John MacArthur accuses half-a-billion Christians of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

See also the following posts: 

Today one in four of the two billion people who identify themselves as Christians are Charismatics or Pentecostals (ref).  I want to be absolutely clear that I am very happy to identify myself as one of their number.  Do I have concerns about some charismatic leaders? Of course!  Do I believe that abuses have occurred in many places? YES.  There are some who call themselves charismatics, but their beliefs and practices are frankly unbiblical. Surely there are extremes in every movement.

Unapologetically, I do believe that much good is coming out of our movement. The Charismatics and Pentecostals are acknowledged by experts to be  proliferating like no other previous movement in history. It seems to me that the movement contains many  vibrant, faith-filled people who have a deep trust in God, a sense of a relationship with God, and a strong desire to share the gospel.  Outside of the West the Charismatic and Pentecostal Movement dominates the Evangelical church.  Whether you are Charismatic or not yourself, I hope you agree that these hundreds of millions of people are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and that we share in salvation together as one Body.

You can imagine then that I was a bit disappointed  when I first heard that John MacArthur was hosting a conference entitled “Strange Fire,” about what he feels are the errors of the Charismatic Movement. It seems pretty clear from this title and the use of Leviticus 10:1–2 that this is likely to be a conference hostile to the ideas I hold dear. But, of course I accept that there are cessationsts who think differently on these issues. I concluded that there was nothing I needed to say about it at the time.

What has totally shocked and appalled me now, however, is viewing the brief clip with which I end this post. In it John MacArthur accuses the charismatic movement as a whole of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit:

Here is a transcript of the relevant portions:

“Why don’t evangelical leaders speak against this movement?  Why is their such silence? Look When somebody attacks the person of Christ the Evangelical world rises up and says “no, no, no!”  . . . the Holy Spirit has been under massive assault for decades and decades, and Ive been asking the question ‘where are the people rising up in protest against the abuse and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?‘ The only thing I can suggest is that they have been literally backed up into a corner by intimidation that they need to be loving and accepting and tolerant and not divisive in the body of Christ, thats been the mantra. . .”

This clip does not appear to limit the accusation of blasphemy but applies it the whole movement. This is very serious and concerning since Jesus describes  blasphemy against the Holy Spirt as the unforgivable sin (Mark 3:28-29).  Christians should not accuse one another lightly of this sin.

I have reviewed the other other media clips by MacArthur and in various places he speaks of  “aberrations, heresies, terrible manipulation and deception,”  claims that in the Charismatic Movement an implanting of the Word of God into people “just doesn’t happen,” and that the movement has a “wrong understanding of Scripture.”

Its clear that MacArthur is an extreme cessationist as he even states in one of these clips that he believes that we cannot bind Satan, something that I am surprised to hear, since even traditional denominations have exorcism rites.

In the clip “Why is it important to warn people against charismatic error?” he assumes that all charismatics teach that if you give them money you will get health and wealth.  He then states,“people caught up in any kind of error are cut off from God’s blessing.”  I really feel that is again going too far.

For example, take baptism. I presume that since we are both baptists, MacArthur and I would agree that, if what we believe turns out to be correct, those who teach and practice infant baptism are in error.  But I would definitely not argue that every pedobaptist is cut off from God’s blessing!

It seems to me that MacArthur has made a fundamental error: He is confusing primary gospel issues with secondary issues. Surely we all believe in the centrality of Christ, in the gospel, in the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture, and in all three persons of the Trinity. Charismatics are definitely Evangelical. These are the things we should contend for, and we have enough enemies already without taking up arms against each other.

I have many friends on both sides of the charismatic debate. I do know many who are solidly reformed and calvinistic, and may even describe themselves as cessationists but would find MacArthur’s tone and generalising unfortunate. There are many in the new reformed movement who would go further and describe themselves as theologically if not experientially charismatic. However, in one video MacArthur seems to take aim against those who are “open but cautious” about these things, claiming certain well known pastors are giving “cover” to true charismatics.

We can have different perspectives on disputable matters. But lets do so as brothers who are one in Christ. Lets be like the elder Arminian John Wesley who shared fellowship with Calvinist Simeon and gladly preached at George Whitefields funeral despite previously describing his doctrine as damnable heresy.

There is a complex spectrum of views on Calvinism and Arminianism which leads to disagreements that will probably never be resolved, and yet many today do not oppose each other on this issue so angrily.  There is a similar specturm on Charismaticism vs cessationism.   These days I generally see a softening of these arguments however. It seems to me that MacArthur’s intervention may have its aim at stoking these fires.

I believe that whatever your view on the charismatic issue you should not be called a blasphemer and heretic.  Do you agree?

UPDATE

A reader has kindly pointed us to a previous sermon in which MacArthur expands on what he means by charismatics blaspheming the Holy Spirit:

“Mostly this comes in the professing church from Pentecostals and Charismatics who feel they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly.

How do they do it? By attributing to the Holy Spirit words that He didn’t say, deeds that He didn’t do, and experiences that He didn’t produce, attributing to the Holy Spirit that which is not the work of the Holy Spirit. Endless human experiences, emotional experiences, bizarre experiences and demonic experiences are said to come from the Holy Spirit…visions, revelations, voices from heaven, messages from the Spirit through transcendental means, dreams, speaking in tongues, prophecies, out of body experiences, trips to heaven, anointings, miracles. All false, all lies, all deceptions attributed falsely to the Holy Spirit . . .

The Charismatic Movement has stolen the Holy Spirit and created a golden calf and they’re dancing around the golden calf as if it were the Holy Spirit. It is a false form of the Holy Spirit. They’ve exploited the Holy Spirit and demanded to be able to do that in an uncriticized manner. Nobody can say anything against them. That’s divisive, unloving, cantankerous . . . So the Charismatic version of the Holy Spirit is that golden calf who is not God, not God the Holy Spirit, but a false creation, an idol around which they dance in their dishonoring exercises.

From “The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”

 

 

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About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and part of the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London for more than ten years, serving alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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  • Daniel Philip Calder

    “people caught up in any kind of error are cut off from God’s blessing.”

    It’s clear that John MacArthur only believes this concerning people other than John MacArthur. He had previously rejected eternal generation and then decided he was in error and decided to embrace it yet does not seem to think that he was unregenerate the whole time.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      Interesting about that eternal generation thing. To be honest I’ve not followed him closely for a long while if ever.

      • BJ Stockman

        Thanks for posting this Adrian.

  • Peter Kirk

    Farewell, John MacArthur? If anyone is blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, surely it is him.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      Peter, I really want to be careful about making any such accusations. After all, it’s what Jesus calls the unforgivable sin.

      • BrendtWayneWaters

        Adrian, while I recognize the caution you provide regarding Peter’s second sentence, it should be noted that his first sentence is brilliant and stunningly accurate. Piper’s accusation of Bell leaving the ranch is no less applicable here for J-Mac.

        • Daniel Philip Calder

          I don’t believe John MacArthur’s departure is anywhere near as serious as Rob Bell’s, but I still think it’s clear he should have stepped down a while ago.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            Not “near as serious”? Assuming for the moment that the accusations of universalism against Bell are accurate (I remain unconvinced), both men have done the EXACT SAME THING — they have made specific declarations of the irreversible salvific condition of others.

          • Daniel Philip Calder

            I certainly believe that both are extremely irresponsible, but I think with respect to Rob Bell, we have someone who is an absolutely transparent charlatan who simply does not take the Bible seriously. I believe MacArthur is sincere but has repeatedly transgressed the command that pastors be beyond reproach and therefore should step down (as he ought to have done many times before).

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            This is not merely (yet another) incident where MacArthur said/did something that should cause him to step down. This is pure heresy he is spouting. Do not let your distaste for Bell give MacArthur even a partial pass on this one.

          • Ed Dingess

            Heresy? Really? Because he smashes the prosperity gospel? Because he refuses to just accept your false prophets? Because he challenges your claim that there are miracle workers still alive? Because he rightly calls your tongues a joke, nothing supernatural whatsoever, something that even a 4 year old can mimic? Get real.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            Ed, I’ll not respond to all of your comments to me, but this one boils down the entire issue.

            Jesus stated that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven. According to orthodox Christianity (which MacArthur alleges to embrace), someone who dies with their sin unforgiven goes to hell, no questions asked. MacArthur has stated DEFINITIVELY that all Charismatics blashpeme the Holy Spirit. If MacArthur believes in anything approaching orthodox Christianity, then he is saying that all Charismatics are irreversibly going to hell. In other words, he is claiming to KNOW the salvific condition of others. In other words, he is claiming to be the only One Who knows this information. A man claiming to be God is nothing short of heresy.

            But let’s cut him some slack and say that he doesn’t REALLY believe that all Charismatics are irreversibly going to hell. That means (based on his statement) that he doesn’t believe that all blasphemers of the Holy Spirit are going to hell. Which either means that he doesn’t believe that the unforgiven are going to hell or that Jesus was wrong (about that sin being unforgivable). Both of those views are equally heretical.

            And please cut it with this “your” baloney; you don’t know me from Adam. I’ve been of Charismatic belief less than 10 of the 47 years that I’ve been on this planet, and my evaluation of MacArthur would have been much MORE stern before then. But my statements are tempered now, because I’ve learned a thing or two about grace, something that (ironic radio show titles notwithstanding) doesn’t appear to be on MacArthur’s radar lately.

          • Ed Dingess

            Brendt, nowhere has MacArthur asserted that every single person in the Charismatic movement individually has ipso facto blasphemed the Holy Spirit. The comments are a sweeping generalization. That is my first point. JM is seeking to stir the Church up to respond to a parasite in her midst and he is right. Secondly, JM uses two adjectives: abuse and blaspheme. Not all abuse is blasphemy. He then lists a number of perversions that range from error to abuse to blasphemy. So please try to be fair in your attacks. The facts about the PC movement are pretty straightforward. Few movements have spawned as many dangerous heresies as this movement has. One has to wonder if the movement is so filled with the Holy Spirit, why is it so prone to produce the kinds of errors and heresies that it does? And why do heretics continue to excel and prosper in its ranks if it is, for the most part, so Spirit-filled? T.D. Jakes is a heretic yet prospers as some great man of God. And MOST PC adherents endorse him. Benny Hinn, Hickey, Olsteen, Hagin, Copeland, and on and one I could go. Seems to me that if the movement, as a whole were sound, that such men would have a very hard time being SO extremely successful among its proponents. How odd! We excommunicate people when they teach heresy and we make sure everyone else knows to avoid them. They do NOT prosper. The become the object of public scorn and shame. Your tongues are not biblical tongues, your prophets are either false prophets or superfluous at best, your miracles workers are frauds and proven themselves to be so for decades now, your healing campaigns are scandalous swindler opportunities, etc. The gifts you claim to be gifts of the Holy Spirit are counterfeit gifts. Your tongues are not Pauls. Your healings do not resemble Christ’s. Your miracles are just not miracles. Your promises of health and prosperity based on powerful faith are techniques designed to part the naive and greedy from their own money. MacArthur has rebuked error and rightfully so. He has not for a single moment offended the Holy Spirit. It is the PC movement that guilty of offending the Holy Spirit every time they claim He is working in their midst and it is actually a hyper-emotional experience devised from a human being who is more interested in the dramatic than they are the truth of God which lives eternally.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            Really, Ed? **That’s** what you’re going to go with? That the *number* of people about whom MacArthur has passed judgment regarding their salvific condition is not as large as I imply? So where’s the cut-off before it becomes heretical to claim divinity? Is it OK if it’s about 10 people but not 100? 1000 but not 10,000? 100,000 but not 1,000,000?

            I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though, that you would defend claims to divinity, since you deign to definitively tell us MacArthur’s motives (“JM is seeking to stir the Church up …”).

            Also, what part of “please cut it with this ‘your’ baloney” are you having trouble with?

          • Ed Dingess

            The point is, Brent, that MacArthur does not say that EVERY SINGLE Pentecostal is guilty of abuse or blasphemy. If you don’t understand that, I can’t help you. I attend the Shepherd’s Conference each year or try to at least. I listen to JM every day. I have most of his books. My pastor is a TMS grad. My knowledge of JM’s teachings is pretty solid. While I do not always agree with him on everything, this is one that I do. And yes, he asks the question why the Church tolerates the error. Why doesn’t the Church take a stand against these people professing to hear God talking to them all time, professing to speak in biblical tongues, professing to be miracle workers, professing to speak for God, professing to be specially gifted just like the NT Church. Then we see lie after lie after heresy after heresy coming from the movement that is supposedly the one movement that still has the gifts. It is utter nonsense. One would think that since the movement is so gifted that it would be far less prone to error and heresy than it is. I think about Katheryn Kuhlman, Amie Semple McPherson, Benny Hinn, Earnest Angsley, A.A. Allen, W.V. Grant, Jr., Joel Olsteen, T.D. Jakes, Paul Crouch, Ken Copeland, Ken Hagin, Rodney-Howard Browne, etc. I think about the miracle crusades of Allen, or Roberts, and the Kansas City Prophets, the blasphemy that was the Toronto Blessing, The Brownsville Revival, the Laughing Revival and I wonder why the movement has ANY followers left. The fact is, Brent, that unless the movement were in the general widespread condition that MacArthur says it is, these ministries and others would not have the kind of status and success that have had and continue to have over the decades. Sure, they are tiny pockets here and there that have a good head on their shoulders. The error is not nearly so outrageous. But those pockets are not the problem. The problem is the visible PC movement. The one we all see when we go to the bookstore or flip on the TV. THAT is the movement that JM is targeting. And he is right in what he says about it. THAT movement is predominantly characterized by foul abuses of God’s Spirit, arrogant and presumptuous blasphemy of God’s Church, and a radical and psychopathic obsession with the supernatural, with the materialistic and lavish life, and with hearing from God outside His word in dreams, visions, and a absurd fascination with and attraction to the miraculous, such as healings and miracles. How many times do faith healers have to be debunked before the galactically naive will stop throwing money at them and smarten up? The Pentecostal-Charismatic movement enable men like I mention above and promulgate the errors, abuses, heresies, and blasphemies they bring with them. If it were not for the millions of people buying into the prosperity gospel, it would have died long ago. Apply that principle to every abuse and blasphemy that exists among the highly visible personalities of the movement and it is easy to see that defenders like you have nowhere to run. There is no defense for it. There is an unusually high correlation between the majority of those “operating in the gifts” with these errors, abuses, heresies, and blasphemies. So, if you boys are going to claim that the names I mentioned are examples of abuses, then you need to provide some criteria for what are abuses and what is the Holy Spirit working. Then perhaps we can discuss your criteria. For now, your only defense is to cry abuses and to say not all of us believe this. Why not tell us how you determine what is an abuse and what is not. For instance, if causative faith is truly biblical, then at what point does it become abusive to claim that it will heal the sick, work miracles, and create financial blessings? Where is that line? That would very appreciated by us cessationists. At least I would appreciate it.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            The point is, Ed, that you already made the point that MacArthur hasn’t condemned every single Charismatic to irrevocable hell. I can only assume that this means that you are OK with the fact that he has claimed divinity regarding SOME, then. If you don’t understand how that is wrong, I can’t help you.

            I’ll not respond to the rest — MacArthur’s heresy (as yet, unaddressed) is enough of an issue without getting into secondary stuff.

          • Ed Dingess

            It is unethical to say that someone claimed divinity when they have done no such thing. It is called lying. It is a violation of the Christian ethic to misrepresent another’s position. Saying that JM is guilty of heresy is not proof of such and it is exaggerated nonsense. This is the standard reply coming from most of those in the PC movement. We should all be jealous for the credibility of Christ and His Church. When wolves make Christianity to look like we are brainless with their slain in the spirit, their dancing in the spirit, their false healings and fake miracles, their filthy lucre, their unintelligible pseudo-tongues, etc., someone must step up and defend God. None of this nonsense reflects God’s glory, power, or beauty. We cannot sit back and allow people to think THIS is what Christ was all about. Thank you John MacArthur for rallying the Church to such a noble and worthy, though very unpopular, cause! We salute your courage.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            Your strong feelings regarding how Christianity “looks” to others are very telling, considering the Scriptural passages that speak of the blindness of the lost and how God’s ways (including Christianity) LOOK like utter foolishness to the unsaved person.

            I’ll not even bother to address the contention that “someone must … defend God.” We apparently serve different G/gods (mine can handle Himself quite well, thank you, and doesn’t need me for squat — some dude in Athens said that a couple thousand years ago). Given that great chasm between us, it’s obvious that the disconnect is too great for meaningful dialogue on that topic.

            But what I find utterly fascinating is that this exchange goes on for a week before you address its most important part — my charge of divinity claims by MacArthur. I have clearly laid out the parameters of this in previous comments (that you allegedly read, since you responded to them). I’ll not repeat them here.

            Actually, there *is* one other way that I’d drop the charge. I don’t know his heart (seeing as how I’m not God), but I guess it’s possible that he wasn’t saying that he *is* God, but was merely saying, “I will be LIKE the Most High.” But, of course, the last guy to say that didn’t fare too well.

          • Je Fa

            JM is very tough but he is correct. The “gifts” charismatics claim to receive were dead, or dying, before the OT had reached completion. Those who read/study/ and know The Word know that divine revelation is done. God is unchanging and has given us His word. He will not reveal any new Truths.

            JM needing to step down is ridiculous. Perhaps Moses, John the Baptist, and John should have stepped down as well. They did not put up with much either.

          • Allan Hutton

            Thank God for Grace. Lets not be on our soap box condemning J Mac for his position, Dr Michael Brown is right let not create another division, we are brothers in Christ, We all have some heresy in us. We must all support our leader in the church to condemn heretics like Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen and many others to warn and steward the body. J Mac overshot the mark, maybe to many of us have done even worst by not saying anything.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            Allan, While I agree with Dr Brown that one should not create division, it is laughable to think that anything could be said or done that would exacerbate the division that J-Mac has caused, nay, delineated.

            Please show me where in Scripture that we are commanded to “support our leader[s]” when they commit heresy. And if you somehow disagree that J-Mac committed heresy, please understand that there is no question whatsoever that he specifically violated Jesus’ explicit command: http://csaproductions.com/blog/?p=3231

            Also please stop with the irrelevant citing of names like Hinn and Osteen. J-Mac’s analysis goes light-years beyond such people.

            He “overshot the mark”? Really? So we are to applaud him for using a nuclear warhead to kill that fly, and ignore the 500,000,000 people that were collateral damage?

          • Allan Hutton

            Thanks for your comment and agree with a number of your points. I was obviously not clear but I did not say we should “support our leader[s]” when they commit heresy” I said we should support leaders that stand against heresy. There has been to much silence over a number of obvious and condemnable heretics that work under a Christian banner from Mormons to word of faith movements. The leaders that stand up and call these groups for what they are, we should support them. So let me make it clear I was not saying you should support J Mac over the strange fire conference comments but you may support him for condeming for example Mr Dollar.

            I appreciate the link I will read over it again but it’s probably not in the same context and J Mac conference that Jesus was talking. Firstly I Would let a Mormon know he has it wrong, he is not a Christian. I would tell a Prosperity Gospel believer they are not a Christian. I would tell a Roman Catholic they are not a Christian because these are core heresies. this is not pulling the weeds this is seperating the chaff from the wheat. Paul did the same in most of his writings , we are called to test everything and to hold onto our faith that it is not our works but God’s wonderful gift of grace that God lavished on us so undeservedly.

            On your final point you said numbers are not imoortabt. I would agree condeming one person unjustly is deplorable and ungodly. The point here is he was simply wrong to group all spiritual expressions in the same group. All “spirit filled” expressions are not from God. Many are false, many lies, many just emotions but this does not mean all are lies. Even Jesus was accused of working with the devil for his miracles. Sometimes our cultural and social expectations cause us to fear the work of God because he does not allow us to continue in our sin where we think we can box God in and say this is his limitations.

            Finally walk carfully that you don’t do the same thing J Mac did and condemn where you have not first forgiven. Jesus judges righteously because he forgave us first.

            Peace and God bless.
            P.s. if any of that is not clear my appologies but I’m writing on a small screen and predictive text.

          • BrendtWayneWaters

            I, by no means, misinterpreted your comment. I did not think that you were *explicitly* saying that we should support someone when they commit heresy. But in implying that we should support J-Mac simply because his motives were allegedly good in allegedly attempting to point out alleged heresy, you were *implicitly* saying that we should support someone when they commit heresy — because as sure as God made little green apples, J-Mac committed heresy.

            As I stated in my last comment, the names and groups that you cite are a drop in the bucket compared to the millions that J-Mac threw under the bus. His comments have put him so far afield, that I cannot, in good conscience, “support” him on anything, even if I completely agree with him on something. He has basically become, as Twain put it, the stopped clock that’s right twice a day.

            I would encourage you to at least re-read the Matthew passage that I cited in that link before you classify it as inapplicable. Given the very explicit “decoding” that Jesus gave, I am really at a loss as to how you can conclude anything except that Strange Fire is *exactly* what Jesus was talking about.

            As to your warning not to “do the same thing J Mac did and condemn where you have not first forgiven”, I would reference Paul’s attitudes. If you remove the over-sanitation that the KJV language puts in our way, you find that he wanted those who preach another gospel to go to hell, and for the Judaizers to castrate themselves. My accusations of heresy pale in comparison.

          • Rev.Cary Kent

            Im of Cephas, Im of Paul. Or we not forgetting Christ. Experiences are subjective. The New Birth is a Miracle. Were in the Book of Acts the History of the Early church is there a the end at. Also, I’ve been healed of bad heart at 25, healed of cancer tumor of right kidney, seen a Dad delivered without medicine from an insane asylum in Florida, they made a movie off of it; Tell all my baptist friends, Methodist, etc. and Doctors have they ever seen a Miracle after someone prayed. If you don’t believed it you don’t get it. Let the Wheat grow with the Tares..I think Christ said the Angels would do the separating not a conferemce that will have no effect on the above. Have we arrived…some in arrogance are puffed up because of there knowledge. Should we start a Christian war. Why didn]t start a long time ago. to late…to late…to late….

          • Je Fa

            JM is very tough but he is correct. The “gifts” charismatics claim to receive were dead, or dying, before the OT had reached completion. Those who read/study/ and know The Word know that divine revelation is done. God is unchanging and has given us His word. He will not reveal any new Truths.

            JM needing to step down is ridiculous. Perhaps Moses, John the Baptist, and John should have stepped down as well. They did not put up with much either..

          • Rev.Cary Kent

            Cary Kent,
            Baptised in the Southern Baptist Church. Attending methodist, baptist, episcopal, about all fundamental, and charsmatic, and pentecostal. At 68yrs. I think were throwing out the baby with the bathwater. To ask a Baptist, Methodist, or any major charismatic church’s does God Heal and still do miracles today, is a contridiction to the Bible People, ages of saints personal experience. When people that didn’t attend the confenrence. They arrive at different conclusions and may defeat or cause confusion. Don’t preach against a church or movement, preach the Gospel…if people are accursed, take heed lest you be the accursed one. He said he would lead into all truth. I doubt that anyone has arrived. But think God the The Church is without spot or wrinkle. You can’t do anything against the truth but for it Paul the apostle said. The conference is from the Present Hero of the Truth so to speak. It will pass.

          • Ed Dingess

            Why? Because you disagree with him?

          • Ed Dingess

            You are assuming you wildly exaggerated emotion nonsense is really the Holy Spirit and that you unintelligible broken syllables really is biblical tongues…both of which are false.

          • Ed Dingess

            Okay….now we are getting exactly what I would expect from Charismatics. The call for a man of God like John MacArthur to step down.

        • Ed Dingess

          What a silly remark. Just plain silly.

      • Peter Kirk

        Understood, Adrian. That’s why I started with “If anyone”. I don’t say that he is doing this, but I do think people should consider whether they are before they say such things about what many claim that the Holy Spirit is doing.

  • Mark Byron

    MacArthur has a blind spot in this area. He’s been that way for a long time; I recall an exchange of letters my charismatic Dad had with him a couple of decades ago over this issue, and he had the same general stance then. Thus, any farewells were done a generation ago, unlike the relatively recent heterodoxies of Rob Bell.

  • bereansearch

    I believe it is easy to be misrepresented when you have said volumes on a particular subject and a person takes some soundbites for a blog. Dr. MacArthur made it clear that this conference was to point out “the abuses within the Charismatic movement.” His desire to do so stemmed from the silence of leaders within the Charismatic movement in speaking out against the TBN types that pervert God’s word. His point is that they should be the ones speaking out the loudest against false teachers and false doctrines within their movement. He even made a video to encourage Charismatic pastors regarding this series, calling them his brothers in Christ. Dr. MacArthur has shared pulpit venues with Charismatics such as C. J. Mahaney and Matt Chandler and has even had endorsements from some on his books. Pastor MacArthur may disagree doctrinally with Charismatics on some gift issues, but he has not, to date, disassociated himself with all those within this movement. As far as binding up Satan, Dr. MacArthur’s point is that the passage on binding relates to church discipline, as the context displays. I think we would all agree that there is no intrinsic power in man but it is only the power of God that can limit Satanic power.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      I will be delighted to make an addendum to this post if he issues a clarification of his comments.

      To my reading and listening tho it is “the movement” that is referred to as blasphemers. I’d love to be wrong on this.

      • nick

        I find it funny how wrong your article could be… I agree with bereanearch… for if you have ever spent time listening to Macarthurs sermon or read his book, he speaks multitudes about his brothers in Christ (who claim to be charasmatic)… he even allows groups such as Sovereign Grace (who is charamatic) to play at his church. You attack a man completely out of context. Read the inscriptions about what This confrence is all about… Then you understand that when he speaks about the charasmatic movement he is speaking about thing such as TBN, Vineyard, Jesus Culture, IHop etc. (the people who claim to be apostles and prophets of today —which by their definition, if you have ever read any of their books, they describe themselves as the true charasmatics and most likely you as a ceasationist because you probably don’t believe Apostles exist today)…

        • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

          Check out the updated quote about

          • Allan Hutton

            Adrain thanks for your review and comments they have been very helpful in exploring a very challenged topic. This seems like the case that Satan is welding confusion in the church by confusing terminology, as he did in the garden. This is causing division, just as in the garden. I’m with you that we need to be looking at what scripture says, whether we like it or not. I’m not a charismatic sensationalist nor a Presbyterian cessationist, I sit somewhere in-between trusting that my Father is good not looking to lead me astray. It seems these terms are causing such confusion between believes. It would seem like we are not trying to understand each other just express our anxiety toward those outliers, for example at the Strange fire conference there where many good things said. However there seems to be a number of statistics that refer to TBN, God TV, iHop and other groups that have a number of dubious religious dogmas that they would find hard to defend with sound biblical exegesis. However should all people that believe in the “manifestation” of the spirit be placed in the same group. Do we not find the same thing in politics when Christians are thrown into the same group as “Other faiths”. What similarities are there between these generalised groups of believers. A Muslim is not a Christian. So should we discard all faiths because a larger group is false. Its a ridiculous conclusion to stand on. I cant limit the working of God in our age just because I have not experiences mega miraculous events. We are commissioned to test everything before scripture, not lazily look for others to defend our comfort zone. I think that there is a expression of the spirit that John MacAuthor would support, scriptural interpretation “prophetically” bring the word of God to people. Is it not prophetic to encourage the body with recited scripture, is it not a gift when that person brings a word that challenges or encourages the body. Do elders not pray for healing faithfully submitting themselves to the will of God that He is good and our desire may not fulfil Gods ambitions. I think the event Strange fire caused many to be so exasperated with the false spiritual expressions, focused mainly at the word of faith community, and prosperity gospel that it has decided to through the Spirit out with the bath water. Surely we should take the same stand and say we are the same body in Christ but those outliers are actually preaching another gospel. These outliers may claim that there are Apostles like “Paul” with his authority but do reformed Christian’s commonly believe this, unlikely. Does any reformed Christian really think that Benny and TBN crowd are part of the Body,I hope not. John was right to condemn their actions but lets not discard the Spirit just as the Galatians wanted to discard the grace of Christ for reformed Jewish law.

        • Mark Simpson

          I hear a lot of people here making strong accusations against the church of Jesus Christ. I am saddened by the loveless hearts of so many. Here, you make a accusation against some, and I don’t understand. Such as Jesus Culture. I have been led into the presence of the Lord so many times listening to their music. If you don’t like them, keep it to yourself. But don’t criticize the music they put forth as though it is satanic. I was raised Catholic, never heard about the Holy Spirit, but when I was 19 and gave my heart over to Christ, I soon afterward received the Holy Spirit and had no idea what was happening. To all who want to refuse that the offices and the gifts tath were present in the early church are no longer in effect in the church, tell me, by what power do you fight against the forces of hell when they attack you. Oh, and don’t say I give it to Jesus. Wrong answer. Before Jesus left, he said I am going away, but I will send the helper to you, and when He has come, the works that I have done, you also will do. And as Peter said, for you and for all generations to come is this Holy Spirit you see happening here before you today going to happen. Did we become so much like Christ without the Holy Spirit’s power working through us so He left us alone. I look around, and I see we have not become so much like Him at all, but as we learn to die to ourselves, and allow Christ, (which is the anointing of God, hence, the HS) to live in us. It is time we heed the voice of Paul, and learn from His writings to us in the scriptures, when he says that all I do, I only do because of Christ that lives in me. We need to stop seeing what all we can do for God, but allow God to do in and through us what He so desires. And if that is speaking in tongues, then speak it until the HS gives you the stop. If it is prophesying then prophecy what the HS gives you to say. If you are called to be an apostle, then go forth and build plant new churches. And when you are busy doing only what the HS is doing in and through you, you won’t have the time to be sitting so idle and cursing so many of those that are out there, bringing forth what they feel God is leading then to bring. There being many false teachers is not a new thing, for even Paul spoke of those that were doing the same thing in the church in His day. But, it is God’s Church, and Jesus is the head, Let Him be the one that will cut from it that which is not of Him, and just go about doing what He wants to do through you. Once we do that, then the church will grow world-wide, and the name of Jesus will be glorified.

          • Adam Cummings

            Mark… I’m confused… so, the Lord will be glorified when there is unity and everyone agrees with you? I don’t mind people taking different views (though I think yours are misleading). But, you’ve just spent a whole post correcting other Christians, and then you end it by saying to stop going around correcting other Christians.

            You also accuse people of “loveless hearts” because of things like the Jesus Culture. I can tell you that I’m a musician. I love songs by groups put out by Hillsong, but I’m slowly having to move away from that (Cornerstone moves my heart every time I hear it). Here’s the deal. Jesus Culture stems from Bill Johnson’s “fire tunnel” church. That’s where they came from. We have to be Bereans and warn others when there is a trap set. And many of these groups will devour new Christians by drawing them in with music first.

            I’ve always thought it a little interesting that charismatics love to talk about tongues and the like. Yet, with all of our technology and with all of our connectedness today, there isn’t one video, or something, to show how exactly “tongues” are done biblically today.

            John MacArthur lovingly addressed this issue, as those know who have actually listened to any of the conference. He expressed love for those within the movement, such as Wayne Grudem, and Piper. He was hounded by Driscoll and, like the godly man that he is, we saw no immature come back or poking back, something Driscoll and his camp would have done in a heart beat. He has had misrepresentations of his conference by countless charismatics (except for one Pentecostal pastor on a blog, who caught a lot of flack for merely saying he was saddened by the conference because MacArthur actually said a lot of true things about his movement). Yet, still, we have blogs that, instead of thinking through the issues in a loving and biblical way, will hound the person of MacArthur, who only cares about Scripture being honored.

            That’s why I love that man. You can hound him to eternity. And, as long as he has preached what he believes God’s Word says, he doesn’t care.

            I hope some people, despite all my failings, will be able to say that about me, at least in some small way, some day when I’m gone.

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  • Joey Elliott

    Adrian,

    This is very interesting. I wonder, what do you make of Joni Eareckson Tada as a speaker at this conference?

    I am starting to know of and respect more and more pastors and authors who identify themselves as both reformed and charismatic. I would personally not identify myself as either charismatic or cessationalist (that is possible isn’t it?). But I also greatly respect MacArthur, Sproul, Conrad Mbewe, Steve Lawson, and Tada who are speakers at this conference. So I’m torn and will follow closely. Thanks for posting.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      If any of my readers know any of the other speakers perhaps they could ask them to comment on these latest remarks. I’m concerned that this seems to be trying to rehash the battles of the 1960s and 1970s

  • Bob Cleveland

    If someone flatly denies a particular gift, when in fact that gift was sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit, would not that denial constitute the attribution of that (allegedly false) gift to the satan? As he is the author of lies, and of confusion?

    Would not then Dr. MacArthur be guilty of the blasphemy of which he is accusing others?

    It’s been said, and I believe it here, that some people believe “If it hasn’t happened to me, it doesn’t happen”. And that’s just plain false.

  • Daniel Arguelles

    When I think of the millions in Africa and other very poor places who are exposed to the prosperity “gospel” instead of the true Gospel it breaks my heart. The charismatic movement has done much damage, and that is why I left it.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      Its wrong to imply that the charismatic movement and the prosperity movement are one and the same. Thats like saying that all presbyterians are part of the PCA

      • Philip

        Aren’t you reinforcing MacArthur’s point with this statement? If charismatic Christians would speak out against the abuses of the Word of Faith/Prosperity movements you would not be lumped together. But those heretical movements sprang out of the charismatic movement and most charismatics will not speak out against their false theology. MacArthur has stated repeatedly that he knows that are faithful Christians in charismatic churches. What he’s calling for is the faithful to rise up and speak out against the abuses and false doctrine.

        We can disagree about whether what is called speaking in tongues today is the same thing that was taking place in the Bible. We can have some disagreements on whether or not prophecy is still ongoing. We cannot disagree and still embrace as Christians the alterations to the gospel taking place in the extreme charismatic movements such as Word of Faith and Prosperity teach.

        It is the silence of faithful charismatics as the charlatans and conmen use their same terminology that results in all charismatics being lumped together. Charismatics above all groups should speak out against the unBiblical teaching and behavior taking place in some camps today because it is your movement that is being disgraced by the frauds.

        • Dan Edelen

          As a blogger who has blogged against charismania repeatedly, called out charismatics who have terrible doctrine, and done just about everything I can do as some small voice amid all the shouting, I can say with no hesitation that most of the charismatic bloggers I know are CONSTANTLY decrying charismania.

          In short, this silence you speak of does not exist.

          Given that there are many charismatics who actively oppose error within charismatic ranks, how is it that those who are not charismatics are not siding with us but are still pitting themselves against us? If it were truly just about dealing with charismaniacs, why do I still see disparaging remarks about those of us who are decrying error?

          No, it seems to me that all charismatics, whether they are clearly out of control or clearly smart, solid people, are all being lumped together. While the rhetoric is toward correcting charismaniacs, I don’t get the feeling that the “correction” is being limited to them alone.

          I would like to be wrong on that, but I don’t think I am. The Strange Fire conference is not making that distinction evident enough, and I think that’s clearly intentional.

          • Ed Dingess

            How many vile doctrines can one movement produce before people, good people write it off? The healing revivals, the prosperity gospel, the laughing revival, the new-age speak it into existence garbage. Come on. You talk like the errors are isolated to small fringe elements. They are NOT. All you have to do is read the Doctrinal Statements of the oldest and largest Pentecostal denominations in the world to see the error. Church of God, Cleve. and Assemblies of God.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bro-Juntunen/100001252637004 Bro Juntunen

          There are those who are speaking out regularly against such foolishness as what you see on TBN and all the other idiocy… but maybe you are not listening because it does not pertain to you. MacArthur is placing himself in the position of an apostle who would have the authority to rebuke the whole church when he is only one pastor of a distant congregation far away on the west coast of the United States of America, he is a nothing.

      • Ed Dingess

        How small your LARGE numbers would be if you took out the number of Charismatics who deny the prosperity gospel. They would shrink to near non-existence.

  • Dianna Wood

    MacArthur preached a sermon at his church entitled, “The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” in October 2011. You can read the entire transcript on his website here:

    http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-415/the-modern-blasphemy-of-the-holy-spirit#.TqiziGD39D4

    In it he states” The Charismatic Movement has stolen the Holy Spirit and created a golden calf and they’re dancing around the golden calf as if it were the Holy Spirit. It is a false form of the Holy Spirit. They’ve exploited the Holy Spirit and demanded to be able to do that in an uncriticized manner. Nobody can say anything against them. That’s divisive, unloving, cantankerous. That’s why Benny Hinn said about me, “If I had my way, I’d take my Holy Ghost Machine Gun and blow his brains out. You’re not allowed to question anything they say about the Holy Spirit. They have co-opted the Holy Spirit and demanded to do that without being criticized, without being confronted, and they go on with their exploitation and so prove testimony concerning the Holy Spirit as pushed and repressed, underground because it’s going to be divisive, they’re not going to like it. It will offend somebody.”

    Please keep in mind that MacArthur tends to be somewhat careless with words. If you ask him directly, “Do you mean ALL Charismatics” he would undoubtly say, “No, no, no! I just mean the false teachers”.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      Thanks I’ve added this quote and a bit more from it to the post.

  • Maurice

    I agree 100% with Mr. MacArthur. There are so many errors in the Pentecostal and Charismatic theology that it borders on heresy and leads untold thousands astray. I was a Pentecostal for four years and during those years I was subjected to all kinds of things that had no Scripture basis. That being said, there are many in this movement that have a heart for God and want the Truth of God but are hindered by bad theology and unsound doctrine.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      The thing is that you really can’t lump all charismatics into the same pile. There are so many groups who have different styles and doctrines. A bit like evangelicalism as a whole really.

  • John B

    MacArthur and his camp are almost impossible to talk to on this topic. They are smug, sarcastic, and resort to tactics like this. My suggestion is would be to ignore them, since they can’t seem to be able to have fellowship with other believers

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      Every now and them i try to reach out to them in Christian love but it feels ever more futile so those attempts are less and less frequent.

      • Margot Murray

        Adrian – I spent 22 years in a Pentecostal church that condoned all sorts of excesses that I willingly participated in. This same church movement and its leader continues to endorse the likes of Joel Osteen and TD Jakes, at the same time sitting down like an “elder statesman” interviewing our former prime minister and putting it out all over the internet as some sort of endorsement. It was reading John Macarthur’s “Charismatic Chaos” that finally set us free, free to repent and truly understand His sovereign grace towards us. Am I charismatic anymore? No – and the passion to know and to spend eternity with Him has only deepened…..

        • manotab

          Don’t you think Rev. MacArthur will be saying the same thing against Peter and Paul if they were around today?. After all, Paul boasted he spoke in tongues more than you all and Peter healed the sick with his shadow. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be on Paul and Peter’s side than on Rev. MacArthur’s side on matters pertaining to the Holy Spirit.

  • Dan Edelen

    Perhaps my understanding of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is mistaken, but it seems to me that such blasphemy is to take works of the Holy Spirit and ascribe them to the Enemy. What MacArthur accuses charismatics of is taking works of the Enemy (or possibly man) and ascribing them to the Holy Spirit. He seems to be coming at this backwards.

    If anything, it seems to me this Strange Fire conference is actually dancing closer to the blasphemy issue itself than anything, as it is sourcing all contemporary charismata outside of the Holy Spirit. The conference proponents can claim only two possible sources for those expressions then, man or the Enemy.

    Perhaps we need to think of this conference’s perspective in a most startling way:

    “…having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
    —2 Timothy 3:5 ESV

    Who here is actually denying the power of God?

    All this said, interpreting the “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” as an unforgivable sin that stands apart from failing to respond to the Holy Spirit and therefore rejecting Christ, poses it’s own set of problems. It becomes that exception to Christ’s saving us from ALL sins. Suddenly, there exists a sin that leads to eternal death that is distinct from the one way we know for certain leads to eternal death. We now have two means of damnation.

    The upshot then is that we must now add an asterisk on all justification and grace doctrine UNLESS this blasphemy is tied completely to the one thing we know separates us from God forever: failing to repent and come to faith in Jesus.

    I guess MacArthur could claim that charismatics have followed a different gospel anyway, so they can’t possibly have repented and come to faith in Christ; perhaps if he takes this perspective on the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, then he finds his justification for his position, but the way he is saying it doesn’t seem to support that interpretation.

    Sad.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      The sad thing here is that the natural implication of what he’s saying is that charismatics aren’t saved. Surely if that’s what he means that’s adding to the gospel.

    • Peter Kirk

      Dan, thank you for going into the detail behind what I was saying. It is those who call works of the Holy Spirit “demonic experiences” (quoting MacArthur) who are likely to be blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. Again, I am not saying that MacArthur did this. After all, he also said that some charismatic experiences are “human experiences”, which I would not dispute, and no doubt there are cases of people presenting themselves as charismatic Christians who are actually doing demonic things. But, as you say, it is words along the same lines as MacArthur’s, rather than the experiences which he criticizes, which are the genuine blasphemy.

  • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

    I bet you didn’t tell him…..!

    • Margot Murray

      @ Justin & Adrian – it would not have made any difference to John Macarthur. He has already proved he has great (ongoing to this day) fellowship over the years with Piper, Grudem, Mahaney etc. Adrian, your response to Justin? A little unkind perhaps?

      • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

        Was just teasing my good friend Justin! I’m not sure if MacArthur still has fellowship with charismatics any more. If he did you’d have thought hed have invited one to speak. Am now even more sure he is taking aim at the whole movement not just the excesses

  • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

    Someone who believes the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available today. See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock/2011/12/how-charismatic-are-you-a-spectrum-of-belief-and-practice/

  • charlesspurgeonjr

    Before giving a “provocative comment” about what Dr. MacArthur has to say about Charismatic Chaos, did you look a bit farther than your driveway? Maybe you should also read Dr. Conrad Mbewe on the damages done by the “Charismatics” in Africa. The Charismatic Chaos is killing the Church in Africa, South America… Once people have been washed away from their money and discovered that no “spiritual unction” will ever get them rich, they reject the Gospel
    entirely. And NO I don’t think a Benny Hinn cultists are Christian. I
    guess in the “500 millions” you include the millions of Nigerians who
    every Sunday give away close to 90% of their income at some of Lagos
    mega-churches (just in case you didn’t know: one of the largest can
    accommodate up to ONE MILLION people at the same time! that’s one in 8
    inhabitants of Lagos) hoping that by receiving a “spiritual unction”
    they will be blessed, protected from diseases, get jobs, educate healthy
    children, be spared injuries etc. etc. or the millions of Americans who
    listen or watch the gibberish streamed 24/7 by TBN or the millions of
    others around the world who are gratified by a smile from Meyer, Osteen,
    Jakes and other luminaries. These new Messiahs who come to town to give
    their “good people” a paid-for share of their “teachings”. Dr.
    MacArthur isn’t speaking about the traditional pentecostal movement he
    is speaking of the fraudsters, liars, cheaters, adulterers who have made
    of God’s House a House of Prostitution. I have very much respect myself
    for Wesleyans and the Vineyard movement, but I have only contempt for
    followers of the charismatic cult leaders (you know the ones who have
    started to call MacArthur a “heretic”, a “destroyer of the Church’s
    unity” and blah blah blah, while they haven’t read one line of
    MacArthur’s books or listen to one of his sermons on the subject) and
    REALLY, really pray for their victims to see the truth about who they
    are really following and giving to. You are named Bill Gates and want to
    give a billion dollars to Jakes: I DON’T CARE. If you are a single
    mother living with less than a dollar a day in some part of Africa then
    it becomes my problem as a responsible Christian and I have to speak out
    against these haters of God’s Word who make a mockery of the Holy
    Spirit and think they can manipulate for their own benefits people who
    have no or little education.

    Jean-Christophe HENEL

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      What you are describing has nothing whatsoever to do with the charismatic churches I’ve spent my entire Christian life in.

      • charlesspurgeonjr

        At least you are lucid about your shortcomings regarding what you are talking about! Thank God for that.

        • gmonzeglio@mweb.co.za

          the charismatic movement described and which exports heresies is primarily americanand joined at the hip with WOF teaching – I have been seeing it firsthand for 25 years. The english charismatic movement adrian is referring to is miniscule in proportion. I live in south africa and its influence is endemic. however the teaching that there is a subsequent baptism that must be evidenced by tongues speaking is at the root of both and the start of the whole movement over 100 years ago. all WOF money preachers are charismatic/pentecostal and mostly non-reformed if they even know or care about what that means. The sovereign grace/new frontiers movements etc are blips on the screen of what is going on globally.

      • Gregory

        So did Judas. So watch our brother.

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  • http://theologic.us/ Joe Louthan

    As a Charismatic, I totally 100% agree with MacArthur’s statement in the excerpt under the update.

    Bravo, Johnny Mac. You’re my boy.

    • John B

      SO your the charismatic that doesn’t believe in tongues?

      • http://theologic.us/ Joe Louthan

        Do I believe in tongues/interpretation according to 1 Cor 12? Yes.

        Do I believe in “speaking in tongues” according to 1 Cor 14? Yes.

        Growing up AoG/Charismatic/Non-denom, I have seen tongues given a LOT of emphasis–too much emphasis for it being a tertiary doctrine. Lately,I have seen AoG and many other Evangelical Charismatic churches correct itself, ease up off the doctrine and present it Biblically.

        Although I believe in it, I do not speak in tongues. Go figure.

  • manotab

    Rev. MacArthur does not know what he is talking about. His knowledge of the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit is shallow. If Paul and Peter were here today, he will be making the same assertions against them. I think we should dismiss his views on the Holy Spirit. He does not know it all and in regard to the Holy Spirit, he needs to humble himself to be taught by the greatest teacher, the Holy Spirit.

    • Vic Christian

      manotab – that is the point. Peter and Paul were apostles, and used these as signs. There was no record of any of these in the church until very recently.

      • Rev.Cary Kent

        Wrong Vic…….how old are you and what’s recent to you…..read church history and the history before you were born. If it don’t happend in your life, doesn’t mean that in this world that jesus is the same….yesterday…..today……and forever. The gifts of the spirit has never ceased for Paul said the first Gifts that Christ gave upon his Ascention was the ministry of Pastors, prophets, teachers, evangelist……if there is no succession. How do you no that your Pastor is really sent of God. All this confuscion will cause somebody to get a good whipping from God. Young christian will be son confused that they will fall back not knowing who to believe; Just…….take a look at the CONFUSCION ALREADY ON THIS POST BOARD.

  • Dan Edelen

    I consider myself a “Welsh Revival-style charismatic” rather than someone who identifies with the Azusa branch or those of the Sovereign Grace variety. I actually came to understand the charismata through a charismatic Lutheran, and I grew up in the Lutheran Church.

    So I’m not a Calvinist or Reformed. I currently attend an independent Pentecostal church in a rural area in the U.S., but I’m not a fan of some of the excesses that have existed within that stream either.

    As a longtime blogger, I’ve been watching this eventual breakdown coming, and I’m really not surprised that charismatic Reformed/Calvinists are being thrown under a bus. And let’s be honest–that seems to be what’s happening here.

    As much as charismatic Reformed/Calvinists wanted to be aligned with the most dynamic parts of the whole Young, Restless & Reformed movement, who often look to MacArthur as one of their primary leaders, it doesn’t seem to me as if any supposed acceptance was ever real. Sites like Pyromaniacs, which often spoke most loudly for the YRR, stressed a strict cessationist viewpoint and held charismatics at arm’s length. That the former leader of that site was Phil Johnson, right-hand man to John MacArthur, accurately reflected how that majority within the YRR truly felt. I suspect the general feeling of that group is a hope that the Sovereign Grace Churches and any other “continuationist-sympathetic” Calvinists would just go away.

    With the Strange Fire conference, it seems that “go away” is now complete, with the continuationists now officially out, whether they wanted to be out or not. No one should be surprised, though; it had to come to this sooner or later.

    That’s an “outsider’s” view. Feel free to disagree.

    • Ed Dingess

      They are being returned to the place from whence they came, with their claims that God is talking to them, that God is still calling miracles workers into ministry who are regularly healing the sick and such. It is the Charismatics who claim that you have to speak in unintelligible broken syllables in order to be baptized with the Spirit. Utter nonsense. It is about time someone started calling for their rejection again.

  • http://www.psalm1lifestyle.wordpress.com/ Chris Madlena

    Anyone who knows anything about Dr. MacArthur and his ministry knows that he is not attacking the movement as a whole but the worst abuses found in it. He does not need to issue any clarification because the Strange Fire website and his comments about the “strange fire” he speaks of clearly denote that he is referring to the heretical and blasphemous abuses found within the movement that attack the deity of Christ and the character of God. Listen to his sermons and read his past work on the subject. These are not “secondary issues” and while it is true that he believes in the cessation of the sign gifts, the conference is going to be dealing with issues far more serious than that. Unfortunately your article stirs up a controversy where none exists. Rather than create an issue and distort the teachings of a man with a 40 year reputation of being a theological leader and pastor of Biblical truth, perhaps you should address the “abuses” you reference early in your blog. The “strange fire” being spoken of is leading many to hell. Thank God for Dr. MacArthur and the other speakers at the conference who will expose these blasphemous attacks on the very makeup and character of God.

    • Margot Murray

      @ Chris – and John Macarthur had extended an open invitation for charismatic Christians to attend the conference from the outset months ago. And quite a few charismatic Christians have expressed gratitude that this conference is going ahead, having voiced their own concerns…

    • John B

      Why would I as a Pentecostal fall under the teaching of someone who believes the gifts have ceased and has stated speaking in tongues is blasphemy of the HS? Makes no sense

      • Margot Murray

        @ John B – can you define tongues? I spoke in “tongues” for 22 years, in other words I “babbled” in large crowds of out-of-order services. Certainly not two or three and at most definitely no interpretation.
        The bible is quite clear what true tongues areand how they are to used (if applicable for today). So what we hear today makes no sense :)

        • John B

          Margot,

          ALL of what we hear makes no sense? You can account for every instance of tongues spoken?

        • http://loneprairie.net/ Julie R. Neidlinger

          I don’t see how you could possibly speak for every instance. You can only speak out of your own experience. It is not the same case for everyone. You use too broad a brush and rely on your specific experiential sphere to make a determination. It might not be true, or, at the very least, the full picture.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bro-Juntunen/100001252637004 Bro Juntunen

          See, that’s what you did. I don’t do that. I pray every once in a while in tongues while I am alone with God and when I feel prompted to do so. You quite possibly abused the gift or perhaps you never had the gift. My father spoke out in tongues in church and that morning several migrant workers who were American Indians understood his words and asked me how he new the Navajo language. That is one experience. Also my father was not a perfect man but as I heard on the radio, there was a surgeon who said that God uses crooked sticks to make straight lines. I believe that.

          • tag116

            I agree. It’s so sad to see Christians speaking against this gift of the holy spirit. I was born again 14 years ago and was asked to attend a Pentecostal church. My friend who invited me gave me the heads up there might be tongues. At the time I had no knowledge of this and was very uncomfortable. I began attending services and did not accept or receive what they were doing. I began to pray to the Lord to show me if this was of him. During one service as the tongues began I became aware of what was being said. As the interpretation was made I was amazed I understood what was spoken. I felt the Lord impress upon me his word was spoken. Today I rarely speak in tongues only when I am in deep worship with the Lord and praying. I have attending churches where I have seen worship out of order but there is disorder in every church whether they acknowledge tongues or not.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bro-Juntunen/100001252637004 Bro Juntunen

        Amen brother, amen! Forget MacArthur. Do not support him with your money, anyone who loves the Holy Spirit’s work. I also hate the abuses and fraud within the charismatic community, but I can’t throw out what I know for what I don’t like.

  • Vic Christian

    What a headline! Now I know which organizations and web sites to stay away from as you are obviously attempting to cause problems within the church. No – you are not just giving the news. This article is opinionated, judgmental and incorrect.

    • John B

      Vic,

      Did you read the post? MacArthur is saying speaking in tongues is equal to blasphemy of the HS. I read it, what are you missing?

      John

      • Vic Christian

        John – I appreciate your reply. No where does John MacArthur state that all charismatics, especially not half a billion, are doing this. Question – I recently posted this on another post on this subject. Can you respond? ” I see a major issue with what you refer to as “sound charismatics”. If the gifts being practiced are in fact for today, and they are being practiced in charismatic churches and not in others, then by definition the others must either be non-Christian or disobedient to the Word and the Spirit of God. You cannot have both being obedient. Therefore, I do not see how there can be unity between the two”. Thank you!

        • John B

          Vic,

          Read Johnny Mac’s quote,

          ……. Pentecostals and Charismatics who feel they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly. How do they do it? …….. speaking in tongues

          I know of no Charismatic/pentecostal group that doesn’t believe in speaking in tongues.

          DO you know of any?

          John

          • Vic Christian

            John – please answer my question. Not just you, but I am looking for an answer from anyone.Thank you!

          • John B

            VIc,

            I’m not going to accuse all cessationists of being disobedient. I am sure many are honestly convinced from scripture the gifts have ceased. But still many could be convinced they haven’t ceased but still hold to the cessationist position to protect tradition, there denomination or for other possible reasons. That would be disobedient but I can’t judge a persons heart.

            Of course I am convinced from scripture they haven’t ceased. So I don’t feel I am being disobedient.

            But why focus only on this theological issue? There are many theological issues that good Christians disagree on, do we accuse each other of being disobedient on those issues?

            John

      • Vic Christian

        John B – no, I do not see that. In the “update” he lists tongues as an example – yes. However, the original article with that headline did not have the update.

  • Margot Murray

    I go on record saying how grateful I am that John Macarthur has given a clear clarion call against “charismania excesses”. Speaking from personal experience as a former charismaniac, I was very upset when first exposed to his book “Charismatic Chaos”, did not want to believe that I could be deceived but He overcame my pride and drew me into His rest….

    By the way these issues been already extensively covered.
    http://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/an-update-on-the-whole-michael-brownstrange-firejohn-macarthur-hullabaloo/
    http://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/adrian-warnock-buys-the-strange-fire-broken-record/

  • Jonathan Poulton

    What a spurious headline! I’ve listened to the clip twice through very carefully and he says, or implies, no such thing. His words are clear, measured and true. There is a problem within the movement, abuse exists, and few within the movement are prepared publicly to acknowledge the fact. It’s a matter of discernment. Discernment is often in short supply in Charismatic circles, and it’s certainly lacking in your dishonest, inaccurate, tabloid-style headline. Instead of attacking and misrepresenting the whistleblower, it would be more beneficial for the body of Christ if you dealt with the concerns raised.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      He speaks of “the movement” needing to be opposed and the reason for this is blasphemy. In the quote from his sermon that now ends the post it is to me at least clear he feels that all charismatics blaspheme the Spirit. That seems to be pyromaniacs view to in some of their tweets. If somone finds a quote where he says its only some charismatics he is targeting I’d be happy to add that to the post.

      • mel mariner

        Did you watch #7? I believe he states in that one that it is not all charismatics and he invites those that are not part of the movement that rips people off to join him in calling out the false teachers. My paraphrase of what he said.

  • DaveTea

    As a continuationist I welcome MacArthur’s conference – it’s what us charismatics need in this hour. The only sad thing is that it’s left to a cessationist to point out what should be blatantly obvious to all those who claim to love the word as much as the Spirit. Adrian, if you and others had taken time to use your blog and platforms of influence to call out the extremes and the silliness, and warn of the blasphemous activities that have infected so many of our churches over the years then maybe we wouldn’t need a conference such as this.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      If I spent my time as a watchblogger calling out every cook, crook and conartist I’d have no time to do anything else. I’d much rather accentuate the positive and ignore the negative.

      • DaveTea

        And yet your more than happy to call out John MacArthur? Tell me, what is it about this post that ‘accentuates the positive’ ?

        • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

          The way I interpret his video it accuses the whole charismatic movement of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, to me thats about as serious as it gets.

  • stvnhthr

    John MacArthur suffers from a lack of credibility in this area since his writing of “Charismatic Chaos.” He chose in that book to focus on only the more fringe elements of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements to paint a distorted caricature of the actual practices and beliefs of his fellow Christians in these camps. John to my knowledge has never apologized for his terribly one sided inaccurate depiction of us Charismatics in this earlier work, it is hard to put trust in the man if he now wants to offer a kinder, more inclusive critique of us spirit-filled brothers and sisters in Christ. As a militant cessationist MacArthur seems to be now stating, “All you Charismatics are wrong, but these radical practitioners are blasphemously wrong.” He is because of his history, his beliefs, and his practices the wrong man to attempt to deliver this message.

    John MacArthur is a wonderful teacher, preacher and Bible expositor, but as a cessationist he is the wrong man to point out the faults in the Charismatic wings of the Church. He seems to be issuing a call for us Charismatics to be self policing; the problem is by not regularly being around healthy spiritual gift practitioners he seems to be ignorant of the fact we already are working against misapplying the gifts; he might do well and have more credibility if he instead focused his criticisms at those in his own camp prone to extremism.

    • Ed Dingess

      I came from the Pentecostal movement and I have that book. And your characterization of Charismatics is bologna. It is NOT the fringe elements of the movement. If anything, the fringe elements are the elements that decry the nonsense. Charismatic Chaos covers a very large majority segment of Charismatic theology. I know…been there…done that.

      • stvnhthr

        Perhaps you were witnessing part of the fringe element at your previous church home? Since leaving that church have you found a more balanced church home? I too have personal experience, but it is tempered with talking to hundreds of individuals from dozens of church backgrounds and hearing what God is doing in different Countries.

        I for sure have met some individuals who represent denominations who had Charismaniac beliefs, but they aren’t the norm; they weren’t bad people just very immature and inexperienced in observing a better paradigm to fit their spiritual experiences into.

        I’m not the standard for Christianity, God may use His gifts to bless someone else in a manner very unfamiliar to me, but it will always align with the principles of scripture. Even if someone dismissed the spiritual gifts found in the Bible, they still have to recognize they are in there for a purpose. If today the gifts are used for the same purposes and result in the same fruitful ministry that should bolster the credibility of their use. What you often see in the misuse is a lack of fruit or worse a divisive nature to the use, this is what needs corrected.

      • http://loneprairie.net/ Julie R. Neidlinger

        I, too, have been there. I couldn’t disagree with you more. So your experience tells you one thing and forms your opinion, and mine another and forms my opinion, and here we all are, certain we’re right. I grew up in the Pentecostal movement, and it was not nutty or anything remotely close to what MacArthur describes. I know…been there…done that.

  • Devon

    Great article Adrian and spot on! I like John MacArther even though I am not reformed in my doctrine and indeed lean pentacostal but John, like some in the Reform wing of Christianity do tend to throw the baby out with the bath water! For all the excesses and goofiness that we find in the Charasmatic movement, it has on the whole been a great thing for the Body of Christ!

  • CPS

    Adrian,

    Would you say that it’s possible for someone who sits under and accepts and agrees completely with MacArthur’s cessationism is able to experience the same fullness of communion with the Triune God and the same fellowship with Christ in the Holy Spirit as might someone sitting agreeably under the teaching of a responsible continuationist as yourself or, say, Dr. Grudem, or Dr. Piper?

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      Honestly? I have absolutely no idea. As I think it was Packer made the point most reformed folks today never talk about their personal relationship with God, so how could I assess it even if such a thing were wise in the first place!

      • CPS

        Come on, Adrian–no need to straddle the fence here! If MacArthur teaches that the Holy Spirit does not continue to give the gifts that He gave in the apostolic age, and Grudem teaches that not only does He continue to give those gifts, but that He does so for the necessary good and the benefit of the entire church, then one of these men is right and one of these men is wrong. So if Grudem is right, where does that leave the person who sits in agreement with MacArthur?

        Put another way, if the Holy Spirit continues to give the gifts that He gave in the apostolic age for the benefit of the church, then can it be said in any meaningful sense that the otherwise-faithful cessationist church is experiencing everything that the Holy Spirit has for them?

        • John B

          CPS,

          I Cor 12, which one of the gifts are not needed?

          JOhn

          • CPS

            That’s actually not my point. What I’m getting at is this: if the gifts of, say, prophecy and miracles in 1 Cor. 12 *ARE* needed in the church, and as everyone knows MacArthur is saying that they no longer continue to the present day, then MacArthur’s teaching is something that Adrian would NECESSARILY have to say in some measure “cuts people off from God’s blessing.”

            That’s the issue–Adrian is (unintentionally, I’m sure) engaging in a bit of a double standard, rebuking MacArthur for saying that error of this kind cuts people off from God’s blessing, when he’d actually have to say exactly the same thing about MacArthur if he were being consistent with his principles.

          • John B

            The point of Adrian’s post is Johnny Mac shouldn’t be accusing non-cessationists of blaspheming the HS, Johnny Mac is wrong in his cessationist position but we’re not accusing him of blaspheming the HS. your argument is off the point.

          • CPS

            Actually, that’s exactly what you’re doing–unfortunately, with the exception of a few people here in the comments thread, you simply haven’t been forthright enough to actually ADMIT it.

            But let’s be clear what you’re saying here:

            1. MacArthur is wrong about cessationism.

            2. MacArthur is wrong to deride the charismatic movement as a whole because of a few loonies.

            3. Many of the experiences that MacArthur says are demonic are actually legitimate acts of the Holy Spirit.

            It’s item 3 that gets you–if that’s true, then MacArthur really *IS* guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit; you simply aren’t being consistent enough with your arguments to actually acknowledge that. So here’s the real question: Why AREN’T you willing to be consistent with your own arguments?

            (BTW, I pointed out the issue of MacArthur’s statement that people involved in any kind of error are cut off from God’s blessing because it’s something Adrian actually DID address in his original post. So it’s really not off-topic at all.)

          • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

            Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a technical term that Jesus uses, does not fully define, and says is the unforgivable sin. I refuse to make such an allegation about anybody and am astonished that MacArthur is so readily banding such language about. Frankly it appals me.

          • John B

            Actually if Johnny Mac believes what his friend Phil Johnson teaches about “The Blasphemy of the HS” or the “unforgivable
            sin” then the sin can’t be committed today, it only could be committed during Jesus’ ministry on Earth.

            Perhaps Johnny Mac was just trying to get some attention for his conference.

            John

          • CPS

            John,

            Thanks for casting aspersions on the character of a man you don’t know, even after deriding Pastor MacArthur for doing the same (even though he DIDN’T do that at all). By so doing, you’ve made a valuable contribution to this discussion, if for no other reason than to show everyone here you don’t have any more moral high ground than MacArthur.

            And based on Adrian’s response to me, he’d be hard-pressed as well to prove that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit can still occur on earth today (since Jesus was so unhelpful as to fail to explain to us the one sin that God will never ever forgive). I suggest you show some consistency and rebuke him for the same fault you find in MacArthur and Johnson.

          • John B

            CPS,

            Of course Johnny Mac can cast aspersions on anyone he wants to your delight, You really didn’t read what I wrote, typical of someone that is just looking for a fight. I actually agree with Phil Johnson on his understanding of the “Blasphemy of the HS”. I’m done. Fire away.

          • CPS

            Actually, John, since you’ve shown that you don’t have the capacity to interact with me in an adult way at all, preferring instead your particular blend of hypocritical self-righteousness, I think I’ll take my leave.

            Cheers!

          • Ed Dingess

            The argument is precisely spot on. It is the foolishness of saying that “unless you are speaking in tongues then you do not have the full measure of the Holy Spirit like the Pentecostals do” that is no small part of the problem. Your rambling is not the tongues of Scripture anyways. Tongues are languages, real languages.

        • stvnhthr

          MacArthur can be wrong without being blasphemous, people grow in discipleship in many different areas. John is a great Bible teacher/preacher, he is a fantastic communicator, but it would appear his growth in recognizing the movement of the Holy Spirit in gifting is not developed to the level some of his other abilities are. He is not evil or bad, simply mistaken and to be lovingly and firmly shown a better way. We model God’s grace we have received when correcting a brother.

  • BrendtWayneWaters

    Regarding the update, Adrian, we have a new definition of irony: John MacArthur accusing others of being “divisive, unloving, cantankerous”.

    Levity aside, the “clarification” doesn’t really help his case any — it just adjusts the focus. The only Biblical references to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit that I can find state that such sin is unforgivable, i.e. the committer is going to hell and not passing “Go” or collecting $200.

    The BEST interpretation, therefore, is that he is ignoring the Scriptural definition/reference of the phrase (which is extremely out-of-character for a theological conservative) and misappropriating inflammatory words to gin up outrage among his listeners. Such foolishness is far beneath someone of his level of experience. But more disturbingly, it seems that he is of the opinion that Scripture is NOT sufficient to make his point.

    So we go from the heresy of claims to divinity by condemning half-a-billion people to hell to the heresy of claiming that Scripture is insufficient. Big whoop.

  • raisedtowalk

    Well, he’s right in that just because an experience is supernatural, it doesn’t mean it is from the Holy Spirit.

    And it’s true that sometimes people who pride themselves on “flowing in the spirit” attribute their thoughts to God. I’ve had someone say, “I think God is telling me we (meaning me) should do this.”

    And I was thinking, “Nope, I’m not getting that at all.”

    It wasn’t a “God thing,” it was “their” thing.

    That is why we are supposed to test the spirits. It doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit wont be speaking at all. It means other things will be as well and we are to discern, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    So one side of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is attributing action to him that aren’t his.

    But if you agree with that, then it necessarily follows that you must also recognize that the flip side of that is true. If you deny works that are of God, you are blaspheming him as well.

    So someone who takes a cesstionisist position of the gifts, that is something they should seriously consider.

  • J M-C

    Hi Adrian, first of all I want to thank you for your post. As I read it your position seemed to be something like this: “While I admit that there are aspects of the charismatic movement that are weak in their theology, Macarthur is wrong to lump all charismatics together and denounce the whole movement.” As a Reformed charismatic, that is precisely the position that I would take, and I am deeply saddened by the tone of some of the comments that others have written – some of which did not really listen to what you are trying to say, and almost seemed to attack you personally – which is thoroughly undeserved, and not glorifying to God. I’m sorry about that.

    The one thing I really wanted to say is that when I moved from UK to Canada, I realised that the term “charismatic” has very different connotations on the other side of the Atlantic. Back home, although the charismatic church is not always as doctrinally rooted as we would wish it to be, it certainly does not intrinsically connote heterodox ideas such as the prosperity Gospel; It is much more orthodox than that. But in North America the term is often associated with the weirder, solely experience-driven, end of the movement. Thus perhaps some of this controversy relates to the fact that different people mean different things by the term “charismatic”. I think it was George Bernard Shaw that said that ‘England and America are two countries divided by a common language’.

  • maria

    Since the mid 1800′s with the introduction of emotional Christianity by Edward Irving the Pentecostal Movement has taken liberties with the Holy Spirit. In as much that the Holy Spirit is no longer recognized as the one to lead us in all truth. The Charismatics have taken it to a whole other level which pushes the Holy Spirit into manifestations that are not biblical. We are in the false signs and wonders generation and no doubt many will be deceived as Christ warned us that Satan will have power to influence if even the elect…. best you stay to the Word of God.

  • Ed Dingess

    With all due respect Adrian, what I would like to hear is how you distinguish between the abuses and the legitimate while remaining faithful to a pentecostal hermeneutic. Either this “God spoke to me” nonsense is extra-biblical revelation that no one should dare question or it is superfluous. If God gives me something new, I cannot test it with Scripture. If God reveals to me a principle already revealed in Scripture, its redundant. I know what MacArthur says about Pentecostals and you are misrepresenting him. I was a Pentecostal. I know what goes on in their churches. Islam and Mormonism are growing quite fast as well. The legitimacy of a movement is not located in its ability to attract followers.

    • stvnhthr

      Ed,
      God will not contradict Himself. God can speak to you, but it will align with the unchanging truth of the Bible. So if you today receive a message from God (ACTS 2:17) it does not replace Scripture. I find it is usually God applying a point of Scripture which is a general universal truth to a specific situation.

      For example I was lead across town to a bar (which I didn’t frequent), directed to a specific table at a specific time, and directed to talk to a particular person. As I sat down to talk to him (I was one table away working up the courage to engage in a conversation and praying for an opening) he was saying to his date, “I don’t believe in God, I don’t know really what I believe or why.” At that point the stage was set and I had an opening for a prolonged and friendly conversation with a stranger about Jesus.

      This was a specific application of a general truth of scripture, it fit with how God had used individuals in the past and it was designed to apply it in a Bible-truth honoring method.

  • Scott Reed

    Adrian, I was in a charismatic type church for 20 years, I witnessed first hand the good and bad. What he is talking about is the many, many things that are not biblical that people attribute to the Holy Spirit, for example, visions, dreams, words of knowledge, false healings, tongues that are not the true gift etc. etc. plus the rampant practice of thinking up some message and then going to the Bible to back it up with certain scripture and then presenting that as the sermon, the preacher uses the scripture instead of the scripture using the preacher, you get what i am saying. Anyway, trust me I am not one who does not know, I know what goes on from one extreme to the other. And before you even wonder about it, yes I use to speak in tongues, but that does not qualify me to say anything. I am not going to sit here and defend every little thing about John Mac, he is a man and he is not perfect, he may even be a little strong on somethings more than others, but if you look at his entire life and how he goes through the Bible verse by verse, I have to say he is a very solid Biblical teacher who teaches the word with a underline fear of wanting to get it right and not misrepresenting the Bible. I challenge you to listen to some of his sermons. Here is sermon series that made me think Hard about what I believed about Gods Sovereignty , http://www.gty.org/resources/sermon-series/280/the-doctrines-of-grace

    I hope you will take the time to listen to these, trust me I have heard the other sides take on this. I have even taken the time to listen to sermons they have asked me to listen to just to find out they never listen to the sermons i ask them to listen to. I understand why they don’t, I use to be one of them and have to admit I never really had good Bible teaching and never really gave the Bible it’s place of authority in my life. I am to blame for that, but that was the example I was given from leadership, it was more important to have a response from the crowd than to preach Gods word. Here are the words of my “Best Friend” at the time I told him I would be going to a Baptist Church, he said ” I will take an average penta movement over a great baptist sermon any day”. Trust me I would have totally been on his side a few years back, but thank God my eyes were open to many things that just don’t line up with Gods word and my family and I had to leave.

    I also wanted to say, using numbers in an effort to make him look wrong is wrong, just because what he is accusing points the finger at millions or billions doesn’t mean he is wrong, it could just mean that many people are wrong, numbers mean nothing when it comes to wrong or right. Right is right if only one person is right. The Bible said few will find the way, few means few. How many people do you think where on the earth when Noah was alive, and God choose eight to survive. Well I am sure all those other millions of people thought they were right, but they were not.

    Just so I am clear on one thing, I know in my heart the majority of Charismatics are sincere and Love the Lord and would not blaspheme the Holy Spirit on purpose. They would never do this if they knew it was wrong, never. But I also have to say that most of the wrong that goes on is done totally out of bad teaching and good intentions. I was doing many things in the name of the Holy Spirit that was just plain wrong, but I didn’t think that at the time. I pray for my brothers and sisters in the charismatic type churches, I pray that the Lord would show them the things they are doing correct and correct the things they are doing wrong.

    Christ is Truth

  • Scott Reed

    o.k. I guess I will be the one who says it, Maybe Pastor John should not have used the word “Blasphemy”, and this will sound like I am defending him, but he meant to say the terrible misuse, abuse, neglect, and disrespect of the Holy spirit. As I have said I use to go to a “Charismatic” type church for 20 years, there are certain beliefs that span the entire group, yes I am lumping together, and those beliefs do not line up with the pattern of scripture. In the 20 years I was in this sect of the church I was in a “Christian Band” and I witnessed the abuse from one extreme to the other, I did not find one “Charismatic” church who did not operate in some sort of error, I’m not talking about getting doctrine a little off, I am talking about getting doctrine way off or adding to the doctrine in order for it to conform to the service that was going on. I am sure there are “Charismatic churches who try to “operate” in the gifts without being in error, but I have never seen it. I have never been in a service where “tongues” were practice IN ORDER, ever. As a matter of fact I have never been to a “Charismatic” prayer meeting where it was not encourage that everyone speak in tongues. I have heard many preachers say, “if you see more than three people praying in tongues don’t bother them or stop it, because they just might be praying in the spirit for you, that is just plain wrong, actually using a persons selfish nature in order to keep error going, because who would want to stop the spirit if he is praying for you, see what i am saying. Listen my “Charismatic” Brothers and Sisters, this was very, very, hard for me to admit at one time, i defended the Movement like nobody else. Let me challenge you to challenge what you believe. Does it truly stand the test of scripture, is what your doing the BEST thing (Which by the way is the whole lesson in 1 Cor. 14). I battled with this for a long time and removing my family and myself was very, very hard. I have to say, I love the Lord more now than I ever thought possible, now that I have a better understanding of his grace and that my salvation had nothing to do with me and was a total work of God.

    My whole conversion started with a simple question I ask many of my Charismatic Brothers and Sisters, I asked them, do you believe miracles and healings happen today like it happened in Jesus and the Apostles time, all said yes, I then ask have they ever seen one, meaning have they ever seen a nature defying, miracle, the kind that can not be explained away by man, no explanation other than God intervened and supernaturally made it happen, kind of like throwing a ball in one direction and it goes the opposite, and the answer I got from everyone was NO, they have never witnessed a true miracle like the kind Jesus and Apostles performed, that made me start to question things, did I have true faith.

    I use to believe that I could lose my Salvation until I had a better understanding of Grace, and no i don’t believe I can go and do whatever I want and still claim to be saved, I like to use the phase “IF Saved always saved”, those who are saved will endure to the end, if anyone could have lost his salvation when it comes to those in the Bible it was Peter, but he endured, did he not? Their are 2 belief systems in the world, Works Salvation and Grace Salvation, one is wrong and one is right. If you think any of your works gets you or keeps you saved you are on the works side and that is not Grace. That ended up being one of the major flaws I encountered with the “Charismatic” church, “most” not all believe you can take control of your salvation and lose it. Jesus said we must be born again, as I recall i had no input when it came to my first birth, and therefore had no input on the second, how could i, I was Dead in trespasses and sin, and dead men can’t respond, it was a super natural work of God, he transformed my mind and gave me his spirit to guide me the rest of my days, i couldn’t continue in sin if I wanted to, the Spirit of God would not take up resident and allow sin to continue as it did before. Christ said he would lose none of his sheep, none means none and eternal salvation means eternal salvation, you are only saved once.

    Sorry, I got on a run.

    I say this with the most sincerity I can, people are saved in both “Charismatic” and non- Charismatic churches all the time, some of the most loving people come from both sides. I really wish we could talk to each other in love and speak the truth to one another without getting a chip on our shoulder, if someone comes to me and shows me in scripture and through diligent study that i am wrong about something I should grab that brother and sister and hug them as if they just told me I won ten million dollars. If what they tell me does not line up with scripture I should care enough to tell them and i would only hope they would be as happy to hear the truth. We can often measure someones true heart by how they respond to truth, truth will set the believer free and imprison the non-believer.

    Christ is Truth

  • Nancy

    I think Mr. MacArthur is simply exposing error within a particular “fellowship” that has perhaps failed to judged itself? One cannot deny the abuses that have occurred within this particular segment of believers (I have been a “charasmatic” most of my life). A woman I know of (also a charismatic) has dedicated her life to spreading the gospel as well as exposing false teaching. She states that it is better for the body of Christ to judge one another (meaning to correct when necessary), otherwise, God will have to be the One who ends up judging us. She reminds the people about what occurred in the 80′s to two well known “charismatics” to get her point across.

    Mr. Warnock, if you have never sat under a false teacher, I’m sure you are very thankful about this. Please be patient with those who have. Mr. MacArthur is simply championing their cause, I believe.

  • Joe Wendling

    Wow, Mcarthur is condemning Paul the Apostle and all the Saints of his time

  • Catherine White

    Spurious headline. John MacArthur has not charged Charismatics as blasphemers. You’ve clearly not read his books or listened to his videos.

  • Sean Steckbeck

    As an outsider, charismatic, and a partial Calvinist/Armenian. Could I give a word of advice to people trying to correct JMac? I noticed that many here are trying to give an example of a proper charismatic as “Reformed Charismatics”. But I would like to say there are also any people that are not reformed and are charismatics that are also brothers and sisters. The polemic here has three divides in these discussions. Cessatioists/Continuationists , Calvinist-Reformed/Non Calvinists-Reformed, Intellectuals-Non Intellectuals……..for instance, in defending charismatics, many people say, “but there are many Reformed charismatics” as to defend the fact they are charismatic by the fact that they are reformed. How is that supposed to make your non-Calvinists brothers and sisters feel- charismatic or not? I sense that there is a lot of doctrinal pride within the reformed movement as if they have the corner on theology. Debate is great, but humility is greater. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

  • Webb Mealy

    Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, biblically speaking, is the unforgivable sin of attributing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit. Read the Gospels. When Jesus did a dramatic work of power in healing someone and freeing him from being demonized, his religious opponents attempted to destroy this testimony to the good news by attributing it to the devil. It was in response to this stubborn spiritual cynicism that Jesus said what he said about blaspheming (i.e. insulting) the Holy Spirit. See Mt. 12:22-32 || Mk 3:20-30.

    I believe that a lot of misguided stuff is promoted and practiced in the name of Jesus, both within and outside of the charismatic and pentecostal movements. But I don’t encourage people to take a blanket view that all contemporary people who claim to have experiences of powerful working of the Holy Spirit are deluded or demonically inspired. Prophecy, tongues, dramatic and instant healings, miracles, visions, revelations of the future, and revelations of things that could not be known by ordinary means, also known as words of knowledge–all these are to many people, such as myself, among the beautiful and important testimonies to the presence and power of God through Jesus Christ.

    If something like the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is possible in the contemporary world, I would say that the closest parallel to Jesus’ use of that expression would be the person who cynically insists–and attempts to persuade others–that believers in the powerful contemporary work of God (to the extent that they’re not just fantasizing or deluded by theirown thoughts) must be inspired by the devil.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bro-Juntunen/100001252637004 Bro Juntunen

    I have had so many experiences that it is shocking to me to finally learn from a pastor in California that I am not a true Christian. I guess I wouldn’t want to be all dry and boring like MacArthur anyway, if that’s what heaven is like, I prefer punishment in hell.

  • Gareth Lowe

    Hi Adrian, my question to you is, why do groups like New Frontiers and Sovereign Grace revere MacArthur so much when he thinks
    you are of the devil, offering false fire, and poisoning the Church?
    And it’s not like anyone is surprised that he thinks that either. He’s
    never changed his tune since Charismatic Chaos. Jack Hayford tried
    incredibly hard to reason with him and reach out to him, all to no
    avail.

    Why should we (I write this as a Charismatic) listen to someone who in Jesus’ words is blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:24-32), divisively attacking Jesus’ Church (1 Cor 3:17), accusing the brothers (Rev 12:10) and resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51)?

    While us Charismatics look for respectability and acceptance, don’t you think there is a danger that instead of Gospel-centred people becoming Spirit empowered; rather Charismatics will simply be assimiliated into the non-Charismatic world? (Judging by the hostile comments it seems so)

    I would be interested to hear what you have to say about that…

  • http://www.mompreneurmogul.com/ Lisa Cash Hanson

    Adrian I wouldn’t fight people who criticize you. It’s really wasted energy. I say this for my own benefit too.

    There is much work to be done and many lives waiting. For those of us who know how wonderful the Holy Spirit is, obviously with forces like this we know the end is near. I would focus on the lives who need and want the Holy Spirit.

    I’ve decided not to say a word against this man- I will say the HOLY Spirit He does fill people today. He always does. Healings do happen and the only deception happening is that someone is telling Christians He doesn’t.

    To me that is the biggest injustice to the Holy Spirit. But He doesn’t need me to defend HIM because all of Heaven backs everything He does :) I can tell you from first hand experience He’s been amazing. I’ve seen Him change lives and hearts as they are filled and pray in other tongues. It’s wonderful.

  • Vanessa

    For 20 years I worshiped under the Charismatic movement. Fought tooth and nail against those who dare soil the movement. Talked in tongues and believed God spoke to me directly. Bound the devil in my prayers. Till slowly the scales on my eyes began to be removed. The Holy Spirit gently showed me the error in this movement and yes it all began by me listening to John Mcaurthur. I was angry when I first herd what he said but because I had begun to see the cracks in my church (Rhema South Africa) that I began to question. I dont speak in tongues, I don’t bind Satan and I don’t think God speaks to me directly but only through his word and the Holy Spirit guides who me in all truth. I study the word all day everyday and I have an amazing relationship with God. The tongues issue did not fall away immediately till one night as I was talking in tongues I suddenly realised I did not understand what I was saying to God. Common sense kicked in and I cringed as I realised I had been putting it on all these years. It was not a heavily prayer language it was empty words. Now I speak English to God as I want to know what I say to my Heavenly Father just as I want to know what I say to my darling Husband whom I love dearly. Image going to your loved ones speaking Gibbly Garb. It never built up my faith as i had been told. Instead what builds my faith up now is trusting in God daily for my needs and health. I now check out all that I hear from man and my Bible is always opened on my desk. 20 years ago God said to me through his word “Come out of her”. I listened and I came out and I am so blessed. Thank you Jesus for for calling me out and thank you for using John Mcaurthur as an instrument to show me my error.

  • Manny Reyes

    Just think! Use your brain and search the Scriptures! Also, more importantly, pray to God (the Father and Lord of Jesus Christ) for discernment – wisdom. He will give you the thought you need. As for me, I am safe swimming in the shore of the Scriptures. It is too unsafe in the deep ocean of continuationism. The Scripture is enough for my Salvation, my Faith, and my Sanctification among others. No need for SWMs.

  • Tom

    MacArthur is a very unpleasant chap, he build his whole ministry on correcting others. If ever a man needed to look at the log in his own eye…

  • Kevin

    I can’t understand why charismatic would even care to discuss this issue with a man who’s says “nothing good has come out of the movement”. There are always people who have hangups about the supernatural power of God. Who cares.. I encourage my Charismatic brothers and sister to keep preaching the FULL gospel message as the Apostle did it, with signs and wonders following and keep healing the sick and let the self appointed theologians of our time discuss these issues amongst themselves.. There will always be skeptical people that don’t believe in the supernatural.. Leave it to God to work His work in the lives of people.. McArthur theology is not flawless nor does he understands every thing biblical.. GO talk to the people who live in this realm, the people that see the miracles that we read about in the bible.. Dont waste your time with these witch hunters.. there are too many serious issues today confronting the church, likethe homosexual agenda which is the main issue today, and how its waging a war against the word of GOD.. PS.. I am always amazed at the so called Bible theologians view on the scripture about blaspheming the spirit.. Whenever they talk about this verse they always step outside of the rules that they so call use to interpret scripture.. This is one of the most clearest text written.. Context rules..Jesus made this comment in response to the Pharisees calling the supernatural power of God in demonstration, the work of the devil.. Yet when i hear these people teach on this scripture they never say this… The reason is because they do this very same thing all the time..calling the power of God the work of the devil…. If Mc Arthur and his followers believe the gifts and signs and wonder are not for today, so what?!!! God uses weak thing to confound the wise. We see it all through scripture.

  • Keith

    There is something that I thought about as I read this. Many of us as followers of Christ who agree with charismatic teachings believe that Ephesians 6, the statement of “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” v.12-ESV, is not a figurative but a literal call to spiritual arms in prayer; such strong cessationist stances ignore the fact that there are those around us who would seek to harm Christians in whatever way they can, especially those who follow occult practices. Simply intellectualizing such practices as superstitious does not dispel the power behind them. The only thing that does dispel that power is the name of Jesus.

  • spearbearer1 .

    Adrian, I hope that you are not being intentionally dishonest. MacArthur is calling out the unbiblical, heretical leaders in the Charismatic movement. If that is not you then stop applying it to yourself. Just this evening he shared with his congregation that he married a woman saved in a Charismatic church. I don’t know how much more can be said to oppose what you are accusing him of.

  • Yes

    I am a former Calvinist and devoted a large part of my life to understanding teaching the defense of Calvinism. The Lord delivered me from that at 55, just as Catholics, or any other false religion. I believe there are Christians in Calvinism and Catholicism. Calvinists do have better understanding of salvation. There is also little difference with the Charismatics and other churches. All are impacted by the apostasy that we are in and really do not have a clue how far into the apostasy we really are. Jesus said that when he returns. will he find faith on the earth? Most believers do not realize the seriousness of Jesus’ words.

    FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. MACARTHUR SAYS YOU CAN TAKE THE MARK OF THE BEAST AND REPENT LATER! Yet, just as the Charismanics keep following false teachers, so do,MacArthur’s followers. They will defend him as he mocks the gifts of the Holy Spirit and denial of tongues IN THE FACE OF Paul’s command NOT TO forbid the speaking in tongues”.

    MacArthur literally denies the Word of God and still has a large following. Brothers and sisters, most people are lost. Narrow is the way. Much of these debates are between believers who will perish, hearing Jesus say “I never knew you”. These teachers have NO accountability. You have no clue who MacArthur and the false teachers really are. Satan appears as an angel of light. Do you really think we can have large churches that preach the truth when it is a time of apostasy? Watch out for your own soul and those of your families. DO NOT LOOK TO TEACHERS WHO HAVE GOTTEN RICH ON THE SHEEP AND GOATS.

    Humble yourself. Get before the Lord and plead with him to open your eyes as to the truth. For years I went slowly, line by line through the New Testament, challenging myself as to whether I believed what was written and was it evident in my life that I believed what was written. The Lord showed my I did not believe what He said, but what my teachers had taught me. You need to change translations when you do this, as your mind will read over it without thinking. It will be a war. I used God’s Word translation and constantly went back to the KJV to verify passages. God Bless.

  • Dennis Richardson

    Kenneth Copeland has disobeyed the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit that directed Peter and Paul to write criticisms of fithy lucre, the fithy lucre that Copeland practices. Peter in 1 Peter 5: 2 and Paul in 1 Timothy 3: 3. The future will show Copeland to be a Freemason.

    Let me invite you to banned me from this web site as I have been by Joseph Farah of World Net Daily. My comment to him, that the CNP is controlled by the CFR.


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