Strange Fire Debate between Michael Brown and Sam Waldron


The online discussion of the charismatic gifts continues. I encourage everyone to watch my discussion with Steve Camp who is a friend of John MacArthur, and also to listen to the formal debate below between Michael Brown and Sam Waldron.I think anyone watching both of these interactions will be forced to conclude at a minimum that some charismatics clearly have a strong biblical argument. I'm not expecting every cessationist to convert. Rather that we can all learn mutual respect. I love the … [Read more...]

Adrian’s Charisma Mag article


God works all things out for his sovereign purpose. One of the joys to me since the Strange Fire fiasco has been the way charismatics have actually been emboldened and have come together. When someone attacks a group they tend to rise up as one man to defend and in so doing a new camaraderie is formed. New alliances are sometimes formed also. It never ceases to amaze me how diffuse the body of Christ is. I've only recently discovered and enjoyed some articles I've read over at Charisma … [Read more...]

Strange Fire: Can we at least agree on the vital place of Christian experience?

The Strange Fire controversy has again highlighted the divisions that exist within the church over the charismatic issue. It concerns me that these arguments may futher eclipse a much more important question. That question is addressed in one of the chapters of my book Raised With Christ. In it, the rich heritage of experiential Christianity through the ages is discussed. Thanks to Crossway, for the first time that chapter is available to download here for free. Here is a brief excerpt to whet … [Read more...]

WATCH NOW: Strange Fire: dialogue with Steve Camp


This is my conversation with committed cessationist, and friend of MacArthur,Steve Camp.We talked about Strange Fire, and to keep the peace was the moderator Rob Wilkerson. I really believe this is an interesting and fruitful conversation.  You can view the archive here:In the meantime feel free to watch this podcast interview I recorded with RE2. … [Read more...]

Are there apostles today?


I am nearing the end of my series on Strange Fire.  It may feel interminable for some, but believe me when I get the bit between my teeth, sometimes I keep at it a lot longer than I will have done on this!Today I turn to an argument that MacArthur uses against the charismatic movement. He takes some of the odd things some people say and do about the idea of apostles today and rightly rejects that. But again he fails to interact with more responsible groups who do believe in apostles today. … [Read more...]

Healing Today


MacArthur's argument against the gift of healing seen in his book Strange Fire is an interesting one to me. He seems to distinguish between the idea that God can and still does heal today in response to our prayers, and the concept of the gift of healing. (See James  5:14-15).He does this in several ways. Firstly, he believes that the "Gift" of healing was given exclusively to accredit the Apostles, something which as I said in a previous post, I just don't see as the case allowing for the … [Read more...]

John MacArthur tries to retreat from some of his most challenging language

Over at Tim Challies, MacArthur has been interviewed about the criticism that has surfaced of him following the Strange Fire conference.  This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly because of his brief summary of his case, and secondly for an attempt to rein in some of what to many of us seem like clear statements rejecting charismatics wholesale.Regarding the arguments he choses I thought I would briefly address them here:What are the gifts? MacArthur believes that the gifts of the Holy S … [Read more...]

Packer much more generous to charismatics.

For those, like me, feeling a bit beat up by the shenanigans, this article shows how Packer and the younger MacArthur strike a much more conciliatory tone on charismatics: One of the wisest appraisals of the charismatic movement as a whole has come from the estimable J. I. Packer. Like John MacArthur, he is Reformed in theology and a cessationist in his understanding of spiritual gifts. Packer finds in the New Testament both a creedal and a moral test for judging whether movements are truly … [Read more...]

Tim Keller on the charismatics

Tim Keller was asked a about cessationism at aprox 49 mins in the video below. Interestingly he stated he was a moderate cessationist (or "80% cessationist") himself. By which he meant that although he did believes some miracles have continued, he believes many reported miracles are not real.He made a very important point, that a fear of experience often accompanies cessationism, and he believes that hinders revival. I have said many times that my main quarrel with cessationism is not really … [Read more...]

Worshipping with your mind and spirit

Today in our series addressing the Strange Fire book, we turn to the idea of worship. Lets jump straight into refuting the arguments used by MacArthur on this stubject:Argument: Charismatic worship is mindless, vacuous, and involves emptying your mind.Counter argument: This is not so much a biblical argument against charismaticism per see but an argument against craziness in worship, to which I say amen! Against those who claim we should empty our minds, or stop being so rational to … [Read more...]