Strange Fire Conference. The issues raised are far too important to miss.
I believe that this conference was very needful, very biblical, and very balanced. John MacArthur and the others speakers sets their sights on calling out the radical abuses found in the charismatic movement.
Leading up to the conference and throughout the conference they were careful to say that they know that there a number of true evangelical believers who love the Lord and are seeking to honor His word within the charismatic movement. These they gladly referred to as brothers and friends. These were not blasted as heretics, but encouraged as friends to join in the greater cause of denouncing serious heresy.
What I find strange and disturbing is that these friends and others have taken great offense at the conference. I think if they listen carefully they would agree with a good majority of what was said. However, I have seen very few within the charismatic movement that are willing to say anything positive about the conference. They may also be challenged by the bit that they won't agree with.
The greatest offense has been taken about the statements regarding the charismatic movement as a whole. The speakers, having made the concessions above, continually pointed out that much of the movement is not driven from the true work of the Holy Spirit and dishonors Christ and His word.
Following the conference Mike Brown in an interview with Phil Johnson took great issue with what he called "broad brush" statements indicating that charismatics are may not believers and have offered nothing to the church. Sam Storms and Adrian Warnock also seconded the same offense in their follow up interview with Mike Brown. These statements were not reflective of the conference. As mentioned above careful nuances were given and clarifications made through out.
My questions are these:
1.) If much heresy was pointed out and refuted from scriptures (which is the case), why do charismatic brothers who love the Word and see the same problems not stand with MacArthur and the conference speakers on these things and affirm the rebukes that are given?
2.) If the statistics are true that 90% of the charismatic movement is dominated by the prosperity gospel, why are biblically driven charismatics unwilling to acknowledge this and take a closer look to see where some foundational issues must be wrong within the movement?
These statistics are easy to find:
More than 25% of Christians claim to be charismatic worldwide. This accounts for 500 million people (Christian Post; Pew Forum).
As high as 90% of these seem to affirm the prosperity gospel (Pew Forum; Cripplegate).
I second the call to our charismatic brothers such as John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms, Mark Driscoll and others to be willing to at least take an honest look at these things.
To you and to all others I challenge you to really consider the talks presented at the conference with a biblically discerning open mind.
Let us have a discussion based on fact and not on sound bites and assumptions.
See the sessions here: Strange Fire.
Get the book here: GTY: Strange Fire.
See a summary of the sessions here Tim Challies.
See transcripts of the sessions here: Cripplegate Blog.
Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Christus, Soli Deo Gloria