Dr. Michael Brown's address on leaving Brownsville
I'm going to have to speak as clearly as I can without the mike right now. Can you hear me in the back? Yes. Anyone who wants to come up closer, feel free to do that. We've got our [tape] running? Is it running properly? Is our backup running properly? Is our official video going? All right. [Laughter].
I want to say first that we are not here to bash anyone. We're not here to speak against anyone. There's one family that God's looking down at, one church that he's looking at. We love and bless Pastor John Kilpatrick and Brownsville Assembly.
Bless God for everything he's done through the Brownsville Revival. There are not two sides here. All of us just want to be on God's side. Amen?
If, as I'm speaking, there are any tears, I'm really not concerned about my own reputation. If you're going to be a follower of Jesus, you have to die to that right at the outset. I'm really not concerned about my own well-being, and the faculty that's standing together with us, the faculty and spouses that are here, would you just stand together with me. Just turn so everybody can see you folks. [Applause]
And I want you to know that these folks, out of their love for you and their love for truth, have said, We're going on with the commitment and the vision and the promise, with no guarantee of salary, with no guarantee of how they'll pay bills or take care of their kids, that's how much they love you, I want you to know that. If there are tears though, I just feel so bad that this had to happen to you folks and there's reproach on the name of Jesus, and that so many of you guys are getting torn up.
We've done everything in our power to prevent that from happening. We don't have any enemies. We don't have any evil people involved..
I want to give you the chronology of what's happened and then give you some great hope for tomorrow. When the school was formed, the church had been praying to raise up a school, it had been on Richard Crisco's heart, that's before I ever came here. I came in May of 1996 and when I left that week, God began to lay on my heart a vision about equipping and exporting from the revival.
A few days later he spoke to me about raising up a school of ministry in the midst of the revival and I faxed Pastor John and Steve Hill, and said, I've got this vision of doing something. I didn't know they had been praying about that very same thing, and found out that it was on their hearts as well, and when I came down in August of 96, we officially agreed that we were going to begin on this, and I was asked if I would set up a curriculum that would follow the Berean curriculum, so that folks could be ordained with the Assemblies.
And I said, listen, my understanding is that this revival is not about Brownsville or the Assemblies of God. It's bigger than that, and we need to put the new wine into some new wineskins [I'm] not calling the Assemblies old wineskins but just a curriculum that would reflect the new wine of revival. And the brothers agreed with that.
I wrote that letter on August 24th of 96. And from the start, one of the great things about this was that here I was, an ordained minister of the gospel, but not Assemblies of God credentialed, in [an] Assemblies of God church, leading the School of Ministry, and it was a great appeal to the Body, to speak of unity, to speak of the wideness of the revival, to show that this was not a matter of denominations, and our school was about half Assemblies of God students and half that were not, and it was a wonderful relationship.
As the school continued to grow, it was never an issue that was ever brought up to me, about becoming Assemblies,.and over a period of time, questions began to rise within the school, because we were sending out so many laborers, graduates getting ready. Who was going to credential them? Many of them didn't come from Assemblies backgrounds, some because of marital situations before they were saved could not go with the Assemblies, so it was discussed with the Board of the School. It was separately incorporated. I was the President of the school, under a school Board appointed by the church Board, under John Kilpatrick. So, he was the head of the whole organization. All of you, I think knew that.
We always honored him as the Pastor of the revival. There was never any separation between the church and the school. We've always been one. No one ever heard any talk that it was anything contrary to that. It was never us and them, it was always one.
So, the school board approved of us having a separate credentialing agency, The Fellowship for International Revival and Evangelism called F.I.R.E., so that we could credential our grads, because we realized that this school was not just a school, it was becoming a movement. The revival had birthed a movement that was going out to the nations.
We also had set up something called Brownsville International with now over 80 missionaries, graduates from our school in about 16 different nations. That was also Board approved. Everything was moving on fine. There were no issues or problems of real consequence.
Most of you here were with us at The Call D.C. when we brought the message on the Jesus Revolution as we stood together that day. I came back from The Call on a Monday and the following Tuesday I was scheduled to be in Springfield, Missouri with Pastor Kilpatrick to meet with the heads of the Assemblies to discuss issues relative to the School of Ministry.
And there were just concerns [that they had], the issue of our credentialing was creating a problem for some of the Assemblies leaders who thought that the people should be going through the Assemblies. Some of our missionaries out on the field, were not working with the Assemblies contacts, because we had other contacts. We always just thought, it's a big kingdom, it's a big world, we're all working side by side. We had no conflict with it, but issues, questions were coming up that were legitimate questions in the minds of the Assemblies leaders, so what then happened was that Thomas Trask really suggested it would be a good thing if I would hold credentials with the Assemblies.
He strongly urged me to do it, he felt that it would be in the best interest of the school. You see, the Assemblies of God loaned the school three million dollars to purchase the campus and they were really behind us. We had put in about a million and half of our own money, and the rest came from the Assemblies, and they were really behind us, we were working together.
Thomas Trask felt that it would just be a good guarantee if I as the President would carry credentials with the Assemblies, and I just politely told him that God hadn't called me to that. And then after a while, Pastor John said, Mike, I agree, I think it would be a good thing for you to carry credentials. I'd like you to pray about it, and some weeks later he met with me and just graciously said, Mike, I insist, you have to become Assemblies, I want you to do it, it's the best thing.
And because of my love for him and you know the love I've had for Pastor and because of my respect for authority, you always know we've taught that and we've lived that individually as a faculty, and because I wanted to make things easier for him, I said, It's not an easy thing for me to do, just based on calling and convictions, but if we can really talk some issues through, I'm willing to do it.
And then a few days after that, after.much prayer, God dealt with me that I was not to be Assemblies. It was contrary to his calling for my own life. I was to reflect something different from that. I shared that with Pastor and he then gave me an ultimatum. In his mind, it was the right thing, I don't want to speak evil. He felt that his authority had asked him to do it and now he as my authority was insisting that I do it, therefore, if I wouldn't do it, [in his mind] I was being insubordinate to him. I said, I'd do anything for you Pastor, but my conscience convicts me, I can't.
And he said, Well then, you'll be fired and you'll lose the school. And I could care less about my vision, my dream, my goal, but when I thought about the student body, when I thought about my family, my spiritual sons and daughters, and the ones who send me notes, Dear Dad and all that. and I thought, I can't lose the students. And just sitting in his office, I sobbed in his presence, and I left that day. I had to preach that night in revival, it was Saturday, and I just called him and said, Okay, I'll do it, I have no alternative, I can't sacrifice the school, I'll do it. It happened to be at the same time that Suzette Hattingh [from Germany] and Yesupadam [from India] were in with us and I just shared the situation with them for prayer and they said, Well Mike, we'll really have to pray that God will speak to you and show you what to do, and I woke up that morning, Sunday morning. You know, I'm a late night person.
I went to sleep at two and got up at five [AM] to catch a flight. Little did I know that Suzette was up at four [AM] praying that God would speak to me. I woke up at five, I felt like I had resurrected, I jumped out of bed, the Spirit all over me, and God made it clear, you are not to be Assemblies.
I bless God for the Assemblies and all that they have done around the world, and I hope we can co-labor until Jesus comes. But God dealt with me for a number of reasons. I could not do it.
Out of my love for.Pastor and my respect for authority, and above all out my love for you, I sought to comply with his request and told him twice I would do it, but God would not allow it. Then that precipitated a crisis. I thought everything could be talked through and worked out, but in his heart now, it was a crisis because [in his opinion] I was showing streaks of insubordination and pride because I would not comply with his request. And then he called for a Board meeting, the intent of which was to fire me.
You may remember a Sunday morning where he stood before the church and said, he made a decision and it was going to be a very hard decision. God hadn't spoken to him, but he knew what he had to do, it was clear as the nose on his face, and just to pray for him because of the decision he had to make. Many of you were there and gave him a standing ovation. That was the decision that I was going to be fired for not becoming Assemblies.
We went to prayer and fasting, and that Thursday night, we had a Board meeting. I had suggested to him, Listen if it's just to keep the Assemblies satisfied that the head of the school is in doctrinal harmony, etc., they don't know who will be there when I leave, if I ever leave, they don't know -- why don't they just give you a title, Pastor, something related to it.
The idea clicked in that board meeting, it was suggested that he become the Executive President of the School, just take on that title. I would continue to do what I was doing with no diminished authority, but he would take on that title and that would satisfy the Assemblies that always the senior leader of the school would be Assemblies.
And immediately that night, as the Executive President, he set some things in motion, one of which was that we would have to phase out F.I.R.E. and we'd no longer be able to credential. Another one was, that came up subsequently, that B.I., our missions sending agency would have to be shut down and the missionaries given over to.others.
So these were very hard things. There were also some person decisions made that related to me, and they were very difficult, but I knew, just keep the peace, be submitted to the situation, and about a week and a half later, when I went to discuss some of the issues with him, he took exception to my discussing some of the issues with him. I held my ground in discussing the issues, and from that day until the day he fired me, this past Sunday, I hadn't seen his face once.
I was told that I was not in fact submitted to him as Executive President. I affirmed in writing to the Board of Directors in a letter written December 7th, that I indeed submitted to him as Executive President of the School. I reaffirmed my desire for the church and school to work together as one. It had been discussed on several occasions that perhaps the school should be released to be financially independent and that there would be a new Board that would be totally devoted to governing school, instead of it being a church appointed Board, so they could really concentrate on it.
I felt that was a good idea. Pastor would be our pastor, Brownsville would be our home church. We'd work together side by side. That's always been my desire. I continue to have that as my desire, that we work together, side by side. When I left graduation on Sunday [December 16 th ], I took the hand of the Chairman of the Board and prayed with him that God would enable us, the church and the school to continue to work together as one, but I was told flatly [by Pastor, at different times] that I was no longer believed in the statements that I was making.
And of course, there's always the comfort that you folks know me, and you only reproduce what you are, and we've sown a lot of tears, and the emotional agony that we went through with the thought hanging over my head and hanging over Nancy's head and.different ones, that we could be cut off from you, was one of the most terrible things we ever went through.
It's been amazing to have some of you fall in our arms weeping and see that we've sown tears and we're reaping tears, and we've poured ourselves out for you and the emails that come in over and over to the point of [being] absolutely overwhelming, We're with you, we love you, we're standing together.
Well, I became informed that there would be a meeting the day after graduation. You say, Well, why didn't you make an announcement to the student body? I wanted to protect you. I thought [to myself], If I say anything, once I've said it, the word is out and you can't take it back. What if God intervenes? We're praying, we're fasting, what if something happens? I was so jealous over the name of Brownsville and Pastor [Kilpatrick] and the Church, I thought, If I say anything and word gets out, once the students hear it and word gets out, it goes around the world. There's a blemish, an international blemish on the revival.
So we said nothing. We didn't say anything to our staff about it at the school. We had the Sunday night [Board] meeting and there was no discussion of differences, no attempt to reconcile. I had reached out every way I knew how, I had taken full responsibility for anything I knew that offended Pastor. In fact, I was planning on coming in with a bucket that night and washing his feet, but I was told by a Board member that that wouldn't be recommended. We [had] continued to pray and fast. Graduation was somewhat of a bittersweet time, and the last Friday of school, as you're lining up to talk to us [saying], We can't wait to see you, we're looking forward to next semester, we're so excited . . .
Some of our dearest friends just moved down here from New York, ready to start school, and.we're thinking, This is unbelievable. So, the Board meeting came and I was offered four months severance pay, if I'd be -- I'd be released to start a school at least 50 miles away. And I said, Well, we can't do that. The students will be looking to me, to us, the faculty. Almost all of them [the faculty] had made it plain if I was fired, that they could not go on with the school in that setting, they could not support the decision, nor could they support the new direction no more credentialing, no more missions sending agency. So, I knew that we had to fulfill a sacred obligation to the student body, that you came here for us, we have to be here for you. How many of you are in the class that's about to graduate in May? I knew I -- we can't start and not finish -- we can't not be there to walk down the aisle with you and tell you we're proud of you, and pour that last semester into you.
Those that have just come to [the] third year [internship], how are we just going to say, Sorry, we're not here anymore. So, I said we can't go 50 miles away because the students can't commute that far and they live here. They have jobs, they have limited money and they can't do that. Then I was told [by the Board] that I could start a school locally, [but that] there was no severance pay in doing it. Of course, severance pay is not [an] issue.
But my only alternative was resign or be fired -- on the spot -- the only alternatives offered. It was stated there [at the Board meeting] that we had irreconcilable differences in the implementation of the vision. I said, I'd like to know what the differences are. I'd really like to know what they are so that we can see if we can reconcile, but it was done.
And at least 20 times in the board meeting, to the point of being a broken record, I said, don't do this, please don't do this, wait until May. There's never been a problem, the students don't think there's a problem. No one knows there's an issue. Everyone is.working together fine. Please don't do this. Please don't do this. Please don't do this. It's unethical. It's unjustifiable. Please don't do this. I met with Pastor Carey [Robertson] earlier in the week. I said, Please understand I'm not concerned about my reputation.
I'm a Jewish believer in Jesus, you don't get concerned about reputation. I confront critics of revival. You know, just get on the Internet and look for the latest attack on me. I don't worry about reputation. God knows the truth. Either he's supporting us, or he's not. But I said, Please, it's going to hurt the church, it's going to hurt the name [of] Brownsville, and the students. Don't do it; wait until May. We'll phase out quietly and give the students an alternative for the next year, but please don't do it [now].
It's unethical, it's unjustifiable -- you've got a whole student body coming back. They're expecting us, they're expecting the faculty, they're expecting our leadership. Please don't do it. Please don't do it.
And they are God-fearing people on the board, every one of them, but they somehow felt it had to be done now. [They thought,] If an eventual separation is coming, let's do it now. And Monday morning [December 18 th ], the staff was informed of the new direction, or I should say the new leadership structure, and I was not involved in that meeting.
I was not aware the meeting was going to happen. Somehow I missed the announcement. So the very first [time] the school staff heard that I was no longer president was from others sharing that announcement with them. And when I came in the office a little while later, I'm greeted with staff, some of our grads and other students weeping in the hallway. So, we had to put our arms around them and say, We're not going anywhere. We're not going to abandon you; don't worry, we're not leaving. My heart was this: You can fire me as being president, but you can't fire me as being father..
So, I was allowed to meet with the staff that afternoon, shared the story, took the questions, explained everything I could. Luke 8:17 reminds us that every secret thing is going to [be] spoken publicly, and I'd just love for the Lord to bring out whatever He wants to bring out, anything in my life that's displeasing in His sight, let Him bring out. And there's never been an issue of sin in this. I want you to understand that. Do you remember Pastor saying from the pulpit [several weeks ago, in reference to this situation], It's not a matter of sin. It's never been an issue, okay?
Well, there's only one problem now. The emails immediately start coming in. We [hadn't] said anything yet, we [hadn't] made any announcement. We weren't planning on it. We were waiting. We were trying to protect. The emails started coming in and the calls started coming in from students hearing what's happening and saying, We're with you. I [had] told the Board, I [had] told Pastor, It's going to happen like this because we're family, we're family.
It's not just an association, we're family. And, when I shared, as people started coming over, and students -- one man I'm looking at here with his wife from Japan, and we were pulling out of the school [driveway in our car] yesterday for lunch, and he came over crying, and said, I don't want to lose you. He's finished his first semester, and I got out of the car and hugged him, and I said, Man, we're not going anywhere. We're not going anywhere. Well, some of you, you're on your way out to Thailand, to India, to this country or that country, what are we going to do [on your behalf], just say, [We] hope it works out, hope it goes well. That's not what we understand.
Now, I honestly believe that if Pastor and the Board could have fully seen your hearts and the results of what would happen, that the.decision wouldn't have been made, so please don't be bitter. Don't be angry.
They didn't mean to hurt, they didn't mean to do evil, they simply cannot fully grasp what God's done in our midst. So, we only have one slight problem. We've got about a month before classes start, we've got a faculty, that's no problem.
And you know, the school we've got an awesome staff, and they're so essential -- but the thing that's going on in the classroom every day, the school is the faculty and the students. So all we've got to do is change locations and march right on. And if all the faculty said, Mike, Dr. Brown, we feel we're supposed to stay, and all the students said, We feel we're supposed to stay, well, bless you. We'd miss each other dearly. But, we knew that wasn't the case. And we knew we had to go on with F.I.R.E. and with B.I. and with everything we started, and with a message of Holy Revolution. Not a revolution against authority, that's never been it. You've never heard a syllable of that. Not rebellion, you never heard that. We don't think that. We don't believe that. Not anger, not hatred, not intimidation. How many times have you heard that from us?
Revolutionaries are radically submitted to Jesus, and radically submitted to authority. We understand that. That's how we live, that's how we believe. But if you want to try to change campuses, come up with a new name and mobilize a whole student body without any staff to do it and have a month to do it, that sounds pretty revolutionary to me. So, hopefully, by tomorrow, I'm not sure yet, but hopefully by tomorrow, we will have confirmed our new location. Hopefully, we will have confirmed a new name. And let me just say this. Someone suggested still using [the initials] BRSM, and just so no one would have any fears about the direction we were taking, we would relieve those fears and just call it Brown's Revolution School of.Martyrdom. [Laughter]
But seriously, we should have everything set up, and we'll be able to answer all your practical questions. Let me say again, this is not a battle between sides. All we're saying is, Hey, we're here to keep moving in the direction that we're moving in through these years. And if there's any difference, if there's somehow a separation, if somehow God was at work in something to move some things on and out, let's make sure we bless and don't bash.
I want to say this. It's so important. Listen, we are not the center of God's universe. All right. The faculty and spouses as we met last night, it was a prescheduled Christmas party, and as we met last night and talked, that theme came up over and over and over. Humility, humility, humility, humility. Be humble, not haughty, bless and don't bash. Don't think that we are it.
Okay, and that God's measuring everything by our high and lofty standard. All we're trying to do is be obedient to Jesus. All we're trying to do is be obedient to Jesus. I've gone to different staff and said, Look, you be obedient to Jesus, and you be where He wants you to be. If you're a member of Brownsville, and you can be a blessing there and throw yourself in there, and you're welcome there, wonderful, awesome, let's go for it, let's work together. If that arrangement's acceptable to them, fine. If it's not acceptable to them, hey we bless you, we love you, let's get on.
There was an announcement posted on the school Website today that I took strong exception to. We're not going to attack it. It's been removed right now and it's being reviewed, but if you hear accusations, if you hear all kinds of things, first thing, whether it's about me or the faculty. Just first thing, say Lord, if that's true, let it come to light. If.it's true, let me know that.
And the second thing, just ask, do you know us? Is that the example that we've set? Are those the people that we've been? Is this what we've taught you? We've sown into you through these years, and don't look to us to get into verbal battles.
I posted something on our ministry Web site [www.icnministries.org] which says, I'm not going to respond to the other charges. We don't want to bring disunity to the Body, we don't want to bring more pain and grief.
These things [posted in the Board's statement on the school Web site] are not an accurate representation, but we are going to follow the example of Jesus when he was reviled, he didn't speak evil. And no one's trying to do evil, they just see things differently right now, and we continue to bless them, but by the grace of God, we're moving forward. By the grace of God.
If you can remember back, how many of you were in our final Thursday night service in the Orange? I knew and the faculty knew that this was coming down, and what did we do? Mr. Cava got up and sang [his special version of a famous Christmas carol], Satan roasting on the lake of fire; by popular demand, I did a piano solo and a drum solo, and Mr. Gladstone played sleigh bells on his face.
And I said, [I hope] it never comes to this, I hope it never goes public, I hope this thing never comes down like this. But if it does, the students will remember how their leadership behaved on that night. Knowing what was right around the corner, and what's the message, the final word that I gave at the end.? The best is yet to come. The best is yet to come.
Little did I know that early that morning, Charles Ciepiel woke up -- can I say anything Charles? After how many years? Six years, Charles and Jenny are about to be parents. He got up at seven that morning, he's a late night person also. We cut off email in the night at about 3:30 in the morning, and he got up in the morning and God.gave him a song, The Best is Yet to Come, and that night, at the end of that message, I knew [what I had to do]: Preach faith. Preach faith. Preach faith. [I knew], 48 hours or a little bit more from now, you're going to be fired. Preach faith. Who knows what's coming next? You're going to be off this campus. There could be wholesale destruction of lives. Preach faith. Preach faith.
I want to declare to you without any question whatsoever in my spirit, before God, the best is yet to come, and we're about to make history. I'm going to ask Mr. Gladstone to just make a brief statement, followed by playing sleigh bells [laughter]. I'm going to ask you to make a brief statement. I'm then going to deal with a few questions that have been asked to us already, okay.
And then, we're going to take questions that you might have and then just worship the Lord and pray together and love on each other. I want you to know that, seeing all of you here. In fact, let's just do a quick count, if you're here raise your hand. Okay. Great. I want you to know that in the midst of some seasons of real pain, you know sometimes your faith is so strong and unshakeable and sometimes it feels like everything is getting torn away.
You just don't see it, you don't feel it, you can't take hold of it. Just you guys, just your love, just you're saying, On with it!, and having that same heart, that same spirit. And then that first day [after I was fired], it just hit at night.
I called Nancy over to the computer. I said, Come here, you've got to see this. You've got to see this. The thing that amazed me -- because we hadn't made any announcement, nothing had gone out except a few people were spoken to, and this is not us against them. This is not [a fight between] enemies, this is not goodbye to the old and hello to the new..We're just being who we are in Jesus. And yet, people started saying, We've been waiting for this. For what? I think just for this, for just saying, Hey let's just go do it.
We talk about being radical. We talk about, By life or by death, we're going to follow Jesus. You know, New Testament [faith], let's just go for it. Hey, come on, switching from one building to another in Pensacola is hardly radical! You know. But you have no idea what strength we have because of you, and as Paul wrote and as we shared with the graduating class before last, Now, we really live [from 1 Thes 3:8-9]. Because to look out, to see all these faces of grads, of students and families [about 500 people were there], and to just know that you're here, not just out of curiosity, but out of love and support, to see the expression of solidarity for this extraordinary team, our faculty and spouses and other staff that's coming on. You have no idea what it means to us.
One of our dear grads was telling us yesterday over lunch, [she] said to us, You have no idea how you guys look to us now. Nancy and I said to her, You have no idea how you look to us! So, if you weren't here, there's no school that we're going on with; if the faculty wasn't together with us, there's no school that's going on. This is a team, this is a family, this is a joint effort. And I believe it's what God is doing in the earth today. I believe that's the heart cry. I believe God is turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and it's real. It's real.
So, I'm going to ask my dear friend and fellow soldier, Bob Gladstone, to come and just make a brief statement. I want to answer a few questions as quickly as I can, then take a few more questions from you folks. God Bless You. Bob Gladstone:.Praise Jesus! I just want to say a few words on behalf of the faculty. That's why I'm up here. The faculty minus one or maybe two, in this situation is standing with Jesus, with Dr. Brown, and with the students to whom He's called us.
We have solidarity and unity in this, not because we've just been kind of brainwashed or have some kind of weird devotion to one another, but because we're in love with Jesus, because we know the call that He's put on us and because we wouldn't compromise that for anything.
I want you to know on behalf of the faculty of the school, we love and honor the leadership at Brownsville. I know I speak on behalf of my brothers and sisters on the faculty, that there's not a shred of animosity in our hearts toward any of them, no matter who's right or wrong anyway. That's the way it should be.
The Scriptures say to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you. And that's our hearts. We owe their leadership and their church much.
Many of us, if not most of us have gone to church there; one of my children was dedicated by Pastor. They fed us and have spoken into our lives. We love them and bless them and we'll never think any other way about them nor speak any other way about them. That's the end of the discussion then. The reality is that there are vast differences in our perspectives. And for me and the family, the faculty who is a family, to walk away from the school now under the present structure and to go on with the thing that God will do through us is a moral choice, not a professional choice.
For me it was a matter of choosing to follow Jesus or going backward. Someone challenged me and the faculty in a meeting, someone challenged us by saying, You know, Dr. Brown's been fired, but you guys can stay and save the students. And my response was, that not even for the students would I.compromise following Jesus. And I speak for the faculty when I say that, I know. Not for Dr. Brown, my own wife and children, not for anybody, would we compromise following the path of righteousness where Jesus is leading.
Who are we to feed into students lives who are more important than us, who are the great ones that the psalmist says, the majestic ones in the earth in whom is all my delight? Who are we to lead followers of Jesus, if we are not willing to lay everything down, even them, for Jesus? So, that's where we stand, and that's why we're moving on, and I wanted you to know that it's a moral choice to us, that we're happy to risk our livelihoods and our natural futures on, because we know we're right with God. And God will take care of us. In fact, I want to say that we're confident in our hearts, that no matter what anybody says or does or thinks, it's irrelevant to us. We know that we know that we know that we're right with God, and there's no better feeling in all the earth, in all the universe. Praise His name! Just a couple more things. Dr. Brown mentioned a couple of these things, but in light of the vast difference that exist and some comments that have been made, temporarily retracted, perhaps things will be said again, we refuse to retaliate specifically against accusations. We will only return blessing whether it seems right or wrong, we choose not to retaliate, though we may have to recount some history accurately.
We won't retaliate or defend ourselves against accusations. But we will defend our position in the Lord, simply by saying this. If we must be evaluated, if we must be judged, I just encourage you, evaluate us the way Dr. Brown said. Evaluate us on the basis of our ministry and our behavior in your midst. Even Paul went this route, when he said, Look, you know, we loved you so much, we were happy not only to impart to you our gospel, but our very lives.
Remember us along those lines, and secondly, we believe firmly that.the Lord is our defense, as it says in Psalm 27. If you've really got a question, ask Jesus. Because there's going to be a lot of words, maybe just in your own head, maybe elsewhere, just ask Jesus. He's our defense. Because if we have wronged Him and if we're paying a price for doing wrong, you don't need to mess with us anyway.
But if we've done right, I really believe He'll stick up for us, and He'll defend us and we'll just leave that to be his business, and we'll just leave it at that. And finally, I just want to say that before this ever occurred, in fact, before this ever came up, God was speaking. And now that it has come up, I find God continues to speak. I can't get Him out of my head. And He has spoken specifically and clearly about the work that He's doing among this student body, this family, the faculty, the leadership. He's spoken clearly since this all came down. Clearly.
The future is extraordinarily bright, and I'm glad that I, at least up to this point, by the grace of God, not perfectly, but up to this point, by the grace of God with the beloved faculty team and Dr. Brown, up to this point, we've passed the test, and God is about to reward us. May His mercy and His grace continue upon us so that we can pass every phase of this test that's still to come and every other test so that we might be counted worthy to give glory to his name and fulfill the purposes of God in the earth, even through this cracked clay jar, in Jesus' name. God bless you guys.