‘Dr.’ Rodney Howard-Browne
Rodney Howard-Browne was born on June 12, 1961 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Raised in a Pentecostal family, Browne claims to have committed his life to Christ at the age of 5 and to have been filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit at 8. In 1979 at the age of 18, the direction of Browne’s life was determined. While at a prayer meeting for young adults, he challenged our Heavenly Father to a test of willpower by threatening suicide and screaming commands: “God, either you come down here tonight and touch me, or I’m going to die and come up there and touch you.” Apparently, the True Living God responds to threats because Browne claims that God immediately ‘anointed’ the young seeker. Young master Browne forthwith embarked upon a career as an itinerant preacher, claiming to have spent two years as pastor of Rhema Church in Johannesburg. However, a Rhema official is quoted as having said that “Rodney was never an associate pastor here. He was an ordained minister by the state and a lecturer at our Bible school, but was not involved in any form of pastoral work.”
In 1987, Browne, wife Adonica, and his inflated curricula vitae relocated to Florida to serve the parched mission fields of North America.
‘Dr.’ Browne claims a doctorate was awarded him in ‘ministry’ by The School of Bible Theology located in San Jacinto, California. This revered institution of higher learning modestly represents itself as “The Seminary to the World”, a feat of gargantuan proportions when one realizes that this is accomplished with no faculty. Unfortunately, it seems as though this stellar reputation has not reached the notice of state officials. The California State Department of Education unceremoniously dismisses this brainery as a ‘diploma mill’.
It is interesting that Browne chose a ‘seminary’ from which to obtain his ‘doctorate’. After all, he is quoted as saying “Too many people allow their education to make them unstable. I’ve noticed people, prior to going into seminary, who are totally qualified for the work of God, totally anointed, but they come out after several years of seminary totally ruined.” Totally. Then again, he must not have spent “several years” obtaining his degree of matriculation.
In 1989 the eminent Dr’s. Browne (by this time wife Adonica had also obtained a doctorate of murky origin) began a ministry known for signs and wonders where manifestations of the (alleged) Holy Spirit were characterized as ‘revivals’. This was the result of a series of meetings held at a church in Albany, New York. During a particularly lackluster evening, ‘Dr.’ Browne claims the Holy Spirit descended upon the room “like a cloud”. Browne was vexed at the gall of the Spirit of God in horning in on his action and told Him so: “Lord, you’re ruining my meeting.” The Sovereign of the Universe wittily quipped: “The way your meetings have been going lately, they deserve being ruined.” Whereupon the assembled faithful erupted in spontaneous hysterical laughter, screaming, uttering animalistic shrieks and grunts, body spasms and convulsions reminiscent of seizures, fainting and temporary paralysis, which behavior would later be known as ‘Holy Laughter’. These antics continued up to Browne’s appearances at Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland, Florida and later at the Toronto ‘Blessing’.
In 1996 Browne founded The River at Tampa Bay church in Tampa Bay. In 1997 Browne founded Revival Ministries International.
An unrepentant paragon of greed, Browne is on record as instructing pastors in the basics of the ‘prosperity gospel’. At a winter ‘camp meeting’ at the University of Southern Florida in Tampa, the eminent Dr. Browne is quoted as having observed to the assembled clergy that “sheep need to be fleeced or they would have too much hair and could not see where they are going. It is the pastors job to fleece the sheep.” And what a fleecing they had in store.
Apparently ignorant of the misadventures of King Saul and his good friend the Witch of Endor, and the resultant admonitions of the Most High God, Browne is also an unrepentant necromancer. He claims that the disembodied spirit of Billy Graham appeared to him in a dream and told him that he would lead a revival rivaling that of the Madison Square Garden Crusade in 1957. The six-week crusade, free to attend, set Browne back millions of dollars and resulted in an average nightly headcount of about 3,000 lost souls. An embarrassingly anemic turnout for the 19,000 seat arena.
Although I have my theological differences with Graham, I strive to find an occasion in which he advised people NOT to pray. On the other hand, the esteemed Dr. Browne, at an event in November, 1996 at Carpenter’s Home Church (later broadcast on TBN), advised a man who was praying peacefully to “Stop praying now and let the joy bubble out your belly. Joy. Joy. Joy. Don’t pray! Laugh!”
The words of Jeremiah come to mind,14:13 “And the LORD said to me, ‘The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; 14 they prophesy to you a false vision, a divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.'”
Having said that, I defer to the previous work of the eminent theologians Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon: “If the Bereans of old tested Paul by the Scriptures, then Rodney Howard-Browne must face the same test — and he fails it. We must have both doctrinal teaching and scriptural example to support a practice within the church, and there is neither for this phenomena. There is much about laughter in the Bible: the scornful laughter of unbelief (Genesis 17:17, 18:12-15; 2 Chronicles 30:10; Nehemiah 2:19; Job 12:4; Matthew 9:24, etc.); the laughter of joy (Genesis 21:6; Job 8:21; Psalm 126:2; Ecclesiastes 3:4, 10:19; Luke 6:21); derisive laughter by God (Psalm 2:4, 37:13, 59:8; Proverbs 1:26) and by the godly (2 Kings 19:21; Job 5:22, 22:19; Psalm 52:6; Isaiah 37:22) — but nothing like this new Howard-Browne fad. Nowhere does Scripture teach that laughter is a sign of a work of God in the heart; or of the infilling of the Holy Spirit; or that it is conducive to holy living. Nor is there any example of anyone producing laughter in others to a godly end. This is not to say that a simple believer trusting God may not receive a blessing by God’s mercy and grace at one of these meetings … in spite of Howard-Browne. Generally, however, the experience is one of manipulation and misplaced expectation without edifying biblical teaching, and may lead to deeper spiritual delusion and disappointment.”, (The Berean Call, October 1994, page 4)
“You can’t have revival without stirring up the flesh….When revival comes you will see manifestations of these three things in meetings: (1) the Holy Spirit; (2) the flesh, and (3) the devil. But, I’d rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything…Don’t worry about it. And if a devil manifests, don’t worry about that, either. Rejoice, because at least something is happening!” (‘Dr.’ Rodney Howard-Browne)
‘Revival’ indeed. Appealing to the base instinct for survival and universal acceptance, twisted serpents like Browne have forgotten one thing. The Lord Himself has stated that revival will NOT be a last-days sign of the Second Coming: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day will not come, except there come a falling away first…”
The renowned ‘Dr.’ Browne likes to play the role of faith healer as well. He claims to have performed numerous miraculous healings, but has never produced any substantiating evidence. When confronted with congregants who are deaf, palsied, crippled, wheelchair bound or otherwise obviously afflicted, Browne passes them over, ignoring them to lay hands on those with cancer and other ‘Illnesses’ not readily visible to the casual observer.
It is at this point that I must break from the overview of the career of the theologically benighted ‘Dr.’ Browne and bring up a tragic event. I do so advisedly. It is of paramount importance that people see this mountebank for what he is. It is my prayer that this might be accomplished by going into the following story.
Browne’s 18 year-old daughter, Kelly, died of cystic fibrosis at around 4:00 am Christmas morning, 2002. Browne unbelievably attempted to capitalize on this tragic loss by playing on the sympathy of others with a smarmy appearance on television on June 18, 2003 in which he relayed the following story.
Apparently, as medicine-man to the soul-sick, ‘Dr.’ Browne was so sure of his ability to resurrect the dead that he promised Kelly that he would do so for her. Browne says that since the funeral home was unable to inter her for an extended period of time, he had the corpse put on display in his church office, where the Dr’s. Browne and other assorted clerics prayed over her for hours on end. Browne, in an abhorrent endorsement of necromancy, claimed that an assistant pastor visited heaven and had a conversation with Kelly in which she told the pastor that she was perfectly happy and was quite unwilling to console her grieving parents by returning to her body and fulfilling the prayers of resurrection that were being offered.
Benny Hinn, himself a shaman to the spirit-filled, who claims to have raised untold numbers from the dead, must have been unavailable.
“I remember one service where I just went and sat down for an hour and a half. I just went and sat down. Well, there was nothing else I could do. Total pandemonium–people falling off of their chairs, people crying, people laughing and some were wailing–some were shaking. So, I just said to the people, I said, ‘Look, just come up when you’re ready and lift your hands and God will touch you.’ I was sitting on the platform–just sat there and watched them for about an hour and a half. People came right up, got to the front, lifted their hands–BAM!–on the floor. I just sat there. I didn’t even pray. You say, ‘What’d you do?’ I just sat there and twiddled my thumbs. I thought, ‘Lord, I wish every meeting was as easy as this.’ Now I had preached the word already and taught the word of God, and then I went and sat down. And they came walking up, got to the front, lifted their hands–BAM!–under the power of God.”
(Rodney Howard-Browne, TBN video-taped service which was broadcast on May 1994, p.23-24.)
Browne directly contravenes the established exegesis of the method by which faith is obtained, defined by Paul in his letter to the Romans, 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God“.
Browne modestly sees himself as a latter-day spiritual mixologist to the millions of people who fill auditoriums and churches with what for all the world look like cloned crowds of a reanimated, charismatic Foster Brooks: “I’m just the Holy Ghost bartender, I just serve the new wine and tell them to come drink.” “Take another drink…the bar is open….Be filled! We loose the power! Have another drink!”
At other times he complains that the Holy Spirit interrupts his attempts at sermonizing by forcing the attendant listeners into paroxysms of mirth: “‘One night I was preaching on hell,’ Howard-Browne says, ‘and [laughter] just hit the whole place. The more I told people what hell was like, the more they laughed'”
I refer the august Dr. Browne to Solomon: Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
Responding to those who, at a church event, had the impertinence to call him out on his unsound theology, Browne retorted: “I’m telling you right now, you’ll drop dead if you prohibit what God is doing!” (Melodyland Christian Center, Anaheim, CA, January 17, 1995)
We must pray that Rodney Howard-Browne, an obviously mislead and apparently empty vessel, reverses course, repents of his sin, and earnestly seeks after forgiveness. He should manifest his repentance by going to those whom he has lead to damnation and, using his influence and fame, convince them to pray to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing, and discernment.
“Take your Bible, everything that God is going to do is going to have its foundation within the scripture. If you can’t find it in the scripture then you don’t want it. And if you don’t follow the word of God you’re going to open yourself up to manifestations and there will be signs and wonders and it will be New Age and it will be crazy stuff and it will have devastating effects on an individual’s life.” (‘Dr.’ Rodney Howard-Browne to Sid Roth on “It’s Supernatural”, December 3rd, 2014)
‘Rodney Howard-Browne: A Critical Examination of his Theology and Practice’,
November 21, 1995 by Stephen Sizer, forgottenword.org;
‘Rodney Howard Browne’, agape.com;
‘Articles about “Joel’s Bartender”; Rodney Howard-Browne’; ‘RHB Spiritual Revival Meetings – An eyewitness account’, by Loo Kee Sin; ‘Eyewitness Account of the Rodney Howard-Browne Madison Square Garden crusade’, Jackie Alnor with comments by David & Linda Liben, 1999; ‘Another Eyewitness Account of the Rodney Howard-Browne crusade at Madison Square Garden’, by Eira Carminati; ‘Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne’s
Bible Studies Teacher Charged With Lewd Acts’, ‘Christian News Today, 1999; Good News America Is A Flop! No Signs or Wonders!’, Christian News Today, 1999; deceptioninthechurch.com;
‘THE INTOXICATING SPELL OF RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNE: An Eye-Witness Report on the Canadian Escapades of the “Holy Ghost Bartender’, by Yves Brault, pfo.org;
‘Shaken and Stirred : A Toronto Blessing’, August 21, 1995, by J & Y J. Wallsall; ‘The Rodney Howard-Browne Crusade: “Good News New York”‘, From Jackie Alnor (Sentinel Web Site) July 22, 1999, banner.org.uk;
‘A LAUGHING REVIVAL SERVICE: Exposing the Fraudulent Toronto Blessing’
November 14, 1996, by Al Dager, nccg.org;
‘Drunkenness In The Spirit: Should We Have Another Drink? Or Should We be Sober and Vigilant?’, by Hughie Seaborn, ozemail.com.au;
‘Weeping for those who laughed’ , 2009; ‘On Rodney Browne and Laughter’ letusreason.org;
‘Discernment Ministries International, BE AWARE’, Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 7, By Rev. Robert S. Liichow, discernmentministriesinternational.wordpress.com;
‘RODNEY HOWARD BROWNE’, January 27, 2007, falseteachersexposed.blogspot.com;
‘Our Guest Rodney Howard-Brown’, December 3rd, 2014, sid-roth.net/category/its-supernatural;
‘UNHoly Laughter: Rodney Howard-Browne and the Toronto Blessing*’, jesus-is-savior.com;
‘Rodney Howard-Browne’, wikipedia.org;
‘Rodney Howard-Browne’, Charisma Magazine, August 1994, pg. 24;
‘Holy Laughter’, Albert James Dager, 1996;
Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon, The Berean Call, October 1994, page 4
‘Evangelism, Scandals and Christian Indifference’, by John Davies, etb-former-fundamentalists.blogspot.com;
‘Praise the Lord and Pass the New Wine’, Charisma Magazine, August, 1994, by Julia Dulin, p. 22;
‘The Coming Revival‘, Rodney Howard-Browne, Louisville, R.H.B.E.A. Publications, 1991;
‘An Evening With Rodney Howard-Browne’, by Julia Duin, March 15, 1995, Christian Research Institute;
- Posted in: False Teacher - False Prophet
- Tagged: adonica brown, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, false doctrine, false prophet, False teacher, God, God the Father, holy laughter, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Jesus Christ, kelly brown, New Testament, Prosperity theology, rodney howard-browne, Word of Faith, Word-Faith