I am a firm believer in Al Mohlers Theological Triage. Simply put, there are three levels of theological urgency.
First level doctrines are absolutes that are non-negotiable such as inspiration of scripture, virgin birth, deity of Christ,justification by faith alone, the resurrection, and the gospel of Christ. Denial of one or all is clear denial of the Christian faith. This means we should never fellowship with,embrace, or sanction anyone who denies cardinal doctrines of the faith.
Second level beliefs are those that distinguish one church or denomination from another. These involve issues such as frequency of the Lord’s table, mode of baptism, continuationism, cessationistionism, complimentarian, egalitarian. These things may identify and distinguish but must never become grounds for close fellowship and certainly should never become the “litmus test” for whether one is viewed as being Christian.
Third level doctrines are non-essential beliefs. What time your church service starts, multisite video campuses, eschatological beliefs regarding pre-mid-post tribulation period, and views about the millennium.
John MacArthur has elevated second tier beliefs regarding charismatic gifts to first level essentials for defining who is and is not Christian. To borrow a friends term, that’s just Poppycock!
MacArthur is “off the gospel reservation” and is guilty of causing the very chaos he is supposedly warning others about. I say this as one who has throughly enjoyed his ministry over the years and have greatly benefited by his commitment to sound exegesis.
The arrogance of MacArthur leveling charges at all charismatic continuationist today as his means for rejecting us as “christian”, when the first century Corinthian church was guilty of the same fleshly chaos and even worse culpable behaviors and yet the Apostle Paul called them Redeemed Saints, the Temple of God, and brothers in Christ.
With that said, here are some of the best responses to the Strange fire conference.