White, Brown And Muddy Waters

Questions

Are you waiting for me to come out with an article about James White interviewing Michael Brown? If you follow me on Twitter, you know I have partially formed opinions on the matter, and that one or two of those opinions have a certain amount of  validity. You’ll also know that some Tweets from other ladies have forced me to reconsider some of my positions.

I’m trying to listen to all sides of this issue, mostly because John and I really like James White and want to believe his critics are categorically wrong 100% of this time. Maybe that’s idolizing Dr. White. Maybe, however, it’s because Dr. White  seems (at least to me — I’m not speaking for John here) to have a “you’re either with me or against me” mentality. At any rate, the whole situation leaves me struggling with whether or not I have very developed discernment.

Michael Brown, from my studies of him, shouldn’t be trusted. He may be genuinely saved, just as I believe I was genuinely saved when I was a Charismatic, but he tends to say what people want to hear in any given situation. As learned as he is in some areas (such as Hebrew texts), his claims of not researching Benny Hinn or Bill Johnson make me wonder if he’s qualified to defend Charismatic teaching. In a nutshell,  I don’t think Dr. Brown has a great deal of credibility.  (See this article by an Assemblies Of God pastor.)

My confusion is less about Michael Brown’s credibility than it is about James White’s willingness to partner with him. And on this point, waters are a great deal muddier than anyone wants to admit.

On the one hand, public personalities need to be very careful. Suppose, for example, that I found a Tweet by Beth Moore that, taken in isolation, actually communicated a Biblical principle (hey, it could happen). Suppose further that her Tweet reinforced something I felt strongly about. Even though I’d have right motives in retweeting Mrs. Moore’s words, people might mistake my retweet as tacit endorsement of Beth Moore. Particularly if they hadn’t read my many blog posts pointing out her false teaching!

Similarly, not everyone has watched the debates between James White and Michael Brown. Frankly, I haven’t, though I know they’ve debated several times. People who don’t realize that these men have debated might mistakenly assume that White is now giving Brown a pass on some very troubling issues. Indeed, people who are intent on destroying James White have been using Michael Brown as a weapon to undermine White’s ministry. For that reason I believe White would do well not to partner with Brown in an upcoming debate they plan (they’ll be debating as a team against two other men). I think their collaboration, at this moment in time, could cause a lot of people to stumble in a lot of ways.

On the other hand, it isn’t good to implicitly demand that James White declare Michael Brown a heretic, as some “discernment bloggers” are doing. Yes, Michael Brown teaches some serious error, but only the Lord really knows whether or not he’s genuinely saved. James White considers him a brother just as I consider friends from my Charismatic church back in California to be brothers and sisters in Christ.

What gives anyone the right to discredit James White on the basis of his friendship with Michael Brown? Perhaps White could be more circumspect in how he publicly conducts their friendship, but the mere fact that they’re friends shouldn’t mean that we should distrust his commitment to Reformed Theology.

Round and round the thoughts swirl in my head, causing me to doubt my discernment abilities. I want to keep listening. I also want to pray for Michael Brown to come out of Charismatic deception, and for James White to exercise more wisdom. May they both silence White’s critics.

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2 thoughts on “White, Brown And Muddy Waters

  1. Deb, it isn’t just a matter of Brown and White’s friendship. It isn’t just a matter of Brown teaching serious error. This goes way beyond all that. Both of these men have put themselves (or have been put) forward as leaders in the evangelical world. They are considered experts in their fields by many. Yet Brown has partnered with and been an apologist for the worst false teachers and heretics on the planet. I’ll just name three of many: Heidi Baker, Benny Hinn, and Sid Roth. Though Brown styles himself as an expert, when questioned about his associations and propping up of the false he will say he doesn’t know the false teacher or he just doesnt have the time to research them. In other words he has been shown over time to be very deceptive. He does know these people and it takes just a few minutes with the internet to do research. What do you call a professing Christian leader who is deceptive and undiscerning of even the grossest error.? Who even goes so far as defending the error and the false teachers? Refuses to listen to scripture and sound arguments against them? Why is such a man considered to be an expert? A true expert, a godly man, and especially a godly leader would be defending the gospel not his “friends.”

    James White is not just a personal friend of Brown but now is defending him publically before the whole world. Brown and White didn’t go on the air to defend any of the teachings or teachers scripturally but just to mock and deride those who have worked to expose the false teachers and the deception. You would have thought with all that brain power, all their years of study and apologetics they would have nailed it. But what did they do instead? They attacked others who are seeking to warn the sheep. I can’t deny some people’s motives in exposing Brown et. al. could be bad but I believe most truly care about the gospel and Christ’s sheep, and are working to warn the against the false. They aren’t out to destroy people and shouldn’t be characterized in that way.

    James White is not above criticism, none of us are. The Apostle Paul said if he or even angel is bringing a false gospel not to listen to them. False teachers are to be rebuked biblically. Souls are at stake.

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    • Again, this is an extremely complex situation. I don’t think anyone fully understands all the ramifications of it. Certainly, I don’t! Do I see danger in White’s choices? Absolutely! But do I think it in any way thwarts God’s sovereignty? Absolutely not!

      Let’s be careful not to pass judgment too quickly on James White. He is, I grant you. behaving recklessly, but he’s hoping to teach Reformed Christians to make measured judgments. He’s not out to destroy people either, remember. He isn’t above criticism, but he definitely needs our prayers.

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