Well I don’t know if that is an actual apologetic category, but as I’ve watched internet discussions ignite over John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference and its polemics against Charismatics, I’ve been reflecting more broadly on this approach of using a conference platform as a polemic against certain teaching. And in this case, its against a broad swatch of folks who identify as Charismatic, some of whom are genuinely orthodox. Rightfully, they are really hurt by this approach. In my opinion, the approach is problematic more so than the content, which I pretty much agree with. It’s not so much that there is some strange doctrine and practice that needs to be addressed. For the abuses on the fringe that are deceiving a lot of people, yes absolutely. And the pushback I’ve heard validating this kind of approach is that false teaching needs to be called out.
To be fair, I’ve engaged in this myself when shai linne released Fal$e Teacher$. He called some prosperity/WoF folks out specifically by name. It was bold but got much support from people who agreed with him. And I did, so I chimed in here and pepper my blog from time to time with the intent to demonstrate that there is some teaching a lot of Christians are claiming as truth, is actually non-Christian.
But there’s a question that keeps popping up in my mind – are the ones who really need to hear this listening? You can blast false and distorted teaching all day, calling out its teachers. But those who adhere to the teaching are generally convinced of its truth. And I couldn’t help but think that this tactic probably has the opposite affect. The more you call out names and movements, the more its followers will probably tune out. What’s left is raising a megaphone to people who already agree with you. How fruitful is that, especially when unnecessary division has occurred because of failure to make proper distinctions? Continue reading