Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Strange Fire: Sorting Out the Issues Part 2: A Pentecostal Pastor Agrees with much of the Strange Fire Conference

In Part 2 of his interview to answer his critics, John MacArthur gives a link to a blog by a Pentecostal minister   who agrees in general with the Strange Fire Conference (this is a great article).  As MacArthur says, this is the sort of response he was hoping to get:

I’m around average Pentecostals in my congregation and campus ministry. I’m not constantly around denominational leaders or scholars. And among most congregants the likes of Osteen, Meyer, Copeland, and Shuttlesworth are incredibly popular.

I’ve heard demands for MacArthur to evaluate us by looking at French Arrington or Stanley Horton. To be completely honest, my congregants have no clue who those men are (apart from perhaps a vague familiarity established by sermon references). My congregants do know who Kenneth Hagin is, or who T.D. Jakes is. I don’t think MacArthur’s concern is primarily with the Pentecostals who hold Horton in high esteem. It’s with the congregants who hold Jakes and Copeland in high esteem, and given that priority, MacArthur’s approach makes more sense.

MacArthur wasn’t looking to spark a debate in peer-reviewed literature. He was looking to engage at the popular level, and he has been wildly successful at this. It’s the popular level where the false teachers and excesses are often a problem, and it makes sense to aim there.

It should also be noted that TBN is exported to other countries. They broadcast all over the world. They broadcast to Christians who don’t have the benefit of owning their own Bibles. The incredible damage of Prosperity teaching in world missions must be carefully observed.
INCREDIBLE DAMAGE OF PROSPERITY TEACHING IN WORLD MISSIONS.  Nobody else on the Continuationist side has said such a thing that I know of.  And he concludes with this:
We Pentecostals and Charismatics needed to be offended, I’m afraid it may be the only thing that will make us think critically and Biblically about ourselves as a movement. And for this offense I want to thank John MacArthur and the participants in the Strange Fire Conference. The most hurtful thing about that conference is not the broad generalizations, sweeping condemnations, or lack of distinctions. For me as a Pentecostal the most hurtful thing about the Strange Fire Conference is my knowledge that far too many of the criticisms are true.
Right.  We can all read the books by the pastors and theologians but it's our friends in the congregations we hear from most, and although I'm no longer part of the charismatic movement I do still have friends who are.   Some are into the Prosperity Gospel or at least into the related idea that miraculous healings are promised to us if we ask for them.  They can quote the Bible on this. 

I may say more about this later but it seemed important for now to let this Pentecostal pastor be heard.

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