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Michael L. Brown: Let No One Deceive You

Let No One Deceive YouMichael L. Brown, Let No One Deceive You: Confronting the Critics of Revival (Shippensburg, PA:  Revival Press, 1997), 295 pages.

Michael Brown (Ph.D., New York University) is president of the Brownsville School of Ministry, and is regarded as being a leading scholar of the revival movement. In his preface Dr. Brown states that this book “. . . has intentionally been written with simplicity and clarity.” This the author has done, without sacrificing useful endnotes that Dr. Brown states “… merely hint at the scholarship that undergirds the book itself …”  (p. 5 of the  preface).

This book was written as an answer to the many critics of the revival taking place in Brownsville, near Pensacola, Florida. It is not, however, a defense of revival but rather an “… appeal to the critics to come join us in the harvest fields” (from p. 2 of the preface). Brown has endeavored whenever possible to summarize the views of the critics, rather than singling them out by name. This reviewer found such an approach refreshing.

Chapter one sets the tone of the book by asking the critics, “What makes you right?” (p. 2). A chief concern he has is those who do not make a careful study of the facts, or attend a single revival service, yet feel free to make sweeping judgements. He quotes from the Alcoholics Anonymous manual, “There is a principle which is a bar against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance–that principle is contempt prior to investigation” (p.8).

Dr. Brown then goes step by step through the specific criticisms leveled at the revival. The approach is scholarly, yet easily understood. This book poses questions to the critics which are long overdue. He challenges their assertion that they are merely being careful Bereans (chapter 3) and deftly answers some hard questions about manifestations (p.143-181).

In chapter thirteen, the author challenges the traditional dispensationalist interpretation regarding the seven churches in Rev. 2-3. Brown disagrees with the view of the churches representing seven church ages, from the first century to present. His argument is strong, but one could only wish he had developed it more. Among dispensationalists, this church age theory is widely accepted, therefore it would have been helpful if Brown had interacted with literature in support of this theory.

Dr. Brown reserved the Appendix for one of the most outspoken critics, the President of Christian Research Institute, Hank Hanegraff. He answers some of the inflammatory charges presented in Hanegraff’s book Counterfeit Revival. Since the completion of Let No One Deceive You, Hanegraff and the leaders of the Brownsville Church have put their differences aside and agreed to disagree. They have turned an ugly situation into an example of maturity and Christian love.

Let No One Deceive You is an extremely well written and valuable resource. Dr. Victor Matthews, professor emeritus, Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, said it best, “My prayer:  Oh Lord—that all believers may read this book!”

Reviewed by Michael J. Dies

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Category: Fall 1998, Spirit

About the Author: Michael J. Dies is the reviews editor for Pneuma Review. He and his family live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

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