Responding to the Authentic Fire Alarm


We had taken an extended station break for something completely different (i.e. moving and the holidays), and now back to our regularly scheduled programming!

It’s been well over two months since the Strange Fire conference occurred, and with no small significance.  During the conference, the #StrangeFire hashtag trended on Twitter bigger than some of the most popular paparazzi fodder in Hollywood.  Cessationist claims were made and misunderstood, Charismatic claims were made and misunderstood, mud was thrown on both sides, books were written, interviews (well, sorta) occurred on radio programs, debates happened again and again and again, and Charismatics on every single continent called “foul”.   Truth be told, that’s last point is not entirely confirmed per say…but I’d dare say that some of the Chilean Pentecostals in Antarctica (almost all of those being 2nd & 3rd wave charismatics) weren’t too happy about it.

Out of all those reactions, I’m tackling the “books were written” one.  Specifically, I’m going to tackle two specific books that have been written, both of which I’ve been invited to interact with by the authors themselves.  The first is Frank Viola’s e-book Pouring Holy Water on Strange Fire and the second is Dr. Michael Brown’s book Authentic Fire.  I’m going to review and interact with Frank Viola’s book alone (mostly because it’s only around 70 pages), but for the significantly larger book by Dr. Brown, I’m going to team up with the most excellent Fred Butler from Hip and Thigh and do a co-review of Authentic Fire.  Seeing that it’s a 400 page book and engaging thoroughness is more helpful than vague brevity, we’ll combine our efforts to throw down a good series that will walk through each chapter and give some helpful feedback to readers on both sides of the issue (hopefully).  Through those two popular-level books, I hope to offer some reasonable responses to the numerous critiques, as well as test the claims of “authentic fire” (and exegetical support).


I will admit that I’ve gotten a whole lot of positive and negative feedback on my coverage of the whole StrangeFire/Charismatic movement topic, and it seems that there have been a few other things that have quickly distracted from the issue of the whole Charismatic movement)…and then some:


But Phil’s apparently back, and so is Dr. Michael Brown!  He came back to our attention (kinda like this) when this photo recently appeared on the internet (along with some explanatory comments):

Brown & Hinn

We were once again reminded that the issues surrounding the global charismatic movement are still real issues that don’t go away after a few months.  Those issues are never far away for those us who attend a local church in an area where Charismatic craziness has major influence (like me), don’t watch A&E and ignore all things associated with Vision Forum/NCFIC/Conservative  weirdness from the South.  Stay tuned as I tackle Pouring Holy Water on Strange Fire over the next week and a bit, and then stay tuned for after when Fred Butler and I fly off the top rope on Authentic Fire.

Macho Man Flying Elbow Drop

I guarantee you won’t want to miss what’s coming.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Macho Man” Unger

30 thoughts on “Responding to the Authentic Fire Alarm

  1. Looking forward to the critique. Glad you didn’t refer to yourself as ‘Hulk Unger.’ 🙂 On a side note, my intuition kicked in this morning as I was preparing for worship. Brace yourself, it is either bizarre, (resulting from what I ate before going to bed last night), or ‘prophesy’; so only treat it with contempt except in the case of righteous judgment:

    As I was meditating on passages of Scripture, this one came to mind; Proverbs 5:22. And then my imagination ran wild; Benny Hinn MUST have been the puppet master orchestrating the ‘Brownsville Fleecing.’ How else could a ‘Doctor’ side with a monster unless the monster had the Doctor by the hippocratic oath (if I get exposed, you get exposed)? Yeah, must have been what I ate before bed time…..either that or two false teachers are in panic from the judgment about to befall both of them.

    I know it is the will of God that none perish, but it is also his will that men who teach little ones to sin would have been better off not to have been born. These men love mammon and hate God. I’m hoping Brown repents, leaves the ministry, and serves in a local church after his salvation. It would be better off for Hinn had he never been born. If either of you get the opportunity to plead with Brown to come clean, do so. It may not be too late for him.

    • Brad, such ugliness coming out of the mouth of a Christian. You are so off base. God soften your heart. You are so wrong concerning Michael Brown. It is interesting how you were “meditating” on scripture and you said your IMAGINATION ran wild……………….yes your imagination not God. God forgive you……………you don’t know what you are saying.

  2. I look forward to the posts. I posted my own video here asking questions and laying out my stance on the issues. It’s a bit long and rambling but sincere. I welcome insight and especially exegesis. God bless and thanks Lyndon!

  3. Mason,
    Know that cessationists believe spiritual gifts still exist in the true church as Scripture teaches. What cessationists Do Not believe is that the Apostolic gifts still exist; miracles, gifts of healing, etc. Scripture Alone. To believe otherwise is folly.

    • Hi Brad. I don’t know if you actually watched my video. However, your answer is much the same as I’ve heard from many. I don’t think you’re being mean spirited but if you watched my video and know i believe in the gifts you basically called me a fool. As someone who believes folly is either a fool or at least acting as one at that time. the bigger problem of course is you offered no exegetical explanation. you simply spoke using a term “Apostolic gifts”, that is not even in scripture. In fact, in the most literal sense for you or any of us to even believe in “Apostolic gifts” at any time even during the first century would be to deny Sola Scriptura as your term is not from the Bible.

      So Brad, unfortunately I am still left without you or anyone giving me exegetical evidence for the cessation of gifts, Apostolic or otherwise.

      On top of that since you’re employing a term that is not found in the Bible you will have to exegete how that term applies since it is not facially available in scripture.

      In many ways your final statement is not unlike that I hear from students and professors I’ve debated evolution and creation with on a campus setting. You gave no foundation let alone following framework and didn’t even begin to hang sheetrock on the “building” of your position. However, you out of hand called my “building” foolish.

      Please someone give me a biblical answer from biblical exegesis. Someone please show me where gifts so clearly spelled out and given careful and specific guidelines for use were a;so given a specific and definitive end date.

      Believe me Brad. If you watched my video you’d realize I;d rather it was clearly shown from scripture that the gifts had ceased. However, scripture doesn’t teach it. Scripture clearly teaches gifts, and guidelines for their proper operation. This is not arguable.

      My cessationist friends, however, insist that by scriptural inference and general historical evidence alone that they can call cessationism unassailable doctrine. Friends that just isn’t right.

      I am not against my cessationist brothers and sisters. I love them and minister alongside them. I disagree on this doctrine with them as I disagree on soteriolgy with others and eschatology with others. What i don’t do is lump those I differ with into the camp of those practicing “folly” because we disagree.

      If you haven’t watched the video please do. God bless!

      • Mason, you’ll be wating for a long time to get a scripturally vaild case from these cessationist believers. Their whole argument is based on experience and not scripture.

        • Onesimus! I thought you’d given up on us yokels. You willing to open up a Bible yet and attempt to explain a single passage of scripture to me yet?

          Whenever you want to work through scripture and simply not tell people to read it repeatedly until they agree with you, let me know.

      • Despite your taunt, I have yet to see you give “a single passage of scripture” that even vaguely supports the cessationist falsehoods you are so keen to promote. And in the past I have referred you to more than enough scriptural support for the continuing validity and NECESSITY of the gifts of the Spirit..
        But sadly, you like so many consider you don’t need what God provides.

        • Onesimus, you’re nothing but talk.

          When I press you for any specific details, you’ve got absolutely nothing. Discussing these matters with you is a waste of time, not because you’re stupid but because you’re intransigently unwilling to actually make efforts at dialogue. I spend an hour writing a biblical response and you ignore it, tell me to read the Bible, and insinuate that I didn’t write what I just wrote. Feel free to come back here, but unless you start offering something positive beyond telling me to read 1 Corinthians 12-14, you’re simply blowing smoke and I’m going to treat you accordingly.

          You’re now officially labelled a “Troll”.

          If you have a specific question that is not something like “can you give me a single passage of scripture that even vaguely supports cessationist falsehoods?”, please offer it. If not, Trolling rules will be applied.

        • It’s so easy for you to dismiss accountability by labelling me a “troll”.
          As I’ve said numerous times I’m not interested in the manipulation of individual verses to make them support something that is not supported by the plain and simple meaning of the text in its context. You continue to make some serious claims for which you have provided absolutely NO scriptural backing, therefore I’m not surprised that you don’t’ want to deal with requests like: ““can you give me a single passage of scripture that even vaguely supports cessationist falsehoods?”
          You clearly aren’t confident that you can prove that they are not falsehoods?

        • Onesimus came here to be a pest. He was warned, but apparently he didn’t think that the admin was serious. He’s now in the penalty box until he can show up and do something more constructive than make fat jokes.

        • Onesimus came here to be a pest. He was warned, but apparently he didn’t think that the admin was serious. He’s now in the penalty box until he can show up and do something more constructive than make fat jokes.

  4. Mason,
    I stand corrected. It is folly to believe the ‘signs’ of an apostle still exist today. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

  5. For Onesimus. Though you may not profit from this because of your low view of Scripture, lack of the Holy Spirit to illumine you to understand it, and duplicitous desire for genuine holiness, here you go anyway: “Here is wisdom” (various passages in Revelation): “When the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” (1 Cor. 13:10). Grow up little Onesimus.

  6. Brad, I have a high enough view of scripture to make sure my beliefs conform to scripture and are not merely supported by carefully selected and manipulated parts of scripture.
    And as for your 1 Cor 13 proof text, I’m happy enough to wait until the perfect HAS come before I’ll look to any spiritual gift being declared “done away” . Until then I’ll accept that Paul’s teaching on the existence and usage of Spiritual gifts remains valid and hasn’t been rendered redundant by a claimed (but unproven) Divine withdrawal of those gifts.
    And keep up the “grow up little Onesimus” type comments – they help to demonstrate the maturity of your argument.

    • I aim to please Slim. I’ve created my own niche market: theologically minded blogs for people who also have a sense of humor that rises above your average Adam Sandler movie.

  7. Onesimus didn’t think admin was serious and has resorted to condemning people to Hell. That means his welcome on this blog has been rescinded and he’s now blocked. This is block #2 in the history of this blog and he’s part of a very small, but poorly mannered, club.

  8. Hi Brad. I don’t want to get in a virtual yelling match. I genuinely love my brothers who disagree with me. I sense serious sarcasm and some arrogance in your response to me but I recognize that what is typed often lacks the nuance of spoken conversation or even video. I’m still curious. Did you watch my whole video?

    I ask because I was very clear I thought. I also hope my sincerity and a bit of my hurt and passion came across. I ask for some depth from you because I do not know you but as i see you used the classic 1 Cor. 13:10 as a response to another poster I am hoping there is something more. You have to admit that that one verse is far from a definitive exegetical proof for the cessation of Spiritual gifts.

    It would carry more inferential weight at least if it was at the end of chapter 14. However, it is not and even if it was it still would be only inferential evidence and not definitive exegetical proof. Can you please build on that with other scripture? I don’t think you can but I have been wrong before and will probably be wrong again.

    I admit as a man who struggles with pride I never like being wrong but by the grace of God if I can be convinced by scripture with clear conscience I will recant. I hope you would do the same if it were you.

    Let me show you a simple scriptural comparison. If I came to you and said I believe there is scriptural precedence for the baptism of the dead and gave you 1 Cor. 15:29 as my proof would you accept that on its face? I hope not. Yet, on its face it is a more compelling argument for that aberrant doctrine than 1 Cor. 13:10 is for cessationism.

    So I again sincerely ask you to please provide more. If you can’t I understand and don’t call you a fool. I just believe you like all of us cling to our traditions and sometimes we do so without full biblical backing for it. None of us have it all right. Looking forward to any insight you or anyone else can give. God bless!

    • Mason,
      I tried to watch your video. You lost my attention in less than two minutes. I kept watching into the ten minute mark. Late last night, I tried again, and all I heard was blah, blah, blah–not insinuating nor calling you a fool, (and if you think that way, it is because your own conscience is convicting you, as maybe it should). The time for concern is when the conscience stops convicting us. Look, It is not a sin for a believer to despise a vile man. See Psalm 15. Meditate on it. Strengthen your weak knees! I just get bored when nothing is being said that hasn’t been said before and is STILL an argument against all sound doctrine; proof of either immaturity, or worse, a self-condemned man. I am not being sarcastic, I am speaking the truth to you. You need to hear the truth.

      As far as the one verse I cited for little Onesimus (or you Mason), it is really insignificant-if you refuse to accept sound doctrine and the solid truth that God’s Holy Word, spoken through His breathe, is the Perfect that has come. The same chapter states clearly that tongues will cease. Chapter 13 is written in-between 12 and 14 as an admonition for to the church to mature– and in perfect context when you consider its placement. The Holy Spirit is perfect, makes no mistakes. .

      I have no intent to wrangle over words that will further lead to uselessness and ungodliness, nor can I flex ‘theological’ muscles. But Mason, there are certain gifts that accompanied an apostle (gifts to prove he was indeed an apostle because the New Testament wasn’t written yet to complete the Old). You need to read Daniel’s prayer. The man in hell was told, “if your brothers won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not believe Jesus rose from the dead.

      • Brad,
        I agree with much of what you’re saying. However, on my request to exegete your view on 1 Cor. 13:10 you have rather eisegeted the text. I will not belabor the point because I believe you will deny either short or long reasoning due to your tradition based presuppossitions regarding cessationism. Here is your quote:

        “there are certain gifts that accompanied an apostle (gifts to prove he was indeed an apostle because the New Testament wasn’t written yet to complete the Old)”

        You must admit that that statement is speculation based on inference(eisegesis). I assume you are speaking of 2 Cor. 12:12. If so while that verse clearly states that “signs”, “wonders”, and “mighty deeds” are signs of apostles it nowhere states that they were done only for confirming their apostleship.

        Christ Himself did many signs and wonders nd they did testify to His deity as He declared. However, that reason also was accompanied by His compassion for those He healed, as seen by His statements as people being like sheep without a shepherd, or even His weeping outside Lazarus tomb.

        As 1 Cor. 12-14 obviously are being spoken to a church and it is plainly stated that these various gifts are used both for edification of the body and as a witness to the world, and seeing that some of the very gifts described fall into categories of wonderful signs and mighty deeds it is clear that miraculous signs and wonders could expect to be seen from those in a local body. That is plainly seen from reading that passage.

        I don’t assume you believe healings, tongues, prophecies and miracles only came through the hands of the Apostles even in the first century. Yet, if that is the case you have an even greater mountain to climb then I suspect.

        yes I fully agree that when that which is perfect has come gifts will cease. However, you must admit that celar interpretation of language gives no validation for your claim that the perfection spoken of is the completed canon. You must if you are being honest admit you assume that is Paul’s meaning and you infer and or eisegete that as it is not explicitly stated.

        i could go on but have already probably spent to much time already. God bless Brad.

  9. I listened to the debate/dialog between Steve Camp and Adrian Warnock, that was a a very helpful, wonderful exchange between brothers, I only saw that it existed through this post. Thanks for all the work you’ve been putting into this important debate, Lyndon…it is much appreciated!

  10. To Mason and Onesimus: A plea for forgiveness.

    My former comments addressed to each of you were neither wise nor healing, and certainly not a reflection of the telios contained in 1 Corinthians 13. The opinions I expressed served only to expose a lack of diligent study and genuine love in my heart for the two of you. I repent and ask forgiveness from both of you for my perceived apathy. Continue to bury the treasure of Scripture in your hearts. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5,6)

      • Mason: While we will no doubt have differing views on all of this, your gentle manner resonates with me. I’m relatively new to cessationism, having been in charismatic circles for many years. Actual bible teaching from the pulpit was quite rare – we lived mostly on anecdotes and enthusiasm. Something that initially caused me to question what we believed was the fact that what we were labeling as miraculous was a very pale substitute for what we would read about in the scripture. I found out many years later that most of us felt the same way, but no one wanted to make a negative confession, so we buried our concerns under more activity. Not having had any formal biblical training, I cannot exegete anything, so I’ll leave that to the likes of Lyndon. I would, however, like your take on a question. Many, like Onesimus, are looking for that text that says plainly that certain of the gifts will not continue, and I understand that. As one who sees all the gifts as continuing, are you in the position, as I was, that believes that all the gifts are available, but we really aren’t seeing or experiencing them (due to a general lack of faith on the church’s part, or some other reason)? Or have you experienced the same, powerful miracles recorded in Acts? We did not, and had to begin asking some very uncomfortable questions.

        • Thanks for the comments Ed. I definitely couldn’t nail down why we don’t see the gifts more prevalently displayed today. I can say I’ve heard testimony of miraculous happenings in other countries especially where there is no Bible. Is this because God is working in an Acts like way to verify the Word? I don’t know.

          I can only look at what scripture says and not vary from the plain reading of the text unless the overall testimony of scripture calls for an other than literal interpretation(poetic, anthropomorphic language, spiritual/prophetic language, etc.).

          It doesn’t take a great deal of formal training(of which I have none either)to read 1 Cor. 12-14 and clearly see this is instruction for the church of God.

          All I’m asking my cessationist friends to do is show me in tat section or anywhere else in scripture where it is clear that the gifts have a date or even general time to cease. I’ve never seen one.

          I just bought a kindle ebook dealing with this subject as I want to give all the best in the debate their say. I hope it helps line out the issue. if anybody else is interested in checking it out heres the link. It seems to be on sale so I just got it.

          God bless!

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