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The Mouse Under the Elephant in Strange Fire

 

Are Pentecostals offering Strange Fire? (Panel Discussion)

 

Rob Wilkerson responds to the article, “The Elephant in the Strange Fire” by Cameron Buettel, published on November 3, 2014 on John MacArthur’s Grace to You ministry website.

 

Frankly, I’m a nobody in the kingdom. I’ve never published any books, though I’d certainly like to one day. I’ve never led a church larger than a few hundred people. And I’ve never had any sphere of influence larger than the people directly under my leadership before. So when the folks at PneumaReview.com asked me to respond to an article published this past Monday, by Grace to You employee, Cameron Buettel, I felt like a mouse beneath Cameron’s elephant.

I’ve never seen an elephant respond to a mouse. But it could be either messy or humorous. Hopefully in my case Cameron’s elephant will simply be still, be informed, and be educated just a little when it comes to a biblical charismatic theology. When Cameron penned a follow-up challenge to charismatics who stood in line of John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference, held a little over a year ago, he confessed two things to his readers. First, he has a charismatic background and grew up in mainline Pentecostalism. Second, he consumed an unhealthy amount of videos and writings from influential charismatic leaders.

Cameron Buettel, from his blog.

To the second acknowledgement I’d simply agree with Cameron. Yeah, it’s unhealthy to watch really too much of anything on TBN or YouTube, assuming I am able to reasonably deduce who it was that he watched and read. And I may be totally off on that. Who knows? But here’s what I feel like I do know with some measure of confidence. The guys who seem to make enough money to spend it on television broadcasting in order to turn around and ask for more money make me angry, frustrated, and irritated that people who probably want to follow Jesus are being duped into following a charlatan.

But here’s the stickler. Just because they can afford to put their wares on the air doesn’t mean they are the poster children for the charismatic movement. It just means they are the poster children for the charismaniac movement. There’s a big difference. Biblical charismatics know that. And refusal on the part of cessationists to admit that there is a difference continues to be part of the dishonesty that creates a divide between us. I am charismatic. But I am not charismaniac.

To the first acknowledgment I’d respond that everyone will find little to much that is or was wrong with the denomination they grew up in. I grew up Southern Baptist. There is much to be praised there, like the fight for inerrancy. But there is much that is wrong there, from my personal viewpoint. And here’s the rub I felt in Cameron’s article. He writes from what seems to be a reactionary perspective rather than a responsive one. The answer to the bad charismatic and pentecostal theology he personally experienced is not zero charismatic and pentecostal theology. Ditching the whole thing, Cameron asserts a bullet-pointed list of what he perceives to be a standard, predictable, step-by-step, “codified playbook of sorts” for “self-defense.”

 

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Category: Fall 2014, Spirit

About the Author: Rob Wilkerson, M.Div. (The Master's Seminary, 2000), B.S. (Luther Seminary, 1994), is a follower of Jesus in Woodstock, GA, where he works in the tech industry as an analyst and consultant. From there he envisions and pursues missional-shaped business for the kingdom. He and his wife Sherri have been married for 21 years and together have three sons and a daughter. Rob believes the mission of the gospel is summed up in four simple phrases: know God, obey Jesus, love one another, and make disciples. www.robwilkerson.net. Google+ Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

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