July 10, 2014

Authentic Fire – Chapter 10 Review

by Fred Butler

Authentic Fire is Dr. Michael Brown’s book-length response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference. Because of the importance of this debate, TheCripplegate is using every Thursday to respond chapter-by-chapter to Authentic Fire. You can find an overview of this debate, as well as links to the reviews for each chapter by clicking here.

 afMoving Forward After Strange Fire

I come to Michael Brown’s final chapter of Authentic Fire. Here is where he wraps up what he has been saying throughout his book, as well as provides his concluding words of exhortation as to what we, his readers, should take away from the Strange Fire conference.

He begins by laying out four reasons why the Strange Fire conference and the published book will be significant.

To summarize those reasons [AF, 309-310]:

1. Strange Fire will be a negative landmark in the increasing minority position of cessationism.

2. More believers will study afresh the Scriptures and see that continuationism is true. In other words, Strange Fire will backfire!

3. Pentecostals and charismatics who previously had no connection to each other will be united, along with non-hostile cessationists connecting with non-crazy charismatics and working together for God’s kingdom.

4. Charismatics will look more seriously at some of their more glaring errors both doctrinally and morally.

Brown then concludes the remainder of his chapter with three challenges to those Christians sympathetic to the Strange Fire message.

First, The Whole Bible is Wholly True. Believe it. Meaning, “if the words or promises or exhortations or commands apply to us, we need to take God at His Word and believe and act on what He says” [AF, 311]. If the whole Bible teaches continuationism, then it should be believed, not rejected.

Additionally, Christians, especially those of the cessationist view, should not develop their “theology” as a reaction against what is truly false teaching. So for example, those carnal prosperity teachers who have abused and maligned the Bible’s teaching on giving money and receiving God’s blessing should not cause Christians to overreact against what the Bible truly says about our giving and God’s rich blessing.

The same can be said of those who teach falsely about physical healing. Just because there are some who have abused the gift of healing and promised healing when none really came, should not cause us to disregard what the Bible teaches on physical healing. “Just because some charlatan,” writes Brown, “abused the Bible doesn’t mean I can’t use it rightly, and just because some teacher misinterpreted a verse doesn’t mean that you should cut it out of your Bible. And just because some leader or denomination declared that certain parts of the Bible no longer apply to us today doesn’t mean you have to accept that verdict when the Word seems plainly to say otherwise,” [AF, 315].

Second, The Holy Spirit is Moving Around the World. Receive It! Pentecostalism has been historically a missionary driven movement. “The fundamental conviction of Pentecostals is that the power they receive through the Spirit is to evangelize all nations and so glorify Jesus Christ,” [AF, 316]. Hence, when multitudes of people really are turning from idols to the living and true God and putting their faith in Jesus for salvation, that should be cause for great rejoicing.

Rather than being critical of this mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the nations, it is better to study anew what the NT says about the work of the Holy Spirit so that we can be more like Jesus and reach our dying world. So while it is wise to put up healthy walls of discernment to keep out false spirits, don’t let those walls keep out the true Spirit of God.

And then third, The Body of Christ is Multifaceted and Beautiful. Embrace it. People in both cessationist and charismatic camps will demonize members of the other side. Even Brown was warned by some charismatics to avoid MacArthur because his opposition to the work of the Holy Spirit only proves that he isn’t even saved and is a Christ-killing Pharisee. Certainly MacArthur received similar warnings about Brown.

However, those absurd warnings should be rejected in the strongest possible terms. Both camps must see that we are all brothers in Christ and by God’s grace will spend eternity with each other. So now each side should seek to establish enriching friendships with each other to further the kingdom of God now.

If MacArthur recognizes fine leaders like John Piper and Wayne Grudem as brothers, despite their alleged errors of charismaticism, then it is possible for charismatics and cessationists to lay aside differences and work together. But in order to have that happen and to help each other we will need to communicate with each other openly, honestly, publicly, and privately. That way we can all experience the sweet words of Psalm 133 where it says, Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Review and Analysis

Brown’s final chapter summarizes a number of arguments he has already put forward in previous chapters. Both Lyndon and myself have done our best to address what we consider to be the salient points to his overall complaint against MacArthur and the Strange Fire conference. Thus, a lot of what I may hit upon with this chapter review will come across as redundant (Well, it is the last chapter, so I guess that is to be expected), because I’ll refer readers back to previously posted reviews.  So with that in mind, allow me to consider his three exhortations in turn.

1). The Bible is wholly true, believe it. 

Brown explains that when he says the Bible is “wholly true” he means we need to take God at His word, believe it, and act upon what He says. That is essentially what he argued in chapter 6 so I won’t belabor this point too long.

In chapter 6 he wrote that if the Reformed folks, like MacArthur, truly believed in Sola Scriptura like they say they do, then they would believe that God still works with spectacular, supernatural signs and wonders through the hands of spiritually gifted Christians. Because those Reformed folks reject charismatic claims of supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit as being genuine, they are acting contrary to the doctrine they profess to believe.

As I pointed out in my review of that chapter, Brown levels that charge operating from his Pentecostal/charismatic presupposition that Christians throughout all of church history can expect to do similar miracles as those recorded in the NT that were done by Jesus and the apostles. Hence, when he challenges cessationists to “wholly believe the Bible,” he has in mind them believing like he does: that all Christians can do miracles of power and healing if they would merely be open to that reality.

As I concluded in my review, if a person would first ditch the presupposition that Brown has read onto the Bible, and then apply his principle of believing the Bible as being wholly true, he will come to an entirely different view of miracles than the one promoted here in Authentic Fire. Instead of a never-ending parade of healers and prophets until Jesus returns, we see that God had particular purposes for miracles and historical periods of miracles which was to authenticate the Messiahship of Jesus and the ministry of His apostles. I get that understanding from reading and believing the whole Bible, not cherry-picking selected citations that fit my theology.

2). The Holy Spirit is Moving around the World. Receive It!

Brown is insistent that MacArthur and all the supporters of Strange Fire are completely wrong about Pentecostalism and charismatics in foreign countries like India, Africa, and Latin America. Rather than being overran with wild-eyed fanatical prosperity Word of Faith charismaticism as Conrad Mbewe documented at the Strange Fire conference, Brown complains that his evaluation of African charismatics is grossly exaggerated and unfair. In fact, such out-of-control, unbiblical Word of Faith theology is not anywhere near being as harmful as Mbewe claims. Craig Keener, in the first appendix of Authentic Fire, though recognizing that some of his concerns are valid, even being recognized by many African Pentecostals, writes that it is a blanket judgment that easily leaves a false impression about African Christians, [AF, 358].

As much as both Brown and Keener wish to put a happy face on international charismatics, both men are woefully out of touch and naive. The testimony on the ground from genuinely concerned Christians who live in those countries paints a bleaker picture of the situation than both of them are willing to admit.

Lyndon addressed African charismatics with his review of Authentic Fire chapter 3, and the influence of Word of Faith on African charismatics with this overview here at his personal blog. In an extended review of chapter 5 also found at his blog, Lyndon addresses the famed Lausanne Survey Report that allegedly claims 90 percent of African leaders reject the prosperity gospel. He demonstrates how that figure is exaggerated and drawn from inadequate survey questions that game the results.

But the real proof of the problem with charismatics in foreign countries come from personal, eye-witness accounts.  For example, in October 2013, around the time the Strange Fire conference was kicking off, James White of Alpha and Omega ministries made a trip to South Africa to lecture, teach, and preach, as well as engage in debate with a number of Islamic apologists. When he returned, he gave his report of his trip, and his take on the situation in South Africa is that prosperity, Word of Faith charismaticism is the face of Christianity to the people there, especially Muslims. Listen to his report here from the 17 minute mark to around the 19 minute mark to get an idea of what he meant.

3). The Body of Christ is Multifaceted and Beautiful. Embrace It.

When we come to the last point, it is regrettable to say that Brown becomes a tad whiny. There really is no other way to describe it. He is bothered that MacArthur will readily embrace continuationists like John Piper and Wayne Grudem as brothers in the Lord despite all their alleged theological errors regarding continuationism, [AF, 321], but not him. Piper and Grudem are not the jumping around the building and shouting old-time Pentecostals like he is, so they function as the nice, token charismatics that can be readily accepted by cessationists like MacArthur.

He then goes on to write, “The fact is that God wants the Strange Fire camp to recognize as dear brothers and sisters the Pentecostals who jump and shout and run around the building because they are excited about the Lord,…”[ibid].  Really? Earlier in the chapter, when Brown listed out his four reasons why the Strange Fire conference will be significant, he writes, “…many non-hostile cessationists will begin to connect with many non-crazy charismatics, leading to mutual edification, building up the church, and even effective missions and evangelism work, [AF, 309]. In Brown’s thinking (I am guessing), he sees MacArthur as a hostile cessationist because he doesn’t want to connect with a “non-crazy” charismatic like himself.

The reason why MacArthur can readily accept Piper and Grudem, and maybe some other men who are sympathetic to “continuationism” like D.A. Carson, is that they are the “non-crazy” charismatic variety that Brown identifies. Their commitment to sound, soteriological doctrine specifically, helps to reign in any craziness and bridges the fellowship between cessationists like MacArthur. So contrary to what Brown says here, MacArthur, the so-called “hostile” cessationist, is already friendly with “non-crazy” charismatics that Brown believes would improve his life.

The difficulty cessationists have with Brown, however, is that he seems to have no problem with embracing and endorsing the “crazy” charismatics.  He regularly visits with them to promote any books he’s written, even willingly speaking at their churches and conferences.

And when I say “crazy” I really mean crazy. Like barking at the moon…

We all know about Brown going on Benny Hinn’s TV show, so there is really no need to bring that up again. However, he has also appeared with Cindy Jacobs on her “God Knows” TV show,

brownjacobsCindy Jacobs, if you don’t remember, is famous for claiming that she fed 3,000 people at a church in Colorado Springs in the same fashion Jesus fed the 5,000. Even more amazing, She claims God multiplies her kids’ food, the oil in her house, and preserves her shoes from being worn out in the same manner the Israelites had their sandals preserved while wandering in the wilderness.

 

What on earth is wrong with your spiritual life dear saint if God isn’t doing this for YOU!

Now Brown expressed annoyance with those people who drew attention to his “loose” affiliation with Cindy Jacobs [AF, 94.95]. He was on her show once or twice and doesn’t necessarily run in her circles. The people who attempt to lay a “guilt by association” on him are no different than those hyper-Fundamentalists and their secondary separation doctrine.  But if Brown had appeared with only Jacobs just one time to talk about his book on homosexuality, then maybe I would be unfairly nit-picking and he would have a good point. But that isn’t the case.

Brown has also appeared with Sid Roth,

brownrothFor those who have never heard of Sid Roth, he’s the Christianized version of George Noory. He hosts a show called “It’s Supernatural!” (“Where it’s naturally supernatural!”) that is basically the Coast to Coast AM for charismatics. And you think TBN is bad. In fact, I’d encourage the reader to at least watch the 30 second intro to the show so as to just get a feel for what he regularly promotes.

Roth interviews such guests as heaven tourist Steven Brooks, who earnestly recounts (with video reenactments, mind you) his experiences with seeing angels everyday (who strike a uncanny resemblance to Fabio) and being pulled up to heaven and into the throne room of God, which by the way, has a black and white checkered linoleum floor like the Kroger grocery store my family went to when I was a kid.

Steven has been given a special vision,

 

Roth also entertains riveting researchers like L.A. Marzulli, who has a DVD set on his research into the Nephilim and their skulls. Or this guy who says he knows the secret to supernaturally changing your DNA so as to break the generational curses not one generation!, not even four generations!, but all the way back to Adam and Eve! (By using this one weird trick!)

I could go on and on about Sid Roth. Spend 20 minutes clicking through his Youtube or Godtv channel. You’ll be amused, amazed, but horrified that people believe this is pawned off as biblical Christianity. And Michael Brown regularly visits his TV show and radio program.

But wait, there’s more!

Here’s Brown speaking at Bethel Church in Redding CA.

bethelBrown

Here’s a link to the two messages you can purchase, as well as a preview of one of the talks.

That’s right. You all know Bethel Church Redding. The church that gives us,

graveanointing

Grave anointing or grave sucking, where you lay across the graves of dead charismatics and attempt to suck up their anointing.

And Kevin Dedmon encouraging a group of guys to walk on water and through walls,

 

The glittering glory cloud that falls from the ventilation system,

 

And of course fire tunnels.

The only thing missing from the wackiness that happens at Bethel is snake handling.

Seriously.

Look. The reason MacArthur can be friendly with Piper, Grudem, and Carson in spite of their continuationist quirks is that none of those men, at least to my knowledge, have appeared on television shows and radio programs where the hosts boast about feeding 3,000 people with a loaf of bread, or promote guests who believe they can command armies of angels, or spoken at churches where the ministers encourage their youth to walk across swimming pools and glitter falls from the vents and is called a glory cloud.

In chapter 2 of Authentic Fire, Brown is insistent that he has always been quick to call out what he calls the “excesses” in charismatic churches. He has written numerous books condemning those excesses long before MacArthur even considered having a Strange Fire conference. My question of Brown would be, does he think Jacobs, Roth, and Bethel church promote “excesses” (though “excesses” is too mild a word in my opinion), or would he consider them non-crazy and what they do as “authentic fire” that should be embraced?

If Brown is serious about going forward from Strange Fire with the intention of learning something from MacArthur, he needs to recognize that the problems MacArthur has with charismatics and Pentecostals goes way, way beyond loud worship services with people swaying back and forth with their arms in the air. His concern is with the occultic, new age mysticism that is promoted as spirituality in charismatic circles that leads to horrific theology and doctrinal practice. And it is ubiquitous throughout both charismatic and Pentecostal denominations.

I am fearful that Brown doesn’t see those things as dangerous. His main concern seems to only be what he calls “manipulative” fund raising done by televangelists. But honestly, until he can come out and say the stuff that is taking place at Bethel is damnable heresy, that Sid Roth promotes damnable heresy on his TV show, and the number of various NAR personalities with whom he associates teach damnable heresy, there isn’t going to be any genuine fellowship with MacArthur and those of us in the Strange Fire camp. We are circling in entirely different orbits.

Fred Butler

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Fred is a graduate of The Master's Seminary, and currently serves as a coordinator at Grace To You, the media ministry of John MacArthur.
  • http://almostreadytogoamish.blogspot.com/ Johnny

    Excellent review, and yeah, Brown does lose a lot of credibility with some of the wacky folks that he appears with, seemingly unbothered by the wonky things that they teach. I appreciate the review you’ve done of this book.

  • t

    “The fact is that God wants the Strange Fire camp to recognize as dear
    brothers and sisters the Pentecostals who jump and shout and run around
    the building because they are excited about the Lord,…”

    I would question why Brown is so bent on “jumping and shouting and running around the building”…I don’t believe it’s because he’s excited about the Lord.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he thinks he is excited about the Lord at some level, and probably is in his own way, but I think his actions belie his motivations, and I think you are spot on in your identification:

    “He regularly visits with them to promote any books he’s written, even willingly speaking at their churches and conferences.”

    That speaks more volumes than anything he has to peddle in “Authentic Fire”.

  • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

    For Brown, the evidence of a Holy Spirit filled individual is all about the physical, visible signs, no matter how bizarre they are. Brown and charismatics at large will always be afraid to confront excesses because by doing so they believe they are challenging the Holy Spirit in how He can move in a believer, which is also why they are so quick to pull the ‘blaspheming the Holy Spirit’ card on those who doubt.

    This is why they will challenge the prosperity message, yet never the weird manifestations that accompany it. They believe it is truly the Holy Spirit and are paralyzed in offending him. I fear this is laying the ground work for the greater deception to come.

  • Jeff Schlottmann

    Fred, only because hand raising is mentioned quickly, can you explain the significance of doing so in the bible? I think Paul told timothy to lift up holy hands in prayer. And seems like any other time I can think of has to do prayer, but not the way Pentecostals do it.

    When I was a pentecostal, we were always to it means we’re surrendering to God or that’s its kind of like a child reaching up to their father to be picked up and sort of stuff. I always felt weird doing it. But Im looking for more clarification if possible. We left the pent. Church in 2011 and that’s the one subject we’re still not clear on even though we don’t do it.

    • Fred Butler

      I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with lifting your hands in worship. There are folks who do so at Grace on occasion. It is an acceptable expression of worship we see, as you point out, noted in Scripture at places.

      I think you are also correct that raising hands, as mentioned in the NT, is scant, and it is stretching it to attempt to build a doctrine out of a verse or two that mentions hand raising, insisting that real, sincere worshipers raise their hands. That in my mind creates artificial categories of genuine worshipers (those raising hands) and half-hearted worshipers (those uncomfortable raising hands).

  • t

    “This is why they will challenge the prosperity message, yet never the weird manifestations that accompany it.”

    But Brown doesn’t even do that…Oh, he writes some things about it, but when push comes to shove he caves. His recent appearance on Benny Hinn’s show is a perfect example.

    When confronted with flack over why he was willing to proverbially “break bread” with some like Benny Hinn, Brown reluctantly acknowledged that Benny Hinn had his issues in the past, but he even intimated that perhaps Benny Hinn had repented and was beginning to conform to something resembling a sound gospel?

    Then, he further upped the ante by pointing the finger back and admonishing those who would have an issue with his appearance on Benny Hinn’s show by saying something to the effect of, “If Benny Hinn is so destitute, then why wouldn’t we want to take every opportunity to share God’s word with him?”

    That’s a terrific sentiment. Here’s the problem: he never did, and he never does. Rather than appearing on Benny Hinn’s show and speaking an undiluted, biblical gospel and holding Benny Hinn to account for it, the appearances simply turned into a giant “kumbaya” moment.

    And that’s just sad, and is evidence why Brown and folks like him should be steered clear of: they’re simply wolves in sheep’s clothing as the Apostle Paul warned us about.

    • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

      t, I completely agree. But the reason that Brown will not confront Hinn is that he believes that God is still using him based upon the manifestations that accompany Hinn’s crusades. For Brown to label Hinn as a fraud is to deny the Spirit behind him and that is something Brown will never do! He will always opt for grace with error as long as he sees evidence of (what he believes to be) anointing. That is his standard of measurement.

      That is why this is all so difficult. Because on the one hand if you question it, you are accused of putting God in a box and if you accept it there is no way to determine what is excessive. How does God move today? Is it okay to be slain in the spirit, but not bark? Can a person babble in their bedroom, but not convulse in the church aisle? And who makes that determination? Who dares limit God? And if our experience doesn’t fit scripture, we can just twist it up a bit to justify ourselves….and all the while an unbelieving world watches, taking clips from the televangelist circus show to make youtube videos to sit around and laugh at.The damage this is doing to the gospel breaks my heart.

  • Shaun Little

    This series has been great and motivated me to start journaling a lot of
    the struggles I had as a former moderate-pentecostal. Even in the most
    watered down form Charismaticism and Pentecostalism are dangerous and
    the leaven they bring into the lump opens the door to all sorts of
    nonsense. Three things off the top of my head that grated me:

    1.
    Even though a more moderate charismatic/pentecostal may deny the
    prosperity doctrine, most will use the same/similar doctrine for divine
    healing. Physical healing is in the atonement they say, (Isa 53:5 as a
    proofer) and it’s never God’s will for us to be sick. I don’t know how
    may times I watched them shout at peoples sickness as if it were a demon
    to be cast out. I brought up Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ before but it
    was mostly ignored.

    2. Constantly using the Lord’s name in vain.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t using the Lord’s name in vain to use
    it in an empty way or to no effect? So often I had seen the Lord’s name
    violently abused in prayer as the Pastor or eldership would lay hands
    on people and shout “In Jesus name!” this, and “In Jesus name!” that, as
    they claimed the well being of the individual. Then the person would
    stay sick, or depressed, or broke, or in a sin they were supposed to be
    ‘delivered’ from. They claim to submit to the moving of the Holy Spirit
    but they refuse to submit to God’s sovereignty, or even consider God’s
    wisdom for allowing someone to be sick. I am scared to even say “In
    Jesus name” if I am unwilling to submit to God’s sovereignty in all
    things. ‘Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His
    counsel?’. It is blasphemous to make assumptions and use the name of
    Christ as if it was His stamp of approval.

    3. Exalting the
    miraculous temporal (wholeness of body) over the miraculous eternal
    (wholeness of heart). One day my former Pastor spoke on Luke 5:23 –
    “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say,
    ‘Get up and walk’?” and he boldly said that it took more miraculous
    power to heal the man’s temporal physical ailments than redeem a man’s
    soul eternally. This absolutely floored me because these things really
    cannot even be compared in value in an eternal sense. I shook my head and took a note.

    There
    are dozens of more things I could go on about, and I’m sure it differs
    from charismatic to charismatic but one of the most dangerous things I
    see also is a refusal to come down on the more extreme-crazies, or just
    side-line them while upholding the less extreme foundation for their
    crazy doctrine. My former Pastor may not have endorsed guys like
    Copeland or Haggin, but would not stand up in front of his congregation
    and point out how wrong they are. (Prob due to the fact that half the
    eldership watched TBN regularly.)

    The greatest and most
    blasphemous offense to me though is denying the sovereignty of God and
    the unwillingness to submit to Him in hardship (no matter what kind.)
    There is almost no real understanding God in an eternal sense and they
    attempt to pull Him into the temporal and force Him about as if He were a
    puppet healer and delivery machine. They expect God to submit to their
    wills or to the doctrine they think He is bound to obey and attempt to
    trade eternal promises for perishable temporal ones. It’s a sad thing to
    exchange the incorruptible or the corruptible. Health will fail, money
    will get spent, and worldly contentment is a counterfeit joy compared to
    the joy of Christ.

    “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” – Luther

    • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

      Shaun, what a great summary. Praise God for giving you such discernment and wisdom!

  • Harry

    So, Fred based on your final few paragraphs where you infer Brown is in the crazy set because he has appeared on various crazy TV shows or platforms, likewise Jesus was unwise to appear with some of his ear chopping disciple, or zealot who preferred war than worship, plus a thief. Your association link is it not the same accusation of the Pharisees that was made against Jesus? You state the association, and infer Brown is just as crazy! The tomb dead bones sucking Bethel student incident was propagated by a bethel guest speaker and was recently addressed by a Bethel pastor. I read his explanation and it sounded almost similar to RC Sproul comment as if you feel that way go to the cementry and start practising there.

    Are ALL African charismatics crazy?
    Is ONE African report sufficient to draw a full conclusion on the crazy Charismatics?
    Your conclusion may be correct, but it is a jump.

    I would be more interested in why the Africans who are poor and are seeking to get out of their mess via Charismatics who -ha!

    I would prefer hearing that you and your church are sending teams to teach truth, like one church in Mauritius is doing, running teams, running conference, that has recognised the problem and is doing something about it. When I saw a very poor pastor …no Bible college training… but a call of God …and his wife and kids little furniture, but had a satellite dish tuned to USA….guess which channels it showed? That’s right you’re correct. Another goes to his local post office to use the internet and downloads sermons from Rick Warren.

    I am sure blogging may not save anyone.

    • Fred Butler

      Harry writes,

      So, Fred based on your final few paragraphs where you infer Brown is in the crazy set because he has appeared on various crazy TV shows or platforms, likewise Jesus was unwise to appear with some of his ear chopping disciple, or zealot who preferred war than worship, plus a thief.

      The differences are profound. The crazies that Jesus hung with and discipled repented and changed their craziness. Peter no longer chopped ears and the zealots stopped their political zealotry. The crazy charismatics Brown hangs with have yet to cease their craziness and their personal lies about their so-called “supernatural exploits.”

      Continuing,

      The tomb dead bones sucking Bethel student incident was propagated by a bethel guest speaker and was recently addressed by a Bethel pastor.

      Okay. And what did the Bethel pastor say? You have any links? Now did the Bethel pastor talk about the fake glory cloud or about that youth pastor teaching those kids about unleashing their X-men powers as it were by encouraging them to walk on water and through walls? Your comment suggests that I am dealing with lone ranger weirdos loosely associated with Bethel. Such bizarreness permeates the place. And I personally know people who have been there who have witnessed it first-hand.

      Continuing,

      Is ONE African report sufficient to draw a full conclusion on the crazy Charismatics?

      But it isn’t just one report now is it? It’s hundreds of thousands that testify of the bizarre paganism synced with Christian theology because it is mixed with the HealthNWealth doctrine. I am fairly confident I can get some African Christians to leave comments affirming what I wrote.

      Continuing,

      I would prefer hearing that you and your church are sending teams to teach truth, like one church in Mauritius is doing, running teams, running conference, that has recognised the problem and is doing something about it.

      Well, contrary to what you may think, we are doing that. A few of those Christians “doing that” contribute to this blog.

      But you say there are people who are doing something about it. Okay. Are they rebuking the people and telling them they are worshiping a false devil god by the name of “Jesus” who is not the real Jesus and cannot not save them nor deliver them from their poverty? Are they telling those people to flee from their Animism and pagan shamanism and embrace to the true and living God and not the false god of the HealthNWealth heretics?

      Critics of my position who say I have it all wrong about Africa, like Brown and Keener, think that I am just against the idea of miracles happening like healings and reports of resurrections. But the charismatic problem in Africa is more than just Pentecostal tongue speaking and healings. It is promoting a false gospel that only keeps people chained to their sin and away from the true and living God. That is the true scandal.

    • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

      “There are anointings, mantles, revelations and mysteries that have lain unclaimed, literally where they were left because the generation that walked in them never passed them on. I believe it’s possible for us to recover realms of anointing, realms of insight, realms of God that have been untended for decades simply by choosing to reclaim them and perpetuate them for future generations.” Bill Johnson – Bethel Church (Grave sucking)

    • elainebitt

      “I would prefer hearing that you and your church are sending teams to teach truth [...]”

      You commit the mistake of assuming that Fred’s church is not doing it. Your ignorance of what they do does NOT mean they are not doing it. Plus, a simple and common fallacy: why do we have to choose one over the other? You seem to think that we can only send people out to needy places in Africa OR warn people about false teachings/teachers. 0_o

    • Shaun Little

      “I am sure blogging may not save anyone.”

      That seems fairly presumptuous at the very least. Even if it were true it’s still edifying for us who are working through some of these issues that we may develop a firm apologetic on the matter.

      As far as crazy charismatic Africans are concerned, I would like to share a relevant little story if I may, as it was my only real contact with an African Charismatic. My former church used to bring in a Charismatic minister from Zimbabwe. He was not as ‘crazy’ as those folks who run around and bark like dogs, vomit, or hysterically laugh. In fact he was very well composed, but he was obviously part of the Word of Faith movement. I remember I was having a struggle with finances at the time (it was around 2008ish) and came up front for some prayer on the matter. He asked me if I ‘spoke in tongues’… I said yes (I really believed I had the gift.) He layed hands on me, prayed, and told me that when I got home I needed to pray in ‘my prayer language’ for two hours straight and God would open a blessing to me.

      I went home that day and went right at it fervently, rattling off my strange little language, pacing, sitting, kneeling, and babbling for two full hours. After I was done I looked at the clock, then out my bay window… It was a beautiful day and the warm sun was shining through the window, but I felt cold. I felt empty. In fact I felt guilty. I’ve experienced the weight of conviction very much in my life, and this was just that: conviction. I did not understand, and began to pray in a legible tongue. I yielded and asked the Lord what I had done. I believed I was being obedient, but something happened and I just prayed “I do not know what’s wrong, but this thing that I am doing, if it TRULY of You, please reveal it to me. Please show me, move me, cause me to accept it and I will do it… But until then I will not pray in ‘tongues’ again”…

      …and that was the last time I did.

      Something I noticed in ALL Charismatic churches I’ve been to. Whether it was the much more toned back forms that may reject TBN and the various crazies, or the most crazy ( I went to a branch off campaign of the Lakeland “Revival”… and oh man, was it ever insane), I have always seen doctrinal infidelity in EVERY ONE. My notes were almost always filled with more corrections and questions than edification. Most of the things that I would have even considered ‘good to write down’ had more to do with feeling the warm fuzzies and jotting down something sentimental. There is a certain subtle crazy in Charismaticism even in it’s most modest forms, and it has to do with sticking ones head into the transcendent and listening for something hidden, something new, or something unrevealed… it’s Gnostic and dangerous and attempts to pry into the Divine Majesty where no mind can fathom nor understand on this side of glory.

      It’s a cultural thing in many parts of the world to seek and embrace the gnostic, the miraculous, the super-natural, and when that aspect of a culture is mixed with Christianity it makes it an easier pill for that particular culture to swallow. Look at what Catholic evangelism did south of the border by bridging the gap between a fertility goddess and the Virgin Mary. It took hold and that perversion is still present and prevalent in that stream of Catholicism to this day (of course Roman Catholicism is a perversion in itself but that a story for another time).

      The reason why there is a ‘guilty by association’ tag being placed next to Dr. Brown’s name is because he gives the right hand of fellowship to certain individuals he should not. He may not embrace the same extreme stance as some, but the doctrine is there in some way, shape, or form, and it causes him to be sympathetic, or limp-wristed in his approach to their heresy. The only reason he should have appeared on Hinn’s show (or any other crazy Charismatic show) is to debate him, or call him to repentance. He could even be really nice to him about it for all I care (I actually really appreciate how gracious MB is) but the fact is, that the issue of Hinn’s doctrine separates him from Biblical Christianity and should be made plain in these interactions.

      Fred hit the nail on the head best by saying: “… the charismatic problem in Africa is more than just Pentecostal
      tongue speaking and healings. It is promoting a false gospel that only
      keeps people chained to their sin and away from the true and living God.
      That is the true scandal.”

      Amen. It is a core issue that perverts the Gospel and Grace of God. What I see clearly damaged in this, is that it misrepresents the character of Christ entirely, and instead of imitating Christ as a suffering servant devoid of all selfish ambition, bearing the cross and our shame, it presents a counterfeit Christ that rejects the essence and necessity of the cross itself and replaces it with ‘abundant’ temporal blessings. It displaces faith, and exchanges the promise for something base that never can eternally satisfy.

      (PS – I am really sorry this got so long lol. I couldn’t stop it once I started.)

      • Fred Butler

        All I can say is amen brother. If you are ever out our way or at the Shepherd’s Conference, look me up.