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Clearing the Smoke, Fanning the Flames: An Interview with Michael Brown

Pneuma Review speaks with Dr. Michael L. Brown about his story, Playing With Holy Fire, and encouraging the biblical use of spiritual gifts. Briefly describe your own personal history in the Pentecostal/Charismatic church.

Michael Brown: The Lord saved me in an Italian Pentecostal church in Queens, New York in 1971. That was my first introduction to the gospel, and those dear believers helped pray me into the kingdom. I was an ungodly rebel, yet the Lord burdened them to pray for me, and their prayers were wonderfully answered. I surrendered to Him on December 17, 1971 and was filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues on January 24, 1972.

Michael Brown in an earlier time.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I became somewhat skeptical of my Pentecostal roots, joining another church during that time while I went to grad school. But the evidence of Scripture was too strong in favor of the continuation of the gifts, and my life was dramatically impacted again in late 1982 when the Spirit got hold me and brought a fresh outpouring to our congregation. From that time on, I have primarily been in Pentecostal-Charismatic circles, although I work with believers from all segments of the Body.

A highlight of my life was serving as a leader in the Brownsville Revival from 1996-2000. That was a classical, repentance-based revival with full-blown Pentecostal elements. You have addressed errors in the Pentecostal/Charismatic church before. What prompted you to write a whole book devoted to the subject at this time?

Michael L. Brown, Playing With Holy Fire: A Wake-Up Call To the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2018), 224 pages, ISBN 9781629994987.
Read the review by Pastor John Lathrop.

Michael Brown: The last time I wrote an entire book focused on some of our shortcomings and abuses was 1991 (Whatever Happened to the Power of God: Is the Charismatic Church Slain in the Spirit or Down for the Count?). Since then, although I have often addressed issues in our midst, I have not devoted an entire book to the subject.

A few years back, Pastor John MacArthur launched a frontal assault on the Charismatic church with his Strange Fire book and conference (by the same name), yet I felt his criticisms were over the top, throwing out many healthy babies with some unhealthy bathwater, and in response, I wrote Authentic Fire. I also know that his criticisms would largely go unheard by those he most wanted to address. In fact, I believe his conference helped galvanize our movement in certain ways. [Editor’s note: covered the Strange Fire book release and conference including reviews by Craig S. Keener, Jon Ruthven, Charles Carrin, Eddie Hyatt, Monte Lee Rice, and Loren Sandford. also published reviews of Authentic Fire by William De Arteaga, John King, Daniel Snape, Loren Sandford, and former MacArthur disciple Rob Wilkerson.]

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2018

About the Author: Michael L. Brown, Ph.D. (New York University), is founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry in North Carolina, Director of the Coalition of Conscience, and host of the daily, nationally, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, as well as the host of the apologetics TV show, Answering Your Toughest Questions, which airs on the NRB TV network. He is the author of more than 30 books including Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People (1992), Playing With Holy Fire: A Wake-Up Call to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church (2018), Israel’s Divine Healer (1995), Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation (2017), Breaking the Stronghold of Food: How We Conquered Food Addictions and Discovered a New Way of Living with Nancy Brown (2017), Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur's Strange Fire (2015), and the highly-acclaimed five-volume series, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus. Read full biography at AskDrBrown Ministries. Google+. Twitter: @DrMichaelLBrown

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