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Questions and Answers:

Why are you starting a new school in Pensacola? And have you done it with the approval of the BRSM board?

We are not really starting a new school in Pensacola. Rather, we are honoring the commitment we made to our current students to finish what we started with them and to continue with the vision that was established. We are a family, not just a school, and it was unthinkable to me as a father to the student body, I would simply abandon them. How could I walk away from students who have openly wept in my arms, asking me not to leave? How could I simply say, "Don't worry. Someone else will take over the school now" - especially when I was not being dismissed because of sin, but rather, in the words expressed to me by the Board of Directors the night of my firing, I was dismissed because of differences in the implementation of school vision?

Eight of the ten full-time faculty members felt compelled to stand with me after my firing. All of them were willing to risk their livelihoods to continue on with a new school in Pensacola, rather than abandon the students who made it clear that they wanted to be taught and trained by us. To our student body we say: The best is yet to come!

On December 17th, the school Board offered to release me to begin a new school in Pensacola if I would resign on the spot, rather than be fired. This I could not do, and I was fired. The school staff was then informed by the Board Chairman Monday morning, December 18th, that I had been released to begin a new school. While this language does not appear in the Board's originally posted official statement, I am pleased to note that they have chosen not to oppose us.

Since the news got out about my firing, we have been flooded with e-mails - literally, hundreds in the first week - from students, parents, graduates, pastors, and Christian leaders urging us to go on with the work right here and now, and thanking me and the faculty for our loyalty to Jesus and the student body. We could do no other.


"Wasn't there any way to avoid all this, especially in the middle of the school year?"

The fact that this happened in such a manner and at such a time has made life terribly difficult for many innocent people, and I find it inexcusable - as well as shameful for the name of Jesus. I extend my heartfelt apologies to the extended BRSM family, including parents who have entrusted their children to us.

I shed many tears before the Lord to stop this from happening, experiencing deep emotional agony over potential damage to the student body - spiritual sons and daughters to me. So many lives would be hurt. So many innocent people would be scarred. So much reproach would come on the Brownsville name. I repeatedly protested to the Board that it was unjustifiable and unethical to fire me (or force me to resign) in such a manner - without notice, between semesters, and while the students were away - but they felt it was right and necessary, based on their perception of the situation, and certainly with all sincerity on their part.

Before God, I did all that was in my power to avert this, but it happened nonetheless, despite much prayer and fasting. I am trusting Him to turn it for the good!

The Lord is my witness that my reputation is not an issue, nor am I concerned about the rumors and slander for my sake. But I hurt deeply for the students and grads, and I am so sorry that I could not have done more to avert this from happening. Yet I still believe with all my heart that God is at work in the midst of this, and that something of much greater good will come out of it all.

This is what I wrote to the board of Directors about this very issue in response to their ultimatum that resign on the spot or be fired on December 17, 2000:

December 18, 2000

Dear Brothers,

Since God has called me to lead the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry and has not released me from that calling; since the school's Constitution and By-Laws indicate that a director (in this case, the president) can only be removed if it is in best interest of the school and there are not sufficient grounds for such removal; since the Board has not clearly stated [in writing, at the Board Meeting of December 17, 2000] that the issue is NOT one of sin but rather of a difference of vision; and since I believe it is unethical and unjustifiable to force me to resign or fire me in between semesters with no prior notice given to the student body, I cannot in good conscience resign.

I would once again urge the Board to reconsider their present position, and I affirm once more the will and desire of the faculty to attempt to work through the issues of miscommunication an misunderstanding, continuing under the arrangement agreed upon at our previous Board meeting (held November 9, 2000) until May. Anything less than that would produce much needless heartache for hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, and since the Board alone has the power to reverse its decision, I would urge each of you to step back and slow down this whole process, working a smooth and sane transition through May.

As I stated repeatedly at the meeting last night [December 17], there is no justification for this move to be made at this time, I urge you to reconsider - not for my sake - but for the sake of the kingdom, for the sake of the reputation of Jesus, for the sake of the name of Brownsville, for the sake of the student body, for the sake of our faculty and staff, and for the sake of the body of Christ worldwide. There IS a better way.

In Him,

Michael L. Brown

The amazing thing about this whole situation is that, given the suddenness with which everything occurred, the faculty, the staff, (many former staff members are transitioning with us), along with an army of students and grads are coming together to mobilize and transition in a matter of days. It is a wonderful sight to behold.

So... on with it!

 

Do you believe in the importance of submission to authority and accountability?

Of course! I have always taught that if you are going to do anything radical
for the Lord, you must have a proven track record of submission to
authority. Otherwise, what you call radical might simply be rebellion. This
is something I have drilled home to students and readers for years, and it
is something I firmly embrace in my personal life. God does not need a bunch
of independent mavericks. He needs an army under command. I believe this
with all my heart!

In my own life, I have several lines of accountability. For the last four
years, John Kilpatrick has been my pastor, and I gladly and fully submitted
to his leadership during these years. The question of my submission to his
authority never came up once until he gave me an ultimatum to join the
Assemblies of God or be fired. Despite my great appreciation for the Lord's
work through the Assemblies and my deep desire to honor Pastor Kilpatrick,
the Lord clearly spoke to me about this matter and did not allow me to
become credentialed by the Assemblies. Ultimately, this is an example of
having to obey God rather than man (see Acts 5:29), with all due respect to
Pastor Kilpatrick as a God-fearing servant of the Lord.

Within one week of my dismissal by the Board, I contacted Ché Ahn of Harvest
International Ministries in order to get information about coming under
their covering of churches and ministers, since I was no longer under Pastor
Kilpatrick's covering. I wanted to send out a loud and clear message that
submission to authority and coming under covering has never been a problem
for me. As I said earlier, I embrace it! That is why to the very last day of
my tenure as President of BRSM, I affirmed in writing and orally my
submission to John Kilpatrick as my senior leader. (I accept his judgment
that at this time, we are not able to work together, remembering that such
things happened even to men of God in the Word; see Acts 15:36-41. I should
mention, however, my surprise in finding the word "accountability" mentioned
repeatedly in the Board's Official Statement on the Web site. I had never
before heard that word used in any of our discussions, and it was never
mentioned once in the Board meeting the night I was fired. The only issue
raised that night had to with alleged "irreconcilable differences" in the
implementation of the school's vision.)

There are other lines of accountability also built into my life. I am
extremely accountable to my faculty, and we really function as a leadership
team. They often speak into my life, and we only move forward together when
we have harmony in the Lord. I am also ordained by a local church in New
Jersey with whom I stay in close contact, and one of their pastors is on my
ministry board. My ordination can be removed by them for reasons of sin or
doctrinal error. The board of ICN Ministries also has power to vote me out
or remove me or shut down the ministry. On a more personal level, there are
many leaders whom I relate to closely around the world, and I often come to
them for counsel and input, asking them to be ruthlessly honest with me.

I also believe it is essential to have a proven track record of
teachability, being willing to receive and submit to correction. The Word is
clear on this too! For more on this, see pp. 42-46 of my book, Let No One
Deceive You: Confronting the Critics of Revival (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny
Image, 1997; forthcoming in a revised and expanded edition, The Revival
Answer Book: Rightly Discerning the Contemporary Revival Movements [Ventura,
CA: Renew, 2001]).

I would encourage all of you who want to be on the front lines of the Jesus
Revolution to carefully check your hearts, ask the Lord to purge you of all
rebellion and stubborn pride, and be quick to hear the voice of godly
correction. For more thoughts on this, see my Jesus Manifesto: A Call to
Revolution (available for free download from our Web site), or read the
chapter "Subversive Speech" from my recent book Revolution! The Call to Holy
War (Ventura, CA: Renew, 2000), where I deal with this subject at some
length.


A letter from Dr. Brown's pastor, Pastor Walter W. Healy, concerning Dr. Brown's accountability, credentials and their long-standing relationship

December 28, 2000


To Whom It May Concern:

This letter will serve to verify that Dr. Michael Brown is a fully credentialed minister of the gospel under the government of The Church of Grace and Peace, Toms River, NJ. Our relationship of approximately fifteen years has been marked by mutual respect and accountability which ultimately led to this formal licensure in which Dr. Brown is fully accountable to the church Elder Board.

Further, let it be known that Dr. Brown has our fullest respect for his past and present integrity in ministry to the Lord and His church in both spiritual and practical aspects. We recommend him as one in pursuit of the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Yours for the Truth,

Walter W. Healy
Senior Pastor


Have you ever thought of taking legal action against Brownsville Assembly of
God?

God forbid! That is completely unscriptural, according to 2 Corinthians
6:1-7. The thought of legal action has never occurred to me, and I have
retained no legal counsel of any kind since my dismissal or prior to my
dismissal.

When asked by the church to respond to the Board's first Official Statement
for their attorney's review, I wrote that the statement as it stood was
libelous, meaning simply that it contained false, defamatory information in
writing. (Slander is false, defamatory information in spoken form; libel is
false, defamatory information is written form.) That was not a threat, nor
was it intended is as a threat. (I am the son of a lawyer and a Ph.D., and I
try to communicate with precision.)

As to the Board's revised statement (posted December 24th, Christmas Eve), I
say this: May the Lord Jesus shine His face on my friends and co-workers at
Brownsville Assembly of God, and may we bless one another as we get on with
the work of world redemption. Souls are dying without the Lord, the needs
are urgent, and the hour is late. Let's encourage one another and go and
give the devil a black eye.