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By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Assistant Editor Tuesday, March 19, 2024 on The Christian Post

[As most of you know, on April 1, 2023, I joined with Michael Brown in a roundtable dialogue on the subject of false teachers, false prophets, and the work of the Holy Spirit today. On the other side of the debate were Justin Peters and Jim Osman, staunch cessationists. The Christian Post has been releasing summaries of the four hour dialogue, and here is the first one. This will be followed by at least two more.]

Justin Peters, leader of Justin Peters Ministries and Jim Osman, author and pastor of Kootenai Community Church, discuss and debate views among charismatics and cessationists, including concerns about NAR and Word of Faith pastors with Michael Brown, host of the “Line of Fire” podcast and Sam Storms, pastor emeritus of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City.

Biblical scholars from different theological backgrounds engaged in a vigorous debate over the biblical definition of a "false teacher" and "false prophet" — and whether or not controversial evangelists like Benny Hinn, Mike Bickle and Sid Roth belong in such a category.

In a four-hour roundtable discussion, Justin Peters, leader of Justin Peters Ministries and Jim Osman, author and pastor of Kootenai Community Church, debated the issue with Michael Brown, host of the “Line of Fire” podcast and Sam Storms, pastor emeritus of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City.

The first hour of the debate opened with a focus on the biblical criteria for labeling someone a false teacher or prophet, with all participants agreeing that a false teacher promotes heresies that are fundamentally at odds with the core doctrines of Christianity, such as the deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith and the resurrection.

However, the conversation quickly delved into more contentious territory, with the four men examining whether individuals who have made significant errors in their teachings but later repented could still be considered false teachers.

A significant portion of the discussion centered around Hinn, who has come under scrutiny for his adherence to prosperity theology, teachings on prophecy and supernatural healing.

Both Brown and Storms referred to Hinn as a “brother” they said had made significant errors in his teachings but later repented. The four men debated the effectiveness of such repentance, with Peters and Osman contending that true repentance must be accompanied by a complete cessation of ministry and restitution. Brown and Storms, however, suggested a more nuanced approach that allows for the possibility of genuine change and continued ministry under accountability.

“Speaking personally ... I am reluctant to pass judgment on the eternal state of an individual's soul so long as that individual does not overtly and explicitly deny foundational, biblical fundamental truths of the Gospel,” Storms said.

“They may be quirky in terms of their personality. They may be manipulative in terms of their ministry style. They may have distorted views of money. The whole prosperity gospel, I think we all agree, it's abominable. But many of those who affirm it believe they have biblical grounds for it; they actually believe in their heart and their soul that that is God's design for how Christians are to live. … I'm not going to consign [Hinn] to Hell until I see explicit unrepentant immorality, idolatry and denial of the foundations with faith.”

Osman pointed out that Hinn never publicly repented for teaching a “nine-member godhead” heresy several decades ago and continues to use the prosperity gospel to fleece the poor, which he said qualifies him as a false teacher.

“You think that Benny Hinn is a man who loves Jesus, loves Christ,” Osman said, addressing Storms. “I would submit to you that any man who gives false prophecies, doesn't care enough about God to put words in His mouth that He does not say, bring reproach on God, who knowingly puts forth false miracles, fake signs and wonders, does that knowingly, intentionally, and for decades tells the poor and sick people, ‘Give me money and God will bless you’ — that's not someone in my book who loves Christ. That's someone who hates Christ. That's someone who hates the Christ of the Bible. He may love a Jesus that he's created out of his own image, but he doesn't love the Jesus of the Bible. Where is the conviction of the Holy Spirit in this man? Where's the correction?”

The conversation also touched on the dangers of extreme judgmentalism within the Christian community. Storms and Brown expressed concern that the term "false teacher" is sometimes applied too broadly, potentially condemning individuals who hold different but non-heretical views on secondary issues, such as eschatology or the operation of spiritual gifts. This, they argued, could lead to unnecessary division and hinder the church's mission.

Brown shifted the conversation to Martin Luther, the seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation. Brown asked if Luther’s antisemitic writings and calls for harsh treatment against Jews, which were later used to fuel Nazi propaganda, could classify him as a false teacher despite his foundational contributions to Protestant theology.

“He promoted things that undermine the Gospel,” Brown said. “Many Jewish people think that Christianity is miserable and despicable because of Martin Luther … there is at least from our perspective ... a glaring double standard, an unequal weight measure and God hates unequal weights and measures.”

Peters replied that while he does not consider himself a “Luther apologist” and disagrees with the late theologian on a number of issues, he doesn’t believe he was a “false teacher.”

“Judging from the teachings that he gave concerning the Gospel, I can't on the basis of that and the things that he taught in those regards, call him a false teacher,” he said.

The discussion then turned to contemporary Christian leaders, including Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC). Six months after this roundtable discussion was filmed, Bickle was accused of sexual abuse, an allegation Brown and Storms acknowledged in a joint statement shared in this video.

Bickle's claims of supernatural experiences and his association with controversial figures raised questions about discernment and the validation of prophetic experiences within the Christian community. Peters, Osman, Storms and Brown discussed the challenges of verifying such experiences and the importance of empirical evidence and biblical alignment in evaluating modern-day prophets and teachers.

“I believe that Mike Bickle has lied about a number of things. In fact, not the least of which he claims to have been to Heaven at least twice. I don't believe that,” Osman said.

Storms, defending Bickle, highlighted the complexity of discerning true from false teachings in the context of charismatic experiences. He pointed to instances where Bickle's prophetic experiences were said to be empirically verified, emphasizing the need for a careful and nuanced approach to discernment that considers both the content of the teachings and the character of the teacher.

“Mike Bickle is probably my best friend in this world,” Storms said. “When I hear people say they think Mike Bickle is a false teacher, it angers me. It really does, because I know the individual. We're not talking about just watching ministry. I know the man personally.”

The four also discussed the case of Roth, host of the "It's Supernatural" television program. Brown, while acknowledging his long-standing acquaintance with Roth, defended him against the accusations of being a false teacher, emphasizing Roth's personal integrity, lifestyle and commitment to outreach.

“I've known Sid … for almost 40 years. He's never once even had an accusation of immorality, a single time, let alone lived in unrepentant sin. He's not enriched himself off of the Gospel over the decades. He has never denied a fundamental of the faith or taught a fundamental heresy, as far as I know, in all the years with him. He loves the Lord, is constantly doing outreach,” Brown said.

However, Osman and Peters raised concerns about Roth's platforming of individuals with questionable teachings and claims of supernatural experiences, suggesting that either Roth's discernment or his intentions were problematic.

“Roth has many many, many times said that God has told him things that theologically are untenable, and quite honestly just don't even pass the common sense test,” Osman said. “I don't doubt that Sid Roth is a nice guy, seems like a very personable guy, seems like he's kind of a funny guy at times. But I would say he is absolutely, completely unqualified to be in any kind of ministry.”

Despite disagreements, the four men expressed a shared commitment to discernment, biblical fidelity, and the pursuit of truth and demonstrated a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue.

“Let's try to work together, see the good, and we can have our biblical differences,” Brown said.

“I'll go toe to toe with anybody on the planet. … I'd love to have the conversations … to talk together rather than to be so put off by the differences. I'm not trying to be naive or overly simplistic, but I think there are things that we each have that we need, and I say in humility that there are things you brothers have that are important . and I think it’s the same in the other direction, and the Body would be so helped by that.”

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:


“Bible scholars” is an interesting title that probably only rightly refers to Storms and Brown. That being said, Peters and Osman sure do look like they had a valid argument after this whole Mike Bickle fiasco.

Sam, I can only imagine how much you are resting on God’s sovereignty with this whole thing. The charismatic movement has taken a huge hit from this and I believe it is God’s judgment for the charismatic church elevating people and gifting above Christ and the Gospel. Perhaps a more biblical expression will emerge in the decade to come.
I did not mean to suggest that you did not know how to spell Sid's last name. I only thought the misspelling was akin to a typo that could and should be fixed.
I know how to spell Sid's last name. The problem is with the way my website is set up. It only allows for a certain number of words in the title line. My title for this post obviously went too far and it cut off the final 'h'.
Sid's last name is Roth. Not Rot. The title to this article needs to be fixed.

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