The result is an ever-creeping standard in which novelty manifestations are accepted constantly—seemingly in which the latest is slightly more bizarre than the last.Pentecostals once justified tongues speaking by pointing to tongues speaking in Scripture, and justified vibrant dancing and singing by pointing to Scriptural examples. But suddenly we wake up one day twitching, or giggling uncontrollably, or “falling out” in the Spirit, and we have to acknowledge ourselves a long way from David dancing before the Ark.“Necessary” may be somewhat of a stretch, for there are better ways to deal with such problems.But I believe the reason it hasn’t been dealt with in-house is that the charismatic theology of spiritual gifts will not allow it to draw lines and condemn manifestations that are only slightly different from what has been tolerated historically—say, since Azusa, or the previous Great Awakenings, even under the Reformed Jonathan Edwards. This is the question that keeps charismatic leaders from drawing lines.At least the old practices had some mooring in God’s revealed standards for life and worship.Mac Arthur made it clear that these people don’t have Christ, are not brothers and sisters in Christ, are not part of the body of Christ, don’t know the Gospel, and don’t understand the Gospel.
John Mac Arthur’s recent conference was supposed to call out the “Strange Fire” among the Charismatic movement, but was instead filled with Mac Arthur flaming his brothers and sisters indiscriminately.
Whatever good did or could have come out of highlighting and isolating the extreme elements of the movement was lost by Mac Arthur-and-company’s broad strokes of damnation against the movement as a whole and against associated ideas.
They are extreme, not found in the Bible, and unreasonable and inexcusable by any biblical standard. They are widespread within the charismatic movement, and they need to be addressed and corrected rather than made centerpieces of worship.
I agree with the sentiment of one commenter who said that if the charismatic movement would have had its own “Strange Fire” conference, Mac Arthur’s would never have been necessary.
As I posted on AV’s Facebook page during the conference: In case you wondered whether John Mac Arthur’s Strange Fire Conference intends to address only the fringe elements of the charismatic movement, consider the closing comments from Todd Friel at last night’s panel discussion: He said this is not a fringe activity, but pertains to millions of people in the USA and millions more worldwide.
He said the teachers ought to be rebuked, and then made very clear that those millions of “followers” are “slaves to sin, slaves to Satan,” and are lost.