January 3, 2014

Michael Brown, Benny Hinn and my Break-Dancing Dog

by Lyndon Unger

Last night I was made aware (you know who you are…jerk…) of some of the most insane news I’ve heard in a while and, well, found myself on my laptop far too late.  I’ll reserve comment to the end and let the horse’s mouth speak:

(Full text on Facebook = “I just recorded five wonderful TV shows with Benny Hinn on Jesus in the OT, repentance, holiness, the fear of the Lord, and hyper-grace. They’re scheduled to air the week of January 13th, so watch them and then share your thoughts.”)

That was followed up with:

(Full Text on Facebook = “Thanks, friends, for sharing your thoughts and concerns re: my appearing on the Benny Hinn show. While I’m quite aware that some of you feel he is the ultimate false teacher and charlatan while others believe him to be a wonderful man of God, I have actually not monitored his ministry over the years. When I received the invitation to appear on the show, I felt I was to take it and exalt Jesus the Messiah and expose hyper-grace (and exalt true grace) to millions of viewers. And since Pastor Hinn seems very desirous of further interaction with me, I would encourage those of you who have grave concerns about his ministry to pray that God would use me to be a blessing in his life.”)

To make a long story short, there was a flood of concern that came in from everywhere.  Hundreds upon hundreds of tweets and comments in the space of maybe 2 or 3 hours.

(Full text on Facebook = “Let’s just say that Benny Hinn was as bad as some of you say. Why shouldn’t I reach his audience with gospel truth for five days, even if it means some people will be upset with me? [Just more food for discussion!]“)

Michael Brown closed off his night with this Tweet:

(Full text on Facebook = “I know it’s late, but for those of you who are still up, here’s a quick question (meant honestly): How many of you are fine with my friendship with men like Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, and Reinhard Bonnke [whom I believe to be true men of God], and my involvement in and endorsement of the Brownsville Revival [which I believe to be a wonderful move of the Spirit], but you’re just concerned about my appearing on Benny Hinn’s TV show?”)

Now, instead of joining the gaggle of ἰδιώτης (to use a biblical term) that are on Facebook, I thought I would offer a quick response to Dr. Brown’s two actual questions (His questions are in bold and my responses are in italics).

1.  Why shouldn’t I reach his audience with gospel truth for five days, even if it means some people will be upset with me?

- Well, because if Benny Hinn is a false teacher, and there’s no doubt about that:

(a) the Bible explicitly forbids it in places like 2 Timothy 2:16-19 (the charge of avoiding the irreverent babble that leads people into ungodliness/upsets their faith comes with 2 names, insinuating that the way to avoid irreverent babble is to avoid the irreverent babblers, a suggestion further implied by the quote to depart from iniquity in vs. 19) and 2 Timothy 3:5 (which is set in 3:1-9 for those who will inevitably complain).

(b) It’s insinuated in passages like 1 Timothy 1:18-20 (i.e. if Benny Hinn makes a shipwreck of people’s faith, promoting or giving credibility to Benny Hinn is tantamount to aiding and abetting Satan), 2 Peter 2:2-3, 19-22 (i.e. if Benny Hinn promotes blasphemy or enslaves people to a false gospel that only increases their damnation, promoting or giving credibility to Benny Hinn is tantamount to aiding and abetting Satan), or Titus 1:19-11 (The job of an elder in the church is, according to 1:11, to literally “muzzle” false teachers; to not give them any voice or platform because they destroy families.  This basically renders null and void much of the positive defending of the family Dr. Brown does with his excellent work against the homosexual agenda.  Who cares if Dr. Brown stops the proponents of the anti-family homosexual agenda from destroying the family if he then sends families over to Benny Hinn in to finish what those proponents started?).

(c) Also, if he’s still unrepentant of his sexual sin, the Bible forbids treating him like a brother (1 Cor. 5:9-13).  In case anyone missed his whole divorce scandal, he used to be “friends” with Paula White…with the kind of friendship that Benny called “dating” and involved sneaking off to a hotel in Rome together and results in Benny Hinn’s wife divorcing him…but Benny said it was because he was busy and his wife was on drugs.  Oh wait.  Benny never repented for anything having to do with his divorce or sneaking off with Paula White and claimed to be as pure as the driven snow.  Now many people would point to his public remarriage to his wife, (praise the Lord!) but getting remarried is not repentance.  Others would point to his statements about his marital issues and such, but admitting to difficulty is not repentance.

If I’m right at all (and I honestly hope I’m not), then the person who will be upset with Dr. Brown will be Yahweh.  I do believe Yahweh is the only person Dr. Brown need worry about, and it seems like Dr. Brown’s not terribly worried.  If I can find scriptures that are relevant and helpful with 15 minutes on BibleGateway, Dr. Brown can too.

ComputerDog-3

(It’s not hard to search for something on BibleGateway)

2.  How many of you are fine with my friendship with men like Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, and Reinhard Bonnke (whom I believe to be true men of God), and my involvement in and endorsement of the Brownsville Revival (which I believe to be a wonderful move of the Spirit), but you’re just concerned about my appearing on Benny Hinn’s TV show?

- Well, the fact that you believe they’re men of God is a serious problem for me, but not for the reason you think.  The Bible makes clear and discernible statements of fact that they get horribly wrong, with shocking regularity.  2 Timothy 2:15-16 says

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness…”

Now the worker who has no need to be ashamed is one who rightly handles the word of truth.  That worker accurately represents the scriptures and correctly interprets them.  Mike Bickle, Lou Engle and Reinhard Bonnke simply do not do this.  I’ve watched or listened to dozens of hours of their teaching and they’re grossly incompetent at handling the scriptures.  That does not mean that they’re false teachers, but it does mean that they’re workers who should be ashamed of themselves (and not godly men that should be looked up to).  Like thousands of people that I’ve met, I fear that you’ve fallen into the “nice guy = godly man” trap.  Nice guys who pray a lot, or know lots of verses, or have a righteous agenda, aren’t necessarily godly men.

Secondly, the 2 Timothy 2:16 says, in juxtaposition to 2:15, that the unashamed worker should “avoid irreverent babble” (and vs. 17 names irreverent babblers to avoid).  Instead of distancing yourself from people who are incompetent in the scriptures, you bring them close to your bosom.  Benny Hinn is the latest addition to an alarming list of people that the Bible gives you good and repetitive reason to stay away from.

As for Brownsville, you believe it was a “wonderful move of the Spirit”.  So what?  Honestly.  Why are you a reliable judge of what is and what isn’t a move of the Spirit?  I don’t believe that Brownsville was a “wonderful move of the Spirit” for a second, and I’ve watched a few dozen hours of Brownsville services in coming to that conclusion, so I may have a conclusion that is misinformed, but not based upon total ignorance.  Who wins?  Does not the Bible decide what’s a legitimate move of the Spirit and not Dr. Michael Brown?

I’m concerned about you appearing on Benny Hinn’s TV show because Jesus tells you not to and you don’t seem to know your Bible well enough to be aware of that.  That means that your claims of having discernment simply lack substance, somewhat like my claims of having the world’s greatest break-dancing dog.

break-dancing-dog

(My claims don’t lack all substance – I do have irrefutable photographic evidence to prove my claims!)

And I’ve got one more thought, not related to answering his questions.

He seemed to try to claim that he was unaware of whether or not Benny Hinn is a false teacher with the line “I have actually not monitored his ministry over the years”.

I have to admit that I simply laughed out loud at that.

Dr. Brown claims to have been a Christian for decades.

Dr. Brown claims to have been in Charismatic circles for decades.

Dr. Brown claims to have been in Charismatic leadership for decades.

Dr. Brown claims to not know enough about Benny Hinn to know whether or not he’s a upstanding man of God?

I mean, come on! REALLY?

That’s like constantly claiming to be a famous nutritionist (thanks to DJP for improving the analogy), wasting an entire paycheck on McDonald’s fries, trying to eat them all in one sitting, and then responding to someone’s concern at your attempt of McSuicide with the line “What?  Eating this many McFries is unhealthy?  Well, I haven’t done any studies of McDonalds food so I wouldn’t know…”

Fries

(What? McDonald’s is unhealthy?  Since when?  Do other people know this?)

Would anyone believe that?

If Dr. Brown is attempting to claim that level of ignorance, I don’t really know what to say, except “do you like my break-dancing dog?”

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Time for bed!” Unger

Lyndon Unger

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Lyndon is a pastor/teacher who’s currently between ministry work and in the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Witness Protection program. If you think you saw him somewhere...you didn’t.
  • Darrell Post

    Last night my family was watching an old episode of the Andy Griffith show, and Andy was visiting with the very naïve Floyd the Barber in his shop when a crooked attorney from the next town walked in. He had tricked Otis into trumping up a false case against Andy’s jail claiming negligence after Otis tripped over his own feet and fell. Everything about the lawyer was sleazy. He was manipulative, obviously in it for the money, and of course Andy saw right through him. But as this crooked lawyer spoke, Floyd was just enamored with the guy’s shiny suit. When the lawyer finally left the room, Floyd blurted out: “What a wonderful man!”

    I turned to my wife and mentioned that Floyd would make a great leader in the charismatic movement.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Yeah, I hear you Darrell. It’s sad to see how blindly trusting and exegetically incompetent some of the charismatic leaders are…but to me that only adds to my burden to reach those in the pew with the truth of the scriptures.

  • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

    Thanks for the report. Loved the title.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Thanks Michael! It just kinda came to me….ha!

  • Joe Wisnieski

    This so disappointing. Before this latest development, I thought of Dr. Brown as misguided and having poor discernment. Now it is clear that my previous assessment was far too charitable. He has zero discernment. If Benny Hinn isn’t a false teacher, then no one is.

    It was my hope that, after the Strange Fire conference, we could come to some minimal agreements with the Dr. Brown’s of the world. I mean bare minimums, set the bar really low, like a statement agreeing that people like Hinn, Copeland, Dollar, et al are preaching a false gospel. Call them to repent and appeal to their followers to embrace the true gospel. But last night my hopes were dashed.

    It is amazing that so many “respectable” continuationists had strong words of condemnation and rebuke for the Strange Fire conference and yet they have no words of correction and rebuke for the likes of Benny Hinn.

    • Darrell Post

      Good point, its as though Brown just voluntarily offered himself up as a fresh example of John MacArthur was exposing in the final chapter of Strange Fire.

    • Lyndon Unger

      “If Benny Hinn isn’t a false teacher, then no one is.”

      Yup.

      Apparently John MacArthur is a bigger threat to the gospel than Benny Hinn. I believe that’s what theologians call “the noetic effects of sin”.

  • Adam James Howard

    “While I’m quite aware that some of you feel he is the ultimate false teacher and charlatan while others believe him to be a wonderful man of God, I have actually not monitored his ministry over the years.”

    Yikes…

    • Lyndon Unger

      Adam, I think the thing that bothers me most is that Dr. Brown heard accusations of “the ultimate false teacher and charlatan” and apparently didn’t think those were worth checking out before getting in front of a camera with him.

  • http://parkingspace23.com/ Matt Tarr

    This was really good… I totally agree, and I gotta say, I about fell out of my chair when Dr. Brown claimed that he “just didn’t know enough about his ministry” to know what kind of minister he was. That’s absolutely absurd, and to which the McDonald’s illustration worked perfectly. I sort of wonder how he could claim so assertively in his debate with Phil Johnson about the Strange Fire Conference – claiming that the conference grossly misrepresented the majority of Charismatic churches, while at the same time claiming complete ignorance regarding someone like Benny Hinn.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Great point Matt! If he knows enough about Charismatics to know they’ve been misrepresented, then he should at least know what ones other than himself teach!

  • Bob Mitchell

    When I heard Dr. Brown, on his show interviewing Phil Johnson, Say that he has been in the “camp” for 30 years and didn’t have any knowledge of the issues raised at the strange fire conference I had a hard time believing that. Now I know that his discernment switch is on the lowest setting or needs to recalled.

    • Lyndon Unger

      …or his discernment switch has been willingly turned off…

  • METOWNSEND Townsend

    No surprise here. Michael L. Brown, a member of the NAR, saw nothing wrong with Todd Bentley either.
    Since Brown was one of those involved in the Pensacola “Revival” why are we either shocked or disappointed.???.
    He knew very little about Benny Hinn before his appearance – pleeeeeze!!!

    • Lyndon Unger

      Well, Dr. Brown has been open and vocal about disagreeing with some of what Bentley teaches, and I believe he’s been openly opposed to Rick Joyner’s participation in Bentley’s restoration. I agree that he’s hardly credible, but let’s accurately represent then man as best we can.

      We do serve the God of truth.

      • Chris Candide

        If the entirety of Brown’s objection to Bentley’s “restoration” was that Bentley had an unbiblical divorce, as he said during the interview/debate with Phil Johnson, then his disagreement with Bentley’s circus is woefully insufficient.

        • Lyndon Unger

          I am not privy to the details if his objection; all I know is that he objected to Bentley’s restoration and spoke out against his adultery. As far as I’m aware, Brown said nothing about his “healing” ministry.

          • Chris Candide

            When Phil challenged Brown on his radio program re Bentley and Joyner, Brown limited his criticism to Bentley’s adultery and unbiblical divorce. Nothing about the “healing” ministry. Bottom line – Brown can’t any longer be held out as a “respectable” charismaniac.

          • Lyndon Unger

            Yeah. I’d have to agree that Dr. Brown seems to have gone to great lengths to bring the label of “level headed charismatic” into high question. I want to be as gracious as I can, but he’s really making it hard for me to not lump him in with the fruits and nuts.

  • Erik Pedersen

    I conversed with the said Mr Brown on his blog regarding his claim that in “42 years of Ministry” he had never seen any bizare manifestations that were spoken of at the Strange Fire conference. I called him a liar, said he needed to repent for it, he was adamant what he said was true. Then to be told privately in message of course he had seen wierd accurances showed me the value of his worth. These guys are liars and need to be called out for it. It is a shame that they even get an audience to listen to them.
    Him on the Benny Hinn show, all I can say is birds of a feather, flock together.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Was Dr. Brown the one who privately told you that he had seen weird occurrences?

      • Erik Pedersen

        Hi Lyndon, I am unable to remember where it is was that I had this discussion with Michael, it may have been on his Facebook page as the discussion continued in a chat session afterwards. And that was when he informed me of course he had seen weird manifestations in his involvement at Brownsville. Why do they have to lie about this kind of stuff. I had the same issues with A.Warnock as well regarding the Strange Fire conference. I had to step away from it all as it was having such a negative impact on me. I got so angry about how the Charismatic movement was being defended.

        I spent almost 20 years defending what John preached against, and sadly he was right as were the others at the conference. I was involved in The Foursquare, AOG and Vineyard in those years and also trained as a DHT (Devine Healing Technician) with JGLM. I help plant churches and poured my life into it wholeheartedly. God pulled the rug out from under me after proclaiming, teaching and admonishing those under my care all that time only to realize that the majority of what I taught and believed was not to be found in the light of the Gospel. I was totally shattered and left in despair until through His Spirit I was strengthened, given hope and understood that it all had its purpose not only in my life but also others who may have been led astray by falsehood. My heart breaks for those brothers and sisters who are caught in this and I can only hope and pray that God in his mercy would open there eyes to see and ears to hear.

        • Lyndon Unger

          Thanks for sharing Erik. I too, at one time, was in leadership at a Charismatic church. I poured my life into a whole lot of lives but ended up essentially being forced to leave when I ended up having to choose between submitting to a board of elders or submitting to God.

          I cannot speak for the rest of the CrippleGate crew, but I do have a tremendous burden for people ensnared by the unbiblical teachings found in the Charismatic movement; it’s one of the things I’m most passionate about. I read Micah 3:1-7 and am reminded that the sheep have been attacked by their wicked shepherds for millennia.

  • babykeiks

    Sigh. I am a charismatic who has been thoroughly jarred out of my lethargy about the gifts of the spirit by Strange Fire. I had to honestly admit to myself and God that I was only a charismatic because it was all I have ever known…up until now. So now I am actively studying and trying to make heads or tails of it all so I can know what the Bible says about it and not “popular opinions” only. I must say in my studies the brick wall I keep running into has a sign that says “where exactly is the line in the sand for the manifestations? ” Where in the Scriptures is that line in the sand stipulated? This issue with Dr. Brown (who I love and respect and followed his podcast til the whole Mike Bickle/Strange Fire/Brownsville Revival shenanigans came to light) is making my current brick wall seem even BIGGER. Dr. Brown has absolutely NO Biblical basis for calling ANY CHarismatic a false teacher. Where is the line? I’m starting to see there isn’t one. Pray for me as I continue to pray for discernment regarding this issue of cessationism and continuism.

    • Lyndon Unger

      You are in the same exact position I found myself in many years ago, babykeiks. If there are specific questions, this is a good place to work through issues. You’re always welcome to hammer through things here if you’d like.

      I’d encourage you to face the Scriptures honestly and simply keep asking yourself “does this passage actually teach that?” Keep evaluating everything against the scripture and be brutal. Remember, truth isnt intimidated by a good wrestling match cause truth always wins out.

      For me, taking off my charismatic theology was like removing chainmail one link at a time; possible but REALLY slow and laborious.

      • Joe Wisnieski

        Babykeiks, for what it’s worth , 25+ years ago I was neck deep in the prosperity gospel. Over a period of time, God graciously opened my eyes. Part of the means he used to open my eyes where prominent Bible teachers like Walter Martin, my brother, and an invite to a new church by a coworker. It didn’t happen over night and I didn’t really enjoy being challenged, but looking back today, I couldn’t be more thankful for those who had the courage to speak to these issues. The gospel is more glorious than I could have possibly imagined back then.

        As the saying goes, “Truth has nothing to fear from a full and fair fight.” May God bless you as you continue to wrestle through these issues.

        • babykeiks

          Thank you Joe! Regarding truth I’ve been wrestling with lies a good portion of my life and from people who I trusted to tell me the truth so this isn’t new to me…it’s just the current frontier :-) I plan to keep plugging away. ..appreciate the encouragement.

      • babykeiks

        I’m going to stay at it indeed. Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve actually been reading this blog off and on for awhile. It has been helpful yet this is just the first time I have commented :-) I will definitely stick around tho though. I have a questiom though and forgive me if it is addressed in another post on this blog. How do you view/exegete 1Corin 12?

        • Lyndon Unger

          Babykeiks, I’m just wondering if you have a little more specific question on 1 Corinthians 12. I’m guessing you don’t want me to write a commentary on the whole chapter, correct?

          • babykeiks

            No lol just the usual rebuttal I hear from people when talking about cessationism. Verses 4-11 Especially verse 11

    • humility

      Welcome to many of us world. I still suffer from some of the things I learnt in that movement. Gods word will set you free just keep studying and praying brother. How anyone can say that movement does no harm……I dont know. Its darn right dangerous. Its sad to see people side with Benny Hinn. I too was on stage with him at one point when I was a charismatic. The saddest part is when you can blatantly see there is a problem with the so called healings and yet still praise God as you fear to destroy the move with your lack of faith. O boy. Sad sad sad. Thank God for grace huh! To save me from religion.

      • babykeiks

        Humility. You have an idea of what I’ve been through and am still making my way through. My family has been literally ravaged by this movement. I tell people all the time about how wof and hyper grace teachings have caused hurt in my family up to and including leading to death. I am not a believer in using experience to dictate what is or isn’t true however I can’t help but consider that as I study.

  • Vincent

    Thanks for this article :)

    Though there’s one little thing that I’d wish you hadn’t wrote… “Who cares if Dr. Brown stops the homosexuals from destroying the
    family if he then sends families over to Benny Hinn in to finish what
    the homosexuals started?”

    Now, I understand totally that you mean the “homosexual agenda” (whatever that means), but when this sentence is read plainly, it just seems very unloving to speak of those amongst us (Christians brothers and sisters who believe in the sanctity of marriage and God’s design for sex in the traditional way, but who also struggle with same-sex attraction) as “those people” / “the homosexuals”. I’m totally for what you guys and Dr. Brown stand for on sexual ethics, but my humble hope is that you would consider rewording the sentence above. Thanks in Christ. :)

    • Lyndon Unger

      Vincent, thanks for the catch on sensitivity. I’ll make an edit and please feel free to let me know if it’s sufficient.

      In a related note, a Christian who struggles with (but lives victoriously over) same-sex attraction is no more a homosexual than a person who struggles with (but lives victoriously over) violent impulses is a murderer. The embracing of temptation, leading to sinful action, is what marks a person as any specific type of sinner.

      • Alex

        We must remember to not judge the world by our own standards 1COR5:9-13 ,but it is within the church we are to judge sin, we are to take care of our own house. People looking out for their interests is to be expected and logical.

        If the Church over the past 200 years had guarded it’s doctrine closer rallied behind it’s true leaders, and identified and dealt with false teachers (and erring brothers) as they arose, perhaps the family would be in better shape? Perhaps there would be less people involved in all varieties of sinful lifestyles?

        We cannot go around blaming others for our generational failure to clean house. I am encouraged by this latest attempt to identify false teaching at the Strange Fire Conference, and leaders that do not fall in line should be exposed out of love for, those under their care, as well as them, in hopes that they would be granted repentance. Thank you for this post.

        • Lyndon Unger

          You’re welcome. I’m glad to be of service and I hope that both the deceived and deceivers will definitely come to repentance.

      • Vincent

        Thanks, Lyndon, for *your* sensitivity. :)

        • Lyndon Unger

          Thanks for the correction Vincent. It’s funny how often I read myself in a highly different light than others, so it’s good to get feedback in making sure I’m not being abrasive in an unnecessary way.

  • John Cochrane

    I think we need to send Dr. Brown a copy of Shia Linne’s song “False Teacher” so he knows who to watch out for.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Well, based on his current activity, he’d probably disagree with the list and then call on Shai Linne to refute various shocking statements made by Martin Luther.

  • Hiram Diaz

    Thank you for this post!
    -h.

    • Lyndon Unger

      You’re welcome!

  • Damon Loomis

    Peter confronted Simon, a false believer, and his impure motives (Acts 8:9-24), and called him to repentance. Apparently, Mr. Brown is not aware of how to “test the spirits” (1John 4:1) with the Word of God.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Damon, I honestly don’t know if Brown is unaware, unwilling, or thinks it’s unnecessary. I’m going to have to write something on the whole “test of fruit” idea that’s going around, as if the only necessary “fruit” to prove the authenticity of anything is people making professions of faith, going to church (or even missions), praying a lot and getting some discipline in their personal lives.

  • pearlbaker

    Oh, dear, what next? I hate to ask the obvious, but how much does BH pay to be part of his circus act? All kidding aside, this is another pitiful episode in the ever-increasing (borrowed that from self-proclaimed “Apostle” Fred Price) charismatic movement.

  • pearlbaker

    I hate to have to ask the obvious, but how much does Benny Hinn pay for an appearance on his circus show? But seriously, sort of, this is just another episode in the ever-increasing (borrowed that from self-proclaimed “Apostle” Fred Price) charismatic movement.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Ever-increasing is right. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

  • Brendan

    Even Dr. MacArthur said not to judge him by where he goes and who he is with, but by what he says when he gets there.

    • Alex

      I know it’s late, but for those of you who are still up, here’s a quick question (meant honestly): How many of you are fine with my friendship with men like Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, and Reinhard Bonnke [whom I believe to be true men of God], and my involvement in and endorsement of the Brownsville Revival [which I believe to be a wonderful move of the Spirit], but you’re just concerned about my appearing on Benny Hinn’s TV show?

      he did write (say) that.

      But your quote out of this context is true, it is always correct to gather as much good information as possible, Right? However at what point is enough enough? how long does it take to know where someone is coming from.

      I hope brown calls him out, but even if he does it is not the appropriate venue.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Doesn’t that need to have a little bit of a biblical/logical boundary?

      Can a Christian go anywhere and be associated in ministry with anyone as long as they’re saying something good? I’d dare say that the scriptures draw some lines. Consider the passages above, as well as passages like Ephesians 5:5-11, or 2 John 2:6-11.

  • http://www.parkingspace23.com/ Karl Heitman

    I love this: “the ‘nice guy = godly man’ trap.” Excellent article!

    • Lyndon Unger

      It’s a frequent and dangerous trap, and I’ve fallen into it on numerous occasions. I remember the first time I really caught the meaning of Matthew 7:15 and 7:21-23:

      The whole image of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” is that they actually look like sheep (shocker, I know). They talk “spiritually”, and have habits and language that sound like us. They read their bibles, listen to Christian music, know the lingo, pull out the right answers at Bible study, are on committees, go out on evangelistic activities and convert people, etc. They actually look like real Christians, which is why they get into churches and why people get suckered. Christians often wrongly apply the “walks like a duck…” test to sheep, and sheep aren’t ducks. Sad news is that a majority of Christians that I talk to don’t know what the correct test is…

      Also, Matthew 7:21-23 suggests that it’s not the pew-warmers who are the wolves; it’s the guys who are in the spotlight and appear to be at the top of the “spirituality ladder”. Guys who prophesy, cast out demons and heal the sick aren’t the ones who are usually setting up chairs, either in the early church or now. They’re the ones who we have to be on the lookout for, and they’re usually the ones that people are most blindly trusting of.

      When I was in a Charismatic church, those two thoughts caused a nose bleed and took me around a year to process.

      Nice guys are not automatically godly men.

  • http://suzlt.blogspot.com/ Suzanne T

    Enter: the “Twilight Zone”.

    Good work, Lyndon.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Thanks Suzanne!

  • gmonzeglio@mweb.co.za

    in his rebuttals of Strange Fire including the interview with Phil Johnson Michael Brown was making appeals for funds to get him on TV next to the “false teachers” so he could expound truth in the midst of error. Benny Hinn is probably the greatest archetype of the “false prophets” everybody refers to when talking about mainstream charismania. Apparently according to Michael Brown even BH is bona fide. This guy is very intelligent and articulate so I guess its way past talking about a lack of discernment and understanding that he has his own agenda.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Thanks for the thoughts! I definitely agree that Michael Brown is very intelligent and articulate. I’m not sure really what to do when there’s nobody left to toss out in an effort to find common ground with a comment like “well, surely we can agree that THIS guy is off the rails!”

      Every heretic I’ve thrown at Dr. Brown in efforts of finding common ground has been affirmed as someone who loves the Lord and is a brother/sister in the Lord. I honestly am wondering if there is anyone he would actually label as a false teacher? He certainly skirted the question the Phil Johnson…

  • Heather

    Quick side note…

    “The Canadian Mennonite Brethren Witness Protection Program”

    huh???

    Is that connected to the “Plymouth Brethren”?

    • Lyndon Unger

      Nope. Not at all. If you’d like to learn a little about the Canadian Mennonite Brethren, you can check them out at http://www.mennonitebrethren.ca/ or if you’re really brave, you can read some of the articles in the national conference magazine at http://mbherald.com/

      Then, when you find some content that you think is highly questionable, if not suggestive of a theological lobotomy, you’ll have an inkling of why I’m in the witness protection program. Guys like me, who believe in the inspiration of scripture (in the historic, Protestant sense), the penal-substitutionary nature of the atonement, the biblical account of creation, etc. are public enemy #1.

      • Heather

        Interesting. Thanks for all the info!

        I once visited a “Plymouth Brethren” church in Alberta, and they were doing a ministry where they “rescued” people from some sort of supper legalistic Amish-like cult, but I don’t remember what cult group it was? Anyways, didn’t know if there was a connection with what you do.

        If you don’t mind sharing, what type of church do you belong to?

        • Lyndon Unger

          I attend Valley Heights Community Church in Chilliwack, BC, Canada. It’s basically an independent church.

  • krinks

    I tried listening to Dr Brown for a bit and found him to be one of those types who so wants to be popular he won’t call anyone out for anything. The last straw for me was his opposition to Dr MacArthur’s Strange Fire. If you took al of the false prophets and fake healers off of “Christian TV” there would be nothing to broadcast.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Thanks for the thoughts krinks. I’d actually disagree a little though: I don’t actually believe that Brown wants to be popular as much as he honestly sees himself as an intellectual defender of the Charismatic movement. I think that he really believes what he is saying and doesn’t really care if others reject him…I mean, his stance on homosexuality has made him public enemy #1 with many homosexual rights groups.

      That being said, I definitely think he’s objectively incorrect in some of what he says about the Charismatic movement, and I think he’s a prime example of how Charismatics’ trump the scripture with their experience, but that’s a future post that I don’t want to give away just yet.

  • krinks

    For the sake of memory I saw an expose’ on Benny Hinn by NBC, BBC, and CBC. All three went to him and asked for examples of people that have been healed at his crusades. He couldn’t do it. Benny Hinn did give them names to research but all of them not only were not healed, in some cases they died of what they were supposedly healed of.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Yeah. I believe that Hank Hanegraaff has gone after Benny Hinn for years, trying to get a single name of a medically verified healing. None of this stuff is hidden, hence Dr. Brown’s claimed ignorance of it is so hard to swallow.

      • krinks

        In the internet age, a claim of ignorance is a bold faced lie.

        • Lyndon Unger

          What is this “internet” you speak of?

  • MarkO

    Maybe Michael Brown interacted with Benny Hinn because Brown wants to promote his new book, “Hyper Grace” which is due to come out in a few days. Maybe? Probably?

    • Lyndon Unger

      I believe that’s part of it. Dr. Brown says that he wanted to reach Hinn’s audience with his message on hyper-grace. When the shows come out, we’ll likely have to give them a little view and see what exactly he says.

  • J. Dean

    One of the worst aspects of charismaticism/pentecostalism is that even the more “moderate” members of the movement seem to balk at calling out the more aberrant and extreme beliefs and practices of the more radical members. To see Brown do this is sad but not necessarily surprising, and it’s not something of particular uniqueness to Brown either. The “Strange Fire” conference did a good job of bringing this up time and again.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Well, in the last week it’s been said around a thousand times that Brown is now giving example #1 of how the moderates give cover fire to the false teachers in their midst.

  • Dennis

    I agree with the overall view of Brown and his interaction with Hinn and the like. But what do you do with Ravi Zacharis’ appearance on Joyce Meyer’s TV show where he said either that she was a great bible teacher or that she had a great ministry?

    • Lyndon Unger

      Well, I give Ravi a pass because he doesnt have anything to do the the Charismatics movement, and he doesnt claim to be any kind of authority on any of the related issues. Ravi is an apologist who mainly deals with atheism and philosophical objections to Christianity. I don’t think that even Ravi markets himself as a Christian theologian…

      • Dennis

        Only theologians should be held to this standard? If a Bible study teacher at a local church holds up Joyce Meyer as a great Bible teacher one should let that pass? I thought this dealt with one’s discernment. My mistake.

  • Pastors Wife

    Great Job Unger!! I Do believe more people need to learn to back up such things with scripture. You did a great job and we should all be workers approved. I agree the statement,
    “Like thousands of people that I’ve met, I fear that you’ve fallen into the “nice guy = godly man” trap. Nice guys who pray a lot, or know lots of verses, or have a righteous agenda, aren’t necessarily godly men.”
    Therefore, many pastors and ministers DO NOT KNOW HOW TO LEAD AND I FURTHER BELIEVE ARE NOT CALLED TO. This makes for a hard time trying to run a church, especially when one Pastor is truly a nice guy-congregations do not understand the division it causes. And if this person is highly regarded it makes matters worse. So very important to be True Men and Women of God by being an approved workman.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Thanks for thr kind words!

      We are agreed. Pastors need to be workmen who labor to be approved workmen.

  • Lyndon Unger

    Just fyi for all the Cripplegate readers: I was informed this morning that Todd “Freakishly Tall” Friel has given this post a “sarcasm award”, and I’m in the running for “sarcasm award of the year”. The reference and comments from Todd Friel are in hour 1 of the January 7th, 2014 episode of Wretched Radio.

    Todd Friel thinks I need to be more sarcastic about this…I’ll have to work on that!

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