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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Michael Brown

Brownsville Revival: 20 Years Later

On Father’s Day, 1995, Brownsville Assembly of God had a special speaker in Rev. Steve Hill.  Hill was scheduled to preach that night (in those days, churches still had Sunday night services even on Father’s Day) in lieu of the passing of John Kilpatrick’s mother the previous week.  Kilpatrick simply was tired and he asked Hill to preach the morning service as well.  Hill preached from Psalm 77:11-12.  You can watch the sermon online and there was nothing in the sermon that was incredible.  Hill simply preached from his life, from his own experience of longing for God.  The altar call is where the “revival” began.  The revival that started that morning would continue until 2002.

I attended the Brownsville Revival (as it became known) three times.  The first was in 1996, once in 1997, and again in 2002.  By 2002, the revival was not really a revival anymore and the church was trying to find its place again.

The Good & The Bad

I went to Brownsville in 1996 very skeptical of what I would see.  People at our local church were constantly going on and on about what God was doing in Pensacola.  I heard strange things were happening and people were going to Pensacola for experience above the Word of God.  I had had a friend go down there and he “fell under the power” for a few hours.  He said the event changed his life (more to that later).  Thousands of people were heading to Pensacola to the point that even the news program, 20/20, did an expose on the revival.  Newspapers reported on the revival.  The church sign out front had to be daily changed as they would put how many souls were being saved at the revival.  At our church, people believed this was the great final outpouring of the Spirit before Jesus would come.  They believed God was preparing the world for the end by reaching out to it one last time. I watched entire churches change their entire services to reflect Brownsville.

When I went down to Pensacola in 1996, I was very skeptical of what I would see.  I did not go there seeking a revival.  I did not go there to seek an experience.  In fact, I had no experiences.  However, I left hungry for God.  While I saw some flesh, I saw some good.  I saw thousands of people praying at the Tuesday night prayer meeting which was the highlight of the week for me.  I saw people weeping over the lost.  I saw people longing to touch God with their prayers for sinners.  That blessed me.

However, I also saw people in the flesh.  I talked to some teenagers (as I was only 21) and they focused entirely on experiences instead of the Word of God.  That said, I also saw the youth pastor (Richard Crisco or Brother Richard) exhorting his teenagers to get into the Word.  Brother Richard preached the best that week in my estimation.  He preached from 1 Samuel 14 about Jonathan and his armor bearer and how we need to be around disciples if we are going to war.

I saw the strange manifestations.  I saw strange people.  One lady asked to pray for me and I said she could.  I closed my eyes and waited for her to lay her hands on me to pray but she did not and all was silent.  I opened one eye to see what she was doing and she was doing some sort of charismatic dance in front of me while, I guess, praying for me?  It was truly strange.

Another girl asked if an Argentinean pastor had prayed for me.  I said no.  She said that if he prays for you, you fall under the power of God (slain in the Spirit in the charismatic world) for hours.  At that time, I was open to this so she went to get him to pray for me.  He prayed for me but nothing happened.  Steve Hill came by and just pushed me down (courtesy drop we called it).

I watched as people literally chased John Kilpatrick around the church.  He took off running and people were running after him for his “anointing.”

I stood in line to talk to John Kilpatrick and was going to ask where in the Bible does he find evidence for the revival.  I was right behind a lady when she asked the very question I was going to ask him.  His reply was bad.  He said, “Woman, lay aside your mind and just let God touch you.  I can’t answer your questions about where this is in the Bible but I know it is from God because I see Him all over this place.  Let go and let God!”  That was it.  She and I both walked away from him shaking our heads.

Back home,  I watched people try to copy Brownsville.  They would preach like Steve Hill or pray like Kilpatrick.  They wanted their praise team to sound like Lindell Cooley and the Brownsville team.  Prayer banners became popular.  The subjective experiences I witnessed at the revival were carried over to the churches with shaking and laughing.

My View 20 Years Later

Did God do something in Pensacola?  Hard to judge.  I have found people who were saved at the revival and still are seeking God today.  I praise God for that.  However, I know a few unbelievers as well who once were “on fire” at the revival but today are enemies of Christ.  When I visited Brownsville in 1996, the neighborhood was hardly touched at all by the revival.  I remember walking over to an African-American woman’s house and asked her about the revival.  She said that she use to send her children to the church before the revival but now avoided it.  She pointed to the lines and lines of people and said the revival was a white revival and not a black revival so she wouldn’t go.  How sad.

Today Pensacola still needs the gospel.  The church has had a hard time after the revival.  The expenses of the revival ran the church into major debt.  The church is still fairly large but nothing like it use to be. Before the revival, the church had 2000 members.  Today they have less than 800.  The lines of people are long gone.  John Kilpatrick left the church in conflict in 2000.  Steve Hill left in 2001 to go back to missions work.  Hill died in 2014.

Sadly, most churches I know who were touched by Brownsville have faded as well.  Today they are seeking to be like Perry Noble or like Rick Warren more than like Brownsville.  What I think Brownsville highlighted was the tragedy of seeking experiences above God.  The churches who adopted Brownsville tactics did so not because of the Word of God but because of experiences and pragmatism.  They wanted Brownsville crowds and not revival.

I know of few churches today that truly pray for revival.  The one blessing that came from the Brownsville revival was that the word “revival” was so common on our lips in the 1990’s.  The Assemblies of God even had a link on their website in those days focusing on revivals breaking out across the nation and the world.  I remember attending the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) camp meeting in South Carolina in 1998 and the entire focus was on revival.  The preaching evangelist had just got back from Brownsville and was on fire.  He wanted to see the Church of God folks go back to their churches with the fire of God. Sadly, those days seem to be gone.  I hear few churches speaking of seeking God earnestly for revival.  Revival seems to be only what we read about today and not seek.

The Brownsville revival did spark a hunger in my life.  After the revival, I went on to long for God more and study His Word more.  I am thankful that He has been faithful to me all these years later.  I love the Bible now more than ever before.  I love sinners now more than ever before.  I long to pray for revival like I use to.  I long to see the churches seeking God for revival yet again.  So I go back to Psalm 77:11-12 and I pray that God would touch His people.  I don’t want another Brownsville revival but I want a true revival of sound doctrine, of sound preaching, of sound praying, and of soul winning.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/20/2015 at 10:48 AM

Strange Fire: A Charismatic Response to John MacArthur

British blogger Adrian Warnock has written an excellent reply to the Strange Fire Conference and John MacArthur.  You can find the article here.

My thoughts are the conference are:

  • Grateful that the conference has caused people to once again study the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  So often we easily understand the Father and we understand the Son but we have a tough time understanding the Holy Spirit.  We tend to think of Him in terms such as “ghost” who flies around doing things for God.  We need to teach biblical His person and His work among us.
  • While I didn’t like John MacArthur’s words toward charismatics, most of the speakers were gracious and seemed to just want to teach on the Holy Spirit while addressing the other issues at they went.  The tone was good overall and I appreciate the acknowledgement some gave toward charismatics being Christians.
  • Had the conference been named with an emphasis on the biblical doctrine of the Spirit, most charismatics (including myself) would have just written it off as another conference on the Spirit.  But the emphasis upon the charismatics made it a conference that took cheap shots at the movement such as making TBN and TV preachers as the spokespeople for the movement or by saying that nothing good comes out of the movement. I have no problem with cessationists wanting to address the Holy Spirit and give their reasons why the disagree with charismatics but do so with grace and love and not with anger or by claiming that all charismatics are blaspheming the Spirit.
  • My favorite part was the story that came out about Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald crashing the party by coming to the conference and offering free books in the parking lot.  Various reports have said that GCC asked Driscoll to leave while some say that they were nice toward him.  I do find it ironic that on the Internet, non-charismatic Reformed guys were pounding charismatic Reformed guys over the issue, trying to make Driscoll look evil (especially since he is opposed to JM over the issue of cessationism).  While sad, it shows me how divided even the Reformed believers are.  We are so far from unity (John 17:22-23; Ephesians 4:1-6).
  • I would love to see the charismatic movement counter this with a conference on the Holy Spirit.  I would love to see men such as Wayne Grudem, Jack Deere, Adrian Warnock, John Piper, and Michael Brown all coming together to teach on why they believe the Spirit continues to give us the revelatory or sign gifts.  Make sure a book is coming out near the conference too!
  • Phil Johnson has agreed to appear on Dr. Michael Brown’s podcast, The Line of Fire.  I plan on listening and I pray that Dr. Brown and Mr. Johnson can show how to truly talk about these issues.  We can disagree but do so with a spirit of grace and love all while accepting each other as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.  God doesn’t save charismatics or Arminians or Calvinists.  He only saves sinners (Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 1:15).
  • Finally, I hope a day will come when we can talk about our differences over the gifts of the Spirit without trying to use quotes from Kenneth Copeland to prove the charismatic position wrong (or any other Word-Faith teachers).  Let us wrestle with Scripture instead of propping up various teachers (who are mere flesh) as the example of why or why not you believe in cessationism.  Why does every debate over spiritual gifts have to turn into using TBN as a reason why you reject certain gifts?  Why not instead turn to Scripture?

Thoughts on The Strange Fire Conference

Dr. John MacArthur is not stranger to theological debates.  I first heard of Dr. MacArthur when I was a young believer over the issue of Lordship salvation.  At that time his book, The Gospel According to Jesus, was influencing many people to preach against “easy believeism” and was causing a stir.  His other books that have hit a nerve in terms of debates have been, Charismatic Chaos and Ashamed of the Gospel.  I read the book, Charismatic Chaos, while being fully involved with a Pentecostal church.  I thought the book was a book that Pentecostals and Charismatics needed to read and interact with.  I hoped the book would promote a new look especially into the faulty theology of the Word- Faith movement.

Now Dr. MacArthur is taking up the charismatic movement again with his new book, Strange Fire.  I have not read the book but do plan to and will offer a review in time.  This week Dr. MacArthur is hosting a conference at his church in Los Angeles called, The Strange Fire Conference, in which he plans to address the issues of the charismatic movement and teach correctly what the Bible says about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  I do hope to watch some of the conference online as time permits.  I know that the conference will produce countless of other blog posts and articles on the charismatic issue.  This is good in my estimation.  We need a good biblical discussion about the Holy Spirit and His work.

Some have taken exception with the conference.  Most notably has been Dr. Michael Brown.  Dr. Brown has written several articles on the conference for Charisma Magazine.  Dr. Brown believes that Dr. MacArthur needs to interact with serious charismatics like himself instead of attacking and lumping together all charismatics to the likes of Todd Bentley or Benny Hinn.  Dr. Brown also questions Dr. MacArthur’s use of “blasphemy of the Spirit” in relation to the charismatic movement and he believes that this is dangerous, to say that charismatics are blaspheming the Spirit since this would imply that they are not saved and never can be (Matthew 12:32).  Who can make such a claim about a person other than God?

I stand in-between on this debate.  In fact, I rarely address the spiritual gifts issue here because it is not my theological passion.  I would not even label myself as a charismatic but as a partial cessasionist (as I believe that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God and the final authority for all things).  That said, I agree with Dr. MacArthur that there are excesses in the charismatic movement.  However, not all Pentecostals or Charismatics can be lumped together.  I don’t think it is fair to lump all charismatics in with the Word-Faith movement.  They are not one and the same.  I know of many godly Pentecostal men and women who truly love Jesus, love the gospel, preach the truth of the gospel, long for souls to be saved, are educated, love the Word, and are seeking to be holy.  I myself was saved in a Pentecostal church and currently attend a Pentecostal church where you would not find excesses nor would you find people chasing their feelings about the Scriptures.  I don’t know of any perfect Pentecostals so perhaps if you talked to someone long enough you might find something you disagree with but you would not find wacky, shaking, longing for subjective experience people in our midst that I am aware of.  Further, I have known many Pentecostals over the years and none of them have elevated their own experiences above the Word of God.  I have met some weird people but I don’t see that coming from their Pentecostal theology as much as just being ignorant of God’s Word period.  And to be honest, I have met weird people from all walks of life and from different religions.  Pentecostals are not unique in that regard.

I also agree with Dr. Brown that there are many godly men and women around the world serving Jesus and preaching His gospel while disagreeing with Dr. MacArthur over his view of the gifts of the Spirit.  MacArthur would acknowledge this as well.  I know of one brother who is laboring in Southeast Asia for the kingdom.  He is preaching the gospel, discipling the saints of God, and he loves the Word of God.  Yet he is charismatic.  Is he blaspheming the Spirit?  I don’t think so.  Why lump him with the likes of a John Crowder?  I do appreciate the fact that Dr. MacArthur has stated that he does believe many Pentecostals and charismatics do love Jesus and do preach the gospel yet he believes that the movement, as a whole, is off base.

I do believe that we need to know the truth of the Holy Spirit.  His work is vital to the Church and to the growth of the disciple of Jesus.  I do believe that all movements need correction from time to time.  It is possible to lose focus from the Lord Jesus and begin to focus on the gifts of the Spirit above the gospel of the kingdom.  I have seen churches lose focus from the gospel and embraced a social gospel instead of the gospel that sets sinners free by the grace of God.  It is possible that some charismatics have glorified the Spirit above the Lord Jesus and this should not be since Jesus said the Spirit would glorify Him (John 15:26).  I have seen Calvinists in love with Calvinism above Jesus or KJV only followers in love with the KJV above Jesus.  It is easy to lose focus and become unbalanced.

I do welcome The Strange Fire Conference.  I believe we need such a conference but I do pray that Dr. MacArthur would interact with godly men such as Dr. Michael Brown or other Pentecostal theologians.  This would include him interacting with Reformed charismatics such as Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Matt Chandler, and many others.  In reality, Dr. MacArthur is attacking a large part of the body of Christ whom he disagrees with but I also fear using Matthew 12:31-32 for all of these brethren.  This is dangerous and I agree with Dr. Brown that we must careful when this assertion.  I disagree with many aspects of Reformed theology but I would not dare label their worship as false or worse, as blasphemous to God.

One final note.  I too have been troubled by the “revival” movements of the past including the Toronto Blessing and the Brownsville revival.  I actually visited the Brownsville revival on three separate occasions.  I walked away seeing some good and seeing some bad.  While I rejoice that some people did repent, I have no doubt that there was much flesh that I witnessed.  I also struggle with “charismatic” television such as TBN or the God Channel.  I once visited the TBN station in Atlanta, GA and found it to be full of idolatry and the worship of flesh.  I believe those in the Pentecostal and charismatic movement should speak out more against the false teachings and misleading statements that are made by popular charismatic preachers.  How I wish that unknown heroes of the faith such as Terry Roberts, pastor of Trinity Assembly of God in Columbia, SC, would be the standard and not a Joel Osteen or a Kenneth Copeland.  We need more faithful men of God who love the Word, preach the truth of God’s grace, and are full of the Holy Spirit instead of the likes of a Todd Bentley or a Paula White filling our homes with their teachings.

And those are my thoughts on that issue.  I will say no more.

Five Favorite Living Arminians and Calvinists (2013)

Had an e-mail this week ask me to name my five favorite Arminians and Calvinists and why.  So here is a brief top five along with short reasons why.

Top Five Arminians

1.  Dr. Vic Reasoner.  I enjoy his commentaries on Romans and Revelation as well as his other works.  He is an expository preacher, President of the Southern Methodist College, and a very skilled writer.

2.  Dr. Robert Picirilli.  His book, Grace, Faith, Free Willis simply a good book.  I have read it nearly three times.  He also advocates expository preaching.  I do differ with him over the KJV as he believes that the KJV is the best English translation though he is not KJV only.

3.  Dr. Roger Olson.  While I don’t agree with Dr. Olson on all issues (see inerrancy), I do enjoy his books especially his book, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities.  

4.  Dr. Jack Cottrell.  While Dr. Cottrell is part of the Restoration Movement, he does consider himself an Arminian.  His books, especially his commentary on Romans and his trilogy on the doctrine of God, are classics.  Dr. Cottrell will make you think and he always takes theological issues and wrestles with the Scriptures for the final say.

5.  Dr. Michael Brown.  One of the best Christian apologists and a good debater.  He and his friend Dr. James White often aim at each other yet Dr. Brown remains a godly man through it all.  I met Dr. Brown back in the 1990’s and he was a man with a fire for Jesus.  His preaching is a call to holiness.  His book, Go and Sin No More! is a great read.

Top Five Calvinists

1.  Dr. John MacArthur.  I truly enjoy Johnny Mac.  I had the honor of meeting him and found him to be a godly, warm man.  His writings are full of Scripture and I love his passion for expository preaching.  His book, The Gospel According to Jesus, is a must read for all disciples.

2.  Matt Chandler.  I enjoy Matt’s preaching style.  He is not a deep expositor like MacArthur above but he does teach the Word faithfully and calls people to radically follow Jesus.  His book, The Explicit Gospelis a must read.

3.  Paul Washer.  This brother burns with a passion for Jesus.  Paul describes himself as a “Spurgeonite” when asked what he believes.  I love his zeal for the lost, his hunger for holiness, and his preaching of repentance.

4.  Dr. Gary DeMar.  DeMar use to have a 2 hour podcast that I would download and listen to in my truck.  I first downloaded it to disagree with him but more and more he opened my eyes to many things.  While I don’t always agree with Gary, he is an excellent thinker and writer.  His book, Last Days Madness, is a good read.

5.  Dr. Richard Mayhue.  Some may not know who this is.  Dr. Mayhue is one of John MacArthur’s right hand men.  He is a good Bible teacher, a deep thinker, and signed a book for me once.  His book, The Healing Promise, is a good read.

False Grace Doctrine by Dr. Michael Brown

Here is a video of an interview with Dr. Michael Brown on the false teaching of hyper-grace.  This is teaching that fulfills Jude 4 in our day.  The Church has always had false teachers who pervert the grace of God and who open the door for sinning among the saints.

 

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/02/2013 at 11:45 AM

Calvinist Call-In Program With Dr. Michael Brown

Dr. Michael Brown is not shy about debates.  He recently did a special call-in program on his program, The Line of Fire, in which he asked only for Calvinists to call in.  It is an interesting program and caught the attention of Calvinist apologist (and personal friend of Dr. Brown), Dr. James White on his program, The Dividing Line.  

You can listen to the program here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/06/2013 at 10:32 AM

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