Whitten states that Luther and Calvin, followed by the Protestant Church ever since, taught a doctrine of “saved by grace but perfected by human effort,” an approach that has produced “a Church that is judgmental, angry, hopeless, helpless, dependent, fearful, uninspired, ineffective, and perpetually spiritually immature.”

Because of this, Whitten claims, we have failed to impact our culture and have become a laughingstock to most “casual observers.” And Pastor Whitten contends that this doctrine has also brought, “personal devastation” to countless believers who have consequently checked out on Church (or on God Himself).

John Crowder, in his book Mystical Union, claims that, “Just as there is a new mysticism on the rise, I believe it is coupled with a new reformation. The good news will be preached with such clarity that, even the days of Luther will seem utterly primitive in its concepts of grace and faith.”

Indeed, Crowder writes that “a clarity is coming to the preaching of the gospel like has not been heard since the days of the Apostle Paul.”

Other modern grace teachers share similar sentiments. In his book GRACE, the Forbidden Gospel, Andre van der Merwe writes, “Once again in the church there is a struggle for a theological reformation that will liberate believers to break free from the yoke of bondage that has been put on the children of God by people who may have had good intentions, but that have only taught the religious doctrines and traditions that they themselves have been taught.”

His prayer is that his book will “destroy the religious arguments and doctrines of demons forever,” referring to whatever teaching contradicts this allegedly new revelation of grace. That’s why the full title of his book is GRACE, the Forbidden Gospel: Jesus Tore the Veil. Religion Sewed it Back Up, and that’s why Pastor Joseph Prince, perhaps the best known modern grace preacher, calls this a “Gospel Revolution.”

Could it be, then, that there really is a grace reformation sweeping the Body today? Could it be that the Church has been so stuck in legalistic religion for the last 500 years that nothing less than a radical reformation can get us out of the rut?

It seems clear that many believers have been caught up in externally imposed religion (which is the essence of legalism), seeking to please God by following an endless list of “do’s” and “don’t’s,” never being certain of the Father’s love and looking first to their own efforts rather than looking first to the cross. Consequently, they are always falling short and never walking in the abundant life that Jesus has for them.

Within a two-day span, I heard from two women, both friends of our family and former students in our ministry school, both married with children and active in God’s service. One wrote this: “I am one of many who have been changed drastically and fantastically by the ‘grace message.’  Judging by the amazing fruit of it in my life and my family’s life as we have gone through some very hard times, it is the fruit of the true grace message.”

Speaking of one well-known, modern grace teacher, she explained that while she only agreed with about 80% of what he taught, she said that “I feel like I have taken a bath and glimpsed the beauty of Jesus and what he did for me almost every time I hear him.” This is wonderful to hear, and I do not want to tamper with something so sacred and liberating.

The other ministry school grad wrote this: “I can say for me, I sure tried, and worked, and failed. Finally, almost three years ago, I finally had a ‘Grace encounter’ that changed my life. Can honestly say I’m more free, more confident, and more ‘sin-LESS’ than I’ve ever been. If that makes sense.”

This is from the Lord!

Sadly, I have met many believers who have struggled with legalism and performance-based religion, and when I hear today that, through a revelation of God’s grace, they are now living in intimacy with the Lord and overflowing with joy at His great love for them, I am thrilled.

That is truly wonderful news, and it indicates that, for many, there is a need for a fresh infusion of anointed teaching on the beauty and glory and wonder of God’s amazing grace.

At the same time, I constantly hear stories from believers and leaders concerned about the modern grace message, like this one: “I have seen the effects of this message on my own loved ones. It has ruined our family and caused many of them who loved the Lord to stray.”

And this, “We have seen this up close and personal with some of our family members. Very destructive things are going on.”

And this, from a pastor, who spoke of “the three close male friends I have had in the past, all three from the grace side; two were unfaithful and then left their wives and the third just left. I have had no one close in the grace group (forgive my terms) displaying good lasting fruit.”

One young man, who had served together with a well-known hyper-grace leader wrote to me at length, wanting me to understand just how bad things were: “I heard more ‘F’ and ‘S’ words in that movement than anywhere else in my entire life.  After all, you’re ‘legalistic’ if you EVER tell someone to ‘not’ do something.”

Is this simply a matter of the modern grace message being abused?

Honestly, I wish that was the case, since I love the message of grace and it would be a shame if pastors and leaders drew back from preaching grace because it was abused.

But the truth is that the modern grace message is quite mixed, combining life-changing, Jesus-exalting revelation with serious misinterpretation of Scripture, bad theology, divisive and destructive rhetoric, and even fleshly reaction. And, in all too many cases, it is being embraced by believers who are not just looking for freedom from legalism but also freedom from God’s standards.

There is no doubt in my mind, then, that the notion of a “grace reformation” (or “grace revolution”) is highly exaggerated, that some of this new grace teaching is unbalanced, overstated, at times unbiblical, and sometimes downright dangerous – and I mean dangerous to the well-being of the Body of Christ.

In short, I do not believe that we are witnessing a new grace reformation. I believe we are witnessing the rise of a hyper-grace movement, filled with its own brand of legalistic judgmentalism, mixing some life-giving truth from the Word with some destructive error.

And that’s why I wrote Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, a book for grace lovers, not grace haters, a book for those who embrace both grace and truth (John 1:14, 17). Does that describe you?

(Excerpted and adapted from Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message.)

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Are We Charismatics Doing Enough to Correct Abuses in Our Midst?.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

We’ve heard this charge many times in the last six months: “If you charismatics did a better job of cleaning up your own act, there wouldn’t be a need for a Strange Fire conference and book.”

Is this true?

Before leaving the subject of Strange Fire vs. Authentic Fire (which I plan to do for now with this article, turning my focus to the issue of Hyper-Gracenext week), I feel it is important to respond to this charge clearly and directly, summarizing here what I detailed in more than 20 pages of citations in my Authentic Fire book.

To begin with, let me state plainly that there is absolutely no excuse for the many abuses that do exist in the charismatic movement, both doctrinal and moral, and if some of the worst charismatic TV preachers were true representatives of our movement, I would never call myself a charismatic.

On the flip side, with more than half-a-billion charismatic adherents worldwide, it is ludicrous to think that there is a homogenous “charismatic movement” and that, if a few more leaders spoke out clearly, the abuses and errors would go away.

Pastor John MacArthur has now written three books against the charismatic movement, and with all his influence (and the influence of his last, large conference), he has hardly stemmed the tide of the abuses that do exist. (To be clear, many of his charges are greatly exaggerated, but even where he is accurate and even where I say “Amen” to his criticisms, his efforts have not changed the movement he critiques.)

In fact, one of the real problems in the body today is the lack of true accountability for many leaders and churches (charismatic and non-charismatic alike), making it very difficult to bring correction and discipline when it is needed. (To be perfectly candid though, there were errors that existed in New Testament times and in the succeeding centuries; the church has always had to confront error and heresy.)

That being said, and as I document in Authentic Fire, Pentecostal and charismatic leaders have been addressing errors and abuses for decades now, and we continue to do so to this very day.

As noted by Reformed pastor John Carpenter, “the suggestion that ‘charismatics’ simply never police their own is false. David Wilkerson was outspoken and just as severe in his appraisal of the prosperity ‘gospel’ as is John MacArthur. … The Assemblies of God famously tried to discipline Jimmy Swaggart and eventually defrocked him when he wouldn’t submit. Yes, there should be more of such correction but people are only responsible to discipline what is under their authority. Should we hold all Baptists responsible for the Westboro Baptists? Should we accuse everyone who believes in the inspiration of Scripture (like me) for being as irrational as the King James Onlyists?”

I could easily cite here statements by charismatic leaders like John Wimber and Derek Prince, who raised concerns about certain types of healing and revival services, or of David Wilkerson, who lifted his voice against a “Christless Pentecost” (also using profound quotes from Frank Bartleman, a Pentecostal pioneer involved in the Azusa Street revival), or Prof. Gordon Fee, who wrote about The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels, or of Lee Grady, who has penned many columns on these very Charismapages exposing a wide variety of uniquely charismatic sins.

And I could easily cite the life messages of charismatic leaders like Jack Hayford and Jim Cymbala (among many others) who have avoided the extremes by aiming for the middle—meaning the most central issues of the gospel and of life in the Spirit.

In my own ministry (not to pat myself on the back but simply to respond to the endless stream of questions that has come my way), in 1989, my book The End of the American Gospel Enterprisefocused largely on the compromised state of many of our American charismatic churches (since these were the circles I primarily traveled in) while my 1990 book How Saved Are We? contained an entire chapter renouncing the carnal prosperity message along with another chapter focused on carnal fundraising techniques. (For the record, these abusive techniques—honed to a science today on Christian TV by men like Mike Murdoch and Steve Munsey—have only become more pervasive since 1990.)

In 1991, my next book was published, entitled Whatever Happened to the Power of God: Is the Charismatic Church Slain in the Spirit or Down for the Count? (I trust the title and subtitle were clear enough), while in 1993, It’s Time to Rock the Boat: A Call to God’s People to Rise Up and Preach a Confrontational Gospel, addressed more issues of gospel compromise, many of which pertained to charismatics. Then, in 1995, in From Holy Laughter to Holy Fire: America on the Edge of Revival, I spoke of the need to go beyond the “refreshing” movements that were current in that day and to seek God for a repentance-based, outpouring of the Spirit.

During my years serving as a leader in the Brownsville Revival (1996-2000), I brought messages calling believers and leaders deeper, and right through 2013, I have been addressing my charismatic brothers and sisters. For example, one of the most widely read articles we posted in 2013 was “Sex Symbols Who Speak in Tongues,” largely a critique of our contemporary, charismatic gospel message (as opposed to being a critique of the sex symbols, whose names I didn’t even mention).

Even the Hyper-Grace book, which is about to be released, focuses on abuses of the grace message occurring primarily within the charismatic movement. And bear in mind that I am just one leader among many addressing abuses and errors within our movement and, again, I only share these things to respond to valid questions; and even so, I do so with hesitation, lest I be misunderstood. (Of course, when praying and preaching and writing, I always point the finger first and foremost at myself.)

When you read the citations within Authentic Fire, I believe you’ll be shocked to see how many Pentecostal and charismatic leaders have been addressing issues within our movement for decades now, dating back more than 100 years. At the same time, I believe we need to do much better, working harder to deal with the theological sloppiness, the moral looseness, and the personality cults that are found all too often in our midst.

If only leaders like John MacArthur could recognize the marvelous contribution being made to the gospel today by countless tens of millions of faithful charismatics worldwide, we could work hand in hand to correct the very real problems that do exist. And perhaps we charismatics could help our cessationist brothers and sisters address the problems that exist in their own house as well.

As I wrote in Authentic Fire, embracing the true fire is just as important as rejecting the false fire. May God help all of us to do both.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Shall We Burn One Another at the Stake?.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Every year on the Line of Fire broadcast, shortly before Christmas, we host our annual Christmas debate where listeners call in to discuss whether we should celebrate the birth of Jesus and, if so, if we should celebrate it at this time of the year.

And every year, the passions get high, as some listeners argue that those who celebrate the Savior’s birth on December 25th are guilty of participating in idolatrous practices on an idolatrous day, while others claim that this season is all about exalting Jesus in word and song.

In light of Church history, though, these disagreements are quite minor, as I highlight in the Authentic Fire book in a chapter entitled, “Shall We Burn One Another at the Stake?”

To give one terrible example, about 1,500 years ago a dispute about the nature of the Son of God led to terrible bloodshed between professing Christians. As noted by Church historian Phillip Jenkins, “Each side persecuted its rivals when it had the opportunity to do so, and tens of thousands—at least—perished. Christ’s nature was a cause for which people were prepared to kill and to die, to persecute or to suffer martyrdom.”

Church buildings were burned to the ground and church members were burned alive; nuns were violently forced to take communion at the hands of their theological opponents, despite their sobs and shrieks; one bishop forced his religious opponents to live in close quarters with lepers, whose hands were “festering and dripping with blood and pus,” until the alleged heretics saw the light.

Yes, professing Christians did this to one another in the name of religious orthodoxy and theological faithfulness.

To give a more recent example, 500 years ago, key Reformation leaders turned against the Anabaptists, who were considered to be part of the radical reformation despite the fact that many of them were true New Testament believers.

And what was one of the reasons they were so severely persecuted? It was their belief that baptism was for believers only and not for infants (the same position held by Baptists and Mennonites and Pentecostals and hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide today).

Anabaptist leaders were persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and killed, with drowning being a favorite method for putting them to death. Some of the Reformation leaders mockingly referred to this as a “third baptism,” and in some communities, there was actually an attempt to exterminate the Anabaptists.

In fact, in 1529, at the Diet of Speirs, both Roman Catholic and Protestant princes and heads of state joined together to pronounce a death sentence on all Anabaptists. And so, professing Christians literally burned other professing Christians at the stake.

As for Martin Luther, although he initially opposed putting alleged heretics to death, lest, in his thinking, he and his followers imitate the violence of the Roman Catholic Church, he ultimately changed his viewpoint and supported attempts to kill Anabaptists. (On a related note, Church historian William McGrath states that, “When [Luther] was in later years reproached for such violent language, and for inciting territorial lords to merciless slaughter [they killed over 100,000 peasants], he answered defiantly: ‘It was I, Martin Luther, who slew all the peasants in the insurrection, for I commanded them to be slaughtered. All their blood is upon my shoulders. But I cast it on our Lord God who commanded me to speak in this way.’”)

Today, there are Protestant leaders who believe that it was the Anabaptists, rather than the followers of Luther and Calvin, who more fully returned to the New Testament faith, yet 500 years ago, their fellow Protestants (and, at times, Catholics) joined together in an attempt to wipe them out. (For many more details, see Authentic Fire.)

It is in light of tragic incidents like this that I am grieved by calls for a “collective war” against charismatics (to quote Pastor John MacArthur’s Strange Fire book) or by the statement, “We’re not trying to divide the body of Christ with this conference. We’re trying to identify the body of Christ.” (This comment by Pastor MacArthur was tweeted out during the Strange Fire conference.)

He further explained that, “There are others who criticized by saying, ‘You’re attacking brothers.’ I wish I could affirm that. We’ve said this one way or another this week [during the Strange Fire conference]: this is a movement [meaning the Charismatic Movement] made up largely of non-Christians . . .”

It is true that no one in the Strange Fire camp is calling for the violent persecution of charismatics (God forbid). But it is also true that a mindset similar to the one that led the Reformers to persecute the Anabaptists is operative today among those calling for a “collective war” against charismatics. Conversely, that same destructive mindset is at work among charismatics when they mock their cessationist brothers and sisters as spiritually dead, Pharisaic legalists (or worse) and question their salvation.

Isn’t it time we learn some important lessons from the past?

Towards the end of the chapter “Shall We Burn One Another at the Stake?” in Authentic Fire, I cited the words of Bishop J. C. Ryle, a highly respected, 19th century leader, and they are worth citing again here. Bishop Ryle wrote, “The true Christian regards all Christ’s friends as his friends, members of the same body, children of the same family, soldiers in the same army, travelers to the same home. When he meets them, he feels as if he had long known them. He is more at home with them in a few minutes, than he is with many worldly people after an acquaintance of several years. And what is the secret of all this? It is simply affection to the same Savior and love to the same Lord.”

May this attitude dominate the hearts of all true believers as we esteem one another in the Lord and honor one another and learn from one another and sharpen one another – all to the glory of Jesus’ name and all for the sake of a dying world. (If you’d like to read more, you can download Authentic Fire here.)

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Time to Stand Up to Gay Censors.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Since we all agree, as followers of Jesus, that bullying is wrong, it’s time we stand up to the gay bullies who are trying to put us in the closet and take away our freedoms of speech, conscience and religion.

Consider for a moment that Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty could have said in his GQ interview, “I think you’ve got to be crazy to be a polygamist,” or, “In my opinion, polyamory is just another word for adultery,” or, “A man who sleeps with lots of different women is no better than an animal,” and there would have been no reaction from A&E and no outcry from the gay censors.

Consider also that his comments about pre-entitlement black Americans were considered highly offensive by many, but these comments did not prompt A&E to take action, as I pointed out in my interview on Piers Morgan. (If you missed the interview, I encourage you to take 15 minutes to watch.)

Rather, it was comments about homosexuality that crossed the forbidden line, comments that, when read in context, although crude, simply expressed biblical perspectives. And that was more than gay censors like GLAAD and the HRC could tolerate.

The truth is that GLAAD has been on a campaign for years to censor all opposing viewpoints, as I noted in March 2012: “This sums up the duplicity of GLAAD: It urges the media to beware of conservative Christian leaders like [the late] Chuck Colson, Maggie Gallagher, and Tony Perkins [and me too!], even calling on CNN to ban some of them from appearing on their shows, and then gives its first Outstanding Blog award to the JoeMyGod website, famous for entries like this one … [stating that] ‘God is SUPER busy killing babies and giving people cancer.’ And this earns praise from GLAAD. …

“And for those who claim that GLAAD is not trying to engage in censorship, note well that at the end of 2010, GLAAD launched a petition drive urging ‘CNN to Make a New Year’s Resolution: Keep Away From the Anti-Gay Industry.’ Yes, said GLAAD, ‘It’s time for outlets to finally drop several hundred pounds of unhealthy weight, which they’ve been carrying around for years, in the form of anti-gay activists. … CNN and the rest of the media are doing nothing but exposing their viewers to dangerous anti-gay rhetoric when they invite members of these anti-gay groups onto their programming. Starting in 2011, this needs to stop.’”

GLAAD even asks its constituents to alert them if people like me (or Jim Daly of Focus on the Family or psychiatrist and Fox News contributor Keith Ablow or political consultant Gary Bauer or Princeton professor Robert George, among many others) appear on the mainstream media.

GLAAD is undeniably in the business of censorship, which is why I believe they should be called the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Disagreement rather than the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Most recently, GLAAD commended comedian Bob Newhart for canceling a scheduled appearance at a Catholic businessmen’s event sponsored by the Legatus Summit.

According to GLAAD, “It is possible that Newhart, like many people were unaware that Legatus was such a rabid anti-LGBT organization. The organization was created by former Domino’s Pizza CEO, Thomas Monaghan, for Roman Catholic businesspeople, and membership is only available to top level executives.”

Yes, the Legatus Summit’s website states that it was established to “bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life—Faith, Family and Business—connecting two powerful realities, the challenge of top-tier business leadership and a religious tradition second to none.” How utterly nefarious!

The website also states, “Undergirded by their parish and diocesan life and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Legatus nurtures an interior transformation as members grow in their love for Christ and fidelity to the teachings of his Church. They become genuine ambassadors who study, live and spread the Catholic faith.”

And GLAAD commends Newhart for canceling his scheduled appearance. How dare he crack jokes for committed Catholics!

Even more remarkably, GLAAD’s actions come at a time when the Advocate, the flagship gay publication, named Pope Francis its man of the year for his softer tone toward gays.

But this was not good enough for GLAAD, which represents the new face of “tolerance” and “diversity,” the face of unabashed censorship in the name of gay rights.

This censorship and bullying will only get worse unless we make a determination to stand for what is right and speak the truth in love, regardless of cost or consequence, recognizing that our strategy of appeasement (which has often been a cover-up for our spinelessness and fear of man) has failed miserably.

The reality is that in the last 12 months, it is not just private individuals who have been punished for refusing to bow the knee to gay activism or for speaking out of turn, but also public figures like Dr. Ben Carsonpastor Louie Giglio, and Sen. Rick Santorum. (In case you missed what happened with Mr. Santorum, in April, a Michigan high school canceled his speaking appearance out of concern that he would address same-sex marriage, eventually agreeing to let him speak with the caveat that students could only attend with parental permission [!]. In stark contrast, Bible-bashing, gay-sex-exalting speakers like Dan Savage are hailed as heroes in our schools and campuses, given carte blanche to talk about the most vile subjects to our young people.)

Now the gay censors have tried to bully the ultrapopular (and, yes, backwoods, Bible-thumping) Phil Robertson, which for many finally means that enough is enough, a conclusion which is long overdue.

It really is high time that we draw a line in the sand and refuse to capitulate or bow down, following the Jesus principle that we find our lives by losing them (Matt. 10:39).

This does not require name-calling or rightwing rhetoric or anger on our part. To the contrary, “Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20, NIV).

Rather, our stand for righteousness requires a heart in tune with the Lord and His Word, a life of personal purity without hypocrisy, and a genuine love for LGBT individuals, whose lives we protect and defend even while stating that homosexual practice is sin, that gay marriage is not truly marriage, and that God has a better way.

We really have no choice, and, as I’ve said many times before, either we stand up and do what is right today or we apologize to our kids and grandkids tomorrow.

What will it be?

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

‘Duck Dynasty,’ Gay Activism and the Clash of 2 Cultures.


'Duck Dynasty'
Duck Dynasty

You knew it would happen sooner or later. An outspoken, wildly popular, conservative Christian who doesn’t give a hoot—or in this case, a quack—about political correctness would air his views about homosexuality, and overnight, Hollywood hell would break loose.

To catch you up on the latest events, earlier this week, the text of Phil Robertson’s interview with GQmagazine was released online, containing controversial comments about homosexual practice, among other things. (For those who have been living under a rock, Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan, and he is a self-proclaimed “Bible thumper.”)

Shortly after the interview was released, and quite predictably, GLAAD issued a statement condemning Robertson’s remarks as “some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people in a mainstream publication” and said “his quote was littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.” (Reminder: GLAAD officially stands for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, but I have long suggested that a more appropriate name would be the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Disagreement.)

GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz says, “Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans—and Americans—who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors, who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.” (Note to GLAAD: The majority of Louisianans do not support same-sex marriage.)

This was followed by a clarification and apology of sorts by Robertson: “I myself am a product of the ’60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and, like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

The Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest gay activist organization, also condemned Robertson’s remarks and called for A&E, the cable network that airs Duck Dynasty, to take action: “The A&E network should take immediate action to condemn Phil Robertson’s remarks and make clear they don’t support his views.”

Later the same day, A&E issued its own statement: “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

In support of Robertson, the Faith Driven Consumer Facebook page started an “I Stand With Phil” campaign, while another Facebook page, “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty,” had more than 100,000 “likes” in a matter of hours. Talk about a clash of two cultures!

What did Robertson actually say that was so controversial?

First he remarked, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

Was he accusing all (or most) gays of engaging in bestiality or of sleeping with multiple women? It appears not, although I can easily see why his critics would think otherwise, and in that context, he was right to clarify his comments.

What he was saying, though, was that gay sex should be seen as part of the “anything goes” mentality of the sexual revolution of the ’60s, and in that regard he was right. In fact, while gay activists emphasize homosexual identity, placing the gay rights movement in the context of the civil rights movement of the ’60s, Robertson and other conservative Christians emphasize homosexual behavior, placing gay activism in the context of the sexual revolution of the same era.

Robertson next quoted from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, a famous passage in Paul’s letters in which he clearly states that practicing homosexuals, along with practicing heterosexual sinners of various stripes, will not inherit God’s kingdom. (For the record, despite frequent objections to the contrary, the Greek text is quite clear in terms of its overall sense.)

Was A&E genuinely unaware that Phil Robertson held to these views? I seriously doubt it. My guess is that they were just glad (not GLAAD) that he hadn’t aired them publicly.

Finally, Robertson suggested (speaking first for himself) that the female sexual organ was “more desirable” than a man’s rectum and that a woman had “more to offer” a man.

And for these comments he was promptly suspended.

The fact is, though, no matter how much two men may love each other, it remains indisputably clear that men were biologically designed to be with women, and vice versa. In that regard, no matter how crude Robertson’s comments may have been, they were correct.

As for his quotation from 1 Corinthians 6, did anyone really think that Robertson would say, “You know, now that I’ve become a TV celebrity, I’m going to revise my views on God’s intent for human sexuality and marriage”?

Personally, I don’t believe for a moment that Robertson will bow down to A&E and compromise his convictions, although I could see him offering a further clarification of his statements, explaining, for example, that he was not accusing homosexuals of practicing bestiality any more than heterosexuals engage in such perversion.

And I don’t see how A&E can back down from its position regardless of how popular the show is. The gay lobby is far too powerful. (I imagine that Alec Baldwin has an opinion on this as well, although, to be clear, I am not comparing Robertson to Baldwin.)

In fact, I don’t see either of them about to blink, which means the culture wars are about to hit the fan, and this could get very ugly very quickly.

I suggest that those of us who agree fundamentally with Robertson make clear that: 1) We are unashamed of our belief in Jesus and in biblical morality; 2) we stand against the mistreatment of all people, including gays and lesbians; and 3) we will not support the radical redefinition of marriage, regardless of the cost involved, nor do we see cultural capitulation to gay activism as inevitable.

Now would be a perfect time to take a stand, but with grace, precision and wisdom.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

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