With thanks to our fellow polemicists over at Pulpit & Pen, this is an important update on Dr. Michael Brown (well titled as the ‘Apostle of Obfuscation’) and his ongoing denial of the existence of the New Apostolic Reformation.
Pulpit & Pen News Division writes:
Dr. Michael Brown refers to the New Apostolic Reformation (commonly known by the acronym, NAR) as the “so-called NAR.” As virtually anyone who has basic reading comprehension can easily know, NAR exists. It hasn’t been a secret. Although its name has been changed over the years, there is no doubt that the New Apostolic Reformation was and is an organized and relatively open movement in charismatic Christianity. Dr. Brown, who is the lead apologist for the heretical movement, is unique among NAR leaders in that he enjoys close fellowship with non-charismatic evangelical leaders. For the most part, Brown denies that NAR exists or is a strange, convoluted conspiracy theory when in front of non-charismatics, but among NAR audiences, he recognizes its existence and embraces its chief leaders.
For whatever reason, Dr. Brown chose to go on Alisa Childers’ podcast and debate whether or not NAR is a myth with Dr. Doug Geivett, and Holly Pivec. Brown, who won’t typically debate any discerning Christians or those who won’t readily embrace him as a solid Christian brother, made the rare decision to interact with Geivett and Pivec, who wrote the book on NAR (literally). Geivett and Pivec’s book, A New Apostolic Reformation? challenges the NAR movement and explains its origins and outworkings in evangelicalism. The two have also written God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostle’s Movement.
We highly encourage you to listen to the “informal debate” between the three. What you will hear, if you have followed Brown’s constant denials of NAR’s existence (especially on the podcasts of his evangelical friends, who through ignorance or apathy let him make such denials without asking meaningful or serious questions), is an utterly refreshing take-down of Brown’s stammering, feigned ignorance. What is revealed throughout the hour-and-forty-five-minutes of interaction is Brown’s obliviousness to facts.
You can listen to the podcast here.
Brown’s arguments, as best as I can summarize, are as follows:
- Characterize every fact of evidence regarding NAR are merely “anecdotal.” Then, present an opposing piece of actually-anecdotal evidence contradicting real fact.
- Regularly commit the word-concept fallacy, which purports that if a word (or term, like NAR) isn’t present in a movement or church, the concept isn’t present. We call this “arguing semantics.”
- When pinned into a corner by facts, finger-wag and guilt-shame opponents by accusing them of causing division.
- Like IHOP’s Mike Bickle and others, deny being an Apostle. But then, when pressed, acknowledge the existence of others being Apostles (in return, these leaders will deny being an Apostle, but will call you an Apostle).
- Use the words “alleged” and “so-called” 1,597 times (I’m rounding up), no matter the undeniable evidence presented to the contrary.
- When presented with factual evidence (like direct quotations and citations), claim that they have been “misunderstood” or taken out of context.
The fall-out for Brown has been nearly catastrophic among heretofore impartial observers. Brown made a fatal mistake; he went on the air with people who knew what they were talking about, in a format – unlike his own broadcast – he couldn’t turn off with a keystroke.
Brown went into full damage control in his broadcast yesterday, which you can see below.
As expected, it took just a few minutes to bring up the name of Dr. James White in defense of himself. In the video, Brown argues that he shouldn’t be lumped into NAR (which in his mind is still “alleged”) just because “he’s friends with certain people.” He then goes on to complain that only a certain group of Christians criticize him for his relationship with NAR Apostles, but that his charismatic friends don’t complain about his friendship with Baptists.
Of course, the fallaciousness of the argument should be plainly evident. Baptists are – generally speaking – not nefarious heretics. There should be no controversy. NAR Apostles and hyper-charismatics, on the other hand, regularly deny essential Christian doctrines and suffer from abysmal doctrinal errors. There’s a second fallacious thought as well, and that’s the fact that this isn’t about “friendship,” but partnership and promotion.