Good news! The audio and video from the Strange Fire conference is coming soon here (with more on the way). You can help Grace to You share this powerful teaching with as many people as possible by directing them to gty.org. And whether you saw it as a conference attendee or you’re planning to catch up online, we know you’ll be encouraged, exhorted, and enriched by these resources.
If you attended the conference or watched the live stream, the obvious question is, “What now?” How do we take what we learned over three intense days and live it out in our daily lives?
The first step is to be humble. No one has ever been forced into God’s kingdom. Rather than hammering friends and family with theological arguments, we need to keep in mind the focus of the conference—the sufficiency of Scripture and the true work of the Holy Spirit. Lovingly proclaim those truths.
We also need to commit ourselves to the local church. Whether or not your congregation is charismatic or has coninuationist leanings or not, you’ll never be able to make a difference from the fringes. Find a way to use your giftedness for the service of your church. Get involved, serve, and support the godly men the Lord put in place to shepherd and lead you.
On the other side of the debate, there are undoubtedly charismatics and continuationists who were unswayed—and possibly even angered—by Strange Fire. If you are one of those people, we would still plead with you to consider and apply three important points raised during the conference that will benefit you and your church.
First, please don’t judge the conference based on sound bites. The temptation is to pull out the punchiest, spiciest few seconds of teaching, regardless of context. That’s neither a productive way nor an honest way to deal with the content of the conference. This isn’t a trivial debate—it’s an important discussion about the sufficiency of Scripture and the way God’s Spirit works in His people.
Second, please carefully evaluate your view of Scripture. Is the Bible the ultimate arbiter in interpreting the experiential aspect of your Christian life? How tolerant are you of extrabiblical revelation, and are you careful to submit it to the Word of God? The same goes for your church—your congregation probably affirms the Bible’s inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency, but does its practice line up with that affirmation?
Third, please consider how you can benefit the charismatic movement from the inside. No one can honestly deny there are rank heretics and charlatans roaming the charismatic landscape. Ask yourself if you or your church has a doctrinal dividing line that, when crossed, demands denunciation and separation. And if that line exists, where and how is it drawn? If you are in a charismatic church that faithfully preaches the gospel but simply ignores false teachers who are charismatic, your silence legitimizes their ministries and expands their influence. For months, John MacArthur has been encouraging faithful charismatics to be the loudest voices of critique regarding charismatic excesses and abuses. We echo that encouragement and want to support your stand for the truth.
There is one other group we’d like to address in the wake of Strange Fire—the folks on either side of the debate who are simply sad, tired, and wish the whole matter would just go away. That group is made up of cessationists, continuationists, and charismatics who had set aside their differences in the name of unity and love, and now feel as though a bomb has gone off in the midst of their beloved middle ground.
If you’re one of those people, please understand that the decision to hold the Strange Fire conference was not made capriciously. Strange Fire was a response to a tidal wave of dangerous, damning lies that are leading hundreds of millions of people to hell. Unity through silence has not held back that tidal wave—it’s sweeping across the global church. Truth does matter, and it’s worth fighting for.
We look forward to seeing and hearing about the fruit the Lord brings forth from the proclamation of His Word.
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131023 COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You