Not if John MacArthur has anything to say about it. I read at various blogs that the California pastor recently sponsored a conference, Strange Fire, in which he and other speakers took aim at charismatics. MacArthur affirms, so I’m told, cessationism.
For the life of me I don’t understand why Protestants outside churches that confess a Reformed confession want to be known as Reformed or Calvinist. (Actually, I have a hunch but that is a topic for another time). Lutherans do not seem to have this problem. Baptists don’t want to be Lutheran. Baptists, in fact, are often suspicious of Lutherans on sacramental grounds. Charismatics also do not seem to want to be Lutheran. Perhaps Lutheranism doesn’t offer the full-throated version of divine sovereignty that Calvinism does. Either way, one of the attractions of Lutheranism for (all about) me is that you don’t have to share the road with enthusiasts.
Yet as one blogger puts it, MacArthur has a problem not just with Reformed Protestants but charismatics:
John MacArthur may go down in church history as one of the most confused pastors ever to step into a pulpit. His steroidal cognitive dissonance constantly results in insufferable hypocrisy.
For certain I thought he could not outdo himself in this regard, but he has. After writing Charismatic Chaos in 1992, he partnered with Charismatic CJ Mahaney for eight years in the Resolved conferences sponsored by his church, Grace Community in Sun Valley, California. One year after the last Resolved conference, MacArthur is hosting the 2013 Strange Fire conference that is fustigating Charismatic doctrine in no uncertain terms. The hypocrisy of it all is staggering.
MacArthur also seems to have a problem with the mysticism promoted by Charismatic theology, but yet is a close confidant of John Piper who not only has Charismatic leanings himself, but led the 2012 Passion conference in the mystic practice of Lectio Divina.
In other words, the issue of “Reformed” charismatics raises a host of problems not just for mainstream evangelical institutions like the National Association of Evangelicals and Christianity Today which has skirted issues of cessationism, but also for more explicitly Calvinistic sectors like The Gospel Coalition. After all, C. J. Mahaney was a charter member of TGC’s council and TGC council members have had apparently few problems with his charimatic views of the Holy Spirit and Christian devotion.
So far, only Thabiti Anyabwile and Kevin DeYoung have weighed in but both seem to be reluctant to name names. The latter makes the point that the Westminster Confession comes down on the side of cessationism.
That would be a vote for putting charismatics outside the Reformed camp, since belonging to a church that confesses a Reformed confession is what puts you in. But that logic also works for “Reformed” Baptists since they don’t belong to a church that confesses a Reformed confession. As worthwhile as the London Baptist confession of faith may be, it is not — as some allege — basically the Westminster Confession. In fact, Baptists could not affirm the Westminster Confession and admirably enough wrote their own confession, one that follows in outline parts of Westminster, but it is hardly the same.
What we need, then, is a better term for these Protestants who neither baptize babies nor affirm covenant theology. Here is what I propose: for charismatics, let’s call them Divine Right Pentecostals since they want to stress the sovereignty of God. And for Baptists, let’s simply use Baptist since they continue to insist on believers baptism. I don’t know what Reformed has to do with either since these charismatics and Baptists can likely affirm as much of the Augsburg Confession as they can of Westminster.