Strange Fire May Have Been Right About the Majority of Charismatics. But...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Today I read through an interesting article by Lyndon Unger.  It was entitled, "So who exactly IS the mainstream of the charismatic movement?"  I found it chocked massively full of some solid research asking the questions:

  • who are the cautious-but-open crowd?
  • who are the charismaniacs?
  • who are the cessationists?
The research is based on social media results.  In Unger's words, he attempted to discover the "online influence in  the form of Twitter reach (as measured by followers) as a very rough indicator of the amount of influence and reach certain people have on the web."  

His findings were interesting.  Turns out the charismaniacs do in fact represent the majority of the charismatic movement, at least in terms that can be measured by social media. This definitely warrants some reproval.  But the problem is, I'm certain none of them are either (a) familiar with John MacArthur and #StrangeFire, or (b) even bothered to tune in and listen to any of it.  Therein lies the two primary problems with charging charismatics with "policing" their own? 
  • First, God hasn't called any member of his family to that responsibility, despite what MacArthur charges theologically-sound charismatics to do.  
  • Second, you can only reprove and rebuke those with whom you have a platform of influence.  Thus, the #StrangeFire conference was unhealthy and unreasonable on both fronts.
The real need is for sound charismatics to focus on influencing the relationships where they DO have a platform.  Ultimately, those are the only ones that can be potentially shaped and saved.  But if I don't have a platform to influence people with whom I disagree then (a) it's not my responsibility, and (b) they're not even tuned into me which means I'm wasting my time.  

Ultimately I simply end up preaching what I believe to others who already believe me, which often results in a fundamentalist rant, which means I'm sort of wasting our time.  And in the wake of such an event are often found the casualities of brothers and sisters in Christ who were painted with a broadbrush sweep which was fueled by fear and emotion rather than by word and spirit.

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