So, if you have a pulse and keep up with evangelical news at all, you’ve probably seen this past weekend’s comically sad interaction between Seattle firebrand Mark Driscoll and the ever sober John MacArthur. Brother Mark, (that’s what we call other Christians in the south when we intend to talk about them), showed up at Brother John’s “Strange Fire Conference” with a box full of his newly published book on the Holy Spirit, and had an impromptu book signing. He was not an invited speaker at the conference, nor did he submit his book to the conference board for review, which I believe is a common practice even at Acts 29 conferences. He just popped in with his book that had a couple of chapters in it he believed might prove “helpful” to conference goers. In other words he disagreed with John and used a back door stunt to try and cause a controversy. Well, congratulations Mark, you succeeded, and now evangelical believers everywhere look real mature. You can read all about the day’s events HERE
John MacArthur’s conference, “Strange Fire,” is basically an all out attack on the Charismatic Movement. I have personally believed for many years that there are some substantive issues that need to be addressed with Charismaticism. And honestly, it was listening to guys who take on the badge of being “Reformed” and then simultaneously take upon them the badge of “Charismatic” that made me begin to think this way. And yes, Mark Driscoll is one of the guys I am talking about, but he’s not alone, not by a long shot, so I was glad when I heard John was going to address the topic. I’d hoped he would do it fairly and in deep charity, but as news trickles out of this weekend’s event, apparently that was not the case. After reading American Vision’s account of the conference today, (aptly titled “Reckless Fire“) which is anything but a bastion of Charismatic extremism, I was forced to close my laptop and say out loud,
“Dang it MacArthur!”
For years, and I am sure I am not alone, I have very much desired a godly well respected theologian to step forward, take the reins, and guide some of these young angry reformed guys in a better direction. Having once been among their ranks (I am still reformed just not angry or young anymore), I know the need first hand. I am crying out for Biblical, confessionally sound, theologians to rise up, and that, Driscoll just ain’t. That’s not an insult to him, it’s just a fact.
There is more to being “Reformed” than being a Calvinist. The Five Solas for instance, and the Confessions; whether they are from the English or the Dutch world need to be taken into account here. Not above the Scriptures, but subordinate to them. The point is, and this is where I’m going: every Reformer, whether English or Dutch, once you get beyond the initial reforming period, were all Cessationists. All! That’s not an over-reach either. Why would that be? Are we really at the theological point that we are ready to go rogue on our understanding of Sola Scriptura? Do we really believe that for 400 years now we were just over looking some important Scripture? That Mark Driscoll and C. J. Maheny (yeah, I’m name dropping a little here) are better theologians than say John Owen or Jonathan Edwards or Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Listen, I would hate, after all the great work that the Lord has done through Acts 29 and The Resurrgence to promote good soteriology, for them now to sow the seeds of their future destruction after having planted nearly a 1000 churches. Because, if they continue to promote a Charismatic view of the Scriptures, (yes, I said “of the Scriptures,” not “of the spiritual gifts” on purpose) through their founder, they will have built their whole house on sand, and they will be washed away in future theological storms.