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Playing With Holy Fire: A Wake-Up Call to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church Paperback – April 3, 2018
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unashamedly a Charismatic but sees faults and grave dangers that some are afraid to confront. Dr. Michael Brown hits the
nail on the head. This is must-reading for anyone who values the Charismatic movement and its future.
—R. T. Kendall
Author; Former Minister, Westminster Chapel
I find myself saying, “Amen! Amen! Amen!” This book is so needed right now! People eager for revelation yet not grounded
in Scripture make easy targets for charlatans to exploit them and unsound teachings to move them. May God awaken His
—Dr. Craig S. Keener
F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies,
Asbury Theological Seminary
Dr. Michael Brown offers a compelling, careful, and honest critique of the current Pentecostal-Charismatic movement.
Michael astutely observes that while many wonderful things are taking place by and in the Spirit, there are also aberrations
and abuses that require accountability and rectification. My prayer is that we all take heed and listen to what he wisely
offers based on his observations and that we too once again learn how to more accurately and carefully discern what the
Spirit is saying to the churches.
—Mark J. Chironna, PhD
Founding Pastor, Church on the Living Edge;
Mark Chironna Ministries
The Pentecostal-Charismatic movement is very young and amazingly vibrant. It is by far the fastest-growing and most global phenomenon in the history of Christianity. It should not be surprising that something so dynamic would come with its share of challenges and issues. But for too long many of the abuses and errors in our midst have gone unaddressed. We are overdue for a much-needed correction. While some would love to throw out the baby with the bathwater, many of us see the precious work that God is doing and are willing to contend for it. This is what the apostle Paul did in Corinth, and it is what is needed in the Charismatic movement today.In Playing With Holy Fire Dr. Michael Brown addresses many of these challenges, not as an outside cynic throwing stones but as a concerned elder and father who has been a part of the movement for well over forty years. In the past Dr. Brown has often stood as a staunch defender of Charismatics and of the moving of the Spirit. But now he is bringing a much-needed word of correction to his own beloved spiritual family. He has managed to strike a nearly impossible balance, being not only brutally honest but also gracious and life-giving. Playing With Holy Fire is convicting but also constructive. Dr. Brown has earned the right to speak to our community, and now his message needs to be heard more than ever. It’s time for us to put our house in order and prepare for God to move as never before.
—Evangelist Daniel Kolenda
President and CEO, Christ for All Nations
Dr. Michael Brown is a prolific writer, dynamic speaker, and brilliant academic. His books and teachings have been a personal source of encouragement, inspiration, and guidance for me over the past twenty-one years. Playing With Holy Fire is another clarion call to leaders and Christians around the world, a sobering warning to the body of Christ. May the holy fire of God set you ablaze as you read this book.
President and CEO, GOD TV
Some people have passion, and that is good. Some people have intellect, and that is good. Few people seem to have large doses of both. But there is an exception. Dr. Michael Brown has both! He is one of the most respected voices in the church today, especially in the Charismatic movement, combining a heart for revival with sound scholarship and prophetic insight. God’s people need to listen carefully when he speaks.
—Jim Garlow, PhD
Senior Pastor, Skyline Church
San Diego, California
Dr. Michael Brown is one of the most important prophetic voices in the church today! In Playing With Holy Fire he calls out the dysfunction and challenges us in the Charismatic community to raise the standard—big time. We must do so if we are going to see the Lamb receive the reward of His suffering—which is the nations. As one who is constantly exposed to the inner workings of the Charismatic community—and a very proud part of it—I recognize there is much purity mixed with grievous error.
This book will give you an informed, balanced, insider’s look at some of the dangers that attempt to distort the Charismatic movement. Dr. Brown is not a critic on the outside looking in; he is someone who has been a part of the Spirit-empowered community ever since he came to faith in the Messiah. He doesn’t just call out issues; he calls forth biblical solutions, not attempting to “quench the Spirit” but to create a culture where the church can experience the Spirit in a greater measure because our experience is in complete agreement with what’s outlined in Scripture.
—Larry Sparks, MDiv
Publisher, Destiny Image
Author, Breakthrough Faith;
coauthor, The Fire That Never Sleeps
Dr. Michael Brown is a friend of mine who is never afraid of tackling controversial issues head-on. His prophetic call to the body of Christ, coupled with his high-level scholarship, enables him to speak and write as few can in the church today. In this book Dr. Brown brings a course correction and deals with some extremes found in the Charismatic movement. Both Evangelical and Charismatic leaders can benefit from this important work!
—Dr. Joseph Mattera
National Convener, US Coalition of Apostolic Leaders
I’ve known Dr. Brown for over three decades and have respected his unwavering, tenacious, and courageous commitment to God and His Word. Motivated by a passion for God and compassion for people, even those who may adamantly disagree with him, Dr. Brown continues to seek to reflect Christ in the love of the truth and demonstrated with grace.
I trust that those who read through this book with humility, honesty, and personal review will be encouraged to think deeper and to draw closer to the Lord. This book challenges the church to consider where we have allowed the enemy in our camp, even if he appears as an angel of light, and denounces the deception that seeks to misguide many believers. This book not only aides us but provokes and challenges us to get back to being lovers of biblical truth, shedding light on areas where we may have drifted from our moorings and helping us to get back to “high noon” with the Father of Lights, where there is no shadow turning. Personally I found the book to be heart provoking, yet refreshing.
We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, our plumb line of truth and righteousness, healing and hope.
President, Turning Point Ministries International and Somebody Cares America
I have known Dr. Brown for many years and have found him to be a vigilant watchman for truth. This book is a must-read for all Christians who desire to honor our spiritual heritage while preparing for a tremendous future harvest. The passion, power, and purity of former days must be passed on with biblical clarity as we pass on practical and best practices. Dr. Brown’s book does this and more.
I read the book from cover to cover in one sitting. It affirmed many of my spiritual values and gave me hope for the future. I commend Dr. Brown for writing this page-turner that will instruct young and old, black and white, male and female during this season of division, dissension, and doctrinal imbalance.
—Bishop Harry Jackson
Founder and Chairman, High Impact Leadership Coalition
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
About the Author
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1629994987
- Product dimensions : 5.5 x 0.51 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Charisma House (April 3, 2018)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 1629994987
- Best Sellers Rank: #238,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Sexual sins of Christian leaders and carnal prosperity peddlers get no pass in this volume, either. Brown devotes a chapter to each, exposing the evils therein. Pentecostal/Charismatic believers need the admonishment in these chapters as much, if not more, than anyone.
Brown also addresses the obligatory issues of speaking in tongues, divine healing, and cessationism:
Regarding tongues: “Speaking in tongues is different from speaking in your native language, where you consciously form the words and sentences and sounds. Instead, the Spirit speaks through you, so you yield your voice and your tongue to Him. If you think about it too much or overanalyze it, you might never speak in tongues. But we are not called to become passive and turn off our brains That’s an invitation for all kinds of deception. Instead, we are to yield our minds to the Lord, and as we sense the Spirit’s prompting, we cooperate with Him in faith. The next thing we know, we’re speaking in a language we never learned before” (137).
Regarding divine healing, after explaining that in the late 70s and early 80s he tried to walk away from the Charismatic movement, studying many books against healing, but due to his in-depth study of healing for his doctoral dissertation, he rejected the anti-healing position on biblical grounds: “That’s why even if I never saw a single person healed, I would still believe healing was for today. My faith is not based on experience but on the Word. I walk by faith, not by sight. The positive experiences I have had in the Holy Spirit confirm what is written rather than dictate my theology. It’s the Word first, confirming experience second.
Regarding cessationism, Brown continues the above thought, writing, “Ironically, many cessationists accuse us Charismatics of basing our faith on experience rather than Scripture, but I’ve often found the reverse is true. That is to say, the primary reason I believe the gifts of the Spirit are for today is the testimony of Scripture, which is then secondarily confirmed by experience. In contrast, the primary reason many cessationists don’t believe in the gifts—at least from what I’ve heard from them over the years—is experience. They say, ‘Well, I used to be Pentecostal, but I saw so many flaky things happen.’ Or, ‘Yes, I tried that Charismatic stuff, but it didn’t work. Friends prophesied that my uncle would be healed and he died.’ Or, ‘Just look at those loonies on Christian TV. Only a fool would believe their claims.’
“Well, you might have had terrible experiences, you might have received false prophecies, and there may be some loonies on Christian TV. But what does the Word say about healing and miracles and prophecies and tongues? That’s what ultimately matters” (191–92).
If you have some doubts about the practices of Pentecostals/Charismatics and you truly believe that the Bible is the word of God, get this book for a biblical balanced view.
—Robert W. Graves, President
The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship, Inc.
It is prophetic in the sense that it draws attention to a needed correction—like a First-Covenant prophet addressing the spiritual decay of Israel. I will definitely be adding this book to the Recommended Reading list of my website!
Top reviews from other countries
I came across Michael Brown when he was addressing issues on Hyper Grace, then later when he addressed / responded to John MacAuthurs strange fire conference.
I find him to be upright and sincere in his love for Yeshua (Jesus), for God’s Holy Word, the Bible and for people.
On his YouTube channel he will address many bible related (as well as culture related) questions that I have found to be very useful and I have downloaded his App - Line of Fire Radio which I listen to almost every night.
I thank God for Dr Brown as God led me to his teaching at just the right moment and time in my life when I was looking for answers and I was able to get a lot clarified.
He is a gifted teacher and careful student of God’s Word and I for one, would highly recommend the material he puts out (as well as supporting his ministry - torch bearer) because it is great to see someone taking a no compromise stand for biblical truth and pointing people to the one who is “the Truth” (Jesus), in a world that desperately needs the Truth.
We can take the encouragement but God alone gets all the glory 😁
"A professor at a Christian university was approached by a couple after he spoke one night, and they asked him to pray over them. As he was about to lay hands on them, the professor felt something wasn't right, so he stopped and asked, 'You're married, right?'
"They shook their heads and said, 'Yes, we're married.'
"Again he went to pray, but something still felt off in his spirit, so he asked them an odd-sounding question: 'You're married to each other, right?'
"To his shock they replied, 'No, we're each married to someone else, but the divorces have almost gone through, and we know that the Lord is blessing our relationship, since we pray in tongues before we're together and we really feel His presence.'
"Only among us Charismatics do you hear nonsense like that. . . . Interestingly in this bizarre example you see both the weaknesses and strengths of our movement: weaknesses in that some of us are so grossly (and willfully) deceived and strengths in that the Holy Spirit exposes the deception."
(Michael L. Brown, Playing With Holy Fire, pp. 105-106)
As entertaining or disturbing as the stories generally are, most are personal experiences or things the author has heard second hand. It is a collection of memories as opposed to an independent study. Therefore we are not told how prevalent the problems are or if they were just isolated incidents.
It is unclear how influential the book will be or can be because he doesn't name names. Some will find this ineffective at rooting out evil or wicked leaders; others will find it reasonable not to take too many personal risks. If you wanted the slash-and-burn, take-no-prisoners book in the style of YouTube videos that name everybody at will, this isn't that book. Nevertheless it can be a useful eye-opener to know what kind of people are out there and how they operate.
This is the first MLB book I have read. I like his style. He is thoughtful and easy to read. He is neither too offensive nor too defensive. Next I will probably get Strange Fire by John MacArthur and Brown's rebuttal, Authentic Fire.