A Howse Divided Against Itself

I want to offer up some comments on a long, ranting screed Brannon Howse recently wrote against Phil Johnson. The one ironic aspect of it is that many of Brannon’s fans will not necessarily see it because it is posted at an obscure Facebook page. I think this is intentional deceit, as I will explain in a moment.

Now. Before I begin, it may be helpful to provide a little background for those readers not up to speed on the latest evangelical kerfuffle. Earlier in June, Brannon Howse, who hosts Worldview Weekend, a daily radio show heard on the VCY America network, launched a “discernment” crusade against James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries. Brannon had two self-proclaimed Islamic experts on his program to critically discuss a dialog James had with Yasir Qadhi in Memphis this past January.

The dialog itself was two nights of informal discussion between James and Yasir as to the distinctions between Islam and Christianity. One was held at a church in the Memphis area, the second at a mosque also in the Memphis area. Both hour and a half discussions can be watched HERE and HERE.

Brannon and his two experts, however, smeared the discussions as an “interfaith dialog” of the compromising sort. They suggested that James was compromising the Christian faith in the same way one of those gummy bear evangelicals like Rick Warren embraces Roman Catholics, or any other false religion, in a Coexist fashion. Additionally, they questioned James’s motives in doing the dialog, giving the impression he was soft-peddling the Islamic agenda. They falsely labelled him a “dupe” and a “useful idiot” who was lied to by Yasir, because according to the two experts, he is really a terrorist sympathizing ISIS supporter who was playing James like a fiddle in order to make Islam more accepting among American evangelicals.

Brannon devoted three programs assailing James’s character and ministry. When he encountered strong push back from folks on social media, he spent another week of follow up episodes in which he dug in against his detractors. I’ll point readers to Phil Johnson’s public remarks summarizing the entire affair because they reflect what I think it about it as well. See HERE.

With that background in mind, let me lay down a second layer before addressing Brannon’s rant. The following week after his three programs attacking James White, Phil Johnson from Grace to You, the radio ministry of John MacArthur (and my big boss), tweeted out the following comment, “Is there any respectable Christian leader Brannon Howse HASN’T found fault with?”

Phil then followed that tweet up with another, recalling a program from 2008 on which Brannon went after John MacArthur for his views that said the Revolutionary War was biblically unjustified. On that program, Brannon had on Tim Wildmon from the AFA, and Marshall Foster from the American History Institute, to publicly scold John MacArthur and his so-called woefully ignorant position on the American Revolution.

It is at this point, after Phil’s second tweet, that Brannon’s campaign against James White becomes an even hotter dumpster fire than it was already.

The day before Phil tweeted about the radio program pillorying John MacArthur, Brannon had posted John’s opening general session from the 2010 Shepherd’s Conference on his Facebook page. The message John preached is called Separating from Unbelievers. Brannon links to the message and then adds this description, “Separating from Unbelievers by John MacArthur. Should we talk with a Muslim Imam in a church & find common ground?”

At first glance, his description gives the impression that John is going to address the idea of Christians talking with Muslim imams and finding common religious ground with them. However, the words “Muslim” or “imam” are no where mentioned in the talk. In fact, nothing John states in his message would condemn what James White did with that imam. John’s message was aimed at genuine theological compromise with unbelievers, something James never did when he spent two days interacting with Yasir.

In response to Phil’s tweet comments, Brannon left this obfuscating statement on Facebook. (He also read it on his Worldview Weekend program).

The reader will note a glaring omission. The one name he conspicuously left out of his statement: Phil Johnson. That raises an intriguing question, why?

I’ll venture an educated guess and say it is because he intentionally clouded who it was he was responding to. A lot of the folks who hear Grace to You also hear Brannon’s Worldview Weekend. It is uncomfortably awkward if the director at the ministry of the very pastor he cites in support of his position took him to task regarding his hamfisted accusations against James White.

But folks may pause here and say, “Fred, aren’t you being just a tad unfair? Maybe he wanted to protect his identity.” That brings me to Brannon’s long rant.

The weekend after Phil posted his final thoughts on Brannon’s ridiculous “James White’s Islamic Peril” (see my link above), he posted three audio files in which he interviewed Phil back in 2011 on the topic of dealing with false teachers in the church. He also wrote up his fuming tirade against Phil. He even brought up the stupid controversy he manufactured in February 2015 when he went after Todd Friel about how many people died during the Catholic Inquisitions. Without rehearsing that entire drama, I can just say that what Brannon presents is lopsided and only half-way accurate. In other words, he is intentionally misremembering what happened. I ought to know, because I was at the center of that entire storm.

So what does that all have to do with my accusation that Brannon is purposefully hiding his comments from his readers? Well, his withering screed is posted on Sam Shamoun’s Facebook page. See HERE. (Just in case it is removed, HERE’s the PDF)

Unless a person knows who Sam is, more than likely he isn’t gonna see it. Brannon’s fans are certainly not gonna see it. As of this writing, there are just 11 shares. I personally left a comment refuting Brannon’s claims, but of course Sam, probably out of ignorance of who I am, dismissed me as a buffoon. I left a second comment, but that got removed and now I am blocked from leaving any responses whatsoever. If Brannon was genuinely serious about responding to Phil, he’d do it on his website and his own personal Facebook page for all to see. He would not run to an obscure yes man who is simply using Brannon as a stick to beat James White.

Brannon’s clumsy, half-baked crusade to uncover imaginary collusion between a well-respected, rock solid Christian apologist with a 25 year track record of Gospel ministry and an accused Islamic terrorist sympathizer is bad enough. Compounding the problem is him mass blocking an entire online community of believers pleading with  him to step back and reevaluate the foolishness he has presented. Worse still is him hiding his dispute with a ministry that on the one hand he uses for his credibility, but on the other hand, disparages the men associated with that ministry. Such vacillating behavior reveals some troubling character issues that need to be addressed.

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14 thoughts on “A Howse Divided Against Itself

  1. This just makes me sad. I stopped listening to Howse probably 5 years ago when he went after someone I really respect. Hmmm…seems like a pattern. It’s like he can’t possibly be wrong about anything. Just sad.

  2. When Dr. White aired the first night of the two night dialog between himself and Yasir Qadhi, I could not help but think that he was falling into the trap of being taken advantage of by the Muslim. However after listening to the second night’s presentation in the Mosque, I could only praise God for allowing Dr. White such an opportunity to lay out the gospel so plainly and lovingly to all of those unbelievers. Once the current attacks began, curiosity drove me to listen to an episode of Howse’s program and I came away with the distinct impression that he subscribes to the “kill them all and let God sort them out” method of evangelizing Muslims …

  3. Oh great. The mailroom guy is sticking his nose in it again!

    Ha! But seriously, I didn’t even know that Phil and Brannon were now going at it (along with Michael Brown and Brannon).

    This whole mess has moved from “surreal” to “terrifying acid trip”.

    May the Lord grant Brannon Howse a return to his senses.

    “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” – Mark 9:29

  4. LOL – I’m not sure you are understanding the significance of who is telling us about Islam.
    Dr. White has formed an alliance with Yasir Quadhi (a proven Muslim Jihadi) whom he calls a mentor in Islam and a kindred spirit with himself?
    Brannon Howse has an alliance with Shiram Hadian (a former Muslim from Iran) and Usama Dakok (an Egyptian). Usama grew up in Islamic schools being taught Islam right through college.
    History shows Islam has been at war with the “infidel and the Jew” for 1400 years.
    Who do you think is going to tell you the truth about Islam? 

  5. Kirk writes,
    Dr. White has formed an alliance with Yasir Quadhi (a proven Muslim Jihadi)

    If by alliance, you mean some sort of collusion claiming he is working with Yasir to bring in sharia to the US or some silly conspiracy theory, you’d be as wrong as CNN claiming Trump has formed an alliance with Russia.

    If by alliance, you mean a friendship so that James can have the opportunity to share the Gospel with Muslims, then yes, he has that kind of alliance.

    Continuing along,
    Brannon Howse has an alliance with Shiram Hadian (a former Muslim from Iran) and Usama Dakok (an Egyptian). Usama grew up in Islamic schools being taught Islam right through college.

    Okay. So, what? They aren’t any more expert on the topic than James is. You do realize that Shia and Sunni Muslims believe different things, right?

    moving along,
    History shows Islam has been at war with the “infidel and the Jew” for 1400 years.
    Who do you think is going to tell you the truth about Islam?

    Sure. No one is denying that. You are assuming that James White is lying about Islam. He is not. That is FakeNews brought to you by Brannon.

    Question: Do you believe Muslims can be saved? If you say yes, how exactly do you propose giving them the Gospel? Do you take the street screecher approach and just shout at them in front of their mosques? Or do you purposefully build a relationship with them in order to have that opportunity? I suppose you can conclude everyone is lying and is a terrorist cell-group, but that would be stupid. Even if they are, are you telling me terrorists don’t need to hear the Gospel, or should not hear the Gospel? Everything you write here smacks of not trusting God and an abandonment of the mission stated forth by our Lord in Matthew 28.

    Any comments about the thesis of my article? That Brannon is purposefully hiding his dispute with Phil Johnson so as not look bad?

  6. Kirk writes – Dr. White has formed an alliance with Yasir Quadhi (a proven Muslim Jihadi)
    Fivepointer writes -If by alliance, you mean some sort of collusion claiming he is working with Yasir to bring in sharia to the US or some silly conspiracy theory, you’d be as wrong as CNN claiming Trump has formed an alliance with Russia.
    1) Dr. White’s words are – He is my MENTOR , Good FRIEND, Yasir Quadhi should do up video’s so Christians can learn about Islam.
    If by alliance, you mean a friendship so that James can have the opportunity to share the Gospel with Muslims, then yes, he has that kind of alliance.
    2) Is Dr. White planning on bringing in a Satanist to speak in a church or a Nazi next to share the Gospel with? Islam does not believe in the same God as Christians do, is Islam a satanic cult?
    Continuing along,
    Brannon Howse has an alliance with Shiram Hadian (a former Muslim from Iran) and Usama Dakok (an Egyptian). Usama grew up in Islamic schools being taught Islam right through college.
    Okay. So, what? They aren’t any more expert on the topic than James is.
    3) So you are saying Dr. White is an “EXPERT” compared to Shiram Hadian and Usama Dakdok? Come now, Dr. White is learning from a Jihadi Imam. Be HONEST – who is going to tell you the TRUTH about Islam. If Dr. White is an expert on Islam he should have no problem debating the subject with either of these two men?
    You do realize that Shia and Sunni Muslims believe different things, right?
    4) Yes, I do know the difference – do you? Shia and Sunni BOTH believe the Qur’an, the Hadith and Shariah. The difference between them started as political leadership dispute – the Caliphate.
    moving along,
    History shows Islam has been at war with the “infidel and the Jew” for 1400 years.
    Who do you think is going to tell you the truth about Islam?
    Sure. No one is denying that.
    You are assuming that James White is lying about Islam. He is not.
    5) I am assuming nothing – Dr. White knows nothing of Islam except what his Mentor is steering him towards. And YES, Yasir Quadhi is lying to Dr. White and DR. White is passing that onto you.
    That is FakeNews brought to you by Brannon.
    6) You should admit something to yourself – YOU have not read the Qur’an, Hadith or Shariah.
    Question: Do you believe Muslims can be saved? If you say yes..
    7) Yes, some can be saved, obviously, however the point is Yasir Quadhi was given the Lord’s sheep as an audience to lead them astray.
    ..how exactly do you propose giving them the Gospel?
    8) One at a time, have you tried speaking to a Muslim about the Lord?
    Do you take the street screecher approach and just shout at them in front of their mosques?
    9) No
    Or do you purposefully build a relationship with them in order to have that opportunity?
    10) Do you build relationships with witches, satanists, Nazis or other followers of Satan?
    I suppose you can conclude everyone is lying and is a terrorist cell-group, but that would be stupid.
    11) What are you basing your opinions on?
    Even if they are, are you telling me terrorists don’t need to hear the Gospel, or should not hear the Gospel? Everything you write here smacks of not trusting God and an abandonment of the mission stated forth by our Lord in Matthew 28.
    13) I trust God with everything and I thank God for the wisdom and ability to discern Truth.
    Matthew 10: 16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
    Where is the wisdom in allowing a known Jihadi Imam into a Church of God to speak without rebuke in front of the congregation?
    Where is the wisdom in trusting the known Jihadi Imam with teaching the sheep about Islam?

    Any comments about the thesis of my article? That Brannon is purposefully hiding his dispute with Phil Johnson so as not look bad?
    Well, as far as your thesis of the article, I found it a total distraction from the true issue at hand.

    I understand we need to reach out but let’s not be naive’ about it. :-)

  7. Kirk said:

    Dr. White has formed an alliance with Yasir Quadhi (a proven Muslim Jihadi) whom he calls a mentor in Islam and a kindred spirit with himself?

    It is clear that you didn’t listen to (or didn’t pay attention to) the dialogues. When White calls Qadhi a “mentor” and a “kindred spirit,” it is clear what he means, and it is not that he is trying to forge some sort of ecumencal “alliance.” By “mentor,” White means that Qadhi is an expert on the hadith, and he has found Qadhi’s lectures on the topic valuable for his own understanding. By “kindred spirit,” he meant that, like himself, Qadhi takes his religion and its theology very seriously.

    At no time did White ever attempt to syncretize or equate Christianity and Islam; on the contrary, on numerous occasions during the two evenings of the dialogue, he referenced the deep chasm that divides Christians and Muslims. Befriending believers of other kinds for the purpose of better understanding is not the same thing as downplaying the differences between us and them.

  8. 1) Dr. White’s words are – He is my MENTOR , Good FRIEND, Yasir Quadhi should do up video’s so Christians can learn about Islam.

    Read Scott’s comments above. James is not colluding with him to make Islam palpable for Christians. As Scott states, he was very clear that he meant he learned a lot from him and believes he is serious about his faith just like James is his.

    2) Is Dr. White planning on bringing in a Satanist to speak in a church or a Nazi next to share the Gospel with? Islam does not believe in the same God as Christians do, is Islam a satanic cult?

    No. But that is a ridiculous hyperbolic comment. Let’s say he did. Why is that a problem if he is going to demonstrate the distinctions and offer the gospel? It is overblown fundy hysterics that believes a Christian engaging an unbeliever of whatever stripe with the gospel in a church is endangering the people. Discernment doesn’t mean we disengage from answering truthfully and respectfully disbelieving worldviews.

    3) So you are saying Dr. White is an “EXPERT” compared to Shiram Hadian and Usama Dakdok? Come now, Dr. White is learning from a Jihadi Imam. Be HONEST – who is going to tell you the TRUTH about Islam. If Dr. White is an expert on Islam he should have no problem debating the subject with either of these two men?

    Yes. In fact, I know James personally and I would bet you a plate of pork ribs from Phil’s BBQ in San Diego that he is way more of an expert that those two men, because he has actually taken the time to learn the Hadiaths (both traditions) as well as is familiar with the major historical literature. Additionally he has actually debated a number of Muslims on their home turf in South Africa, for instance, something neither one of those two men have ever done. AND as written a book on the subject. IF either Hadian or Dakdok have done a debate with a Muslim, shoot me a link to it. If either has written on the topic, please, send me a link.

    James made it clear that if a suitable thesis topic was put forth, he’d debate them. At this point, all it looks like they want to do is berate him for being friendly with a perceived ISIS supporter.

    4) Yes, I do know the difference – do you? Shia and Sunni BOTH believe the Qur’an, the Hadith and Shariah. The difference between them started as political leadership dispute – the Caliphate.

    If one expert come from Iran, and the other from Egypt (and he wasn’t even a Muslim from what I understand), then they have to draw out those distinctions which goes beyond just a political squabble about the Caliphate. They carry on as if all Islam is monolithic, which has been James’s point of dissension from the start.

    5) I am assuming nothing – Dr. White knows nothing of Islam except what his Mentor is steering him towards. And YES, Yasir Quadhi is lying to Dr. White and DR. White is passing that onto you.

    You understand James has been studying Islam for a decade, right? You are familiar with his work, correct? He was deep into studying Islamic apologetics years before coming across the online lectures of Qahdi. And how do you know he is lying? Lying about what exactly?

    6) You should admit something to yourself – YOU have not read the Qur’an, Hadith or Shariah.

    I have read the Quran. I’ve only read selective from the Hadith, but it too much and does not interest me. Sharia is not monolithic either and is expressed in a number of ways. You should know that, right?

    7) Yes, some can be saved, obviously, however the point is Yasir Quadhi was given the Lord’s sheep as an audience to lead them astray.

    Good. Glad you know the Gospel isn’t limited. He was not given the Lord’s sheep as an audience and he led none of them astray. Have you even bothered to talk with anyone who attends that church and was present at the discussions? I can introduce you to some if need be. The pastor has been desperately trying to get a hold of Brannon, but at this writing, he was getting blown off.

    8) One at a time, have you tried speaking to a Muslim about the Lord?

    Yes. I worked with Muslims rather closely for at least two years in college. Before 911. Had extensive discussions with their “youth group” leader. Set him straight about his misconceptions regarding the Gospel.

    10) Do you build relationships with witches, satanists, Nazis or other followers of Satan?

    Yes. If I have that opportunity. Are you telling me you don’t even attempt to try? Just blow them off, because they may put their mind control on you or something. They are just like any other unbeliever. In need of Christ. My wife has a friend who is a radical feminist atheist. They have an on going relationship now for 15 years. She knows exactly where my wife stands.

    11) What are you basing your opinions on?

    This long comment in which you are telling me that it is sinful to have a relationship with a Nazi, or witch, or Muslim. That would mean I couldn’t be friends with unbelievers to invite them to church. To tell them about Christ.

    Where is the wisdom in allowing a known Jihadi Imam into a Church of God to speak without rebuke in front of the congregation?

    He wasn’t allowed to speak without challenge. Did you watch the videos or are you taking the word of Brannon and his experts? What would that rebuke look like? James interrupting him all the time he makes a pronouncement against Christianity and presentation favorable for Islam?

    Where is the wisdom in trusting the known Jihadi Imam with teaching the sheep about Islam?

    What was he teaching the sheep about Islam that wasn’t true? He was hardly presented as a moderate. Those are Brannon dishonest weasel words.

    Well, as far as your thesis of the article, I found it a total distraction from the true issue at hand.

    Sure. Thanks. In other words, you apparently have the same problem you are accusing me of having. Trusting a dishonest man.

  9. I am sorry you are so blinded to the truth about Islam.
    Dr. White would love to open the eyes of Yasir I’m sure, but I don’t believe the Church is the correct venue to let someone following satan speak – ever.
    You think Dr. White is an expert on Islam, yet if that were true he would understand what Yasir is doing.
    The dishonesty is ever present with satan and those that follow him.

    Thank you.

  10. When I pay my daily visit to your blog, Howse’s picture is all that shows at first.

    And I invariably think, “Looks like a REAL. FUN. GUY.”

  11. Is this primarily about politics? I’ve admittedly made it a point not to reward Howse with any clicks, but from what I’ve seen it seems less a matter of concern that White is compromising the gospel, and more a matter of White compromising Howse’s brand of paranoid political ideology.

  12. 2 John 1:9-11, “9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

    Is this being disobeyed? Please deal with the scripture and not resort to ad hominem, what is typical here, in a scorched earth type method. That is carnal weaponry.

    It is a reemergence of the strategy of dialogue, an error of the new-evangelicals, beginning in the 50s and 60s. We don’t need dialogue with Islam to preach the gospel to Islam. There isn’t a biblical basis for forging a friendship first to aid in evangelism. This is a fallacy of White’s apologetic. The problem isn’t an intellectual one. There isn’t some secret we’re missing to unlock the door to Islam.

  13. Earnest writes,
    Is this being disobeyed?

    No. It was not disobeyed. The wrong assumption about that passage is that John is forbidding the discussion in a church among believers and unbelievers. That is not what John his saying. He is forbidding the teaching by so-called Christians of false doctrine in the church. James White was not doing that when he talked with YQ.

    It is a reemergence of the strategy of dialogue, an error of the new-evangelicals, beginning in the 50s and 60s

    It is not. You obviously do not have a grasp on what it was the neo-evangelicals taught or believed. That is NOT what James White was doing. Old style neo-evangelicals valued a dialog over doctrine and mutual understanding between academic minded fundamentalist (what they claimed they were) and liberal theologians. Rather than being a bridge to bring liberal theologians to Fundamentalism, their efforts compromised evangelicalism. James recognizes the differences between himself and YQ. His endeavor is to reach Muslims for Christ. That wasn’t the endeavor of neo-evangelicals when they engaged liberals.

    There isn’t a biblical basis for forging a friendship first to aid in evangelism.

    I think a case can be made for forging a friendship with an unbeliever; but there also isn’t any biblical command against doing so. You’re reading that into the Bible based upon faulty separation principles employed by theological novices like Brannon. No one is saying there is a secret. James is using his personal means to engage Muslims with the Gospel. His critics, to my knowledge, hardly engage Muslims, but rather gin up fear-mongering among simple minded believers by using secular political critics of Islam like Robert Spencer and others. White’s approach has been far more effective in that he has spoken the pure, unadulterated Gospel to hundreds of Muslims in mosques and other Islamic venues.

  14. Fred,

    These are not people who are coming to learn from James White. They are people who are coming to spread their lies about Jesus. I’ve evangelized numbers of Moslems. This giving a platform to an unbeliever. We’re not talking about someone who wants to understand the truth. This is a false teacher. I realize that James White isn’t having an ecumenical service with this man. No. This is someone who coming to preach another Jesus.

    The new evangelicals bridged the gap between unbelievers and believers through their dialogue. The idea with White is to find some sort of mutual enrichment, a pacifistic and irenic spirit instead of combat and confrontation. If you are friendly, you bring him in, talk to him like he is an equal, then he and they will know that you respect them and they’ll listen. 2 John doesn’t read like that. It says, don’t even bid them Godspeed. You don’t treat them like they are friends, when they are preaching another Jesus.

    Debating the so-called experts in the field, fine, taking a stand for biblical Christianity. You don’t see continued friendship of Jesus and the Apostles with false teachers. Scripture is sufficient and regulates what we do. Apologetics, scriptural, is getting out there, talking to Moslems where they are, and they are in urban areas all over the United States. You don’t have to schedule debates to do this. I’ve never had a Moslem who would not engage me at the door. Not one. Dozens of times. Scripture, just like with Jesus and the Apostles, is the means, because the problem isn’t an intellectual one, like you hear with White in his approach.

    I’ve never heard of Brannon Howse until I read this article. He’s has zero influence, because i’ve ever read or heard him. Ever. This is typical of you though. Making false statements. You care about what scripture says up until the point it corrects you. I’m not advocating for Howse. I’m reading this and applying scripture. You should do that too.

    This is not a professing Christian in 2 John. It’s someone coming to them in their house, maybe an assembly meeting in the house, who teaches a false Christ. Here’s how you deal with them. You don’t allow them in, which White does. You don’t even bid them Godspeed, which White does. Obeying 2 John should be done. We’re not better off not doing it, even if it makes us look like the big time scholar respected by the big time scholars in Islam. Are they really big time? No, and when you make them look like big time scholars, it doesn’t help. It hurts. Don’t defend James White at all costs.

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