Strange Fire: Every biblical argument refuted – Part Three

The things I do for you, my reader.

After finishing part two of this series in response to Strange Fire, I sat down to continue to hunt for more biblical arguments to refute. For page after page, instead I read salacious details about a string of scandals affecting mostly TV preachers. Most of these people I have never even listened to, and am only vaguely aware of. They really don’t seem to be part of my corner of the charismatic movement. They don’t speak at conferences I go to. Their books are not sold in our bookstores. Most people in our churches don’t even watch them. Perhaps we really do need to talk in terms of “charismatic movementS.”

As you can imagine, though, I did find it rather depressing, and wondered what the point of it all was. After all there have definitely been scandals in non-charismatic leaders too over the years, thought perhaps less spectacular and less well known.

So no wonder I got a bit grouchy and tweeted the following (there were a few more where these came from too!)

One of the tweets above quotes a section which clearly states that MacArthur doesnt believe charismatics can really be evangelicals. Makes me wonder if this is why he is notably absent from the list of council members for the Gospel Coalition. Could he not tolerate being part of such a body which includes some charismatics?

Anyway, the section that includes that quote needs to be addressed here in this series:

In spite of the severe error and potential damage being done by this supposed new “revelation,” some charismatic churches continue to regard modern prophecy as more important than the Bible . . . Most churches do not go to that extreme, of course. However, such examples represent the logical end of the charismatic insistence that God is giving new revelation to the church today. If the Spirit were still giving divine revelation, why wouldn’t we collect and add those words to our Bibles?

The reality is that the modern Charismatic Movement falsely calls itself evangelical because it undermines the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

It is neither orthodox nor truly evangelical to elevate spiritual experiences, including imagined revelations from God, above the Bible. Speaking of his own eyewitness experience at the Transfiguration, the apostle Peter gave this revelation:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:16–19 esv)

At the Transfiguration, Peter witnessed an unparalleled supernatural spectacle. He had a genuine divine, heavenly experience. Even so, the apostle knew that Scripture (“the prophetic word”) is “more sure” than even the most sublime experiences. Peter’s point is precisely the issue that many charismatics fail to understand. Human experience is subjective and fallible; only the Word of God is unfailing and inerrant, because its Author is perfect . . .

The sad fact is that biblical truth has never been the hallmark of the Charismatic Movement, where spiritual experience is continually elevated above sound doctrine.”

- John MacArthur, Strange Fire

At the beginning of this quote MacArthur tries to be nuanced when he says most churches dont go this far, but the nuance quickly disappears as it so often does! Who does he think he is to reject outright the entire charismatic movement as devoid of biblical truth, and a place where experiences is always seen as superior to doctrine? I really wonder if he has ever visited a charismatic church where the Bible is honoured.  I have been a member of such a church almost all my life. I am confident that the churches I have been in are far from unique.

In fact there are two arguments for us to address:

Argument: It is inevitable that if you believe in revelatory experiences you will see them as greater than scripture

Counter-argument: Actually, this very passage demonstrates an answer to this argument. Peter had perhaps the most sublime spiritual experience ever in the history of the world and yet he still believes that Scripture is more certain, more reliable! There is almost no need to say anything more. But, I will add that Paul tells us to test prophecies, and this testing is surely to be done in comparison to the unchanging, inerrant Scriptures that we have been given by God.

As an example of how typical charismatic thought views prophecy I refer you to the following few posts of mine.  I hope you will agree that there is no evidence in this series that we are elevating such experiences above the Bible. This viewpoint is really very typical for charismatics and pentecostals:

Argument: Any prophecy should be included in the Bible if it is genuine

Counter-argument: This is a fallacious argument that bizarrely keeps coming up. Once you accept that prophecy today is not authoritative and that doctrinal revelatory activity has ceased why would you even consider adding a prophecy to Scripture? All of the links, I mentioned above would also address this. The fact is that even in biblical times not every prophecy was included in Scripture.  The following is a list of just some of the poeple we know prophesied and who’s prophetic words were not collected and put into our Bibles:

  • Saul’s prophecies
  • Jonahs prophecies which gave him the reputation of a prophet before the Ninevah episode.
  • The schools of the prophets in Elijah and Elisha’s day
  • “All Flesh” in Acts 2
  • Ananias in Acts 9:17-18;
  • Philip’s daughters in Acts 21:8-9;
  • The Corinthians in 1 Cor 12-14;
  • The Thessalonians in 1 Thess 5:20-1;
  • The  prophecies which launched Timothy’s ministry: 1 Tim 4:14.

And that is not even a complete list…anybody who can think of others are welcome to add them in the notes below. But I think it is clear that prophecy in the Bible is not always connected to Scripture writing, and in fact in many cases above the people prophesying were not even the Apostles.

To be continued….

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, a writer, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he serves as part of the leadership team 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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  • gmonzeglio@mweb.co.za

    Adrian no one is saying every prophecy was included in the Bible or should be but you are still not answering why there should be no more books of scripture and the verses that speak of a closed canon?

    • Guest

      I don’t wish to put words in Adrian’s mouth, but I suspect he believes in a closed canon – that’s precisely the point. In the same way as some prophecies were not put into Scripture, those that occur now are not added to it either.

      • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

        I totally agree the Bible is finished. God has completed his doctrinal revelation but not his personal revelation.

        • gmonzeglio@mweb.co.za

          I know you do. So does every believer. But the question that must be asked is why how and where do you back that up biblically as you are demanding about other issues. I still havent gotten a consistent answer from any charismatic. I have worked through Grudem’s ST and am thankful for it. But his argument on gifts is inherited from the modern charismatic church and Vineyard movement as opposed to the Bible and historic Christianity like the rest of his work. We have biblical tests for prophets – lets rather use them than Grudem should we? Unless I have a different Bible than you guys which I doubt what I see around me is not what is seen in the book of Acts. Because some of the gifts have ceased – God ceased to give them like you cease to bring in earthworks equipment when you build a roof. Hence no more Bible additions as well. Has the leading guiding and main work of the Spirit ceased? When that ceases there is no more Church no more Christians – and iniquity will rulle supreme.

          • http://www.joelarmy.com/ Darren Hibbs

            First, the idea that the gifts have currently ceased is a position that bears the burden of biblical proof, not the other way around. There are direct scriptures to the contrary, so to say without biblical basis that they have ceased is UNbiblical.

            Paul’s commands in 1 Corinthians 14 are too direct and too clear to simply negate without a great deal of proof to the contrary. To form the doctrine that because the canon was complete, gifts were no longer given is undocumented in scripture. Extra-biblical illustrations about a house being built, etc. do not make those illustrations biblical.

            To the contrary, Paul asserts that until the return of Jesus, “when the perfect comes,” we will see dimly and “prophesy in part.” Not until Jesus returns will we cease prophesying. It seems ridiculous to use the very context Paul is speaking in about allowing tongues and seeking prophecy above all gifts to justify their cessation.

            Zechariah foretold the days would come, again in context of Jesus returning to earth, that those who prophesy would cease (Zechariah 12:10-13:6). Every biblical statement about cessation has to do with the return of Jesus in the end times, not at the completion of the canon of scripture.

          • gmonzeglio@mweb.co.za

            Hi Darren. Gifts havent ceased or there would be no church. Not sure what you understand about cessassionism. The standard position of most orthodox believers throughout the ages is that certain extraordinary gifts which characterised the apostolic age (not just the apostles themselves ie Philip, Agabus etc) ceased when the purpose for which those gifts (including unknown languages ie SIGNS to unbelieving Jews 1Cor 14) were given – attestation of the message of the New Covenant which was a RADICAL departure from the Mosaic for the people to whom it was given (Jer 31). Jews sought a sign and God gave them many, the most important being the sign of Jonah which was twofold – the resurrection and the repentance of gentiles – followed by the sign at Pentecost and the other 3 mini pentecosts to other groupings ie the giving of the Spirit to the church evidenced by unknown languages. ie ALL believers receive baptism of Spirit now not just some as charismatics teach (please listen to RC Sproul from Strange fire conference session 3). All the gifts that God the Spirit wills to give for the edification of the BODY (not self gratification) will continue to exist until the Lord’s return to ALL his body not just “charismatics” – He is sovereign and Christ is building His church which is the habitation of the Spirit – it is actually pentecostals that preach a two-tier type of Chrsitian church with haves and have nots. John Macarthur has a booklet on fundamentals for his church where he speaks about prophesying. Please look it up. He does not hold to the belief amongst certain people that the perfect is the canon and neither do i but he believes that the prophesyings mentioned are not personal prophecy but an ability to forthtell God’s word to edify and comfort and encourage the body which is surely what you and I have experienced in church – whether baptist or “pentecostal” – and I was a pente for 16 years. It is not just the domain of a limited group as it was in the old testament. I would also refer you to some of puritans concerning the gift of prophesying.

          • http://www.joelarmy.com/ Darren Hibbs

            I appreciate that you have a deeply held belief about this. I do not wish to argue about it–up until this point I was interested in your thoughts, since you seemed emotionally charged about this topic. I take it was your Pentecostal upbringing that gives you that.

            It sounds like my experience was just the opposite of yours. I was raised cessationist until I began to study the scripture out and I changed my mind. After five years of studying the subject and seeking God to encounter Him in the gifts, especially prophesy as Paul commands, He began speaking. I have written a book about one such encounter where an angel showed me the collapse of the World Trade Center two days before it happened in 2001, called The Year of the Lord’s Favor. I also have a forthcoming book about other stories due out this next month written to encourage people to seek God for the gifts, especially prophecy.

            Since it seems that you have made up your mind and no commenter on a website will change your mind (as if that would ever happen anyway), I will leave the conversation here. I pray the Lord richly blesses your life.

          • gmonzeglio@mweb.co.za

            Hi Darren. I am not emotional about this but passionate – latin blood :) The question I would have is why didnt you do something to warn the people about this? Could have saved many lives. Why only mention it later in a book? What was the purpose of giving you this gift in terms of the edification of the body? etc etc. Thanks for the inter-action and I wish you blessings and ask you to at least be cautious with what you are saying because you are obviously in a position to influence others, And as you say we will all be held accountable. God Bless.

          • http://www.joelarmy.com/ Darren Hibbs

            The idea that New Testament scripture ever announced anything of its closing is also unbiblical. As Adrian affirmed, as well as I and every other orthodox Christian believes, the canon of scripture is closed. That is a fact not determined by scripture itself, but a strict adherence to Christian tradition which was handed down to us from very early on in Christian history. Adherence to that tradition is very much a foundation of orthodoxy, but it is decidedly not scriptural.

            Since scripture is not self-referencing an end to the canon in any way, it cannot be biblically stated that any references to ceasing of gifts had to do with a closing of the canon.

            Hebrews 1:1-2 is often used as a justification for the closing of the canon and the end of supernatural gifts, but if that were true, everything after the four gospels, Hebrews included, would be extra-canonical.

            It cannot be said in any way, therefore, that gifts ended with a closing of the canon of scripture. Teaching so is decidedly unbiblical and an error.

          • gmonzeglio@mweb.co.za

            so when we discuss scripture which APOSTLES and PROPHETS (ie gifts) gave us we go to Chrisitian tradition and history and affirm a form of cessassionism about both the scriptural revelation and the gifts which brought them – where is the scriptural backing about the cessassion of the Apostolic gift? Convenient but you have to say that or you would be considered a heretic. But when we discuss gifts we change the nature of the gifts as well as the tests for the gifts in order to make them fit into our experience and ignore the very tradition you conveniently use to define the canon which is not on your side unless your “tradition” includes montanists, certain anabaptists irvingites and of course modern pentes and charismatics including kansas city false prophets (according to deut 18). .

          • http://www.joelarmy.com/ Darren Hibbs

            I’m not sure I follow what you’re trying to say. It seems like you misunderstood my responses. For the sake of clarity I will say that yes, apostles, for the most part, did give us the NT canon of scripture (although there is no biblical mention of Luke or Mark specifically being apostles).

            I’m not entirely sure what you’re trying to say about church history, but if you’re trying to say cessationism of gifts is found in historical Christianity, then that is simply not true. The overwhelming majority of Christians throughout history have been continuationists. There surely have been cessationists, but they are a minority.

            Also, if you are trying to say that the apostolic gift was limited to only the canon, again that is in error. There are twelve very special apostles, called the apostles of the Lamb, whom are clearly set apart, but they are by no means the only ones. Throughout Christian history, few have claimed apostleship for themselves, mostly out of humility (which I think is very wise), but there is no biblical evidence that position ended.

            To claim that tongues, prophecy, apostleship, etc have ceased while preaching and evangelism have not is to parse out scripture with prejudice.

            I can accept any cessationist who claims that believing so is an extra-biblical position held because of church tradition. That would be irrefutable. To say that it is a biblically-based doctrine is simply untrue. There are no scriptures that say the gifts have ceased today and many to the contrary.

          • Donna Carlaw

            Well, how about walking in the Spirit like it used to be called? Look at the Scriptures that talk about being filled with the Spirit or walking in the Spirit or led by the Spirit.
            Bible teachers used to call “it” the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I, too, was heavily influenced by Martin Lloyd-Jones, but through my Bible teachers.

          • gmonzeglio@mweb.co.za

            sons of God are led by the Spirit of God – not just “charismatics”. Romans 8. Walking in the Spirit has nothing to do with sign gifts but again your comment is enforcing fact that for “charismatics” the main minsitry of Holy Spirit is signs, promptings and peronal “words”. Maybe look up what the good Doctor had to say about walking in Spirit. All I hear about Lloyd Jones lately is that he was a “charismatic”. Obviously failed to practise what he preached. Until recently I thought he was renown for reformed expository preaching? John Piper mentioned in his biography how he forbade a group of people from having an all-night prayer meeting and how he was opposed to an emphasis on musical instrumentation. Sounds very charismatic.

          • Donna Carlaw

            Yes. I had never heard him called a Charismatic. I have never heard someone acting on a prompting of the Spirit call it prophecy, until now. It seems pretentious to me.

            Isn’t this redefinition of prophecy an attempt to cover up the fact that false prophets abound in the 3rd wave movement? Wimber, for example?

            Yes, it looks to me like the 3rd wave people are calling walking in the Spirit sign gifts. Is that what you mean? Weird.

            Don’t take that as a prophecy, but the 3rd wave stuff looks more like spiritual mad cow disease than the Holy Spirit. You know. Mad cow starts with a little protein and ends up destroying the whole herd. Or maybe a little leaven leavens the whole lump.

          • Donna Carlaw

            One more. If we were to apply the new standard of what a prophecy entails, then it looks a lot to me like MacArthur and Mbewe fit that definition. They are speaking out about the false doctrines that abound in the Charismatic movement at this point in time. They are giving example after example of what they are talking about. They are saying that if the Evangelical church as a whole does not stand up to these false teachers and false prophets, then the whole church is threatened by them.

            Their main problem is that they did not use the pretentious language of the 3rd Wave. So,, the 3rd wave people are attacking them the strongest. Very weird, since Adrian himself says that the doctrines he is focusing on are secondary, yet he is making them primary.

            Besides, by bringing what he calls biblical – I think he means unbiblical – to the forefront, isn’t he being guilty of despising prophecy? I mean, the cessationists at the Strange Fire Conference didn’t call it a prophecy conference, but isn’t that what they were doing if the 3rd wave definition is correct?

            Adrian despised it before it was even said!

            It’s a scary world we live in. It makes a missionary like me want to hide under my bed, but the Spirit of God will not allow that option.

        • Steve

          Exactly!! The prophetic ministry is to build up each other in Christ.

          I got woke up to this a couple of years ago out of a cessationist background. About a year ago I had the following prophetic experience:

          There was a young lady from my old church that I had not seen for several years and I only knew her by name not in any real depth. She in the same group of friends on facebook as I was.

          One day I was looking at fb and noticed that she changed her fb picture. I “heard” God tell me to remind her who she is. So I posted on her timeline:

          “I’ve seen her before… she is a daughter of the High
          King! The enemy hates her and runs when they see her coming!”

          Then about a week later she posts the following:

          “Time to march in circles and sound the trumpets!”

          I hear again to remind her who she is in Christ so I reply to her post:

          “What ever the walls are, remember, you have the authority…you are His child…”

          Then three days later I “heard” God tell me “I want her to know how much I love her RIGHT NOW.” So, I decide to send a message to her. I send:

          “Christine (not her real name), I have been learning about the gift of prophesy this last year and lately every-time I see a post of yours on FB I have the tugging in my heart to remind you of who you are in Christ. I felt the Lord bring some things to my mind again today and I really think He is wanting you to know how much you mean to Him. I don’t know what is going on for you and I don’t need to know. but I felt it prudent to pass along what I think the Lord is saying to me.”

          She replies:

          “I love that God speaks to us and through us. That is absolutely something I struggle with greatly. Even as read your words I don’t fully accept it, at least not at a heart level. Thanks for listening to God and sharing with me, it means so much. I know God is doing His part in helping tear down walls, I just need to keep at it and really trust in Him and the love I know in my head He has for me.”

          I’m thinking that I done but then an hour or so after reading her message I saw an image of her in my mind and the idea of that condemning voice came to my mind. So I respond with:

          “I totally understand… Do you struggle with that condemning voice?”

          Her reply:

          “Got it! Yep, I do. God is really speaking! Life group last
          night was about the same thing! Love when this happens!”

          I speak about that condemning voice with her and think I’m done. But then a few hours later, I saw an image of her and it’s like I felt the relationship she has with her father and the words ‘father wounds’ came to my mind. So I sent this question:

          “Tell me if I am wrong, but I feel that God is telling me that your relationship with your father has some deep wounds. Am I on track?”

          She responds with:

          “Sure thing…nothing like abuse, but definitely never felt good enough. I’ve just been figuring this out the last few years.”

          I respond with:

          “Christine, I feel the Father is calling you into His Presence. He wants to heal those wounds. I will write more later, but one thing you need to come to know at a heart level is just how much the Father loves you. You are not prepared for that answer once you really connect with it. No one is…”

          Notice that all of this is happening right when she is going through similar lessons in her bible study group.

          • Donna Carlaw

            You know, I have that kind of experience all the time, so what’s the big deal?

            Now, tell us something about Benny Hinn and his ilk? the context is the Strange Fire Conference.

          • Donna Carlaw

            So now people are calling that prophecy? It used to be called walking in the Spirit, or the deeper life, or being filled with the Spirit. The preaching of the Gospel so that people would be saved is what used to be called prophesy, and we all can and should do that.

            I just wouldn’t call that prophecy. In fact, my Charismatic friends seem to call that sort of thing a word of knowledge, or just a word. No, not THE word, but a word.

            I edited it, Steve. Sorry.

          • Steve

            Donna, what does god say about being rude in His word? Yes, that is rude! Very rude. I shared from my heart and you stomp on it like this?

          • Donna Carlaw

            Anyway… I will take edit the comment if it offended you. I am just surprised that the experience you describe is now called prophecy.

            Yes, what you are describing is common among Christians.

            I am just so frustrated that the real issues that JM brought up are not even being addressed. Maybe later? It grieves me.

            No chips here, just frustration. Maybe people need to work out the some things before they can see the errors that JM is really addressing. Not sure what’s happening, but I do trust the work of the HS to lead us into all truth – in His own good time.

            Thanks, Steve

          • Steve

            Donna, get a clue. Now you accuse me of bragging? Really? I posted that to show what is considered a “prophetic word” or a “word of knowledge”

            First, you belittle my example and say that it was not prophetic when it clearly is.
            Second, you accuse me of being “postmodern and infatuated with myself:” which is VERY judgmental and childish.

            Third, you give a very ingenious apology when I confront you.
            Forth, you then accuse me of bragging (and in doing so affirm that I did indeed move in the prophetic gift)
            Fifth, you make so restitution for stomping on my heart.

            Donna, I’m not the one who has problems here.

          • Donna Carlaw

            I’m having a huge problem figuring out who is saying what to whom. Peace.

          • Steve

            Donna,

            There are several revelatory gifts. I categorize then generally under “prophesy”. Now you can define then in greater detail but how much does that matter?

            MacArthur does not make a distinction in this. Cessationism rejects all of the revelatory gifts not just prophesy. But, in fact, I think you need to read 1 Cor 14:24-25. Its the prophetic gifts that lays bear the secrets of their heart.

            Don’t split words, Donna.

          • Steve

            Donna, you seem to have a chip on your shoulder.

            What I posted IS a big deal. Its the heart of the prophetic today. To build one another up in Christ.

          • Donna Carlaw

            …and Benny Hinn?

          • Steve

            Benny Hinn has no bearing on what I’m taking about or sharing.

          • Donna Carlaw

            Hey, take care, Steve.

  • Donna Carlaw

    Yes. You need to call what you are promoting something else. You really don’t know what is going on outside your safe group. I am sure that your people are well cared for. I do not doubt that.

    I can’t blame you for not wanting to know. However, you are not putting MacArthur’s book in its proper context. Look at the Charismatic movement worldwide. Then you will understand what he is addressing. MacArthur’s is a global ministry. Yours is local.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWp-rLTPQYE

  • Donna Carlaw

    “And let’s be clear: the vast majority of the millions of Charismatics worldwide are following the televangelists. Charismatics as a group are not taking their cues from the handful of Reformed Charismatics who actually do preach the gospel. The Reformed Charismatics are a small fringe at the outer edge of the larger movement. They are a negligible minority in terms of both numbers and influence. And the guys you see on TV with poofy hairdos and shiny suits are the true charismatic mainstream.

    On what basis do I say that? Any statistic you can cite would prove that. Charismatic television is a multi-billion-dollar business. No one knows the exact figures, because most of the large Charismatic ministries assiduously avoid any kind of accountability. But their reach is long and their combined viewership dwarfs even the most generous estimates of Reformed Charismatics.

    The Trinity Broadcasting Network alone draws some 100 million viewers worldwide. They have more than 18,000 affiliates and are in more than 100 countries. That is a massive vat of seriously contaminated bathwater—which brings me to a second question. And this is the main question I am interested in exploring:”

    http://thecripplegate.com/strange-fire-is-there-a-baby-in-the-bathwater-phil-johnson/

    Adrian, you may want to find a new name for your theology and practice.

    • http://prodigalthought.net/ Scott Lencke

      Donna -

      Here might be something worth pondering: If TBN has a viewership of 100 million and the continuationist movement is made up of over 500 million, would the TBN group necessarily be the majority?

      • Donna Carlaw

        At last, some will at least consider the fact that TBN has become the face of the Charismatic movement. Did you listen to Phil Johnson’s message?

        I would love to share from my personal experiences on the mission field, too, but I really don’t think that people are ready to hear it. Maybe they have to work through what they thought JM was saying first before they can hear what he was saying. Not sure. I hope so.

        I’ll go ahead and share one little anecdote, which I know doesn’t prove anything by itself. It does show the kind of thing that is happening worldwide, though.

        We went to Chile in 1983. At that time, the country was said to be 20% Evangelico. However, Billy Graham said that number was more like something under 10% – maybe it was 8%. Why would he say that?

        The indigenous Pentecostal group was a cult. Their main teaching was that the letter kills and the Spirit gives life. Therefore, if you read your Bible, you will quench the Spirit. All sorts of aberant doctrines were promoted among them.

        Now, things have changed somewhat in the last 30 years, but not all that much. Pentecostal and Charismatic missionaries have tried to inject the movement with more sound doctrine, with mixed results.

        There are still a lot of real Gospel preaching going on. In fact, there is a growing Charismatic Church of England group that has had an impact.

        Anyway, among the so-called Pentecostals, there are still a lot of false manifestations of what some call the Holy Spirit. Would you say that a woman who is possessed by a spirit and “prophesying” in a church is of the Holy Spirit? Yet that still happens.

        There are also true, Bible believing Pentecostals, but the false predominate, including Oneness Pentecostals.

        The mildly charismatic – more along the lines of the deeper life movement – group, Christian and Missionary Alliance has done a wonderful work in some parts of the country.

        Listen to Conrad Mbewe’s messages, and read his blog if you want to get a better understanding of what Charismatic means in most of the world. Then go to You Tube and look at videos of Benny Hinn preaching to millions upon millions in India.

        Then you will have a better grasp of what the Charismatic movement has become.

        I get tired of people excusing these excesses because these people live in two worlds, and the spirit world is very real to them. Yes, indeed, but what spirit? Not the Holy Spirit if they teaching and practicing unholy things. Witch doctors and diviners have no place in the church of God. They are not what the Bible is talking about when it speaks of the gift of prophecy – not in the Old Testament and certainly not in the New.

  • Donna Carlaw

    More from Phil Johnson:

    “The Reformed Charismatics are Silent

    Now you might think the relatively sane and sober Charismatics—the guys with some biblical scruples; the people who wish to preserve the baby while throwing out the dirty bathwater—you might think they would be the first and loudest voices to condemn these foolish blasphemous practices in their own movement. Because I can guarantee you—I haven’t watched the Twitter feed to those responding to what I’m actually saying—but I guarantee you they’re saying that I’m just pointing out the excesses and not the mainstream. That’s not true. But let’s just accept that for a second. Why aren’t those in the mainstream the loudest to condemn this nonsense?

    But you’d be wrong. We almost never hear the most respected Reformed Charismatic voices speak out against abuses in the charismatic movement, especially while some new weirdness is at the peak of popularity and influence. That’s when careful discernment would be most helpful, but that’s generally when all you hear from within the movement are crickets.”

    http://thecripplegate.com/strange-fire-is-there-a-baby-in-the-bathwater-phil-johnson/

    • kraz

      That may be a fair point to make. But it be equally fair to say that the Reformed movement have been slow to confront hyper-Calvinists, the ‘mainstream’ of dispensationalism (in which I would include Macarthur) have been pretty much silent in condemning the false teachers and heretics in the dispensationalist movement.
      If Christian movements are to be criticised not just for what they have taught, but also for what they have not condemned then I am not sure of any movement which has done well.

  • http://www.joelarmy.com/ Darren Hibbs

    Adrian, thank you for taking the time to work through the book. I am saddened that a man of such stature would take such a heinous position with such a belligerent spirit. The idea of cessationism is unbiblical and a quickly dying position simply because so many people worldwide have experienced God’s interaction through one or many of the gifts.

    Whereas MacArthur probably genuinely believes what he preaches, I am sure the impetus for this conference and book were because the walls of cessationism are quickly falling in around him. Simply put, cessationism cannot be found in scripture and experience is changing minds faster than anyone could have imagined. The number of Pentecostals and Charismatics does not even begin to touch the number of continuationists today. God is very good and He is displaying it on a global level like never before.

  • http://prodigalthought.net/ Scott Lencke

    Adrian -

    Thanks for your continued thoughts. When I teach on the topic, I try and distinguish between what I term “redemptive revelation” and “non-redemptive revelation”. You helpfully point out that, while the Scriptures were being written, there was revelations and prophecies coming forth that were not included in Scripture. It’s para-Scripture (alongside it). This itself shows us that just because something is prophetic and revelatory, it does not mean we stick it in the canon by creating 2 Romans or 3 Thessalonians or 1 London.

    Not only that, but the redemptive revelation in Christ is finished. We need not add anything to it. And by providentially seeing a canon (measuring stick) come forth from our fathers in the faith, we have something very helpful in discerning what prophecies are spoken today. Again, not to mention that plenty of prophecies came forth in subsequent centuries, post-canon completion and formation. You’ve noted some and there are plenty.

    We, evangelicals, have got to quit taking part in what I call the “all or nothing” approach. Here with prophecy, it functions by saying – “Well, if prophecies are truly coming, then we have to go all the way and add it to Scripture.” This is silly, almost akin to the fallacious slippery slope fallacy argued by many.


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