As the smoke continues to clear from the Strange Fire Conference, the internet has continued to blaze with various responses from digital evangelicalism. There have been many helpful responses, including Clint’s and Eric’s right here at The Cripplegate, as well as exceptional reflections from Tim Challies, Tim Raymond, and Fred Butler, outside the gate. You don’t want to miss Grace To You’s “Where do we go from here?” post over at their place. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point our readers back to the work that has been done on this issue here at The Cripplegate, well in advance of this conference. That’s especially the case because I continue to see objections being made that have long been answered. The post on What Cessationism Is Not is probably the most beneficial for many critics at the moment.
There have also been numerous responses from the Charismatic side of the aisle. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of their responses has produced way more heat than light (though there have been some notable exceptions, which has been encouraging; it’s nice to know that there are some who have understood the purpose of the conference). Rather than engaging the substance and the merits of the biblical arguments offered in the conference, they’ve sought to isolate what were admittedly strong statements from the conference, literally taking them out of their context, and to sensationalize them by interpreting them in the worst possible way. For all the criticisms of how the conference painted with too broad a brush, they’ve picked up a few broad brushes of their own, as the substance of the biblical argumentation is being ignored while the entire conference is dismissed as unloving and divisive.
This is how they’ve chosen to advance the narrative of the conference. And it’s an ingenious strategy, because it shields people from having to deal honestly with the substance of the theological arguments that were presented. Unfortunately, the result of that less-than-accurate narrative has been that several myths about the Strange Fire Conference have been floating and flourishing around the interwebs. I thought I’d take a post to address just a few of them.