Monday, February 4, 2013

When Discernment Turns Ugly: Warlike Watchmen

Dr. David R. ReaganMP3By

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
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Warlike Watchmen

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.


Billy said...

I've fallen into the trap of anger during, well I was looking for an alternative to "heated", but I'll just say it, heated discussion.

But heated discussions need not be angry nor contain personal attack. I think I've learned from my mistakes, that is, changed my ways.

I hope "other/s" learn this too.

Anonymous said...

Ephesians 4:26-32 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Jan said...

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Proverbs 16:32

Anonymous said...

One of these ministries that wrote a book challenging "The Harbinger" is now being sued by Cahn's publisher claiming that money has been lost by reduced sale of Cahn's book.
Being skeptical myself because of the ways I have been lead into prophecy teaching, I like to hear an opposing view point. Seems to me if we are calling these people hate filled and implying that they are satanic, then its the same on this side
I want to love God with my whole mind and its hard not to be lead from the narrow path either into legalism or sensuality (as in hearing what we want to hear, feeling and seeing what we want). Religions are guilty of leading us into both these gutters and only by God's grace will we not fall into one. Unfortunately because we are human, we will fall into both, at separate times in our walk, with motives we deem pure. But the Lord is faithful and eventually will lead us out.

Anonymous said...

Good topic, I've found myself feeling this way or that way about some ministry or person. My Pastor told me about my view and said it's like eating fish "you eat the fish and spit out the bones", it made sense to but, I still have reservations about some of the proclaimers of the gospel.

Anonymous said...

I think your ministry would do well to read or reread The Berean Call’s article about this controversy, and honestly ask yourselves: could we be wrong and could they be right?

You know, I’ve learned over my 60-some years that where there is smoke…there’s probably FIRE!

The Harbinger-A Matter of Critical Discernment (Go HERE: )

Anonymous said...

This was a very good artical i was sad to hear about negative comments on Jonathan: He is such a blessed man and so full of wisdom to Have brought us the harbinger. Wonderful book and to see everything falling into place truly amazing
You're right about bashing though in fact I haven't read many of your articles lately because of some of the blogs on your prophecy site were becoming too negative towards other churches Whether they were right or whether they were wrong I was totally turned off by it And so I've left and I have also deleted your newsletters, But today I'm glad that I read this letter thank you. God bless you and I'll give it another try in love

Mariel said...

I have long been scandalized by Christians bashing others, especially Catholic-bashing (I am not a Catholic). And I was one of the first to not like "The Harbinger," even though I would never bash Cahn as if he were not a Christian brother. Stop the bashing. But we don't have to agree with the premises or the presentation in the Harbinger to feel this way.

Anonymous said...

The Negative Bashing and arrogant put-downs have been going on 2 long..It gets worse and very ugly daily..Unity will not happen within The Church.. No way..2 much hate and unkindness..Our way is the only way..Janet Meford is like that..Beating a dead horse 2 death..The abortion and gay issues are Over Kill.. IM so tired of it all..Christian radio is not enjoyable any more..I like Brother Dave Raegan.. 2 many Know It All people everywhere..

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for posting this! I couldn't agree with you more! This behavior is so un-Christ-like and heartbreaking.

greenvalleyhsers said...

Thank you so much for this timely article - my heart has been so heavy over this lately. I guess when it talks about brother turning against brother in the end times it really does include Christian brother against Christian brother. My husband is a pastor and as people are always asking us what we think about things, I know sometimes maybe we judge something too harshly. But for the last several years we've been caught in the middle of a fight between factions and several times I have just wanted to walk away from the ministry because of it. One of the latest targets of the "contentious contenders" is the Hebrew Roots movement. We work at a Baptist church and also love the nation of Israel, and as seminary grads really love to dig into the historical context of things. Everytime my husband presents something "Jewish" in a sermon we're labeled heretics because the entire Hebrew Roots movement has been labeled as evil. We hosted a Passover Seder at our church and my husband did a beautiful sermon series on the feasts and calendar of the Lord and all of the beautiful meanings/foreshadowings etc they have in Scripture. Lost 4 families who are now blacklisting our church all over town. On the other hand our friends from the Messianic church in town, who at times can be known more as "Torah Terrorists" are upset with us for not changing everything to look Jewish like their congregation. We just want to share the truth of the Bible and have really suffered from lies, fingerpointing, slander, etc. Not sure why people are unable to see where there is truth instead of slapping broad labels on everything. Not an easy time out there, I would say Satan is having a field day right now, causing division right and left. May we all be vigilant to avoid that, to pray for one another to discern the truth, and to walk humbly and graciously with one another.

Princess said...

So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. Mal 3:18 I believe end time persecution will separate the hirelings from the true shepherds for us. Don't be shocked at who falls away. In the meantime, while no one likes criticism, when someone presents their ideas publicly, they should expect to be challenged. Otherwise, you are promoting a variation of the "touch not mine anointed," doctrine. Let's face it, the Christian marketplace is a big, lucrative business. Can you imagine how John's letters to the 7 churches might have been modified had he been dependent upon his recipients for financial support, publishing contracts and speaker circuit invitations? I belief your comparison between TBN, NBC and Paul are inaccurate. The bible says we are not to judge the non-believer, but we are not to associate with a so-called brother in sin. And to "preach the gospel," on TBN you are required to compromise your message, as many who don't play nice with Crouch are removed. In speaking with pagans, Paul never compromised. To characterize Berean discernment as hate speech (haven't we heard this somewhere before?) is dishonest and a use of straw man tactics. Those looking for a true prophetic voice will not find it in those beholden to Christian marketplace forces. Yes, I believe most players in public ministry are driven by money and ministry politics, and it would seem Cahn's removal of a viral video so it could sell for $40, and the attempt by his publisher to silence a critic would bear this out. Sensationalism sells, "hidden mysteries sell, and so does misuse of 2Chronicles 7:14. Try Jer. 7:16.

Anonymous said...

According to the scriptures will we see CS Lewis in Heaven? I'm glad I don't have to be the judge but if he thought that he had to pay for His own sins in purgatory what gospel was he believing? Isn't that "a different gospel" which is no gospel at all? This is why the church is in confusion today! No one wants to stand for the truth!I am surprised at you Dave Reagan!

Nathan Jones said...

Anonymous, thank you for demonstrating what exactly defines a warlike watchman today - that salvation is not based on John 3:16 but the belief that one must believe exactly as you interpret the Bible or they are going to Hell. I believe Jesus attributed the term "Pharisee" to such people.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say it..the Bible does. The gospel is Jesus plus nothing...and I will not compromise...anyone who is depending on purgatory to cleanse them of their sins is believing a false gospel...By the way, you are doing exactly what you are accusing everyone else of doing only you are trying to defend a fictional book!! The Harginger issue is non-essential but the gospel is the ESSENTIL issue. Jesus called the Jewish leaders Pharisees because they did not believe the gospel. You are calling me a Pharisee because I do!

john Mushenhouse said...

Jesus also called them Pharisees because they defended non biblical books {mishna}fictional books that added to biblical truth.

I think people in their quest to do a ministry are getting so far removed from the gospel that they refuse to listen to any other voice besides their's or their buddies.

They will also do whatever they want to do and try to spiritualize it. Such as saying why we can reach more people this way.

Also I can'rt see any truth in eat the fish and throw away the bones. That isn't scriptual. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit is though. It is amazing that people try to justify heretical sayings by cliches, name calling and the like

Anonymous said...

In the words of scripture through the Apostle Paul:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Anonymous said...

So Nathan, do you not have an answer to the anonymous that is calling you to task to explain what the Gospel is? Are you saying, along with Dr. Reagan, that one who believes in purgatory, a place that Roman Catholics believe you go to make reparation for your sins after you die, are believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ which says that He and He alone paid for the sins of those who believe? It cannot be both ways. If Jesus didn't do it all, then He did nothing at all. I don't care how famous you are or have been(C.S.Lewis), if you believe that you contribute in some way to your salvation then you have believed in "another Jesus", another Gospel, which is no gospel at all. My understanding of that, as a former Roman Catholic, is that unless something changes you are hell bound.
God does not share His glory with man.
You are fighting against the Word of God, the Bible!
So, can you give an answer? And I don't mean one that includes name calling. Just explain the Gospel that you believe and then all who read this blog will know what they are supporting.

johnny Mushenhouse said...

I think what is really happening here should be called "when discernment becomes politically correct to further man's goals for his ministry".

While we are building our ministries regardless of how we treat the brethern, let me share

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

John Mushenhouse said...


1Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

These are not speculations on future events, but what we are told to do in the bible. This is how we share the gospel. We always give the truth but with meekness and fear.

Meekness means gentleness of spirit.

There is an outcome to that scripture if follwed Nathan

it is Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Nobody is speaking evil of you, they just want you to be accountable to the faithful followers. It is a sign of a mature christian.
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

and here is the glorious result
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

May the Lord richly bless you