Well, I was cross-border shopping this afternoon and playing in a park with my kids, but when I got back to the border, my phone went nuts with alerts/messages. Apparently some rather ironic and humorous events happened today at the Strange Fire conference involving two well-known
continuationist practical cessationist dudes and some boxes of books. I’m guessing you already know what I’m talking about…
The boxes of books:
Wow. You were WAY off.
I said “dudes”, not “dukes”. You should read more carefully…
These were the dudes:
And they were handing out boxes of this book:
Now there are two sides saying what did and what did not happen, and since I wasn’t there I won’t weigh in with any ideas along the lines of that…but I will weigh in on the fact that they tried it.
Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald pastor larger churches than Grace Community Church that hold equally large, if not substantially bigger, conferences than the Strange Fire conference. They know full well what is involved in putting on a colossal event like this. They understand the sheer scale of organization, planning, security, etc. They know that book sellers are vetted, security is tight, and goof-balls tend to show up by the bus load in order to seize the opportunity to protest against you for something you said months, or years, ago regarding whatever their pet peeve (or neurotic heresy) is.
They also know that they would never let anyone just wander into their conferences and start distributing literature…especially someone well known. Honestly, if someone like Andy Stanley showed up at one of their conferences, uninvited and unannounced and distributing books, they’d wonder what in the world was going on. They wouldn’t say “Oh! Andy Stanley? You’re a celebrity pastor! Come on in! I don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re Andy Stanley! Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing!”
The fact that it was Andy Stanley, a guy who could just pick up the phone and make everything above board and official in around 5 minutes, would make his appearance look more suspicious. They’d probably stop him and have some questions for him, and for good reason. So, when Mark Driscoll goes on Twitter and says things like this:
He’s simply capitalizing on the event and trying to rile up his base of devotees. His base of devotees don’t understand what’s actually happening in the whole hullabaloo and treat it like there’s some sort of religious persecution going on, or some nefarious activity going on. There isn’t religious persecution. It was a stunt, plain and simple, made to drum up attention and have a little cheap fun.
Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald went there knowing full well that something like that would probably go down.
Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald went there knowing full well that this would create a stir.
Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald would have done the same exact thing if they were hosting the conference.
It’s called free publicity, and to their credit it worked. (I know what you’re thinking but this post isn’t over yet)
So, for all the people in the Cessationist camp who are getting their knickers in a knot, here’s a proverb for you:
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11
Pick your fights carefully and choose your hills to die on. This is not a fight worth pursuing, and not a hill to die on. Don’t let your tongue sin because you think you understand more than you do. I don’t have the real facts and neither do you. It’s maybe offensive to you, but honestly, calm down…because nobody cares what you or I think. We’re really irrelevant to this who scenario and need to remember that.
If Phil Johnson and Austin Duncan didn’t get all riled up about it (and they’re a whole lot more “in the know” than myself or any of my readers), then you may want to pay attention to their gracious (and light-hearted) example. Here’s their response from Twitter:
BUT, I couldn’t help but notice an amazing irony. Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald weren’t just cruising around the neighborhood. Mark Driscoll is from Seattle and James MacDonald is from Chicago, and they were in town for a different conference called the Act Like Men conference. They weren’t attending either; they were headline speakers (along with Matt Chandler, Greg Laurie, and Eric Mason…none of whom, for some reason, were part of the whole hijinks…hmmm…).
So those two guys were teaching at conference on manhood and left to go out and act like giggling teenage boys.
Their example of manhood was actually boyhood.
I know I’m not the only one to recognize the irony, but I’m probably the first one to provide an adequate visual example of what they did.
It’s basically like a real life example of this:
What they did was even more hilarious.
Do either of them fully comprehend how utterly hilarious the juxtaposition between the conference and their actions are…and the joke is definitely on them.
Honored sirs, you have got to know that part of biblical manhood is knowing when to do dumb things and having a regularly increasing pattern of reeling yourself in when you feel like doing something dumb.
Even if your sinful/silly desires pull on you so hard they yank you off the shore, you have to learn to not drop the rod.
Brothers, don’t drop the rod.
Your sons are watching you (not just listening to what you say at conferences) and will magnify the example of what they see, as well as what they hear (they are younger and less discerning than you, after all…).
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “Yes, I know that’s not a fishing rod…and it was a horrible analogy in the first place!” Unger
P.S. – Mark Driscoll does look like an aging Luke Duke with a beard, but James MacDonald looks a lot like Principle Strickland from Back to the Future with a goatee…am I right?