Thursday, October 17, 2013

Strange Fire Conference: Medicine for the Church

I've been watching a wonderful Conference exposing the errors in the Charismatic Movement put on by John MacArthur's church in Southern California.  It started yesterday morning but I didn't hear about it until the evening.  I did hear the talk by the African pastor Conrad Mbewe as well as today's talks so far by MacArthur, Tom Pennington, Phil Johnson and the panel which just finished and they've all been great talks, even eye-opening for me.  I'll be coming back for the 7 PM PDT talk by Steve Lawson.  Then the Conference continues tomorrow as well.   It's being streamed live at

For years I've struggled with uncertainty about some of the charismatic phenomena, the claims to personal supernatural powers, especially the gift of prophecy but also healings and other miracles and so on, and although I pulled out of that movement in the early 90s after seeing through many of its errors, and have recognized even more errors as the years have gone by, there has always remained a bit of doubt in my mind.  I read books attempting to show how the whole thing is false, even John MacArthur's book Charismatic Chaos, without being absolutely convinced.

For one thing there are many true Christians in the charismatic churches, and if they don't see through it that contributes to my doubt. 

For another the arguments from the Bible have never been completely convincing, just too vague.

Well, today a pastor from Texas, Tom Pennington, finally mustered the Bible in a way that completely convinced me:  The men in the Bible who were able to perform miracles were ALWAYS men God had chosen to be His particular spokesmen, and the miracles were given to demonstrate that the teaching did come from God.  That was true of Moses for starters, of many others of God's people through the Old Testament, and it was especially true of the apostles who did miraculous works to show that Jesus Christ was truly from God.  And many in the early church had supernatural gifts for the same reason, to validate the work of Christ. 

They are careful to say that just because the supernatural gifts ceased because they are given for the specific purpose of ratifying a person or work as from God, that that doesn't mean God has stopped working in the world and in our personal lives, and may still do miracles if He so wills.

I hope the conference is going to continue to be available because I'd like to hear that talk again among others.   All the other talks have been excellent, it's just that right now this one stands out in my mind.

And a couple of remarks by Justin Peters on the afternoon panel also stand out.  His point was that true Christians can lend credence to false teachers by merely appearing with them, as on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, a point I've made about Jonathan Cahn's appearances on many charismatic shows, as well as on Glenn Beck.  Cahn is a charismatic but he should have more discernment than that.  

Justin Peters also objected to Christians going on Fox News, say O'Reilly's show, giving credence to Roman Catholicism, even calling Catholics "brother," and that made me VERY happy.  It's so rare that anyone will call out anything Catholic these days and that's one of the biggest hidden rotten spots in today's Church.  Fox News as a whole should be shunned by Christians because the station as a whole is Roman Catholic.  It's so seductive because there are so many Catholics who have a right and even Christian understanding of what's wrong with this country, but the true Church has to wake up and agree not to give any support to that evil Antichrist system, the system whose doctrines cannot save but send millions to Hell every day, the system that martyred millions of true Christians down the centuries and is still looking only to regain the power it lost through the Reformation.

That's enough of a note for now.  I hope many who may not have known about it will listen to the rest of this conference, and I look forward to following the buzz that's sure to follow.