Strange Fire & Megalomania

So apparently Pastor John MacArthur held a conference that has evangelicalism all ablaze these days. Entitled, "Strange Fire" (referring to Deuteronomy 10 and the sons of Aaron being consumed for offering "strange fire" to the Lord), the conference was all about the dangers and deviations of charismatic theology. 

Yawn. 

That was literally my response. Then Thabiti Anyabwile rightly corrected me. I should care more.

Now, I am a card-carrying cessationist. I do not believe that special revelatory gifts are normative in the church in the post-Apostolic period. I think there are terrible abuses that happen in charismatic circles, and there are plenty of snake-oil hucksters who need calling out. But apparently that wasn't MacArthur's approach. From everything I've read it appears he decided to anathematize every single charismatic on the face of the earth. Sort of a scorched-earth campaign. 

Oh, did I say "from everything I've read"? I'm sure you're thinking, "Brian, why didn't you listen to what John MacArthur actually said before forming your conclusions?"

Simple. I have an ironclad life rule that I commend to everyone. I refuse to listen to or take seriously anything written or said by anyone who has a Bible named after him.  And I don't care if your name is Ryrie or Scofield, either. Is this shallow of me? I don't think so.

What sort of a person allows a publishing company to put his name on a Bible? This is an amount of self-regard that, it certainly seems to me, automatically ought to disqualify someone from being a teacher in the church. I'm sure that John MacArthur has done plenty of good and had plenty to say. But I'll get along just fine without him, and so would the hundreds of thousands of people who actually do sit under his teaching. There are much better, much humbler teachers from whom we should learn.

And apparently at this conference John MacArthur accused others of "crazy megalomania."