The Hypocrisy And Lack Of Introspection Of Craig Daliessio

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UPDATED. Newest tweet from Craig where he hopes that God sends death and destruction to James White’s children. 

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Craig Daliessio has been on the warpath of late. Since the tragic and untimely death of Braxton Caner, he has been lashing out at every “disagree-er of his narrow and fact-less assessment of the situation” within reach and has launched a full-scale twitter attack on multiple online personalities. His greatest target has been Jordan Hall, the man he blames for the death of Braxton, despite there being no evidence that he even played a role in it.

His position is simple: Jordan is beyond evil and ought to be thrown in jail and spend the rest of his life rotting in a cell somewhere. [This is not hyperbole, he has tweeted that he thinks Jordan should go to jail forever]  This is because in his view, Jordan harassed and bullied Braxton with his brief interaction. Jordan launched a “psychological blitzkrieg” on him. In fact, to quote Daliessio at length:

” I believe J.D. Hall cyber bullied, and harassed Braxton Caner ruthlessly, and without limits, in a effort to harm his father Ergun. Given the content of those tweets, his BLOG about the FIFTEEN YEAR OLD BOY (that in  itself is enough for a 3-day pass to a psych ward for a thorough eval, in my opinion) and subsequent RADIO SHOW about it, it’s obvious Braxton was the Voodoo doll J.D. was using to harm Ergun. Every word was intended to inflict maximum damage. Every insinuation, every accusation, every condemning, hurtful, evil tweet. Death by words…140 characters at a time. J.D. doubtless DID NOT  intend to physically kill Braxton. Maybe worse…he wanted to kill his heart. He wanted to kill his spirit and thus kill the heart and soul of the man he hates obsessively…Ergun Caner.”

Here is are the 5 tweets sent his way:

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That was the extent of Jordan’s tweets to this young man. For the sake of argument we will allow that they were unwise at best and sinful at worst. If not for the content, then at least for his motivation, which Jordan has since publicly apologized for and repented of as sinful. In terms of actual content however and the words that were said, I personally believe they are relatively benign. That is to say that as far as cyber-bullying and cyber-harassing goes, at the very least compared to some of the high-profile stuff out there, it’s not “up there” in terms of the most vicious things that could be said to another person. I’m not saying it didn’t have an impact, [whether it played some role or absolutely no role, we will never know]  I’m saying that even if you think it’s cyber-bullying, it’s not the strongest case of it and best example of it out there.

But based on those tweets,  Craig Daliessio has over and over and over called out Jordan Hall for bullying and harassment and attacks. Those are the big three that he has, with moral outrage, hammered away at.  At least a dozen times he has attempted to wax eloquent about the evils of bullying, and how what Jordan has said obviously and easily qualifies as bullying, and so on and so forth.

But what of Craig’s own feed? If those comments from Jordan ought to be rightly characterized as bullying and harassment, what do we make of these comments that Craig tweeted to several people over the course of the last 12 days?

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That is just a SMALL selection of tweets.

From sample of 12 days.

Craig has over 16,900 tweets.

Now in MILD fairness, three of those messages were sent in response to a man who tweeted that he was happy that Braxton was dead and praise Allah for it. This of course does not excuse it, and the things he said are reprehensible and beyond the pale. Grief makes us do strange things, and oftentimes we don’t think straight in times of deep anguish, and I like to think I can go a bit easier on him for those ones due to this provocation and the emotion it brought forth, even though they are a few of the more disgusting, sickening and Christless tweets I’ve ever read from a supposedly professing Christian.  [Though as we will see below, he apparently has no regrets, and instead in a time of relative clarity has doubled down on those tweets]

But the rest? Most of these were said either unprovoked or in response to people telling him that it’s not fair to declare that Jordan has blood on his hands. That’s some vile and sick stuff. What do you think Craig would say if Jordan had been the one to tweet those things to the young man? What if Jordan had tweeted

“Braxton, you miserable turd. You are a despicable slime. Unregenerate filth”

Do you think he’s consider those words bullying? Probably? And yet with not a thought of introspection he does that very thing to other people. Craig Daliessio seems utterly devoid of consistency if he can decry Jordan’s comments as bullying and harassment, but think his own are just peachy keen and completely fine. And from what we can see he doesn’t. From his perspective the tweets aren’t bullying, nor could they ever be construed that. Its not bullying or harassment to call a fellow professing Christian a “miserable slimy turd.” Unless that was said to someone that Craig cares about. Then you better believe it would.

I thought it fair to reach out to Craig and get some feedback and comment on this article. The following was our Twitter exchange. Notice the dehumanizing language and the use of racial slurs.

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[edit, after I went back I saw that I missed part of the convo relevant to this, so i’m posting it here.

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I think it’s pretty clear what is going on with Craig, and I’ll leave that bit of debilitating hypocrisy hang in there air as I close off with this salient point. This man is just one example of the vitriol and viciousness that has surrounded this whole event, and I didn’t even screenshot his tweets where he makes subtle and overt threats of physical violence.

Craig is one piece in the puzzle, but it could have been a hundred others. People decry the actions and sins of others, and in doing so do it in a way that they slander and sin against that very person they are protesting against. This is madness, and it needs to stop, and you’d better believe I’m also speaking to myself here.

It’s ok to have strong opinions and rest firm in your convictions, but when your feelings of righteous rage turn into unrighteous wrath, and you don’t have the introspection and ability to be thoughtful and  recognize it in your actions,  then it’s time to pause, step back and as God for his mercy and forgiveness.

Some bad advice from Tony Miano

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Note. Found this blog post from good friend Rhology posted on Tribalogue a few hours ago. and I thought it was excellent and well stated and wanted to post it here. There’s nothing with it that I disagree with, and I think these are very important things to be said [especially his refutation of Tony's position that women shouldn't OAP or share the gospel publicly. That needs to be opposed at every turn]  I should also note that I really like Tony and his ministry. I tried reaching out to him for a comment and some clarity but he did not respond. I also noticed that he has me blocked on Twitter, though I have no idea how or when that happened, as to the best of my knowledge I have not ever interacted with him other than tweet him a picture quote that I made for him, which he enjoyed and thanked me for.  It may be my affiliation with AHA, not sure, but regardless, he chose not to reply and so this will be posted without further comment from him. 

As far as the article itself, the only thing I would tweak is to affirm my belief that a Church can be generally solid even if it has a few problems, such as a distaste for OAP. It sort of depends on why they are against it, but I can have enough grace to say that a Church could be considered solid-ish and faithful and trustworthy even if it is behaving immaturely, ignorantly, sinfully or theologically reckless in a particular area. In this case that immaturity and lack of theological discernment and discomfort with OAP or other Christian activism, [Such as Abolitionist agitation] would personally give me reason to pause and would be sufficient cause for me to not attend said Church as my home Church and submitting to the elders, but I like to think that I can be happy for my Christian brothers and sisters that would attend, and think otherwise. 

 

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Tony Miano, well-known street preacher, had this to say on Facebook recently:

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I gave it some thought, and I’d like to share a few.

Notice that Miano didn’t frame the issue in terms of whether the church thinks the individual reader ought to open-air preach (OAP). It is plausible a church might not want a particular individual to OAP. For example, if the aspiring preacher is not very good at explaining the Gospel, or he hasn’t mastered his temper yet and easily gets mad and challenges people to fistfights. But Miano is talking about OAP in general.

On the other hand, Miano seems to be referring to a situation where an aspiring OA preacher is not a member of a church because he can’t find one that supports OAP. It is a pitifully sad commentary on the state of Reformedigelical churches in the West that this is a plausible scenario. I would at least agree with Miano on this – if you’re not a member of a church, there had better be a really really good reason. Ie, you live in a location where despite faithful searching you have not been able to connect with anybody who actually loves Jesus.

On the other other hand (which I guess gets us back to the original hand), one might decide that until the Lord provides something better, he should probably just join the best church he can find and try to influence it toward following the Scripture. This may in some cases result in conflict between the person wanting to be faithful to Jesus and the leadership and/or the rest of the congregation who are all too happy doing their own thing, following their own autonomous desires and preferences, and ignoring major portions of the Scripture in so doing. What then?

Before we get into that, I’d like to ask this: What makes Miano so sure that a church that doesn’t support open-air preaching is indeed solid? Evangelism and the Great Commission are kind of a big deal when it comes to properly obeying Jesus, and if a church is not interested in obeying Jesus, that’s not a solid church. It doesn’t matter what they confess, what they say with their lips. The Scripture is full of rebukes of false professors who say one thing and do another. Like the Pharisees. Like the Jerusalemites who said “the temple of YHWH! The temple of YHWH! The temple of YHWH!” Like the false prophets who said “peace, peace” when there was no peace.

Perhaps the church thinks open-air preaching is mean and nasty in and of itself. I would suggest in that case the OA preacher invite people from the church to come out with him, to show them how it’s done and to demonstrate that, while of course someone can be mean and nasty in virtually any situation, OAP can be done in a way that is loving, kind, and understanding.

What if no one from the church is willing to go watch, and yet they continue to insist that OAP, a ministry that Jesus and Paul and Peter did a whole lot, is not good? Well, then, those people need to be called to repentance. Or I suppose you could leave and be a “nomad”, but then that would leave the people in the church in unchallenged deception, which is not loving. It is actually the opposite of love for those people.

On the other hand, what if a few people go out with the OA preacher and everything goes well, and yet they continue to oppose OAP in and of itself? Would not the conversation then have to shift to their biblical reasons to justify their opposition? It may be that the leadership of the church would in that case lord it over the OA preacher, citing some imaginary “authority” to tell him that OAP is not OK, with no other reason than that they say so. Such person(s) would be deep in sin and rebellion against the role they’re supposed to be playing in their local church. The OA preacher, being a part of that local church himself, would be obligated to get one or two other witnesses and rebuke that person, initiating church discipline for unrepentantly sinning against the OA preacher and against the rest of the congregation for refusing to teach the whole counsel of God.

1 Timothy 5:19-21 – Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.

Miano later says this:

The Lord may yet call you to open-air preach (if you are a man), and you will know that because your pastors/elders will affirm your call to preach the gospel in the open-air.

There’s a reason why he didn’t include any Bible citations along with this statement. Nothing in God’s Word would lead us to believe this is true. It also exhibits a puzzling naïveté. Does Miano really think that the most common reason why a pastor might oppose OAP would be that the OA preacher in question has a history of “rebelling” against the pastor’s “authority”? What does “pastoral authority” even mean, in a situation where the pastor is not following the Word of God?

Let’s continue with another statement from Miano:

Christian Brother: God has certainly called you to be a hand, or foot, or arm, or leg in His Body. But He may NOT have called you to open-air preach. The fact that you want to open-air preach doesn’t mean God has called you to open-air preach. You may not be finding a church that supports open-air preaching because that may not be the role the Lord has for you in His body.

Miano is equivocating on the uses of the word “calling” in this paragraph. The first occurrence is fine – it is indeed true that God has called every individual Christian to be some body part in His Body. Miano seems to be assuming that 1 Corinthians 12’s discussion of body parts refers to a given local church, which I would dispute, but let’s leave that aside for now. How do we know that God has called us to be a body part in the Body of Christ? The Scripture says so.

So how does Miano propose that an individual can know that he is “called” to do OAP? I have asked this question many times and never received an answer. It is a major weakness in his book “Should She Preach?“, which I documented in my review thereof. Which Scripture passage leads us to expect that God would continually send individual people specific callings to specific tasks or ministries, going forward throughout the ages during which the church would subsist? I have argued that no such Scripture exists. This is where the equivocation comes in – the first time Miano says “calling”, he is correctly referring to biblical command. The second and third times, he is trading on a mistaken tradition of man that is sadly common in Reformedigelicalism.

Miano is doubtless aware of the Modern-Day Downgrade at work in the Reformedigelical churches of the West. Part of the Downgrade is the trend toward that which is easy and adds to the comfort level of the partakers. As an experienced street preacher myself, I know well that OAP incurs a very high level of discomfort, and Miano of course knows this too. Since it is uncomfortable, people don’t want to do it, and this leads to their making excuses, twisting the Scripture so they can justify their apathy toward the lost. This is a far more plausible explanation for why someone might not be able to find a church that supports OAP.

So, get plugged into a local church; live in submission to the elders and in love with the rest of the congregation. Be willing to work the nursery, or scrub a toilet, or teach a Sunday school class (if you’re qualified). Be willing to serve for no other reason than it is a fulfillment of the two greatest commandments–to love God and to love people.

Of course, Christians should be members of a local church; I don’t dispute that. I would take issue with verbiage like “live in submission to the elders”, however. If the elders tell you not to do a biblical thing, or to do an unbiblical thing, it is no virtue to obey. It is actually sin to obey these lesser voices in that case. Sin because you ought to be doing the right thing, and also sin because you are acting in a cowardly way, following the “overlord”‘s orders rather than standing against evil and exposing it (Jeremiah 7, Ephesians 5:11) out of love for the deceived elder(s) as well as love for the congregation.

You can’t actually love your congregation if you are sinning by knowingly withholding from them that which they need, that which you know you ought to help them take hold of.

James 4:17 – Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Taken in the context of the situation he is laying out, Miano is actually indirectly recommending a sinful course of action.

Also, because of the discomfort involved in OAP, there are precious few people willing to do it. Yet I challenge you to show me another ministry in which the Gospel can be spread so widely to so many people in such an efficient manner as OAP. I’m not criticizing other methods of evangelism. I’m saying that OAP has its place, and Jesus chose it for a reason.

Mark 1:14-15 – Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Matthew 4:23 – Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

Matthew 9:35 – Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

Luke 20:1 – On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him…

If your church meets in a separate building, far be it from me to suggest you not scrub a toilet. If y’all meet in a house, scrub the toilet there. Go for it! Doing that sort of thing and OAP are hardly mutually exclusive. I mean, unless your nursery duties are late on Friday night or something, which is often a really good time of week to do OAP.

The problem here is not whether an OA preacher in a church should say, “OAP is all I do within my local church.” That would be foolish and wrong. But Miano is not only acting like it is better to do something that most anyone can and is probably willing to do (since scrubbing toilets is, let’s face it, not too hard) than to do something that is hard but that results in tons of people hearing the Gospel proclaimed with boldness and power, for no other reason than that the OA preacher’s church is in sin and thinks that OAP is bad.

It would be far better to say this: Be willing to OAP for no other reason than it is a fulfillment of the two greatest commandments–to love God and to love people. And it is love not only to the lost who hear it, but also to the church members who probably have an unbiblical worldview undergirding their unbiblical objection to OAP; the OA preacher has the chance to set them free from these wrong views. This is pleasing to God.

Two more notes:

The Lord may yet call you to open-air preach (if you are a man)

Please, again, see my review of Miano’s book on the issue of whether only men are justified in OAP.

once they see that the gospel of Jesus Christ is more important to you than hearing your own voice preaching it.

True, the OA preacher must guard against pride in his heart. But when fewer than thousands of Christians are doing OAP in one’s area and there is opportunity, it should be done in a biblical manner, no matter whether the elders of your church are sinfully suppressing it.

Speaking for myself, it matters not whether it’s my voice. I want many voices proclaiming the Good News of the risen Savior. And if there are none, I want at least one. If that’s me, so be it.

Philippians 1:15-18 – Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.

Twitter Empathy and Hashtag Slacktivism

Originally posted on Pulpit & Pen:

More than one million people — including First Lady, Michelle Obama  — have tweeted the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. But whether they’re helping the roughly 250 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria or hopping on some kind of first-world digital bandwagon depends, frankly, on whom you ask.

These stinging words are from a May 8 article in the Washington Post. The words are harsh, but are they true? Could most public displays of empathy for the last (no doubt, important) cause be nothing but a peer-pressure induced digital bandwagon that accomplishes little more than providing a badge of empathy for those who don it? The Washington Post’s article providing Twitter screenshots from a Nigerian-American woman characterized these displays of support for the recently-kidnapped Nigerian school girls as “a recent wave of global sentimentality” that “simplifies nothing, solves nothing.”

This recent fad, the idea that awareness equals action, is defined in the Urban Dictionary

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Fahrenheit Highway 411: Matthew LeHew, Shorter University, and Ergun Caner

Originally posted on Seth Dunn:

 “It was a pleasure to burn.”Guy Montag, from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Matthew LeHew Calls Out Ergun Caner

Matthew LeHew

It’s simply important for all BPC stakeholders, especially the faculty and staff that make their living at the institution, to realize how serious the situation is[1] – Matthew LeHew

On or about the 10th of July, Matthew LeHew published an article on his personal website entitled “Ergun Caner is Wrong About Brewton-Parker’s Accreditation”.  LeHew was responding to a video (see below) in which Caner assesses the ramifications of the recent decision of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to strip Brewton-Parker College of its accreditation (Caner is the President of that school).  In the video, Caner makes a number of claims with which LeHew takes exception, most notably the claim that “(Brewton Parker) won’t lose (its) accreditation, not for a moment.”

At first blush…

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Sneak peek at audio from Reformation Montana 2014!

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Hey all. So bear in mind that these sessions are all being recorded and that hi -definition audio and video will soon be available.  But. For those that can’t wait, here is one of Vodie Baucham from Reformation Montana 2014. The sound is recorded off my phone, so quality is super awful, but you get what you pay for ;)

Vodie Baucham

P.S. This one was on the story of Joseph, and it seriously blew my mind. I had never heard this take on it and I am thoroughly convinced that he is right and it will forever change the way I view the story. Just killer stuff

A Small Sampling of the Wartburg Watch Combox Regarding Al Mohler

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Editors Note. This entry has existed in a previous form for several months. I have chosen to edit it because even though I believe the thrust of my concerns are legitimate, I sinfully used hyperbole and personal invectives against the two owners of the blog, as well as their commenters, in order to get my point across. A friend told me that I needed to repent and  change this and I heeded his call, so this is where I am. I could have been more gracious. I should have tried harder to “win a brother”, not provoke them to wrath. I have reached out to one of the owners and after some thought and consideration and feedback, I have decided to keep the post up, and yet edit out what I deemed sinful choice of words on my part. I’ll own my own words. I don’t believe in trying to cover any thing up, ever, and so if someone reads this and surmise I’m trying to hide what I previously have said- I’m not. If you contact me I will provide you with the original post, with this note at the top explaining the errors of my ways. 

 

I like Al Mohler. I don’t know him personally, but I have read most of his books, have read many of his articles, have listened to him on The Briefing, and am aware of the high esteem that the vast majority of my Christian heroes regard him with, as well as the general evangelical populace. He is considered to be a smart, thoughtful, gracious man full of integrity, conviction and Godly character, even as he is a sinful man like the rest of us.

For this reason I thought he would make an excellent candidate to demonstrate my concerns with the comment box at the Wartburg Watch- an online discernment ministry whose emphasis is topics relating to the spiritual abuse of parishioners by Christian pastors, teachers, authors and bloggers. At the Wartburg Watch, my concern is that there isn’t enough discernment applied inwardly to themselves. Often times it can feel like anyone who does not adhere to their understanding of biblical authority as it plays out in the Church and home is quickly written off, or must necessarily hold to positions that they do not hold.  This is most clearly seen in the combox, which is regulated and  moderated by the its creators who allow it to go on.

Though there have been some exceptions where people are cautioned to not go too far on some of the more extreme comments, for the most part personal attacks and insults often go unchecked and are seemingly actively encouraged. The commenters will give long, rambling detailed psychoanalysis of anyone who they feel deserve it, often by excoriating their motives and speculating and ascribing  intent heaped on with snarky and angry assertions.  In many ways it strikes me as a toxic environment, and its a shame because they often bring up something worth talking about, and address real concerns with a lot of the leaders in Christian circles, [especially the issue of spiritual abuse, which I believe needs to be given a greater voice] but the combox just kills them. Often I can’t tell if the people commenting are even Christians, because their worldview is so skewed. Perhaps there are a lot of non-Christian commenting, but it just seems to me as so much of the rhetoric is excessive and often dips into the category of sinful.

To wit, here is a small sample I’ve taken from two or three threads about Dr Al Mohler within about 10 minutes of searching which show a varied collection of slander, insults and misrepresentation of his beliefs and character. It’s important to note that these are all relatively mild compared to some of the other Christian leaders they’ve attacked [Joshua Harris, CJ Mahaney, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Tim Challies, Anyone at TGC, Phil Johnson, RC Sproul, Any Complementarian, Any Calvinist, etc] But they serve the point that if these things are said about Al Mohler, how much worse will they say about people they really don’t like.:

[He and his friends are] “A confederacy of dunces”

[Mohler] is a despicable human being that blaspheme the name of God.”

 “They’re pathetic”

“What a false gospel and world these men promote. They fit right in with Mormons and the Taliban”

“Mohler et al are abusers of the caliber of my father. I believe this because they are doing publicly what my father did privately: deliberately insistently demeaning people at the core of their beings—in their case, women”

“Mohler only wants to indoctrinate.”

“If Mohler and Patterson lived in the South in the mid-1800′s with this same hermeneutic, they would be slave owners.”

“He doesn’t possess the ability to communicate it in any meaningful way. Read his blog, and you will see a string of superlatives (his incessant use of the words “breathtaking” and “astonishing” are nauseating), with very little actual argument or critical thinking. And his books are not written to thinkers, or even those with a reading comprehension level above maybe 4th grade”

“Mohler pretty much depicts all single adult Christians as being ‘despicable’ in explaining why he thinks it’s okay to practice discrimination in churches not hiring singles, and in blaming singles for being single (he thinks everyone should marry by 21 or 22.)”

“AL MOHLER IS AN EVIL RULER”

“I do not think they are very bright. They have the same abilities as our infamous banksters: legalistically clever and savvy at turning situations to their favor. Certainly they have no wisdom, which is the best of intelligence.”

“They [Mohler et al] are false teachers”

[Mohler is the]archetype of antichrist

“I agree they are locked into teaching falsehoods and have shown no sign of openness to listening to what Christians are saying, or demonstrating any willingness to repent. Soft hearts? I’d say hardened hearts.”

“You would not know that from reading Mohler’s incredibly rude, condescending, insulting, unbiblical rhetoric against adult Christian singles.

“[Mohler et al] teach a reductionist, utilitarian view of women. They distill women (and men) down to objects that can only fill specific functions. They deny the fact that women (and men) are made in the image and likeness of God Himself. By denying this reality and truth (and yes, it’s Catholic but probably everybody here would agree to it’s truth), they deny or at least ignore Jesus’s own coming as flesh and blood which we just celebrating at Christmas (the Incarnation)”

“It just seems to me that Mohler continues to share a bed with Mahaney primarily because neither of them wants to share it with a woman.”

[Regarding Al Mohlers book] “All 25 chapters are titled with a non-biblical or twisted biblical belief Dr. Mohler has about leadership”

[Regarding Al Mohler] “That’s what I said. That’s what I call anyone who perverts the word of God to a gospel of oppression that justifies throwing people out of a job and into the street just because they lack a penis. They can twist the few verses there are out of context to try and put lipstick on their theological pig, but when Jesus says the two overriding commandments are to love God and love your neighbor and on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, there is no way to justify such oppression of women because that is NOT love in any sense of the word.”

“Based on how thoroughly Mohler conducted his scorched earth purges of women and ‘liberals’, I’ll bet there’s a number of books on Stalin in that stack – and few, if any, on Christian love.”

“Mohler doesn’t want to be humble servants as Jesus taught them to be they want to be powerful dictators in the guise of servant leaders.”

Again, just a small sampling of comments that get liked, applauded, laughed at, encouraged, agreed with, promoted by the other commenters and even the two blog leaders themselves.  [And these are some of the waaaaay more benign ones] For this small reason, as well as many more numerous ones which relate to public behavior and harassments, I find that they are hurting and damaging in a lot of ways the reputation they seek to cultivate, and the Christ-likeness they would seek to be known as. I would encourage them to examine this more closely and see  if they can’t do better, and be more loving, more gracious, more willing to assume the best of people even when they do act badly and even whom they disagree with.

Lobbing a few grenades into the Michael Brown/ Benny Hinn discussion

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I don’t know Dr. Michael Brown. I’ve never met him, and other than a few mentions by James White on the Dividing Line over the years, he was never really on my radar. Then the controversy over the Strange Fire conference erupted and Michael Brown emerged as one of the chief critics and ultimately in some way has become one of the representative voices of the Charismatic movement. Still though-other than reading a few articles from Dr Brown where it seemed apparent that he was not understanding the nuance of what John MacArthur and the speakers at the conference meant by “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” I didn’t know much about him. I did write a post about him and how he quenches the spirit. Then he appeared alongside  Benny Hinn and I sat up and listened to some of the programs and podcast and commentaries.  Then I heard his recent discussion with Steve Camp, and I pretty much had enough and thought it incumbent upon me to throw a few verbal hand grenades into the mix. Some thoughts then, in no particular order;

1. Dr Brown has faced down several high-profile detractors on his program and in various interviews and podcasts and the whole time he keeps on repeating “I’m not defending him. I’m not the Benny Hinn apologist” etc. I understand the desire not to be labeled and not place himself in that position or role, but he invariably find himself there. Even he rejects that role, he finds himself filling it. Whenever someone brings forth a viable complaint or issue, he’ll acknowledge ambiguity on the veracity of the claims, and then proceed to rebuke, rebuff and defend the charges, spinning implausible explanations of why he did what he did and why he said what he said. For someone who’s not the appointed Bennny Hinn defender, he’s actually kinda good at it.

2. Where has Benny Hinn repented? Several times Dr brown has mumbled “He’s repented of that” and then quickly changed the topic and moved away from that line of questioning, particularity when we talk about the revolving door of absurdities and false prophecies and teachings that he has become infamously and globally known for.   But is this public knowledge? He has indisputably preached some vile, heretical things in the 80’s and 90’s, much of what serves for fodder for the critiques. I spent some time and I dug around and apparently he repented of these in 1993 in an article in Charisma magazine. Assuming he repented for all the weird things, prior to these,  how about the last two decades since then?  Where has he repented, and how has he demonstrated his repentance? Where do we see him rebuking the prosperity preachers and word of faith preaches for their false gospel?

It seems to me that when you teach publicly for decades to millions, and you make false teachings, you need to be as public with your repentance as with your false teaching. We all know of King Davids sin, we all know who confronted him and who was the catalyst for his response. We also all know that he repented as surely as we know what his sin was. But where is the record of all the things Benny Hinn has repented of? I’m not seeing anything and I’m certainly not seeing anything specific.

3. So far, the only thing Michael Brown has close to saying negatively about Benny Hinn is that “he has some fund-raising issues”, after which he refocused the attention on himself and tells the stories of how he hates manipulative fundraising and how he appeared on a telethon and glowered and the people who were trying to make him do it and so on and so forth- as if the two are even in the same league together! I’m glad that Dr Brown is demonstrating integrity in this respect, but that’s not the same thing.  Even though I’m not convinced Benny Hinn isn’t a word faith, prosperity-gospel preaching heretic, for the sake of argument lets say that he’s not- his so-called “fundraising issues” don’t exist in a vacuum! What does it say about a man who for decades can so twist scripture that he’s essentially committing the hermeneutical equivalent of a sexual assault on the text of scriptures? He preys on the poorest of the poor and routinely promises up and down that if they give they’ll unlock unprecedented wealth in their life, and that they’ll guarantee to double their seed offering and bless them 30,60, 90 times. This is indicative of a larger problem. This has far reaching implications.

What does it say about a man and his ability to properly understood and teach the scriptures when he is so crass in his love of money and his abuse of the text that he can so manipulate the word of God to promise the most wild, worldly, selfish and pagan promises in regards to wealth creation? Am I to suppose that this man is a good,godly teacher who only has this one small idiosyncrasy when it comes to how he understands finances and how God blesses us and this malevolent, god-damned twisting of the word doesn’t affect anything else? That he’s pure as the driven snow and rock solid spiritually except when he’s promising millions if you sow your seed?  I think this is what bothered me the most. That even when you ignore the false prophecies, false teachings, false words of knowledge, false way of reading and handling the scriptures, that his love of money is so pervasive and the means which he seeks to acquire that money is so corrupt that it cripples my brain when I hear Michael frame this multiple times as an issue of we don’t like the way he “fund raises” and how this is just him speaking on tithing principles and reaping and sowing principles. I think he knows that its not, but if he does its not coming across at all.

Has he apologized and repented of his “fundraising techniques?” When Zaccheus was confronted with his sin and his misuse of money,  he said “Behold, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”[Luke 19:7-8] Immediately we look at that and see that the transformation showed itself up right in the realm where his sin was most dominantly manifest.  So will Benny Hinn repents of his thievery and manipulation and wealth accumulation, and will he likewise make restitution? Will he apologize for inviting to share his stage a man who promised the poorest of the poor that they would be millionaires if they gave 1000$ to him, but that they only had a two minute window to do so, so they’d better act fast. And oh- they had ATM machines and credit card machines already set up in case there was no money in the bank? How about insisting that widows and the destitute give their seed to you, not their local churches, so you can continue to collect a million dollar yearly salary and stay in hotel rooms that cost several thousand dollars a night? [Side rant, but we are never to emulate the widow with her mite who gave all she had. We ought never to give like her. There is no indication that Jesus was pleased with her. Rather, we ought to pity her, because she served as an example of what not to do] Will you repent of that?

4. One of the reasons that Dr Brown said he was unsure of whether  Hinn’s scandalous and far-reaching reputation was well deserved or not was because good, solid brothers and sisters who know Benny Hinn and traveled with him for years and decades said that that he’s legitimate and a wonderful man of God . I’m sorry, but that just proves that your friends have little to no discernment  in this area and are complicit in his false teaching and in his slaughter of the sheep. What else can you say about people who stand by and watch this happen? These friends and ministry partners listened to him the whole time manipulate the scriptures for years, making outrageous claims and promising poor people that they can be rich if they just sow their seed, much less everything he said, and he gets unqualified praise? These people traveled with Benny Hinn as he appeared onstage alongside and promoted people that even Michael Brown would consider prosperity preachers. Benny Hinn has a long laundry list of people that he thinks are the wonderful, the TBN regulars and alumni that teach insane things, and  he promotes and sells their books and comes on their shows and brings them effusive praise and calls them great men and women of God.

Dr Brown, I’m sorry, but if your friends are unable to recognize the unsoundness of this man’s teaching, the unsoundness of the way he handles scripture, the unsoundness of the way he “fund-raises” and the unsoundness of the worst scoundrels and rascals that he invited on his show to promote, then I have no reason to believe that your friends have any discernment and you ought to confront them and ask them to repent for their lack of wisdom and their tolerance for evil deeds.

In the same vein, Chris Rosebrough pointed out this quote on a program a few days ago. He quotes Hinn verbatim from a presentation Hinn gave only a few weeks ago! Here is one small recent example that shows the false teaching that Benny Hinn is spewing that is nowhere found in the Bible, no matter how badly some people seem intent on making this a “he’s just talking about reaping and sowing.”Again, this is not sound or faithful at all. Its theological strychnine and its toxic to the soul. Seed being a weapon against the devil? Giving will drive him away? What the what?

“Jesus gave us the secret. Jesus gave us the secret to prosperity. So what must you do? You must release your seed. You must sow your seed. Any farmer will tell you without sowing seed there is no harvest…you do that, and God will open the windows of heaven and pour on you blessings. There will not be enough room to receive them. Remember he said to Israel “I’m after my house. You give that my house might be blessed”. The house is the Church, this deals with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We read Malachi and we have got to be reminded that God is talking about his people and his work the gospel. So when Israel gave, he said “Ill pour out blessings on you they’re will not be room enough to receive it. I will bless the seed, I will bless the harvest, I’ll bless the fruit. He said I’ll rebuke the devourer for your sake. Satan is crippled when people give. Giving! Listen, your seed is a weapon against the devil himself. It will drive him away. How would you like for the devil to melt out of your life? How would you like for Satan to leave your finances? And where god can bless you big time. Start giving.

5. Let’s talk about Steve Munsey. Micheal Brown says  “I’ve written against the carnal prosperity gospel in the strongest possible terms. The question is…is this a matter of saying “we believe if you sow financially you’ll reap financially, give it and shall be given to you, and a host of other scriptures about finances…that as we give generously God gives to us generously, or is this a  confusion on the very essence of the gospel, that serving god as a mean of financial gain? …..Is that message damnable?.” As if that’s the extent of what Benny Hinn is teaching. In an article that Michael Brown references, he writes “In my own ministry (not to pat myself on the back but simply to respond to the endless stream of questions that has come my way), in 1989, my book The End of the American Gospel Enterprise focused largely on the compromised state of many of our American charismatic churches (since these were the circles I primarily traveled in) while my 1990 book How Saved Are We? contained an entire chapter renouncing the carnal prosperity message along with another chapter focused on carnal fundraising techniques. (For the record, these abusive techniques—honed to a science today on Christian TV by men like Mike Murdoch and Steve Munsey—have only become more pervasive since 1990.)

Would a good, godly man who is sound in the faith regularly have and actively promote men like Steve Munsey, who even Michael Brown will call out as a call false teacher?  Benny Hinn sells Munsey’s books on his website and in fact, after the show that Michael Brown taped with him, Benny had Steve Munsey on and said about him “he’s a dynamic, pastor, bible teacher, preacher, man of God.” When confronted about it by Steve Camp, Dr Brown said “I did not miss the fact, and I immediately wrote to some folks about it. It did happen, and it should be very indicative of things” Yeah, indicative that Benny Hinn doesn’t seem to have a problem with him or his message. I’m glad that it bothered him, but going back to my previous point, I wonder what these good, godly friends of yours who were ministry partners and traveled with him for years had to say about that? Because it’s not the first time he’s been on the show and it won’t be the last. But hey, I guess endorsing and giving  a platform to an actual honest-to-goodness word of faith prosperity heretic is just something that preachers who are sound in the faith do, right? And note that unlike many people, I don’t believe Dr Brown was endorsing Benny Hinn by appearing on his program. But Benny Hinn does endorse the crazies, and that is problematic to say the least.

6. To close this off, Dr Michael Brown said something interesting. When trying to discern whether someone is a true or false believer, he talked about how you can tell someone is not a true believers in they live in abiding, unrepentant sin. Well what else do you call decades of false teaching, false prophecies, false miracles, false “fundraising techniques” and giving platforms and promoting other false teachers, if not for that very thing? Right. That’s a perfect example of what unrepentant sin is. Benny Hinn has demonstrated his unrepentant sin because he refuses to stop doing  these shenanigans for 20 years. Does that not adequately and sufficiently meet all the conditions?

Clearly I’m frustrated and irritated. The more I read about the work of Michael Brown, the more I  like and admire him, and alternately find myself in abject frustration because of him. His work on homosexuality and the culture wars is stellar, and his Line Of Fire program has made it into the regular rotation on my podcast. Yet in this regard, and in this respect, I don’t find him discerning at all, nor do I find the advice he received from his friends to be helpful at all. I don’t get the defense of Benny Hinn, and I think he protests too much when charged with that claim. What a weird, bizarre, turn of events this has proven to be. I can only hope that Michael Brown will do the research and exercise discernment and that something good will come out of this, because at this point, with the way everything has come together, he has only served to muddy the water and make everything worse.