Strange Firony and Frustration

I promised to update the previous post, but life is running at mach 1 right now.


I’ll do my best to update quickly now as I providentially have around two spare hours in my day, but this will pretty much be a frantic rant.  Dr. Brown has reached out to me for dialogue and unblocked me on Twitter.  Regardless of disagreements, that’s commendable.  I have had some interaction with him privately, and that’s still ongoing.

I will say that Dr. Brown claims that he was given the impression that Phil Johnson was the person to contact in order to arrange a dialogue with John MacArthur (that’s a fairly public claim, so I don’t believe I’m revealing private correspondence).  Phil has responded to Brown’s claims today with this updated article, claiming otherwise.  Phil has provided some rather straightforward comments, where as I haven’t seen anything of corresponding clarity from Dr. Brown.  He may have responded in kind, but I haven’t seen it.

I’m in no place to comment, seeing that I don’t have the necessary information to have an opinion beyond what I’ve already insinuated:  Phil appears to address these things candidly and with straightforwardness, which makes him look more credible…

…but that situation is not really what has frustrated me with this all.
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Strange Firony…

***Update at the bottom***

I honestly, sincerely wish I could move on from the topic of the Charismatic Movement, but it just keeps on coming up.  It’s been almost two years since the Strange Fire conference, and it seemed like all the parties involved got their shots in.

The Cessationists made their reasonable appeals, made a lot of unreasonable rants, published their stuff, wrote their responses, etc.

The Continuationists basically cried about division and broad brushes.

The Pentecostals basically cried about division and broad brushes.

The Charismatics basically cried about division and broad brushes.

Charisma Magazine kept on doing everything possibly in their power to provide an endless tsunami of amazing examples as to why the Strange Fire Conference was necessary (and possibly understated things: every single word in that statement links to a separate mind-numbing article, just for a few dozen examples)

There has been biblical proportions of ink spilled on the topic and I’ve been involved in a small percentage of said spillage.  In fact, I got started blogging more seriously when Dr. Michael Brown started laying salvos against the conference, before the conference.  We interacted quite a bit and then yesterday, I saw this:
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Three Points of Strange Fire News & Dr. Michael Brown

The Internet is basically on fire right now; Strange Fire that is.  There’s a lot of stuff to say and many things to write, but I have 2 children under the age of 2 and limited time, so I’ll toss out some quick news:

1.  Phil Johnson is apparently going to be on the Line Of Fire radio show, hosted by Dr. Michael Brown, on Monday, October 21st.  I don’t know which stations carry it, but you can always listen live here or listen to the podcast afterwards.  I’ll most likely listen to it that evening while my kids are in bed.  Here’s Dr. Brown’s announcement:

2. Dr. Michael Brown has linked to something he’s written on the prosperity gospel.  It’s here, I haven’t read it, and won’t likely do so for a day or two.  Either way, feel free to examine it and share your thoughts.

3.  On Facebook, Dr. Michael Bown tossed out the following comment:

A question for all my cessationist friends: You constantly ask why I don’t rebuke charismatic abuses (actually, I do), but I have not heard you rebuke the horrific writings of Martin Luther (against the Jews and others). Why not? What he wrote was far worse than a prosperity gospel.

I then delivered this response:

If we’re responding to all the things we apparently don’t respond to, let’s make a list and I’ll make it a blog series. Serious. No tongue in cheek and no mockery at all.  I won’t downplay heresies by referring to them as “abuses” either.  I’d gladly call out false doctrine and name names of people who are wrong and a threat to the flock of God, and issue warnings in areas where I’ve been silent.  What else is there? I’d love a serious list. I’ll even enlist some other bigger guns than myself to help out.  I know “once saved always saved” is also on the list, but what else?  I’ll even do research into the things I don’t know a lot about, just so I can accurately understand and rightly/aggressively condemn that which needs it.  I make it a serious offer for you alone Dr. Brown. You can reach me via Facebook or email.

Dr. Brown hasn’t responded yet as I’m guessing there’s a lot on his plate right now (speaking of which, please don’t harass the man on Twitter or Facebook.  He’s got enough on his plate without every Strange Fire Fan tossing challenges his way), but he might within a few weeks.

Either way, I called in some bigger guns than myself and dear old Frank Turk from Pyromaniacs wrote this response.  Kudos to Frank for being so quick on the draw to step up and face challenges against the integrity of the serious cessationist crowd…and point out lousy and deceitful arguments that are constantly tossed out.

I’ve got to run to bed now, but as new challenges arise I’ll compile a post of response links that will likely become it’s own page on this blog (or something like that).

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Sleepy like a madman” Unger

Mark Driscoll, James MacDonald, Strange Fire and Leslie Nielsen

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 dudes:


The boxes of books:


Wow.  You were WAY off.

I said “dudes”, not “dukes”.  You should read more carefully…

These were the dudes:

James and Mark

(photo credit)

And they were handing out boxes of this book:

Call Resurgence

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!”

Get real.

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.

Fishing Spear

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?