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The Smell of Napalm

I love the smell of napalm in the morning…it smells like victory.

I’ve never seen Apocalypse Now, but Lt. Col. Kilgore’s iconic epitaph has stuck to pop culture’s collective psyche as a searing reminder of the morally numbing effects war can wreak on soldiers. Col Kilgore

Similarly, when a conference like Strange Fire is launched against the dangerous enemy of deliberate deception, there can be unintended collateral damage in the fog of war: what’s ironically known as “friendly fire.”

On the one hand, genuine believers who are sincere in their application of what they believe to be continuing gifts, may have stumbled into the line of fire, and are now left wounded in the smoldering wake of what they’ve heard. On the other side of the theological DMZ there may be a smugness that settles in the hearts of those who feel vindicated by the Strange Fire air-strike ending their battles for them. I know cessationists who think their debates with continuationist friends have now been settled once for all by the conference’s big guns.

We all need a furlough from the fight to regain some perspective on whom we are fighting against…and whom we are fighting for.

 

As was the point of a previous post, the conference was not dropping its incendiary payload on believers. The target was unbelievers who have infiltrated our ranks and sabotage the reputation of the Holy Spirit: those who claim their recumbent wiggle-and-giggle farces are a new type of worship.

Yes, the theology of the cessationist camp has implications for believers in the continuationist camp. But all Christians appreciate being challenged to examine and re-examine their views from Scripture (cf. Acts 17:11).

chopper strikeWe all oppose those who would try hijack the Holy Spirit’s reputation and drag it through the ash. I liked continuationist Stephen Altrogge’s articulation. You can tell he gets it by the title, Don’t Let Benny Hinn Steal the Holy Spirit.

Conservationists will tell you that it takes an occasional brush fire to purge dense underbrush, activate certain seeds, and generally catalyze a plot of scorched earth to send up fresh shoots of growth. It’s all very neo-environmental. The difficulties the church encounters—from persecution to petty squabbles—are opportunities for us to grow closer to the Lord and closer to each other, as our faith is tested and tempered.

1 Pet 1:7  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

And let us never have our compassion deadened to the point where we relish a fight, where we gloat in perceived victory, or be guilty of savoring the smell of theological napalm in the morning.