Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Strange Fire Conference - John MacArthur Initiates Another Battle for Truth

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The Strange Fire Conference

Click the link above to visit the "Strange Fire Conference" webpage. There will be live streaming of the event beginning tomorrow.

John MacArthur does it again. He has refused to sit back and say nothing about a movement that routinely displays some of the highest arrogance of any movement I can think of in terms of the movements claiming to be distinctly Christian. I am convinced that Dr. MacArthur's attempt is one of the most loving things he could ever do for the Christian community. Part of the issue with the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement is its amazing congruence with the hedonistic, materialistic modern advanced cultures and its wildly successful ability to generate temporal, fleshly hope in cultures where little hope exists. The tactic is about as cruel as one can possibly be. The number of people jumping on the bandwagon and signing up for this movement is very high. But the reasons are as sinful in many cases as they are erroneous. 

  • People feel very special when God talks to them directly. They want what the early Church and the prophets had: direct, divine revelation from God. In fact, they demand it. This movement gives them dreams, visions, and personal prophecy.
  • People want a life of material gain. This movement promises that they can have it.
  • People do not want deal with being sick or getting a disease. This movement teaches that healing was provided for in the atonement.
  • People want to see God's miraculous power. This movement claims to have miracle workers.
  • People want their best life right now. This movement tells them that God wants the same thing for them.
  • People want success in marriage and career, fulfillment, personal happiness, to be elevated. This movement promises them all their hearts desires.
  • People do not want to suffer or do without. This movement promises them they do not have to.
The Strange Fire Conference is not a conference strictly dealing with abstract theological disputes over cessationism. It is much more than that. It goes to the very heartbeat of why continuationism is such a problem. This conference has at its core, pastoral concerns. People are living in error and being taking advantage of. The Christian message has been contorted into something very dark and demonic in many cases. The range of teaching in Pentecostal-Charismatic movement moves from simple error to insidious blasphemy. Someone has to say something! Thank God Dr. MacArthur sees the true threat and danger of a movement that for the most part, and with few exceptions here and there, is a blight on the Christian community.

We are kidding ourselves if we think for a minute that the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement would be what it is today if you took away the above promises and paced the gifts in a much more conservative environment. If we removed the prosperity gospel, the promises of career advancement and personal fulfillment, and we removed the personal prophecy, the dreams, and visions, and we placed the gifts in an environment that taught the truth, the movement would be unnoticeable. It is not the gifts themselves that motivate people to be in this movement, but the sensations they get, the hope they experience, and the lifestyle they think they can achieve that makes it so very attractive. It leads to ungodly desires for wealth that somehow become sanctified and right. It makes promises it cannot and does not keep. But hope is a funny thing. Hope will deceive you. Take a failed relationship for example. If a person has hope that the relationship can be restored, that hope, even if it is false, will cause them to continue to yearn for something that will never be realized. This false hope keeps the PC adherent in the movement, hoping that eventually their ship will come in. But the only hope that matters is that blessed hope that we have in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, to be satisfied by the hope that He offers, by the experience of knowing Him even if nothing else goes as we had hoped, that hope will sustain our joy more than anything man could ever hope to conjure up. I hope you will be stirred to avoid misplaced hope, and discover the faith and hope that is Christ Jesus.

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