Last week, the American Family Association issued an ultimatum to two hosts of radio shows on the American Family Radio network – either stop speaking at events hosted by Brannon Howse or be removed from the AFR network. AFA decided that people who help Howse and his Worldview Weekend organization are not welcome to be a part of their lineup. Leading up to The Response prayer meeting, convened by Texas Governor Rick Perry, and paid for by the AFA, Howse had criticized the prominent participation of members of the New Apostolic Reformation in The Response. The AFA President, Tim Wildmon told me last week that “AFR is under no obligation to run programs of individuals who are going to help Brannon when he is attacking our friends. We make programming decisions all the time.”
On Friday, one of the hosts, John Loeffler, decided not to continue with AFR. On Tuesday, just ahead of the Wednesday deadline for a decision set by the AFA, Todd Friel, host of Wretched Radio issued a statement on their group’s Facebook page announcing intention to continue with AFA and drop out of a prior commitment to speak at a Worldview Weekend in 2012. The note elicited many comments from fans, some of whom seemed confused about what the announcement meant. Once other commenters explained the situation, many Wretched fans expressed disappointment in the decision. Here are some of those comments:
Cathy Blackerby Mathews asked:
My question is this: Will Wretched cover the NAR movement? They clearly proclaim a false gospel. The AFA has made it pretty clear that they will not tolerate this. I just don’t understand how the Wretched gang does not see that they have ti…ed their own hands here. This movement is huge- it’s tentacles are moving into all kinds of areas- conservative politics, Word-Faith, church growth, territorial demons/spiritual warfare, IHOP, missions. It is all about power and alliances for the NAR- their theology dictates that this be the case. Please Wretched gang- look into this stuff. Herescope has done extensive documented research -as well as Brannon obviously.
Greg Harrison said:
I am not going to stop listening to Wretched, I am still a fan, but I think I have to take Todd’s advice: when someone makes a less than biblically informed decision then my discernment radar has to go up. I never thought I would have to us…e that for Wretched. I am very saddened by this decision and wonder how your ministry will be weakened if you have to censor yourself so as not to offend your network. I also wonder, as Howse pointed out, how you can justify your recent comments on James MacDonald (with which I whole-heartedly agreed) in the light of your decision to agree to AFA’s demands when they are aligning with and protecting heretics. On another note: Chris Rosebrough (who was recently interviewed on Wretched) is heard in 57 countries and has a very large audience for Fighting for the Faith without the aid of a large network like AFA. I am sure Wretched could survive without AFA.
Joy Wenning said she will stop following the show, saying
Personally, I prefer listening to Wretched, BUT. will no longer. I know Brannon is being gracious, however, I have much more respect for Brannon and John. Wretched, you have an extremely weak reason(s). It is clear you didn’t act on principle…but went to every extent possible to find an out. You have to think a whole lot to come up with your list. One normally does that when they want to hang on to something bad enough and are willing to ignore the obvious. Do a heart check. You are willing to let AFA snap you into submission. I can no longer in good conscience listen knowing you have compromised on this large of an issue. The times are a changing and we will be pressured more and more to compromise. I think you are really inconsistent in what you’ve done.
Earlier today on the same thread, Wretched Radio’s Joel Anderson responded to those who expressed disagreement with the decision saying:
Wretched ?(Joel) Cathy, Angie, Joy, everyone – Let me be clear. This has absolutely nothing to do with what we do or don’t speak out against. Nothing. Wretched will continue to speak out against NAR [New Apostolic Reformation], IHOP [International House of Prayer], etc. The controversy will not affect our… programming in the least bit. We have not changed anything content-wise on Wretched. If we get bounced from stations and networks (and we have countless times) for what we air…so be it. We stand behind what we say.
After this comment, Jim De Arras asked:
Joel, Will Wretched remain free to speak out against AFA’s association with NAR in the Rick Perry event or praise Brannon for his stand? If not, you are compromised.
Prior to the ultimatum, Wretched had not discussed the criticisms of Howse on the show. Given the AFA’s decision, doing so now would invite retaliation.
Despite the majority of comments being negative on the decision, a few promised to keep listening.
Teresa Atkins said:
Love you guys!!! We support you Friel and staff. We don’t support AFA. We will keep listening via your Wretched club. Praying for you all. Grace and peace to you and your families.
For his part, Howse encouraged Friel’s listeners to continue with the show, but expressed disappointment over the decision on his website:
Brannon encourages his audience to continue listening to & learning from Wretched Radio & his friend Todd Friel. Brannon does lovingly explain why he is disappointed in the excuses given by Wretched Radio in their statement & explains why their statement claiming there is not a theological issue at stake is wrong.