Jonathan Cahn, author of “The Harbinger,” the best-selling Christian book of 2012, offers the most important message Americans – including Christian Americans – need to hear.
It’s a very simple message really – repent.
His book and a film version of his message, “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” the No.1 best-selling faith movie of the year, which I had the privilege of producing, both tell an amazing story.
They chronicle, in vivid detail, the strikingly eerie parallels between ancient Israel’s failure to heed God’s clear beckoning for repentance and 21st-century America’s mimicking of that failure to read the handwriting on the wall.
But Cahn’s message is full of hope. He reminds America’s Christians of what God told Solomon at the time of the consecration of the Temple about a future when the children of Israel would stumble: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
You might think Cahn would be universally praised by conservative evangelicals for his insight, his courage and his success. And indeed, the message of “The Harbinger” and “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” have been widely endorsed by evangelical churches, pastors, Bible teachers, seminary professors, ministries, nationally known leaders and a mass audience of born-again believers across the nation. It has been praised across the widest of denominational lines, from conservative Baptist to charismatic.
But the praise has not been universal. Not quite.
A small coterie of critics, perhaps, I suggest, motivated by envy or their own pride and desire for the spotlight, have offered up some of the most vile accusations against Cahn and those, like me, who stand with him.
They’ve accused him of everything from Free Masonry to Mormonism to Gnosticism and even “Replacement Theology” (that God is finished with the Jewish people) – despite the fact that he’s a messianic Jew who speaks Hebrew and loves Israel! They’ve even sought to call this widely respected evangelical pastor a false prophet. They attack him for doing interviews with people who, unlike them, of course, have faulty theology. They criticize him because they don’t like his publisher. They demean him for his associations with people like me. They nitpick every word he utters in interviews and even his writing style. They accuse him untruthfully of promoting Kabbalah mysticism.
If only everyone calling himself a Christian were as pure in discernment as them, they suggest, then people would no longer be deceived.
Some of these critics have been friends of mine. I’ve even admired some of their work in the past. But this Cahn & company bashing has reached the point where I can no longer sit back quietly and watch this holier-than-thou verbal stoning and character assassination.
So let’s name names. Who are we talking about? There are a handful of these critics with platforms – none big enough to dent sales of the hottest Christian book and film produced this year. But I want to discuss two who just don’t know when to shut up. Neither do they practice what they so zealously preach.
The two most egregious offenders are Brannon Howse and Jimmy DeYoung.
One of the most amazing criticisms this pair has made against Cahn is that his teaching is based on his interpretation of biblical passages – interpretations they consider to be in abject, undeniable error. Yet, both Howse and DeYoung themselves interpret the Bible on daily basis. They don’t just read the Bible on their radio programs. They interpret it. And anyone who interprets it differently from them is a false teacher – like Cahn and me.
Of particular concern to Howse and DeYoung is that both Cahn and I believe that signs, wonders and miracles are happening today. I plead guilty as charged. I believe, for instance, that the very existence of the state of Israel in the modern world today is a miracle. God Himself called the reformation of the state of Israel in the latter days a miracle bigger than the parting of the Red Sea (Jeremiah 16:14-15). I can tell you I myself have experienced an instantaneous miraculous physical healing resulting from prayer. I also believe God has raised up people like Jonathan Cahn throughout history and imparted upon them a special anointing of discernment for the very purpose of calling people to repentance.
You may or may not agree with me on those matters.
But Howse and DeYoung describe their ministries as helping people to “understand the times.” They do this using interpretation – sometimes with very little connection to what the Bible actually says. One recent headline on Howse’s website read: “Why Christians need to discriminate very carefully between prophecy and speculation.” I couldn’t agree more that Christians need to do that.
I don’t claim my own interpretations of the Bible are 100 percent accurate. I likely won’t find out if I’m right or wrong about everything until Jesus returns.
However, you may not agree with all Howse and DeYoung teach, such as the following: “[T]he red heifer has been obtained from a breeder in Mississippi so that sacrifices (in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem) might be possible. The Anti-Christ will also establish a one-world global economy based out of Babylon in Iraq.”
Now, I think that is just silly – and you won’t find any of that in the Bible. In other words, I disagree with these men on some points of hermeneutics and theology and biblical interpretation. This is not doctrine. This is sheer speculation.
But it gets worse.
DeYoung has preached on the radio that those who take the “mark of the beast” can still be saved. But what does the Bible say?
Revelation 14:9-11: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
DeYoung is famous for saying repeatedly that the rapture of the church is imminent. Asked by Howse if it would take place in the next five years, DeYoung responded: “Not even.”
Will anyone call to account DeYoung if the rapture does not take place in the next five years? How about Howse for encouraging him?
Should they be stoned as false prophets if they turn out to be wrong on these and other matters of end-times prophecy? Of course not. But DeYoung has actually raised the issue of that biblical penalty for false prophets in the context of Jonathan Cahn’s teachings. DeYoung explained in a recent broadcast with Howse that 100 percent accuracy is the test not only for prophets, which neither Cahn nor I claim to be, but for all those who offer prophetic messages.
If they’re wrong about the red heifer bred in Mississippi for sacrifices in a rebuilt Jerusalem Temple, a future one-world economy based out of Babylon in Iraq, the mark of the beast or the timing of the rapture, are they ready for a taste of their own medicine?
Howse and DeYoung also believe Christians like Cahn and I should never give interviews to people of faith if they have any theological differences with them. It’s perfectly all right, however, says DeYoung, to give interviews to secularists.
Does this make sense?
Where does the Bible teach such a thing?
This is their own manmade rule – making it up as they go along.
For people who pride themselves on conducting biblical worldview conferences, they should know that it takes more faith to be a secular humanist than a believer in the Word of God. To them, believing that God can and does perform modern-day signs and miracles is apparently a worse blasphemy than denying the existence of God altogether.
They openly accuse Cahn and me of “deception” – citing Matthew 24:11 in which Jesus says that in the last days “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” They even state that what we have done with “The Harbinger” and “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” represent evidence we are in the end times.
Let me point out something else Jesus said in Matthew 24 that ought to be considered by these apparently all-knowing, self-appointed truth cops: “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”
Could it be Howse, DeYoung and their ilk are unknowingly fulfilling Bible prophecy before our very eyes?
Don’t get me wrong.
I agree with Howse and DeYoung much more than I disagree. But in a world on the brink of disaster, why would two Christian teachers who see and speak of the need for repentance focus so much venom and harsh criticism at two fellow believers who are preaching an effective, biblically sound, well-documented message that is calling and actually bringing multitudes of Americans to prayer, repentance and salvation?