Threatened Lawsuit by The Harbinger Publisher & Author

I hope that you will take a few minutes to read this special edition of the “ABI Blog.” 

We have received letters threatening legal action related to the publication of my book The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? These letters were from a lawyer with a firm which “serves as litigation counsel for Charisma Media, publisher of The Harbinger by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and published by Charisma Media.”

Therefore, we are asking that concerned believers everywhere make this a matter of prayer—that the Lord would graciously give us wisdom and that He would protect us in the midst of this challenge. We also believe it is important to bring this matter to the attention of the Body of Christ and would encourage you to share this article with others given the millions of people who have now been influenced by The Harbinger and its author.

_____________________

IS THIS MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?

Some may be wondering if the controversy surrounding The Harbinger really is a big deal. I want to assure you that it definitely is – and it show no signs of slowing down. Last spring I suggested that The Harbinger could well end up being one of the most significant theological issues of 2012. As it turns out, this could extend well into this year. It was recently announced that The Harbinger passed one million copies sold (in just twelve months), and also achieved the distinction of being the longest running Christian book presently on The New York Times bestseller list.

And, the influence that Jonathan Cahn and his teachings are having through his book, the many interviews and his numerous messages continues to grow unabated. He was even the keynote speaker at one of the main annual (though not official) inaugural prayer breakfasts in Washington D.C. on January 21.

The author has said that he has been approached numerous times concerning turning The Harbinger into a movie and I would not be at all surprised if the production of a movie will be announced sometime this year. If that happens, the influence of The Harbinger will receive another significant boost and reach people who otherwise might not even be aware of it. Given the inevitable artistic license taken in most book-to-movie adaptations, with all the problems already in The Harbinger, what might we expect in a movie version?

_____________________

THE THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION

The following is an excerpt from the lead article by T.A. McMahon in the February edition of The Berean Call monthly newsletter.

Although for decades we at TBC have been exhorting and encouraging believers to be Bereans (i.e., to check out everything they are being taught by searching the Scriptures-Acts 17:10-11), we too have experienced the increased intensity of the spiritual battle and witnessed its exponential growth. The latest issue, which we submit to you for prayer support, is a threatened lawsuit over the book we published by David James (The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?). The complaint is that the author used too many quotes from the New York Times best-selling book, The Harbinger, without permission from author “rabbi” Jonathan Cahn and publisher Charisma Media Publications (CMP). The complaint further states that our use of the quotes has inhibited the sales of The Harbinger and has thus financially damaged Cahn and CMP in an amount yet to be determined. In effect, we are being told that we must limit our documentation in warning the body of Christ of the biblical errors in The Harbinger. In other words, we cannot be Bereans or like the watchman of Ezekiel 3:17-19 without Cahn’s permission.

This is the first time in my 35 years of working with Dave Hunt and our addressing nearly every major religion, religious cult, aberrational Christian sect, unbiblical trend, religious publication, book, media production, etc., that any organization or individual has even hinted at suing us. Now, however, we are being threatened with legal action by those claiming to be in the church. More critical than the unbiblical action of a brother threatening to take another brother to court (1 Corinthians 6) is the issue of preventing the biblical evaluation of a work that is influencing hundreds of thousands of professing and confessing Christians, as well as those who don’t profess to know Christ. We have hired a copyright attorney to address the legal issues and have responded to the attorney for Cahn and CMP. Even so, we covet your prayers that the Lord will be glorified throughout the process.

In October we received the first letter from Charisma’s lawyer concerning my use of quotes from The Harbinger. This threat of litigation was followed by two additional letters about a month apart making various demands for specific information concerning sales of my book and actions that we must take, including specific deadlines for compliance. So, although this is the first time we have made this issue public in writing, we have had these threats hanging over our heads for several months.

Furthermore, the October letter was actually the second threat of legal action. The first threat came less than two weeks after my book became available in early August and concerned the original cover design of The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? In that first letter the attorney made the following charges:

Our client learned that you, along with author David James, are using a strikingly similar book cover design of The Harbinger in commerce in connection with your book The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction. The book cover of The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction infringes Charisma’s intellectual property rights in the trade dress of its book The Harbinger. No doubt exists that the cover for your book The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction is designed to confuse consumers into thinking that either (1) this book is actually The Harbinger and/or (2) that the book is sponsored, affiliated with or approved by Charisma.

The basis for the threat of legal action involves two primary points: 1) that we intended to confuse consumers and 2) that consumers would actually be confused. Regarding the first charge, it is pure speculation with no supporting evidence whatsoever. But more importantly, it is both judgmental and factually wrong. There was never any intention by anyone to deceive, mislead of confuse. A comparison of the two covers (shown below) makes this obvious.

Regarding the second charge, once again, even a cursory glance makes it clear that my book is a direct negative response to The Harbinger, and therefore, obviously neither produced by nor endorsed by Charisma Media. Of course, we wanted people to understand that my book is about The Harbinger, but almost every design element of my cover was intentionally different to avoid any question of copyright infringement.

However, as a demonstration of good faith we changed the cover without a fuss. Of course, because of our belief that it is vitally important for my book to be available as a response to The Harbinger, and given the threat, we were also concerned that the Charisma lawyers might try to tie things up in the courts and thus keep my book off the market.

Now, in an unexpected and inexplicable turn of events, the Charisma attorney claims in the most recent letter (of January 22) that the fact that we changed the cover is itself an admission of guilt on my part that we had indeed infringed copyright.

Mr. James eventually recognized that he had violated Charisma’s trade dress and changed the cover on his critique. That Mr. James infringed Charisma’s rights in its intellectual property with respect to the cover is without dispute. Yet, Mr. James’ admitted infringement is curiously absent from his recent diatribe against my client and its author.

 

harbinger - small

The Harbinger

New Cover promo - front - 400px

Present cover

Order the book

Original cover

 

Once again, this is not only pure speculation, but the allegation is factually wrong because neither I nor The Berean Call have ever believed that we ever violated Charisma’s trade dress. We did not intend to violate copyright. We intentionally

sought to avoid violating copyright. And we continue to believe that we were completely successful in not violating copyright. So, the charge that we admitted guilt in this matter is difficult to comprehend – even baffling.

Another odd aspect of this recent letter is that the Charisma lawyer attributed to me the article which was written by T.A. McMahon (referenced above), and called it a “diatribe against Charisma and Jonathan Cahn.” Earlier the letter also states that the article was published on my website—which is also wrong because the article is actually on The Berean Call website. Besides being a bit strange, these are unnecessary “unforced errors” that could have been easily avoided with even the least bit of research.

Returning to the second threat of legal action, the following are excerpts from the first letter concerning that threat.

Dear Mr. James,

Our firm serves as litigation counsel for Charisma Media, publisher of The Harbinger by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and published by Charisma Media. I write concerning your critique of The Harbinger, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction (“Fact or Fiction”) and your use of significant portions of The Harbinger’s original copyrighted work in your book. In short, we believe your use of The Harbinger‘s text, which comprises over 10% of your book, constitutes infringement of Charisma Media’s exclusive copyright in the text of your book. We further believe your considerable use of The Harbinger‘s text is not defensible under the fair use doctrine.

Although we have always been confident that my book is well within the boundaries of the fair use doctrine, unfortunately these threats of litigation made it necessary to seek the services of an experienced copyright lawyer. His well-informed opinion is that there is no basis for bringing a lawsuit against us and he sent his findings and conclusions to the Charisma Media attorney in the middle of December. Last week we received the fourth letter as a response to our legal counsel’s letter in which the Charisma lawyer completely rejected the argument in our defense.

Later in the letter, Charisma’s attorney goes on to make further allegations.

Specifically, Fact or Fiction was written with the specific purpose of deriving a financial benefit from Charisma Media’s copyrighted materials as evidenced by the original infringing cover for Fact or Fiction; you are profiting from the use of the text, but have not obtained consent or paid a license fee for its use. Although Fact or Fiction purports to be a critique of The Harbinger, your use of The Harbinger’s original and protectible expression, including extensive use of the dialogue created by Rabbi Cahn to analyze Isaiah 9:10, is usurping demand for Rabbi Cahn’s work and will continue to do so as long as Fact or Fiction remains in circulation.

Several things can be noted about the above allegations.

First, building on the unsubstantiated claim in the first threat concerning the cover of my book, they once again argue that I wrote the book for the specific purpose of deriving financial benefit from Rabbi Cahn’s work. And once again, this is pure speculation from a legal perspective, clearly judgmental from a moral perspective, and from a factual perspective it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Second, the phrase “purports to be a critique” clearly suggests that I intentionally employed a ruse in order to deceive the public by making my book only appear to be a critique, but with the real alleged purpose being to profit financially from Rabbi Cahn’s work. One has to wonder if someone could scan my book in even the most cursory way and then suggest that The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction is anything but a very serious and well-researched critique of The Harbinger.

Third, the Charisma lawyer contends that because of quoting The Harbinger to the degree that I did, demand for my book has undermined demand for their book. Through this they argue that I have been accumulating sales for myself while denying what would have been sales for Jonathan Cahn. Once again, it is difficult to express how far removed from reality this charge really is. When my book was released in early August, I believe the sales of The Harbinger were somewhere in the neighborhood of 700,000 copies sold. Then in January (as previously noted) it was reported that Jonathan Cahn had achieved two important milestones during the 2012 calendar year. The first was that his book had surpassed one million copies sold (meaning that nearly one third of his sales have happened since the appearance of Fact or Fiction). The second milestone was that at the end of 2012 it was the longest running Christian book currently on The New York Times bestsellers list.

Unfortunately, the most recent letter from Charisma’s legal counsel further expands the range of allegations and accusations against us to include a charge of defamation of character:

Second, I write to put you on notice that Mr. James’ recent fund raising efforts at the expense of both Charisma and Rabbi Cahn are defamatory in nature and intentionally designed to impugn both Charisma and Rabbi Cahn’s character for the benefit of Mr. James.

Once again, in this new threat, the Charisma lawyer gets so many factual things wrong that it should be almost embarrasing. He accuses me personally of 1) trying to raise funds with the article, 2) by defaming Charisma and Rabbi Cahn; 3) then claims that it was intentional, 4) and further alleges that it was designed to impugn their character, 5) and finally argues that I did it with the intent to accrue personal financial benefit to me.

Where do I begin?

1. I didn’t write the article and was only aware of it shortly before it was published on The Berean Call (not my) website. As previously noted, Tom McMahon wrote the article and it was approved by The Berean Call Board of Directors. (The full article can be found here: http://www.thebereancall.org/content/demise-biblical-discernment)

2. There is nothing in the article that makes any reference to money whatsoever. There is no appeal for funds and it was never intended to be a fund-rasing effort. The only thing that McMahon requests anywhere in the article is that believers make this a matter of prayer.

3. There was no intention to defame Charisma or Jonathan Cahn. There is a well-documented pattern of repeated attempts by Jonathan Cahn to contain and respond to any and all criticism of The Harbinger. This has happened time and again – and a video on YouTube is available where Cahn specifically (and quite cynically and sarcastically) responds to the critics of The Harbinger (with many swipes at things I have written and said)—and yet he offers no specifics whatsoever.

4. It seems to me that the accusation that I intentionally impugned Charisma and Jonathan Cahn’s character for the purpose of financial gain, while using demonstrably false information, is the very definition of defamation itself. Who has defamed whom? And since this is in the context of claiming that my book is damaging sales of The Harbinger this obviously raises the question of exactly who is pursuing this for financial gain. The reader can decide.

___________________

Returning to the accusation that I exceeded fair use of The Harbinger in my book and thus have violated copyright law, the following salient points are provided from the Citizen Media Law Project website.

The Four Fair Use Factors

1. Purpose and Character of Your Use

If you use another’s copyrighted work for the purpose of criticism, news reporting, or commentary, this use will weigh in favor of fair use. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569, 578 (1994). Purposes such as these are often considered “in the public interest” and are favored by the courts over uses that merely seek to profit from another’s work. Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc., 337 F. Supp. 2d 1195, 1203 (N.D. Cal. 2004). When you put copyrighted material to new use, this furthers the goal of copyright to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.”

In evaluating the purpose and character of your use, a court will look to whether the new work you’ve created is “transformative” and adds a new meaning or message. To be transformative, a use must add to the original “with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message.” Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579. Although transformative use is not absolutely necessary, the more transformative your use is, the less you will have to show on the remaining three factors.

Clearly, my book, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? meets this criteria. I am not seeking to merely profit from Cahn’s work as has been alleged. Rather my work is both completely transformative and is “in the public interest,” while putting the material in The Harbinger to a completely new use. There is no copyright violation.

2. Nature of the Copyrighted Work

In examining this factor, a court will look to whether the material you have used is factual or creative, and whether it is published or unpublished. Although non-fiction works such as biographies and news articles are protected by copyright law, their factual nature means that one may rely more heavily on these items and still enjoy the protections of fair use. Unlike factual works, fictional works are typically given greater protection in a fair use analysis. So, for example, taking newsworthy quotes from a research report is more likely to be protected by fair use than quoting from a novel. However, this question is not determinative, and courts have found fair use of fictional works in some of the pivotal cases on the subject. See, e.g., Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 456 (1984).

Once again, my book meets this criteria because as the author states in his note at the beginning of The Harbinger, “What you are about to read is presented in the form of a story, but what is contained within the story is real.” Furthermore, Jonathan Cahn has stated publicly in a radio interview with Brannon Howse that his book is only 10% fiction and 90% factual. Again, there is no copyright violation.

3. Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used

Unfortunately, there is no single guide that definitively states how much of a copyrighted work you can use without copyright liability. Instead, courts look to how such excerpts were used and what their relation was to the whole work. If the excerpt in question diminishes the value of the original or embodies a substantial part of the efforts of the author, even an excerpt may constitute an infringing use.

If you limit your use of copyrighted text, video, or other materials to only the portion that is necessary to accomplish your purpose or convey your message, it will increase the likelihood that a court will find your use is a fair use.

Of course, if you are reviewing a book or movie, you may need to reprint portions of the copyrighted work in the course of reviewing it in order to make you points. Even substantial quotations may qualify as fair use in “a review of a published work or a news account of a speech that had been delivered to the public or disseminated to the press.” Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enters., 471 U.S. 539, 564 (1985). However, substantial quotations from non-public sources or unpublished works do not enjoy the same protections.

There are two relevant and important issues in meeting the third criteria for fair use that can be observed. The first is that the “over 10%” of The Harbinger that I quoted (referred to by the Charisma attorney) is irrelevant when the other criteria are considered. The 10% is an arbitrary number with no legal significance. Far less than 10% can violate fair use if the other criteria are not met, while far more than 10% can be used if they are. Quotes from The Harbinger do comprise over 10% of my book, but they are also under 13%.

Similarly, I only quoted a little more than 10% of The Harbinger, which in the context of such an indepth and detailed critique is a very small amount. I could have easily quoted much more to further bolster my argument, but was careful to use no more than necessary to keep from being accused of taking things of out context.

However, more importantly, relevant to the second major point, my use of The Harbinger clearly qualifies as fair use because it is “a review of a published work…”

4. The Effect of Your Use Upon the Potential Market for the Copyrighted Work

In examining the fourth factor, which courts tend to view as the most important factor, a court will look to see how much the market value of the copyrighted work is affected by the use in question. This factor will weigh in favor of the copyright holder if “unrestricted and widespread” use similar to the one in question would have a “substantially adverse impact” on the potential market for the work…

Assessing the impact on a copyrighted work’s market value often overlaps with the third factor because the amount and importance of the portion used will often determine how much value the original loses. For instance, the publication of five lines from a 100 page epic poem will not hurt the market for the original in the same way as the publication of the entirety of a five-line poem.

This fourth factor is concerned only with economic harm caused by substitution for the original, not by criticism. That your use harms the copyright holder through negative publicity or by convincing people of your critical point of view is not part of the analysis. As the Supreme Court has stated:

[W]hen a lethal parody, like a scathing theater review, kills demand for the original, it does not produce a harm cognizable under the Copyright Act. Because “parody may quite legitimately aim at garroting the original, destroying it commercially as well as artistically,” the role of the courts is to distinguish between ‘[b]iting criticism [that merely] suppresses demand [and] copyright infringement[, which] usurps it.'”

The significance of this point cannot be overstated because the Charisma attorney contends that my book is usurping demand (his words) for his client’s book. However, it can be easily argued that the controversy surrounding the entire issue has only served to increase demand for The Harbinger as evidenced by the 300,000+ copies that have been sold since the release of my book.

In summary, although courts will balance all four factors when assessing fair use, the fair use defense is most likely to apply when the infringing use involves criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.  In addition, some general rules of thumb can be helpful in analyzing fair use:

  • A use that transforms the original work in some way is more likely to be a fair use;
  • A non-profit use is more likely to be considered a fair use than a for-profit use;
  • A shorter excerpt is more likely to be a fair use than a long one; and
  • A use that cannot act as a replacement for the original work is more likely to be a fair use than one that can serve as a replacement.

One has to wonder why such an influential media empire like Charisma Media would threaten a lawsuit against an essentially unknown individual, particularly when my book falls so far within the boundaries of the fair use doctrine. But more importantly, why would a Christian organization (Charisma Media), with a Christian founder and CEO (Steve Strang), along with a local church pastor (Jonathan Cahn) threaten to sue another believer in this way, particularly in light of what the apostle Paul says about such lawsuits in 1 Corinthians 6?

None of this makes any sense from a biblical, ethical, legal or financial perspective. One has to wonder exactly what is the motivation behind this. Why is it so necessary to try make it so difficult to keep my book, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? on the market. Why all this effort to get it off the market?

One thing we do know is that my book is presently the only one that has been written and published which exposes the many significant problems in The Harbinger. And as the influence of The Harbinger in America continues to increase, the need for people to also read The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? is greater than ever. We hope you will take time to read it if you haven’t – and if you do, please take time to leave a brief review on Amazon.com because these are extremely important in the process of getting the message into the hands of more and more people.

Once again, we covet your prayers, not only in relation to the threatened legal action against us, but also concerning getting the important information in my book into the hands of believers who have been influenced, confused and misled by The Harbinger, the accompanying DVD and the dozens of interviews and messages by Jonathan Cahn.

If you want to stand with us in the midst of this challenge, please take a moment to shoot me an email at dave@jamesjournal.org.

50 Comments
  1. I have to ask, did the writers of the critique seek permission from Cahn to use his material in writing their book? If not, then wouldn’t it seem right to have done that first or even invite Mr. Cahn to a private discussion to address the issues first – as Matt 18 teaches us to do – then drag his name and work thru the mud. I don’t know Cahn or even agree with his work, but I have to say, from a Berean point of view – You folks need to apologize to this man. Matt 18 brothers, Matt 18.

  2. I don’t blame Pastor Cahn one bit. So called discernment ministries and individuals have hounded this man with dogmatic relentlessness bordering on hate-mongering. And For What! If they really want to go after real heretics, go after the religious left, Calvinists, and all those Christian democrats who vote again and again and again for politicians who think it’s just dandy to murder the unborn. Nothing Pastor Cahn wrote or said is going to lead the Church down the slippery slope into apostasy like the post-modern Christendom.

    • Lou,

      There are at least a couple of issues at stake here:
      1. What does one do about the biblical principle admonishing us to not take a brother to court in 1 Cor. 6?
      2. Why would well-respected ministries do this if there weren’t a real problem?
      3. Have you read my book so that you can determine whether or not there are real issues with The Harbinger that need to be dealt with publicly?
      4. Is not mishandling the Scriptures, and also misrepresenting historical events to manufacture a story to make it seem that it is from God a serious issue?
      5. We do continue to deal with all these other things. If you trust us to deal with those things, wouldn’t it make sense to give us a bit more trust in this matter, too? If you think we almost always get it right concerning other issues, why is it that you think we got it wrong on this one? We have approached it in exactly the same way, holding it to the same standards.
      5. Is not claiming to bring a message from God that is demonstrably not a very, very serious issue?
      6. Who is it that has said anything mean or nasty about Cahn or questioned his motives? Who is it that has been hate-mongering?
      7. How is it that almost every response to us is like yours – very emotional, while no one has even attempted to challenge the truth of what I have written?

      Doesn’t this all seem rather odd to you? Just asking…
      Dave

  3. Hi Dave James. I mean absolutely no disrespect in my comment, so plz know that. I just have a few issues w the reply to Lou. Who of us can say this isn’t real? And who decides when we mishandling scripture?

    • Hi Nick,

      Well, it’s simple – the question we always ask is: “What does the text say?” If it isn’t in the text, someone made it up.

      This isn’t a matter of “well, that’s just your interpretation.” What does the text say?

      So, all anyone has to do is read my book and then ask that question to find out which of us are being true to Scripture.

      It’s really not that difficult. If someone has only read The Harbinger, then they have only heard one side of the story – but Proverbs reminds us that the first to present his case seems right until his brother comes to examine him.

      All I ask is that people exercise the wisdom and discernment to make sure they see the whole picture. If they fail to do that, deception is almost inevitable.

      Dave

  4. Sorry, are mishandling scripture

  5. The elevation of America to a divine idol knows no bounds. However it does arouse the interest of a carnal church and more importantly it raises money to support the lavish lifestyles of many preachers.

    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2013/02/life-and-death-or-lawsuits-and-telethons.html

  6. 2 Corinthians 11:14 …And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
    Thank the Lord for ministries of discernment. Without them many more believers would be lead astray. It is to each of us His sheep to be responsible to hold to the Holy Scriptures truth. We should be relying on the Holy Spirits guidance in all things, at all times… Concerning getting permission from others before spiritually critiguing their works…? We then are all guilty for using Gods Words to benefit our stance, or opinion. I hope God knows about the Fair Use Law…

  7. Thank you for being willing to use the text of the book you are evaluating, in order to accurately address the issues so that those who read your book can actually understand the issues you address. Really, it would not make much sense if you were not willing to thoroughly do that, and those who pretend that anyone could critique another’s writing without acuratey and completely quoting the text seem to be manipulating you. If you don’t adequatly quote the texts, then they will disquality your assessments. It seems straight forward and their complaints that they have cause me to question their motive. I am sure they want their book’s perspective promoted, but they really need to humbly be open to consider others when correction might be needed. Maybe there ARE theological problems with the book, and they might just be blessed by listeneing!

    • Thanks, Bradley. You’re right – I intentionally only quoted what was necessary to demonstrate that I was fairly representing The Harbinger. If I hadn’t done this I would no doubt have been charged with wildly taking things out of context.

  8. Book fallss within fair use. Nobody needs to apologize to anyone. In the United States this is called “the right to free speech” and in God’s kingdom it is called “discernment”

  9. No disrespect meant, however, as a consumer if I were to go purchase the Harbinger and I were to see the cover of the book you printed The Harbinger fact or fiction and looking at your cover, I would easily be misled into thinking that was the actual book The Harbinger I was purchasing. You I”m sure have made money riding on the coattails of The Harbinger.
    There are copyright laws for a reason. You cannot make money off someone else’s work

    • There was no intent to mislead or make money off someone else. But the fact is, we did change the cover and without a fuss, even though we disagree with the accusation.

  10. I am grateful to you for the tremendous effort you are making to stand for Sola Scriptura. As a long time ladies Bible teacher, I have found that even those belonging to the most conservative, doctrinally sound churches, are succumbing to what is Romanism at its very essence. Ecumenism is behind the failure of so many to discern the truth. These ideas can only be arrived at by not taking the Word literally.

    At least once a week I encounter someone who believes the United States must somehow play an important part in the end times. When I reply that this country is not mentioned in either Daniel or the Revelation of Christ, the response is – “Well, it didn’t exist then.” ???? When I say that over half of them are thinking this way I am not kidding. If they would rather read “books” written by frail human beings, instead of the Word of God, written by the Holy Spirit – the natural result is a corruption. We must ask – why do the sheeple even need or want to read a book like “Harbinger” in the first place? Isn’t Jesus Christ and His perfect Word enough?

  11. Dave, keeping you in prayer. I know some good friends love Cahn’s book but I totally agree with what you say. It really boils down to hermeneutics and it is VERY important.

    In Him

    Alf

  12. We are supporting you in prayer.

    Evidently “Rabbi Cahn” and Strang need to read I Cor 6 and Matt 5:39-48, or maybe if he truly feels he has been wronged, then re-read Mark 17:3, Matt 18:15. This seems more like a case of direct disobedience to the Word. It reminds me of what we expect in the end, brother delivering up brother to death…Shame on them, as I Cor 6 says, to their SHAME.

    We are also making this public. I’d like to ask Jan Markell of Olive tree ministries, who told me in an email that his movie had “changed her life”, if she’d like to revisit that.

    I’d like to remind Cahn and Strang also of 2 Thess 1 regarding those who trouble the bride of Christ.

  13. So since you can’t find much on Jonathan Cahn’s first page except for things for sale and his page might better be named, “All about Jonathan”, I did find a link on salvation. Here is what I did not find on his “salvation” page.

    No mention of the Cross
    No mention of the Crucifixion or Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
    No mention of His Resurrection
    Searched for these words, which were not to be found in his “salvation message”: Die, died, dying. He does speaks of him overcoming death, but that is it.

    See if you can find direct Scripture references. Is it the gospel that saves? Man’s words?

    http://www.bethisraelworshipcenter.org//salvation.htm

  14. As far as fair use rights, it’s also your ‘right’ to have an abortion. But is it ethically and Biblically right to use someone else’s property for your financial gain? I’m sorrybut if this were about hermeneutics and Sola Scriptura why is it for sale? Why make money off the “coattails” of Cahn? Can anyone answer me that?

    • You’re comparing my fair use with abortion? Wow.

      The only reason it’s for sale is because it takes money to print – and to live and pay the bills while you’re writing and doing ministry.

      I suppose the same question could be asked of Jonathan Cahn, but that wouldn’t be any more fair than it is here.

  15. One other thing, just because we have the “right to free speech” doesn’t mean we should use that right to offend our brother or sister in Christ. James, hopefully he did, should have sought out CAHN, present the arguments, seek leadership counsel from within the Church, and if no repentance from Cahn of his work then make the arguments public and free for the sake of hermeneutics. He’s still asking people if we bought his book! Why?

    • Marty,

      This has been over a year-long process – and the only reason I suggested that you (or anyone) might want to read my book is so you would have a better understanding of the issues – including the process, which early on included correspondence with Jonathan Cahn and a 75-minute moderated on-air discussion as far back as April.

      I have to admit I’m a bit puzzled at why you would come after me in this way armed with so little knowledge of the situation.

  16. Things like this book are almost so fanciful that even moderately mature believers should reject it. However that is not the case and spiritual warfare these days is deep. I find it almost incedulous that Jan Markell, who views almost everything with suspicion, gives a somewhat tacit endorsement. That reveals how subtle but powerful nationalism is.

    • Thinking the very same thing…Jan of all people!

  17. Marty, Biblically speaking, we do not need to go seek them out and present our arguments once these things have been made public, and “free for the sake of hermeneutics”? I don’t think it takes much in interpretative ability to see that Cahn is setting himself up as a prophet, therefore is a false prophet. The method he uses to get that message out thoroughly has no shame, nor is forbidden in Scripture.

    By the way, since all we do, everything, is to be done unto the Lord, I sure hope you are not making money doing anything. Otherwise you would not be doing everything unto Him.

    This is not the gospel we are talking about that is being “charged for”, so with the same admonition you began your post above with regarding not offending your brother or sister in Christ, here you are in public making Biblically unfounded accusations…. Shame on you. Is there possibly a beam you need to notice?

  18. I finally ordered your book, David. In the beginning it was just a matter of Cahn’s taking an OT verse way out of context for me. Digging a little deeper, I see other problem areas. It’s sad to see 2 major ministries lacking some discernment in the matter when there are so many red flags raised by so many other ministries.

  19. OK Holly, bit puzzled by your response. My point is clear, you find something wrong with Cahn’s work? Great! Tell the world. Shout it from the rooftops. Make it known! So tell me again, why’d James sell it??? Let’s be realistic. These were both – Cahn and James – commercial ventures. Nothing wrong with that – I never said it’s wrong once. But if we’re pasting it as if the existence of Christianity and America depended on who’s right and whose wrong, as these gents are making it out to be, then why the commercial venture to begin with? Might as well start selling tickets to Sunday services or evangelical crusades.

    And What “Biblically unfounded” accusations have I made? Please be specific. I opened my statement with a simple ‘question, if not, then’ statement. Please read carefully.

  20. Marty, I felt my point was clear as well, so not sure why you were puzzled. I’ll try to clarify my response.

    YOU SAID: “wouldn’t it seem right to have done that first or even invite Mr. Cahn to a private discussion to address the issues first – as Matt 18 teaches us to do”

    I RESPONDED” Biblically speaking, we do not need to go seek them out and present our arguments once these things have been made public,

    YOU SAID: “free for the sake of hermeneutics”?

    MY RESPONSE: The method he uses to get that message out thoroughly has no shame, nor is forbidden in Scripture. (We do see Paul saying he does not charge for the gospel, but this is not the same)

    And… since all we do is unto the Lord, charging for anything would be somehow forbidden in your thought process.

    BIBLICALLY UNFOUNDED:

    1. Suggesting Cahn is a brother that needs to be addressed privately as per Matt 18. False prophecy is not dealt with that way, it is marked and avoided. The more that know the better.

    2. Judge with a righteous judgment and not according the appearance. Whatever Dave’s motives for selling the book, you cannot know, and you are sinning to suggest you do or to imply that him selling it is somehow wrong.

    3. Comparing his right to use the words to address false teaching in context next to the legal right to abortion is like bearing false witness to me. The first is Biblically morally correct, you suggest is not. The second may be legal, but it is not morally correct.

    4. Your questions were not questions. When you pad questions with insinuations, they become accusation. Here are some examples:
    a. that they did wrong in not privately dealing with Cahn and somehow it should have been the Matt. 18 method.
    b. that their speech was unsound, i.e., “dragging his name through the mud”
    c. You continue to insinuate that he hasn’t shouted it from the rooftop and made it known and again you bring up him selling this information as if it is somehow forbidden. Please do provide Chapter and verse if you will.
    d. You say, “. I don’t know Cahn or even agree with his work, but I have to say, from a Berean point of view – You folks need to apologize to this man. ”

    Really? That was a question???? You don’t know him, agree with his work, but from a “Berean” point of view, they need to apologize to a false and lying prophet. Please do again give me chapter and verse on that.

    • (This is not to Holly specifically, but I needed to put it somewhere.)

      Whatever we do folks, let’s make sure we stay on the high road with the discussion. We haven’t fallen off yet, which is why I’m still approving these – but let’s be careful.

      I have no problem with topics – I’m only concerned about tone.

      (This isn’t directed at anyone specifically – just a gentle reminder to all, including myself.)

      Concerning selling the book: The truth needs to be put out there in as broad a forum as possible – and it takes money to both produce it and to try to pay the bills while writing it. Paul makes it clear that those who minister have a God-given right to live from their ministry.

      Concerning Matt. 18: As soon as Cahn’s book was published, the matter was no longer a Matt. 18 issues (as Holly said). And, in fact I did write and speak with Cahn – and a 75-minute radio discussion can be found at http://www.prophecytoday.com and on the ABI website.

      Concerning both of these: It’s probably better to start with questions that receive answers than to start with “questions” immediately followed by accusations. Just saying… :-)

      • First of all, I support your writing.

        My contention is this statement from you: “Paul makes it clear that those who minister have a God-given right to live from their ministry.”

        From the Matthew Henry Commentary: [Quote] ‘He (Paul) argues from the old Jewish establishment: “Do you not know that those who minister about holy things live of the things of the temple, and those who wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? (1 Cor. 9:13). And, if the Jewish priesthood was maintained out of the holy things that were then offered, shall not Christ’s ministers have a maintenance out of their ministry? Is there not as much reason that we should be maintained as they?” He asserts it to be the institution of Christ: “Even so hath the Lord ordained that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:14), should have a right to a maintenance, though not bound to demand it, and insist upon it.” It is the people’s duty to maintain their minister, by Christ’s appointment, though it be not a duty bound on every minister to call for or accept it. He may waive his right, as Paul did, without being a sinner; but those transgress an appointment of Christ who deny or withhold it. Those who preach the gospel have a right to live by it; and those who attend on their ministry, and yet take no thought about their subsistence, fail very much in their duty to Christ, and respect owing to them. [Unquote]

        Ergo, in the context of 1 Cor. 9:3-14, the Gospel minister is, I believe, one officially ordained and recognized by a church to minister the gospel to the church (Paul compares this minister to the Jewish priest who lived by the things of the altar.) Such a minister should be supported by the church to whom he ministers. Regrettably many self-professing Christian writers/filmmakers, etc., are claiming this right to be supported by the public (believers and non-believers!) to which he attempts to peddle his products – and this is the prevalent disease today. No wonder many non-believers are wary of ‘Christian’ writers. They know the latter are only jumping on the money-making bandwagon.

        • I appreciate your point, but I think there are a couple of things that need to be considered.

          1) Paul was not an officially ordained minister or the pastor of the church in Corinth to who he was writing – and yet he told them that he had a right to expect them to be a part of supporting his ministry, even though he was not availing himself of that support. One reason is that not only did many in the church not recognize him as a legitimate minister of the gospel, it is clear that even his apostleship was being challenged.

          2) Paul was a missionary, itinerant preacher and writer – and not the pastor of any church, although he did spend extended times at some churches. And, again, his point was not just for the sake of pastors because he saw himself as qualified to receive the support of many churches – which he apparently did receive.

          3) My point was dealing with the principle in general as the challenge was to the issue of receiving any remuneration for the work that goes into writing a book. On the other hand, when it comes to writing, film making, etc. – this isn’t really support per se, but could also be viewed as tent-making – which Paul also engaged in. These are activities that aren’t covered directly in the Bible because they didn’t exist. But there are general principles that can be applied. And, of course, you’re right, there are some who definitely are out to peddle their products – and peddle the gospel itself.

          • Hello David,
            Thank you for replying. I really wasn’t expecting one this late in the game.

            My point may have been misunderstood. Indeed I wrote: “…the Gospel minister is, I believe, one officially ordained and recognized by a church to minister the gospel to the church … Such a minister should be supported by the church to whom he ministers.” Discussing this point further with my husband last night, we realized this person included all the legitimate missionaries whose causes are supported by their respective churches (hence Paul claimed the right of support.) Of course missionaries need to live by the gospel which they are ministering. However, we need to be careful that being backed by a church does not, by default, make a minister/missionary or his ministry one that has been appointed by Christ. (I know of a former missionary that is in a lesbian relationship. There you go.)

            I agree that Paul was a missionary rather than an ordained pastor. (Note that I nowhere said that Paul was an ordained pastor of a church, albeit I did categorize him as one officially recognized by a church to minister the gospel). Nevertheless he was known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. As far as is described in Scripture, he ministered to the churches that he had played a role in planting, qualifying him to be maintained by the congregations of these churches.

            I understand your point (#3) and I am not arguing with that. Writers need to live, and I accept this. I understand that producing a book is costly. We are a ministry that publishes books, among others, and I am aware of the costs involved.

            I am merely debating the exegesis of 1 Cor. 9. My concern is about the interpretation of this passage, particularly the pervasive abuse in Christian circles of verse 14. The simple statement that “Paul makes it clear that those who minister have a God-given right to live from their ministry” lends itself to a lot of exploitation.

            There are many heretics who claim to be ministers of Christ and the gospel. There also are many writers who claim the same. I personally do not trust that many of the current crop of published ‘Christian’ ministers claiming to minister the gospel have been appointed by Jesus Christ (the Lord does not appoint heretics and there are many out there). Whether you would like to call it support or tent-making, they surely do claim 1 Cor. 9:14 and expect to eke out a living from their ministry. I call this abuse and it appears that you do appreciate my concerns as well. Thank you for that.

            May the Lord bless your ministry and cause.

          • I’m sorry the previous reply was late. For some reason I don’t recall getting a notice that it had come in into my Inbox – so I just happened to stumble on it.

            Yes, you’re right about those who exploit the gosepl and Paul’s instruction that those who minister may live from this work.

            Of course, our interpretation can’t be driven by anything except the text itself.

            Sometimes there is a temptation to rethink an interpretation because of circumstances. I have seen some modify their interpretation of passages concerning divorce whenever it affected them personally or someone close to them.

            Paul faced this same problem as there were those who were trying to exploit his teaching that where sin abounds, grace abounds much more – leading some to come up with a corrupt application, thinking that sinning was a good thing – and he had to correct them.

            There are clearly those who are not ministers of Christ – no matter the words they use to make it appear as if they are.

            But, apart from this, I think my interpretation and conclusion is correct. Those who abuse this will be held accountable.

            I say this as one who has ministered in many different ways – founding and directing a Bible institute for 16 years as a missionary in Hungary, being a teaching elder in a church, traveling internationally to teach the Bible, and writing articles, as well as my book. I have been on salary and I have had support and I have had different combinations of both.

            Thanks for your thoughts and comments.

            God bless.
            Dave

          • Hey David,
            This is in reply to your latest response (below). As the ‘reply’ button after your comment appears to be missing, I am compelled to comment here.

            You wrote: ‘I’m sorry the previous reply was late. For some reason I don’t recall getting a notice that it had come in into my Inbox – so I just happened to stumble on it.’

            You were not late. When I stated that I wasn’t expecting a reply from you “this late in the game”, I was talking about my comments being late in the game (since it’s now July), and not that your reply was late. Hope this sets your mind at ease.

            On another thread, you mentioned collaborating with Jimmy DeYoung on a discussion of the Nephilim issue.

            This is what you said:
            ‘Thanks, Byron.
            If you’re interested, I will be on Jimmy DeYoung’s weekly program on Saturday (see prophecytoday.com). We will be discussing the newest issue that is rapidly gaining traction (and I believe could surpass The Harbinger) which is Nephilim / UFO eschatology – being promoted (some might say marketed) by L.A. Marzulli, Tom Horn, Chris Putnam, Chuck Missler, Gary Stearman (Prophecy in the News) and many others. We will also be discussing what appears to be a convergence of many strands including Nephilim / UFO eschatology, The Harbinger, New Apostolic Reformation and others.(re:’http://www.biblicalintegrity.org/2013/05/05/response-to-defense-of-prophetic-voice-by-david-reagan/#comment-822)

            I’ve been to the site (prophecytoday) but have not been able to locate the program.

            Is it on or has it been deferred?

            Thanks for your replies and God bless.

          • Yes, because of things that were happening in the Middle East, Jimmy called me on Friday morning to let me know that he needed to move the segment to this week (which will air on July 20).

          • Sounds good, thank you very much. And thank you for your gracious replies to my comments.

  21. It’s hard to read tone I know Dave, and you can certainly choose whether you want to share this post, it may be off topic. I am very passionate about these things, but my desire is maintain sound speech that cannot be condemned. I do feel that rebuke with His Word is sound speech assuming we are doing it for the right reasons and led by His Spirit. I wish more would do it for the sake of the truth of His Word.

    I will share something personal about why this affects me so much, yet that should not be our gauge as I know that you know. When my husband was sick, we had been going to a church that was growing, a Bible church that began to get larger. It was too difficult for him to make it in the crowd, and eventually with 8 kids, too much for me to do it all.

    We did find a smaller church, and although my husband could get there much more easily, we quickly saw it wasn’t going to work right about the time we found out through the youth minister that the pastor was going to house “Christian Yoga”.

    I went back to the bigger church, but just a Bible study, then joined a second. After seven years of serious illness, my husband finally passed away in Nov. of 2009. The elders had prayed for him, and he had formed a bond with the associate pastor. There was a new pastor, I had heard a couple of his sermons, and also another man, who is nationally known as a systematic theology scholar. I felt something was off with both, I couldn’t finish their sermons, but who on earth was I to say? I just knew I didn’t have a desire to attend the services. Over these years I was being taught “prove ALL things” (and that by His Word).

    Finally months after my husband had died, a friend, raised an atheist wanted to go to church with me, so we went to a service there not knowing where else to go, in affluent areas, there is much contemplative, new age, emergent teaching.

    I listened as the Music Minister first recommended people go buy a new book by Eugene Peterson. My heart sunk knowing what I do about “the Message”. The pastor began to tell a little story about “pastor” Paul Yonggi Cho. Knowing about him, I began to feel sick. Then he shared about his “favorite” devotional author Philip Yancey. Having done my proving on him the year before in a Bible study I began to also feel a lump in my throat. When he mentioned Brennan Manning, I began to weep. Here my friend had come to church for the first time and she was being fed poison. Where were the Scriptures? Fortunately my friend thought I was emotional about my husband and never asked.

    I wrote a letter to the pastor, prayed and labored over it for a week. Backed up all my concerns with direct quotes of each person, and the Word to go with it. I went over it and over it, to be sure everything was correct to the best of my ability. I sent it to him, and he passed it over to the asst. pastor. Long story short, as we discussed this, for some reason I mentioned Rick Warren. That asst. pastor told me I had better not say anything about him because they were close friends. I asked him if he believed God was in everyone and everything. He snapped at me, “Of course not! That’s panentheism!” I gave him the page number where he could find it, and his comment was that he was not going to “blame him for one mistake”. I calmly said I would share more. He said he would not hear more.

    I won’t even go into all the winds of doctrine that this pastor has gone into, Nouwen was a fad of his for awhile, then he became more reformed, and started with Calvin and Spurgeon and now he is a neo-Calvinist. I don’t know how much, just as it seems the Lord has revealed through other people since I do not attend. One of the bulletins was shown to me by someone at a Bible study. It had one eye, a circle, checkered floor, a triangle and an “I AM” statements for people to fill in about themselves.

    This church was founded on land my dad helped get. It sprung from out of my childhood church, breaks my heart truly. Talking to the elders was not an option as many already had, and they were not interested in hearing. In fact another nationally known elder had promoted “the Message”. Many men I have run across feel sound speech is not calling a false prophet or teacher a “wolf” or even “false”. Seems like they want to call them brethren. Or the doctrine is “non-essential” where to me, it is a 2 John 1:9-11 moment.

    When someone like Cahn and his publisher, promote Cahn’s teachings as being known for “their prophetic import and their revealing of the deep mysteries of God’s word”, and of the book as mysteries and secrets revealed that are “real”, I can only reflect on Jeremiah 23:33-40. Do these people like Jan Markell who told me that the movie had “changed her life”, really want to suggest this is a prophecy or an oracle?

    I weep…and I pray more would take a firm stand rather than a wishy washy one. God bless you whether you decide to share or not, it will not upset me.

  22. By the way, I do not know if you have been to this site (he has many), Hopeoftheworld.org

    A friend pointed it out and the first message I saw was:

    LITTLE MESSIAHS: THE CHAMPIONS!
    Msg #1657
    Its radical but you can live as a little Messiah and how to live the life of the champion.

    It was all I looked at, but another friend, Dave, who went to the site, wrote;
    Note what Cahn says about Message Number 1370: “A fascinating mystery filled with revelation and new revelations.” New revelations? Sounds pretty heretical to me – I don’t know why various discernment ministries continue to endorse him.

  23. You stated you and Cahn had a 75 minute discussion on air in Apr 2012. I would like to watch the exchange but have been unable to find the event. Can you direct me to where I might view this discussion. Thanks

  24. It would have been helpful if Cahn’s website had a statement of beliefs. As it is I came across one message that I thought problematic. Message 1495 Mysteries of the Secret Israelis:

    “If you’re born again you’re not only a citizen of Israel – you’re a secret Israeli – Discover the fascinating revelations of who you really are in God!”

    I think that Jan (Markell) and Dr Reagan dropped the ball with Cahn. They shouldn’t have lumped all discernment ministries in the same bucket simply because they have concerns regarding Mr Cahn.

    • “I think that Jan (Markell) and Dr Reagan dropped the ball with Cahn. They shouldn’t have lumped all discernment ministries in the same bucket simply because they have concerns regarding Mr Cahn.”

      Agreed 100%!

  25. What are Jonathan Cahn’s credentials? His bio info on his web site doesn’t give any indication as to his biblical training. Did he go to Bible college or seminary?

    • I’m not aware of any formal training – but that I can’t say for sure. I’m fairly certain he has no rabbinical training – which raises issues some people’s minds about the use of “rabbi” as a title.

  26. Got the book, Dave. You’ve only confirmed what I suspected. The problem runs deeper than just taking an OT verse out of context. Well done!

  27. The cover is an obvious ripoff, it seems dishonest to deny that. If you violated the law by using to many quotes then you are the lawbreaker. Pretty simple for anyone to see this. Don’t know if I would have handled it the way Charisma is but I do know I would have never used such a deceptive book cover. I don’t think I trust you anymore though. That’s your fruit not theirs!
    love ya, you can keep your books, earl click

    • Earl Click,

      Thank you for taking time to read the article and to comment.

      Your perspective is certainly that, one perspective, but a subjective one. Out of dozens of people who were involved with this whole process both in the cover design and early book sales, not a single person said anything about the cover being a problem. This is what we would have expected because our intention was specifically determined to NOT be a rip-off. The book designer is on of the best in the business with no lack of design talent – so it wasn’t that he couldn’t come up with a different cover altogether, which he did with the second one. But, the intent was to draw attention to the fact that my books was ABOUT The Harbinger – but it is completely obvious that they are two different books. Every single element is different – much different that a lot of other things that don’t violate copyright laws. Our intention from the beginning was to be on the ethically, morally and legally high ground. The fact that we didn’t fight it was not an admission of guilt, but rather a reflection that we had no intention of causing a problem.

      As far as the quotes are concerned, we have had very experienced copyright lawyers look at this and the conclusion is that not only did I not break the law, my books falls well within the fair use doctrine. His conclusion was that I only quoted as much as necessary to demonstrate the point I was making. Had I quoted any less, I would then have been accused of being deceptive, unfair, taking things our of context, etc. When you write a book that is a detailed critique, you know from the beginning you’re not going to make people happy – but that is far different from breaking the law. On this point I am not a lawbreaker – a judge would almost certainly just throw the case out, it is so obviously not illegal. And neither is it immoral or unethical in any way.

      We have had some of the most godly men involved with this decision-making from the very beginning. These are respected men who have long years in the ministry and no one expressed any concern.

      The full desire of everyone involved is to do things in a way that is pleasing to the Lord – and we believe that we have been successful in doing this. We have spent much time in discussion, thought and prayer and believe that we are one solid ground.

      OF course, there can be a difference of opinion, as you have suggested – but at this point, it is just one opinion out of several – and perhaps in the minority – especially considering the number of people who have given very strong reviews of my book.

      Thanks, again.
      Dave

  28. Actually Dave, I appreciate your sound speech that cannot be condemned even in the face of someone condemning your “fruit”.

    I’m actually wondering about the fruit of a professing believer suing another, which I believe would define Jonathan Cahn’s action as “utter failure” and “shame”.

    Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!
    Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! I Cor 6:1-8

Leave a Reply


Hit Counter provided by orange county divorce attorney