A Manifesto of Christian Discernment

We will maintain a healthy skepticism towards all the big-name leaders in the church. No matter how famous a Christian celebrity might be, we refuse to be gullible just because someone has become a "brand name." 

We will check everything any pastor/teacher says against God's Word, and when it comes to the most powerful, multimillionaire "Super Pastors," we will assume the worst until convinced otherwise. 

"Pastor" David Hughes

"Pastor" David Hughes

We refuse to be impressed or motivated by storytelling, drama and entertainment. God and His written Word is the only acceptable focus of a worship service-not the manipulations of men. We will not tolerate idiotic stunts in order to "bring the unsaved to church." We will not tolerate false humility and claims of direct revelation from any pastor/teacher. Any pastor/teacher that claims to hear "something new" directly from God will be immediately disqualified. No second chances.

We don't need you.  We understand that you need a constant influx of new and gullible listeners, but we refuse to participate. 

"Pastor" Steven Furtick

"Pastor" Steven Furtick

A pulpit and a microphone should only be used to direct attention to Christ, not towards a pastor who loves the attention of an audience. A large church platform does not give any pastor the right to amass power and enlarge their bank account. Pastors must tell the truth, all the time-not just when it advances their career.

  • Stop telling people "it's all about Jesus" when you actually talk more about yourself and your ideas. 
  • Stop bragging about how much you're doing for God. 
  • Stop bragging about how great your church is. 
  • Stop bragging about how you started out with just a few people meeting in your living room and "now we have (x) number of people coming!" 
  • Stop bragging about the guest speaker-he's a sinner, too. (We know you just want to get invited to his church so you can make a pile of money.)
  • Stop bragging about your best-selling book. 
  • Stop bragging about your celebrity friends.
"Pastor" Eddie Long (who died mysteriously)

"Pastor" Eddie Long (who died mysteriously)

Pastor, you're a sinner that deserves God's wrath, just like the rest of us. Jesus took the punishment we deserve upon Himself to set us free from sin and death; you didn't do anything. Either tell us about the true Gospel or we will go elsewhere, with zero regrets. 

We are all on equal footing; no pastor should be getting rich from his parishioners.

  • You are not a rock star, you're a servant of Jesus Christ.
  • You are not a CEO, you're a servant of Jesus Christ.
  • You are not a motivational speaker, you're a servant of Jesus Christ. 
The ridiculous and obscene mansion of "Pastor" T. D. Jakes

The ridiculous and obscene mansion of "Pastor" T. D. Jakes

Any pastor/teacher who misuses the Bible should be removed from ministry. Period. We realize that this rarely takes place, but we will work towards that goal, as much as possible.

Pastors:

  • Stop taking Bible verses out of context to support your own personal agenda. 
  • Stop spending so much time putting on a good show each Sunday that you're not studying the Bible. 
  • Stop emphasizing leadership skills as if you were running a large corporation; you're cheapening the church and starving your sheep. 
  • Stop using marketing gimmicks and promotional tricks to imitate a genuine work of God. 
  • Stop apologizing for the Bible while you pander to newcomers who aren't being told the full story of their sin and need for salvation. 
  • Stop embarrassing us by trying to be cool, relevant and modern. Just preach the Word.
  • Stop thinking that nobody will show up if you don't tickle people's ears to get them in the door. 
  • Stop relying on musicians to create a fake "Holy Spirit;" you should be more concerned about the Biblical training (and eternal fate) of these musicians rather than just using them as part of the Sunday morning "show."
  • Stop giving motivational speeches that promise success in the name of God.
  • Stop telling people to tithe in order to get God to do something. God is sovereign.
  • Stop using tithing as a false promise of guaranteed prosperity to your parishioners and as a means to fill your own wallet. If you didn't have such an expensive "church" to run, you wouldn't need so much money.
  • Stop manipulating people-start serving them.
  • Stop pointing to yourself-point to Jesus.
  • Stop referring to your own thoughts and ideas-start referring to God's Word alone.
  • Stop putting people under the burden of the Law-point people to the freedom that only the Gospel brings.

In Conclusion, 

We will seek out the pastor who faithfully serves God and proclaims repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name. God's Word alone will be our guide. It will be our joy to serve faithfully under a real, Biblical pastor, no matter what. God help us all, in the great name of Jesus.

 


Titus 1:7-11  “For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.”

James 3: 1 "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." 

Titus 2:1 “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.”

2 Timothy 4:1-4  “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

2 Timothy 4:16  "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Romans 16:18  “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”

2 Corinthians 2:17  “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”
 

 

A Very Confused "Word of Faith" Man Writes Me An Email

Here's an email I just received from a well-meaning, but very confused man; he didn't write this to ask my opinion or start a conversation-he wrote this to correct me. Specifically, he wanted to correct my recent article The Hyper-Charismatic House of Cards-Let It Fall and Be Free. I decided to respond to his false "Word of Faith" doctrine in this article, because I hope it will be helpful for people who are trying to think through these issues. This man's words are in bold and my comments are in italics and in parenthesis:

Hi Steven,
While you likely meant well with your post titled the "Hyper-Charismatic House of Cards", you are actually doing more harm than good. While there are many excesses and problems in the charismatic church, there is an underlying spiritual reality that they have built these ministries upon
(this is simply a gigantic assertion; this "underlying spiritual reality" is never defined or proven from Scripture). Think about how Satan operates - he takes something good that God has created and provided and corrupts it and distorts it so that it no longer functions properly. In doing so, Satan is then able to discredit God's original working or plan or intention and seed the sin of unbelief in its place (so these charismatics are almost completely smothered in the lies of Satan, but they also have great power against Satan?). By going along with the lie that there is so much smoke in the church and no real fire, you are promoting the anti-christ agenda (No, I'm pointing people back to Christ and Him crucified for our sins, as opposed to the confusing charismatic world that is largely incapable of fending off imposters and frauds and is often guilty of ignoring Christ and Him crucified for our sins.).

It is really hard to separate the false from the true, and in fact without the Holy Spirit's guidance and the Bible as a spiritual mirror it is impossible
(Actually, it's not that hard, charismatics make it hard by constantly adding new revelation that competes with God's Word. They love their personal revelation and signs and wonders so much that simple Bible study is neglected, or the Bible gets misinterpreted in order to confirm their false teachings.). Take 'word of faith' doctrine as one example. Word of faith teaches that God created the universe by speaking it into existence, and He created us in His image and likeness. Given that Jesus received all authority in heaven and on earth from the Father and made us joint heirs with Him, we also have access to that same power (That's just another ridiculous assertion. Let's use that same deeply flawed logic in a similar way: "Given that Jesus received all authority in heaven and on earth from the Father and made us joint heirs with Him, we also have the ability to raise ourselves from the dead." or: "..we also have the ability to throw ourselves down from the pinnacle of the temple so the angels can catch us."). If you study the relevant Scriptures (Chapter and verse, please..), you will find that this is unrestricted power and authority (Really? UNRESTRICTED POWER AND AUTHORITY?? Why didn't Jesus or any of the Apostles tell us about our ability to speak things into existence with our unrestricted power and authority?). Now if you stumble over the sin of unbelief by refusing to believe what the Bible says this regard, you will not be able to activate your faith so as to speak and receive from the Father (Why are you bothering to write this email? Why argue your point using thoughts and words? Why are you not using your UNLIMITED POWER AND AUTHORITY to declare whatever it is you want to come true? You should just "declare that Steven Kozar will remove his article from the internet because it is causing unbelief!" Don't you have enough faith?)

While it is true that many teachers have abused this spiritual truth (What "spiritual truth?" The spiritual truth of casting spells with our unlimited power & authority?) by pandering to baser human nature while teaching this, that abuse does not invalidate the teachings found in Scripture (except that they are not found in Scripture). However, if we fall into unbelief on account of that abuse then that biblical truth is nullified and can have no power in our lives. See Psalms 78:41 and following verses for context and Hebrews 3 for further Biblical discussion of this concept. (These verses have NOTHING to do with Word of Faith doctrine or how we must activate our faith so we can have unlimited power & authority. These verses are about becoming disobedient and having a hardened heart. Wait a minute-is that supposed to be for me?!)

Kind regards,

(I didn't include his name)

For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
— 2 Thessalonians 2: 11-12

The Hyper-Charismatic House of Cards: Let It Fall and Be Free

If you've been a part of a church that adheres to some of the "New Apostolic Reformation/Signs and Wonders" teachings, there's a good chance that you have nagging doubts and concerns that keep popping up from somewhere in the back of your mind.

That's actually good.

For example, you've been told something like this: The Christian who gets baptized in the Holy Spirit, speaks in tongues and then... jumps aboard the hyper-charismatic NAR/Signs & Wonders bandwagon, will get a bunch of things that "regular" Christians don't have. You've gone to a lot of services, conferences & revival meetings so you can get "the anointing," and you've read a lot of "anointed" books and watched a lot of "anointed" TV and video presentations. And now you're supposed to have more. More blessings; more power; more prosperity; more confidence; more effectiveness; more intimacy with God... on top of that you've been taught to keep asking God for more because God is waiting to see how hungry and desperate you are before He does anything more

But admit it, you don't really have more of those things. In fact, you probably have more questions, more confusion, and more doubts.

  • You've heard these teachers prophesy about things that didn't come true at all.
  • You've been promised things that you didn't receive.
  • You've "sowed financial seeds" into ministries with zero results.
  • You've used the "power of your words" to claim things that you never got.
  • You've been given "prophetic words" that were basically just cheap fortune-telling tricks (without the crystal ball). 
  • You've tried to "speak things into existence" with zero success, but you're afraid to say anything because you've been taught that you'd be making things even worse if you speak about it.
  • You've been told that God really really really wants to make all your dreams come true. Really.
  • You were supposed to have something "activated" (faith; understanding; miracles; anointing...) but nothing actually happened. Nagging doubts are all that got "activated."
  • There was supposed to be a "shift in the atmosphere" but you're not even sure what that means.
  • You've been told about the gigantic new "move of the spirit" that's right around the corner... for a decade or two (or three) now.
  • You've been told that being a Christian is all about finding your Destiny So You Can Change The World. How's that working for you? Are you exhausted and disillusioned yet?
  • You've been wondering why the people on stage have all of these amazing stories to tell, but God hasn't done those things in your life. "What's wrong with me?" is a common thought of yours.
  • You've got a stack of books and/or DVDs that claim to give you the magic formula that leads to more. But only the person selling those things got more... of your money. 

On top of these personal difficulties and inconsistencies, you've watched men and women who were supposed to be great spiritual leaders prove themselves to be regular sinners with all of their divorces, financial scandals and confusing teachings that seem to get made up on the spot. These are the people who claim to have great power because they get "built up in the Holy Spirit" by speaking in tongues, and they know the secret key to "resist the devil" and get radical results. Bill Johnson even claims that he can change the atmosphere of a room just by walking in the door. They know exactly how to brag about their amazing walk with God while maintaining a facade of humility.

But lets be honest. These are people just telling stories on a stage; they're really professional speakers. They have little to no proof of all the amazing things they claim to have done. All the miracles happen somewhere else (and nobody takes a video). These people are very good at telling compelling stories. They are very good at sounding humble as they attract and retain more followers for themselves. "Aw shucks, it's all the Lord; but He works through me a lot more than He does through you" is the overall attitude.

  • These kind of false teachers have to keep propping each other up with endorsements and guest speaking invitations for each other.
  • They have to keep talking about the new and better thing (that they just invented), so that you'll continue showing up for the next meeting or conference.
  • They have to use and repeat spiritual sounding catch-phrases, in order to replace the sound teachings of scripture.
  • They have to have yet another "greatest conference ever" (until the next one) so that they can make money by selling more tickets and books.
  • They require an audience full of gullible and emotionally dependent people. "Just Trust Us" is the underlying theme to everything they say and do. 
  • They have to promote all this stuff with very expensive and manipulative video commercials that constantly tug at your heartstrings.
  • The one thing they can't have is this: you realizing that your ears are getting tickled, while your soul is being drained.
Pop_Haydn_the_Shell_Game_by_Billy_Baque.JPG

It's a house of cards.

 

You've been tricked. You've been sold a bill of goods. You've been bamboozled.

 

Now it's time to move on and find rest. Rest in the true freedom that comes from the unaltered Gospel: Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins. You've been forgiven of your sins, not because of anything you've done, but because Jesus took your place on the cross. You can stop trying to be more desperate to show God how serious you are (yet again). You can stop trying to be more passionate than you were the last time you mustered up a bunch of passion. You can stop trying so hard to feel something to convince yourself of God's presence. You can stop wondering why you still haven't gotten your "breakthrough." You can stop trying to get a "fresh word from the Lord." You can stop trying to figure out your Destiny so you can Change The World. 

God does not require these things from you, and He never has. You've been ensnared by the teachings of men. 

bible-quotes-about-flowers-quotesgram.jpeg

So here's the bottom line to this article: If you're confused by all the stuff you've been taught, start reading your Bible again, and stop listening to all the people who've been telling you these things. Just take a little time off and see what happens. Here's a truly radical idea: read entire books of the New Testament all of the way through (most of them are really short). If God's Word is actually God's Word, then He will you use it to speak to you. Stop trying to hear God's voice in your constantly changing imagination; the Word of God is unchanging and it's outside of you, and that's a very good thing. Clear out all the false teachings that have cluttered up your mind and discover the simple Gospel message. 

He's given you His Word, now simply read it and be free!

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
— Ephesians 2: 4-10
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
— John 15: 26
Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
— Colossians 2: 18-19
If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
— 1 Timothy 6: 3-5
And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.
— Jonathan Edwards

If you found this interesting and thought-provoking, you might also enjoy the following articles:

Assertions and Assumptions are NOT the Foundation of the Church

Cognitive Dissonance and the Silly Putty Jesus

The false teachers who have invaded many of the Pentecostal and charismatic churches do NOT want you to know about The Charismatic Day of Infamy!

Marcia Montenegro: Astrologer Overtaken by the Love of God

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Here's a fascinating interview with Marcia Montenegro, a former professional astrologer for 8 years and teacher of astrology; a former practitioner for many years of Eastern-type meditation and beliefs, and who engaged in various occult practices such as having a spirit guide and doing astral travel:

Here is Marcia's website:

Christian Answers for the New Age

Assertions and Assumptions are NOT the Foundation of the Church

Assertion: (noun) a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason:
Without providing any evidence, he made an assertion.

Assumption: (noun) something taken for granted; a supposition:
She didn't check the facts to see if it was true, she just made an assumption.
 

Have you ever received one of those ridiculous emails that claims you are the recipient of a multi-million dollar fortune from somebody in another country? But in order to claim your money you have to send a smaller amount of money to the complete stranger that sent you the email? Emails like this rarely fool people, but they work just enough that different versions of this scam re-emerge from time to time. 

  • The scam emailer is making an assertion. ("I'm telling the truth-really! Trust me!!")
  • The scammer hopes that the recipient will make an assumption. ("This must be true, I believe it and will send the money") 

The reason these scams don't work most of the time is because the assertion is obviously not true and most people do not assume that it is.

Much of the bad teaching going on in churches has both of these aspects. The pastor/teacher is making assertions and the people listening are simply assuming those assertions must be true. It looks something like this:

  • The pastor/teacher makes an assertion, often quite vigorously; he says it with confidence and emotion or he even claims it came directly from God Himself.
  • The people listening make the assumption that this pastor must be telling the truth. Why would he lie? He's a super nice guy, or he seems very sincere, or he went to some college somewhere... there's a million reasons why people assume they are being told the absolute truth.

Christians often use catch phrases that appear to be true, and the more often these phrases and ideas get repeated the more often they are assumed to be true. Popular pastors often have memes with their own sayings that are nothing more than mere assertions-usually meant to make people feel good.

For example, the following Joel Osteen memes look nice and sound good, but if you click through and read them all, you'll see that they don't say anything Biblical:

All of those sayings are making assertions ("You need to use your faith in order to accomplish the victorious destiny that God has for you;" "You're gonna do something great and it's right around the corner;" etc.) and these assertions are derived from a non-Christian, man-centered viewpoint.

  • These assertions are very appealing because they tell us what we want to hear, so...
  • it's no wonder that many people assume they must be true.

If you understand the Word of Faith movement (with some Positive Thinking along side), you'll see how these sayings stem from that belief system.

Now let's click through the ideas expressed in the following memes from Bethel church, where Bill Johnson and Kris Valloton teach:

These memes express a type of mystical, gnostic belief system; really, the only thing they share with Christianity is the use of some similar Bible words and phrases. Notice how the mystical "Yoda" meme actually seems to fit in? A good portion of the New Testament was written to combat the gnostic beliefs that were an ongoing threat to the early Church. Here's a basic Christian definition of gnosticism (from the Pirate Lexicon): "Gnosticism is an early heresy which replaced the Gospel with a demand for secret knowledge. Gnostics claimed the only way to be saved was for the spirit to be liberated from the material order, which they considered evil. Elements of Gnosticism remain in modern churches (i.e. personal revelation, secret knowledge and mystical experiences)." Like the previous assertions made by Joel Osteen, these assertions put man at the center of our faith, but on top of that, they denegrade the use of thinking, reasoning and the objective, written Word of God.

This doctrine teaches that doctrine is bad. This teaching believes that teaching is bad.

This belief says that God wants to be known internally and subjectively through a personal mystical experience. In this religion, He shares His miraculous power only with those who demonstrate the most extreme intimacy, passion and devotion. This has more in common with pagan mysticism and gnosticism than Christianity, but because these assertions are rarely tested, too many people make the assumption that they must be Christian and they must be true. 

Now for a striking contrast, here are some assertions from God's Word:

Titus 2:7-8  “...in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21  “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good...”

1 John 4:1  “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

2 Timothy 1:13-14  “Hold fast (retain) the pattern of sound words (doctrine) which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”

2 Timothy 3:12-17  “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 4:1-4  “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

2 Thessalonians 2:15  "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter."

1 Corinthians 16:13  "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."

Jude 3  “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

 

  • Notice how these Bible passages teach the importance of sound teaching? And this sound teaching does not come from inside of us; God's Word is independent from us.
  • Notice how these Bible passages teach us to examine everything carefully, and test things? Nowhere does Scripture tell us to mindlessly accept a doctrine from a self-described "prophet" or new "apostle;" instead, we are to be very skeptical of the teachings of men.

One of the fascinating moments captured in the book of Acts is the very brief mention of Paul and Silas visiting the Jewish synagogue in Berea. Acts 17: 11-12 says, "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek woman of high standing as well as men."

The Bible encourages us to be like the Bereans, who "received the word with all eagerness, and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."

  • We should never just believe the assertions that somebody makes, we should examine the Scriptures to find out if it's true. Period.
  • We should never just assume something is true, instead, we should examine the Scriptures to see if something is true. Period.

God has given us His Word.

He didn't "sort of" give us His Word. He didn't give us His Word with a bunch of exceptions and exclusions, and cause us to become dependent on new "prophets" and "apostles." And He certainly didn't give anyone permission to add or subtract from his Word.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
— Ephesians 2: 19-22
Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
— Matthew 7: 24-25
And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.
— Jonathan Edwards

Here's an article that explains the false assertions in the messed up church:

The Mike Bickle and IHOP Cornucopia of False Teaching, Bridal Weirdness and 24/7 Confusion

Mike Bickle's multi-million dollar "International House of Prayer" is an outgrowth of the heretical "Latter Rain" movement that began in 1948,  even though IHOP has only been an official organization since 1999. Before IHOP, there was the "Kansas City Prophets" which basically turned into IHOP. Here's a brief overview of the Latter Rain Movement and how it leads to IHOP: Latter Rain: The Spawning of Apostasy

Mike Bickle is a passionate and convincing speaker who has built a world-wide ministry based on something that seems like a great idea: 24 hour a day prayer and worship. Underneath this simple idea of praying and worshipping are a number of unorthodox, strange and unbiblical teachings. His entire ministry is built upon convincing stories of miraculous prophetic words that God supposedly gave men like Bob Jones and Paul Cain (two very influential but discredited false prophets). Some are now claiming that IHOP has become a full-fledged cult that separates young people from their families and creates zombie-like adherents. If you Google "IHOP cult" you will find many blogs written by former IHOP students and staff that are now warning others about the troubling experiences they had. And experience is what IHOP is all about. The Bible takes a back seat to the exciting and ever-changing "prophetic words" that keep IHOP followers coming back for more, but ultimately leaves them confused, hurt and, many times, angry. Of course, like any gigantic organization there are a wide variety of opinions about IHOP and there are many Christians involved that sincerely believe they are serving God. Instead of focusing on individual opinions & experiences, the links below are largely addressing the flawed teaching that comes from Mike Bickle and IHOP; this is not intended as a personal attack on the many people involved. 

The following articles are written by a number of Christians from many different denominational and theological backgrounds. These various writers don't agree on every aspect of Christian doctrine, but they do all agree that Mike Bickle and IHOP's false teachings should not be ignored. 

The Dangers of the International House of Prayer by CARM

Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer-The Latter Rain Redivivus by Critical Issues Commentary

What is the International House of Prayer (IHOP)? by Got Questions

Multiple Articles about Mike Bickle and IHOP by Berean Research

Multiple Articles about Mike Bickle and IHOP by Deception in the Church

Bickle's Bible Botching by Spirit of Error

Is Mike Bickle Biblical? by Holy Bible Prophecy

The 2nd Coming of the "Presence" (5 Part Series) by Herescope

Kansas City Prophets Exposed-Ernie Gruen's Report "Aberrant Practices"

Mike Bickle and IHOP Resource Page (Many links/articles) by Beyond Grace

Bill Johnson, IHOP, & Ancient Heresy Reborn (Interview with Bob DeWaay) by Echo Zoe Radio

The Over-Sexualization of Christ and the Heretical Bridal Paradigm by 828 Ministries

The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators by Lighthouse Trails Research

The Fatal Flaws of the Renewal (Part 1) by Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely

IHOP "Explain" Their Concept of the House of Prayer from the Bible by Churchwatch Central

The Apostolic and Prophetic Movement by Keith Gibson

Mike Bickle Quotes from the Zedekiah List

Chris Rosebrough Reviews Mike Bickle's Sermon "Blow the Trumpet in Zion" by Churchwatch Central

Forerunner Eschatology: Mike Bickle’s End-Time Teaching and the International House of Prayer by CRI

Bill Johnson & Mike Bickle's Mutual Admiration Society by Spirit of Error

Why I Believe IHOP is a Cult by Gospel Masquerade

Bill Johnson, IHOP and the "Passion" Translation by Spirit of Error

 
For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.
— Ecclesiastes 5: 7

“And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.” -Jonathan Edwards

 

Here are some examples of the worst kind of manifestations that sometimes occur at IHOP:

                   Watch Mike Bickle Refute Mike Bickle!

Want to watch a man sawing off the branch he's sitting on? Here's Mike Bickle's very own youTube video where he begins by saying "anything that's not in the written Word of God I reject" but then he goes on to promote and encourage things that aren't in the written word of God:

 

Here he is again trying to explain why it's okay to have lots of FALSE prophecies:

 

Here's Bickle spending 28 minutes confusing a room full of people; this is where he explains that 80% of the manifestations and prophecies are FALSE, but that's okay:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
— 1 John 4: 1
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
— 1 Corinthians 14: 33
An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?
— Jeremiah 5: 30-31
And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord has not spoken.
— Ezekiel 22: 28
Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity
to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading.
— Lamentations 2: 14
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
— Matthew 24: 24

Mike Bickle probably doesn't want you to know what his friends did at The Charismatic Day of Infamy

Mike Bickle is a key player in The New Apostolic Reformation

Here is some Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know! 

For further reading and research: 

Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs

Assertions and Assumptions are NOT the Foundation of the Church

The Hyper-Charismatic House of Cards-Let It Fall and Be Free

Here's a great article to help you be more discerning and less gullible:

Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs

CCM Song Critique: "Through Your Eyes" by Britt Nicole

Here's another CCM Song Critique by Jorge Rodriguez at Faithful Stewardship. Please, please, please keep in mind that these articles are examining the meaning and theology of the lyrics-NOT critiquing the intentions or sincerity of the songwriters/performers:

"Through Your Eyes" by Britt Nicole at Faithful Stewardship Blog

 

A note from Steve:

The problem with the lyrics in this song is similar to the problem expressed in this Todd White video critique:  Todd White Flips the Gospel Upside Down. While we all agree that people shouldn't live in a state of shame, the answer to that shame is to receive the Gospel in Word and Sacrament, not convince ourselves that we're actually much better, or more beautiful than we think we are. Jesus died on the cross to rescue us from sin and death; that's what He did in spite of our sin-not because we're so valuable or "beautiful inside." If you're exhausted from trying to feel better about yourself by "remembering your true identity" or (worse) by mustering up the ability to live without sin (for just a little while) I suggest that your theology is wrong and it has actually burdened you with another work for you to accomplish. Perhaps the Gospel is even better (and more simple) than you thought!

Here are a few more articles that might give you clarity on this topic:

Not Feeling It-The Gospel For Everyone Else

A "Personal Relationship With Christ"-Burden or Biblical?

Michael Brown: More Proof He's Part of the (So-Called) New Apostolic Reformation

Dr. Michael Brown is a very smart man. He knows exactly what the New Apostolic Reformation is but, like fellow NARpostle Bill Johnson, he wants everyone to believe he's not really a part of the NAR. Instead, he wants us to believe it's a fictional movement that was invented by its critics (that's why he calls it the "so-called" NAR). In the following article, he is clearly shown to be a key player in the NAR:

Further Evidence of Michael Brown’s Ties With the NAR by Churchwatch Central

The Word of Faith Cornucopia of False Doctrine

Kenneth Hagin ("DAD" Hagin)

Kenneth Hagin ("DAD" Hagin)

The Word of Faith movement is the predecessor to the New Apostolic Reformation and the two movements share a lot of overlapping beliefs. The Word of Faith (WOF) movement developed in the 1940's & 50's under the teachings of E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin (who plagiarized Kenyon), Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, T.L. OsbornWilliam Branham and others. Like the NAR, the WOF never had an official leader or official statement of beliefs, so it is difficult to determine exactly when it started or exactly what it taught. And like today's New Apostolic Reformation it has been a "moving target" that could morph and rearrange itself in order to avoid critical analysis. The WOF emphasis on guaranteed physical healing & prosperity and the "power of our words/positive confession" teachings are largely being continued by many NAR teachers. Perhaps the most prominent WOF teacher still active today is Kenneth Copeland, who learned directly from Kenneth Hagin and studied at (the then newly formed) Oral Roberts University in the 1960's. It could also be argued that Joel Osteen is the most prominent WOF teacher active today, since the core of most of his teaching is WOF doctrine. Joyce Meyer is another extremely popular WOF teacher (See article: Is Joyce Meyer Word of Faith?).  

In a nutshell, there is little practical difference between the older heretical teachings of Kenneth Hagin and Oral Roberts and the newer "Super Pastors" like Bill Johnson and Brian Houston; it's more a difference in style, approach & emphasis. False teachers are always dressing up their bad doctrine with new catch-phrases and new "direct revelations from God," but the resulting beliefs end up directing our attention away from the finished work of Christ and focusing on ourselves and the teachings of men.

If you want to understand all the false doctrine in today's "Pop Evangelical" churches (especially the New Apostolic Reformation), you really need to research the Word of Faith movement that brought us to where we are today. Here are a number of articles that will shed light on this important topic:  

What's Wrong with the Word of Faith Movement (Part One)

What's Wrong with the Word of Faith Movement (Part Two)

Word of Faith Movement (with many links) from Berean Research

Word-Faith Movement Profile by Watchman Fellowship

WOF Sacred Cow #1: Jesus Was Very Wealthy by Discernment Ministries International

WOF Sacred Cow #2: Jesus Ministered Only As a Man by Discernment Ministries International

WOF Sacred Cow #3: Jesus Died Spiritually by Discernment Ministries International

WOF Sacred Cow #4: The Laws of Faith & Confession by Discernment Ministries International

WOF Sacred Cow #5: It Is God's Will To Always Heal by Discernment Ministries International

Physical Healing and the Atonement-Is it Always God's Will to Heal Now?

That Time God Destroyed Oral Roberts' Healing Tent, And He Made a Point by Pulpit and Pen

4 Ways the Prosperity Gospel Twists Christianity by Jeff Sanders

10 Ways the Word of Faith Movement Went Wrong (Written by a Charismatic pastor who still somehow loves the WOF teachers he studied)

Compilation of Word Faith articles from Deception in the Church

The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man by Discernment Ministries International

Justin Peters has some of the best lectures on the history & teachings of the Word of Faith movement; here is one of his many YouTube videos:

 

This video (3 hours long), produced by Keith Thompson of Reformed Apologetics Ministries, documents the errors and origins of Word of Faith teachings:

A New Years Thank You Note from The Evangelical Industrial Complex

 

We would like to take a moment and thank the untold millions of Christians out there for their unwavering and mindless commitment to our Christian celebrities, perky conference speakers and megalomaniac pastors. Thank you so much for refusing to take your head out of the Evangelical sand over the past year! 

 

Because of you and your unquestioning support, we can continue to invent new catch-phrases and slogans every few years in order to sell more conference tickets, books and worthless merchandise. Our marketing people are working tirelessly behind the scenes to invent yet another profitable product disguised as "Christian literature." But let's not stop here, there's still plenty more we can do.

Working together, here's just some of what we can accomplish in the New Year:

  • We can continue to crank out motivational speech mediocrity with mega-church appeal; with all the theological depth of a one-day-only, self-help workshop run by teenage shopping mall food court attendants.
  • We can transform the transcendent and Holy God (who spoke the entire Universe into existence) into your personal assistant, life coach and dream interpreter. He doesn't mind at all!
  • We can normalize heterodoxy and heresy, and turn sound doctrine into the exception-not the rule. Remember, we determine orthodoxy; your job is to happily go along with us. You're AWESOME!
  • We can give lip service to the Bible while continuing to ignore much of what it actually says. Better yet, we can take a half verse and slap it on a coffee mug and it'll sell!

(By the way, 74.87% of our gross sales come from good old reliable Jeremiah 29:11. In this business we call it "the verse that pays." We could probably sell dirty sox if they had Jeremiah 29:11 printed on them!)

 

  • We can give lip service to those great pioneers of the faith (Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley, etc.) while continuing to ignore much of what they actually said. Heck, nobody buys their crusty old books anyway!
  • We can continue to prop up and defend our growing staff of professional hype-monsters, marketing hacks and bloviating young egomaniacs with pastoral visions of grandeur. "Is he a pastor or is he a rock star?" As long as he can move product, who cares!!

 

  • We can continue to produce and market pulsating soft-rock musical drivel with a convincing level of polished sincerity. Moms and dads, do you think that these fresh-faced young musicians are the kind of people that should be dating your sons and daughters? You do? Good! That's all we need to sell more units and increase royalties!! 
  • In order to continually provide you with "Positive and Encouraging Music That's Safe for Your Family" we have a long list of theologically vapid, yet attractive hipster musicians waiting in the wings; ready to replace the next Christian superstar who wanders into sexual indiscretion, biblical confusion or bad pitch problems. You're welcome.

 

Thanks again for all of your support! Lets make this year even better than market analysis is currently predicting!

(By the way, if anyone has another runaway best-seller like The Prayer of Jabez, The Shack, Jesus Calling or maybe even a slightly provocative exercise DVD, please contact us so that we can buy the copyrights and send you appropriate compensation. Thank you, The Legal Team.) 

Absolutely Frightening 3 Minute Video: What "Christians" Believe

This quick little video shows how self-professing "Christians" in America have got almost everything WRONG:

See The State of Theology for more detailed information about what people currently believe.

Further reading:

The Gigantic Problem Beneath the Really Big Problem

Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know

What We Believe

Does God Really Need Rock Bands? 3 Worship Team Dropouts Talk About It

All 3 of these guys used to play in the worship band but now they all go to a liturgical church and worship out of a hymnal. Steve Kozar talks with his son, Andrew, and their good friend John Wiedenbeck, in this very funny, interesting and (probably) offensive episode of The Messed Up Church Podcast. Find out what changed their minds:

Andrew Kozar (left); Steven Kozar (center); John Wiedenbeck (right)

Andrew Kozar (left); Steven Kozar (center); John Wiedenbeck (right)


Just for fun, here's an old photo of John & Andrew when they were about 15 years old and Steve (the slightly irresponsible Dad) brought them to a Steve Vai concert:

Todd White Flips the Gospel Upside Down

A recent YouTube clip from Todd White on TBN has become popular. In this clip, he makes some staggeringly bad statements about the very core of Christian doctrine: the meaning and purpose of the cross of Christ (he made the exact same comments earlier in the year). Like many of the New Apostolic Reformation teachers, Todd White tells stories and invents analogies to replace the true teachings of the Bible. For instance, White tells people that you wouldn't spend $150,00 for a $3,000 car. So if someone pays $150,00 for a car it must really be worth that much. He then says that since God paid a very high price on the cross we must be very valuable, as opposed to being guilty as sinners. It could just as easily be said that Jesus had to die on the cross because of how bad our sin is; the "high price" of the cross shows us how terrible our situation was before Jesus paid our debt. (Here's a shorter edited version of the video, that focuses on the worst comments in his talk).

It only takes a little skepticism and a quick look at God's Word to see how demonic this teaching actually is. If we are so valuable, as White tells us, why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Why was Jesus punished in our place? Todd White's teaching is very confusing, but it really appeals to our selfish nature. It makes no sense to die on the cross just to show people how valuable they are. There has to be a reason why Jesus was punished in our place. Otherwise, why didn't Jesus simply tell us how valuable we are and encourage us to continue doing all the wonderful things we were doing? He could've just sent us a fruit basket or given us a pat on the back, instead of dying a horrible death on the cross. John the Baptist said (about Jesus): "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" According to Todd White, John the Baptist should've said something like: "Behold, the Lamb of God who comes to tell you how valuable you are! You're doing great, now just remember your true identity!!"

  • The Bible says we are sinners who deserve God's wrath, but our sin is removed because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross in our place.
  • Todd White says we are really valuable, but the problem is, we just don't understand our value; we don't "know our true identity." So Jesus paid a really high price to convince us of our value. 

Instead of focusing on God's gracious free gift of salvation, which was given in spite of our sin, Todd White flips the Gospel upside down and says that Jesus had to pay a high price to get us back, because we are so valuable. Although White mentions our sin, it starts to sound as if we deserve God's salvation because we're so valuable. It almost seems as if White thinks we shouldn't be in awe of the amazing grace that God bestowed upon us, instead, we should puff ourselves up with the fact that God paid such a high price for us. This is a completely false gospel.

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
— Galatians 1: 6-9

 

Here's a very helpful little When We Understand The Text video on this topic:

For a little more detail on this topic, listen to Chris Rosebrough on this episode of Fighting for the Faith (at 53 minutes into the show): Benny Hinn Partners with Chuck Pierce?

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
— 2 Timothy 4: 3-4
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we now have been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
— Romans 5: 8-9
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
— Isaiah 53: 5
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
— 1 John 2: 2
But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
— Ephesians 2: 13
And you, who once were hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him...
— Colossians 1: 21-22
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast
— Ephesians 2: 1-9

Here's another article about the same Todd White video:

NARcissist Todd White: Jesus Saved Us Because We Are "So Valuable" 

Here's another important article concerning the false teachings of Todd White:

Todd White- How to Read Your(self into the) Bible

Here's a very insightful article about preaching the true Gospel:

The Demise of Gospel Preaching in the Modern Evangelical Church

Todd White is part of the New Apostolic Reformation: The New Apostolic Reformation Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Dominionism, Charismania and Deception

For those who think it's mean, judgmental and unloving to criticize Todd White (or any other popular teacher) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Todd White, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

Finally, here's a funny satirical article that touches on this topic: Woman Unsure Why She Needs Jesus After Preacher Spends 30 Minutes telling Her How Amazing She Is

10 Signs a Church May Be Trying Too Hard to Be Hipster

Here's a thought-provoking article from former Evangelical worship leader, Miguel Ruiz:

10 Signs a Church May Be Trying Too Hard to Be Hipster

 

Here's another article with some similar (and interesting) points from Methodist writer, Jonathan Aigner:

13 Reasons I Never Joined the Contemporary Worship Movement 

 

Here's another article from Miguel from earlier in the year:

Confessions of a Former Worship Leader

The Dr. Michael Brown Checklist of Manipulation

Dr. Michael Brown is an enigma.  Sometimes he says some really good things that all Bible-believing Christians can agree with (and we gladly recognize that), but other times he goes out on a limb in support of the most extreme New Apostolic Reformation teachers, pastors and leaders. For some reason, he has become a very convincing apologist and "front man" for obvious false teachers like Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, Rick Joyner, Lance Wallnau and even Benny Hinn.

Here's a list of things that Dr. Brown often says and does in order to garner support for his New Apostolic Reformation friends (the "NARpostles"): 

  • Always use a moderate and reassuring tone while making extreme assertions and contradictory statements. Make it sound like you're the most reasonable & intelligent person in any discussion.
  • When confronted with clear and obvious false teaching, end the discussion. "I'm going to cut you off, to be fair to the other callers" or "we're almost out of time" or "if you continue asking these questions I will have to block you" are all good examples of how to end the discussion.
  • Enable & promote NAR false teachers who claim to "love the Lord," especially if their ministries are very large. False and un-Biblical teachings are acceptable when being taught by those who claim to "love the Lord" and are hyper-charismatics like Dr. Brown.
  • Pretend to consider opposing views while actually misrepresenting and/or ignoring them.
  • Put all serious bloggers who challenge you on the same level as teenagers eating Doritos in their parents basement. (Btw, the vast majority of "discernment bloggers" are not anonymous.)

 

  • Do not use primary source documents that would quickly and decisively display the heretical beliefs of your fellow NAR friends; instead, pretend that you're too busy to do any research. For example, instead of admitting that you refuse to review just one or two sermons from Bill Johnson, say that you just can't take the time to listen to hundreds of hours of sermons. Continually reinforce the notion that you're a world-class expert on a topic that you cannot possibly do any research on. This is where your moderate and reassuring tone will really pay off.  
  • Pretend to be holding NARpostles accountable, while not actually curbing any NAR false teaching.
  • Uphold C. Peter Wagner as a great man of God who should be respected and trusted, while simultaneously overlooking all of his published writings; writings that clearly portray his bizarre and heretical beliefs. Ignore the fact that this "great man of God" is the very person who named the New Apostolic Reformation and defined it's characteristics; meanwhile, you can imply that the NAR isn't even a real thing. 
  • Claim to believe in Sola Scriptura ("Scripture Alone") while you vigorously defend the never-ending (and non-sensical) extra-Biblical revelations from your NARpostle friends. Don't try to explain how these two things can co-exist, because they can't. Instead, tell lots of convincing stories about what God told you or someone you know. Refer to the good old days at the Brownsville Revival, where all sorts of weird and disturbing manifestations took place, but tell everyone how wonderful it was. You must constantly assert this belief anyway you can since you can't defend it from the Bible. Again, a moderate and reassuring tone will help you retain listeners, as you continually make contradictory assertions. 

 

For a more detailed analysis of Michael Brown (and his recent radio show about the New Apostolic Reformation), check out this discussion between Chris Rosebrough, Amy Spreeman and Steven Kozar on Fighting For The Faith: Mutiny Against Dr. Michael Brown

Here's an article from Assemblies of God Minister Anthony Wade: Why Dr. Brown Has No Credibility


For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Dr. Michael Brown (or any other teacher, pastor or leader) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Dr. Michael Brown, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.