Dr. Michael Brown and Benny Hinn? Is this “Authentic Fire”?

The pushback on John MacArthur and Grace to You has been widespread before, during, and since the Strange Fire conference a couple of months ago. Dr. Michael L. Brown has probably been the most vocal critic of MacArthur, the conference, and cessationists since then.

I will give Brown credit where credit is due. He has written a response to MacArthur’s book Strange Fire, called Authentic Fire. I have not yet had the opportunity to read it, but that’s exactly what should happen from those who think the miraculous gifts are still in operation today. That’s the kind of discussion that should be going on. And I’ll also give credit for Brown as being a top notch defender of the faith when it comes to Jesus as the Jews’ Messiah and the issue of homosexuality in the culture today.

But then there’s this…

…and you just have to ask…

Is this, Dr. Brown, the authentic fire of which you speak? Benny Hinn? How can you sit with a man like that for any reason whatsoever other than to rebuke, reprove, and exhort him, calling him to repentance, as 2 Timothy 4:2 instructs us to do? Because he most assuredly is one of the ear tickling teachers of 2 Timothy 4:3? Here is a man who preaches a false gospel, has taught absurd heresies with regard to the Trinity, has profited millions of dollars out of the pockets of the deceived, and been involved in a public adulterous relationship when another false teacher.

Why, oh why, should we take your word that the Brownsville Revival produced good fruit if Benny Hinn is an example of that which produces good fruit? Do you not see how he blasphemes the Messiah you are so good at showing others is Jesus? Can you not see how your de facto endorsement of Hinn compromises the rock solid defense of the Bible and marriage and what it says about homosexuality on Piers Morgan recently?

I cannot help but say I’m grieved by this. I thought you to be among the most trusted of those who, as I understand the Bible, erroneously believe the miraculous apostolic era gifts are still in operation today. This makes me, and I’m sure many others, question that.

Now, the interviews have not aired, so I’ll say this: If in these interviews Dr. Brown does not him to repentance for all of these things, I will be the first to say “Well done” and apologize for this post. But I am not naive, nor am I hopeful that is the case. There were five interviews, after all. Five. I hope Dr. Brown will think about what he’s done here and take appropriate steps to make it right.

UPDATE (02 Jan 2014 – 10:13pm): Dr. Brown posted this on Facebook a couple of hours after the initial post about the interviews:

Thanks, friends, for sharing your thoughts and concerns re: my appearing on the Benny Hinn show. While I’m quite aware that some of you feel he is the ultimate false teacher and charlatan while others believe him to be a wonderful man of God, I have actually not monitored his ministry over the years. When I received the invitation to appear on the show, I felt I was to take it and exalt Jesus the Messiah and expose hyper-grace (and exalt true grace) to millions of viewers. And since Pastor Hinn seems very desirous of further interaction with me, I would encourage those of you who have grave concerns about his ministry to pray that God would use me to be a blessing in his life.

While I do pray that any interaction Brown has with Hinn might result in Hinn coming to Christ in repentance and genuine faith, I must admit I find Brown’s explanation that he has not monitored Hinn’s ministry over the years to be utterly incredulous, as Hinn is a very well known charlatan teacher even among those who don’t travel in charismatic circles (which Brown obviously does). Even if he doesn’t keep track of every little thing Hinn says and does, Hinn’s exploits and false teachings are widespread. That Brown isn’t familiar enough with them to be absolutely alarmed would itself be alarming if it could be believed. It cannot, which makes all of this even more disappointing.

9 Replies to “Dr. Michael Brown and Benny Hinn? Is this “Authentic Fire”?”

  1. Good thoughts. I too find the assertion that Brown hasn’t ‘monitored his ministry’ recently to be silly. I don’t monitor Hinn’s ministry either, but I’m well aware of a number of things he’s said and done via the news and other sources of information. If Brown means he doesn’t directly monitor Hinn’s writings and ministry, that would be one thing (and a bit of obfuscation as well); if he means he has no knowledge of Hinn’s ministry, then I fear the ‘L’ word might come into play.

    It probably wouldn’t be hard to read Brown’s blog and other writings over the past few years and find out how many references there are to Hinn and Hinn-related sayings and events. It might even make things a little clearer. While Brown’s theology may be aberrant, he is not stupid, and he is very up-to-speed on cultural and religious matters in general. To suggest he is unaware of the words and deeds of someone with the stature of Hinn is almost unthinkable.

    1. Michael Brown obviously read John MacArthurs book, “Strange Fire”. That is why he wrote his book, “Authentic Fire”. In Strange Fire, Benny Hinn and many others of his ilk, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland etc.are brought up throughtout the book. For Michael Brown to say that he is not familiar with HInn is a blantent L–. I am sorely saddened by Mr. Browns lack of TRUTHFULNESS AND INTEGRITY..Please read Jude 1:1-25. Cling to our Lord Jesus Christ like a burr to cloth

  2. Matt, Dr. Brown spent the bulk of his radio program this week discussing why he spoke with Benny Hinn. Brown felt the need to do that primarily because of concerns such as yours. Would you have had the same response if Brown had garnered an interview with Dr. MacArthur? Dr. Brown’s been trying to have a civil dialogue with him for months now to air their differences in a way that glorifies The Lord, yet MacArthur has refused. For some of those who agree with Brown on the charisma, having that dialogue might have been heretical and nullified everything he had to say on the subject of the continuance of the gifts.

    I guess the alternative to speaking with those with whom you may have differences is never to speak to anyone who may have ever said anything that was wrong, misinterpreted, or that they’ve renounced. That way you’re never accused of flirting with a heretic. If the body of Christ worked that way, we’d never talk things through to get understanding; we’d never correct or rebuke anyone to their face; we’d never be able to share great truth in a public meeting with anyone other than a “yes man” without being branded at best wishy-washy and at worst a turncoat to the faith. I don’t think that’s what we want.

    If your reasoning were followed, Jesus would never have discussed anything with the Pharisees. Paul would never have spoken on Mars Hill or with Festus or Agrippa or any of the Pharisees. He would never have visited the Corinthians. He and Peter would never have made up after Peter’s bout with the Judaizers. I could go on. Before you judge Dr. Brown, you should watch the programs with Benny Hinn. Even if there isn’t any rebuke or correction going on (as far as I know, Hinn immediately denounced any past misstatements he made about the Trinity), as long as truth is exalted, shouldn’t we all rejoice?

    1. David,

      First of all thank you for reading and commenting.

      If Dr. MacArthur decided to do an interview with Dr. Brown I wouldn’t have a problem with him doing that. At the same time, I would probably make the same decision he has made not to do that interview given how little Phil Johnson got to talk during the hour he was on the show with him. As for doing a debate, I agree with MacArthur’s philosophy that formal debates accomplish little in comparison with the preached word and the written word. Brown has responded with a book. That will do more to further this issue than any debate would.

      There is a vast difference between speaking with those you have differences and sitting down for five interviews with a man who is so clearly a false teacher in his forum. There is no reason whatsoever to expect truth to be exalted in anything he does. There will be just enough “truth” during the segments with Dr. Brown to satisfy Brown’s fans. What will be going on the rest of the program? Or in this week’s programs? Or in the next week’s programs?

      All that said, if the completely unexpected happens and Hinn repents of teaching there are nine members of the Godhead, and repents regarding a whole host of other false teachings and false actions, I’ll rejoice. But of course I don’t expect that because I do not believe Benny Hinn to be a brother in Christ, but a wolf deceiving thousands upon thousands.

      1. I wholeheartedly agree.Read John Macarthurs blog with Justin Peters. Browns tweets speak for themself. I pray for him believing him to me a man of God.

    2. Mr Ashby, you said “as far as I know, Hinn immediately denounced any past misstatements he made about the Trinity”. He did not exactly denounce – I seem to remember that he said it was “just a joke” – but maybe, probably, my memory is at fault. One thing is certain. For sale on his website is “The Dake Annotated Bible”, whose annotations contain the very same heretical teaching (amongst others that Hinn has taught) that got Hinn into trouble in the first place. Hinn endorses this product. He sells the product. He does not warn anyone of its erroneous content. Doesn’t seem like repentence, I’m afraid.

  3. Pastor Privett, thank you for the posts and for articulating this issue so well. I watched “Strange Fire” with great interest because I have learned so much from Dr. MacArthur’s materials over the years, and I am bumping up against many people with charismatic beliefs in my life. I think Dr. Michael Brown is an intelligent man and has done many good things, but it is distressing to me to see how much energy he has put into fighting back against the SF conference, instead of leading a charge of righting wrongs perpetrated by many notorious “celebrity” Charismatic teachers.
    Also, I do not think that Dr. MacArthur owes Dr. Brown a face to face conversation or debate. Dr. MacArthur’s goal was to rebuke false teachers and warn people about following those who have a false gospel. In my view, he does not owe anybody a followup conversation for acting in a pastoral role. I think Phil Johnson was gracious to sit and talk, and that is enough.
    I live in Winston Salem, would enjoy visiting your church sometime.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments. I especially appreciate the point you make about MacArthur not owing anyone anything more for simply acting in a pastoral role… doing what he’s supposed to do (and what I am supposed to do as well, for that matter).

      People are ultimately going to be convinced on this issue through solid biblical exegesis and preaching, and books as well. Debates, whether they be formal, on the radio and television, or (gasp) on Facebook and Twitter, usually generate more heat than light.

      W-S isn’t that far away. If you are ever in this area please do worship with us.

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