Strange Fire Recap. - If you missed the Strange Fire Conference live, you can watch videos of the entire conference including the Sunday message following the main conference.Click Here to see the sessions.
Alternately you can go Here to see links of the sessions from the Strange Fire media page.
Tim Challies covered the conference and did several blog posts including a summary of his thoughts at the end of the conference. You can read highlights, and for those who missed a session and don't want to take the time to hear the whole thing I recommend his pages.Click Here for the conclusions that Tim Challies came to after hearing the conference.
Click Here to see some of the highlights of different sessions.
My Personal Thoughts & NotesI have seen a number of negative responses to the conference, but I believe that it was a reminder to many people to wake up to the deceptions going on out there.
People are being deceived by false signs and wonders and prophecies and many of them are getting a false gospel. People are so much into loving people and unity, but unity should not be at the cost of truth and the gospel. In the Bible there are many times when error is addressed and corrected where people were being led astray.
For instance, there were people requiring physical circumcision of non-Jews even though circumcision is to be of the heart for believers rather than of the flesh. People were doing things in Jesus' name without being Christians, and people were warned of wolves coming into the churches and doing things for selfish gain.
I thought I'd borrow from some comments I gave on FB to critics of the conference.
It is edited and added to for this blog.
It is not just the fringe elements that are involved in the prosperity "gospel" and involved in a drug-like high emotionalism which does indeed lead to manipulation and deception. False prophecies are common in charismatic circles and many of the behaviors discussed at the Strange Fire conference are not rare as some may assume.
MacArthur gave percentages...many Charismatics are Catholics for instance, and there are lots of phony miracles that go on. I do not believe that MacArthur feels that all charismatics are unbelievers, but that the unbelievers in the movement are a large percentage and will not listen because of that.
Can we question that God could be doing miracles?
Nobody denies that God can perform miracles when Christians pray, but most of the "faith healers" out there today do not have proof of actual healings that are physical.
Miracles are not the norm, and anyone who gives a false prophecy has a strict judgment as I see in the OT. It is not me who is judging, but the Bible is pretty clear.
The Bible even warns of false prophets in sheep's clothing. Matthew 7:15
Many years ago my parents met a lady who supposedly had one leg lengthened by one of these miracle doers, but some time later it turned out that it really hadn't been healed as the lady first believed.
There are unbelievers everywhere and not just among charismatics, but the charismatic movement is huge and the Bethel Redding phenomena is being transported just like the other waves in the past (even into Norway).
It goes under the name of Christianity and deceives many.
People in the Pentecostal and charismatic movements sometimes even make decisions or give money based on false prophecies and manipulations, and people who suffer physically are duped and then demoralized when these fakers do not really heal them. For Christians, God often uses our suffering to bring us closer to Him and to purify and perfect us into the image of Christ.
My experience with charismatics?
I've been where people were mumbling under their breath disobeying the orderliness of Scripture and giving me the creeps. I remember a teenager who complained about her hair getting messed up with the knocking down supposed "slain in the Spirit" behavior. Yes, both of her parents were Pentecostal pastors (which is un-Biblical). I've heard a supposed word of knowledge that really was nothing new or necessary. Scripture would have sufficed.My siblings were almost sucked into the movement many years ago and I have a FB friend who was thankfully rescued out of that.
The lifestyles and fruit of peoples lives will show where hearts are, and people need the true Gospel. Love was expressed in the conference towards continuationists like Piper, Storms, and Grudem....but the warning is that these mainstream leaders give credence to the un-Biblical practices of others.
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:22-23
In summary, I do not have hate for charismatics. I do not believe any speaker at this conference spoke out of hate or unreasonable fear. It is loving to remind people to check out everything with Scripture and to study it in depth. There is a pattern and there is orderliness, and much of what goes on in the charismatic movement does not live up to Biblical practices or standards.
If you are in a continuationist church that actually focuses on doctrine and Biblical standards then I believe you will welcome the challenge to your thinking and want to be an encouragement to purge the church where it errors. This can be done by sharing the Strange Fire book with your pastor or if in leadership people can warn people of going beyond Scriptural practices. The important thing is to stand up against false teaching and practices and study the Bible carefully.
Yes, I'm a cessationist, but I do believe that those who aren't should be just as concerned and sound the alarm on the movement as a whole and distance themselves from those who practice the things that are false.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; Ephesians 4:14 NASB