On January 7, 2013, I was interviewed by Jan Markell, Founder and President of Olive Tree Ministries, and her guest co-host Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Jan has written eight major books with prominent Christian publishing houses. She has produced a dozen DVDs, some featured on Sky Angel. At one time she traveled full time across America as a speaker. Since 2000, Jan has been broadcasting her nationally syndicated "Understanding the Times" radio program over the airwaves and Internet. It is a great source of news and commentary-driven information.
Jan, Eric and I spent the one hour radio program discussing how to discern discernment ministries and expressed our concerns over some of their increasingly bitter attacks on the Church and Christ-redeemed Christians rather than on exposing the Enemy and his plans.
Jan Markell: Dr. David Reagan has an outstanding magazine called The Lamplighter. I'm just going to read a paragraph from the January/February issue and then we are going to dialogue a little bit with David.
"There are many very fine apologetic ministries existing today who are earnestly contending for the faith. We have interviewed many of their leaders on our television program. But the self-proclaimed 'watchmen on the walls' who constantly spew forth hateful condemnations are really nothing more than spiritual pit bulls who are trying to build themselves up by tearing other people down. My conclusion? Let's look for what is biblical, let's embrace it, and let's thank God for it. Criticize what you consider to be unbiblical, but do it in love, with a desire to correct and not defame. Pray for the person you disagree with, and remember, if God can show you grace with all your warts and hang-ups, surely you can show some grace toward those you disagree with."
Dave Reagan, welcome back!
Dr. Reagan: Well, thank you, Jan. It is always good to be with you. You have a wonderful program and I am very blessed to have Eric with us today, one of my favorite people.
Jan Markell: Mine, too.
David, the title of this article is "A Plea for Grace". How come? Why did you write this outstanding article? What's behind it?
Dr. Reagan: I guess two things in particular spurred me to write it, although it's something I've been thinking about for a long time. The two things that really spurred me first of all was because I've been just flabbergasted by the attacks that people have made on Jonathan Cahn who wrote the book, The Harbinger. I just couldn't believe how vicious, how personal, and how defaming these attacks were. One major discernment ministry even called him a false prophet. How in the world you could call someone a false prophet when what they said is going to happen has not happened yet? You actually have to wait and see whether it's going to happen. You look in the Bible and you see, for example, the first prophecy in the Bible concerning the destruction of Jerusalem which was made 150 years before Jerusalem was destroyed. Well, you first have to wait and see if these things are going to come true.
Cahn's basic thesis of the book is a thesis I don't know how anybody could challenge. His thesis is that America is in rebellion against God and that we are courting the wrath of God. God is going to destroy this nation if we don't turn in repentance. How can anybody argue with that? And yet, they just ripped this poor man from one end to the other. I thought it was very unchristlike. It is one thing if you don't agree with his thesis, then just argue with the thesis. But, why do you have to make these personal attacks on people? That's what I'm fed up with.
The second thing that prompted me to write this article is that in one of my previous magazines I had some kind comments to make about Oral Roberts — a man who I have always admired for his faith. He had great, great faith and he reintroduced healing back into the mainstream of American Christianity. I admire the fact that he pioneered Christian television during a time when there were only three networks available, and yet somehow or another he managed to get on NBC and air his program there.
In the article I specifically stated that I did not agree with Roberts' prosperity teachings, nor ever agreed with them. I thought that he made a terrible mistake at the end of his life when he tried to create the City of Faith when everybody was saying that he shouldn't. I felt like he ran out from underneath God's anointing then and that he acted on presumption rather than by faith. And yet, despite all that, there were some people who tried to crucify me, attacking me personally, ripping me from one end to the other, because I had anything kind to say about Oral Roberts.
Jan Markell: This is the tone of the new discerners. You've got to have your I's dotted properly, and your T's crossed exactly right or this is the kind of response that you are going to get from them.
Dr. Reagan: I think what they need to realize is there is nobody who is perfect. All of us are wrong about something. Can't we just be glad that we are right about the right things, such as about Jesus Christ and about salvation by grace through faith? Why do we have to attack each other? We are not the enemy. The enemy, well we know where the Enemy is and he is out there attacking us all the time. When Satan attacks Christians through people who claim to be Christians, well that's really sad.
I don't mind people challenging me on theology. That is fine. But, why do they have to attack me personally?
For example, almost every time somebody disagrees with me on theology they'll write me letters or email messages and they will say, "I know the only reason you take the position that you take is because it sells books." In other words, "You are wanting to make money." Making money is certainly not what I am motivated in doing. I didn't go into ministry to make money. And, I don't take theological positions because they are going to sell a book. In fact, I have taken a lot of very unpopular theological positions that weren't designed to sell books at all.
Why do we have to attribute evil to a person that we disagree with? There are so many things in the Bible that are not crystal clear, and so there is room for disagreement, like for example the timing of the Rapture. I believe strongly the Rapture is going to be before the Tribulation, but I am not going to condemn somebody to Hell because they disagree with me on the timing of the Rapture.
In the second part of this panel interview concerning when discernment turns ugly, Jan leads the discussion on contentious contenders.