Should James White be disregarded as a valid voice in the field of Christian apologetics?

James White is considered an apologetic voice of expertise in the areas of Islam, Roman Catholicism, and various other streams. Furthermore, he is regarded as a respected voice among the Islamic communities. Many within the Christian community admire him for his ability to biblically debate Islamic opponents while maintaining respectful friendships with these same men.

White has greatly impacted the apologetics landscape and equipped many Christians in all denominations through his expertise in protocol and honest argument in apologetics, modelling how people should conduct themselves in a formal debate. That was until he developed a friendship with notorious New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) Apostle Dr Michael Brown. Describing Dr Michael Brown as notorious is accurate. This is because Brown has a provable track record of lying and even causing division in churches.

For instance – in 1982, Michael Brown was excommunicated from a “non-charismatic (or, barely charismatic), Reformed, socially conscious church” after performing his own independent altar call to get Christians spiritually baptised behind his leadership’s back. In the year 2000, Brown also was expelled as the principal of the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry (BRSM), for pushing the New Order of the Latter Rain and New Apostolic Reformation restorationist teachings of Five-Fold Ministry and apostolic fathering heresies – heresies which the Pentecostal AOG leaders have condemned for almost 50 years. In fact, Brown was continually taking hundreds of BRSM students from his AOG school to NAR Apostolic rallies, overseen by leading ‘Apostles’ C. Peter Wagner, Che Ahn and Lou Engle.  Protesting his innocence Brown described these splits as his being obedient to God. However, by playing ‘political games’, deception and his ‘God told me’ card, this has caused many to question his integrity as a leader and teacher. In regards to our claims of Dr. Brown lying, he has repeatedly attacked and slandered the integrity of ministries and pastors who have questioned the legitimacy of Brown’s Pensacola Outpouring. Furthermore, Brown, in defending Pensacola, lied about its official and spiritual connections to the controversial Toronto Blessing and why he was expelled. In the last few years, Brown has:

  • Lied about the existence of the New Apostolic Reformation,
  • Lied about his knowledge regarding the teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation,
  • Lied about his working associations with Wagner,
  • Lied about his involvement with the NAR and  
  • Lied about his Apostleship in the NAR.

You can see how Brown is intrinsically involved within the New Apostolic Reformation in our timelines Part 3 and Part 4. Although he claims ignorance of the NAR, you can hear audio of Brown in 2010 unashamedly talk about the NAR and their theology in Part 2.

As a result of his public endorsement of Michael Brown, James White’s reputation has come under serious scrutiny. Looking past White’s superior attitude and almost arrogant dealings with his very concerned brothers and sisters in Christ, the major problem with White is his having any public association with Brown at all, defending a notorious liar.

Sadly, the irony is heavy when we contrast James White’s excellent work exposing former Baptist minister Ergun Caner’s false conversion story. Both Caner and Brown have peddled falsehoods regarding their personal testimonies which caused many to question their validity as Christian leaders. While White was thorough and consistent in exposing the lies of Caner, he has refused to examine the ‘integrity’ of Michael Brown’s testimony. Can we assume White is not investigating Michael Brown with the same fervour as he did with Caner because of their friendship?

And this is where the potential damage to James White’s reputation and ministry lies. The more Michael Brown denies his involvement with the New Apostolic Reformation, the more Michael Brown denies his Apostolic leadership in the movement, the more Michael Brown defends and promotes Apostles and prominent false teachers within the NAR such as Heidi Baker, Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle, Bill Johnson, Jen Hodge, Sid Roth, Jonathan Cahn, Lance Wallnau, etc – the more it will impact on James White. Why?

Because false teachers like Michael Brown don’t have any biblical credibility – they have to rely on their association with other prominent figures to build a name for themselves. To give the impression he is conservative and orthodox, Michael Brown continually ‘name-drops’ James White to vicariously build himself up in the eyes of his listeners. This is incredibly dangerous for a few reasons:

  1. It acts as a guise to hide his NARpostolic office and NAR agenda.
  2. It acts as inroads to entice conservative and orthodox Christians in James White’s camp to consider Brown’s voice as a legitimate Christian voice.
  3. It gives the many false teachers Brown endorses credibility (Sid Roth, Jonathan Cahn, Lance Wallnau, etc.)
  4. It gives credibility to demon-possessed leaders, Brown endorses (Heidi Baker, Beni Johnson etc.)
  5. It legitimizes and mainstreams top NARpostles in the NAR that Brown endorses (Che Ahn, Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, Cindy Jacobs, Joseph Mattera, Lance Wallnau, Randy Clark, John Arnott, Brian Houston, Benny Hinn, David Yonggi Cho, Tommy Tenney, James Goll, Don Nori, John Kilpatrick, Daniel Juster, etc.)
  6. It legitimizes criminals in pulpits. Michael Brown (who claims to hear and speak for God), had no problem ministering with David Yonggi Cho, despite Cho being a felon convicted for swindling money from his church, a man who expelled church elders who tried to hold him accountable for his crimes.
  7. It legitimizes Roman Catholicism, a specific doctrine in NOLR/NAR cults that teach that the kingdom of God needs to holistically unite Protestantism and Catholicism through spiritual unity so the church can advance the kingdom in power.
  8. It legitimizes the false Christ, false gospel, false spirit, false faith, false kingdom and false ecclesia of Michael Brown.
  9. It legitimizes a liar who plays semantics, discrediting any discerning believer who holds him accountable to his words, definitions, beliefs, history and associations.
  10. It allows Brown to ‘bully’ anyone who has a problem with his theology by hiding behind the theological integrity of White.
  11. All points mentioned above only muddy the name, reputation and hard work of James White, a reputation Brown uses to further his own.

Brown’s hold over James White is disturbing. Somehow, White seems convinced it’s the discerning critics causing the problem. In reality Brown’s close associates are either felons, false teachers, demoniacs or NARpostles – and it’s this same group who are trying to take over and reform historic, orthodox Christianity with their New Apostolic Order. Brown’s continual defense and advocacy of this same group is doing untold damage to Dr. White’s reputation.

Furthermore, Dr. White’s endorsement of Brown may impact on his credibility as an apologist. This relationship has James White even misusing scripture in order to justify why he can continue to endorse heretical individuals like Michael Brown. If he wants to keep his reputation on solid ground, does James White need to treat Brown like a Jehovah Witness or Mormon? He must get Brown to explain (and clearly define) his:

  1. False Kenotic Christ,
  2. False gospel of healing,
  3. False spirit of sonship,
  4. False understanding of the kingdom of God,
  5. False post-millennial, end-times revival,
  6. False ‘transformation’ theology,
  7. False idea that man and the church can be God(s) (New Breed/One New Man)

That’s how James White can maintain his very good reputation as a solid Christian apologist. But in light of his ongoing endorsement of Michael Brown’s ministry, how should we recommend James White’s body of work to our friends? His personal friendship with Brown is not the issue. James White is safe to promote to others if he clearly demonstrates he understands the differences between a biblical Christian leader and a NARpostle, and acknowledges Michael Brown’s proven long-term involvement in the NAR.

If White refuses to deal with the ‘elephant in his apologetics studio’ Michael Brown, then it makes it more complicated. Despite his troubling endorsement of Michael Brown and  given James White’s solid work with the Islamic community in debate, he can still have a voice, unfortunately just not a trustworthy one. It is important for James White to now come forward with disclaimers that focus on certain scopes of his work and expertise.

Disclaimer Option 1 – Past Scope
For instance, it is safe to say that he has been a very good apologist until these recent controversies emerged. Similar to John Piper and N.T. Wright, James White’s older material is great for theological purposes.

Disclaimer Option 2 – Certain Apologetics Scope
If it is purely apologetics you want to introduce people to, it is also worth pointing people to White’s work on Islam, Roman Catholicism and Atheism. It is absolutely true White knows these areas extremely well. However, his ignorance of the NAR is demonstrated through his relationship with Michael Brown. The New Order of the Latter Rain, the Charismatic Renewal Movement and more importantly the New Apostolic Reformation are sadly outside of his scope of expertise.

Arming people with these disclaimers may help them understand why there is an open charismatic ‘Pandora’s box’ next to James White. Many discernment groups and discerning believers were unfairly judged by White when they sounded the alarm about Michael Brown. However the body of Christ are called to be Bereans, armed with Jesus’ command to ‘watch out for false prophets’ – and White’s critics have upheld their biblical mandate by warning him about Michael Brown.

In closing, White’s body of work is to be respected and can withstand scrutiny. But given his less than biblical attitude towards discerning Christians trying to help him see the impact of the Brown/White relationship on the church, this topic needed to be addressed in order to help people navigate these controversial waters. James White has been a strong voice in Christian apologetics, but his ongoing endorsement of Brown’s ministry  is having an impact on his own credibility. We suggest recommending James White with either disclaimers or caution.

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Categories: New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)

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