All posts tagged: Dr Michael Brown

We Are Called to Be Disciples, Not Consumers: Learning a Lesson from the Persecuted Church

By Dr. Michael L. Brown

Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand were Jewish Christians from Romania who were imprisoned, mistreated, and (especially Richard) brutally tortured for their unwavering faith. They would not bow the knee to the spirit of the age. They would not submit to the godless Communist agenda (or any other godless agenda). They would only bow the knee to Jesus.

Have Mercy On Those Who Doubt

By Dr. Michael L. Brown It is true that, in the Bible, Jesus often rebuked people for their doubts and unbelief. But that was because they have should have known better. That was because, based on what they had witnessed and experienced, they should have faith. But at other times, He showed great mercy to those who wavered with doubt. In fact, there’s an amazing little verse in the book of Jude which calls us to “have mercy on those who doubt” (or, Jude 22). When is the last time you heard a sermon using this verse? We should show mercy, not condemnation, not criticism, not censure, not condescending correction, to those who are sincere and yet struggle with doubt. And what, exactly, is doubt? Sometimes it is an inability to believe that God will do something for us personally, as in, “I know the Bible says this, but I’m struggling to believe it will really happen to me.” At other times, it is a struggle to believe that there really is a God, or …

2021: The Year of Mistrust and Suspicion

Although there are many things that characterize the year 2021, perhaps nothing is more conspicuous than the deep lack of trust that Americans currently have in their national leadership. From the president to the CDC, from Dr. Fauci to the media, almost everyone is viewed with suspicion and mistrust. Of course, it would be all too easy for those on the left to blame this on former president Trump. After all, wasn’t he the one driving the “stop the steal” movement? And didn’t he make clear that, not even the Supreme Court could be trusted? But to blame the current situation on Trump would be both shallow and naive. Plenty of clearheaded, fair-minded, thinking Americans have good reason to question what they are hearing and seeing and reading. Can anyone really be trusted? Both leftwing and rightwing media have become so politicized that much of the reporting is often more sensationalistic than sound. Endless internet headlines (which people often run with, at face value) are mere clickbait, with the article linked having nothing to do …

A Holy Jealousy for the Reputation of the Lord

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Revival is often birthed when we get to a place of spiritual desperation, when we are sick and tired of the way we are living, when we have had it with our halfhearted commitments, when we cannot live any longer without a breakthrough. Revival can also come when we are grieved and burdened over the state of the society, when the sins of our generation mount up to heaven and we know that judgment is near. That also drives us to our knees in intercession and repentance, leading to an outpouring of mercy from on high. But there is something else that can spark revival, something else that moves us to prayer and grips us with deep travail: jealousy for the reputation of the Lord. Our hearts are broken because our Master’s name is maligned. Our souls are grieved because the people of the world despise their Creator. And it is all because of us. When We Make Him Look Bad The Lord’s name is mocked because of our failures, …

I Refuse to Accept the Current State of the Church

By Dr. Michael L. Brown I refuse to accept that the Church as we know it in America and the West is the very best the Church will ever be. I refuse to accept that the anemic, divided, often powerless version of the Church that we are so accustomed to seeing here is the only version we will ever see in this world. Not if the Bible is true. Not if Jesus is Lord. Not if the Holy Spirit has been poured out. Not if God’s promises are real. To the contrary, because the Bible is true. And because Jesus is Lord. And because the Holy Spirit has been poured out. And because God’s promises are real. We will see a glorious Church, walking in grace and victory and purity and power. We will see a bride fit for her Groom. We will see the Messianic community that He Himself is building. And the very gates of Hades will not overcome that Church. That is God’s vision and that is God’s promise, because of which …

If God Does Not Exist Then Injustice Does Not Exist

By Dr. Michael L. Brown I recently had a friendly online debate with a former Muslim known as Apostate Prophet (called AP for short). The subject was, “Does God Exist?” In my opening comments, I stated that I did not specialize in debating this issue and that I realized that arguments that seemed compelling to me would be mocked by many atheists. Conversely, I stated that I have listened to the best arguments of atheists and said to myself, “Are you kidding me? Is this the best you have to offer?” (For similar reflections from a Christian apologist on the weakness of atheistic arguments, see Tom Gilson’s recent article here.) So, I made clear from the start that my goal was not to convince the viewers that my view was right. Rather, it was to explain to them why I was 100 percent sure that God is real, especially since so much of my faith is based on my own life experiences rather than on abstract philosophical arguments . To make my case, I gave a …

The Politicizing of COVID Has Become a Deadly Game

By Dr. Michael L. Brown I just lost another friend to COVID, this time, a 69-year-old father and grandfather, an elder in my home congregation, as faithful a Christian man as you will find. He joins the list of other friends and colleagues in the States who have died in the last year from COVID-related complications, along with an even longer list of loved ones and colleagues of some of my very close friends in India. At the same time, the extreme politicizing of COVID makes it difficult (if not almost impossible) to know who to trust when it comes to preventing the spread of the disease. This is a terrible shame. Personally, as much as I dislike wearing a mask, especially on long flights, I would wear one the rest of my life in public if I knew by doing so I was saving other people’s lives. With joy. When it comes to being vaccinated, if I was sure the vaccine had no long-term side-effects or dangers, I would get vaccinated every month if …

The Humiliation of the Church and the Coming National Revival

By Dr. Michael L. Brown It has been a very difficult season for conservative Christians in America. There have been countless scandals, both minor and major, sexual and financial, rocking all different sectors of the church. There have been prominent leaders who have renounced their faith. There have been well-publicized, failed prophecies about Trump’s reelection. The list goes on and on, and we have egg on our face. Lots of it. And what about the extreme politicization of so many Christians in the last 5 years, to the point that some of us became better known for our support of a political leader than for our allegiance to Jesus? This is time of humiliation, of confusion, of dishonor, a time to get low before the Lord rather than a time to strut. Worst of all, we have brought reproach to the name of Jesus and disrepute to the reputation of the gospel. We have driven people away from the Lord more than drawn people to Him. Yet all is not lost. To the contrary, the …

The Ongoing Intersection of the Gospel with Culture

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Three years ago, I conducted a poll on Facebook asking, “Should pastors and Christian leaders just preach the gospel, or should they also comment on relevant social and political issues?” Three years later to the day, I posted the same poll on Twitter. How did the results compare? Obviously, there is nothing scientific about these polls. They simply indicate how my Facebook and Twitter communities feel about the question. As for these two social media communities, although they have much in common, in many ways they disparate in their viewpoints and beliefs. How did the results compare? In 2018 on Facebook, out of roughly 1,900, 84 percent said “Gospel & culture” with only 16 percent saying “Gospel only.” In 2021 on Twitter, out of 889 responses, 79.2 percent said “Gospel and culture too” with only 20.8 percent saying, “Gospel only.” The overall differences were fairly minor, especially given the fact that many Christians are still suffering burnout from the 2020 elections while many others have felt the need to draw back from both politics …

When Mental Health Professionals Recognize the Healing Powers of Spirituality

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Critics of the COVID lockdowns often argued that, in the end, the lockdowns would do more harm than good, not just financially but also medically. One reason was that patients needing treatment would be less inclined to visit a doctor or hospital, increasing their health risks. Critics also pointed to the psychological aspects of the lockdowns, leading to increased loneliness, depression and even suicide. What about forbidding Christians (and other people of faith) from gathering together for worship, prayer, and ministry? What kind of impact did this have on the overall health and wellbeing of tens of millions of Americans (along with countless others worldwide)? Or, conversely, what positive role did faith play in the overall health and wellbeing of Americans during the lockdowns? A new article posted in the Scientific American, by David H. Rosmarin, and titled “Psychiatry Needs to Get Right with God,” addresses these very questions. The Cost of Not Gathering for Worship According to Rosmarin, “Spirituality has historically been dismissed by psychiatrists, but results from a …

No Time for Cowardice

By Dr. Michael L. Brown According to the book of Revelation, “the cowardly,” along with a host of other sinners, like murderers and the sexually immoral, will one day be cast into the lake of fire (see Revelation 21:8). But what is so bad about being cowardly? Why is it such a serious sin? The Greek word used for “cowardly” also means “fearful,” and it is found two other times in the New Testament.  As explained by the Greek scholar Celsas Spicq, “Jesus reproaches the apostles for this psychological fear when they are terrified by the storm (Matt 8:26; Mark 4:40), because it involves a moral deficiency: they no longer have faith, or they have but little faith in the presence of the Savior, who has to reassure them.” In contrast, “when one relies on God, there is nothing to fear.” (From his Theological Lexicon of the New Testament.) So, there is something morally deficient in being fearful when Jesus Himself is with you. And in the situation described in the Gospels, when the disciples …

Knowing God as a Forgiving Father

by Dr. Michael L. Brown As many of you know, before I came to faith in Jesus in late 1971 as a 16-year-old, Jewish, hippie rock drummer, I was a heavy drug user, even boasting about my drug use. I also broke into a couple of houses with my friends, as well as a doctor’s office. (The primary motivation was just to do something crazy.) Even more shamefully, I stole money from my father on several occasions when some of my friends needed a few bucks. This was the most despicable act of all. A few weeks after coming to the Lord, I was sitting in the kitchen one night talking with my dad, who was the senior lawyer in the New York Supreme Court. As we sat there alone, he asked me a direct question: “Michael, did you steal that money from me a few months back?” Not only had I stolen the money, but I had cut through the screen door in the back of the house to make it look as if …

If God Does Not Exist Then Injustice Does Not Exist

By Dr. Michael L. Brown I recently had a friendly online debate with a former Muslim known as Apostate Prophet (called AP for short). The subject was, “Does God Exist?” In my opening comments, I stated that I did not specialize in debating this issue and that I realized that arguments that seemed compelling to me would be mocked by many atheists. Conversely, I stated that I have listened to the best arguments of atheists and said to myself, “Are you kidding me? Is this the best you have to offer?” (For similar reflections from a Christian apologist on the weakness of atheistic arguments, see Tom Gilson’s recent article here.) So, I made clear from the start that my goal was not to convince the viewers that my view was right. Rather, it was to explain to them why I was 100 percent sure that God is real, especially since so much of my faith is based on my own life experiences rather than on abstract philosophical arguments . To make my case, I gave …

How an Extreme Optimist and an Absolute Realist Process Life Together

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Nancy and I have been married for 45 years. We are absolutely joined at the hip, totally united in our deepest faith convictions and our love for the Lord. But in other ways, we are radically different. How do we process life together? This past Friday night [ed. April 9, 2021], I had to rush to the emergency room with a kidney stone, with Nancy as my driver. Interestingly enough, this was my second kidney stone, about seven years after the first one.  (I’ve been told that I need to drink more water since, otherwise, by God’s grace, I’m in nearly perfect health.) In both cases, Nancy got her first and second kidney stone a couple of months before me. Talk about being in harmony! While we were sitting in the waiting room and I was quietly moaning in pain, I said to her, “Underneath this pain I have a real sense of excitement. Whatever the problem is, it’s about to be solved, and I’ll be feeling much better soon.” …

From the Peaceniks of the 1960s to the Social Justice Warriors of the 2020s: Some Cultural and Spiritual Insights

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Are there parallels between the anti-war, hippies of the 1960s and today’s social justice warriors? Are there valuable lessons we can learn from the past, both cultural and spiritual, that will give us insight for today? Growing up in the 60s (I was born in 1955), I lived through the anti-war movement. But for me, being a few years younger than the activists, that era was all about rock music and drugs. Giving the “peace” sign was just something we hippies did. “Peace, man,” we would say while holding up two fingers. Our mantra was, “Make love not war.” As for being anti-war, that was hardly a philosophical issue for me. It was simply pragmatic: I was getting high and playing drums in a rock band. Why on earth would I want to go to Vietnam to be killed in battle? But for others, there really were serious philosophical issues, and deep questions were being asked. Why are we here? What’s the meaning of life? Is the American dream our …

The Bad News in the Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling on Behalf of Religious Liberty

By Dr. Michael L. Brown It was good to see the Supreme Court rule yet again in favor of religious liberty in the latest California case to reach the nation’s highest court. Yet the fact that the ruling was only 5-4, not to mention some of the reasoning in the dissenting opinion, gives real cause for concern. This should not have been a close vote at all. Instead, it should have been a slam dunk for religious freedoms. As reported on Forbes, “The Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 margin late Friday that California’s coronavirus-related restrictions on gathering in private homes violated constitutional rights on the free exercise of religion, the latest ruling from the high court that prohibits authorities from enforcing limits on religious services.” Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the three liberal justices, and the dissenting opinion was written by Justice Elana Kagan. As for the majority opinion, the reasoning was as follows. “First, California treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise, permitting hair salons, retail stores, personal care services, …

Debating an evangelical turned atheist, Muslim apologist, and more

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Earlier on Tuesday (April 6), I had the distinct joy and privilege of recording four TV shows for a new series I’m hosting called “That’s Debatable with Dr. Brown.” It will air on the new AWKNG TV network, hopefully starting sometime next month. The debates we recorded covered four different subjects: 1) Has the Church Replaced Israel? 2) Are There Valid Reasons to Leave Christianity? 3) Does the God of the Bible Exist? 4) The Quran or the Bible: Which Is the Word of God? The guests included an Anglican vicar, a former Charismatic Christian turned agnostic, a former evangelical turned atheist, and a Muslim apologist. On Wednesday (April 7), I’m scheduled to do four more debates, one with a gay pastor on Jesus and LGBTQ+ people, one with a transgender pastor on affirming trans identities, one with a progressive Christian on abortion, and one with a questioning Christian on divine healing. This means that, aside from one or two of the shows, none of the other guests share my …

How the Death of a 20th-Century Rabbi Helps Demonstrate the Reality of the Resurrection of Jesus

By Dr. Michael L. Brown For many years, scholars and skeptics and psychologists and sociologists have told us that the disciples experienced a form of cognitive dissonance after Jesus died. It so rocked their world and crushed their expectations that they went into deep denial to the point of believing that Jesus really rose from the dead. To be sure, other scholars have attacked this theory from a number of powerful and persuasive angles, but my book Resurrection tackles it from a different angle. Specifically, I focus on a modern-day, parallel test case that completely demolishes this argument. To give the relevant background, in 1994, a leading rabbi, one of the most influential Jews of the 20th century, died at the age of 92. His name was Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and he was known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe. But this rabbi had become so influential that, before his death, his followers began to proclaim that he was the long-awaited Messiah. Redemption had come for Israel! Toward the end of his life, however, he suffered two …