Lyndon and I finished up our main, chapter-by-chapter review of Dr. Michael Brown’s book, Authentic Fire, a response to the Strange Fire conference and John MacArthur’s book by the same name. The links to those reviews of the ten chapters can be located HERE.
There are four appendices included with Authentic Fire written by four guys supportive of Dr. Brown’s criticisms of the Strange Fire conference. When Lyndon and I discussed the chapter reviews, we focused upon interacting with Dr. Brown’s chapters and didn’t really discuss including a review of the each of the appendices.
Of the four appendices, the first one written by Craig Keener is the only one really begging for a review. Lyndon, thankfully, dove in and provided that here,
The review is long and exhausting, but it is worth reading every word, because Lyndon, in my mind, totally lays to waste the idea that Keener is some sort of trustworthy expert on the charismatic movement and modern day miracles. It has always baffled me why otherwise sound-thinking people would latch onto Keener as the go-to “scholar” just because he wrote a 2 volume work on miracles.
The first volume has some positive things to say against anti-supernaturalism, but as I have argued, and as Lyndon also argues in his latest review of Keener’s appendix, cessationists are not anti-supernatural. Never have been. Just because cessationists aren’t convinced some guy with a sore neck was healed at a tent revival doesn’t mean they are anti-supernatural.
I realize a number of folks <cough> Steve Hays <cough> will complain that Keener’s research involves much more than recounting anecdotal stories about people, their sore knees, and getting healed at a tent revival, but honestly, that is exactly what Keener does. It’s a joke, really, and a waste of 40 bucks if you purchase the 2 volumes thinking he has documented some awe-inducing scholarly evidence proving modern day faith healers walk among us.
As Lyndon demonstrates in his review, the fact that Keener is willing to give a pass to the most outrageous and ridiculous charismatic nonsense is worrisome. His dismissal of the profound problems with African prosperity gospel charismaticism as being non-existent is also troubling, if not demonstrable of his naive, Pollyannish view of Pentecostalism in third world countries.
Yet even more disturbing is how apologetic ministries like STR and even Triablogue, with whom I have gone a few rounds regarding charismaticism (and will more than likely respond to this very post), are so supportive of the guy as if he is unanswerable with rock solid argumentation.
Lyndon has done a good job interacting with what Keener presents, and his review of his appendix, which really is a way, way scaled down version of his books on miracles, gives you a glimpse into why he has not really provided anything meaningful in response to the Strange Fire conference specifically, and to cessationsim in general.