Follow up Post to Strange Fire

The conference has now ended. There was a bit of excitement when Mark Driscoll gatecrashed, but that was really a side issue.

John McArthur delivered his final address, which was to those who are Reformed but take what he described as a “continuist” position. His plea was that they should renounce these views and espouse cessationism. You can read an account of that session here . He used 7 accusations that had been made against him and 8 statements for them to consider. 

However, once again the tone wasn’t right. There were more sweeping generalisations – I’m not going to go into great detail.

However, I would just make observations on 2 of his points (I am sure I could say something on all of them!):

One of the accusations was  that he and the conference are “attacking a movement that has given us rich music.” McArthur’s counter was that such music will actually introduce false doctrine into the church and by passes the mind. 

How dare he! Just take songs such as “In Christ alone” and “The power of the Cross”, co – written by Stuart Townend, who is part of a Charismatic church. What part of those songs introduces “false doctrine”? Indeed, In Christ alone was at the centre of a controversy recently because it was espousing TRUE doctrine, “Till on the cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The liberals didn’t like it. Would the charismatic Townend change it? NOT AT ALL! He defended Biblical truth.

Now of course, there are some songs that promote false doctrine and bypass the mind, but McArthur did not qualify his statement – he implied that they are all the same. Therefore, surely the way forward is to sing the ones that are true and not the others, simple really.

Another assertion that he made was that “90% of these people believe in the prosperity gospel”. Now, again I’m sure that many in the movement do, but 90%? I know a number of Charismatics here in Ireland, and they are dear brothers and sisters in Christ. If I was to put 10 of them in a room, would I really be saying that 9 of them believe in the prosperity gospel? Of the ones I know, maybe 1 out of 10. Most of them would be very much against the it. Where did he get his figures from?

I really do not like the fact that largely the criticisms were based on rhetoric and there was surprisingly little use of Scripture. I would be surprised if those who were Reformed and continuist changed there views because of this conference.

Probably the best response to the conference is by Adrian Warnock here .

I trust that now it is over, we can get on with our main task of taking the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to this world that so desperately needs him. And yes, as far as I am concerned that includes ALL genuine Christians whichever side of the divide they are on in this discussion

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