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The Mouse Under the Elephant in Strange Fire


  • When it comes to Scripture’s instructions and prohibitions for life in the church—for example, Paul’s clear teaching about female pastors, or his admonition for only one person at a time to speak in tongues—how seriously do we need to take those things today? Again, are these matters worth dividing over?” I don’t believe that the Bible endorses female pastors. But some biblical charismatics do. So what does that mean? That they don’t believe in the true, biblical gospel? Ouch. That’s quite a judgmental leap. The Bible is just as clear on the spiritual gifts as it is on female pastors. Yet oddly enough, the Strange Fire crowd rejects both, and lumps them all in the same pile. I’d ask Cameron in return, “If Paul commands us to earnestly pursue spiritual gifts, especially that we may prophesy, how seriously do you need to take those things today?” And if Jesus loves women who may, in my opinion, be sincerely wrong about their view of leadership, does that mean they are not followers of Jesus? It could simply mean that they are mistaken. And if so, we treat them as sisters in Christ, with respect and honor and dignity. And we pray for the success of their ministry and that people would be brought into the kingdom and experience God’s love.
  • Does the gift of tongues as practiced in charismatic churches today bear any resemblance to the supernatural events on the Day of Pentecost, or any other expression of the gift of tongues found in the book of Acts? If not, why is the dramatic difference acceptable for continuationists?” How could anyone know that for sure? That’s an odd question for humans separated 2,000 years from the event without any hope of a time machine. The difference is only dramatic for cessationists since they seem to communicate about it as if they had actually been there. Seriously, how can anyone even know what that must have been like? Cessationists try to do so exclusively through exegesis. But the Pharisees did that too when it came to the Messiah, and look what happened. They did not allow their experience to inform their theology. In truth, both camps see through a mirror dimly. One day we will see Jesus face to face. Until then, “let us not become boastful, challenging one another…” (Gal. 5:26).
  • If today’s prophets are not held to the biblical standard of one-hundred percent accuracy, what standard is there for people who make false prophecies? Or is modern prophecy nothing more than a crapshoot?” The 100% accuracy standard is right out of the codified playbook from cessationists. When I applied the exegetical and hermeneutical skills I learned from John MacArthur’s seminary on the passages supposedly supporting this conclusion, I found that the passages don’t really say that at all. I wrote an attempt at outlining this for the layman in my article “Gospel-Driven Prophecy: Understanding the Differences Between Old and New Testament Prophets and Prophecy.” It is disappointing to biblical charismatics that cessationists continue to misuse and distort the supposed OT supporting passages to sweep away all NT prophecy in the church today. The Bible does not maintain any sort of standard for prophets. Not in the Old Testament nor the New. And especially not under the New Covenant, for that matter. I also attempted to provide some clarity and structure to the layman on thinking through NT prophecy today, and the necessity to be grounded in the Scriptures, in my article, “Perspecuity and Prophecy.” Perhaps Cameron and the Strange Fire crowd will find some things there which may be helpful in clarifying what I and other biblical charismatics would perceive to be a more solid basis on which to build and practice NT prophecy today.
  • Finally, in the immediate aftermath of Strange Fire, Phil Johnson made an appearance on Dr. Michael Brown’s radio program. Phil issued Brown a challenge—which Brown accepted—to produce any audio of Mike Bickle or someone of similar influence in the charismatic movement making a clear presentation of the gospel. We’re still waiting for that audio.” I’ve never met Mike Bickle. I’ve listened to him a few times. For me personally, he’s hard to follow. But that’s just me. Instead, let me offer someone of similar influence in the charismatic movement making a clear presentation of the gospel: Kris Vallotton, pastor with Bill Johnson, at Bethel Church in Redding. Though this message is a part of Kris’ “Prophets and Prophecy” series, the message deals exclusively with the gospel: “Prophets & Prophecy, Part 3.” I’d say for a church as influential (and as attacked) as Bethel Church, Cameron, Phil, and the Strange Fire crew would have a hard time finding much to disagree with here as Kris explains the New Covenant, communion, forgiveness, atonement, and justification. I found it deeply encouraging, simple, and biblical. But I’m sure they’ll have a heyday with his homiletic skills, and join Kris’ own self-deprecation about his preaching skills.


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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. Google+ Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

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