Strange Fire: Mark Driscoll open letter to John MacArthur

Strange Fire: Mark Driscoll open letter to John MacArthur October 25, 2013

There has been an interesting twist to the Strange Fire controversy and the side-show which is Mark Driscoll vs John MacArthur. In an open letter, Driscoll has challenged MacArthur to a duel I mean genial discussion with himself or Wayne Grudem at his Resurgence Conference.

The Strange Fire conference felt like one group in the Church erecting a large wall, and then yelling over the top of at it at another group.

If they really want to help the Global Church, Grace To You must look for ways to engage charismatics in a genuine conversation.

My prediction? MacArthur won’t go to Seattle. I’m not sure he wants to really do a debate or even a discussion. But I could of course be wrong. There will be a lot of gospel-loving charismatics there, so meeting some of them might help MacArthur understand that not all charismatics look like the ones he sees on TV!

I know that MacArthur has also been invited to be a participant in a discussion on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio program or to send a representative.  I hope he accepts at least one of these invites.

Here is an extract from Driscoll’s letter:

Dear Pastor John MacArthur,

Let me start by saying thank you.

Thank you for preaching the Bible year after year. As a new Christian, I listened to a lot of your sermons via technology and learned a lot of Bible from you .  .  .

Lastly, thank you for having courage and boldness. Admittedly, we disagree on some things that I would consider secondary and you would consider primary, but a man who takes the Bible seriously and has passion to defend truth is rare in our day . . .

As you may have heard, I dropped by your recent Strange Fire conference . .  .

The only difficult moments on my visit came during my interactions not with your pastoral staff, but with a few of the apparently staff security personnel. I had been handing out advance copies of my new book for free; the pastoral staff said I was welcome on campus. They were kind, and some of them even asked for photos and books, which I gave them and signed with a pen I borrowed from your son, Mark. He kindly lent it to me, we visited, and he too was very kind, very welcoming, and very gracious.

However, there were two security guards who seemed to operate in a manner inconsistent with the permission I received from the pastoral staff. These two men took turns approaching me as I was talking with and praying for people, and things got confusing.

Security said I could not hand the books out, so I stopped. But people started helping themselves to the books that remained in the box, so security said the books had to be removed . . . He told me that they were taking them to put them in a Mustang, which they apparently thought was my vehicle. I did not know what Mustang they were referring to. In any case, it was obvious that my gift books were being removed.

It was at this point that I told the security guard that, since they were going to confiscate the books anyway, they could just keep them as a gift from me. Apparently, someone recorded the final words of this conversation on video, but nothing of the prior conversations that led up to it.

As Bible teachers, we both know that people often arrive at the wrong conclusion when they extract a line out of an ongoing discussion . . . Mistakes happen. I understand. And since no one owes me anything, I am grateful I got to hang out for a bit and meet some of the pastoral staff and your son. I would’ve been glad to have met you as well . . .

At this point, I believe what would honor Jesus is for us to sit down and talk. So, I am formally inviting you to Seattle to join me on stage for our national Resurgence Conference on November 5–6 . . .

I believe this could be a very profitable discussion—especially for young leaders who will be tuning in to learn as we model how to handle disagreement. In our day when online misquoting and Internet flame throwing hinder real progress, I truly believe we have a great opportunity to model a different way of dealing with important issues for God’s glory.

Finally, I have spoken with Dr. Wayne Grudem, who has taught for both of us. If you would prefer to sit down with him instead of me at our Resurgence Conference, he has graciously agreed and would be happy to have a pleasant and polite public conversation with you about the person and work of God the Holy Spirit for one of the main sessions.   READ THE REST

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