Have you ever sung that song about fire fall down? You know, the one from Hillsong United? You might want to re-think that.
In the excerpt below from the Strange Fire Panel Q&A session, Todd Friel, John MacArthur, and Justin Peters discuss the theological implications of pleading with God to send fire down on us.
Clip #20: (Singing) Fire fall down, fire fall down on us, we pray… As we seek you, Fire fall down, Fire fall down on us, we pray…
TODD: About 16 thousand kids are in the auditorium right now.
Clip #20: (Singing) Fire fall down, fire fall down on us, we…
TODD: All right. Now that song, by the way, goes on for 17 minutes. The word "fire" calling down fire from heaven is a persistent theme that we hear. Theologically do we want fire to come from heaven? In the context, and Justin can point this out, too, a lot of the conversation is about feeling, a burning, being set on fire, thereby calling the fire down from heaven. Theologically how do we respond to this prayer to call down fire from heaven.
JUSTIN: I can only assume that they’re referencing Acts 2, taking an image that is tied to a larger context. The fire there is defined as, even we were talking about this morning, clear and discernible ways that essentially, ultimately it was representative of the Spirit’s coming and the Spirit’s expression was in the gift of tongues for a specific purpose, to confirm the Apostles, to confirm what He was doing, as R.C. said yesterday, and now bringing out a people for himself, confirming the Jews were, in fact, going to be a part of the church. So it has a context. But instead it’s removed from that context and made to mean something just strictly experiential.
JOHN: Yeah, and again that’s a non-repeatable event, Pentecost, as we heard from R.C. Pentecost and then the subsequent exact same reality occurs I those different people groups to somehow turn Pentecost into this kind of mockery, as if you could literally call down fire from heaven is not only unbiblical, it’s just folly. But it’s more than that, it’s manipulation. It’s all about mind control. Rodney Howard Brown is a mind manipulator.
From a human viewpoint, even more frightening is this is demonic from a supernatural viewpoint. Fire came down from heaven, of course, in Leviticus 10 and consumed the worshipers…consumed the ones who offered the sacrifice. That’s the whole point of this conference. John talked about fire baptism, John the Baptist, and that was judgment. I really don’t…these people are so a-biblical, they’re so acquainted with words, Bible words without Bible sentences, Bible words without Bible context, Bible words without Bible doctrine. They throw the words around and they become means by which they manipulate people’s minds. Fire is obviously an incendiary word. It has all kinds of implications of heat and power and energy and…I mean, that’s a perfect word for them to use to manipulate people. The next time fire comes from heaven, it’s going to engulf the world in judgment. God will not drown the world in water again, but He will end the world in fire. The elements will end with a fervent heat. It’s going to be an atomic implosion, the uncreation when the elements melt with fervent heat, that is fire from heaven.
And I don’t think anybody in his right mind would be calling down fire from heaven, because that’s…that’s…going forward, that is a judgment metaphor after Pentecost. You will be baptized by the Holy Spirit and with fire. That’s another baptism, and that’s a judgment.
Moral of the story? Lyrics matter.