Strange Fire – A Charismatic Response to John MacArthur

See also the following posts: 

Christians have a long history of disagreeing with each other over doctrine. There is nothing new about that. Sometimes that disagreement can get quite heated. So for example, in the time when Wesley and Whitefield were arguing over Calvinism, Charles Wesley wrote a shameful hymn called “The Horrible Decree” which says of Calvinism:

Worthy of whence it came!
Forgive their hellish blasphemy

And much more besides.

As I concluded my post responding to MacArthur’s first session, such violent disagreements do dishonor to the one who saved us, and who prayed that we might be one.

I was saddened then by the hubris and the grandstanding, and even by the predictable confusion about exactly what happened when Mark Driscoll turned up (in a moment of high emotion its easy for people to get conflicting impressions of what transpired, see also this article).

Since I reported that MacArthur accused the Charismatic Movement en masse of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit I have been very concerned. That concern has not abated as the conference progressed.

During the confernce the following Tweet appeared on MacArthur’s account, and I replied with an open question to him:

To be clear, the only reason I mentioned “reformed” charismatics in that tweet was because it seemed to me that he had already determined that  the many non-reformed charismatics that I would count as my brothers and friends were not saved.

MacArthur’s closing address contained a few quotes that give an answer of sorts to that question (thanks to Cripplegate for the transcript from which these were taken):

“We have also been accused of being divisive. I would agree with that. Truth by its very nature is divisive. It’s why Jesus said I came to bring a sword, to divide people, families. Truth by its very nature is separated from error. And it is far more important to be divided by the truth than united by error . . .

There are others who criticized by saying, “You’re attacking brothers.” I wish I could affirm that. We’ve said this one way or another this week: this is a movement made up largely of non-Christians .  . .

I’m convinced that the broader charismatic movement has opened the door to more theological error than any other theological aberration in this day. Liberalism, psychology, ecumenism, pragmatism, mysticism, are all bad. Nothing is as bad as Charismaticism because of its extensive impact. And once that kind of experientialism gets a foothold, there’s no brand of heresy that won’t ride it into the church.

Charismatic theology becomes the strange fire of our generation and we have no business flirting with it at any level.”

So, there you have it, I am a part of a movement which, according to MacArthur, is worse than liberalism, and which he said in the first session, has nothing good to offer the church, oh and “most” of us are not even Christians.

To be very clear, I have no problem with other Christians holding to a different posisition on the gifts of the Holy Spirit than I do. Many cessationists are similarly inclined to see charismatics as brothers, see for example this quote from Packer.

I do also recognise, as I have outlined in my Charismatic Spectrum there are many different possible positions. MacArthur seems to have missed all these nuances and simply want to reject all charismatic thinking as heretical.

In particular there is little or no attempt in this conference to separate doctrine and experience. What I mean is, when MacArthur claims a long stream of Christians in church history were theologically cessationist, he is absolutely correct.  Yet, for many of the people he cites, including many of the reformers, (see this talk), the Puritans (see this talk), Spurgeon, and others, despite their views on the supremacy of  Scripture, there was a strong focus on an experience of God.

This experientialism was key to the worldview of the Puritans. An awareness of the power of the risen Jesus at work in us was once seen as vital to the Christian walk by all. MacArthur even warns against books on prayer by E.M. Bounds in one of the Q and A sessions. It is very sad indeed if, as it at least appeared to me from this conference, that strong tradition has also been rejected.   Phil Johnson seems aware of our concern on this point and even quoted me in his second talk, as follows:

“What I want to know about Phil is not whether he speaks in tongues . . . but rather does he have an intimate, experience of the Spirit?” He went on to suggest that cessationism portrays God as “a passive and absent figure who has left us only an intellectual relationship with the Bible.”

But in the rest of his talk he doesn’t address at all the sense some Christians have of a real relationship with God. Perhaps many cessationists do feel they have such a personal relationship, but as Packer has once pointed out today most people dont like talking about such things. Piper speaks openly about “meeting God” in his quiet times, and this would be very similar to countless experiences described by Christians of old. This experiential Christianity from the past is something I outline in one of the chapters of my own book Raised With Christ which deliberately does not mention charismatic gifts, but strongly advocates this historic stream of knowing Jesus. You can download that chapter free.

What is fascinating also is that there are many examples of respected Christian leaders who would not have had a charismatic theology but who had experiences which we today would call prophecy. So you see for example please do watch this clip of Sam Storms describing Spurgeon’s remarkable experiences with this while preaching:

YouTube Preview Image

Clearly Spurgeon didn’t really have a category within his theology to explain things like that.

If MacArthur had said something like “Of course God grants certain experiences to people today, and they are even quite important at times, but we need to be more theologically precise about how we describe them,” that would have been one thing, to deny such experiences as demonic is something totally different.

Indeed, it is very possible to argue that between some more moderate cessationists and some more moderate charismatics many of the differences are ones of semantics.  Vern Poythess has argued this case in a couple of papers that are worth reading.  But MacArthur is apparently eager to throw out any chance of such experiences, and even the modern worship songs written by charismatics. To be consistent he would have to reject what is possibly the most popular modern hymn: In Christ Alone.

But to be fair to MacArthur, he does seem to allow two exceptions to the rule that even Reformed Charismatics have nothing good to offer: John Piper and Wayne Grudem.  But it is interesting the way he speaks about them in a Q and A session:

With John Piper, that is a complete anomaly. That is just so off everything else about him. It’s not that he speaks in tongues or prophesies. He admits that. But there’s this anomaly in his mind that’s open to that. He’s always stated it that way. He’s even made statements like, “I don’t know, I’m not sure, I don’t know exactly what to think.” That’s’ a far cry from propagation. Even Wayne Grudem. I look at this as an anomaly [in his theology]. I don’t know and don’t need to know where this impulse comes from. But I do know the great body of work that John Piper has done is true to the faith. John is a friend not only whom I admire but whom I love. I don’t know why on this front he has that open idea, but it’s not an advocacy position for the movement and he would join us in decrying the excesses of that movement for sure, and even the theology of it.

MacArthur doesn’t seem to give any credence to the idea that Piper may think the way he does about the charismatic because he is convinced by biblical arguments. But throughout the Strange Fire Conference there was no real attempt at interacting with charismatic theology, and our actual reasons for believing what we do. So RC Sproul outlined his case for baptism of the Holy Spirit not being a subsequent experience, but didnt address Lloyd-Jones famous comment:

“There is nothing, I am convinced, that so ‘quenches’ the Spirit as the teaching which identifies the baptism of the Holy Ghost with regeneration. . .  Got it all? Well, if you have ‘got it all’, I simply ask in the Name of God, why are you as you are? If you have ‘got it all’, why are you so unlike the Apostles, why are you so unlike the New Testament Christians?” READ MORE

Perhaps the closest to actually engaging us was Tom Pennington’s talk, The case for cessastionsim, but even there little of what we actually think was addressed as my friend Andrew Wilson has ably pointed out.

As another example of a failure to engage with other perspectives, several times during the event the blatantly unbiblical claim that prophecies and other gifts were only ever given to authenticate Scripture-writers was made. As I outlined in a post before the conference began, it is patently clear that much prophecy discussed in the Bible had nothing to do with creating Scripture.

Instead of engaging theologically with our views, they either outlined their own, or as is in both the talks by Conrad Mbewe went into detail of the many horrid things that some in the charismatic movement do. Some sessions were spent watching video clips and simply mocking the extremes which are then used as a stick to beat us all over the head with.

To be honest, watching Phil Johnson’s first talk did make me ask myself: do I speak out about charismatic abuses often enough? Its not that I don’t recognise the problem. For example, I could easily speak volumes about the horror I felt when I watched the broadcast of God TV rehabilitating Todd Bentley and justifying restarting screening his bizarre meetings. Once I start down that route, though, where do I stop? As I said, in a tweet do I really have the time?

For that matter, surely spending my focus on highlighting the good things is a better use of my time? If people are taught to recognise real money by studying it, when fake currency turns up they will identify it in an instant.  I am surprised how much time some of these folks seems to spend hunting out increasingly bizzare YouTube videos. Surely building and declaring a true model of the Christian life is a better use of our time?

Some of what MacArthur said during this event was patantly and blatantly untrue. For example he claimed that charismatics are not engaged in social action:

People who have any connection to Judaism and Christianity have a connection to philanthropy. It is a striking anomaly, however, that there is essentially zero social benefit to the world from the charismatic movement. Where’s the charismatic hospital? Social services? Poverty relief? This is a scam. SOURCE

Has he never heard of YWAM’s Mercy Ministries, of Rick Warren’s PEACE campaign?  The list goes on and on. It is simply an untruth to claim that charismatics don’t care for the worlds poor.

I’d like to end with a video which demonstrates that it is possible for us to talk about issues that we disagree strongly about without rejecting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Thanks to Justin Taylor for posting this earlier this week.

But before I do, may I encourage you to read the rest of my posts about this conference and book, as well as  Frank Viola’s Refutation of Strange Fire in 7 points.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, and a writer. Since 1995 he has been a member of Jubilee Church London where Tope Koleoso is the pastor. 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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  • Andre de Kock

    Dane Gressett, I agree with you 100%, but I HAVE to stand against MacArthur’s statement at this conference that ALL Charismatics are UNSAVED and BLASPHEME the Holy Spirit. His gross excess is to me no better than all the false teaching of Bently!!!

    I too speak in tongues daily and often have prophetic words as well as words of knowledge, and so it’s you and me that MacArthur is saying is unsaved and blaspheme the Holy Spirit and so I hope you will also challenge him on this account.

  • Don Palmer

    Well said & written Adrian. This is truly shameful and so sad, but having tracked Big Mac since his book back in the 70’s on the Movement, I’m really not surprised. He has done the exact same with anyone who disagrees with him on women in ministry, old earth creation, emerging churches, etc etc. I find him one of the most distasteful, un-Christlike individuals on the planet to be honest. And heaven weeps.

  • Lorilee Gill

    I believe MacAurthur is afraid of the Holy Spirit because he doesn’t have an intimate relationship with God. And when you are afraid of something, you speak against it.

  • Alex

    Adrian, I think you are just completely mis-understanding it.

    I’m only starting with the VERY FIRST audio from the conference, and JOHN CLEARLY states that there are some who do know the truth, who seek the truth, who are saved. BUT they are not saved because of the Charismatic movement, but because of the Gospel. ALSO the movement, the MOVEMENT is not helping at all to the truth. Please open up your heart and eyes and see it clearly. John is NOT condemning Everyone in the Charismatic movement.

  • hello

    It is indeed discouraging to see Dr. MacArthur making such sweeping statements. I think he is equating the corrupt televangelist to the charismatic movement. It would be good to see him define his terms.

    • Manny Reyes

      I understand. It hurts. I too am now in a Charismatic group. But now I am praying for discernment of my fellow Charismatic friends. I am happy and contended with the power of the Gospel. For me, today’s signs, wonders and miracles are done by God by our prayers not by our powers.

  • Chrissy

    I would just like to thank Jesus for my salvation.

  • maria

    Lets not be Charismatic for if you are it is not from God for a charismatic by definition “is exercising a compelling charm” and that is not from our Lord. Come off the self and accept grace. No amount of self indulgence will purpose Gods will for you.

  • Guest

    Adrian, did you even listen to RC Sproul’s sermon at the conference??? If so than why in the world would you post a Martin Lloyd Jones quote that was geared toward rejecting the view that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the same thing as regeneration??? RC Sproul did not defend that view!! In fact HE CLEARLY ARGUED AGAINST IT! Be honest, did you really even listen to RC’s sermon??? And if so why in the world would you post that Martin Lloyd Jones quote in response? You really need to be careful to actually hear what Macarthur and company are saying. It seems like you are not taking the time to listen to what the other side has to say which puts a massive dent in your credibility.

    I don’t agree with everything that I heard at the conference but to ramble against it like you have seems totally unnecessary. If you argue that GTY is being divisive by their actions than what would you call this blog? Seems like you are trying to have it both ways. There is nothing wrong about a group of men speaking against specific doctrines that are popular among christians. The issue is not “are they being divisive?” Just like that’s not the issue with your blog. The issue is “what does the Bible really say about this subject?” If you are going to call GTY divisive than to remain consistent you must take down this bog post… Otherwise let’s stick to the main issue which is what the Bible truly says about this topic.

  • Leo Monterosso

    John MacArthur has taught this for 40+ years.

  • Dane Gressett

    Abi, MacArthur in no uncertain terms says that God absolutely does not work healing miracles AT ALL anymore…on any occasion. He has gone on record many times along these lines. He does admit that evil supernaturalism is real and that there are demonic supernatural manifestations.

    Seems sad that JMac makes room for devils to do the supernatural but not the church. He’s cut the baby in half. He is has left the biblical standard regarding miracles in the NT age and uses his own lack of experience as his standard. Even as he accuses charismatics of uses their own feelings and experiences as their standard. At least on this subject, I cannot agree with JMac.

  • J. Dean

    “To be honest, watching Phil Johnson’s first talk did make me ask myself: do I speak out about charismatic abuses often enough? Its not that I don’t recognise the problem. For example, I could easily speak volumes about the horror I felt when I watched the broadcast of God TV rehabilitating Todd Bentley and justifying restarting screening his bizarre meetings. Once I start down that route, though, where do I stop? As I said, in a tweet do I really have the time?”

    With all due respect, that sounds like spiritual laziness. As somebody who is an ex-charismatic, it was sad to see people hesitant to decry charlatans like Hinn, Hagin, Copeland, and the like, all in the name of “unity”.

    If the pentecostals really DID throw more of the bathwater out, they probably wouldn’t have to defend themselves from things like the Strange Fire conference. But they don’t, because the gifts of the Spirit seems to take the place of the gospel as the central doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. Setting aside the questionable nature of many of these “experiences” and how they often do not line up with Scripture’s depiction of miracles and gifts, the pentecostals, because they do not clean out their own house, would rather embrace the dirt that has accumulated rather than hear somebody else say that the room needs to be clean.

    Unfortunately, this rot has spread into the Nazarene church as well now:

  • Jason Vanderpool

    I have been reading over comments regarding the recent “Strangefire” conference and am deeply grieved. Not because people are ranting and raving about how wrong it was, but because they are not willing to hold themselves to what the purpose of that conference was about.

    1 Peter 3:15-17 ” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”

    These men at this conference were attempting to give a biblical, historical message about why they believe what they believe. And instead of the charismatic group doing the same, all they offer is insult and complaints.

    So here is my dare and request. I am making public my desire to see a group of charismatic leaders get together and hold a biblical, historical conference and give an answer to why they believe what they believe. I want to hear from them exegetical, historical proof of their position. I want them to stop complaining and start defending. I want them to stop complaining that this conference is unloving, divisive, and wrong and hold their own meeting explaining their convictions. No one is stopping them so what are they afraid of? If they feel they are correct in their interpretation, then bring it on, lets hear it. If they cannot or will not hold such a meeting, then let them forever be silenced.

    • Manny Reyes

      Sounds scary but I agree.

    • Robby McAlpine

      Pentecostals have been speaking up for years. Check out the Assemblies of God website for the many PDF’s of their position statements against Health & Wealth, the Shepherding Movement, Jesus-Only, Modern Apostles, etc.

      I’m not a Pentecostal myself, but to say that nobody has been speaking up is simply untrue.

      J. Lee Grady has written several books (What Happened to the Fire? and The Holy Spirit Is Not For Sale, to name two) that also criticized the same things.

      Back in the hey-day of the Shepherding Movement, Chuck Smith (Calvary Chapel), Jack Hayford (Church on the Way), Pat Robertson (700 Club at the time), Demos Shakarian (Full Gospel Businessmen Association), and even Kathryn Kulhman publicly exposed the Shepherding teaching as error.

      Todd Bentley’s many critics included a lot of continuationists. The Toronto Blessing as well.

      It is a myth (dare I call it a lie?) to say that continuationists are silent on these issues.

  • Jack O’Connell

    Adrian, the Christian faith is under serious attack, there are numerous false teachers established within the Charismatic movement. There are pagan practices flooding in through men like Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner. These modern gnostics dont teach the word and correct the sin and error corrupting and strangling the church and drenching it with fables but instead promote mystical experiences without any Biblical basis. Men like Rodney Howard Brown claim to be able to manipulate the Holy Spirit and direct His movements and give people direct experiences with God and claim to be channelers of the Spirit. More and more heretics are springing up and have at their mercy an ever growing number of gullible, undiscerning, vulnerable and confused people.

    We need men to lift up their voice like a trumpet and expose demonic deception within the church. Eph 4:11 commands us to expose the works of darkness. We know Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and many will thus be deceived and think it unloving to speak against the deceptions in the Charismatic movement due to their ignorance of the severity and danger involved.When most shepherds sit idly by not having the love to oppose evil,deceit or name false teachers and warn God’s flock, you shouldnt try pick fault and knit pick those men who have the courage to do what you refuse.
    Why not thank the Lord that sin is being exposed and give honour to whom honour is due instead of complain and whine when men of God wield the sword of the Spirit against deceit and expose the works of darkness.Are you truly on the side of truth if exposing sin within the church gets under your skin. Love rejoices in the trith not groans at it!

  • Joe Reed

    The reason for the conference, and the reason for John’s concern as I understood it, and I was there, is that the charismatic movement, not just in part but in whole, has opened a door impossible to close by affirming direct, Divine words revealed personally and outside the Bible. I’m not talking about providence, Phil Johnson covered that, but the actual words from God. This is the issue we cessationists have with speaking in tongues. After all, if the words are not from our own selves, where are they from? And if they are from God, then they are divine and inerrant, regardless of what language they show up in. Grudem has a system to take divine revelation via tongues and prophecy and dilute their inerrancy as they apparently “pass through” the fallen messenger, but MacArthur’s book I think more than adequately demonstrates the ultimate absurdity that system requires.
    Is it perhaps because of this uncertainty as to the amount of “Divine inspiration” left in a charismatic prophet’s message that makes you so hesitant to call out a Todd Bentley and others like him in the midst of their ministry, and only in hindsight, after the damage has been done, are you able to see the error clearly?
    Abandoning the uniqueness of the actual words of God has kicked open a door for all sorts of things to be added, things that can’t be discerned in your thinking because you don’t have a “complete” manual to judge by. JM and the cessationists hold the complete manual, we are not afraid to make judgments the Bible makes, and we grieve to see it treated so lightly, because an open ended Bible leaves room for an evolving gospel, which is precisely what the charismatic movement is – an “evolving” movement. I think any honest look at it, especially in the last 30 years would prove that.

  • Manny Reyes

    Most Charismatics are not picking up very well from where John MacArthur is standing. You would sound correct at your point. But he sounds more correct as far as SAFETY is concerned. You might be in the middle but, you are open for more errors because of your adherence to the continuation of gifts. A “Safety Engineer” would not recommend your system. I think that is the most important issue of the Strange Fire Conference. You don’t have to swim too far from the shore. Salvation is on the inside the boarder line of the Scripture. The more you defend Continuationism, the more you endorse those who adhere the most of errors.

  • Hugh Roberts IV

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Very interesting.

  • george_porg

    John MacArthur is a great expository Bible teacher who, from my point of view practices a very subtle form of idolatry whereby he limits and boxes in God by his own theology, confuses God with the Bible and places his theology and Biblical interpretation at the same level as scripture.

    While the scriptures are provided to us by God, they do not limit or define God. Theological study is a tool that can sometimes be wrong and it seems to me John misses that point.

    yet Almighty still uses this stiff necked man.

  • Brian Leffert

    I believe that if we do not accurately understand all of particular functions that the offices of apostle and New Testament prophet fulfill in their part of building up the body of Christ, we will then be vulnerable to misjudging whether or not there is a continuing need for someone to fulfill these functions today.

    In other words if I misunderstand all that an officer is responsible for I will also be prone to misunderstand when these responsibilities have been fulfilled.

  • James

    Good stuff Adrian. When talking to people who hold similar beliefs to the “Strange Fire Crew” I have spoken about how the Bble is an invitation to meet a person. It’s a menu of which we can eat off and taste and see that the Lord is good. The Bible is a love letter not the lover Himself!

    Out of relationship Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing, He only said what He heard Him speak. Jesus, the exact representation of the Father, did miracles out of love an compasison, commanded His disciples to do the same, and promised us even greater!

  • Matt

    Why so dedicated to defending this movement? You said yourself:

    “If we researched & criticised all the crooks, cons, and cookies in the Charismatic Movement we’d have no time for anything else”

    How does this glorify G-D? Wouldn’t you say a movement like this claiming the name of the Creator actually profanes HIS name?

    • Adrian Warnock

      Because we are NOT all like the extremes any more than all baptists are like Westbro! I am a charismatic and I remain glad to be so, because I am convinced that it is the biblical position.

  • Brian Leffert

    What is the apostolic distinctive?

    Paul reminds the church in Corinth that he laid their foundation, it was not a corporate work done by all of the apostles.

    (1Cor 3:10)
    “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid
    a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.”

    At the end of his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul explains to them why he has not visited them earlier even know he has greatly desired to do so:

    (Rom 15:20)
    “and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation.”

    He did not lay the foundation for their church, it was laid by “someone else”, and his personal application of Isaiah’s prophesy had constrained his ministry to places where Christ is not yet named.

    So we have two different churches, Corinth and Rome, with the same
    foundation “Jesus Christ”,

    (1Cor 3:11)

    “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is
    Jesus Christ.”

    already laid in someway by different individuals. Paul
    could not have understood the completed canon of scripture to be the
    correct interpretation of his “foundation” metaphor.

    Paul was called to be an Apostle, here he gives insight into what he
    believed that meant. Paul tells the believers in Rome that he has
    “fulfilled” his apostolic mission work in the middle east and
    southeastern Europe, he says this is because he has “no more place
    in these parts”.

    No more place to lay foundations where Christ is not named.

    He believes that he must move to another mission field to be obedient to
    his Apostolic calling. A calling to preach the gospel, which is the
    foundational truths that must be believed for people to be saved, and
    a true assembly or church to be established. It was his only message
    when he first visited Corinth;

    (1Cor 2:2)

    “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him

    This is Paul’s understanding of the apostolic distinctive. He
    believed that only apostles and prophets could lay the foundations for
    assemblies.This foundation is “of” them (Eph2:20), because they are commissioned to lay it.

    Many of the other so called apostolic distinctives were experienced by those who
    were never recognized as apostles.

    There were also non apostles present from the baptism of Christ unto his
    ascension, so this cannot be the apostolic distinctive, and the writing of scripture and working of miracles was also preformed by those who were never numbered amongst the apostles.

    The Evangelist preaches the gospel where Christ is already named bringing
    others into already established assemblies.

    The apostle preaches the gospel where there are no preexisting assemblies. He is the one who lays the foundation for this new assembly. This is why there are no office or gift of “church planter” found in the scripture, this necessary
    function was the calling of the apostolic office.
    (Mat 28:19-20)

    Is their still a need for these functions to be fulfilled today? Yes!

    The need is still here today because this commission has yet to be fulfilled.

    I believe that the planting of a church in a tribe, tongue, or nation, where there has previously had been no mention of the name of Christ’ was what Paul understood to be the “seal” of apostleship.

    (1Cor 9:2)
    If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the
    seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

  • Aaron

    So many titles that people place on others and we place on ourselves. We would all benefit if we stopped reading all the books and articles that these pastor’s write and we all just read the Word of God, which God you ask, that would be YHWY. I know most Christians don’t use that name because they don’t even know the true name of their “God” they pray to. But thats another topic. Read His Word and study His Word. Get together with other believer’s and read and Study His Word. Most people don’t even bring their Bible to church and even more don’t even read it. Why are their so many different beliefs… becasue we don’t read His Word anymore. We don’t study. You go to church once a week and pray at dinner with the family, that is your Christian life…. really that it…. maybe you should rethink what being a follower of Christ really is supposed to be by…wait for it….READ HIS WORD FOR YOURSELF.

  • Gibran

    The Lloyd-Jones comment is interesting. One might turn it around and say to a charismatic (as they did at the conference), why have so many of the highest profile charismatics been caught in the most scandalous of sins? If it supposedly gives you something “extra” above and beyond the “run-of-the-mill” regular Christian (what a divisive doctrine that is – the opposite of Acts 2 in fact) – how can the highest profile charismatics be continually caught in the grossest of sins?

  • AndyZ53

    Simply, “Strange Fire” is tragic:

    It denies the “Fire” genuinely needed in the church and nation.

    It is called “divisive” not because it takes a stand on essential Christian doctrine but is based on certain seminary, cessationist Bible opinions which leads to a spirit of separation from those who hold a different opinion. This is seen by John MacArthur’s unwillingness to sit down with some very intelligent and integral leaders to discuss “Strange Fire”. No New Testament leader carried this attitude.

    It ignores Jesus’ teaching and prayers (John 13:35 and all of John 17) and Paul’s teaching (First Corinthians 1 and 3, Ephesians 3, Philippians 2 etc.), prayers, and pleas for humility and unity to reach an unbelieving world

    It approaches the Bible not to learn what the Bible says but tells the Bible what we believe (particularly in ignoring the clear exegesis of 1 Corinthians 12-14).

    I believe John MacArthur and his followers will live to regret the damage “Strange Fire” has done to the cause of Jesus Christ.

  • chris

    I watched McArthurs ridicule on other Churches and it was quite disturbing. You would never call another mans bride ugly?!

    John MacArthur needs to know that theology and doctrine are good but only if it porduces fruit. Who needs the devil to condemn when MacArthur exists.

  • Bill Wilder

    This strange fire is the best true thing that has hit the church world for a long time. How can these false money loving tv preachers get away with it for so long.Truth is they don’t. If a non believer walk in to one of these churches where you have leaders dancing on money, people shaking and fall in over in a kundalini spirit trans. they would run a mile and never to set foot in a church again. Sad but true. unfortunately we live in the times where more weeds are growing amongst the wheat
    Matthew 13:24-30You can not rip up the weeds by the root otherwise the wheats roots get damaged or die. This is a complex world we live in.
    Macarthur is right i what he says about this false money loving kundalini circus that has hit the church. And it is great to have the warning which is so long over due. However Maybe saying that charamatics are not saved. Let God be the judge of that after all we are all human at the end of the day.

  • Dmitriy
  • Brian Christensen

    Interesting. So when the strange fire conference happened there was a memorial for Chuck Smith. My family, wife’s family and many uncles, aunts developed a closer walk thru the ministry of Calvary Chapel and other charismatic churches. I see as much problem with JMax and his ‘throw the baby AND the bathwater’ and charismatics that don’t address false teaching (many do preach against the false teachers). My wife has read many JMac’s books but wasnt to happy to hear he branded many of her brothers and sisters in the Lord as not. I just wonder what Walter Martin might have said.

  • Nate Tinner

    The debate is much more complex than that, and I think you know it.

  • Sol

    I completely understand the problems with the way some ministers, who are charismatic, do their thing. Those concerns and issues are very pertinent. However! We need to be more specific- you can’t say a whole movement is wrong and everyone isn’t saved because of a few crazy people who get way too emotional, abuse their power, and don’t actually change who they are.
    That’s like saying all catholics are going to hell because they do church differently than you. The problem is with those SPECIFIC PEOPLE who’ve chosen to abuse others and the works of God for their own gain– not the movement itself. Just like the Jesus People movement back a few decades, many people were brought to a genuine faith in Jesus Christ, likewise there were also the people who took the emotional too far.
    On the subject of the gifts, there IS NO SCRIPTURE that says the gifts ended after the apostles died, in any way, shape, or form. Just because someone hasn’t seen the supernatural or experienced it for themselves doesn’t mean it simply doesn’t exist. If we were to agree that because we haven’t experienced the supernatural gifts of the spirit that they don’t exist, why not just give people who’ve never experienced God more reason to use that logic and say God doesn’t exist. Individual experience alone should Not determine doctrine.
    Honestly, who are we to tell God and other people that He can’t work a certain way if He wants to? He won’t simply because…. what?… He stopped arbitrarily? And for some reason He absolutely WILL NOT work that way again? Prophecy, miracles, and other Holy Spirit outpourings just stopped cuz God felt like it?
    TLDR: Maybe we should put the blame for screwed up ministry where it lies- on the self-promoting manipulative individual leaders, and not every person that happened to be saved in a Charismatic Church. Let God work whatever way He wants to and test it against the Word, not our experiences and preconceived notions of what God will and will not do. Otherwise the ONLY things you’re doing is limiting God, and discouraging others saying God IS NOT the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

  • Jerry Rockwell

    The Strange Fire Conference was very strange fire to me. Some of the people mentioned such as T. B. Joshua do more good for the body of Christ than any of the critics. Criticism is good, but a huge part of the criticisms in this strange fire conference are based on lies and false conceptions. They claim to know a man’s heart and to say things that are blatantly false. Your critic said T.B. Joshua is “another one of those guys who likes to wear white. I have literally watched hundreds of T.B. Joshua films on YouTube and rarely ever see him in white. Your Critic also said he likes to be called “Emmanuel.” That is a blatant lie. As part of his meetings you will hear the people use the word ‘Emmanuel” to make a statement that “God is with us.” What is wrong with that? I think it is a great statement of faith. I have been in the ministry for over 40 years and can only find falsehoods in your assessments of the man, T.B. Joshua. I would suggest you repent as openly as you have condemned these good men. You are the ones in danger of great judgment. You think because God does not use you in the same way, that these folks are dead wrong. You cannot back it up, so you use lies and innuendo. That is the saddest part about what you do. Of course there are some who have gone astray. But, that does not cast dispersions on every ministry that is not like your own. Repent, Repent, Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

  • Jeff

    Johnny Mac is speaking out of a root of bitterness. Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; (NAS). He is bitter over what happen with his wife, who was hurt in a pentacostal church. It is suspect, that Johnny Mac will not debt any of us “so called heretics”.