Plea from GTY about Strange Fire

October 24, 2013
Author Article Doctrine Pentecostalism

The staff at Grace To You have published a blog post entitled Strange Fire: What Now? A quick read of the blog reveals that these people still don't get it. They attempt to respond to what they call “hurt” or “anger” from charismatics, and make a number of exhortations. Let me answer just two.

Please carefully evaluate your view of Scripture. Is the Bible the ultimate arbiter in interpreting the experiential aspect of your Christian life? How tolerant are you of extrabiblical revelation, and are you careful to submit it to the Word of God?

ImageDear GTY blogger. I have carefully evaluated my view of Scripture on this and other subjects for decades. The Bible is and always will be the ultimate arbiter in interpreting the experiential aspect of my Christian life. How about you? As I have commented many times, your cessationist views are actually a doctrine based on experience. it is your experience – contrary to the practise of the New Testament church – that you do not have miracles and gifts exercised in your churches. Therefore, you have adapted your interpretation of Scripture to fit your experience. It is the biblical charismatics whose theology is actually based on the full authority of Scripture. You ask how tolerant I am of extrabiblical revelation. I have zero tolerance for this. ALL prophecy in my church is weighed against Scripture. If anything – even the slightest bit – is “new”, or at variance to Scripture, it is rejected. Prophecy is not for teaching purposes. It is when God applies certain things to an individual or a church today. The “Grace To You” ministry is not mentioned in the Bible. If God has something to apply to your organization, He would do it through prophecy, but NO NEW DOCTRINE would be given. The canon of Scripture is CLOSED. I hope you would have understood this point by now. Similarly, suppose – God forbid – that a leader of your ministry were in secret sin. This might be revealed to someone in your ministry as a Word of Knowledge. Once again – NO NEW DOCTRINE would be given. So everything – and I mean everything – is to be submitted to the Word of God, and that is how a biblical charismatic or pentecostal church works.

Which brings me to another of your exhortations.

For months, John MacArthur has been encouraging faithful charismatics to be the loudest voices of critique regarding charismatic excesses and abuses.

Just months, eh? The keenest and most vocal criticisms of aberrant or heretical charismatic practise – contrary to what you kept saying at your conference – have always come from charismatics.

Where did I first hear that the Toronto Blessing was seriously in error? From a local Pentecostal pastor. The local cessationist pastor just ignored it, and expected his flock to ignore it. The Pentecostal pastor gave thorough biblical reasonings as to why the Toronto Blessing was in error. Similarly, the only effective criticisms of Todd Bentley and the Lakeland “Revival” that I heard came from charismatic leaders. Even Benny Hinn – himself a leader of considerable error, and not to be followd by biblically minded Christians – spoke against the Lakeland Revival, giving good reasons for disputing its authenticity! And there have been many books about error. Andrew Strom wrote “False Revivals”. Strom is still a strongly Pentecostal pastor, who recognizes and teaches about so much error taught in the name of charismatic practise. Steve Hill wrote “Spiritual Avalanche”. Hill was the main evangelist at the Pensacola Revival, which may have had some problems (as do many cessationist ministries), but was basically a move of the Spirit teaching repentance and seeing many come to genuine faith in Christ. The message of Hill's book is a call back to sound biblical doctrine and testing. What made him write the book? The idea for this biblically sound book came by a vision given to Hill by the Holy Spirit. If that last sentence freaks out cessationists, I urge you to read what Hill is calling people to. He is calling them to repentance and solid biblical truth. That was definitely not a prophecy giving new teaching.

I still have this strong sense of sadness about what you have done with this conference. It is clear that you still define charismatic practise by an observation of the aberrant fringes, rather than by those of a biblical persuasion. It is because your premise is flawed that your conclusions are mistaken. My appeal to you will surprise you, but I want you to let it sink in. Stop creating your doctrine from experience. Yes – YOU! Stop creating your doctrine from experience. Because it is your experience that gifts don't go on in your churches that has caused you to ignore the plain teachings of Scripture, that the gifts of the Spirit were given from the first Pentecost and will cease when Jesus returns, and not before.

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