For the past two weeks, I have let you in on a debate I’ve been having with Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend conferences (see here, here, and here). I objected to the numerous articles that populate his site that deal with end-of-the-world issues. I described this preoccupation as “worldview schizophrenia.” It’s difficult for me to understand how anyone can claim to be teaching Christian worldview while at the same time arguing that there is incontrovertible evidence that the end of the world is upon us. Brannon’s so-called response was one of the worst examples of critical thinking I have ever read. It was filled with red herrings, ad hominem and straw man attacks, and riddled with factual errors, a surprising piece of work from someone who is in the business of pointing out the errors in contrary worldviews at Worldview Weekend conferences.
I’ve received emails from people who have tried to post objections to Brannon’s “response” to my articles. Here’s one of them: “Gary, I tried to post a comment on Brannon Howse’s site today after reading your article about the frustrations with trying to get him to directly respond to your concerns. I was respectful and did not even link to your site. He refused to post it and sent me [this] terse email
“We are not going to promote Gary DeMar’s website. We are in the top 15,000 of websites in America. We are not going to direct our traffic to his silly website.” – Brannon Howse].(1)
The emailer continues: “I just wrote back. Here is what I wrote to [Brannon Howse].”
“I obviously don’t always agree with you . . . , but I do thank you for pointing out when the emperor has no clothes and for working so hard trying to remove blinders. It’s a difficult job. My comment was very respectful and did not include a link to Gary’s site. I only asked you to be fair and honest in your criticism, addressing directly what he wrote. Here is what your feedback page says: ‘We would like to post your feedback, but please keep your feedback short and clean. All feedback will be reviewed before it is posted. We encourage healthy debating but will not accept feedback with personal attacks. Commenting on a person’s public statements, actions and writings is not considered a personal attack. Please limit your feedback to less than 750 words. Comments written in ALL CAPS will not be posted.’ You are not being truthful when you say you encourage healthy debating. By your silly response to me you only confirm what Gary wrote, when you have a chance to directly address and refute what he said rather than foster misunderstanding and misrepresentation, something that is reprehensible for any Christian, particularly a leader who purports to teach discernment.
“You know, Gary DeMar has written things supportive of Glenn Beck, and I have commented on the American Vision Facebook page with my concerns and complaints about that. They did not refuse to post my comment and responded to me in a fair way. To characterize the very respectable ministry of American Vision as ‘silly’ because of its support for postmillennialism, a view held by many respectable and important people in the Christian Church (as I mentioned in my comment, Isaac Watts, Jonathan Edwards, R. C. Sproul), is to do the very thing you criticized—portray as enemies those who are really fighting on the same side.
“I am very disappointed in your response, one which is full of pride and not the humility which is a mark of true leadership. Apparently you only allow comments from those who agree with you. That’s too bad.”
To confirm my original criticism, the following appeared on American Vision’s Facebook page:
“The first W[orldview] W[eekend] I went to a couple of years ago was all about worldview, and almost nothing about the rapture. The second was mostly about end-time conspiracies. I never went to another one but I kept reading their emails, and they have become more and more obsessed with the end times. I cancelled my subscription for the emails. No need to read the same nonsense that we’ve been reading for a century now. It’s sad Howse refuses to listen to common sense.”
Here’s another one:
“[T]his dispensational theology has really helped to cripple and neuter our evangelical churches. It is also the reason many young people are leaving the church. This theology gives them no future hope—only escape via the mythical rapture. They don’t buy it!”
American Vision is in the teaching business. One of the things we teach is how to think critically. I know that many of you don’t like Christians arguing with Christians. If we don’t get things right, then how can we expect the world to get things right? The critical apparatus that we use with non-believers should not be any less honest when we deal with those of our own Christian household. As I pointed out in an earlier article, I addressed these concerns to Brannon privately. The last straw was when he posted a 1987 article by Dave Hunt on “Dominion Theology.” It was poorly argued in 1987, and it was poorly argued in 2010.
If Brannon Howse wants to be an advocate for a biblical worldview, then he needs to do a better job in his analysis of those who point out some critical points to him. He needs to be honest and accurate in his responses.Endnotes:
- Actually, I have several websites. Vision to America’s website is of today ranked 3,742 in the United States, while American Vision’s ranking is 39,935. For Brannon, a site is only worthy if its ranking is high. (The low number, as in golf, is the better number. Google and Facebook are 1 and 2.) Given Brannon’s logic, Ligonier (22,765), Summit (362,453), Worldview Academy (not even high enough to be ranked), and Vision Forum Ministries (303,491), highly respected worldview ministries, are also “silly” websites because they are not at the 15,000 mark. Very poor reasoning considering that the atheist Richard Dawkin’s website is ranked 14,523 in the United States, nearly 500 ticks better than Worldview Weekend’s ranking!(↩)