The Strange Fire Conference was held last week at Grace Community Church in Southern California. The conference was put on by none other than Dr. John MacArthur who is the Senior Pastor of GCC. The purpose of the conference was an attempt to promote the cessationist view of the gifts of the Spirit especially in light of the growing movement in places all over the world. The official Strange Fire website describes it as followed:
Strange Fire is a conference that will set forth what the Bible really says about the Holy Spirit, and how that squares with the charismatic movement. We’re going to address in a biblical, straightforward manner what many today see as a peripheral issue. On the contrary, your view of the Holy Spirit influences your relationship with God, your personal holiness, and your commitment to the church and evangelism.
Guest speakers at the conference included Dr. MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Steve Lawson, Conrad Mbewe, Justin Peters, Todd Friel and several others. The conference was a three day event that attracted a large audience (approximately 3000 people) not to mention those who were able to watch via live stream. The conference is a predecessor to a new book by Dr. MacArthur that is going to be made available this November.
Needless to say this conference didn’t sit well with many individuals among the charismatic community who are arguing that MacArthur is being divisive. What has especially seemed to have drawn some criticism is that MacArthur has been accused of lumping all charismatics into the same pot and attacking godly men who hold to continuationalism. Still, others seem to think that MacArthur is just plain wrong about his cessationist view. Michael Brown, a well known continuationist wrote:
For a man of his stature, a man who has done so much good for the Body of Christ, this is a tragic error, a decided step in the wrong direction, and a rejection of both the testimony of the written Word and the work of the Spirit today. (Source)
Names such as John Piper, Sam Storms, Wayne Grudem and many others were said to be included in the same category as Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland. There have been several accusations of failing to differentiate godly Christian teachers from heretics.
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