Hypocritical Fire

Is John MacArthur’s appearance on TBN really the same as Michael Brown’s interviews with Benny Hinn?

Michael Brown insists that for many years he has been one of the loudest critics of the crazy antics that are prevalent among prosperity teachers and televangelists. Those outlandish behaviors John MacArthur identified in the Strange Fire book as being the “charismatic norm” are really the fringe minority according to Brown.

When he announced a series of televised interviews with Benny Hinn, many people were left wondering about his decision. Since he is a vocal critic of such scandalous, ungodly behavior among professed charismatics, why would he willing lend credibility to the most recognizable prosperity preacher of our day who engages in the propagation of those elements that Brown says are fringe?

In order to do damage control in the aftermath of his announcement, a few of Brown’s online cheerleaders have attempted to put a happy face on what truly was a profound lack of judgment and display of inconsistency.

Frank Viola, for example, posted an article dismissing any criticism of Brown’s appearance as coming from people who are making faulty “guilt by association” arguments.  Michael Brown doesn’t endorses Benny Hinn any more than MacArthur endorses all the folks who appeared on Larry King Live when he was a panelist on his program.

Though Frank may think that is a sophisticated response, it is a ridiculously moronic comparison. The two are nothing alike. Larry King Live was a secular media program. Benny Hinn claims to represent and speak on behalf of God.

Compounding his absurd comparisons, Viola updates his post with some comment pointing out that  MacArthur once appeared on TBN. Because TBN airs Benny Hinn’s program the “guilt by association” arguments must be applied equally to him like they are to Brown. Additionally, John attacks TBN, so his interview drips with hypocritical inconsistency.

Viola writes,

Someone recently pointed out that John MacArthur himself was interviewed on TBN . . . the network he sorely criticized in his book. The network that carries Benny Hinn. …

It’s IRRELEVANT who interviewed MacArthur on TBN, because MacArthur CONDEMNS TBN out of hand. So trying to split hairs on this inconsistency and make excuses for MacArthur will not fly.

Let’s put that assertion in perspective,

It is true that John once appeared on a TBN aired program back in 2004. In fact I’ll embed the video so folks can see it for themselves.

Contrary to the spin Frank tells his fans, it is extremely important who interviewed him.

There is a clear difference with John being interviewed by Kirk Cameron, who once had a working relationship with TBN (and may still have as far as I know).  Kirk doesn’t teach a false Gospel, nor has he robbed millions of people over the years of their money and dignity by promising healings he could never perform in the first place.

Moreover, and again, contrary to what Frank writes, where John was interviewed is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if he has been and still is extremely critical as to what TBN has broadcasted over the years. John went there once at the request of a friend and took his one shot of presenting the biblical Gospel to a watching audience who for the most part adhere to a false gospel. Benny Hinn is on TBN all the time, shilling for money, particularly during their “praise-a-thon” fund raising weeks.

And, John was very much aware of the ramifications of his decision to appear on a TBN sponsored program. Hence the reason he appeared in an extremely “controlled” environment hosted by a guy he knows is a solid, non-Health and Wealth individual.

If Brown’s supporters genuinely believe his appearance schmoozing with Benny Hinn is the same as John’s one time appearance ten years ago on TBN with Kirk Cameron, I have to seriously wonder about their ability to discern.


20 thoughts on “Hypocritical Fire

  1. The term “straining at gnats but swallowing camels” comes to mind each time I hear an attempt at criticizing John MacArthur. As perhaps the worlds biggest Christian target he is amazingly free of bullet holes. That should tell you volumes about the man!

  2. I wish John MacArthur was on TBN all the time, Jesus said the sick need a doctor. This worry about having such a superior spiritual people around JM is legalistic. Just because he is on this network doesn’t mean he endorses everything they do, this is ridiculous, JM can stand on his own record of faithful teaching, as well as Michael Brown. (I hope Kirk Cameron was never a tax collector).

    These are the conversations one has when fundamentalism turns to legalism.

  3. “If Brown’s supporters genuinely believe his appearance schmoozing with Benny Hinn is the same as John’s one time appearance ten years ago on TBN with Kirk Cameron, I have to seriously wonder about their ability to discern.”

    Yes they do Fred, and that’s why anybody with any sense would be a fool not to question their discernment right along with Browns.

    Here’s a perfect example. Just a few days ago I listened to his interview with Phil Johnson. IMO, what a joke. He continually played clips out of context from the Strange Fire conference. Well, no, that’s not exactly correct. He actually continued playing clips out of context from the “Q&A session” that took place after the general sessions of the conference. He would then ask a question in relationship to the clip and when he didn’t get the answer he liked, interrupt and end up playing another clip and asking another question, before Phil had chance to fully answer the previous question. In addition to this he constantly downplayed what goes on on television in relationship to the charismatic movement because he doesn’t pay much attention to it, although, according to himself, he had previously taken issue with some of the more extreme cases like Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar. Of course, that begged the question, if you haven’t paid much attention to what goes on on television, how do you know what’s extreme versus what’s normal? I mean, wouldn’t one have to watch it all to make such an assessment? Then, after trying to pass off what goes on on TV as the minority report he then tried to pass off those who “he personally knows” as the majority report. This doesn’t even pass the smell test. Let’s say he knows hundreds who affect thousands, even tens of thousands, does he really think this outweighs the millions influenced by “Christian” television? How absurd. Finally, he completely finished me off when, after all of this downplaying of the role of television is the charismatic movement, he heads to a commercial break actually asking his listeners to send him money so he can get on… drum roll please… TV!!! Are you kidding me? After taking swipes at MacArthurs paycheck and the cost of Grace church (does this guy even know John MacArthur?) and going on about how much more is accomplished by those individuals he personally knows, with soooo much less money, he asks for money… to go on TV!!! What? To make the idea sound even better he tells his audience that if he goes on TV he’ll get a spot right between… Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar! Excuse me, but how exactly does it make sense to place yourself between the broadcast of two people you claim you don’t approve of? Furthermore, and apparently it doesn’t dawn on him even for a second, at the very least, he would be legitimatizing their show, with his. I encourage those that haven’t heard the interview to listen to it and draw your own conclusion. IMO, Phil more than held his own, despite the piling on, and the one clear take away was, what is becoming more and more clearly the most common take away when it comes to people involved in this movement, “a lack of discernment” by the person involved in the movement. Oh, and then, as you already know, Brown followed that interview up with the Benny Hinn decision… wow!

    There are a lot of things about Michael Brown that I do appreciate, but IMO, his lack of discernment on this issue is so far off that it has affected my (and others?) confidence in him all together. My advice to him and his supporters, do yourselves a favor, stop talking, especially when it comes to taking on John MacArthur when it comes to discernment, as you are completely out of your league.

  4. If it was good enough for Jesus to indentify with sinful humanity by submitting to John’s baptism, it can’t be wrong for a bible teacher such as J Mac to appear on a TV channel that is usually peddling nonsense. He won’t be ‘enabling’ it, he just might bring NT truth to bear on error in such a way that some might begin to question what they are being fed. So with Michael Brown, it’s not where he says something but what he says to Hinn that counts.

    One thinks of John Piper dialoguing with Rick Warren. If Rick Warren is off on some things (and I think he is), Piper isn’t going to get contaminated by actually getting alongside Warren and communicating with him. Piper’s first concern should not be what people think or the effect on his reputation. I reckon Warren is far more likely to respond to that than endless tirades from ‘discernment’ bloggers, even if some of their criticisms are legitimate.

  5. So shall we call you MacArthur’s online cheerleader, could you folks please be a little more mature in the way you address those you differ with. Nevertheless you did make some valid points

  6. I heard Brown’s interview with Phil too and was quickly taken back by Brown’s tense voice and defensive attitude. It was clear that Brown had what he thought were bones to pick and when Phil’s responses began to defuse Brown’s contentions he was promptly interrupted by Brown or some welcomed commercial break.

    It became quite irritating to me and clear that Brown had a hidden agenda that Phil quickly took out with the garbage. Brown’s tactics alone lost me as an occasional listener. He has always made me feel a bit uneasy and my discernment alarm has gone off more than once.

    There are just too many other great sources to continue wasting my time on one that is at best marginal. So a big exit CLICK to Michael Brown !!

  7. Me too! I even have Pom Poms. Seriously, I’ve been around for pushing 70 years and have yet to find a biblically based teacher better than John MacArthur. Sure, there are others who are absolutely wonderful but John’s is fearless when it comes to exposing heresy. He is also totally unwavering when it come to preaching the truth! And I know of no one who is a more prolific writer.

  8. A little-known factoid about that Kirk Cameron interview: Paul Crouch was so incensed by it that he refused to let the program re-air the following day during the time-slot when the program was initially scheduled to be broadcast again. They substituted an old episode of “Praise the Lord” instead. This was more like Elijah in the court of Ahab than the Brown/Hinn conversations, which (according to Brown’s own description) strike me as more in the vein of Pilate making friends with Herod because they share a common enemy.

  9. Phil, so good. You answered my curiosity about that interview and Paul Crouch. That nearly is exactly what I imagined. JM was so bold about promises God and or the Gospel surely did not make, I kept expecting the plug to be pulled or at the very least, audience members to pass out. I think they were stunned! LOL JM faithfully presented the Gospel, the true Gospel. So much truth, of course, Paul Crouch nearly died nine years earlier!

  10. At the time, John’s book, Hard to Believe, had been released. Kirk liked it so much it was one of the things he wanted him to speak about. So it was promoted, but the host wanted him to do it. So in other words, John didn’t see it as a potential opportunity to sell tons of books to a large viewing audience.

  11. That’s right. I remember now. I don’t have that book but want it. Nothing wrong with promoting a book and everything right about boldly proclaiming the TRUE Gospel among those that never if rarely get it. John was so passionate and brave and bold, I forgot about the mention of a book. Thanks

  12. Phil – much the same thing happened to Walter Martin when he was interviewed on TBN by Doug Clark. It was the last time Walter appeared on TBN and I think Doug Clark’s broadcast career on TBN either ended or was severely damaged as a result of what Walter said. He really rattled some cages and their replay was not shown as scheduled either.

    The “little god” thing was one of many things Walter jumped all over and Clark was totally tongue tied (no pun) and the audience didn’t know whether to applaud or run. It was funny in a strange kind of way.

    Well you can just imagine how long it took the king of the “little gods” himself, Kenneth Copeland to fire up the fastest jet in his fleet for a emergency meeting with the late Paul Crouch.

    I can only imagine the prayer session that took place in Crouches office. Copeland was probably asking “the big god” to give him the strength to continue paying for the millions of dollars in air time TBN currently enjoyed. And Crouch was probably worried sick over how he was going to pay for his wife’s pink hair coloring and her dogs luxurious double-wide.

    Walters interview is available on You Tube in 5 parts. While Copeland was in town, he and Gloria did a 30 second interview where Paul Crouch and his lovely pink bride groveled mightily at the altar of the king of “the little gods” and swore allegiance to that heretical teaching. That 30 seconds is also on You Tube and thankfully it’s limited to no more than 1/2 minute.

  13. I just wanted to give Phil and Fred a big *high 5* for beating me to the punch. I love Viola’s spin on this all.

    Somewhere, someone is having a discernment sale…because everything must go and most of it’s already gone.

  14. I think the big difference between MacArthur and Michael Brown is Brown’s wholesale embrace of Benny Hinn while Johnny Mac wasn’t there to embrace Hinn and the type.

  15. Wow Phil Johnson, thank you for the back story.
    You don’t know me but I want to let you know that I have been encouraged by your faithfulness to the Lord in doctrinal matters.

  16. to Brown or whoever,

    No one earth was ever more filled with the spirit than Jesus. How does a spirit filled man behave? look at Jesus. He never raised money by selling or promising riches. He promised the world would hate His sheep.He never lost self control and began shaking or laughing like a loon. Only the demon possessed people acted that way around Him. His sign gifts were as He told John’s disciples the blind see the lame walk and dead are raised. the only people that fell back as if slain in the spirit were those who came to arrest Him.. When asked to prove that He was sent from God He said that His miracles testified for Him.
    Personal subject feelings do not prove sign gifts for today any more than a burning in the bosom proves the book of Mormon is true.
    Sign gifts came upon Moses and went away. then upon Elijah then faded away then upon Jesus and faded away and always for the same reason. As God said to Moses the miracles would prove to the people that God had indeed sent Moses to speak to the people on His behalf. If God is speaking directly to you and telling you to speak for Him then you too will raise the dead or call down fire from heaven or part the sea. Even if you could we still have test your words with the scriptures. In deut. God said that He would send false teachers with miraculous gifts to TEST his elect.

  17. Pingback: Weekly Links – Strange Fire Conference | LBC Beacon

  18. Pingback: Articles on Cessationism, Continuationism, and Spiritual Gifts | hipandthigh

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