What Johnson didn't count on was the skeptical undertow he brought with him as a cessationist and employee of a chief charismatic critic.
In response, charismatics didn't disagree with Johnson as much as they worried about what he wasn't saying, which only served to put Johnson on the defensive. Here was the volley that followed Johnson's essays:
To quote Paul Newman's Cool-Hand Luke, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."
I did not disagree a single bit with Johnson's criticism of "rubber prophecies" and "geographical spiritual warfare." It's not just weird, much of it is patently unBiblical. Not extra-Biblical, just flat out can't find justification for it in the Word.
Johnson, to his credit, continues to emphasize he was not attacking Charismatics. He has added a list of charismatics he finds acceptable, which I think is criticial in a time when members of the God Blogosphere could re-open wounds I felt were only recently healing. Johnson is a cessationist, but he is for the Gospel, and he is for anyone else who is for the Gospel.
And that is really what he is defending. Anyone who puts unneccesary emphasis on orthopraxy -- such as charismatic practices -- deemphasizes the primary agenda of all Bible-based Christians, which is the Gospel. It must -- without any hinderance -- be the focus of our spiritual growth and our missional outlook.
I am a charismatic with some highly suspect experiences. It's important to me that everyone knows I receive these as a gift from God, but I will never deem it mandatory for the whole Church body. It's not even important to me that cessationists change their mind. I believe cessationists function in the gifts whether they believe they are or not. I don't say that to offend. I only want to downplay what I consider a issue of methodology and practice, and put back on the pedastal what we want to honor.
I hope as this blogstorm rolls on, we keep in mind the things on which we agree. No one is denying the divinity of Christ. No one is changing the formula for which we are to be saved. To me knowledge, none of those involved are denying the Trinity, the virgin birth, or -- and perhaps especially -- the divine authority of canonized Scripture.
What will be debated is methodology and orthopraxy, which are lesser forms of theology that should never, ever divide us.