So Brannon Howse is busy going after men who used to be on his network. It’s his way or the highway, obviously, and as with so many, either you are for me, or you are against me. There’s no adiaphora in Howse’s world. It is all black and white, always.
Today Justin Peters spoke at the conference going on back east. He made simple, basic statements of biblical truth. Brannon demonstrates in his responses that he filters his reading of the Bible through the lens of his political and conspiratorial theories—a truly dangerous stance, to be sure, but one that tends to blind those who are guilty of it to its reality in their lives. Once you become a zealot of political thought, it is very easy to subjugate the gospel and meaningful exegetical practice to the service of your zealotry. This is clearly seen in his incapacity to even hear what Justin Peters is saying, let alone recognize the fundamental theological difference that has always existed between Peters and himself. This is seen in his response to Peters’ observation that Islam is not a danger to the church in the spiritual realm. Here we find the difference between the Reformed approach to Islam and the non-Reformed, Arminian or synergistic approach. I had a conversation just a few months ago with a dear brother in Christ who is not Reformed, and he was quite concerned about having Christians exposed to the presentation of Islam, though, ironically, he is big into debates. In any case I pointed out to him that Christ as the Good Shepherd will never lose any of His sheep, and that the sheep will not hear the voice of a false shepherd. God’s elect will not be drawn away into Islam, or any other works-oriented religion. If someone is, in fact, thusly drawn away, this is plain evidence that they are not of the elect. In the same way, if you believe in God’s sovereign election, you trust that the proclamation of that powerful gospel will be used by God to draw and save the elect, and no power on earth can stop the Spirit of God from accomplishing His purposes. This is why many have wondered at the abject fear shown by so many in allowing the expression of Islamic belief in a dialogue. If you believe one’s relationship to Christ is based solely upon the free will choice of an individual, well, then they might be deceived and fall away! But when you believe what the Bible teaches about the powerful Savior and His infallible Spirit, well, you can trust Him to save, and keep, His people!
Howse is clearly not Reformed, and has taken a stand against Reformed theology, so it is not difficult to understand why he cannot even seem to hear what Justin Peters is saying.
Let’s look at the screen shots Howse included in a video he posted today criticizing Justin Peters’ comments. In this first screen shot we simply note the rather stunning fact that Christians and Muslims do, in fact, both believe in divine revelation. This is a fact. Sort of like “Christians and Muslims breath oxygen.” Not really an overly controversial statement, until you enter the world of Brannon Howse and the radical right. See, Muslims are “them” and we are “we” and therefore Muslims cannot have anything at all in common with us. In case Mr. Howse is just really confused, there are many religious groups that believe in divine revelation, including Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses and all sorts of others. That does not, of course, mean that all such claims are equal, but you cannot meaningfully engage in a discussion of which revelation is true if you start off with the bigotry and blindness Howse and others demands of us.
Secondly, when the “kindred spirit” statement was made in such an obvious context that continues to be ignored by Howse we can only conclude purposeful dishonesty on his part. What other option is there? He has been corrected on this point repeatedly, hence, to continue to repeat it convicts the man of simple and utter dishonesty. This speaks directly to his integrity, and those close to him should call him to truly consider his motivations.
The same is true of the third statement about the video I suggested which, in context, was on the issue of jihad, the kharijites, who speaks for Islam, and related topics, not “learn the truth about Islam.” To say otherwise, as Howse does regularly, is once again an abject act of dishonesty and deception upon his part. This too has been documented too many times to be ignored.
In this next graphic we find the man who “stumbled” upon the videos of the Memphis dialogues nearly six months after they took place, recorded blatant attack programs without even considering doing serious research and reading, claiming that the “divisions” that have resulted are my fault, not his. He then somehow twists this thinking into an assertion that this is proof that Islam is, in fact, a spiritual threat to the church, once again twisting the context of Justin Peters statement in regards to the inability of Islamic teaching to draw away Christ’s sheep. You get an insight into the addled thinking of the conspiratorial theorist in such a statement, for that mind so engulfed in conspiracies “sees” connections that the disciplined and grounded mind rejects.
In this final graphic we find the abuse of categories and linguistic meaning so often found in shallow, conspiracy-theory laden writings, whether Christian or non. “Interfaith Dialogue” is simply thrown out as a shibboleth without any concern for definition, context, etc. The very idea of “Chrislam” is absurd to both believing Christians and believing Muslims, actually, and is a complete bogeyman. Once again, Howse’s sub-biblical theology comes shining through, for he truly has no trust in the keeping power of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of election, perseverance, etc. I must admit, to the man-centered synergist, it must be hard to trust that the Gospel can do anything at all! I truly feel for those in such sub-biblical positions.
Once again, I am very sorry to see fine men like Justin Peters, Mike Abendroth, Phil Johnson, etc., dragged into this by a mud-slinging radio and TV conspiratorialist. If Howse had actually possessed some kind of credibility at the beginning of May, it is surely gone by the middle of August. His behavior has been childish at its best, and grossly dishonest at its worst. Only the wholesale outcry of his followers could possibly stop him now, but alas, they seem to be just as sold out to conspiracy theories and addled thinking as he is. We can only continue to point out his many errors and hope that someday he will come to his senses and stop haranguing the brethren as they pursue their callings and service to Christ.