An Open Letter to Dr. Michael Brown on His Relationship with Rick Joyner

Posted on October 25, 2013


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Dear Dr. Brown,

I am writing this open letter because I am concerned about your ministry and the ministries you endorse. Over recent months you have campaigned against cessationism and the recent Strange Fire conference, thus gaining yourself popularity from those who may not have otherwise known of you. I won’t be getting into those details as the reader can learn all about your participation in that discussion here, they can find a nice summary of Strange Fire here, and see some of the aftermath here.

I have known about your ministry for a couple years now, having had the opportunity to hear you debate a few times (you even creatively debated yourself on Calvinism vs Arminianism). Before then, you graciously sat down with me and another brother in 2011 in preparation to preach the Gospel during our evangelism outreach and your “God Has a Better Way” event at the Charlotte Pridefest. Ever since then, I have always found you to be a kind and compassionate brother who loves Jesus and seeks to further His Kingdom. But as I’ve watched your ministry these last couple of years, I have grown in concern over some things I’ve observed, including your associations.

I learned last night that you would be writing a new book titled “Authentic Fire”, which is in response to Strange Fire. It will be interesting to see whether you document the “extremes” in your book. You consider New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)/Third Wave leaders Mike Bickle and Rick Joyner to be your friends, and knowing what I know about their ministries, I wonder exactly what extremes you would be addressing in your book if not the “extremes” that come out of their ministries. Perhaps I’ll discuss your relationship with Mike Bickle and other NAR leaders in another article, but for now, I’d like to stay focused on the brief conversation we had last night.

The reason I believe this to be important is that many people follow you – whether on Line of Fire radio, through your Fire School of Ministry, through your debates, books, or social media. We might even consider you “mainstream” with your popularity on Christian talk radio. But perhaps many would be surprised to know exactly who you consider to be ministry partners and friends. My concern is your endorsement of such ministries gives them a degree of legitimacy that could lead to deceiving God’s people, and further darkening the minds of the lost.

With this in mind, I’d like to talk about your relationship with Rick Joyner, founder of MorningStar Ministries in Fort Mill, SC. I first learned about your relationship with Rick Joyner when you posted the following status on facebook November 25, 2012 regarding your appearance on his Prophetic Perspectives:

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I wasn’t the only person concerned about your association with Rick Joyner. In fact, the thread exploded with comments on the dangers of Joyner, but you quickly deleted those comments on the basis of irrelevance to the original post. One of your (now deleted) replies was your affirmation of Rick Joyner to be a friend and man of God. It seems you overlooked my only comment in the thread, which happens to be the same video I shared with you last night.

I was concerned that you might delete the thread I initiated last night, so I asked a friend to capture what he could before it was deleted. Thankfully, he managed to get most of our conversation. Here was my original inquiry:

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The video I requested you to view has been making the internet rounds for a few years now. If you get around to watching it, you will see Rick Joyner initiate the “worship time” with a request to God, “Lord, move among us.” You will then see what looks like Jason Hooper, stating,

Tory has something she’s got to release, and when this releases, it’s gonna be like a starting gun for the ministry time. So those of you who like ministry…youth, children, those who have been touched by the fire, prepare to minister!

Then after “Tory” begins convulsing, Jason affirms, “Yeah, he’s here.” No doubt “he” was there, but it certainly was not He the Holy Spirit. Tory then speaks into the microphone,

Two days ago, I saw jesus opening himself up and walking in our midst…

Then the tribal and occultic chaos begins. Here is the video again for your convenience:

As the reader will see, I was grateful that you would acknowledge my post, albeit it was not what I expected:

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In a similar fashion demonstrated in your radio interview of Phil Johnson, you appear to try to take control of the conversation at this point, deflecting my original questions with some questions of your own. Without pointing out the fact you had time to read and engage my reply to your Jonathan Edwards article but didn’t have time to watch the 7-minute video and answer my questions, I attempted one last time to persuade you to watch the video and respond to my questions:

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Unfortunately, you did not seem concerned with what I was trying to bring to your attention, but rather dismissed me with the “all clear” as if you are confident in your relationship with Rick Joyner and his ministry (so no need to humbly address my concerns, or inform me that you will look into it when you have the time):

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Dr. Brown, I can fully appreciate and respect the fact you are probably overwhelmed with a ministry like, “Ask Dr. Brown“, especially due to your campaign against the Strange Fire conference. Yet, it seems you would appreciate my questions and offer to get back to me when it’s convenient for you. After all, the motto of your TV show is, “Answering Your Toughest Questions“. One would think the toughest questions would include answering questions about your public ministry and affiliations, but that does not seem to be fair game? I digress.

Having been shown the door by you, I concluded and informed you I would be in touch. As you’re figuring out by now (that is, if you’re able to take 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to read this letter), this is me getting back in touch with you:

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You did not seem to share my opinion that your nonresponse was an open endorsement to Rick Joyner and his ministry. Though I couldn’t obtain a screen capture, I was able to copy the text of your response:

Folks, this is post has generated some of the post obscene and ugly posts I’ve ever seen, and if they are friends of Justin Edwards, that is very telling. Virtually every standard of decency and grace we call for has been violated, not to mention you all think I’m supposed to ignore thousands of others, drop all my writing deadlines, ignore all other commitments, and then if I don’t respond, I’m endorsing someone. This is one of the shameful displays I’ve ever seen, so feel free to copy the entire thread, which will soon be deleted.

Now, Dr. Brown. I understand how some of the comments you received put you on the defensive. What baffles me, however, is that you drew a charge that if these are my friends, that is very telling of me. One is free to draw their own conclusions about that, but if these comments are telling of my friendships, then certainly we can use the same logic to conclude your friendship and ministry relationship with Rick Joyner to be telling of your ministry and commitment to the truth? Moreover, it is not so much your refusal to respond to my inquiries that concludes for me your open endorsement of Rick Joyner, but you have already endorsed his ministry, and your dismissal of my concerns gives further evidence of your open endorsement.

So where does this leave us, Dr. Brown? I would like to keep this simple, so I will reiterate my questions in hopes you might respond:

  1. Do you indeed consider Rick Joyner to be a ministry friend and man of God?
  2. Do you believe the practices in the video above to be an “authentic move of the Holy Spirit”?
  3. If yes, can you provide Scripture that would support this woman as manifesting a work of the Holy Spirit?
  4. If no, have you called Rick Joyner to repentance for these practices, or do you plan to discuss these as “extremes/excesses” in your upcoming book or by other means?

Ultimately, I’d like to know if you consider Rick Joyner’s ministry to be “authentic fire”, or “strange fire”?

This is important because you have embraced these kinds of men as brothers, and so we are left with you openly embracing their practices as “authentic fire”. Unless, of course, you do consider Rick Joyner and the Third Wave to be false prophets, and we got you totally wrong. I am open to that possibility, and would quickly acknowledge and affirm your rebuke of what you would call “excesses”. However, I don’t think the conversation you are seeking will be fruitful with us cessationists until we can establish exactly what you believe to be “authentic fire” versus “strange fire” (surely you can point to some specific strange fires – like the one in the video above? Hopefully?).

One last thought:  out of respect for your time, I am also open to one of the members of your leadership team at Fire Church to address my concerns. Surely someone on your Apostolic Team, Pastoral Team, or one of your Elders (preferably a man, not a woman), would be able to speak on your behalf? They are free to communicate with me your relationship with Rick Joyner and your position of his ministry practices, specifically in the video included in this open letter. Any response by you or your team is appreciated.

In closing, Dr. Brown, I understand you are under no obligation to respond to my letter. However, what is at stake is the perception that you do indeed endorse these kinds of men based on your previous interactions and affirmations of them. Many are concerned that you would affirm these ministries, when practices such as the one in the video are so disturbing and offensive to the Holy Spirit. Please help us better understand your position if what has been presented in this article is not representative of your views; and, if you consider “Rick Joyner’s Circus” video to be strange fire, then please say so.

In love for the Truth,

Justin

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