With a sharp perspective honed by decades teaching students and speaking daily on live radio, now Dr. Michael Brown shares his expert take on why our words matter, the election of Trump vs. Clinton, and how to best engage in conflicts over social issues.
Brown has a joy about him that comes through even when talking about weighty matters. Maybe it's because of his own personal testimony of being saved from drug addiction, his love of family (he and his wife Nancy have two daughters and four grandchildren), or his unique experience as a Messianic Jew.
Whatever the reasons, Dr. Michael Brown — host of The Line of Fire radio show and founder of the FIRE School of Ministry — has a message worth hearing.
Bound4LIFE: Dr. Brown, as one of the leading Christian voices consistently speaking on current events, you're often analyzing the messages of our culture and what they mean. Do words still impact people in our fast-paced society?
Dr. Michael Brown: Absolutely. We can see that words matter because every day words are being exchanged on social media, being debated online, being broadcast in news media — and those words are influencing people for better or worse. Our voice is important. We need to clarify it and we need to raise it.
In fact, it's our lack of addressing issues that's put us in our position today. It's our failure to address from pulpits and from the spheres of influence that we have. Jesus called us to be salt and light. We become irrelevant when we're really not salty or shining. My greatest concern in America — I've said this for many years — is not so much the presence of darkness but the absence of light.
It's up to us, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to live lives according to the Word in a way that is pleasing to the Lord and then to speak truth to the culture. We can reclaim the moral conscience of society.
Bound4LIFE: How can our voices be heard above all of the noise that's going on — for example, you mentioned social media?
Dr. Michael Brown: We have to determine we have a message to get out, look for the right opportunities to do it, and be consistent in it. Often the people who are opposing us are just going through their talking points, and once we challenge them our messages can be heard better.
Someone will make a pro-life or pro-justice point, and someone will come back with a response — it's either a nasty response or it's bringing other information in. Many times we don't know what to say next, the right approach to speak truth in love. We need to have accurate information; ministries like Bound4LIFE help by providing up-to-date statistics on abortion, as well as perspective on current events and testimonies of lives changed.
I'll give an example. We've all celebrated in recent weeks the amazing gymnastics feats of Simone Biles, the Olympic gold medalist. As a news event, this is an opportunity to draw attention to the value of every life — because her birth mother would have been a prime target for Planned Parenthood and abortion. Beautiful lives whom our world would discard can have a great future, including through adoption.
So I shared a meme about Simone Biles on my Facebook page, it received some hostile comments, and we engaged about it at some length. We can't shy away when we face conflict. All of us have voices. All of us have spheres of influence. Whether it's in our household, community, local church or social media. What we have to do is not be obnoxious, but on a regular basis make a point.
Bound4LIFE: You've criticized both leading presidential candidates for their statements in support of abortion. How should pro-life advocates be praying about this election — and considering their own part in it?
Dr. Michael Brown: It's a very difficult election right now because we don't have a strong pro-life candidate. We know Hillary Clinton is the most radical pro-abortion candidate in our nation's history. We know she is a close friend of Planned Parenthood, the nation's dominant abortion provider that actively supports her. She is absolutely an anti-life candidate and could do damage to the pro-life movement in many ways if elected.
For many ready to vote against Clinton, the default is to vote for Donald Trump. Now he would likely appoint conservative Supreme Course Justices, which would be massive, and he does want to be a champion for religious freedom. I believe he's sincere in desiring these outcomes.
The problem is, there are many troubling issues with his personal character and moral depth. We don't know if he'll completely flip-flop once elected; he's volatile. What would happen if he's elected President — particularly in terms of international relations? Would we get into wars we don't need to get into? So it's a very difficult election. There were quite a few Republican candidates who had strong pro-life records proven over many years, leaders who could have easily defeated Hillary Clinton it appears.
So, is God going to use Trump in a positive way as some say? Or is there divine judgment on the church for sleeping, and hence we'll get a Hillary Clinton? This is one of those elections where the only prayer I can pray is: "Lord, have mercy on America, and use this election for your divine purposes. God, be gracious to us and give us another opportunity."
I wonder if we need a very, very bad candidate to further attack our religious freedoms and to further come against our values to awaken the church. That's possible. It's a dreadful possibility, but it's possible. Others would say pray fervently for Trump because he has godly counsel around him. I know some very godly men who are speaking into his life, and therefore I'm hopeful he'll listen.
Right now, it's difficult and we need to pray: "God, have mercy on America and have mercy on us in this election."
Bound4LIFE: How would you encourage pastors and Christian leaders, who desire to speak up for life but are not sure how to do that?
Dr. Michael Brown: Give people a vision for how Christians can make a difference. What does it means to be salt and light? I would encourage a pastor, if he's never addressed these things from the pulpit, to do a series on life issues.
Take one week and unpack what the Scriptures say about life beginning in the womb and the pro-life case from the womb. The next week, talk about the church and social justice. Look at how the church has changed society in the past — how the spread of the gospel in the 1700s in England had a profound effect on the nation. Consider the Christian leaders in the late 1700s and early 1800s who worked to abolish slavery in America and end the slave trade in Great Britain. Tell of Corrie Ten Boom and her family, who rescued Jews during World War II.
In each message, we must be considering how to make a difference in our community. Sometimes it means having someone from a pro-life ministry come in and speak, which is great. Lay out the options in some way. One of my colleagues put together Cities4Life, which gives a template as to what can be done in many cities. Where there are abortion clinics, groups like Bound4LIFE and 40 Days for Life are engaged in prayer and ministry outreach.
Often these ministries volunteer and serve in crisis pregnancy centers. I've seen support groups that help couples facing decisions about an unplanned pregnancy, then they host a baby shower when the couple chooses to have their baby. We can encourage a culture of adoption in the church. There are many, many different things that can be done and should be done — all are a part of the Gospel. Every Christian should have some involvement in pro-life outreach.
Bound4LIFE: We'd love to hear more about your role with the FIRE School of Ministry in North Carolina. How does the school integrate Christian worldview topics like understanding the sanctity of human life, with other disciplines?
Dr. Michael Brown: The school is a three-year intensive program born out of the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida. Since January 1997, the FIRE School of Ministry continues to raise up and send out laborers around the world into ministry and the missions field. We have other branches — an inner city branch in Chicago along with schools in Holland, the Philippines and Cameroon, Africa. We're about to open FIRE Schools of Ministry in Sicily and in Serbia; it's exciting to see God multiply this vision.
Professors with solid academic backgrounds teach the students, but the heavy emphasis is not on tons of academic work. Our emphasis is on really knowing God, on knowing His Word and getting involved in practical ministry. From day one, students understand they are there by God's grace to be world changers — to make an impact on as many lives as possible in a holistic way.
Part of the school is being involved in local ministries. They have to commit to two ministry activities each semester, many of which are about being active as a pro-life voice in our community. Every student will take my class on Jesus Revolution, exploring how critically important it is for us to interface with moral and cultural issues as followers of Jesus. It's very natural for them to have a strong pro-life consciousness.
What we've been struck by is how many who've left our school have gotten involved in rescuing people in human trafficking, starting orphanages in third world countries, feeding the poor, and also launching pro-life ministries in the various countries where they serve. It's interesting to see how many different ministries our grads have founded, even beyond what they learned in the school, because they have a holistic pro-life mentality.
Bound4LIFE: In an article earlier this year related to pro-life issues, you said near the end: "This battle is spiritual more than anything." Can you unpack that?
Dr. Michael Brown: I was commenting on a ridiculous comment by NARAL, a national pro-abortion organization very upset over a silly Doritos commercial in the Super Bowl. They claimed the ad humanized a fetus. How absolutely horrible, humanizing a baby in the womb!
Ultimately, we have to recognize that the blindness is not just natural, it's also spiritual — and we should engage on every level. We should engage in ministry in front of abortion clinics. We should engage in voting in pro-life candidates as much as possible. We should engage in the whole gamut of social action as followers of Jesus who care about justice for the poor, needy, and innocent ones.
Perhaps the greatest text reflecting pro-life ethics is Proverbs 24:11, which calls us to "Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter." This is part of what we do as believers, spelled out plainly in the Bible.
We've got to remember that there is a real devil, a real Satan, who wants to destroy. He is the ultimate murderer. He's the one that wants to destroy men, women — and children in the womb, before they have an opportunity to take their first breath. The enemy is behind this larger culture of death in our society.
Therefore, we need to give ourselves to prayer for the opening of eyes of Christians, for a pro-life consciousness, and for repentance in the nation. We pray for the fear of God to come back to America, for God to intervene and turn the tide.
Many times, with social issues, we forget these are ultimately spiritual battles. We do a lot of good things, but we don't bathe them in prayer and I believe that is essential if we are going to see a change come.
To connect with Dr. Michael Brown, visit AskDrBrown.org for articles and more. The views of Dr. Brown are not necessarily those of Bound4LIFE International, which takes no official position for or against individual candidates.
Reprinted with permission from Bound4LIFE.