It is true that the Scriptures often warn us against deception, and it is true that some preach "another Jesus" (who is not Jesus at all) and "another gospel" (which is no gospel at all; see 2 Cor. 11:1-4; Gal. 1:6-9). And it is true that many false converts will be shocked when Jesus says to them on that great and dreadful Day, "Depart from me" (see Matt. 7:21-23; 25:31-46).
All of us should examine ourselves to be sure that we are "in the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5) and all of us should be diligent to "confirm [our] calling and election" (2 Pet. 1:10), and this does mean falling into performance-based religious exercises but rather living out our calling to be God's children (see 2 Pet. 1:3-11; this is our response to what God has graciously done for us).
At the same time, we need to be very careful about setting ourselves up as the ultimate judge of who is saved and who is lost--meaning, among those who claim to be followers of the Jesus of the Scriptures.
Some have decided that I cannot possibly be saved because I am not a Calvinist (seriously), as exemplified by this comment posted to one of my YouTube debates: "I certainly wouldn't call Brown a brother, he denies the gospel, he denies what Christ did on the cross and denies Jesus has the power to save and keep His Church without man's help. Brown's God is not God."
So, according to Tim, because I don't believe, with Calvin, that some "individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction," that I'm not actually saved. (And yes, I hear from those who assure me that Calvinists are not saved.)
How myopic and wrongheaded can we be?
Most recently, because of my appearances on Benny Hinn's TV show, talking about the Messiah in the Old Testament and the errors of hypergrace, I am now being damned to hell, along with him.
Responding to a blog article highly critical of me, Denise, wrote, "According to [2 John] v. 11 God counts Brown as guilty of the SAME wickedness as Hinn precisely because Brown not only greets the man, but promotes and endorses Hinn and his pulpit. Therefore he too, is to be just as rejected as the false teacher he welcomes. It is THAT serious to God."
Another commenter wrote, "I would hope that God grants Mr. Brown repentance not only of his charismatic heresies but also the arminian (remonstrant) heresy and that by God's gracious Holy Spirit, He would convert him to the True Gospel which we are to contend for."
So, I'm doubly damned, being both a charismatic as well as a non-Calvinist--actually triply damned, because I appeared on Benny Hinn's TV show too.
But it gets worse. According to Brad, "I know it is the will of God that none perish, but it is also his will that men who teach little ones to sin would have been better off not to have been born. These men love mammon and hate God. I'm hoping Brown repents, leaves the ministry, and serves in a local church after his salvation. It would be better off for Hinn had he never been born. If either of you [referring to the bloggers] get the opportunity to plead with Brown to come clean, do so. It may not be too late for him." (He actually wrote some stuff that was even more rancid, but this quote is sufficient.)
Worse still, a brother on Twitter was so upset with me appearing on Benny Hinn's show, that he not only decided I was a charlatan but also claimed that God was not my Father. I had tweeted out to my Twitter followers, "What a longsuffering, merciful Father we have!" He responded by calling God my "imaginary friend"--in other words, he can't be my Father.
This is nothing less than pathetic.
Others have come out of the woodwork with comments like, "What part of, 'be not unevenly yoked together with unbelievers' was optional for you all at Brownsville?" (I'll be sure to let Steve Hill and John Kilpatrick know that they're not saved either!)
Or this one, stating, "This is the 'gospel' Brown is now defending [with a link to a service at the Brownsville Revival]... Sorry, that looks a lot like satanism."
And this one, which followed a YouTube link to the one of the most powerful altar calls I ever witnessed in my life: "Brown, repent of all your Charles Finney type emotional manipulation and semi-pelagian errors and learn to preach the true gospel."
And how about this comment to my debate on cessationism with Dr. Sam Waldron, "Dr Brown claims to be sola scriptura [meaning, that the Scriptures alone are our authority for doctrine and practice] but how can I believe him, knowing he is an Arminian and a trinitarian, worse he is a charismatic."
It looks I'm in really big trouble, being an Arminian (rather than a Calvinist), as well as believing in God's triune nature (what a crime!) and--perish the thought!--being a charismatic.
To be perfectly clear, I'm not hurt by these comments, nor is this persecution for the gospel. (Obviously.) But I do hurt for the body of Christ and I do hurt for these misguided individuals (on all sides of the debate), and I long to see God's people--those who are truly is--unite around his Son.
Because of that, I am truly blessed when readers of my Authentic Fire book post reviews stating that they were moved by my heart of reconciliation and honor towards those with whom I differ--and this truly is the expression of my heart.
So, let us all humble ourselves before the Lord, let us search our own hearts prayerfully, let us address clear error where we see it, and let us be careful whom we damn.
I for one am very glad that you are not my final judge, and I'm sure you're quite glad that I am not yours.
Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
To celebrate our 40th anniversary, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!
The Charisma Podcast Network is now live. Subscribe now for free!