Anyway, I thought about that when I saw this tweet from Adrian Warnock defending(?) the Charismatic movement in the wake of the Strange Fire conference:
If we researched & criticised all the crooks, cons, and cookies in the Charismatic Movement we'd have no time for anything else #StrangeFire
— Adrian Warnock (@adrianwarnock) October 17, 2013
So first off, I'm not sure if he's offering a defense or conceding. Wasn't it a large part of the Strange Fire case that the Charismatic movement is overwhelmingly full of "crooks, cons and cookies"? It would be tempting to just say "you're exactly right, now what are you going to do about it?" and move on.
But we need to press a step further.
It's obvious to anyone (except maybe discernment masters like James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll - who, lest we forget, absolutely should know better) that this movement is overrun by heretics and charlatans. It's nice to see Warnock agree. But the question remains, is this a bug of the system, or is it a feature?
Is the flood of "crooks, cons, and cookies" a bug - an error resulting from a few bad lines of code in an otherwise sound program, that can be fixed by a simple patch? Does it just need a minor recalibration, maybe a reboot, and everything will run smoothly? No doubt this is where Warnock stands - it's a good program, but inevitably something goes wrong somewhere, and BOOM - heretics!
Or is it a feature - is it how the system is designed? Is this overwhelming amount of heretics exactly what you'd expect when the system works? I think, and I believe MacArthur and friends made the case very convincingly, that this is an utterly predictable result of the distinctives of Charismatic theology. It's not an occasional aberration; the faithful ones like Piper, Grudem, Warnock, etc are the aberrations.
What else would you expect from a system that promises ongoing divine revelation apart from scripture? People will say all kinds of garbage and claim it's God. Or some will define prophecy down, so God's word will become errant and/or can be ignored at will. Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that?
What else would you expect from a system that teaches a second-tier, higher-plane experience for only some believers, which manifests itself in a particular physical act? Do you think maybe people will try to make themselves do that, and fake it till they make it?
What do you expect when such obvious fakery cannot be questioned under fear of blaspheming the Spirit?
We could go on, but I think that's sufficient for now. Why would we expect anything other than an overwhelming number of blatant false teachers, when all the distinctives of that theology promote the faking of supernatural revelation and signs? Another programming saying comes to mind - garbage in, garbage out.