Graceless Attacks: Brannon Howse Responds to the Barrage of Social Media Assaults from Grace to You’s Phil Johnson
I am grieved to have to release this statement—grieved that ministers of the gospel launch personal attacks on other ministers just for disagreeing with public statements and actions of Christian leaders who have violated scriptural mandates. I feel forced to respond, though, because, for several weeks, Worldview Weekend has been vilified using logical fallacies and personal attacks at the hand of Phil Johnson, Executive Director for Grace to You Ministry of California. A public response has been made necessary due to the unwillingness of the ministry of which Johnson is a part to discuss our concerns.
To wit, on June 30, Pastor Shahram Hadian and I phoned Grace Community Church where Johnson is an elder. We sought a conference call with at least some of the church’s elders to find out why Johnson, a fellow elder, a pastor, and key employee of Grace to You, would publicly defend an interfaith dialogue which we believe stands in direct violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 and 2 John 9-11. The issue centers around Johnson’s unwillingness to denounce the “interfaith dialog” between prominent “biblical” teacher and evangelist James White with Yasir Qadhi, a Jew-trashing, Hitler-defending, holocaust-denying, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned, terrorist-associated, terrorist-defending, Hamas-aligned, CAIR-aligned, overthrow-the-government-for-a-caliphate-aligned, proclaim-Jihad-on-Trump-aligned, take-the-life-and-property-of-the-Christians-in-Jihad-preaching imam. Rather than taking our call and exploring our concerns, though, Pastor Hadian and I received an email informing us that the elders wanted no further contact with us and explaining that they agree with the position taken by Phil Johnson. Our attempt to talk through this controversy in a biblical manner was stopped in its tracks. You can read more about that at this link:
Because I am involved in many projects, I did not want to spend time writing this statement, and in fact, I refused to do so until a number godly people urged me to because of what they were seeing in social media posts from Phil Johnson. So regardless of the animosity shown toward me, I desire to write this in a spirit that honors the gospel I love and represent. Perhaps you will see, as Proverbs 18:17 says, that “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.”
Simply put, many of Johnson’s public statements have been teeming with false information, and sadly, I have come to believe this is how Phil operates. It appears that when facts are not in his favor in a debate, he relies on personal attacks and actually fabricates information, takes words and actions out of context, and distorts the truth. It also appears that Phil leverages his position at Grace to You to garner credibility for his own personal agenda—including jumping into brawls that have nothing to do with him or the ministry he works for. What a shame! His manner seems immature, irresponsible, and unbecoming of the prominent and influential position he holds.
When I was a new believer, I was stunned that such wonderful Bible teaching came from Grace to You while at the same time encountering what I saw as vile and ungodly behavior from Phil Johnson’s blog. Anyone who knows his writing well likely understands exactly what I mean. Through my own organization, I have heard from countless people during the past 15 years who have watched Phil’s behavior online, and many are shocked that he is on staff with Grace to You, much less an elder. So, we must first understand and consider the source when dealing with a person like Phil Johnson. It troubles me that many people love the ministry of John MacArthur and Grace to You but are appalled at the behavior and tactics of Executive Director Johnson (I’ve lost count of how many people have let me know of their disappointment).
Unglued in California
After Worldview Radio and WVW-TV exposed the unbiblical dialogue between James White and Jihadi Imam Yasir Qadhi, Phil Johnson came unglued and inserted himself into the debate to defend James White, his friend of many years. Johnson offered excuses and justifications that not only contradicted the Word of God but also what his own boss, John MacAthur, has preached. Why he felt the need to post on social media as the Executive Director of John MacArthur’s Grace to You and thereby drag an otherwise respectable ministry into the wrong side of the battle seemed incredibly irresponsible and, frankly, quite foolish. Yet past observation suggests that Phil Johnson has such a temper that all caution goes out the window when he chooses a target to destroy, even if the messenger in the crosshairs is presenting clear facts on video for all to see.
As I said, these observations are not mine alone. An acquaintance sent me an email and gave me permission to post it, but only if I withheld his name so he would not be attacked like I have been. After sending the email, he called me today, and we talked about his remarks for an hour. I have known him casually for about 20 years. He is a decorated military veteran and holder of two seminary degrees. Here is the text of an email which he had originally sent to Chris Hamilton, an elder at Grace Community Church:
Disappointed to see your harsh and apparently
uninformed criticism in E-mail of Radio Talk show host
Brannon Howse. Also, noted is the same improper reaction
by your “Grace to You” director, Phil Johnson.
Dr. James White in past has given good service in his many
books and apologetic defense of Christian Faith,
especially in his exposure of cults too. Yet this same Dr.
White ill-advisedly entered into a friendly interfaith
dialogue with Muslin Imam, Yasir Qadhi, who has
associations with Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR; Islam is
the biggest and most dangerous cult of them all. Debates are
good, but a friendly interfaith dialogue is not. Dr.
James White made a big error in judgement and Phil Johnson
had an obligation to the truth and his own “Grace to
You” constituency and large evangelical community to
correct Dr. James White. But instead he took the approach to
correct the messenger, Brannon Howse, who pointed out this
real error in judgement.
This approach by you and Phil Johnson is not typical
of the John MacArthur ministries that I have come to know
and respect since my seminary days at Grace Theological Seminary
in Winona Lake, Indiana. I got my M.Div. in 1974 and my
Th,M. in 1979. Dr. MacArthur was a speaker on campus during
my time and I have read many of his excellent books. You
were not required to attack Dr. James White but due to your
association with him you should have corrected him, perhaps
privately, and sought to rescue him. Dr. White has gotten in
pretty deep with Islam dialogue and Imam Qadhi and it makes
his repentance harder the longer into the error he goes.
He may have damaged his own ministry in eyes of some
evangelicals who will learn of this and same goes for
“Grace to You” if you continue to justify or
defend Dr. White. . .
I took the time to read all the articles and visit
youtube sites on this issue as sent out by Brannon Howse and
he is substantially correct in his assessment and judgement
too. Brannon Howse has been a competent and careful
researcher on Christian issues for decades. You might want
to study the links he provided yourself carefully and be
sure Phil Johnson does too so you will then know the bad
situation you are now caught in. It is likely to become
a bigger controversy given the dangerous threat to our
personal and national security and to our churches Islam
represents, especially if evangelical leaders have friendly
dialogue with Islam and fail to warn and equip the church
to this danger. I hope you will take this correction to
heart as from a friend and feel free to pass my comments
along to Phil Johnson and others on the staff as well.
Praying for you to clean this up quickly. Blessings.
(Lt. Colonel) USAR Ret, Bronze Star winner; M.Div. and Th.M., Grace Theological Seminary.
In spite of such feedback, under the leadership of Phil Johnson, Grace to You continues to defend biblically indefensible positions with logical fallacies and pragmatism worthy of the far left. From one side of his mouth he says he is not a fan of interfaith dialogues but then he has said on a radio program that they might do this in a class setting at their church. On social media he proclaimed that anyone could find things that edify in the gospel that was reportedly given in the interfaith dialogue. The gospel was a footnote at best. Phil has taken so many positions and gone so many different directions that I am shocked he does not have vertigo.
Phil Johnson is a huge fan of Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon warned about the downgrade of evangelicalism. I believe Phil is greatly assisting the downgrade of evangelicalism with his support of this interfaith dialogue and his years of troubling behavior online. Phil claims to not support interfaith dialogue but then Phil turns around and defends it. Phil seems to be really good double speak.
Phil Johnson of Grace To You (But not Grace to Me) wants to publicly state that I don't have a church? How does he know? He has one but what good is that doing to hold him accountable for his public sin? His own elders would not take the call from Pastor Shahram Haidan and I on June 30 to try and work this out privately. I don't say where I go to church because law enforcement has told me NOT to because of threats we get and we don't want the church we attend put at risk or my own family that is with me. My first responsibility is to my family & their protection & if Phil Johnson wants to mock me for not broadcasting my schedule then let him. What happened in Sioux Falls to us at our Worldview Weekend is a perfect example why we don't broadcast our schedule or where we go to church. We had 4 off duty officers we hired that night & when we broadcast where we are it is now required we have paid security. You know how expensive that is and what a pain in the blessed assurance it is? Do you think this makes my wife and kids happy?
We now have known Jihadis from overseas tweeting at me. So I am sorry Phil's line of work attacking clear-minded charismatics has not cost him any security issues but when he wants to stop defending Islamic interfaith dialogues and takes on Islam then he can judge me. Till then Phil Johnson should shut his mouth. I am the head of my home not Phil Johnson or Grace to You and I will do what is in the best interest of my family. So frankly let me say this with as much Christian love as I can; Phil if you attack me that is fine but you attack my family again and call into question their spiritual condition because we don't announce when and where we go to church then you can expect me to stop being as restrained as I have been concerning my real thoughts about you
Starting on June 7, 2017, I and my two guests—Usama Dakdok (Arabic speaking expert on the Koran) and Shahram Hadian (former Muslim from Iran and now a Christian pastor)—spent five days with video clips to review in context what James White and Yasir Qadhi actually said in their interfaith dialogue (in a church here in my home town of Memphis, Tennessee).
Despite his personal attacks on social media, though, Phil Johnson has not offered a single example of anything that we have said that was wrong, even when pushed for such facts.
Although Phil’s social media rants are fallacious and out of context on many levels, this is not new with Phil. In 2015, for instance, Phil’s friend Todd Friel declared on the radio that only 3,000 people had died in the Inquisition and that it was not really a “Catholic thing.” To check out the assertion, I played Friel’s comments on my radio program and asked former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron and one-time Roman Catholic Priest Richard Bennett to respond. They refuted the claim with solid facts, but apparently this approach did not sit well with Johnson. He opened a social media rant to defend his buddy Todd Friel. One of Phil’s friends who holds a PhD in church history tried to defend Todd and posted information intending to substantiate the contention that the Inquisition did not kill millions. Since I had never heard of the man quoted, I did some research only to find out that the supposed expert turned out to be a pro-homosexual sexologist. I pointed this out about Phil’s friend with a PhD in church history, and it did not go over well. Phil ratcheted up the attacks against me and my ministry. Apparently, truth is the casualty when the error being corrected is put out by one of his friends.
This is especially ironic—and disturbing—when you consider the background I have with Phil Johnson. In 2011, he was an amiable guest on my radio program. You’ll find below several clips from the program and will probably join me in wondering how Phil has come to so completely disregard the things he said on my radio program.
By contrast to now, the three clips from 2011 reveal how much Phil has changed. One begins to wonder if perhaps Phil is merely a pragmatist who changes his convictions when convenient. After all, his friend James White’s involvement in an interfaith dialogue has been called out by numerous Christian men who agree that he violated Scripture. Why is Phil not attacking them—or my guests Usama Dakdok and Shahram Hadian—on social media? I suspect the answer is that for Phil this is not really about the James White interfaith dialogue but his ongoing attack on me that began a few years ago for reasons I do not fully understand.
Numerous Islamic experts have said what James White did was foolish, and national security experts suggest the James White dialogue was harmful to our nation in that he painted a Jihadi as a moderate and, at best, let Yasir’s false Islamic propaganda go uncorrected. Why does Phil not attack them on social media? Here are a few clips from my September 14, 2011 radio interview with Phil Johnson:
- Clip #1—Brannon Howse and Phil Johnson on Dangers of Spiritual Enterprises with Unbelievers—http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/09-14-11-brannon-howse-phil-johnson-dangers-spiritual-enterprises-unbelievers-clip-1
- Clip #2—Brannon Howse Interviews Phil Johnson On Dangers of Not Refuting A False Religion or False Teacher—http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/09-14-11-brannon-howse-interviews-phil-johnson-dangers-not-refuting-false-religion-or
- Clip #3—Phil Johnson on Worldview Radio Explains Why We Need to Stay on Guard From False Teachers—http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/09-14-11-guest-phil-johnson-explains-why-we-need-need-stay-guard-false-teachers-clip-3
Much of what Phil said in 2011 could be said about his friend James White in 2017, but I guess that is not how the good ol’ boy club works. So much for truth, consistency, and not being a respecter of persons. (And in case, you’re not familiar with the James White/Yasir Qadhi interfaith dialog, here is a great article to bring you up to speed: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/facts-reveal-james-white-islamic-dupe-clueless-evangelicals-are-desperate-save-his).
Phil Johnson has repeatedly defended James White with the argument that White was acting consistent with Paul in the book of Acts when he confronted the Greeks at Mars Hill. But nothing could be further from the truth. Paul was not in a New Testament Church at the time, he was not seeking points of agreement with the pagans, nor was he calling any of them his mentor.
He didn’t say that he sensed “a kindred spirit” with them, and he didn’t invite them to critique his ministry—all of which James White did in his Islamic dialogue.
It is truly sad that White and Johnson handle the Word of God so sloppily in order to justify this sacrilege. I believe church discipline is in order for both men.
I’m not the only one who seems to be picking up on Phil Johnson’s inconsistencies. In an excellent article, Pastor Michael Spaulding highlights what many have known about Phil Johnson for years, that he “is a hypocrite of the highest order.” Here’s how Spaulding sees it:
What I wish to address is the support White has received. Surprisingly a couple of people with very different perspectives, one might say two people with theological beliefs very much at odds with one another, have stepped into the fray to defend White’s error. I am speaking of Phil Johnson and Michael Brown. This has added a layer of intrigue to the entire situation but has also served to obfuscate the truth of what critics of White’s decision to promote an interfaith dialogue have been saying. By engaging in what appear to be damage control activities on behalf of White, Johnson seems to have exposed himself as a hypocrite of the highest order. You can be the judge of whether or not that is true based on the information contained in this article. His previous statements seem to completely contradict his stated position concerning James White’s ecumenicalism, or to use the new and improved phrase, interfaith dialogue. (See the complete article here:
And to fill in some additional background: Let us not forget that Phil Johnson has made a good living by trashing clear-minded, gospel-defending charismatics for years. Yet, now he wants to defend an interfaith dialogue with a Jew-hating, jihad-preaching imam? I now believe Phil Johnson has joined James White in being a useful idiot for Islam. I can assure you that radical Muslim groups are rejoicing that the Executive Director of a Bible ministry like Grace to You is defending an interfaith dialogue like White’s while trashing folks like me who are exposing their agenda of cultural jihad. If it strikes you as unthinkable that someone like Phil Johnson would become a useful idiot of Islam, the reason is that I believe he is so full of hate for me, for whatever reason, that he has chosen to support, through aid and comfort, the stated goal of interfaith dialogues by CAIR: the attacking of those who oppose Islam.
But the last time I checked, charismatics were not flying planes into buildings! The last time I checked, charismatics were not drafting legislation with Republicans and Democrats to make it a crime to criticize Islam. So, when we lose more and more of our freedoms as Americans, I will be here to remind you of the useful idiots like James White and Phil Johnson. (I predicted this state of affairs in my book Religious Trojan Horse in 2012, and now you see it is coming to pass.)
A Spreading Perception
Even secular conservative media are picking up on this trend among some Christians. Last month, American Thinker, a major conservative website often quoted by influencers such as Rush Limbaugh, featured an article called “When Evangelicals Become Useful Idiots for Islamism.” Writer James Simpson used the James White episode as a prime example of evangelicals duping for Muslims (see the complete article at: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/06/when_evangelicals_become_useful_idiots_for_islamism.html).
Regardless, for Phil, the current pile-on ignores the nefarious Islamic strategy in order to discredit me. His approach is apparently driven by personal animosity and trying to damage my credibility for mentioning that his buddy James White was wrong to sit in a spiritual dialogue with a Muslim Jihadi.
Phil also seems to think talk show hosts Todd Friel and James White can say whatever they want on the air and no one is supposed to disagree with them. But I say that James White cannot come to the town I live in, hold an interfaith dialogue with a Jihadi Imam that I have been writing and speaking against for years, and think I am not going to speak up. I may not belong—and do not want to belong—to the James and Phil Club, so I will have to take my lumps from them but have even more reason than ever to ignore their belly-aching on social media. Truth is at stake, and I will not be quiet to appease them.
What is interesting is how much time Phil Johnson has spent talking about the error of others such as Rick Warren and John Piper. I guess Phil is the only one that has freedom of speech in America now? He has even said that “the fact is, Scripture commands faithful Christians to confront, rebuke, and correct those who twist or reinvent the gospel—not to ask them to speak at our most important conferences”
Yet James White sat in a church with a Jihadi imam and let him say that Jesus taught Islam, and White never corrected him.
He let Qadhi make many false statements about our Lord, and White did not refute them. Then Qadi said that the crucifixion was a fraud and that was not challenged.
Then he said Jesus was going to return and the Muslims would gather around Him, and White never said a word. Some Christians who witnessed the event were upset with what happened, and I can tell you some pastors in our town were terribly disturbed by the video they have watched of that night and cannot figure out why an executive with John MacArthur’s ministry is defending James White while attacking me over the issue.
And just to be clear: I have never judged the entire ministry of James White as Phil Johnson and his fanboys claim that I have. In my early critiques, I began our radio and television programs by acknowledging some good things about the ministry of James White. Yet, his chorus continues to ignore one fact after another. At what point do we have to acknowledge that they will lie, if need be, to win an argument?
Talk of the Town
When people say things publicly, we have a right to disagree publicly–that’s what we do on talk radio. That is the right of any American, of course. But Christians in particular have a duty to publicly correct public false teaching and error in a loving but firm manner. That is what my guests and I have endeavored to do in discussing the James White/Yasir Qadhi interfaith dialogue.
Per Jude 3, it is a duty of Christians to defend the truth. And when an elder or pastor says something publicly wrong, we are to point out the error for the protection of the church. Phil’s own boss thinks likewise. This year’s entire June 11th sermon by John MacArthur is excellent, but in this clip, listen especially beginning at minute 18:19 to hear Dr. MacArthur’s assessment of our responsibility to correct error: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/48-10
For additional biblical context, you also might want to listen to these segments from Dr. MacArthur’s sermons on 2 Corinthians 6:14:
Phil seems to not understand that talk show hosts, by their very nature, cover current issues and often discuss controversial things said by other public figures. I have been attacked by many people on radio, blogs and online programs that disagree with me but have never attacked them or asked my friends to attack them because I understand that’s the nature of being a public figure and taking part in public debates. As President Harry Truman was known for saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
James White, though, doesn’t seem comfortable with forthright confrontation, either. I have offered our radio program as a debate platform on which he can “dialogue” with Usama Dakdok about the realities of Islam. Usama has publicly offered to debate James White, but White seems willing to leave the debating up to his network of evangelical good ol’ boys—especially Phil Johnson. I believe the bottom line is that neither White nor Johnson want anyone to expose the error of any of the folks who make up their good ol’ boy club. I also believe that Phil, in his social media comments, has left the impression that my disagreeing with John MacArthur in conversation with two radio guests in 2008 was a “campaign” against Dr. MacArthur. I guess Phil likes to blow things out of proportion while he accuses others of doing that very thing.
So here are the facts. In 2008, I and my co-host at the time were talking to a third person about John MacArthur’s book, Why Government Can’t Save You. We disagreed with a statement of MacArthur’s that America’s founding fathers sinned and violated New Testament principles when they founded America. It was not a disagreement about any doctrinal position. It was about how we viewed the founding of America. This was not a theological argument. Disagreement over a position taken in a book is not uncommon or inappropriate.
In a follow-up to the program several years later, the reason I sent a letter of apology to Dr. MacArthur was that I felt my tone and some of our comments were unnecessarily harsh. Not surprisingly, Dr. MacArthur replied with an extremely gracious email, explaining that he was not even aware of the program but appreciated my concern. Later, I invited Dr. MacArthur to speak for our Worldview Weekend 2015, and he agreed to do so. Dr. MacArthur has also been a guest on my radio program both in 2013 and 2014. I think Phil wanted his messages to sound as if I still had some issue with Dr. MacArthur.
The truth that Phil Johnson conveniently leaves out of his propaganda sheet is that John MacArthur did, in fact, almost cancel speaking for us in 2015, but not because of any genuine conflict with me. He had heard that Phil was upset over being called to task for Todd Friel’s on-air, erroneous assertion that only 3,000 people had died in the Inquisition, but when Dr. MacArthur’s assistant called me to ask what was up, I explained what my radio program had pointed out about Todd Friel’s information. After reviewing the radio links I provided, he realized Phil had given a totally different version of the story to Dr. MacArthur’s office than the one evidenced by the radio programs themselves, and I quickly received a phone call back from his assistant saying that Dr. MacArthur was looking forward to being with us at our 2015 conference. (I still have all the email exchanges with John MacArthur’s office because I figured I might need them one day to refute Phil’s account of things, and here we are!)
When Dr. MacArthur spoke at our Worldview Weekend conference, he opened with tremendously gracious and kind remarks affirming our ministry. Yet that is not what Phil has tried to lead people to believe this week in his campaign against me. If John MacArthur had an issue with me or my ministry in 2015 when he spoke for us, a man of his integrity would not have said the things he did in his opening statement (see what I mean by watching this video clip of Dr. MacArthur at the conference: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/tube/video/q-dr-john-macarthur-video-clip).
Is Phil suggesting Dr. MacArthur was being dishonest? Phil’s facts just don’t hold up when the truth is known. Even his recollection of my history with John MacArthur is inaccurate. He alleged that John MacArthur spoke for me “a year or two” after I became a Christian. I became a Christian in 2001, however, and John didn’t speak at our conference until 2015. Phil pulled that “data point” right out of the air, as he apparently does with most everything he says against me.
The reasoning Johnson and White use to discredit me is not entirely clear. I used 2 John 9-11 as the biblical basis for saying these interfaith dialogues are unbiblical. In response, James White wrote an article stating that parts of 2 John 9-11 does not apply today and is not about unbelieving false teachers but about Christians who are false teachers. But this is just erroneous on many levels. A false teacher by definition is an unbeliever. We cannot find one theologian in the past 200 years who has taught what James White declares is the meaning of 2 John 9-11. John MacArthur does not teach what White is saying. Yet, Phil Johnson defends White and his twisting of Scripture. So now the Executive Director of Grace to You is not only defending an interfaith dialogue with a jihadi Imam but is also defending a man who distorts the Word of God to justify his own unbiblical actions.
Johnson also attributes quotes of other people to me without noting I did not make these comments. For instance, on my program, Jimmy DeYoung did, in fact, call James White a heretic, and Pastor Shahram Hadian did turn James White over to Satan. I neither agreed nor disagreed with their specific statements, but by Phil’s reasoning, I did. The same logic would also dictate that all of the comments by Yasir Qadhi in the interfaith dialogue with James White are embraced by James White. So, Phil, are we to believe that James White believes the cross was a fraud and Jesus taught Islam? White did not disagree with Yasir when he said so. Therefore, based on Phil’s troubled reasoning, James White agrees with the imam. Can you see how fallacious the Phil Johnson arguments are?
Johnson loves to stir the pot even when it’s not his kitchen, but the Bible calls that a talebearer, something that can disqualify a pastor and elder from his office. The man is quite skilled at taking things out of context to make a comment or an action seem like something it is not—which ironically is the very thing he accuses me of doing.
At one time, for example, I did have another area of disagreement with John MacArthur, but Johnson now positions it as an ongoing problem. Yet in my 2011 interview with Phil, I admit to Phil and the entire radio audience that I once angrily disagreed with John MacArthur about moralizing and Christian activism. I also explained that I repented of raising the flag above the cross and came to agree with Dr. MacArthur’s position.
Clip #1 above demonstrates that Phil has known since 2011, if not before, that I had publicly repented of my extreme focus on politics. You see, in the early 2000s, I rubbed shoulders with leaders of the Religious Right and some of the highest Congressional leaders came to speak at my conferences, including then U.S. House Majority Leader, Dick Army, and U.S. House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay. I was also a guest on some of the biggest secular, talk shows in the nation and frequently sat in as guest host for my long-time friend Michael Reagan, President Ronald Reagan’s oldest son. I even became the literary agent for Michael on one of his books. I was way into the political and public policy world before I came to understand what really matters and has eternal value.
So Phil knew of the change in my heart and my public acknowledgement of repentance on this issue as far back as 2011, and yet he has left people to think in his recent social media rants that my disagreements with Dr. John MacArthur are ongoing. What does this tell you about Phil Johnson? What does this tell you about his heart and motives? You and I cannot know his—or any person’s—heart, but it is fair to ask what this behavior might suggest. What does this tell you, if anything, about why Phil may be defending his friend James White from the criticism of being involved in an unbiblical spiritual enterprise with Jihadi Imam Yaser Qadhi in my hometown? That his motives are not truth-seeking perhaps?
Phil Johnson needs to spend some time thinking and praying about these things instead of firing off additional nasty comments on social media or putting out one more propaganda sheet worthy of the Cold War-era Pravda. And contrary to the assertion in his latest rant, I am not aware that I ever had a conversation with him to say I planned to change the content of my radio program.
I have sought the feedback from many godly people over the past weeks by asking them to listen to our radio and television programs, and not one of them has said I have done anything wrong in documenting James White’s interfaith debacle. They have even said my tone has been completely acceptable for the seriousness of the issue at hand and the truth that is at stake.
Why Phil chose to interject himself in the middle of this legitimate and necessary debate is beyond me. Apparently, he has not been able to point out anything I have said in this recent debate about James White that is biblically wrong or even slanderous, so he just makes personal attacks based on fiction. In addition, he has contended on social media that James White shared the gospel in the interfaith dialogue with Yasir Qadhi, but as anyone who has watched the dialogue video can see, White did not share the gospel. And even if he had, 2 John 9-11, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Romans 16:17, and Ephesians 5:11 offer no loophole that says it is acceptable to talk about God with a false teacher in a church and have it recorded for the whole world to see. In fact, on my radio program in 2011 (see clip #2 above), Phil says that such spiritual enterprises are not only unbiblical but that to sit and let someone misrepresent the truth unchallenged is a serious matter.
Sadly, Johnson does not seem to realize the damage he has done to Grace to You by putting himself in the middle of the James White debate. Many people are emailing me in disgust, unable to figure out why he wanted to inject himself, and thereby, Grace to You, into this debate that had nothing to do with him or Grace to You in the first place. The perception of GTY’s involvement is understandable in that in at least one of his social media posts, he says “we” and talks about the church and ministry he is connected to.
A Schizophrenic Worldview
The president of a long-standing ministry that has also had dealings with Phil laughed when he heard what Phil was doing and then told me stories of what he had done to the founder of their ministry. Another friend who knows Phil called this week, and he, too, encouraged me to ignore Phil and his antics as most thinking people don’t take him seriously.
Yet another person I talked to this week told me that he has noticed that Phil seems to have run into a ditch with his attitude and contentious spirit. This person reminded me of his behavior on social media toward presidential candidate Donald Trump and wondered if Trump’s winning the White House was just too much for Phil. Maybe it pushed him over the edge. The person was heartbroken over how Phil had been acting on social media and said he had lost much respect for him.
In another strange twist about Phil Johnson’s inconsistent interjections into others’ controversies, I recently learned through Twitter of a 2016 video of dancers doing a ballet presentation during a church service at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City where Tim Keller has served as senior pastor for many years. This interpretive ballet depicted events from the Lord’s life leading up to and culminating in His crucifixion. Some evangelical leaders argued that the dancers engaged what they considered to be “gay” ballet. That seems exaggerated, but you decide by seeing the video for yourself at: https://vimeo.com/200056401
While I am not a fan of this sort of interpretive dance in church, I would not make an issue of it on social media or on my radio program. If you watch the video, you’ll see that the three men were dressed in modest attire, and their dance seemed to be pretty standard ballet. But tweets from a few evangelical observers, including Phil Johnson, descended into gay humor and slanderous words regarding the ballet.
Here’s my specific concern: the people attacking the ballet video from Tim Keller’s church—making fun of the dancers, saying slanderous things about them cloaked in degrading humor—by implication called into question the entire ministry of Tim Keller and Redeemer Church. And they were the same ones lobbing similar moral judgments against my character and those I work with.
They strongly suggested I should not challenge Dr. White as to his interfaith alliance with Yasir Qahdi because of James’ long standing years in apologetic ministry. This sort of good ol’ boy pragmatism was not part of Paul’s worldview when he publicly called out Peter in Galatians 2:14.
But the hypocrisy keeps piling up. Phil Johnson has accused us of not loving Muslims because of our opposition to an interfaith dialogue? Shahram Hadian is a former Muslim. Yet is Phil showing love for the lost when he tweeted a joke with gay slurs over 3 men performing ballet? Is this really appropriate behavior for a ministry leader, church elder and someone that claims to want to reach the lost with the glorious gospel? Yet, Phil and his friend on Twitter feel completely justified trashing Pastor Keller, Redeemer, and these dancers. You can see the problem, right? This is multi-level hypocrisy. They cut up people they disagree with without batting an eye, and do so with seedy humor, gay slurs, and cheap words. But when those of us who want to hold evangelical leaders to a biblical standard of ministry cry foul when we bring them justified, real concerns both biblically and on national security grounds, we are demeaned. It appears that a double standard has become the rule of the day for the evangelical mafia. That’s how my colleagues Usama Dakdok and Shahram Hadian were unfairly taken to task with me for addressing serious and weighty biblical issues regarding James White’s dialogue and relationship with Imam Yasir Qahdi.
While I have serious theological issues with Tim Keller, right is right and wrong is wrong. Perhaps if Tim Keller were a member of the good ol’ boy club his critics run in, this ballet performance would have gone unmentioned. I find that revealing and sad at many levels.
Holding each other as Christians, pastors, and apologists accountable to the one rule and standard for all matters of life and godliness—the Word of God—should be applauded and not maligned. It is the Berean standard extolled by the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:10-12. Truth should welcome scrutiny, but error seldom wants to be challenged. May we all be champions for that which is true and even when our methods are not profitable for the ministry, in and out of the church, may we be quick to abandon them for the sake of the gospel and the glory of our God.
Maybe next time Phil will learn not to put his nose into the middle of a debate between two talk show hosts when it has nothing to do with him or the ministry he works for. But I would not hold my breath. Phil does not seem like one who has enough humility to learn from his mistakes. Yet we can pray to that end.
Phil has spent weeks mocking me, saying I don’t have as much passion for the gospel as James White and that I don’t love Muslims and other such statements that are nothing short of childish. He has even mocked the name of our ministry with graphics that are worthy of Saturday Night Live or MAD Magazine. He seems to believe James White is correct simply because of who he is and his years of ministry, but truth is no respecter of persons. Would you side with King David over the Prophet Nathan because of the years of service by King David? Hardly. Truth is what it is.
It’s too bad Phil Johnson does not have any grace for me but does for an interfaith dialogue between his friend James White and a graceless Jihadi imam. He may have grace to him. But not to me—and not grace to you if you’re not in the Johnson and White Good Ol’ Boy Club. Gracious me!
To Dig Further into This and Other Related Issues, Take a Look at the Resources Noted Below.
For those that don’t understand what the James White issue is all about, read this article with lots of embedded video clips that will get you up to speed.
Paul Flynn Reveals Hypocrisy of John MacArthur's Phil Johnson of Grace to You
The following is a statement sent to one of our supporters named Kim by a ministry representative from Grace to You, whose title is listed as Internet Ministry Coordinator. Kim e-mailed him to ask several questions about their executive director’s defense of James White and his interfaith dialogue. Kim posted the statement on our Facebook page. We also have the screen shots to validate that, indeed, this statement did come from Grace to You. Below you will find their statement and then my response.
Heart Breaking, Breaking News: Grace Community Church Releases Statement To WVW-TV on James White's Interfaith Dialogue
Did You Feel the Seismic Shift Within “Conservative” Evangelicalism?
Facts Reveal James White Is an Islamic Dupe & Clueless Evangelicals Are Desperate to Save His Credibility
Short Video: The Coming Ecumenical Jihad: Understanding The Spiritual & National Security Threat To America! (27 minutes for the big picture)
Muslim Apologist in U.K. Begs Brannon Howse to Stop Exposing Their Islamic Dupe James White So Muslims Can Speak to Right Wing America and Christians
James White’s Islamic “Mentor” Yasir Qadhi Works with Muslim, Linda Sarsour, Who Just Called for Jihad Against President Donald Trump
TV show here:
Pastor Mike Spaulding says that by engaging in what appears to be damage control activities on behalf of White, Phil Johnson seems to have exposed himself as a hypocrite of the highest order.
Paul Flynn Reveals Hypocrisy of John MacArthur’s Phil Johnson of Grace to You
Former FBI Counter-Terrorism Expert Exposes James White’s Jihadi Imam Mentor
More clips here:
Here is an article on Yasir Qadhi’s Muslim Brotherhood connections.
How on earth can any Christian biblically or historically defend an interfaith dialogue with a Muslim Brotherhood-aligned imam when we know the history of the Muslim Brotherhood? This is not a gray area. The black and white pictures of history as well as Scripture proves that. See 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, Ephesians 5:11, 2 John 9-11, and 2 Corinthians 11:14-17,
Learn about the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood:
See the pictures of Muslim Brotherhood and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Al Husseini going over Aushwitz plans? Yasir Qadhi is Muslim Brotherhood.
See the picture of the Muslim Brotherhood Mufti giving Nazi salute to Muslims he recruited to wear Nazi uniform.
From Jerusalem Post:
There is also documentation showing that the mufti toured concentration camps in Poland with Heinrich Himmler. Killing European Jews was not good enough for the mufti, though, and so he planned to kill all the Jews in the Arab world and in Palestine. While the mufti publicly called for Arab countries to expel Jews living in them, he secretly planned to build extermination camps for Jews from Arab countries and Palestine, so that he could implement the Final Solution in the Middle East.
Jihad’s Nazi Connections.
Eichmann found support for the Holocaust in the “surahs of your Koran.”
Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
Islamism: Blaming the West....learn about Yasir Qadhi and his views on the Jews.
God forgive American Christians who are apparently so blind and deaf as to defend giving a platform to a Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Jihadi imam through an interfaith dialogue.
And Consider the Clear Implications of These Scriptures:
- 1 Corinthians 5:12—For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges.
- Galatians 2:14—But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all…
- Romans 16:17—Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
- Ephesians 5:11—And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
- 2 Corinthians 6:14—Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
- 1 Corinthians 10:21—You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
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