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.

Advertisements

About that lying “prophet” that rebuked John MacArthur

prophetIf you run in my social media circles, you know that Sunday, August 16th, a self-appoint, spiritual narcissist, by the name of John O’Neill, jumped up on the platform at Grace Community Church when John MacArthur was greeting the congregation and telling about his summer. I was so totally bummed that I was out of town and had to miss it.

Once he got on the platform, the prophetic crusader loudly shouted for John MacArthur to repent from his cessationist views. He himself was proof that cessationism is heresy, because He was a living prophet of God! or some such nonsense before security dragged him away.

Now we are in LA. We have our share of wack-a-doodles visiting our church. There are epic stories. From the guy brandishing a spear in John’s office to Mark Driscoll crashing a conference. There has always been times when folks are protesting out in front of our church, or wandering about the campus causing scenes in a Sunday school class, and on occasion, attempting to commandeer the pulpit. So the stunt our prophet crank pulled isn’t too unusual.

However, in our day and age, when lone wackos have shot people, including members of a church, what O’Neill did sort of put folks on edge. Being clad all in black and wearing a backpack also didn’t help convey his prophetic message to the congregation, either. Hence the reason there was all this nervous laughing from the audience after John made a crack about Scotland with an attempt to ease the tension in the worship center. His stunt displayed an woeful lack of self-awareness and overall discernment.

In spite of what really amounted to an embarrassingly stupid thing to do, in the last week or so, there have been genuine people defending this guy, likening him to a 21st century version of Jeremiah crying out against the religious establishment.

The first odd ball article came from a confused woman who praised the faux prophet for doing what he did and even suggesting it was the only way someone as big time as MacArthur could ever hear the truth about his heretical views of cessationism.

I say confused and odd ball, because last year the same lady rebuked the Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll protesters as ones disobeying the Word of God for attacking a pastor. They needed to heed Scripture’s admonition to touch not the Lord’s anointed. Disconnection much.

Then, Michael Brown chimed in with an editorial for Charisma News Online that wondered if God really sent a prophet to John MacArthur to tell him the truth and confront him for his divisive rhetoric against charismatics.

It’s amazingly unbelievable. But par for the course from charismatic lunacy that masquerades as “filled with the spirit.”

I happen to personally know John O’Neill wasn’t a prophet, because God’s prophets do not lie or misrepresent their true intentions and that is exactly what he did.

You see, I met him back in early June and had an extended conversation with him.

It was on a Sunday evening. The children’s ministries were hosting a plaza fellowship for the families of Grace Church. My wife and I were popping popcorn when he came strolling along with his backpack. We started chatting and immediately recognized he was Scottish. I asked if he was here to go to seminary. He said no; but that he was an open air preacher who had come to LA to evangelize. I asked if he knew about our church. He said yes he did, and get this, he told me HE LIKED JOHN MACARTHUR AND APPRECIATED HIS MINISTRY!

What was that? Yep, he emphatically stated he liked our pastor and his preaching ministry.

We spoke for nearly 30 minutes. Though I got weird vibes off him because he talked about God calling or telling him thus and such, never once did he mention anything about cessationism or that John was teaching heresy for saying the apostolic sign gifts had ceased.

In fact, he hung around Grace Church for the summer attending on Sundays. A lot of friends also met him and they never once had a conversation with him about cessationism or the sign gifts. Tony Miano, who does real street preaching, also went on visitation with him. He also didn’t hear any negatives against MacArthur when they were together.

But then on the 16th, when John returns from his summer sabbatical, he jumps up on stage and goes unhinged.

The guy was a deceptive liar, especially if he believed John MacArthur taught heresy. There are no double-minded prophets. A true prophet of God doesn’t ingratiate himself to a friendly church, telling everyone he likes the pastor in order to wait like a Trojan Horse that opens up to spring a trap. That is a lying spirit that does such things.

My take. I think he miscalculated his visit. He wasn’t expecting John to be gone so long during the summer. From what I understand, O’Neill’s visa ended the Tuesday following, so he barely made it.

Whatever the case, I know one thing for sure out of all this. John Oneill’s enabling cheerleaders again displays how sober-minded discernment is totally absent within charismatic circles. Makes me wonder if God has given them over to a deceiving spirit.

Shepherd’s Conference 2015 Recap

kalavinThis years Shepherd’s Conference was called the Inerrancy Summit, and it centered around the theme of reaffirming the doctrines of Scripture’s inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy. Sixteen keynote speakers and several breakout sessions presented messages and lectures confirming those timeless truths.

All of the session audio/video will be online at the TMS website. The Vimeo versions of the keynote speaker addresses are available now.

All of the key sessions were good, but a few did stand out to me. Steve Lawson’s breakout lecture which was a biographical sketch of William Tyndale was truly moving, and Carl Trueman’s talk on the historical doctrine of inerrancy was a fine debunking to those who claim “inerrancy” is a modern concept and was never believed by the Christian church. Others to consider would be Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, and Mark Dever reading the entire 119th Psalm; and the Q&A on the background to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was also insightful.

The real highlight for me was meeting up with dear saints I know chiefly from social media and spending time with them in real person. I made a special effort to shake Carl Trueman’s hand, which he recounted at his blog. Many of The #15 were there, including Squirrel, Matt Rollings, and JD Hall himself, who made the trip driving down from Montana to LA with his family.

I also had the blessed privilege to spend extended time with No Compromise radio host, Mike Abendroth, and his faithful side kick, Steve “Tuesday Guy” Cooley. I also talked with David Wheaton and his brother, and I met up with Jimmy Li who runs the Domain for Truth blog. We ate lunch with Robert McCabe, who teaches Hebrew and OT studies at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

There were some young pastors who encouraged me, including Nate Pickowicz who pastors Harvest Bible Church in Gilmanton, NH, and Rick Cowan, who pastors Calvary Baptist in Windsor, Canada. His story is truly amazing as he recounted how he and his church are leaving wild-eyed, barking at the moon independent fundamentalism to sound, biblical orthodoxy and practice. I was truly blessed by his story.

We had our first “protester” in a long, long time. He was an angry anti-Kalvanist. Kalvan, according to this guy, was is a heritic from Jeneva. And apparently, I was also embroiled in seething internet controversy with the theonomy folks for my article last week on the debate between JD Hall and Joel McDurmon and with Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend fame and his ridiculous faux-outrage at Todd Friel. However, the crushing number of attendees overwhelmed the network system to the point I couldn’t follow any of it, so I remained blissfully unaware of any trouble I was stirring up.

The thing with Brannon Howse insisting the number of people who died during the Inquisitions was 50 million almost seemed to be manufactured for the sole purpose of getting Todd Friel. The few individuals I spoke with during the conference who were aware of his multiple broadcasts addressing the subject, couldn’t understand why he wasn’t backing down after several corrections of factual error. No one spoke of it in positive terms and believed it only served to besmirch his reputation. But oh well.

That was the Shepherd’s Conference to end all conferences, so I’ll be surprised to see what will be tackled next. Of course, I am holding out for a Strange Flesh conference that reaffirms biblical sexuality and marriage, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

 

Beyond Fabrication: Putting the Vision into Revision

Most of the folks in my orbit of friends, acquaintances, and blog readers, are quite aware of the debate on theonomy that pastor JD Hall had with Joel McDurmon of American Revision, I mean Vision, ministries. Lots of drama swirled around in the lead up to the debate and certainly afterward.

Much has already been said on podcasts, written in blog articles, and posted on social media regarding who it was that won the debate. It isn’t my desire to add my analysis on top of the already growing pile of opinions. The debate and the Q&A are online so people can watch both and draw their own conclusions. All I will say is that I think the theonomists crowd, who typically like to pride themselves as being big, bad debaters, were unprepared for JD’s presentation and how their champion advocate stumbled over it.

While I will leave the more detailed postmortems to other more capable commenters, I wanted to address one thing Joel mentioned at the finality of his presentation that caused me to do a double-take. He concluded by citing a handful of gotcha quotes from non-theonomists he claims ultimately agree with his views regarding the death penalty set forth in the Mosaic civil law.

He begins this one final citation starting at the 2 hour and 22 minute mark. He states how two men, when discussing homosexuality, say that if the American judicial system were to apply God’s punishment for homosexuals, they would be executed. One of the men, Joel’s explains, continues to say how the punishment would equally apply to adulterers and rebellious children. And then comes the big reveal when Joel says how John MacArthur and Phil Johnson agree with the theonomist’s view of civil punishment, not JD Hall and the non-theonomists.

Dunn, Dunn, Duuuuuunnnn!

trollLeaving aside Joel mistakenly identifying Phil and John as “Reformed Baptists,” the problem with those scare quotes is that Joel conveniently left off telling his audience where he found them, because if anyone would read the transcript, he will see that John’s comments were surgically revised. He was not promoting some form of inconsistent or even stealth theonomy on the part of Phil and John.

Those quotes came from a couple of interviews Phil Johnson did with John MacArthur on homosexuality called, Answering Key Questions About Homosexuality originally released in 2004.

Immediately before Joel’s particular citations, John talks about the three fold division of the Mosaic law into moral, civil, and ceremonial. He makes a clear distinction between the three and explains how the moral law, which reflects God’s eternal, moral character, transcends the civil and ceremonial divisions of the law in both the OT and the NT.

He then states,

…[R]emember, Israel was a theocratic kingdom, it wasn’t a democracy, it wasn’t a dictatorship, it was theocratic … The structure of the Kingdom, that is the law of the Kingdom, the constitution of theocratic kingdom was the Law of God. And so naturally whoever it was that enforced the Law of God would be the government, the authority. And it would be the priests who knew the Law of God and represented the Law of God who therefore were the officers of the theocratic kingdom … So in this theocratic kingdom, God established penalties for violations of His moral law. And this was a model of a perfect environment, a theocratic kingdom … Thirty-five different moral violations were punishable by death. One of them was homosexuality. Just to spread that a little bit, another one was disobeying your parents.

Following that paragraph comes the comment Joel cites from Phil about how execution for disobeying our parents would certainly cut down on the number of delinquents. But then Joel cites John as saying that if we were to do what was right in America, we would execute homosexuals, and he turns that comment into John unwittingly agreeing with his theonomic visions.

John, however, specified his comment. He states,

The tragedy is, however, the theocratic kingdom which God originally established began to disintegrate very early, didn’t it? I mean, it didn’t take very long. When God established His law, it wasn’t long until the people began to fall into sin, they made all kinds of promises that they didn’t keep. They disobeyed the Ten Commandments all over the place … And what you had then was an unwillingness on the part of those who were responsible for the theocratic kingdom to enact the civil punishments. And because there were no punishments for these kinds of sins, they flourished everywhere, adultery, fornication, immorality, homosexuality, baby sacrifice, offering your children to Molech, etc., etc., etc.

And since God then removed Himself from the nation Israel, there has never been another theocratic kingdom. Okay? And that’s why today the kingdoms of this world, and Jesus said the kingdoms of this world are different than My kingdom, do not punish sin the way God prescribed it. And so the question might be asked, “If we did what was right in America, what would happen to homosexuals?” And the answer is, they would be executed. But before you rush to make that law, that would also happen to adulterers and juvenile delinquents, those who disobeyed their parents. And if that had been the case for the last 50 years, this room would be a lot emptier than it is now. But that doesn’t change God’s standard. And in the end, folks, God gives a reprieve here and God doesn’t give every sinner what he deserves when he deserves it…

Note my emphasis. John wasn’t saying the punishment of death was unjust. Not even JD was saying that in the debate. The punishment meted out by civil magistrates, however, is applicable in a theocratic kingdom ruled by God. And seeing that a physical, national, theocratic kingdom currently does not exist yet because Christ has yet to come to establish it for a 1,000 years, we don’t execute people for the sin of homosexuality. At this time and place, during this *GASP* dispensation, there is a reprieve that God grants. But every person who violates God’s moral law will eventually get what he deserves in the end. That’s the key.

In fact, John goes on to say,

So it’s not a pretty sight when men try to turn an earthly government into some kind of reflection of the divine kingdom. There will be that kingdom and when will that come? When Jesus returns and establishes His earthly kingdom. And that is promised in the Bible. The kingdom will come and the Lord will rule with what kind of rod? A rod of iron, He says, and at that point sin will be punished the way God has always deemed that it should be punished, swiftly and on the spot. And those sins which are worthy of that kind of punishment will receive it, no matter what the sin is, whether it’s homosexuality, or anything else, from the very outset God has provided forgiveness, salvation and the hope of eternal life to those who repent and embrace the gospel.

And he closes out by saying,

I just want to say that 1 Corinthians 6 says, “Such were some of you.” You were homosexuals, you were effeminate, you were adulterers, you were liars, it goes on and on, but you were washed and you were cleansed. And that’s what the Lord Jesus offers. We’re not trying to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals, we’re trying to bring conviction so that they can turn from that sin and embrace the only hope of forgiveness and salvation for all of us sinners, and that’s through faith in Jesus Christ.

Thus, contrary to McDurmon’s assertion that John and Phil inadvertently support his theonomic view of the civil, judicial punishments prescribed in the Mosaic law, He does no such thing. Though he affirms the death penalty for sinners violating God’s moral law, John recognizes that the civil magistrates executing someone for violating that law isn’t the norm for human governments at this time. That is a radical departure from theonomy.

MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto Revisited

The recent dust up among Reformed acquaintances on social media reminded me of a series of posts I wrote up nearly 6 or 7 years ago interacting with Sam Waldron’s little book, MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto. It was a short review and critique of John’s 2007 Shepherd’s Conference keynote address, Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist.

I thought it was a fabulous message because it irritated the folks who needed to be irritated, particularly the  young Reformed bloggers.

Sam Waldron initially went to his blog to offer his rebukes, and then those articles were turned into the book. Somehow a copy found its way to the radio ministry of Grace to You and I snagged it, read it, and wrote up a review and then five rejoinders to one of the key points found in the book.

So going back to the reaction on social media to the terribly made documentary called Let the Lion Roar, my thoughts were steered back to those posts, as well as a number of ones I wrote up on the subject of eschatology. I also plan to remaster them as well, and reformat their appearance for my WordPress blog (I never really did that when I moved from Blogger a couple of years ago) after the new year.

In the meantime, I had a few moments recently and I updated the Sam Waldron rejoinders. I didn’t want to repost them to the front page, but if anyone is interested who began following me in the recent months, here they are in order:

A Review of MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto

Replacement Theology

Sam is a Dispensational Man

Peace and Mercy …. Upon the Israel of God

For They Are Not All Israel Who are Israel

The Commonwealth of Israel

Former Fundies With Truth Issues

A grim-faced Benjamin Corey, known also as Formerly Fundie, sternly lectures us Bible worshiping Fundamentalists who take God’s Word too seriously,

John MacArthur on Having Gay Children: Alienate Them & Turn Them Over to Satan

The post is a cathartic rant against this video over at the GTY blog:

I guess now that Corey has liberated himself from the ironclad bars of Fundamentalism, he no longer feels obligated to be honest with the facts. Particularly if the facts wreck the fantasy mythos of his previous Fundamentalist dark ages.

Go back and watch that video. Corey’s post is so wildly dishonest as to what John said, a person has to seriously wonder if he ever really watched it at all or if he is intentionally lying and banking on the hope that none of his readers will care enough to make the effort to go watch for themselves and complain against his falsehoods.

Corey writes,

John MacArthur was recently asked by a reader how they should respond to an adult child who has acknowledged they are gay. His parenting advice?

Alienate them.

Separate them.

Isolate them.

Refuse to have a meal with them.

Turn them over to Satan.

That is not at all what John stated. John differentiated between two types of individuals: Those who are professed believers who claim to be gay and those who are not believers who claim to be gay. Corey ignores those distinct categories so he can make John out to be a Fred Phelps bigot.

However, John clearly explained that if a child (keep in mind, an adult child; not an 8 year old whose parents abuse him by forcing him to go to a cross-dressing camp) who professes Jesus as Lord and Savior, but claims also to be a homosexual, is to be treated according to the commands of 1 Corinthians 5:1-11. Yep. I know. Those hard sayings in the Bible that I guess rub Corey the wrong way so badly that the only options we have is to either reinterpret them or ignore them all together; or maybe take the Bart Ehrman approach and pretend Paul never really wrote 1 Corinthians.

But as is typical of Ex-Fundamentalist bloggers congregating over at the Pathos webhub these days, along with selective video editing, Corey also lacks reading comprehension skills, especially when it makes his Fundamentalist target look like an unsophisticated moron.

He writes,

One of the key passages folks use to support shunning comes from 1 Corinthians 5– the unfortunate truth, however, is that Paul lists several sins he thought were shun-worthy. Folks like MacArthur have lifted sexual immorality out of that passage while completely ignoring the rest of what Paul taught.

No. John has not “lifted” anything out of context. The point of Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 5 is to address a sexual fornicator who was brazenly participating in the fellowship of the Corinthian church who claimed to be a believer. The fact that this guy claimed a relationship with Jesus Christ yet participated in fornication is the problem and the case for him being removed from the fellowship. I thought former fundies  and survivor types were all up in arms against sexual abuse, but I digress.

Additionally, Corey writes,

Because it would be horribly inconvenient to actually practice this verse. In it, Paul teaches that we are to have nothing to do with Christians who are… greedy.

Which in America, is a whole lot of us. I wonder if MacArthur would also suggest you shun an adult child who makes $200,000 a year but doesn’t tithe or give any of their money to charity? Somehow, I doubt it.

Really? I doubt this guy has done any serious study of that passage. Heck. Why should he? He doesn’t believe the Bible is inspired anyways, so why waste your time on any meaningful Bible study?

But for those who truly want to know, the idea of greedy isn’t someone who happens to be wealthy and doesn’t give his money to charity. The word has to do with extortioners or racketeers who take advantage of the needy so as to enrich themselves. The rich Republican guy (as we play into Corey’s stereotype) who earns his money honestly but doesn’t give to charity is nowhere in view. It has more to do with con-artist hustlers who prey on the disadvantaged for their own gain. More like environmentalists or the Health and Wealth crowd than anything else.

Moving along,

I wonder if MacArthur would teach that we should isolate, alienate, and turn over to Satan our children who struggle with over-eating? That can be a form of greed because it is taking more than you need.

I include this only to show how embarrassing Corey’s argumentation is. If he thinks overeating is equivalent to the greed Paul is addressing he disqualifies himself as a serious commentator on Christianity. He should be ignored.

Or, what about the idolators mentioned in that same passage? I know a boat load of Christians who are trusting in firearms for their safety instead of God– which is idolatry. According to Paul, they should be shunned as well.

Ah yes. Gotta work that anti-gun smear in there somehow. Again, the idolatry that Paul is addressing is religious idolatry. It is the worship of false gods, or the application or practice of false doctrine in the manner that it creates its own pseudo-Christian, religious worldview. The kind of idolaters who openly lie against those they oppose and who compromise with the pagan element of the culture that warmly embraces and gives affirmation to sexually deviant behavior. Say like, homosexuality.

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.

So You Don’t Like John MacArthur’s View of “The Mark of The Beast”…

ernestbass….Where exactly do you go from here?

Shortly before the Strange Fire conference, maybe a week or so, I was directed to this absurd video. It was put up by some anonymous outfit called the Ephesians 5:11 blog.

Now. Let me pause here just a moment and give everyone a solid rule of thumb about that kind of stuff you may find on the internet. IF the person making such-and-such a wild-eyed, crackpot claim is anonymous and when pressed, refuses to tell you who he is or where he goes to church (if at all), you can confidently concluded that 10 times out of 10, the person is probably a wacko and can be safely ignored.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this particular individual is more than likely Bob Johnson, or perhaps a minion of his, who was notorious for standing out in front of Grace Church warning us how Al Mohler was a Jesuit, U.N. spy who was sent to infiltrate the church to usher in the new world order. I document my dealings with Bob HERE.

(Amusingly, on the “rebuttal” to Phil’s article posted at GTY [I’ll get to that in a moment] our anonymous champion of orthodoxy points out how Phil wrote it, not John. As if that is some sort of smoking gun signal of dastardly deeds at work. All the while remaining anonymous.  He even misspelled John’s last name, so kudos for maintaining that unhinged stereotype we have all come to love about those kind of folks. But I digress.)

At any rate, the person could be just some tin-foil hat style KJVO loon for all I know. Whatever the case, going into the Strange Fire conference, I was seeing talk about the video on Facebook and figured I’d get questions about it.

And sure enough, on the last day of the conference, I had a long discussion with some precious folks about the video that led us into some terrific fellowship. If anything else, I have to say the one good thing about that video was the fact that I met some wonderful people who are now some acquaintances on Facebook who I look forward to fellowshipping with in person in the future.

When I spoke with Phil about the video, he said we’d revisit it sometime after the conference. Well, it just so happens the Monday morning following Strange Fire, John came out to GTY to do some recording and we all had a chance to bring up the video with him. His first response was, “Oh yeah. Someone asked me about that after one of the sessions.” We asked him how he would respond now and whether or not his view had changed since he had preached through the book of Revelation, and to my surprise, he basically affirmed what he said in that Q&A some 30-plus years ago.

That being, that during the seven year tribulation, when people are deceived by the Antichrist to take his mark in order to survive in his “society” (Revelation 13:16,17), but then later, upon hearing the Gospel preaching of the 144,00 and the call of repentance as heralded by the three angels (Revelation 14:1-13), many of those people who took the mark can and do repent and follow Christ, and thus are saved. By the way, a lot of this assumes the “mark” is some physical thing a person can take to himself. Say for example, a microchip or a barcoded tattoo.

So in John’s view, the taking of the mark during the tribulation is not a final, absolute certainty of damnation that seals and fixes the eternal destination of the person.  In fact, if one were to read Revelation 15:2, the idea of victory over the mark of the Beast is clearly implied, And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

imageCouldn’t that “victory” spoken about be those who may take the mark, repent upon hearing the Gospel, and will then be saved? And, according to the verse, it seems to suggest that they are executed for their actions of rejecting the mark thus becoming martyrs. So the idea of what John is saying is not far-fetched and without warrant from the biblical text as those wack-a-doodles suggest in their video when they write OUTRAGEOUS! It certainly exposes the fact that they are merely haters and haven’t even thought through what is being taught in Revelation.

Well, once John gave his affirmation, Phil wrote up a response affirming what he originally stated and explaining his view a bit more and providing an “official” statement to all those folks out there wondering what he thinks about that video.

Okay, so with that being said. Where do you go from here?

Granted, there are a number of folks out there who are still uncertain what to think about John’s view. You’re sitting at your desk, you have your finger under your chin while you stare out your window thinking to yourself, “Hmmm…. I don’t know? That sounds kinda weird?”

Now I certainly can’t make any appeal to the makers of that video. Those are individuals who are the modern day equivalent of Ishmael with their hand against every man (Genesis 16:12). They live in a fever swamp of conspiracy and foggy theology where no rational thought can even dare bubble up to the surface. There will always be people who are so OCDed against John MacArthur like Bob Johnson and fake pastor-teacher, Joel Taylor, that anything he will say or do will be declared heretical.  Those people cannot be reached.

Now for the rest of you all out there who have actually benefited from John’s preaching over the years, are you prepared to throw John’s ministry under the bus because of an idiot video on Youtube and conclude all of that blessing you experienced was a sham? Really?

Think about it: John has had 50 years of solid, Bible teaching ministry that has reached around the globe. I’ve met people from the farthest reaches in the world who testify how they were in a rural rice patty in Vietnam or some tundra landscape in northern Russia listening to John MacArthur tapes on a walkman or Grace to You on a handheld radio and it was in those circumstances God brought them to salvation by the preaching of the Gospel and the consistent teaching of God’s word.

His study Bible has been translated into Arabic, the only genuine Study Bible to have been so; and the Chinese version is coming sometime in the next year. John was the guy on Larry King Live who irritated to no end Deep-pockets Chopra when he told him there was only one way to God through Jesus Christ alone and that the NT was originally written in Greek, not Aramaic.

So along comes a crank with a Youtube video that says that everything John has ever done or ever preached over the last four decades is totally worthless, just because he has an out the ordinary view on a speculative understanding of the mark of the Beast.

It is at this point where people need to stop and determine if they are going to dismiss such moon-battery. Seriously. Please don’t join the Ernest T. Bass’s of the internet with hurling rocks through church windows.

The Resurrection Schtick

thomasMy pal Steve Hays chugs along as an apologist for modern day claims of the miraculous. He writes,

Part of the MacArthurite schtick is to claim that Biblical miracles are “undeniable,” in contrast to reported modern miracles. Yet in the NT we have examples of both outsiders and churchgoers who deny the Resurrection.

and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked (Acts 17:31-32).

 

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? (1 Cor 15:12).

So, by MacArthurite standards, does that mean the Resurrection doesn’t count as a real miracle? [Are Biblical Miracles Undeniable?]

In his haste to expose the imbalance of MacArthurites and provide Sid Roth with some much needed credibility, Steve makes some rather inaccurate and embarrassing assertions from the biblical text. Let’s consider three key points.

First off, the problem with the Corinthian Christians was not that they doubted the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. They most certainly believed that Christ rose from the dead, because the Resurrection is the centerpiece of the Gospel message itself. The difficulty the Corinthians struggled with was the idea of Christians, i.e., human beings, rising from the dead. Paul was saying to them, “You believed what was proclaimed about Jesus raising from the dead, why do you doubt that Christians too will resurrect from the dead?”

Secondly, Paul is not against the presentation of the evidence for the Resurrection. The primary evidence being the testimony of the disciples who knew Jesus when He ministered on the earth, watched him be crucified, saw that He was buried, and then saw Him after His Resurrection.  Paul directs the Corinthians to those individuals who would confirm his preaching of Christ and the fulfillment of Scripture when Christ rose from the dead.

In the same manner, it is not asking too much when someone claims some divine healing happened to thus and so a person. It is only wise and shrewd to ask about the person, their condition, and if the so-called healing can be verified by others.  I would even add, verified by unbelievers who knew the person before he or she was healed and now know of the person’s healing. Only someone naively gullible would believe such stories blindly especially when the vast majority of such stories are wild exaggerations or outright shams altogether.

And then third, Jesus, after confirming Thomas’s doubts (John 20:19-29), pronounces a blessing upon those who would believe the Resurrection yet never saw the tangible evidence (any Christian from the 1st century onward). Thus, belief in the Resurrection is a matter of faith —  a supernatural faith that is wrought by the Spirit of God in the heart of the sinner to believe the testimony of Christ’s death and Resurrection as it is presented in the Gospel. But that Resurrection is not without evidence, primarily and most importantly, the testimony of the Apostles, other key disciples, and a number of other folks who saw the risen Lord and whose testimony is now preserved only in the pages of Scripture.

Thus there is just no comparison between the hearsay modern day claims of the “miraculous” with the true and certain testimony preserved in the Word of God.