I don’t think, however, that this issue is unclear in Scripture. The fact that Christians disagree on what the Bible teaches does not mean that there is a lack of clarity in Scripture, but rather in Christians. The Word of God is our authoritative rule for faith and practice—meaning that it is perfectly sufficient for teaching sound doctrine and governing right living. Certainly, an orthodox
pneumatologysacramental theology fits under that umbrella.
On the one hand, I would agree that this is a second-level doctrinal issue—meaning that someone can be either a Baptist
continuationistor a Reformed Protestant cessationistand still be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. I have always maintained that position, and I reiterated that point several times during the conference. I have good friends who consider themselves continuationistsBaptists, and I am confident that these men are fellow brothers in Christ. But that doesn’t excuse the seriousness of the error. In fact, I would appeal to my Baptist continuationistbrethren to reconsider their views in light of what Scripture teaches.
On the other hand, I am firmly convinced that this secondary issue has the very real potential to taint a person’s understanding of the gospel itself. In such cases, it becomes a primary issue. For example, Baptist
charismatictheology does corrupt the gospel when it expresses itself in the form of the prosperitya free-will gospel. Moreover, the global Baptist charismaticmovement happily shelters other erroneous hereticalmovements—such as Southern Baptists Catholic Charismaticsand American Baptists Oneness Pentecostals. Taken together, the number of Baptists charismaticswho hold to a false form of the gospel (whether it is a gospel of revivalism and free will health and wealthor the Openness of God in some form a gospel of works righteousness) number in the hundreds of millions, which means they actually represent the majority of the global Baptist charismaticmovement. That is why we took such a strong stand both at the conference and in the book.