You’d think by now that chookwatcher would at least check his sources and make certain they are accurate in their claims.

He’s just put up another article condemning men of God which is entitled ‘When liars defend liars…’ and goes on to attack Dr Michael Brown for interviewing Bill Johnson on his radio program.

Chookwatcher throws around so much insulting, unproven hyperbole that we will let most of it go for now and focus on the opening stanza in a recorded conversation during the interview, where Dr Brown replays an exchange between Todd Friel and Phil Johnson, both critics of Bill Johnson and his church, Bethel.

Here’s what Friel (TF) says to Phil (PJ), according to chookwatcher

TF: If you go google- type in ‘J-e-s-u-s C’, what do you suppose pops up? What would you hope to pop up?
PJ: Jesus Christ.
TF: Jesus Culture.
PJ: Okay.
TF: It’s a worship band out of Redding California, Bill Johnson. Part of the New Apostolic Reformation movement. They are huge. Fifteen minute worship songs. Monotonous droning. And it’s all about the Holy Sp-, ‘Come and fill us! Come and fill us! Let the river flow and fill us! We’re hungry for you’. And kids are buying it by the HUNDREDS of thousands. They sell out arenas. They are huge.”

Really? So Todd Friel claims that if you google ‘Jesus C’ the search engine comes up with ‘Jesus Culture’ every time because Jesus Culture is apparently so popular that it’s replaced Jesus Christ in the most used search engine on the planet, and he obviously thinks this is a bad thing, because the conversation goes on to criticise them for being so popular with youth.

Well, do you think chookwatcher did the right thing and tested this out by googling ‘Jesus C’? It doesn’t look like it, because if he had bothered he would know that what comes up is a whole list of entries referring to Jesus Christ.

In fact, I went through page after page after page, and Jesus Culture didn’t come up once – not even after twenty pages. Mostly the search went to sites talking about Jesus Christ, with a few referencing the obituaries of Spanish language people who’d passed away who had the name of Jesus C Rodriguez or something.

Oh dear. It looks as if Mr Friel is pulling the wool over Phil Johnson’s eyes. Would you go as far as to say that it was an untruth? A furphy? A lie even? After all, the title of the piece chookwatcher puts up starts, ‘When liars defend liars…’, so is chookwatcher now defending a liar? What would that make him?

Friel’s own search enquiries tell another story

The only reason I could come up with that could explain why Todd Friel’s Google search would throw up Jesus Culture would be if he is spending more time looking at Jesus Culture himself than Jesus Christ and his own search record gives a false impression.

But, look, in regard to Friel’s other comments, what is wrong with a Christian worship band drawing huge crowds of young Christian people to their concerts? Nothing. Nothing at all. Should we not be rejoicing?

Friel’s opinion that their music is ‘monotonous droning’ is entirely subjective, revealing only that he has a different taste in music. So what if he doesn’t like their music.

It is actually, to those who appreciate it, far from monotonous, and obviously not droning, but, rather, contemplative for those who are seeking the Presence of God.

Then Friel slams them for drawing their audience’s attention to the Presence of the Holy Spirit, and encouraging a hunger and thirst for the holiness of God. I’d say that the person with the problem is Friel.


But Todd Friel and Phil Johnson have a history of criticising Bethel, Bill Johnson and Jesus Culture, which is entirely why Dr Brown invited Bill Johnson onto his program in the first place – to give him the opportunity to answer his critics.

Bill Johnson is well known for resisting the temptation of criticising his critics and just getting on with his ministry.

By contrast, Friel and Phil Johnson have been amongst the main men in the Strange Fire conferences which went after charismatic ministries including Bethel and Bill Johnson.

To demonstrate the depths to which they are prepared to sink, here’s the second clip played by Dr Brown and added as a transcript by chookwatcher himself.

TF: “What does the Evangelical Church need to be doing, if anything, to be addressing this issue, which is not being spoken of?”
PJ: “It’s a bigger, far more important issue than even abortion. Because abortion, yes, slaughters infants – and we all deplore -that and all of that. But these are false prophets who are ushering people into hell.”

Wow! Can you believe that highly questionable over-dramatisation of a false premise from Phil Johnson? Bethel teaching is worse than abortion? Could you exaggerate more if you tried? The charismatics are worse than the termination of innocent children in the womb? If that is not a perverse teaching, what is?

How can a Christian man even think such a thing about another believer, let alone publicly utter it on a globally broadcast radio program – a supposedly Christian Radio Program. Think about it. He must have mulled over this thought for a long time.

He must have given much consideration to what could be the hardest most provocative statement he could make to condemn a Christian ministry out loud. Then he said it. He released that malice into the atmosphere.

Bill Johnson was correct to call Phil out

In response, first of all, these ministers are not false prophets. That claim, again, is highly subjective and reflects the doctrine of the accusers far more than the ministry of the accused.

When Bill Johnson pointed out that those claims are the result of a perverted doctrine, which, as you can see by Phil Johnson’s own documented words, is the case, chookwatcher turns all indignant and lays into Dr Brown for allowing Bill Johnson the space to say this.

Bill Johnson qualified what he said by reiterating that he is not interested in getting into a critical attitude about what Todd Friel and Phil Johnson and their cohorts say, and Dr Brown was happy to move on and leave it at that. Bill Johnson’s attitude remained calm, rational, and forgiving throughout.

His reference to perverted doctrine was to the comments Phil Johnson made comparing Bethel’s charismatic teaching to the evil of abortion.

However, chookwatcher perverted this to include all Reformed doctrine, and added accusations of his own. This is how these spirits operate. Rather than point out the absurdity of Phil Johnson’s abortion claims, chookwatcher sides with his argument and defends it.

The rest of the piece is constructed out of nonsense not worth journalling.

But here we have a couple of critics gossiping about a great ministry and creating a false narrative out of a set of biased opinions, to which they nail their flag of distaste.

But it began with a falsehood – in terms of the title of chookwatcher’s piece, a lie, that Jesus Culture was more popular on the google search engine than Jesus Christ, the premise on which Friel built his accusations.

And chookwatcher, taking the bait, defends it.