An authentic response to Strange Fire

AuthenticFireI thought I would do a brief follow-up to my post “The strange thing about strange fire” that I wrote last November which turned out to be one of my most responded to posts to date.

Two things I want to bring to your attention here.

First, I want to highlight that Dr. Michael Brown has published a book “Authentic Fire,” which is an unofficial charismatic response to John MacArthur’s recent book, “Strange Fire.”

Secondly, one of my favorite authors (I have many!), Frank Viola, interviewed Dr. Brown this week on his blog, Beyond Evangelical, which I  recommend as a good read for you if you’re interested in the dialogue going on about this subject. To read this interview, go here

While I will leave the doctrinal details and debating over these kinds of things to the theologians and scholars, I think this is an important subject for two reasons:

John MacArthur has great influence on the body of Christ at large. And this is rightfully deserved because he is a phenomenal teacher of God’s Word. But this is also precisely why a thoughtful, gracious and biblically sound response is needed. For I believe his sweeping condemnations against fellow believers for just being Charismatic–throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater if you will–will cause needless confusion and harm. Certainly, the self-appointed witch hunters and watchdogs will use this as welcome ammunition to further bash their Charismatic brethren (whether it’s deserved or not). And some honest seekers of God will be kept from authentic expressions of the fuller experience of the Kingdom of God because of his influence.

The second reason is that his attack on a whole segment of the body of Christ over doctrinal interpretation on secondary issues–like how a believer is supposed to function in the gifts (rather than the central tenets of the faith established in the creeds)–is not only unhealthy for the edifying of the body of Christ at large, it potentially undermines the witness of the Church on the earth to the world God dearly loves. Don’t the scoffers and naysayers already have enough of this kind of ungracious fire between believers to point to for reasons why they would never become Christians? After all, Jesus said the world will know us by our love for one another, not by our doctrinal correctness or agreement (Jn.13:35).

I have not read Dr. Brown’s book yet but I was fascinated with the interview and have purchased the book and it’s now on my Kindle ready to be read at a future date. I did read Dr. Brown’s blog post “Preface to Authentic Fire” on the purpose of the book. Here is an excerpt from that post…

“Authentic Fire is not meant to be a rebuttal of Strange Fire at every point. Instead, while interacting at times with material from the book and conference, and while correcting what I believe to be serious errors and misstatements, the book is more of a positive response to Strange Fire. So it is my hope that Authentic Fire will serve a lasting, worthwhile purpose even for those who will never read Strange Fire.”

I also join Dr. Brown in his gracious prayer, “that the Lord Jesus, John MacArthur’s Savior as well as mine, would be glorified through this book, that His people would be built up and unified, and that together, we would touch a dying world in the life and power of the Spirit.”

Amen and amen.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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19 Responses to An authentic response to Strange Fire

  1. loopyloo305 says:

    Satan is very good at finding ways to distract us from doing the real work that Jesus instructed us to do. He simply throws a bone of contention into the pack and we turn on each other. We need to worry about the “beam in our own eye” and getting our work done instead of proving others wrong. God is perfectly capable of showing the truth Himself. God bless you my friend!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, absolutely. And maybe we’ll finally stop being the Holy Spirit for others and let Him be the Holy Spirit for a change. I think He’s better at it than us.

      Self control is the only control in the Kingdom of God. And it’s a fruit of the Spirit. Maybe we ought to try that. Just a thought… 🙂

      Thanks for your comments here. Much appreciated. Many blessings to you too!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Pastor Mel, I want to thank you for you sermons on Discovering the Father Heart of God. Amidst all the demonisation of the people such as Bill Johnson on the internet, your teachings gave me the courage to reach out to the Father as a son of God rather than the unfortunate sinner that God can only tolerate by only through the blood of Christ. Up until then I had only imagened Christ holding God back from smitting me at every turn. Even though I had received a revelation of how we come to Christ and stay there never moving towards the Father it has taken me over a year to embrace the new level God is opening up for us. Its like I said the demonisation of Bill was a stumbling block for me, but bringing in your teaching on how God is the one who gaurds us helped me leap straight into Bill Johnson’s book ” When Heaven invades Earth” and I know my life is about to be radically changed. You might think you are a Pastor in a little church on the Prairie but God has used you to touch someone on another continent and country namely South Africa. God Bless you with abundance of His Presence with fresh encounters in Him that storm down the gates of hell and has the darkness running for cover, may every city you put your foot on have the devils scurring out like rats on a sinking ship. Thank you Brother Mel

    • Mel Wild says:

      Wow! Your gracious comments here are quite humbling. You made my day…no, my year! Praise God! I may break into a doxology here! 🙂 For my passion is to show the world that God is not what religion has made Him out to be. That Jesus is so beautiful, so radiant, so gracious, and the Father is SO good and so loving and the Spirit of God is so intimate and relentlessly compelling and desirable. To prove that God’s will for us is always good, acceptable and perfect (Rom.12:2). To give His beloved the courage to find the Father’s embrace. So, your testimony here is exactly why I write and teach.

      So…THANK YOU!

      And many more blessings to you as you journey further into His heart. Always know that you are loved. God is always with you and for you.

  3. Mel, I had to back and read your first post, and the interview in order to comment intelligently here about the subject. First, your response to the comment above, “God is not what religion has made Him out to be,” is really at the heart of it all. He is so much bigger, wiser and inclusive than we can ever hope to be it’s a wonder we get any of it right at all. Second, two Scriptures come to mind that we tend to forget when pointing the finger at others: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) and

  4. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35) If we are not following those two Scriptures, we are not unifying the body, of which Christ is the Head.

    Sorry – accidentally hit the “post comment” button too soon. 😦

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, you got it right there, Susan. If we think that our fellowship must be based on truth, which most people mean our interpretation of truth, then we will be forever divided and actually working against what Jesus is saying in John 13:35. That’s the same religious spirit, the “leaven of the Pharisees,” that Jesus warned against (Mark 8:15).It’s the twin brother of the political spirit (Herod). But if our unity is based on the Holy Spirit (Eph.4:3), which is always camped in and around the Father’s love, then we have love and have accomplished what Jesus is telling us, not to mention, answering His prayer in John 17:23. For unity is in the Father’s love, not in our doctrinal correctness. This is why sonship and identity is a critical revelation. Without it we will still act like divisive religious orphans.

      John also said that if we do not have love we even don’t know God (1 John 4:8). The two are inseparably tied together. And love trumps having to be right. And this love drives out the fear that religion brings which is where all these Christian witch hunts come from.

  5. Amen! Awesome post Mel… thank you for bringing clarity to this issue 😉

  6. naggie007 says:

    Religious orphan … Been there, been that!! 😉
    Praise God that He has revealed Himself to me! Transformed me, so that His love in me means it’s not about being right or wrong, but contending for truth, remaining teachable and above all … Loving!!
    Praise God that He allows us to have our identity in Him … And that we can be secure in who we are in Him, and who He is in us. He is good, oh so good!!
    Let’s band together to seek His revelation, not our own interpretation. And let’s love, because according to Him it’s what binds us all together in perfect harmony!!
    Bless you Mel for walking in love … 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, you’ve got it. I’ve been there too, as the religious orphan, as I’ve shared in other posts, And finding out who we are is the key to transformation. And it’s resting in the Father’s love that brings real unity, even with our great diversity. Blessings to you too. 🙂

  7. Mel, I must ask… how do you remain certain of all that you believe? The reason I ask is that there are SO many that accuse God’s most amazing men & women as being false prophets. For me the teaching of Bill Johnson, Graham Cooke, Shawn Bolz, Kris V etc. all bring me peace & a hope beyond measure BUT these men are continuously slandered and then I feel my joy slip away as I question am I being deceived :-(. I love Jesus and believe He is more able to protect me from deception than what the enemy is able to lead me into deception but I still get discouraged. How do you just stay firm & know that you know you are on the right track? Many thanks XX

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, and you pose a great question that cannot be answered briefly! 🙂 But you got it when you said that Jesus is able to protect you. His sheep hear His voice and won’t follow another. And His love casts out our orphan fear of falling or failing. The safety comes with staying humble and teachable in His hands.

      Like with King David, our greatest weapon is intimacy with God. And it’s always a walk of faith. Truth is a Person more than a doctrine of man. And He promises to lead us into all truth. And this truth is confirmed in His Word by Him, not Bible commentaries. Bible commentaries can help, but they shouldn’t be our source. As it’s been said, God spoke and the rest is commentary!

      Like those who handle the real money in banks, they can spot a counterfeit in a moment. When you have revelation of something, it changes you and the enemy can’t steal it from you. And the main way he tries to do this is through religious pride and dogma. You know it’s God when you come alive as it resonates in your deepest of hearts, while not conflicting with His “more sure word,” the Scripture. Again, what Scripture actually says, not what man tells you what it says. And again, staying humble and teachable.

      I may write a post in the future on why so much has been said against Bill Johnson, Graham Cooke and others. No one has been more demonized, mischaracterized, misunderstood, given less grace than these men lately. And the alleged wrong-doings are usually based on either taking what they said out of context and adding their own meaning, or simply because they disagree with traditionally-held doctrinal views, rather than what the Word of God actually says.

      And while no one is perfect and not everything they say may be perfect truth, the main reason is because it’s the same as it’s always been–former moves of God persecuting the current move of God. Remember, Luther was called a heretic. His followers killed the Anabaptists, and so it goes. I believe that evangelicalism is in a state of major reform and transition. But if it doesn’t change, it will collapse. Many have written on this. And it won’t be because people are falling away from the Truth, but because they are not advancing with the Truth. As I said in another post, an eagle must molt, and this is good thing. It’s a God-thing. 🙂

      Having said all this, I am certain of what I believe because He has set me free from my orphan heart and brought me home! I’ve still got a long way to go but I finally know who I am. And the teachings of these ministries resonate in this place of love and rest. It doesn’t mean I have to agree in lock-step. And I am not afraid at all to disagree, nor will it affect my relationship with them, or any other of my brothers and sisters for that matter. I have been changed and I will never go back to the relatively lifeless religion I embraced before. I must go forward, not backward.

      Blessings to you as you pursue Him!

      • Ayanda says:

        Hi Mel

        Sorry my previous comment came as anonymous, what can I say sometimes technology is a challenge. Mel I can’t find your e-mail on any of your sites, I would like to share my testimony with you and it is a bit lengthy and I need help in making sense of the revelation Jesus gave me and my experience of it. Please

      • Thank you for your quick reply 🙂 All Sooooo well said, it has put my heart & mind at ease to know that ‘His love casts out our orphan fear of falling or failing’. When are you publishing a book?? Seriously, I really look forward to your posts & I am so blessed to have ‘access’ to such a teacher as yourself. May God ambush you with His extravagant blessing’s. Bless Bless Bless you & your’s!

  8. Pingback: An inconvenient history for Cessationism | In My Father's House

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