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Accusers of the Brethren (Part Three)

Debra Bouey examines unjust accusations against those who stand for biblical truth.

The second notable point Hill raises is:

2. "God mockers have much to fear. God will recall every curse uttered against His revival. He will replay every blasphemy whispered...."

Here we see the clear implication that those who speak against the movement at BAG are blasphemers. This ominous threat of either having committed, or being in danger of committing, the unpardonable sin-blasphemy-has been all too frequently leveled at critics as well. Another interesting case in point, BAG's Michael Brown writes:

"Blasphemy of the Spirit. It is a terrifying sin, a horrible sin, a sin of disastrous consequences. It is the only sin specifically described in the Bible as unforgivable. Just the thought of it is enough to send spiritual chills down your spine.

"What makes this sin so severe? Listen to Jesus:

"'I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.' He said this because they were saying, He has an evil spirit.' (Mark 3:28-31)

"To blaspheme the Spirit is to knowingly attribute Jesus' work done in the power of the Holy Spirit to the devil. It is the ultimate offense. And it is something from which we must flee. Why tamper with a sin which can lead to eternal judgment? There is nothing more dangerous than the blasphemy of the Spirit. Jesus could not have stated it more plainly, and we dare not take His words lightly, especially in the day and age in which we live. When revival fire is falling, when the Holy Spirit is moving in power, we do well to examine this portion of the Word afresh. And while it is true that there is debate among Bible scholars as to the exact nature of the sin of blaspheming the Spirit, there is no debate as to its eternal consequences!

"But first I want to make something perfectly clear: I am not saying for a moment that the Christian brothers and sisters who attack the current outpouring are guilty of blaspheming the Spirit. I am not saying that those believers who attribute the whole revival to the devil are guilty of this sin. I do not even entertain such a thought for a moment."[16]

If Brown does not want to instill the fear in critics of the BAG movement that they may be in danger of committing the unpardonable sin-blaspheming the Holy Spirit-by continuing to speak out in opposition to the movement, why does he proceed to spend the opening three paragraphs of the chapter "Scorning the Sacred" discussing that very thing before he states that he is in no way claiming critics are guilty of it? If Brown doesn't believe, as he alleges, critics are guilty of blasphemy, then why bring it up in the first place? More to the point, if Brown doesn't believe critics are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin by blaspheming the Holy Spirit, why does he also write in the same chapter:

"Are you totally and absolutely sure that you are right in attacking the current revival? Are you willing to wager your SALVATION on the fact that you are correct? If not, how in the world can you dare risk the possibility that your zeal is misguided and that you are opposing God Himself? Is there no holy fear in you, no sense of the greatness of the Lord, no awe of His might works, no recognition that it is far better to tread carefully in your public judgments - lest you revile the very One you claim to represent - than to speak rashly about matters in which you are not, in fact, expert?"[17]

I can see no other reason for Brown even raising the point of blasphemy other than the fact that, while he doesn't out and out claim, as Hill appears to have done, that critics are blaspheming, he means to forcefully imply and hint that if we haven't already, we are in grave danger of doing so if we continue to oppose the BAG movement. Which seems highly contradictory to me with his protestations to the contrary that he doesn't believe we are guilty of blasphemy and that he hasn't even entertained so much as a thought of such for even a moment. Brown claims one thing, but his own words seem to bespeak quite another, do they not?

In recent months Brown has been one of the most prolific "criticizers of the critics, although he, like Steve Hill, claims to scarcely pay any attention to us at all. Implausibly, for two men who make such a claim, they both wrote books wherein those they believe to be opposed to the BAG movement are repeatedly addressed.

Dr. Brown ( [Tue, Sep 16, 09:17PM EDT]

Adele -- don't get frustrated when and if critics are referred to. Remember, Jesus addressed His "critics" too -- and we only do so for the edification of the Body and for the clarifying of truth. But if we responded to 1% of what the critics said, let alone 10%, we'd spend all our time talking about them instead of reaching the lost and backslidden. That's why they receive only slight attention from us.[18]

Let us review some of Brown's allegations about critics and see if he pays "only slight attention" to us.

"Of course-how pathetic!-the critics continue to raise their voices and attack those things of which they are ignorant. But what would revival be like without the critics? (That's similar to asking what the Gospels would be like without the Pharisees.) When God starts moving, everyone falls into place: The hungry press forward and are filled: the lost are drawn in and the backsliders drawn home: the laborers are raised up and thrust out: and the critics criticize! What else could we expect? Birds fly, fish swim, liars lie, and critics criticize. Actually, we ought to pity those who cannot recognize the glorious fruit....They reject the Spirit because they don't like the style. Pity their souls (think of having a ministry of criticism!) and pray for those whom they mislead. We don't want anyone to be left out. A few months ago the Lord said to me that soon it will be an embarrassment to be associated with the critics. Day by day, the truth of that word is becoming clearer and clearer. I would hate to find myself standing in the path of a divine tidal wave, shaking my skeptical fist and shouting, 'That's not God!' Heaven help the critics."[19]

Brown covers considerable ground in just this one citation alone by alleging:

  1. Critics are pathetic and ignorant, which presumptuously assumes those who have Biblical concerns about BAG haven't taken the time to educate themselves thoroughly about what is being taught and condoned there and prayerfully weighed it in the balance of Scripture.

  2. The critics are likened to the Pharisees, which is a universal allegation with all those who "criticize the critics." He places us on par with the Pharisees and the accusations they leveled at the incarnate Christ in the Gospels. Which is to say, he is implying that we are persecuting those involved in the BAG movement in a manner equivalent to that which the Pharisees did Christ in the Gospels.

  3. Critics are rather pitiful, having ministries of "criticism", or so Brown presumes.

  4. It's an embarrassment to be associated with us, the "critics", or it soon will be.

  5. "We don't want anyone to be left out." Here's the ever-present threat that if one doesn't go along with BAG, one is going to find oneself "left out" of whatever supposed "new thing" God is doing today. After all, human nature being what it is, nobody wants to get "left out", right?

As I noted above, Brown wrote an entire book to address "critics" of BAG. Even the title, "Let No One Deceive You: Confronting the Critics of Revival" is somewhat misleading in that those I know, myself included, are not opposed to genuine, Godly revival, far from it. Brown and his colleagues at BAG just don't seem to get it: opposition to the un-Biblical manifestations and practices at BAG does not constitute our being critical of revival which is Scriptural and genuine. But BAG leadership and proponents have taken the tact that to be opposed to their movement is to be opposed to revival period. It is an erroneous presumption.

Brown claims his chapter "Scorning the Sacred" was written because:

"You see, it is possible to scorn the sacred and despise the divine until the Lord Himself raises His voice in rebuke. I fear that some critics are nearing that place of danger, and this chapter is written to warn them and help pull them back."[20]

I find it rather peculiar that while Brown expresses considerable concern about the plight of critics-quite frequently pointing out that we are in grave danger of God's wrath and judgment-conversely, he seems to have no such concerns for himself whatsoever as he proceeds to level various and sundry derogatory allegations at us. Although Brown claims at the outset of the book in his preface that "this book is not vindictive", it is obvious as one reads it there are many supercilious, pejorative terms used to describe us, most of which are clearly attacking and personal in nature. Consequently, I have a difficult time believing that particular chapter, if not the whole book as well, was written for any other reason than to attempt to intimidate us into silence by instilling fear of God's wrath and retribution, while concurrently endeavoring to suppress any inclination to seriously evaluate the movement by those who presently endorse it.

That notwithstanding, as I stated regarding the Hill chapter, I urge you, wherever at all possible, to obtain at least a copy of the preface and first two chapters (see end note 21), if not the book itself, to carefully read and review it for yourself as well. Unless otherwise noted, I am going to primarily limit myself to dealing with Brown's Preface and Chapters 1 and 2[21] in the citations below. Browns writes:

"Just the issue of holy living might disqualify many contemporary critics"!

"If we don't claim to be the holy heroes of the hour, the mini-saviors of the moment, the enlightened leaders of the Critical Intelligentsia Association (CIA), the elite members of the Faultfinding Brotherhood International (FBI), if we are quick to hear and slow to speak, recognizing that God is raising up a large and varied army, the Lord can keep us safe from delusion."

"What is one of the roots of spiritual deception? Pride. I have special revelation; I am right; I know. And this reveals one of the strongholds of this destructive, critical spirit: Truth doesn't matter. Evidence doesn't count. I have an opinion! That's what really matters. After all, I am a critic....How dare you question me?...This kind of attitude is all too common among many of the contemporary critics of revival."

"Yes, all too often, the real issue is not truth, facts, and evidence, but rather the critic's opinion....It is frequently self-anointed, generally self-appointed, and virtually always right. How can the critic possibly see clearly?"

"The critic is often more influenced by what he thinks and discerns than by what the evidence, the clear and powerful evidence, matter what Scriptural proof you provide, no matter what other proven leaders believe. As Judith Crist once remarked with reference to art and literary critics, To be a critic, you have to have maybe three percent education, five percent intelligence, two percent style, and ninety percent gall and egomania in equal parts. This applies to some spiritual critics too!"

"Careful, dear critic! Do you really want to know the truth, or have you merely painted yourself into a corner from which you cannot escape....If you really wanted to know the truth, you would go and find it out for yourself...."

"Once the critic has made up his mind, he seeks out confirmation to prove that his negative suspicions are true. In fact, he will give more credence to one negative report that agrees with his position than 1,000 that contradict and refute it....But that is the blinding deception of a critical spirit."

"Yes, there is a cozy cocoon of criticism that feeds on itself and draws strength from its rumormongering. May God's light penetrate this darkness, and His truth pierce these lies! This kind of junk repeating libelous falsehoods about our brothers and maligning faithful servants of the Lord is as far from constructive correction and godly rebuke as Death Valley is from the Arctic Circle. It not only misses the mark, but instead of shooting at the enemy's target, it fires at its own side."

"How do you want to be remembered? On which side do you want to be? On the side of the critics...or on the side of those who are bearing much fruit for the Kingdom of God...?"

Brown makes quite a number of presumptions and predilections where critics of the BAG movement are concerned in just the Preface and first two chapters alone, specifically:

  1. First and foremost, we are ignorant.
  2. We are "enlightened leaders of the Critical Intelligentsia Association (CIA)."
  3. We are "the elite members of the Faultfinding Brotherhood International (FBI)."
  4. We are likely to be disqualified because we do not live holy personal lives.
  5. We are frequently self-anointed and self-appointed.
  6. We're foolish.
  7. We elevate traditions made of man over God's Word.
  8. We scorn the sacred things of God.
  9. We liberally speak ill of those who have a particular, extraordinary "special favor and blessing" of God. (Depending on the clear intent, some might even be view Brown as walking a tightly-strung rope over a perilous pit called Gnosticism here with these kinds of statements.)
  10. We are tragic, sad, pitiful gossips with biased opinions, spewing garbage and spreading baseless accusations, to whom nothing, absolutely nothing, not even the things of God, are sacred.
  11. We are poor blind guides, deluded into believing we are heroes of the faith.
  12. We hold our standards as critics higher than angelic majesties.
  13. We're 90% gall and egomania in equal parts.
  14. We are rumormongers.
  15. We are in darkness.
  16. We spread lies.
  17. We repeat libelous falsehoods about our brothers.
  18. We malign faithful servants of the Lord.
  19. We have no accurate understanding of what is really happening in God's kingdom today.
  20. We have very little of the presence of God in our own personal lives.
  21. We are wagering our very salvation on our criticism of Brownsville.
  22. We are quick to criticize and eager to be opinionated.
  23. We are pathetic and foolish.
  24. We are ignorant speakers.
  25. We are ignorant slanderers of the Holy Spirit.
  26. We have a pattern of acting in ignorance and unbelief. (Frankly, the book itself makes us out to be quite an ignorant lot overall, least in Brown's estimation anyway.)
  27. We speak vilely.
  28. We are crass judgmentalists.
  29. We are prideful.
  30. We fear man more than we rightly fear God.
  31. We are foolish talkers.
  32. We are criticizers of Christ.
  33. We are scorners of the Holy Spirit.
  34. We are mockers of God's mercy.
  35. We are vilifying God's manifest presence.
  36. We are kicking against the goads.