The most serious crimes against God occur in corrupt worship.
John MacArthur made that bold assertion three years ago this week in the opening session of the Strange Fire conference. His point—which should come as no surprise to students of God’s Word—is that the Lord takes seriously what people do and say in His name.
John went on to illustrate his point with the Old Testament account of Nadab and Abihu. Leviticus 10:1-2 presents the pertinent details:
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.
The point of that story—and their abrupt execution—is clear: God will not be mocked or trifled with, especially when it comes to careless, perverse, and false worship.
But what does that have to do with the charismatic church? I’ll let John explain in this short video clip from the same message, simply titled “Strange Fire.”
That was the warning John MacArthur and the others speakers at Strange Fire issued to the charismatic church. And what I find so shocking three years later is just how little attention the charismatic church seems to have paid. While I didn’t expect an immediate and comprehensive reformation of the charismatic church to take place in the aftermath of Strange Fire, I am surprised that so many charismatic leaders have carried on with business as usual.
The real fruit of the conference has been evident in the lives of people like you. For those at the conference and the thousands more who have listened to the sermons since then, the conference has emboldened their witness, deepened their discernment, and encouraged their commitment to faithful, biblical worship. It has prompted people like you to be more vigorous in their defense of the gospel and more energetic in their study of Scripture. It has stimulated their love for God and His Word, and helped them become valuable assets to their local churches.
That’s why we take this annual opportunity to draw your attention back to the lessons and resources that sprang out of the Strange Fire conference. In spite of the ongoing abuse of the Holy Spirit that still dominates the charismatic movement, we are confident that God is working through these sermons and articles in the lives of His people. We’re thankful for that work, and eager to see it continue into the next generation of the church, and beyond.
You can watch or listen to “Strange Fire” and all the other messages from the conference here.
And for the sake of encouraging one another in the truth, we want to hear from you in the comments below. How has the Lord used Strange Fire—both the conference and John MacArthur’s book by the same name—to deepen your discernment and your love for His Word? And particularly for those of you who were once part of the charismatic church, what did God use to draw you out of that corrupt, abusive movement?