Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Follow Up: My Open Letter to Michael Brown

On October 28, 2013, I posted my open letter to Michael Brown regarding his fellowship with International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC) founder and leader Mike Bickle. At 10:54 AM that same day, I tweeted a link to my blog post, and tagged Michael Brown's twitter account. Literally two minutes later (certainly not long enough to read the entire post), Dr. Brown responded to my tweet, stating he is not responding to open letters, and offered me to call in his show. A discussion then followed:

If Michael Brown truly has done research on the beliefs of Mike Bickle and IHOP-KC, that means he is directly responsible for promoting and supporting men who uphold seriously erroneous beliefs. By application, it means that he considers Mike Bickle a brother in Christ and fellow Christian in spite of these beliefs, claims and practices. This includes:
  • The claim by Mike Bickle that God spoke to him directly in Cairo, Egypt, giving him commands to guide the church in the decades leading to the (very soon) return of Jesus Christ. (source)
  • The teaching by Mike Bickle that God is raising "forerunners" who are imitators of John the Baptist, and who God is raising up in these end times. (source)
  • The abuse of scripture by Mike Bickle and other leaders at IHOP-KC regarding the teaching of "forerunners" - teachings entirely dependent upon Bickle's teachings. (source)
  • The claim made by Mike Bickle that God gave him the IHOP acronym, which had been trademarked by the International House of Pancakes since the 1970's. (source)
  • The claim made by Mike Bickle that Haggai 1:2 means God was ordering the building of the International House of Prayer. (source)
  • The fact that Mike Bickle has altered the story of the drought in Kansas City, as predicted by Bob Jones, and which proved to be completely false. (source)
  • The teaching of Mike Bickle that it's OK for New Testament prophets to prophesy falsely. (source)
  • The teaching of Mike Bickle that if a teacher has a poor moral standing or is not doctrinally sound, it isn't enough to reject him as a false teacher. (source)
  • The abuse of scripture by Mike Bickle to teach that all Christians are supposed to prophesy. (source)
  • The teaching of Mike Bickle that it is our prayers that bring about the release of God's power and the healing of others, not simply God's will and purpose. In fact, God requires our prayer in order for anything to happen. (source)
  • The praise by leaders of IHOP-KC given to false teachers such as Oral Roberts and others. (source)
  • The fact that at IHOP-KC there is a "written word of God" (scripture) and a "spoken word of God" (personal prophecy and revelation). (source)
  • The fact that really, truly, honestly, IHOP-KC is a cult. (source)
I could go on and on, but this is a good sample for now. All of these things are what Michael Brown assures us he is aware of, and which he ultimately dismisses as inconsequential in his recent criticism of those who oppose his fellowship with men like Bickle.

To those reading these posts: please understand I'm not saying Michael Brown is damned, or a false teacher, nor am I questioning his salvation. However, all the same, he is showing inconsistency in both his discerning and his own criticism. How can he beg other people to show grace and do research in regards to his Charismatic brethren, and then turn around and denounce critics as divisive and having a paradigm that is off when he refuses to engage in what the other side says? How can he make any kind of judgment against his opponents' stances or positions when he won't even entertain what they say? How can he honestly say that he has discernment when he refuses to listen to anything critical of those spiritual leaders he claims fellowship with? How can he claim to be a Continuationist because of sola scriptura and continue to defend sola scriptura when he has fellowship with men who clearly contradict it and, in application, work against it? He can continue to dance around the issues or simply avoid them, but those of us who respect him and are concerned about who he takes fellowship with want to know the answers to these dilemmas.

I'll end here by link to two videos recently posted by James White on his YouTube account:

This link goes to the 50:33-mark of an episode of his Dividing Line show, where he criticizes both Michael Brown and (I think rightly) Phil Johnson, for their opposing extremes.

This link goes to a follow up episode, specifically to the 30:37-mark (although the entire episode is worth listening to), where James White responds to Michael Brown's contention that the extremes of the Charismatic movement are "not his world." Dr. White pretty much repeats a lot of what I've said before.

Update - November 2, 2013: Some have inquired why I didn't accept Dr. Michael Brown's offer to call in his show. While I'm not afraid of dealing with contrary opinion (as the comboxes on many of my posts will show), even when it's face-to-face or on a more personal level (as my encounter with Allen Hood will show), my main concern was whether or not Michael Brown and I would be on the same page. I didn't want to get on his show only to have Michael Brown do what he did with Phil Johnson, which is respond to every contention against a false teacher with "Well I'm ignorant of that" or "I don't know about that, so I can't comment." I wanted to be certain he had at least interacted with what those who have tried to be discerning about Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, Rick Joyner and others have said and written. What I found in the Twitter conversation was merely a confirmation of my fears: Dr. Brown would prefer to stay ignorant of these things. At this point, I'm really uncertain where a direct conversation between the two of us would go.