John MacArthur Sends 500,000,000 Charismatics to Hell

john macarthur sends charismatics to hell cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

“God in Hell” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

I noticed Tim Challies posted an article on John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference the other day so I check it out. MacArthur’s church hosted the Strange Fire conference last weekend, a conference devoted to the critique of the charismatic movement. I read Challies’ post as well as watched  John MacArthur’s address that opened the event and set its condemning tone.

When I read Challies’ notes at first I didn’t believe them. Challies doesn’t interject his opinion, but neither does he criticize MacArthur’s. So I watched the video of MacArthur’s actual address. Sadly, Challies’ notes are an accurate representation of MacArthur’s argument.

I am familiar with Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement including the Vineyard movement’s particular flavor of it. I spent many years in the charismatic movement, serving it in various capacities, even attending a Pentecostal Bible College. In seminary I studied under my mentor, Dr. Gordon Fee, a Pentecostal and one of the most respected text critics and biblical scholars in the world. In Charisma News you can read Michael Brown’s “final appeal” to MacArthur which I thought was direct, clear and fair.

I’m also familiar with the Reformed movement. During my religion and ministry program at Presbyterian College at McGill University in Montreal I joyously immersed myself in reformed studies. When I graduated I was surprised but pleased to receive the prize in Reformed Theology. It was no big deal but I appreciated the fact that my seriousness about reformed theology was recognized. Then I was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in Canada and spent many years serving reformed churches. Karl Barth is my favorite theologian and probably will remain so for the rest of my life, hands down.

I’m sharing this is to show that I’m not just talking from the sidelines as a bystander but as someone who has had a lot of experience and education in both traditions and still embraces a respect for each while feeling free to critique both.

As I watched the video I felt a growing anger as well as a disgust for what MacArthur was saying and how he was saying it. His speech is as lofty as his demeanor. His criticism of charismatics is as old as the charismatic movement itself. So it’s nothing new. It is a familiar flame. What I found dismaying is his complete dismissal of the movement and all its adherents in a single one hour dignified gesture. With one speech he purged the rolls of salvation of over 500 million believers.

Basically his argument is that charismatics dishonor God. Since they are therefore not in Christ, their theology is demonic. So since they are serving Satan and promoting him, there is a hotter hell reserved for them. He claims that the charismatic movement has done nothing to advance sound doctrine or biblical theology but in fact has caused more damage than anything else ever has because it has only delivered confusion, distortion and error to the church. He questions the church: You have always defended God. You have always defended Jesus Christ. Why do you not defend the Holy Spirit? Instead, the church opens the gates to the charismatics and they have taken over the city of God and set up an idol in its center. He doesn’t understand why God doesn’t just strike all these people down. He sadly supposes his ways aren’t our ways.

Here’s my response to MacArthur in defense of the charismatic movement and its adherents.

  1. I suggest that the charismatic movement is a subversion of the very theology MacArthur espouses. It possesses a socio-political power that is devastating to those who would control the church and her members. The spiritual gift at the center of the charismatic movement is speaking in tongues which is an act of defiance against the principalities and powers because it is a secret language, like a code, that cannot be controlled or censored. This is a frustration to the powers who would like to see tighter regulations upon the church in how it should think, speak and act. The more MacArthur talked the more defiant I became, sensing my own spirit crying out, “If I worship I will worship the way I want to worship!”
  2. The spiritual gifts level the playing field. I was disturbed by how smug and arrogant MacArthur came across, easily condemning 500,000,000 people to hell. And it was all done with such finesse, dignity and aplomb, padded by PhDs and suits and fine speech and a luxurious church full of violins and operatic voices. Along come the spiritual gifts that usurp all of this. Anybody can play! The charismatic movement is gaining speed, especially in developing nations, I think for this very reason. It is empowering and accessible and available to every single living person regardless of race, sex, status, economics, influence, education or power. It can’t be regulated, and this baffles the tightly run reformed ship that MacArthur pilots.
  3. Several times MacArthur used scripture against the charismatics that could be applied to him. For example, when Jesus cautioned his listeners to not dismiss what’s happening as not of the Spirit and that this is tantamount to blaspheming the Spirit, MacArthur turned it around to say that the charismatic do the opposite by claiming that what they are doing is of the Spirit. While he was saying this I thought, “John! Why not just leave the verse as it is and apply it to yourself? Aren’t you afraid of the possibility that you denying what is happening is of the Spirit is blaspheming the Spirit?” For someone with his level of intelligence, you’d think that he would realize that every scripture can be used like a bullet in anyone’s gun. A bullet is neutral, but he made it fatal by sliding it into his reformed gun’s chamber, firing away like a drive-by shooting of his charismatic brothers and sisters. He could turn the same bullet on himself. But for some reason he doesn’t see the scriptures as a corrective for himself or the reformed movement which he obviously elevates above all others.
  4. He went on and on about how injurious the charismatic movement has been to the church. I agree there have been a lot of abuses and misuses within the charismatic church. I’ve seen it and experienced it first hand. I’ve also seen it and experienced it first hand in reformed churches. This is because it’s not rooted in theology but in the greed, ignorance and cruelty of our hearts. Theology only comes along to justify and vindicate our inhumanity. The response to MacArthur by the church is so overwhelming because, in fact, he is the one who is hurting his brothers and sisters. As a man with such clout in the theological and ecclesiastical world, how injurious was just this one hour of spiteful speech? In one fell swoop he not only disassociated himself from half a billion believers, but he called them “of Satan” and consigned them to a “hotter hell” reserved for such people who dishonor God. In all my life I’ve rarely been so assaulted with such blatant and mindless cruelty dressed up as theological astuteness.
  5. MacArthur wonders why God hasn’t struck down the movement and its adherents. He wonders why the church universal hasn’t condemned it. Speaking from a theological perspective, is it possible that what we are witnessing is actually the movement of the Spirit? Jesus said that the Spirit comes and goes as it wills, like the wind, beyond our control and understanding and even sometimes beyond our observation. Is it possible that this movement that MacArthur can’t control, can’t understand, and can’t even explain is the very wind of the Spirit he desires? Is it possible that this movement that he and his fellow theocrats can’t harness is the Spirit that won’t and can’t be contained? Is it possible that the maverick Spirit is acting in a very unreformed manner, thanks be to God?!

I’m not just angry. I’m not just disappointed. I’m sad. After watching MacArthur I was tempted to throw in the towel. Even though many people would distance themselves from MacArthur and his position on charismatics, it’s still a sign that the church and its leaders may use anything at their disposal to elevate themselves above their brothers and sisters, even if it means separating themselves from them forever.

I thought we were better than this.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • David Housholder

    Great article. As a Pentecostal/Charismatic Lutheran who wrote http://blackberrybush.org (evangelism-discipleship for charismatic congregations) and the primer on the Pentecostal movement (http://astore.amazon.com/davidhoush-20/detail/143923731X) it also, primarily, just makes me sad. Can you imagine the Creator of the universe cheering John MacArthur’s efforts on? More at http://ThornHeart.com

  • Michael Raburn

    Part of me appreciates MacArthur being brave/reckless/stupid enough to come out and say in plain terms what many Reformed thinkers think but won’t say. Makes my job easier. Calvinism is heresy. And culturally untenable. So this may be their swan song.

  • http://jcarlostzavala.blogspot.mx/ Juan Carlos Torres

    Is that Rob Bell asking the question? Haha!

    Karl Barth is hands down the greatest:P

  • http://jcarlostzavala.blogspot.mx/ Juan Carlos Torres

    To say Calvinism is heresy is the same as to say Pentecostalism is heresy.
    It may be true.
    Needs to be more specific.
    What in Calvinism is heresy?

  • Andy

    Excellent article! Wow. I can see how you won that award in seminary.

    Two thoughts:

    -Good call on “subversion” — though Pentecostalism is more of a modification of Wesleyan-Arminianism than it is a protest of Reformed Calvinism.

    -I think you give MacArthur a little too much credit. MacArthur cannot “eliminate over 500 million believers from the rolls of salvation” any more than a street preacher can condemn someone to hell. I’m sure you’re aware of this, but I always scratch my head when a liberal-leaning Christian says for me to stop consigning people to hell when I’m simply preaching the Good News (at least, it’s supposed to be “good”). Reformed doctrine, among all others, teaches that works do not save. That message cuts both ways.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Great piece, David. Thanks for weighing in on this. I too have been angry, disappointed, and mulling a response. I appreciate your thoughts!

  • Michael Raburn

    Total depravity for one: http://mikeraburn.com/2010/02/22/sorry-tulip-but-were-not-totally-depraved/

    Limited atonement for another. Btw, I reached these conclusions from reading Barth, who offers a thorough rejection of Reformed theology as MacArthur represents it. Barth is the best way forward for evangelical theology, but I find that folks like MacArthur don’t trust him. He’s not propositional enough for them.

    But hey, unlike some, I don’t think heresy is a one way ticket to hell. Thankfully, being right about our theology is not a requisite for faith in Jesus.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    thanks so much ben.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    hey Juan… That’s me! I have been mistaken for Rob Bell more than once.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Showed their hand for sure.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Thanks David

  • Kathi

    I don’t really understand much but the basics of the charismatic movement. What I don’t understand even more than the movement is MacArthur’s need to have an entire conference devoted to bashing it. But, he has a book to promote, so that must be a good reason to have a conference. All-in-all I find this very petty and sad.

  • LorenHaas

    I gave up on MacArthur long ago because of his views on women and divorce and remarriage. He is a puffed-up suit.
    I came to faith in a Charismatic church and while I have left that tradition, I very much appreciate how it was right for me at that time. I am currently happily attending a progressive American Baptist church that is anything but charismatic, but I respect and love my charismatic brothers and sisters.
    Two more outstanding charismatic/pentecostal bible scholars: Gregory Boyd and Denis Lamoureux

  • http://thesidos.blogspot.com/ Arthur Sido

    I think you have some important points here. I too was largely disgusted by MacArthur and the whole conference. Can I suggest that the cartoon at the top is not only not funny but takes away the seriousness of what you wrote. Your post is worth reading but the clumsy attempt at humor in the cartoon likely will drive away people who need to read the rest. Just my thoughts.

  • http://jcarlostzavala.blogspot.mx/ Juan Carlos Torres

    I love it!

  • Julie Anne

    David, One of my readers alerted me to your article. It’s great. I’m going to be passing it along. I see blatant hypocrisy.

    Sitting in that Strange Fire audience is my former pastor who sued me for defamation. Leaders (Phil Johnson, Bill Shannon) from Grace Community got familiar with my lawsuit because my pastor publicized that a pastor from Grace Community encouraged him to sue me.

    They talk out of both sides of their mouths. If they care about wolves and false teachers, they why do they harbor them in their own midst, endorse them via book endorsements, give them a platform, etc.

    Another thing: If he is so against charismatics, why has he shared a platform with Piper and especially C.J. Mahaney who calls himself a reformed charismatic.

    If he is going to be so black and white as he speaks, why does his actions prove otherwise? (My recent blog article covers this: http://goo.gl/0nk5v8.)

    I’m calling this out as a big fat FRAUD. It’s disgusting. If you are Reformed, your behavior can be abusive, appalling, contrary to scripture, and you will get a free pass. If you are charismatic, or a woman blogger, watch out!

  • http://jcarlostzavala.blogspot.mx/ Juan Carlos Torres

    I agree that 5 pt Calvinism is irreparably horrible unless we’re willing to do what Barth did: reform it.

    Thanks for expanding your original thoughts.

    I am a Barthian all the way:)

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    “clumsy attempt at humor”? gee thanks! if you look over my blog i am primarily a cartoonist, then a writer. so for you i guess my meat comes with bones. but thanks for your clumsy attempt at a compliment ;)

  • http://thesidos.blogspot.com/ Arthur Sido

    You should focus on the writing, it is was quite good.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    thanks so much julie anne. sounds like you have quite a story. sorry for having to live it first hand.

  • http://thesidos.blogspot.com/ Arthur Sido

    Holding to a heresy makes one a heretic and in claiming therefore that all Calvinists are heretics you pretty much do the same thing as MacArthur on a much smaller platform. It would be more helpful to this conversation to stick to the conference rather than a litany of people who want to drag out their pet peeves about every other thing they dislike about MacArthur.

  • Jeannie Boen

    As a fellow pentecostal and of a reformed background, I can say that I found the article very, very offensive. You stated everything I thought much better than I could have.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    thanks jeannie

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    I first was taught by anti-Charismatics, then I joined (secretly) Charismatic circles, then I came out of both. Both told me that the others were deceived and not real Christians.

    It is all a fricken game. It is hard enough to talk to each other without the addition of knotted holier-than-thou God-talk muffling the conversation. Religion-Free conversations are a far better starting point.

  • Al Cruise

    Reading the comments is just amazing. How people consign others to hell, and then spout off some theology to prove their point. Their logic when examined comes from were and when they were born. According to them all the people born before any Christian theology was present, or in countries were it does not exist, were born just to fill the pits of hell. Go one and one with any hard core fundie and they really believe this, even very educated ones. Then they take it one step further and create differences in their theologies so they can cast even some of their own peers into hell.

  • Michael Muto

    David, I too spent years pastoring in the Vineyard Church and studied under Gordon Fee. I can admit that there is a lot of anti-intellectualism within charismatic circles, given that Fee was the very first person from the Pentecostal Movement to acquire a PHD in Biblical Studies or Theology. His book God’s Empowering Presence is still the benchmark for a biblical theology of the Holy Spirit. For MacArthur to claim charismatics have made no positive contributions to theology or biblical studies is absurd. Even if it was true, is that how we measure the “fruit” of people who follow Jesus? Their contribution to “Christian” academia? What about measuring it by acts of love, kindness and doing justice? His dismissal of this movement takes an immense amount of arrogance, insularity or both.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    @ Michael
    Don’t you agree that “acts of love, kindness and doing justice” are the measures we should use for all people? [assuming you will say "yes"]
    Then do you ever wonder if religion talk just gets in the way of having that conversation?

  • Gary

    David I LOVED the cartoon. It does exactly what a good cartoon should do in these situations…satirically reveal the absurdity.

    Loved your analysis as well. As I suggested yesterday…McArthur and others like him, in all of their arrogant grandstanding, completely gut the very heart and soul of the gospel. I do not believe what he is left with in any way resembles the teachings of Christ.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Theology is heresy

  • Phil Parmelee

    Awesome article! Pride causes us to obsess on the sliver in others’ eyes and causes blindness to the huge beam in our own. After decades of exposure to spiritual leaders, I find myself rather jaded concerning them, even though I also am one. Sometimes, I wish there were a different label I could indentify myself with other than “Christian”.

  • Michael Muto

    Yes I do agree and yes religion talk can get in the way at times. For me, as a follower of Jesus, I’m inspired and empowered to act more lovingly and kindly and to actively seek justice because of my relationship to Jesus. I would never suggest that people couldn’t do these things without Jesus, but for me I’m still pretty enthralled by him.

  • Brigitte
  • Brigitte

    Reformed “Reformed”? — http://sites.cph.org/catechism/

  • Michael Muto

    Phil, one my favorite phrases from Eugene H. Peterson, that was also quite alarming when I heard it the first time, was “Pastoral Ministry is the pathway to hell.” It was hyperbole, Eugene would say that is what the H stood for in his name, but what he was getting at is that spiritual leadership is one of the best places to hide your sin because within your faith community people often give their leaders the benefit of the doubt. It can be easy to become blinded in that often isolating position of “spiritual leader.”

  • David Housholder

    John MacArthur, stick to your own message. Just stop it. Unattractive and dark stuff. Judgmental. Don’t you have better things to do? Essay >> http://wp.me/p2KckS-1im

  • David Housholder

    My post in support of you >> http://wp.me/p2KckS-1im

  • http://jcarlostzavala.blogspot.mx/ Juan Carlos Torres

    Yes, I’m Reformed.
    I’ll take a look at the link though.
    Thanks.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Just make sure you are not part of the “casual carnal culture” as MacArthur puts it in his sermon or you may be consumed by fire at Judgment day. According to MacArthur, God gets all pissy if people don’t worship in the right way and he proves it by selective readings from Leviticus. Ha

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Wow. I’m listening to it right now and am only up to minute 34. MacAuthur uses language like the following in describing the Charismatic movement:
    spiritual aids, false teachers, in it for the money, casual carnal culture, reference to Leviticus where God burns those that didn’t make the right alter sacrifice (that’s how he gets “Strange Fire” for his book title). He also runs down Mormons.
    I guess he wants to start a new inquisition – purify the faith.
    I guess he wants to put the Christian house in order first and then come after the rest of us.

  • Gary
  • Cecilia Davidson

    How about you not be an ass? :P

  • Michael Muto

    I’m not casually carnal, I’m completely and formally carnal! It just means, “enfleshed” and indeed I’m here in flesh and blood. I’m also still crazy enough to believe in a completely carnal Jesus! Isn’t that what the incarnation means?!

  • Pastora Rhonda

    David, thank you for your article. Calling someone a heretic is no way to bring them into the Kingdom of God. Turn or burn theology is not transformational. I wonder why Pastor MacArthur would not have an open dialogue with Gordon Fee, James K.A, Smith, Rick Watts and others. He would not even speak to Michael Brown when he called before publishing his article. It appears it is only his voice and the voices of those who agree with him that he will hear. I personally have been praying the the Holy Spirit would fall on Pastor MacArthur in such a powerful way that his eyes would be open to the harm he is doing to the Church and the disunity he is creating. To deal with heretical teachings or address those teaching false doctrines is one thing. To speak of a half a billion people going to hell is seriously dangerous accusation.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Thanks Pastora Rhonda. You are obviously acquainted with Michael Brown. I thought his appeal was worthy.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    the question becomes WHICH faith.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    I cannot get more than 5 minutes into the speech. The whole “everyone but those of my approval” line is complete and total bullshit that speaks of the preacher and their god rather than (if they exist) God.
    Even God would burn in hell in the eyes of some members of the Phelps family if God said “I love everyone, no conditions required.”
    Sadly, many, including professed Christians, confirm that there is a god, but it’s in their image instead.

    In the end, our actions dictate the gospel we preach. If we wholesale condemn, then our gospel cannot be of love. If we abuse, then our gospel cannot be of care for others. If we scream “GOD HATES YOU,” then our gospel is garbage and must be thrown away. Better to not waste your money on ink, paper, and leather if you’re not going to listen to the words of the one you call Christ (and instead focus on Paul’s and Peter’s and James’ and John’s letters as substitute for gospel).

  • DoctorDJ

    Ah, yes. Reminds me of the great Cavatappi Heresy. We, the true believers in His Noodley Goodness had to devour the upstarts (with their leaders, Pesto and Al Dente).

    May the cheeses of the one true FSM be upon you.

    [Seriously, you folks look pretty silly to an outsider.]

  • Cecilia Davidson

    May his Noodley Appendages reach out to us and affect our lives for no better or worse.
    Ramen.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    But here is what I don’t get, Rhonda: You feel that “heretical teachings” and “false doctrines” must be “dealt with”. But you don’t want anyone to call someone else “a heretic”, right? So that is like labelling a “sin” but not calling the person a “sinner”, right. So they believe heresy, but they aren’t a “heretic”????

    You feel you have to pray for the Holy Spirit “fall on somebody” — why does God need your prayers to fall his Holy Spirit on Pastor MacArthur to stop harm. It just seems weird that just actions all depend on your prayers.

    But then it seems weird that you know exactly what counts as heresy, too.

    Again, as someone said below, from the outside, this looks very silly altogether.

    The answer is not to whisper about heresy and deal with it quietly, the answer is to realize that theology itself, yours included, is heresy. Just stop the whole silly game.

    How can you feel that speaking of a 1/2 billion folks going to hell is a “seriously dangerous accusation” and yet still be real comfortable talking about “dealing with heresy” and having a Holy Spirit fall on somebody. Seems like double speak to me.

  • Sarah Morgan

    As if the Spirit Himself cannot do anything, the Father is powerless, and Jesus is crying in a corner at the misuses of the Trinity happening in whatever church. I’m tired of this weak, sniveling view of God that tells us we have to rise up against one another and stick up for our poor, bullied, wimpy God. Oh, the arrogance. Also, how sad for John MacArthur that his God only exists within the pages of the Bible and that he hasn’t yet learned to apply these verses of the Bible to his own life and heart.

  • Mark

    The one “good” thing about this is that MacArthur has put himself at loggerheads with Mark Driscoll. It’s sort of like watching two of my favorite Western villains line up for a gunfight. Maybe they’ll beat each other to a bloody pulp.

    Maybe the rest of Christianity can see how ridiculous John MacArthur really is. I can at least hope.

  • Mark

    Seems the higher up the Christian food chain, the sadder and more petty it gets.

  • Van

    Is that the same John MacArthur whose Calvinistic theology teaches that God has pre-selected a small elect of humanity to love and save, while at the same time, having also determined to hate most of humanity and consign them to eternal conscious torture in a so-called hell? Shall we then be surprised that he finds it so easy to hate 500,000,000 Pentecostal Christians who worship God from their hearts instead of from their lexicons and concordances? Shame!

  • Lisa

    John MacArthur may be the mouthpiece for those religious organizations lining up to condemn the Charismatic movement, but there is no mistaking the nods of agreement around that table. Hurtful though it is, we should not be surprised. After all, these attacks were prophecied by the Apostle Paul.
    And this is only the beginning of our persecution inside the church, our families and communities. How we react to their unfair and unloving (but predictable) barbs will say more about us than anything else they can pontificate to each other about. After all – love covers a multitude of sins. Theirs, as well as our own.

  • randybuist

    I applaud your grace David. May your anger subside even though it is justified.

  • geoffrobinson

    You want to make culturally untenable be your guide? You will be giving up orthodox Christianity pretty quickly.

  • Karli

    When will Inquisition 2.0 begin?

  • Ben Mason

    Ok I was reading through this and wasn’t going to say anything but I think I will. Predestination is all over the Bible. So is total depravity. Shall I show you the various Scriptures or shall you expend the tiny bit of effort to find yourself?

  • Ben Mason

    Predestination is all over the Bible. So is total depravity and limited atonement. Shall I show you the various Scriptures or shall you expend the tiny bit of effort to find yourself? Or would you rather hold to your false beliefs?

  • Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente

    Seriously? That’s why Jews, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Anglicans…. and all the old branches of Christianity have been unable to see it. Everyone but Calvinists?

  • Andrew Iskorostensky

    Just FYI: MacArthur’s ministry gives the book away for free! At least up to today that what it was. So, we can accuse him in anything but not promo the book, which has not been intended for sale.

  • Vernon Smart

    If the book to which you refer is Strange Fire, it is for sale on Amazon for $22.99.

  • God & Culture

    I’m sad that so many have done to John MacArthur what they accuse MacArthur of doing to them. It’s perceived as loving and kind to correct MacArthur, but for MacArthur to point out the unbiblical practices of the Charismatic movement is unloving. judgmental, smug, and arrogant. There’s pride on both sides.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    It is not proud to challenge wrong. Naive people don’t understand this.

  • Chris Thomas

    Heard him on the radio some 30 years ago and felt no need to keep listening; glad I haven’t missed much!

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    I graduated from Lee University (Church of God) in 1973 when it was still Lee College. May I ask what Pentecostal college you attended?

  • Bob Hostetler

    Legalism poisons. Grace frees.

  • Michael Raburn

    No thanks, Ben, I’m good. I was predestined to be a charismatic.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Say Ben, that’s some high horse you got there!

  • Van

    Ben said: “Predestination is all over the Bible. So is total depravity.” True, Ben, but so is the cross of Christ; the Savior of ALL sinners (including Christian sinners). Here are a few verses of scripture most Calvinists blindly read right over: Jn 12:32; Rom 5:18; 1 Cor 15:22-23; 1 Tim 2:3-6; 1 Jn 2:2; AND ESPECIALLY ACTS 2:1-13. It’s bad enough that unbelievers “made fun of them” (vs. 13) in the Book of Acts, but shameful that a Christian minister of the gospel (like MacArthur) should mock them today.

  • Michael Raburn

    Often heretical teachings come about due to cultural pressures. This is the case with MacArthur’s overall epistemological position, which is over-determined by the cultural pressure of modernity. Now that modernity is waning (a slower process than advertised by some), this position will become more exposed as heresy by its lack of support from the biblical and orthodox truth (the Bible does not teach what MacArthur is peddling and the church has historically not taught this) and by its lack of cultural support, which was able to mask the lack of legitimate support for a while.
    The broader lesson for us is that we are always in danger of having our theology culturally influenced. For obvious examples, look into pastors in the antebellum American South preaching *from the Bible* that slavery was God’s will, or all the pastors and theologians who supported the Nazi project (Suzanne Hescel’s The Aryan Jesus is a must read), or the excellent example MacArthur has just given us.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Tim,

    David has a great outline of his personal history in his About tab.

    You might find what you wanted there.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Thanks @Sabio:disqus for doing my homework for me. Sometimes I’m not notified of comments and they get past me. So my sincere thanks. Yes I went to Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, which belongs to the Assembly of God pentecostal denomination.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Oh ya???? Well SO DO YOU! Do you really wanna play this?

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    agreed Michael

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    There are several camps here it seems:

    (Camp 1) Doctrine is important, and yours is wrong

    (Camp 2) Dogma is bad, but mine is better than yours

    (Camp 3) Heresy is bad, but why can’t we all just love one another

    (Camp 4) Theology is a mistake from the get-go. Without it we don’t have Doctrine, Dogma or Heresy

  • Andrius

    Vineyard movement responded to John MacArthur’s accusations (his book “Charismatic Chaos” in particular) through a position paper. I believe this paper provides solid theological arguments. I would assume this is a good read for anyone interested in these matters, no matter what their background is: http://www.vineyard.org.za/papers/paper5.pdf

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Point 1:
    There are LOTS of things “all over the Bible”
    It is not a consistent text.
    It is a politically chosen anthology.
    It is redacted and edited but the contrary theologies still shine through.

    Point 2:
    Conservatives/Fundies/Evans and more don’t believe Point 1.
    Progressives often believe point 1 but still play the game pretending they don’t and quoting as they see fit instead of just admitting that Bible Quoting don’t work for them any more. Most Progressives want their cake and eat it too. Conservatives know this and fly in to feast on the inconsistencies.

    It is sadly hilarious to watch the different camps dance around those point on this thread without anyone talking about the Elephant in the room. Well, to me it is funny. To others, it is an eternal tragedy.

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    Thanks Sabio!

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    Interesting! We both received biblical degrees from classical pentecostal colleges within a few years of each other.
    I decided not to enter the ministry and spent 20+ years in the Christian bookstore industry, including 7 years as a district manager for Family Christian Stores. It became too conservative for me.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Careful, David, I think the answer is “Yes”! ;-)

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    That is interesting. I stayed in ministry for as long as I possibly could.

  • Greg

    This civil war of words is so damaging, and sad, but mostly its just disobedient to God. Jesus wasn’t offering advice when he tells us to have peace among ourselves.
    His words are loving commands, to be obeyed by whomever is wise, and understands that peace is perpetuated by me exercising it, and not by widespread agreement.
    Mark 9:49-50
    For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
    Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

    Jesus didn’t respond to the Pharisees public scorning of him as a bastard son, or a devil, but rather, he taught the people to heed the words they taught while not copying their actions. This is a recipe for peace among us.

    David, I have friends who are Calvinist and Pentecostal, and I’ve arbitrated some very divisive rifts between them as our common denominator of home schooling has drawn us into the same arena for the last 15 yrs.

    My family, which for context purposes I’ll mention that we haven’t been part of any organised or brand name church for 40 yrs, has found ourselves in Jesus precarious position as choosing no side, and that includes the trickiest of all political postures, namely the impartial judge. We’ve all inherited the whirlwind our forefathers in the faith sowed, and the only way to stop it is to stop it.

    May I remind us all that Jesus gave us the example of how we can all adopt this attitude, and translate it into laying down our lives for John McArthur, and his detractors?

    McArthur, like hundreds of angry brethren before him from all theological positions on the dial, has succeeded in dragging the majority of us sheep once more out of the sheepfold, to graze poison grass in foreign pastures.

    Please step back into the sheepfold, and trust the Shepherd to guide us into all truth? But he cant do that if we are disobeying him, and letting the little foxes spoil the grapes. Its not McArthurs place to pronounce in the name of God, and neither is it ours to contra pronounce.

    God choose sheep, dumb, stupid, naive and trusting, to depict Jesus, and us.

    Lambs led to slaughter, not reviling when reviled, not resisting abuse.

    Jude reminds us that Michael the arch angel, expressing the humility of God himself, knew his place in the hierarchy of heaven, and though he was right, yet he wouldn’t rebuke his old boss Lucifer from his own position of rightness, when disputing over the body of Moses, but rather stood behind God and said “The Lord rebuke you’. (Jude 1:9)

    Later (vs 21) after reminding us that Jesus warned us that the church of the last days would be full of mockers, sensual and separating themselves from the rest of us (as McArthur just did, and we do in response) he says ” BUT YOU, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

    Those who know their place as servants in Gods economy here in this life, and their responsibility as priests and kings before God, will heed these not often preached commands of our Lord, following him in the paths of righteousness and peace. Humbly and meekly (without anger or vitriol) warn, but in the end, let others rail, and accuse, and be blown about by every wind of doctrine.
    We have no need that any man teach us Jesus ways because he’s in us, leading us, empowering us as we lay aside every filthiness of flesh and spirit.
    So, I suppose this may not sit well with some, and I’m sorry that any might think I’m advocating heresy, error, denigrating scripture or anyone’s understanding of the Word, but in the end, wisdom cant be taught. It must be caught by humble minds, ravenously hungry to supply the heart filled with the love of God with the bread of God, who is Christ in us.
    Please consider this.
    thanks
    Greg

  • Carl Hamper

    verses from both side of the issue fill the Bible. that is why the issue is not resolved after centuries of debate. the language of free choice is in many verses as well. Please, Mr. Mason, do we have to use the sarcasm and insult? does that mindset accurately represent the reformed position?

  • Riley

    I’m really dissapointed here in the uncharitable misrepresentation of what Rev. John MacArthur said. He did not consign 500 million charismatics to hell. He carefully noted that he counts brothers among them. He said there is a hotter hell for those charlatans in the charismatic movement who are preaching a false gospel. Certainly the Scriptures affirm that such is the case for such as Simon Magus the magician who lead people astray for their own gain. MacArthur’s tone was somber and full of loving admonition. Yours was not.

  • Riley

    Has God given any instruction to faithful ministers in particular, on how they should react to false doctrine? Simple question.

  • Riley

    He wasn’t bashing. He was warning. And he was warning because it’s his job as a minister of Christ.

  • Riley

    For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 1 Corinthians 11:19 nkjv

  • Riley

    Barth is heresy. He rejects the full authority of Scripture and goes off in confusion from his own imaginations.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Riley: The massive responses to MacArthur’s talk indicate we listened to the same recording. Clearly you and I didn’t listen to the same recording. You think it is uncharitable of me to pretty much quote what MacArthur said. But MacArthur said it. For example: “The charismatic movement is loooooaded with non-Christians… The vast majority is in the dark.” I believe that’s a quote.

  • Riley

    All I can say to that is I’m sorry.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Yes, as a minister of Christ it’s his job to call 1/2 billion believers non-believers going to hell, praise God!

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    charismatic is false doctrine? what about the kind of doctrine that would lead someone to condemn other believers?

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    You see, Riley, one of the challenges on this thread is that you have many different flavors of Christians here. All, of course, are eager to hang on to the title “Christian” or “Follower of Jesus” and yet each believes very different things.

    The two biggest differences are not Charismatic vs. Non-Charismatic, Calvinists vs Arminians, Exclusivists vs Inclusivists — instead, the biggest difference lies in Epistemology: how do we weigh what we count as knowledge.

    Each flavor of Christian here holds the weight of the Bible differently. And thus, “false doctrine”, “faithful” and “minister” all take on different meanings for each different epistemology.

    Who’d think God would have ever been so fuzzy as to allow this sort of confusion? Who’d think an all-knowing, all-loving, intervening deity couldn’t have bee a little more clear. Heck, even you could have been more clear.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Sorry for what? I don’t understand.

  • Riley

    It’s a judgment based on research provided by the StrangeFire speakers and contributors that the majority in the charismatic movement are involved in word of faith, the prosperity gospel, Roman Catholicism, or modalism. You can respond by either providing statistics to refute his research, arguing that one of the above does not teach a false gospel, or you can agree with him. What you ought not to do is misrespresent what he said by claiming that he thinks all 500 million charismatics are going to hell. If there is disagreement about what was said, it would be best to base your response on quotations from the book. That’s what the book is for: to prevent misrepresentations.

  • Riley

    For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 1 Corinthians 11:19 nkjv

  • Riley

    Do you dispute that ministers are called to confront false doctrine? If you think charismaticism is true, argue with their points for cessationism while giving a judgment of charity that they are doing the right thing in condemning what they sincerely believe to be false doctrine based on their exegesis of Scripture.

  • Riley

    I’m sorry that he was predestined to be a charismatic. Thankfully, many of us have been delivered from this error. As I was.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    But David, most of the early Church Fathers condemned others who called themselves Christians. Were the early Church Fathers wrong? Did Christians get it wrong that early in the game? Or should Christians say, “Heck, whoever calls themselves Christian is OK with me. Peace, love, dove, baby!”

    Well the early Church Fathers didn’t, most of Church history shows the opposite attitude and many on this thread disagree with you. Heck, many Bible authors disagree with you.

    I happen to agree with you — but heck, I am a dirty atheist.

    The elephant in the room is that you don’t hold the Bible, the Tradition or such with the same weight that all the other people do. But I imagine that is difficult to come out front and say. Because if you do, they will just label you a “dirty atheist.” Which you confess to at other times.

    I say, if you want to call yourself a Christian and be a dirty atheist at the same time, it is just fine with me. Peace, love, dove, baby!

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    It’s clear Riley that you are a fan or disciple of MacArthur, or at least an adherent to his theology. That’s allowed. Of course. MacArthur offered his ideas in his one hour talk. I’ve read stuff by him before. So it’s fair to critique him and his ideas. I do not plan on reading his book because I find his ideas shallow and repulsive. However, I might just so that I can continue in the debate because I think it is important… important because I am for inclusion, not exclusion. I see MacArthur as an enemy of the people, and I would like to help challenge his divisive, hateful ideas until they lose the respect they enjoy from so many Christians.

  • Riley

    Both untrue. I am only vaguely familiar with his work until now. I am happy for your to critique and disagree with MacArthur on this topic. All that I ask is that you accurately represent his arguments and refute them the best you can without questioning his motives. Perhaps this kind of reaction is become a pet peeve of mine, because it seems that every time the truth is spoken in love there is a knee-jerk response, not to refute the arguments (which would be a perfectly legitimate response), but to demonize the speaker as “hateful”, etc. How very unloving! I did not detect a hateful Spirit from him or the other speakers, unless it were a hatred against error itself and the destruction of the Church of Christ. He admitted that the conference was intended to be divisive. But how were his ideas hateful? Speaking the truth, as MacArthur noted, is an act of love.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Exactly! Spot on Riley.
    Now, before discussing with someone, it may be helpful to see if they share your epistemology. As them, “Do you take the Bible to be the literal word of God and to be the final measure of all that is true.” If they say, “No”, well then, you know you either stop the conversation, or back up and see if you have any common ground at all that is worth pursuing.
    Don’t you think that would be a valuable strategy?

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Riley: You said “accurately represent his arguments and refute them the best you can without questioning his motives”. I’m not questioning his motives. I related exactly what he said. You must listen to the talk in its entirety. But he does make his motives clear. He wants to correct or banish charismatics and the charismata from the church. He would like to see the charismatic movement die. Why? Because of his beliefs about them. Just because someone is passionate for what he believes doesn’t mean it’s love. Anyway. We can agree to disagree. I certainly do.

  • Riley

    The conference, by the way, was aimed toward the audience of those who do take the Bible to be the only final authority, including many within the charismatic movement. That’s why so much attention was given to “Reformed charismatics”, a tiny faction within the charismatic movement.

  • Riley

    Agreeing to disagree is simply a thinly disguised lack of love. It’s more loving to speak the truth with those with whom we disagree on important matters.

  • Riley

    Where and when did MacArthur say that all 500 million charismatics are going to hell? I remember him saying that 90% of the movement is following false gospels. That would leave 10% who are following the true gospel despite their error on the charismatic gifts. So, again, you’ve misrepresented him. Might I suggest that you provide quotations from the book and refute them if you wish?

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    You have a strange concept of love. We obviously disagree. When you say I need to represent him fairly and actually quote his talk, you say I need to read his book. When I reply to that, you suggest I should have been at the conference. MacArthur put himself out there to the public. I heard it. I responded I think accurately and fairly in a way that I hope he might receive.

  • Riley

    So then you will be able to say when exactly in the conference he said that all estimated 500m charismatics are going to hell. Waiting.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    jeepers

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Right — but who are your comments aimed toward? What do you think the assumptions of the self-called Christians here are? What do you feel their assumptions should be. That is my point.

  • Riley

    The problem is that he never said the total of estimated 500m charismatics are going to hell, and he strongly implied otherwise. It makes for a good headline, but is it loving to misrepresent another minister of Christ?

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Wow, who is judging motives now?

  • Michael Raburn

    You’re wrong about Barth. You either haven’t read Barth and are taking someone else’s word for this, or you haven’t understood what you were reading. Please note, this isn’t a doctrinal debate, merely a factual one. Barth’s position was not one that rejected the full authority of Scripture.

  • Riley

    The assumption is that if a Christian speaks the truth as he understands it based on his own exegesis, in a way that divides truth from error, other Christians should respond by demonizing him as hateful and unloving. This approach is false, worldly, and unbiblical. Frankly, I’m heartily sick of this kind of response. Instead, if you disagree with what he said, you should carefully and exegetically counter his arguments while commending him for his loving intentions.

  • Riley

    He made it subjectively the word of God to me instead of objectively the word of God. This is a denial of the full authority of Scripture in my book.

  • Riley

    Which of the following do you think preaches the true gospel: The Word of Faith, Prosperity Gospel, Roman Catholicism, Modalism?

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Hmmm, I am going to have to agree with Riley.
    For Journalistic purposes, a recant is in order.
    If the dude only said, “Most” or whatever he said, it should be stated that way. I would say you should change the title of the post — fortunately the drawing can remain perfectly accurate and hilariously spot on !!

    I have learned to pull back my generalization in my blogging. It is tough to do. But heck, 500 Million changed to most of the 500 Million does not change the horribleness of the idea in any significant way. Nitpicking on this point is good journalism but a distraction from the real point: “Declaring Heretics as Hell Bound is Horrible”
    But then, if you believe in heresy and hell, I guess it is inevitable. ;-(

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    @ Michael Raburn,
    If someone could prove to you that Barth did “reject the full authority of Scripture.” would that totally change your opinion of Barth and turn you against his conclusions?

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    You and I both know it’s just a catchy title but the content fleshes it out with the adequate detail. sheesh.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Besides, I rounded down, not up!

  • Michael Raburn

    Barth reserves “Word of God” for the person of Jesus Christ (following John 1.1). When he gets to his fuller expression of Scripture (first in CD I/2 then again in CD II/2), he has a lot to say about the full authority of Scripture. Barth was very dialectical in the earlier parts of CD, and he often went a long way on one side before balancing back to the other side (some argue he dropped the dialectic approach in parts III and IV, others think it is still there but toned down), so it is important not to take one part out of the overall context. He often strongly states one pole intentionally, which can lead to taking him the wrong way. Barth was the most orthodox evangelical theologian of his century. And perhaps the most misunderstood.

  • Riley

    Lack of clarity is the mark of a bad theologian. And thanks for illustrating my point better than I could have myself.

  • Michael Raburn

    It’s really important to me that we read writers well, that we treat them as sympathetically as possible, and represent what they actually wrote and thought as accurately as we can. Barth (and those like him) worked very hard to leave us valuable resources to help us wrestle with issues of faith. Out of respect for them, and our own intellectual integrity, we ought to deal with them as fairly as we can. Barth was committed to the authority of Scripture and was an excellent commentator and expositor of the Bible. Those who say otherwise are trying to discredit someone they would be better off learning from.

  • Riley

    Love is a verb. If my brother is in error, and I won’t warn him, I am not loving him. That is the biblical way to love vs. the love of the world.

  • Michael Raburn

    This is not a lack of clarity on Barth’s part. The writer writes as he or she decides is best. Barth had theological and philosophical reasons for taking a dialectical approach. He was expecting the reader to come to the table with a bit of understanding of where the theological and philosophical conversation had been over the preceding 100 years. If you’ve read Kant, Hegel, Schleiermacher, Ritschl, and Kierkegaard, then you’ll get what Barth is doing right away. Not his fault if people read him poorly.

  • Riley

    It makes a big difference, not just because of the numerical difference but 1. Because of friends of JM who preach the gospel and are considered part of the charismatic movement, i. e. “Reformed charismatics”, to whom this conference was largely directed 2. Because JM was not making the argument that a belief in the continuation of the charismatic gifts in itself will send anyone to hell–only that it is a dangerous gateway to damnable heresies. That is an important distinction. Additionally: 3. Nor did JM say that even all 450 million or so charismatics who attend churches where false gospels are preached are necessarily going to hell. God has unusual ways to protect his elect, even in the midst of heretical congregations.

    The context of the reference to “hell” was for charismatic charlatans who preach a lie as a pretense for their own personal gain.

  • Kathi

    Think of the target audience of this conference. I would venture to guess that most of the attendees were not from a charismatic background. I’m making a guess on that based upon people whom I have read that attended and by the Driscoll/MacDonald drive-by. So, if the majority of the attendees are not charismatic in their beliefs, why “warn” them? What do they have to fear? What are they supposed to do with this information?

    Instead, MacArthur generalizes a population that identifies themselves as charismatics. Now, we know sociologically that there are differences within a group, however, MacArthur condemns an entire group based upon his own interpretation of that group. That is bashing, not warning. A minister of Christ should display the character of Christ. He should not condemn, but he should be concerned for people’s well-being.

  • pax4pax

    Regretfully, the focus on gifts of the Spirit tends to focus a person himself and not on our Father. So, MacArthur is focusing on the potential for loss to the church. I have to agree with him.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Yeah, tough issue. I agree, it is “catchy” but I am not sure it is good to use misinformation just because it is “catchy”.

    I argue with Tom Reese, over this exact issue often at Epiphenom (a blog which reviews science research about religion — to is an atheist). He often uses post titles that are catchy but inaccurate and argues that he “fleshes it out” in the post.

    So, I do it too, of course — it is great fun. But I am not sure it is best.

    I mean, jeez, look: Does changing:
    “John MacArthur Sends 500,000,000 Charismatics to Hell”

    to

    “John MacArthur Sends Millions of Charismatics to Hell”

    really hurt your point? Why use hyperbole, when the guy himself is already a hyperbole? :-)

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    You didn’t answer my question, Michael.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Yeah, I guess you aren’t following me. I’ll let you carry on with your witnessing of the truth.

  • Michael Raburn

    I was trying to be polite. To be more blunt, a person couldn’t prove such a thing because they wouldn’t be reading Barth fairly in making such a point.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Ah, my question was a “thought experiment“, not a contention that Bart rejected “the full authority of the scriptures” – for I have no idea what he thought. Thought experiments can be very useful — and here, to explore an issue that divides people on this thread. Again, the Elephant in the Room.

  • Michael Raburn

    Yeah, I figured you were up to something, which is why I felt free to answer obliquely. I’m not opposed to your method of poking the elephant, I was doing that in my own way in my first post. Nothing gets Calvinists stirred up faster than asserting they don’t have a handle on revealed truth. Always makes for interesting conversation.
    And you’re right, the whole thing boils down to an issue of epistemology. What counts as truth? Who gets to be the arbiter of truth? Do Christians have to ascribe to a certain epistemological approach in order to believe in Jesus for salvation? If the faith requires a prior philosophical commitment that is more determinative than the faith itself, does that change what being a Christian even names? This is the root issue here, but I’m not sure how many people can think as abstractly and as concretely as you need to in order to see this. Well done on your part.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Thanx, Michael.

    The problem is, everybody has an implicit epistemology. They intuitively know what is right but have not idea how their own circuitry is working.

    You wonder if knowing that circuitry matters when it comes to “believe in Jesus for salvation” — well it certainly does. This is called “beliefism” — where a certain belief determinism your entire eternal fate. Wow. But what if the common sense notion of “belief” is highly mistaken? What if our intuitive epistemologies are mistaken? Well then, the outcome is theologies of beliefism and silly arguments between Calvinists and Arminians. :-)

    What if Barth didn’t believe the authority but still spun ideas that supported inclusivity? Well, some people intuitively feel inclusivity is good, and some feel it is intuitively mistake — thus, they form their beliefs to match their intuitions — to hell with the truth about Barth. That is why I asked.

    Hope that was clear.

  • Stan Ferguson

    Gee David, it seems like you listened to a very different sermon than did I.

  • Patti Weaver

    Ahhh…they will KNOW that we are Christians by our LOVE! Avoid strife, it is the devil’s playground. I have seen this played out over and over in churches over many, many years. This must grieve God so much.

  • Riley

    Don’t forget that this conference was livecast throughtout the world. Many, many, charismatics were watching, as indicated by the explosion on twitter and in the blogosphere in reaction. Also, Driscoll and MacDonald are charismatic.

    There is a distinction between condemning a person and condemning an error that a person may hold. They condemned charismaticism as being a dangerous error without condemning all of those who hold to it. If you can provide a citation otherwise I would like to see it. And, statistical evidence was presented that the majority of the movement favors false gospels. Those who do hold to the true gospel within the charismatic movement were addressed and engaged. This was not an ill-informed and lazy generalization. You may disagree, but in order to be credible you’re going to have to deal with the careful and methodical arguments presented.

  • Riley

    Love was demonstrated at this conference in the form of somber and truthful warnings.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    The original Pentecostals have a tendency to appear 50 days after Easter. The rest are just posers.

  • antandcharmi

    I very much liked what you have to say and the way you said it, David.
    As this world runs its course I see people *everywhere* getting *so much* hotter and hotter under the collar defending their side’s ‘knowledge’ of the truth. Of course the truth matters greatly – salvation depends on it – but very quickly that noble drive takes on a prideful life of its own, going far beyond the love to save others and into that “I’m right!! You’re wrong!” world of condemnation and ownership of teaching which we are all tempted with so often. It is perhaps the leaven of the Pharisees of which we are to beware.
    Even those defending their views from an attack get tangled up in the complexities of the interpretations, heatedly arguing theological points with theological terms, and it all gets very erudite.
    But I don’t think Jesus works this way. I think he picked 12 fishermen and the like because, for one thing, they wouldn’t easily get into this. (Only Paul had this kind of ammunition, and that was graced by God’s direct intervention over him so that the Bible could be completed.)
    I think that those who love Jesus, and walk with him, preach (and defend) their apologetics from a point of view of real love and grace and humility, no matter what their point of view is. If they think someone is unsaved or something is a wrong doctrine, they present that opinion from a kind and humble place, asking God to bless and direct their efforts and depending upon Him for every moment and every education they need. I think they are very aware of their own weaknesses and faults, and need Jesus every hour.
    And I think they speak simply, and stick to simple points, and leave the grey areas for personal opinion, though they are prepared to speak on it. I believe that they are more right, but speak far less.
    I believe that for them, the essence of the gospel is the critical thing: that Jesus, only begotten the Son of God, died to saved all those who accept Him, whatever else they believe.
    And finally, and this disturbs me, I am beginning to believe that these simple practical lovers are His true bride – that there will in the end before the Judgement be people who trusted in Jesus from every denomination, and even beyond; who responded in love and walked in love and yielded to Him, and were accepted by Him.
    And conversely, there will be some from the most accurately correct church you can find, to whom he will say, “I never knew you.” Matt 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
    Overall, what am I saying? That we should be very careful not to get drawn into the intellectual heat in commenting on articles like this one. I think, that perhaps we should not even talk much about sermons like this, except briefly as David has done, to ask some and remind ourselves not to go there. That we should let the words die while their echoes in the air die. That if we repeat any words, let them be the words of Christ, to the people He loves, “Come unto me, all ye that are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
    Let’s walk with Him, and be gentle, and gracious, and only say what He says, and not enter in debate on a conflicting basis, but only be ready to gently give an answer when asked, by others or by Him.
    Let us remember that He is our leader and Lord, and let our words be few.
    Let us live simply, and in humility, and depend upon Him, and spread His love only, and not arguments, by our lives more than our words.
    Let us purify ourselves with the fire of our desire for God.
    Let us make sure we kiss our spouses, pick up our socks, give change, stop for the one, filled with the love of the Lord, and avoid arguments so that we can continue to grow in the Spirit’s peace and love.
    Let us defend others’ right to believe, to love, to walk in what they think is right, without condemning them, and only offering them what we believe when they are interested in hearing it and sharing our views as we share bread together.

  • Isabelle Choi

    ITT: Crazy people commenting on other crazy people.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Well we’re happy to have crazy people in the peanut gallery to watch us. ;)

  • m_colquhoun

    I wonder if MacArthur is in his own hell. Is he standing on tradition and the support of the masses or on the rock.

    1 Corinthians 2

    New International Version (NIV)

    2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdomas I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    I resent</strike represent that remark! ;-)

  • Alexandria

    Comment moved to knife in back, as it is David with the knife in MacArthur’s back:

    I can find at 1:19:30 into this video what this man says, that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to take those who are marred and scared, corrupted images bearers bound for hell and restore them into the likeness of Jesus Christ then he goes on to comment on the leaders of the movements: (Maybe not in those exact words but close)

    I too ask of you David to give us where this MacArthur guy says what you say: I could have missed a thing: But according to what he says 1:19:30 into the video, I can see clarity needs to be had:

    In Jesus Name Alexandria:

  • Duane Carter

    Thanks David. You put into words perfectly what I was feeling. I, too, have been on both sides of this “fence.” I am a doctor who has moved into the “charismatic” side of things, and all of this stuff coming from McArthur made me glad I moved. He lost all credibility with me with all of this spiteful speech. I also got so mad that I told my wife, “I am DONE with these so-called ‘Christians’ and their divisive, hateful, spiteful junk.” I’ve calmed down now to the point of sadness myself. However, I’m not going to let religious diatribe bring me down. Being introduced to the Holy Spirit was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and I’m not going to let negativity drive my thinking. Thanks again so much for putting such a difficult response into words in such an excellent way.

  • Alexandria

    David:
    I have listened to this man’s video all the way through 2 times, I can not find anywhere that says what you have accused this man of:

    O.K. from 15 min in I started to listen all the way through because me and those worship songs just don’t get along: I am very much a more up beat kind of music gal, I need music that wakes the dead:

    I agree with Riley:

    I can find at 1:19:30 into this video what this man says, that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to take those who are marred and scared, corrupted images bearers bound for hell and restore them into the likeness of Jesus Christ then he goes on to comment on the leaders of the movements: (Maybe not in those exact words but close)

    I too ask of you David to give us where this MacArthur guy says what you say: I could have missed a thing: But according to what he says 1:19:30 into the video, I can see clarity needs to be had:

    Thank-you David and thank you Riley for pointing this out:
    In Jesus Name Alexandria:

  • William

    JM is grieving and quenching the Spirit, not to mention being a bad exegete without discernment. Paul corrected abuses and misuses of gifts, but did not jettison them (I Cor. 12-14).

  • Akrokid

    The opposite of love is fear. It looks to me that fear is running rampant in MacArthur that’s why he’s ditched the scalpel in favour of a Nuke…Christ cauterized with the way He lived; He didn’t bomb everyone. His life was anathema to the pharisees…laying down absolute law is like trying to paint the surface of the sea…MacArthur is under grace though…let’s hope he gives away the grace and mercy he’s received. Maybe it’s a slow train coming…Heaven will be highly entertaining…MacArthur’s shock at the low-life’s he has to serve – Hayward having his feet washed by MacArthur…make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace…

  • DoctorDJ

    Yes, the whole thing is preposterous.

    To think that some puffed-up, full-of-himself quack wills a half a billion people to a non-existent place of eternal torment, all based on his interpretation of some iron-age mythological text…

    Come on, people. Haven’t we grown out of this?

  • debra elramey

    This sounds familiar. When Jesus delivered and healed the demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, the Pharisees accused him of working miracles through the power of Beelzebub, prince of demons. Interesting that Jesus responded by saying that any sin could be forgiven except blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which is attributing to Satan what was produced by God. Be careful, John, that in your “exposé” of the charismatic movement you not commit blasphemy of the Holy Spirit yourself. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.

  • Kiri

    OK. Lets go with this – people who call themselves Christian, can do so if they have repented of their sins, and asked Jesus into their lives – dying to themselves, and living to Christ. Everything other claim that people need to be calvinist, charismatic, Reformed, Liberal or Free pastarian, left or right-wing to be a christian is a lie. I particularly remember something that Paul says –

    1 Cor 3: 3-5 for
    you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among
    you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.…

    Our sermon at church today was about forbearance. It seems that the Church movements needs to practice and learn as well.

    I get that the Calvinists think the Charismatics are not Christians because they don’t believe as they do. I also get that the Charismatics think the Calvinists are not Christians because they don’t speak in tongues.

    And you know? Both are wrong. Please stop adding to the Gospel and stick to what it actually says. Galatians 2:20

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Thanks so much Duane. Great story! I appreciate your comment.

  • disqus_cfBevsr42L

    Love is clearly defined in the Bible, Riley, and it is not what you just said. What you said is actually an exact quote from the westboro baptist church, in case you are wondering where that theology of love leads. see youtube “russell brand vs. westboro baptist church”

  • LA_Mom

    Unfortunately, Even Michael Brown is guilty of the same thing. He constantly attacks another flavor of Christian, those in the “grace” camp. (He calls them hyper-grace which is pretty silly and tells lots of ignorant lies about them!) Seems like the leaders of all flavors are out for the blood of their brothers these days. Cain is alive and well in the Body of Christ.

  • L.W. Dicker

    Brethren, I’ve heard it said that I am to be a human sacrifice for sins. May I asketh, who in the goddamn hell came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!!??

    Blood sacrifice!!!?? Are you all fucking insane!!!???

    Brethren, thou can take this dying for sins donkey shit and shove it straight up thy fucking asses!!!!!”

    Jesus Christ, the lost Gospel of Sanity

  • Riley

    Eph 4 nkjv 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ

    Speaking the truth is an act of love. The WBC is violating this because they are not speaking the truth.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    I hate to say it Riley. I think you are winning.
    No liberal Christians are coming on here and telling your that they don’t use the Bible the same way you do.
    You take the whole thing literally.
    Liberals Christians pick and chose.
    And they don’t want to loose face admitting it to you.
    But hell, I’m just an Atheist.

  • Mari Palmer

    It’s so very sad to me to hear yet again a well known leader within Christianity tearing down ones he disagrees with. It should be all about Jesus Christ and what He’s finished for us thru His atonement. Period. It should always just be all about Jesus. Everything else is just fluff.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    But Mari, Church history of replete with well-known Church leaders (even Church Fathers) tearing down those with whom they disagree if they disagree with orthodoxy. The Church has never just let everything go.
    What standards do you use to make this judgement. The Church has never felt that the doctrines of the creeds are just “fluff”.

  • http://www.seanmintyre.org/ Sean McIntyre

    I am a charismatic and I do agree with some of the concerns over what is happening in developing nations. I work in one and I strive to correct some of the errors. But the quiet order of the graveyard is not what is needed. Sometimes when you preach the Gospel you get Corinth. It doesn’t make you a liar any more than it did Paul

  • Danny Barea

    Brother with the utmost respect your response is to emotional. I would say build your argument from the absolute authority of scripture. Macarthur preaches with complete authority…the admonishment in scripture is to do that. From my experience the Gospel is offensive and it will continue to divide the goat from sheep. Is Macarthur inerrant? Of course not. Is the Word? Yes. So please grab any and all theologians and have them sit down with Phil Johnson, Steve Lawson and John Macarthur share a meal and discuss Spiritual Gifts biblically. They are willing and they have had such meetings. Sola Scriptura if not we are talking flying pigs and unicorns. Too many folks out there who are speaking for Jesus versus letting Jesus speak through the word and only the word. Where are the Apostles? Who is being raised from the dead? Who has new revelation? Why isn’t it on 20/20 or CNN? It is event a debate brother. Sola Scriptura. Period.

  • Danny Barea

    Bold assumption? God get the glory I people barking and howling and handling snakes? Come on brother. Where is the discernment? Where is the biblical discernment?

  • Rick

    Their is a movement among many pastors to adopt this hard-hitting preaching style. Driscoll, MacArthur, are all examples of pastors who make it their duty to lean more to the heavy handed side and claim it is under the motivation of calling things as they are – calling out sin for sin. I think the Apostle Paul did this in some ways, but at the same time the Apostle clearly backed up his claims with an incredible foundation in scripture. Yes, I think these kinds of conversations that MacArthur wants to have are important, but to come out and make such a claim that the charismatic movement is, in essence, a Satanic movement is an incredibly dangerous move. I understand how he might feel it is his responsibility, understanding what his beliefs are, but goodness I wouldn’t want to walk down that path. I have certainly seen and heard of things in the charismatic movement that I can easily say contradict scripture, clearly, but I wouldn’t dare call it a demonic movement – knowing what Jesus said about dismissing the work of the spirit as demonic!

  • darnellbarkman

    I grew up in a fairly conservative Mennonite family, but was greatly influenced by God through the charismatic movement, for the better. I think a healthy approach would be to continue to wonder, “If the charismatic movement is of God, who’s John McArther to stand in the way?” like Acts 5:38-39.

    I think that the church is messy, some charismatics are crazy overboard, and so are some reformers.

    The major problem isn’t questionable charismatic teaching, although, I’m sure that exists just like in every other church, that’s why we talk instead of claiming to fully understand everything. I see the major problem here is that judgment (like John McArthurs over the charismatics) separates us and destroys our ability to be ministers of reconciliation to one another and the Creator God. We are a family, anything that goes against that is a far greater insult to God’s will than people who want to live a charismatic life.

  • Bryan Rayner

    Verse 20 has a Therefore. So we might want to figure out what it’s there for… I think that Paul is not suggesting that division is an evidence of true believers. He goes AGAINST division in chapter 3, and is thankful that he didn’t baptize because of it. I think this verse is too cut & pasted in the context you’re applying it here.

  • Nu OfTheWater

    It seems like an important question to decide if you’re on the road to Hell or not. I’ve read almost all of the Bible (I skipped some of the bits with begats and some of the laws in Leviticus and one or two of the minor prophets) and I have to say that from that, it’s not obvious to me who is right here. On the one hand, there is some talk about speaking in tongues in the New Testament, but it seems like people were translating, and at least in Acts it seemed like people were hearing their own languages, not some strange spirit-talk. On the other hand, it’s not clear to me that it’d be an automatic ticket to Hell if you felt really moved and sort of fooled yourself into thinking that you were speaking in tongues when you were really just sort of pretending. I mean, if there aren’t any modern speaking in tongues, it’s probably not overt lying or anything on the part of those who put on the show of doing it but just a little self-delusion. Like many questions that seem vital, the answer to this question seems poorly documented in the Bible. Why couldn’t there be a FAQ after Revelation? That would have saved a lot of bother. I looked on Amazon for some books that might give some clues and found 747,421 books on Christianity. Obviously I was casting my net too wide. I searched for Speaking in Tongues and got only 11,633 books on that topic. That’s still a bit much to wade through. I suppose I could pray for the answer to come to me. That’d be a lot easier than wading through all of those books (why so many?). But if the no-tongues people are right, then all those people are fooling themselves and how could I know I wasn’t just fooling myself when I hear the answer? I guess that’s the trick, isn’t it.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    It seems to me that it is really a question of WHO gets to be charismatic and WHEN. I am using charismatic to mean someone who listens to the Spirit and comes away hearing things different than what previous people have heard.

    The reformers seem to believe that only the scripture authors get to be charismatic in this way. The reformers draw a line drawn in the sand just after the scripture authors and say that no one after them can be charismatic where the things heard by the scripture authors become fossilized for all time. In a way, time stops. The spirit stops (or is only able to repeat the same things that the scripture authors heard).

    The charismatics seems to believe that the spirit is free to continue to communicate in new and different ways – that there is no time-limit on the spirit – and that the spirit is available in new ways to all people, not just certain designated special people and not limited to only say certain things.

    Just some observations from someone that BOTH the reformers AND charismatics probably think is going to hell.

    Of course if there is no hell, then the whole discussion is just a “glass bead game”.

  • Jenny Morris

    Well. I guess I won’t be sitting next to him in heaven. One of us is going to be surprised. I’ll leave the rest up to God.
    I’m happily charismatic – thank God for that. I then spent about 9 years at two reformed Anglican churches, thinking getting back to my Anglican roots would be a good combination. A pretty spiritually dry experience, in fact. But God bless ‘em.
    I’m happy to say I’ve never heard of MacArthur and while he’s entitled to his opinion, I don’t feel the need to acquaint myself with him or his work any further.
    Thanks David for this article.

  • Jenny Morris

    Amen, sister. Your final sentence is poetry. I feel sad for him, too.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    you’re welcome jenn! :)

  • monametsi bahudi

    Van why do you let biblical ignorance blind you from seeing a body of revealed teaching scipture in both the old and the new testament

  • Karen Janolis

    Discernment is the able to decide right or wrong for ones self. Who are any of us to “critique” the spiritual practices/beliefs of others? “Let those among you, who are without sin, cast the first stone.” Our time, as Christians, would be better spent seeking out those of our brothers and sister who do not yet know God. Perhaps we should all stop pointing our fingers at one another, and instead, take a closer look at ourselves. We are representatives of Christ. Did he not tell us that he came, not to judge, but to save? We need to get our priorities straightened out, and do the work that Christ instructed us to do. Time is at hand, and there are many lost sheep.

  • Dan Ortiz

    To be fair… this sort of dialogue leads to two possible outcomes: 1)all doctrine is false, 2) theRoman Catholic is the one true Church. I rather go with number 2.

  • Dan Ortiz

    Bravo sir, one of your better posts.

  • Van

    Hey, John MacArthur! I read in Scripture where it says that the day of Pentecost “came” (Acts 2:1), but I can’t find anyplace in Scripture that says the day of Pentecost “went.” So why do you hate 500,000,000 Pentecostal Christians and suggest they are worthy of eternal conscious torture in a so-called hell? Shame on you!

  • Van

    monametsi bahudi: For example?

  • Rodney Johnson

    We have so many people that call themselves Christians that actually do not even know who Jesus is.
    They have heard of Him maybe are told of him Two or Three times a week, but do not know Him.
    Sad point is most of what they have been told is not the truth. So many have Him divided and others just think he is divided yet many more do not know His true name. They spend most of their worship services calling him several different names and even singing songs to all but the right name at times.
    We have so many people that do not even know scripture enough to claim what is written yet condemn others when they uphold the word that God gave each of his sheep to pass down to the down and out and lost that we meet.
    Do we not be the Light that God gave us to shine? are we not to be the one sounding the warnings? Are we to set back and be false prophets through our silence?
    Study seek search all is works we are commanded to do, these are all works that bare fruits, Fruits show whether you are wheat or just a tare?
    We are not condemners when we declare what is written.
    If you do not agree with that, You better find something to start digging with. Hope that is a Bible.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    I think its 1 corinthians 14, it talks about how speaking in tongues has it time and purpose, and that speaking in tongues in a public setting in the church is not what God wants. God wants newcomers to the church to be fully convinced in their hearts and fall to their knees and give their life to God. If newcomers come in and see everyone speaking in tongues they will think that everyone is crazy and could leave. God doesn’t want this to happen, so he gave speaking in tongues to be done in private prayer and private sessions with other believers. Ive spent time in the pentecostal church, and they force their kids to act in the speaking of tongues, to the point where the kids are crying but they are still forced to speak in tongues. They believe that you have to speak in tongues as a sign of salvation. Alot of people distort Gods word throwing in their own agenda, in my experience this agenda is putting down other churches and their forms of worship. They boast that they have the best church and that only their praise is worthy enough to be acceptable to God. Ive seen how others have acted pervertedly and have twisted behaviours and actions. Im not going to say that these people are condemned to hell, only God has a say in that. But I do know that theirs alot of things that happen in the pentecostal church that arent in alignment with Scripture. Im not saying that I agree with everything John Mcarthur stands for, I have a big heart for the pentecostal church, i still have many friends that are pentecostal and we continue to put Jesus first in our lives to the best of our abilities as far as I know. But their came a point in time where the Holy Spirit lead me out of that church due to all the perversion and carnality that exists in that church.

  • Al Cruise

    Would like a list of of some of the things said by Reformed leaders, Driscoll and Piper and tell us about their discernment?

  • ImmaculateVoid

    I arrived here from a friends Facebook post. It’s like stumbling into a Star Wars thread arguing over whether Han shot first. The idea that the question might be absurd occurs to no one.

  • ImmaculateVoid

    There’s an amazing prophecy.

  • molita77

    I LOVE how God saved Mike Bickle, a very grounded (in the WORD) teacher and leader. Mike used to preach against the gifts with “passion” and “fire” (if you can call it that). But, then God wrecked Him with the Holy Spirit and gave him the gift of tongues, much to his surprise. I can also say that in almost every meeting where there is an altar call at FCF (Ihop’s congregation) he says, “The room becomes the prayer team”. Meaning, anyone can pray for anyone. There is no hierarchy. He also teaches how to give a word, so that Jesus is exalted instead of the person praying. Humility can be found within the use of the gifts. Admittedly, it has taken the charismatic movement a long time to learn this, but I think with teachers like Mike Bickle, the church is learning to operate in the gifts for the complete purpose of conveying the LOVE of GOD with humility and compassion. YAY GOD!!

  • ImmaculateVoid

    I’ve been away from this stuff for a few years. A friend took an interest in this article on Facebook so I thought I’d drop in and see. I forgot how whack it all is. I forgot that people take all of these little variations so so seriously and yet fail to see that they have NO decision procedure. It’s like being in some kind of sensory deprivation chamber left to spin your thoughts into ever more complex gyrations. Seven hundred thousand Christian books on amazon (another poster says), and they still haven’t sorted it out. And where’s the FAQ? Really, now. Not even a FAQ?

    But, for the record, I’m a Reformed Newtonian, aka an Einsteinian. Oh, sure, Newton got a lot of things right, but Einstein is the one true way, obviously. Funny, though, there aren’t any old traditional Newtonians around arguing with us. Huh.

  • ImmaculateVoid

    (Camp 5) LOL.

  • ImmaculateVoid

    Your comment about all the people born to fill the pits of hell reminds me of an opposite thought I always used to have growing up in church. I was raised in a tradition that held that children were innocent and heaven bound until they became aware of their sins (a fuzzy moment that is the source of much terror in children of a certain age). We were also taught that people have souls at the moment of conception. Given that maybe 40% of conceptions end in miscarriage this implied that Heaven would be mostly full of the souls of miscarried embryos. And of course, given that narrow is the way, it called into question the ethics of even having kids, knowing that odds are non-trivial that they would end up in Hell. In fact, those views sort of implied that we should strangle them at birth to save them from hell. The wild absurdity of it all is never ending. It’s impressive, though, how people are able to talk and talk and talk and deploy so many complex arguments but never grapple with these obvious implications or the obvious overall implication that something is seriously amiss with the whole program.

  • ImmaculateVoid

    I bet he’s planning to multi-task.

  • brett cost

    from the above introduction:

    About David Hayward
    David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church.

    critiques…”specifically Christianity and the church”?

    we all love to critique…hate to be criticized

  • ImmaculateVoid

    Thanks for the “glass bead game” reference. I wasn’t familiar with it but, looking it up, it is a very appropriate metaphor.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    wow, really, read the Bible and see what it says on being carnally minded, see what it says about the flesh, what ignorance this is you speak man, are you serious?

  • Joshua Barbosa

    I dont agree that John MacArthur should be personal condemning a group of believers to hell, but I do think that correcting error is important if the Holy Spirit is guiding you to do that. The Bible is pretty clear on what is in God’s will and what is not, the Word is alive and God speaks to people and knows their hearts. John could be taking matters into his own hands and doing his own will, or he could be being lead by the Spirit, I dont know, but I do know that Gods ways are higher then ours, and God’s glory and truth will be revealed to those that seek to do God’s will, and abide in His truth. People need to stop relying on other men alone for truth, they need to stop putting their need of approval and acceptence in a culture, and start investing their life in Jesus Christ, and seeking Gods approval, acceptence, and truth.

  • m. castleberry

    I am SO SO glad to hear that someone else understands it this way! The God whom these folks rush to defend/protect sounds awfully weak for a God. But they have no idea they make their god sound like that…

  • Joshua Barbosa

    amen! amen!

  • m. castleberry

    So, how does one determine that his church has the correct version of the Gospel?

  • m. castleberry

    eh, not no one.

  • Riley

    We don’t need fallible human interpreters giving official pronouncements to sort this out. “To the word and the testimony!”

  • Riley

    By comparing its teaching with the Scriptures, to validate or invalidate what is being taught, like a good Berean. Acts 17:9-11

  • m. castleberry

    ….And that’s the rub. In my experience in a reform denomination, faith *seems* to have been replaced by an absolute certainty that they understand the Bible completely. They hold the Truth. And that Truth, the correct theology, is essential for salvation.

    So I was not at all surprised by MacArthur. Anything they can’t/don’t/don’t try to understand is either explained away, or a grave error.

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

    This:

    “And it was all done with such finesse, dignity and aplomb, padded by PhDs and suits and fine speech and a luxurious church full of violins and operatic voices. Along come the spiritual gifts that usurp all of this. Anybody can play! The charismatic movement is gaining speed, especially in developing nations, I think for this very reason. It is empowering and accessible and available to every single living person regardless of race, sex, status, economics, influence, education or power.”

    Yes. Myself included. I can’t win a theology debate with John MacArthur, but I don’t have to.

  • m. castleberry

    So, is correct belief in Christ required for salvation?

  • m. castleberry

    I work in communications, so I need something more concrete than that. Different people can read the same document (documents much simpler than the Bible) and honestly understand it in different ways. It happens all the time. Who do I trust?

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I loved that book. I identified (for several personal reasons) with the character Plinio Designori from the novel.

  • A. W. Thules

    Quote “His speech is as lofty as his demeanor.”

    So this post is really not about the arguments themselves but about the attributes of the one delivering it and his demeanor?

    Well when gauging rhetoric, rule number one typically is don’t confuse the thinker with the thought. A dishevelled donkey could be the one speaking [Num 22:28], however that in no way influences the truth or falsity of the speech.

    Rather than offering up a knee-jerk response to the fact this conference happened, or that John MacArthur delivered a message you didn’t like – engage the point. None of your responses have ….

    The primary question he was asking “Is the charismatic movement biblical?”. Have you answered this? The conference suggested on a number of grounds the answer is ‘no’ – (a significant portion of the world’s charismatic population doesn’t worship Jesus, or fall within ‘orthodoxy’ i.e. deny the trinity etc.; the focus of charismatic worship is not Christ, but the ‘Holy Spirit’ where this ‘Holy Spirit’ may not even be biblical; the charismatic movement is ‘experiential’ which posses no biblical authority ,etc)

    These are serious charges, and either his argument is correct or not, but if you simply ignore his point – he wins by default.

  • m. castleberry

    I think what David was aiming for with the title was humorously pointing out the ridiculousness of MacArthur’s message. Oh, and getting folks’ attention. I vote that he succeeded on both counts.

  • m. castleberry

    What other types of interpreters are there?
    Humans read scripture: All humans are fallible.
    Interpretation occurs whenever any human is reading, and whenever any human is hearing (and writing or speaking, or signing, as well, actually…)

  • http://sketchypilgrim.tumblr.com/ jeff youngblood

    I wouldn’t exactly call him grounded in the word. He knows scriptures, which is not the same thing as being grounded. He emphasizes Song of Solomon WAY to much, and Joel and Rev, to the detriment of the full counsel of God. He has his good points, and bad, just like many in the body. Some of his interpretations of the word are incredibly far from the original intent, and I think IHOP has become a place for legalism and aberrant spirituality, like mysticism through contemplative prayer, etc. Let me give an example. Worship in the bible is only paired with music about 5% of the time, and yet he cites David’s band as a universal mandate. What he seems to miss is that David only did 24/7 worship on special occasions, and the verse from Revelation he uses to endorse 24/7 is also taken far out of it’s context. But at Ihop you have people repeating phrases over and over to droning, emotional music until their mind becomes empty-just like in eastern meditation techniques. Further, Jesus said his house would be a house of prayer as a principle-it’s founded on prayer. IHOP has turned that into some kind of formula. Further, the church as the bride of Christ is but one metaphor, which is spiritual in nature, and refers to ALL the believers who will meet Christ, not to individual church members. But when you hear some of the songs, it is clear it is being sung as if it is for individuals. It becomes a confused emotional soup which is a rich for error.

    I have been blessed by Mike, but some things of his I have to flatly reject as unbiblical. If it does not match up with the word, we are all to do the same.

  • Samuel Rodriguez

    #1 “If I worship I will worship the way I want to worship!”
    That is your flesh talking.
    How about asking how does God want to be worshiped?

  • http://sketchypilgrim.tumblr.com/ jeff youngblood

    Sadly, the truth that is in McCarthur’s message (like the obvious abuses in Charismaticism) gets lost in his arrogant Pharisaical attitude. I am a charismatic, but I am very dismayed at many of the things going on within the movement globally. Secret heresies and New Age mystical and pagan practices ARE invading at a ridiculous pace. I hope that truth does not get totally lost in this dialogue.

  • Adrian Bury

    Good article

  • Samuel Rodriguez

    From #2 “The spiritual gifts level the playing field.”
    The Blood of Jesus did that already. You don’t need to manufacturer fake gifts.

    “smug and arrogant MacArthur came across, easily
    condemning 500,000,000 people to hell.”
    Granted sometime JM is that, I have issues with him on other things but you are over dramatizing. JM does not have the power to condemn someone to Hell. If someone is lost they are condemned already. If they are born again then, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

    “The
    charismatic movement is gaining speed, especially in developing nations…
    Yup apostasy will be popular.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    I agree Julie. People are requiring me to enter the theological debate but I don’t see the point.

  • Jerry Dodson

    Karl Barth was in no way Reformed. He was neo-orthodox. To identify him as Reformed hurts your credibility.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Sarah, I loved your comment. Probably the best comment in the whole thread. But you have to admit that it IS possible that the Spirit Himself can’t DO anything, that the Father IS powerless, and Jesus IS crying in a corner at the misuses of the Trinity and that is the reason why the good reformers have to instantiate the Holy Trinity by themselves rising up against all the apostate infidels. Such things are always necessary when an entity only exists in the mind of the beholder.

    Yes, Yes, Yes, I know. I will experience the power of the Trinity 2 seconds after I die and be reminded of the power in excruciating detail each and every second thereafter for eternity. I am familiar with the lovely theology.

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

    “He wins by default.”

    No. No one wins in this situation. Is this about one guy or a different guy winning?

    But this guy does a pretty good job answering those specifics: http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/cessationism_and_strange_fire

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

    I’ve often wondered what the rocks will sound like if they have to cry out.

    I hope it’s intelligible. Because if I don’t understand it, then God won’t either.

  • m. castleberry

    I have not read Barth but one thing about him I like already–”Barth reserves “Word of God” for the person of Jesus Christ (following John 1.1)”. There is no reason to refer to Scripture as the “Word of God” or even (and I guess I am outing myself, here) the “word of God”.

    “Scripture” and “Bible” are just fine. “Christian Scripture” if the one word alone is not sufficient for the audience. I guess when one is going to elevate a book over a member of the trinity they need to start using capital letters. IME, YMMV.

  • Jerry Dodson

    I know many people refer to Barth as Reformed, so I’ll be willing to be called wrong on this one, but having read Barth’s stuff, I can’t see giving him that label.

  • Gary

    The bible is FAR from clear on what is in God’s will and what is not. Proof texting can always be countered with opposite but equal proof texting.

  • Robert Dunbar

    Those are easily the tiniest minority of Pentecostals. Walk into the average Assembly of God or Foursquare Gospel church and you will wait forever for the barking and the snakes. And this is where people like Mr MacArthur are wrong. They twist, then vilify. It’s the Straw Man tactic redux.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    totally agree gary

  • Robert Dunbar

    I see no difference between what you accuse nakedpastor of doing and what John MacArthur has done.

  • m. castleberry

    Again, anecdotal is not data, but…In my experience in a reformed denomination, they didn’t even give a nod to Pentecost, despite recognizing Advent.

    I always suspected that recognizing Pentecost would have challenged a central doctrine of the denomination I attended: that men have God-given authority over women.

  • m. castleberry

    I don’t think “Sola Scriptura” exists. When I try to point out that the Bible actually supports the full equality of women, I am confronted with *traditional* interpretations of Scripture. In fact, the long tradition of the presented interpretation of the verses in question is pointed to as a reason why their understanding of said Scripture is correct. “They’ve always been understood this way: Your understanding is new, and therefore untrustworthy, influenced by culture.”

    But it’s an appeal to tradition. What happened to “scripture alone”?

  • brett cost

    from the intro above…

    About David Hayward
    David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church.

    note: critiques

    “…critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church.”

    everyone loves to critique…everyone hates to be criticized

  • L.W. Dicker

    Brethren, this dying for sins bullshit has got to stop!! You are embarrassing the living hell out of me!!

    What are we, living in the goddamn Stone Age!!!???”

    —–Jesus Christ, The Thinking Mans Gospel

  • Joshua Barbosa

    yeah, your right to some degree, not everything is clear, but their is alot that is clear. What do you think about the Scriptures in 1 corinthians where it talks about their being a diversity of spiritual gifts, and that not everyone will recieve the gift of prophecy, or the gift of speaking in tongues, or the gift of teaching, but God distributes these gifts as He wills. Thats pretty clear that not everyone will speak in tongues, or have the gift of prophecy. Also in genesis it says that God created man in our image, a plural use, giving credit to the trinity doctrine. Im not claiming to understand or know all, but its pretty clear that if God wanted to say He created man in His image, he wouldn’t have used a plural. Also, it says in the Bible that speaking in tongues is not to be practiced in a public setting in the church, but in private settings, so not to scare off those who are new comers, and to allow them to be fuly convinced in their own heart. also, Paul preached the gospel of being saved by grace through faith alone, not grace plus works, you do not have to speak in tongues in order to be saved. These issues are pretty clear on what God wills in His Word.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    amen mr samuel rodriguez! amen!

  • Gary

    If you do not agree with my statement why would you say you do? It seems silly to proceed to seek to make a case for how “clear” the issues are in which you believe…lol.

  • Vanessa Dolby

    Christ did not call us to judge or condemn–His words were, I believe, judge not lest you be judged. I believe that if something is of God it bears fruit–people being saved, disciples being raised up, going into all the world and preaching the gospel–if there is to be any judgement it should be on whether the great commission is being fulfilled.

  • Van

    Riley: Say what?

  • Van

    Dan: There’s a third possible outcome: John MacArthur stepped in it this time.

  • Van

    Juan said, “What in Calvinism is heresy?” Juan, read my post on this thread. Even when we tell you what’s wrong with Calvinism, you ignore it. (sigh)

  • Gary

    Two options? Seriously??

    LOL

  • camainc

    I stopped giving any credence to this article at the statement “If I worship, I will worship the way I want to worship!”

    Wow. Just, wow.

  • ramus

    You would have a hard time finding any “pentecostal” or charismatic church that actually encourages speaking in tongues anywhere in the US. Most left that out years ago in order to be accepted by the evangelical church.

  • ramus

    Fundies fighting fundies- gotta love it.

  • Steve Faulkner

    MacArthur=Braying Jackass. Too busy condemning everyone who is on the same side to actually witness to lost people. But Oh, wait, since its all preordained anyway no need. Jesus surely didn’t mean the great commission when He said it. Charismatics are witnessing and spreading the gospel and trying to get people saved. MacArthur and his ilk are having self congratulatory conferences to tell us why its wrong. Jackass!

  • Heshimu colar

    John Mac has told the truth about the utter lie of the modern signs and wonders movement. They do not speak in tongues, as Acts 2:5-12 clearly states they spoke in people’s birth languages. There are no more apostles to pass on these gifts, according to Acts 8:18-19 and 2 Cor 12:12. The whole movement is false, deceitful, and utterly void of God’s power. The dreams and visions violate sola scriptura and were condemned by every evangelical group less than 150 years ago. It is ridiculous to hide behind smugness as if your phony miracles are real.

  • http://www.seanmintyre.org/ Sean McIntyre

    Thanks Joshua, I actually wrote about the cultural issue on my blog today. I think that the issue of culture is the real problem and not charismatic christianity per se

  • Gary

    I’ve come to believe the majority of the Christian faith is just a poser.

  • Gary

    I think you are either deliberately or blindly missing his point entirely.

  • Gary

    I find much within scripture to be precisely that…the confusion from people’s own imaginations.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Yeah, it can appear that way. In reality though, the further away from Christ a sect’s theology is, the fewer people they attract. Until you get down to the thoroughly modernist and post-modernist “World House Church Movement” whose worship space the rest of us would call living rooms, and whose theology rarely goes beyond recognizing immediate family members as Christian.

  • Gary

    And that type of exclusionary speech is exactly what I mean. I get a real kick out of the way everybody believes they are the closest to Christ and everyone else is simply a various degrees away from Him.

  • Gary

    Your condemnation presumes much.

  • Van

    If Christians would finally realize that the doctrine of eternal conscious torture in a so-called hell is a pagan myth carried over into the Christian faith, this thread would not be possible. No hell — no place for MacArthur to send 500,000,000 Pentecostals for believing in an experience he knows nothing about. Right?

  • Joshua Barbosa

    how can you miss a point when he states that he’s completely and formally carnal? we are to be spirit filled, and to seek after the desires of the spirit, not of the flesh. I may be in the flesh, but my flesh is dead, it is God’s Spirit that gives me life, why boast that you are completly and formally carnal? that makes no sense.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    cause i actually thought about what you said, it makes sense that not everything that is a concern in christianity is defined black and white in the Bible, but their is alot of things that God does state clearly in the Bible. I do not agree that everything in the Bible is not clear on what God’s will is, your statement made me think as well though that their are things that arent so clear. But one thing is for sure, their are things that God makes pretty clear in His Word, and their are things that arent so clear. With that said, the problems i addressed in my last comment you have not spoke on. Do you disagree with what the Bible says on the diversity of gifts and that not everyone will recieve the same gifts? Do you disagree with the Bible that says that salvation is a gift from God and not of works, lest any man should boast? How is this not clear on God’s will for salvation? It does not say that you have to speak in tongues to recieve salvation, it says all those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord will gain eternal life. These are pretty clear.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    that makes sense. I must say that I do love charasmatic worship and the service, but not when it is boasted as the only means of worship acceptable to God. Not when other forms of worship are put down and preached as rejected by God. This type of preaching is distorting the Word of God and perverting it to fit the agenda of the one one preaching it.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Isn’t that the doctrine of Original Sin in a nutshell though? That we are all separated from God and Christ to varying degrees, and will only be one with him in the Church Triumphant? (I find it funny that even Catholics, who have the fullness of Christ, are not of one mind and heart with him permanently until they’re dead- you get a foretaste in the Mass, but only a taste).

  • Gary

    Once I went back and truly evaluated many of the tenets of my faith, the doctrine of original sin simply had to go.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Actually I disagree Van. Nowhere in my post do I subscribe to the existence of Hell, but only MacArthur’s willingness to send people there if it did exist. That’s what I’m addressing… not the existence of Hell but his belief in it and his consigning people to it.

  • Gary

    You make it sound as if there are no contradictory passages that make an entirely different conclusion possible…even with many of what you may consider core doctrines. But of course there are. That is the problem with proof texting to begin with. It is a willful process of ignoring all those passages that throw your chosen interpretation into question.

    Take for instance your reference to the plural term “our” in the creation account. Naturally there are many possible understandings of the plural terminology there. You have interpreted it as the trinity. Others believe it refers to the heavenly host bearing the qualities of reason, personality, intellect, etc. Your understanding requires you to come up with a way to explain away God’s repeated use of the term “I Am”, a very singular and declarative statement. You have made a conclusion and stated it is “clear”, when in fact it most certainly is NOT clear.

    We could go through the same exercise for all of your clear examples. What does the statement of the diversity of gifts tell us about the existence of these gifts in our dispensation? I am pretty sure you have an answer you consider to be absolutely clear, and with a few moments and a little assistance from Google I can find you a very scholarly and well reasoned position piece which challenges your view. Or perhaps your statement about the nature of salvation. Does this refer to the whole faith without works is dead debate, or does it even imply as Rob Bell and others would suggest that salvation is a done deal? These are only “clear” to those who choose to embrace ignorance in order to choose a side. What if God really does not have any sides?

    These endless biblical debates are often the result of what I refer to as biblioletry. The insistence that the bible is infallible and/or without any error leads to a straining at gnats in order to maintain the false notion that the bible is God’s final Word. I on the other hand recognize that the bible is not a perfect and/or Holy instrument worthy of being worshipped. My former pastor worshipped his bible every time he used the silly phrase “The Living, Breathing, Word of god” to describe it. I am not suggesting there is no inspiration or truth in the bible…but I am stating very clearly it is not THE truth, nor does it contain all truth. Parts of it are downright repulsive perversions of the nature of God. And not everything that came out of Paul’s mouth (or those who forged his name on their views) represents absolute truth.

  • Oswald Carnes

    Sure, go with the Catholics. Remember when Jesus said make the little children suffer?

  • A. W. Thules

    Dialogue which exposes and explores truth is progressively advanced when false notions are addressed. This is what the man claims he is trying to do. I can’t see how this has no benefit.

    That John MacArthur is taking a stand on the basis of truth, forcing people to accept or refute his claims is of benefit to ‘the church’ (as he says – ‘truth divides’).

    Accordingly, whether he or someone else gets ‘hurt feelings’ but truth is exposed we all win by default, he wins specifically when people refuse to address what’s being said, rather than whose doing the saying (which is ad hominem – or the shifting the focus onto the debater from the debate. And yes, the link you posted in response to Tom Pennington’s session is reasonable and fair – but responses like that are exceptional, not the norm!)

    If this is about truth, then, it is absolutely about winning ….

  • Christi Collins

    And this is what scripture The Lord gave me concerning this-
    Acts 5:29-41 ESV
    “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”

  • Van

    nakedpastor: I did not imply in any of my posts that you personally subscribe to the existence of hell. Sorry if I failed to make myself clear on this.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    No problem. And I didn’t get that. I just wanted to clarify. Even if MacArthur believed in Big Foot and felt all charismatics needed to be eaten by Big Foot, that still is worth a commentary in my opinion. Thanks Van.

  • Cameron Spencer Wedel

    I really wish you would have appealed to scripture yourself in your rebuttal and not based it on feelings and relative theology. And you use theology and reformed theology in the same all-encompassing condemnational tone that MacArthur does charismatics. You say It’s really disappointing to see someone who rides on the notion of unity and truth of scripture to use little to no logical, biblical or historical proof to make a sound case against what many do see as overly harsh. There is good debate to be had here, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what you as a supporter of the charismatic movement or MacArthur and his cohorts as cessationists believe; it matters what scripture says. One of your remarks that was particularly troubling to me was: I felt my own spirit (small s) crying out, “If I worship I will worship the way I want to worship!”
    That in itself is unbiblical and an appeal to your own feelings rather than truth. We are called to worship God in His way, not how we want. Worship is not about us- it’s about God. Within that framework there is certainly a lot of discussion, but your foundational argument there is very akin to that which the Bible rightly condemns as sinful and man-centered.
    Furthermore, you said, “Theology only comes along to justify and vindicate our inhumanity”. Is that an accurate description of Christ-centered theology. By that definition and in that negative light, it’s no wonder most modern church-goers despise sound doctrine and a reverence for right thinking about God as the backbone of right living.

    There are many in the church who want to bring together both the true believers among the charismatics and reformed movements, but until both sides present biblical cases in love that seek to glorify God above human pride- starting with the heart- there will be no reconcilliation. MacArthur dismisses charismatics. You dismiss him. How is that different?

  • Gary

    You make a large assumption that the only thing that matters is “what scripture says”.

    There are a significant number of us here who would strongly disagree with this statement. Many of us can argue “scripture” with the best of them…but believe truth is larger than the bible.

  • Gary

    And this is what scripture The Lord gave me concerning your comment`
    Proverbs 18:13
    He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

    This is a fun game…who wants to go next?

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    I don’t see the point in arguing scripture. It’s like armies facing each other with fife and drum the old fashioned way. Pointless but many die.

  • Cameron Spencer Wedel

    Gary, I don’t make that assumption. Scripture makes that CLAIM as does the global evangelical body of Christ, which is categorized as believers who hold the Bible as the final authority. If we are not united over Scripture as the final authority, then we are not united. I realize there are “a significant number” of you who have some imaginary truth outside of scripture. But then you have discarded the ultimate Standard of authority from which to judge my claims, let alone make your own. According to Christ (Jn 17:17), God’s Word IS truth, so it is utterly erroneous that you would say that truth is larger than the Bible. And if you believe there is truth outside of or superseding Scripture, then by all means state your “truth” from which you appeal or strongly disagree and make your case. By what standard do you justify your statement?

  • Joshua Barbosa

    All Scripture is God breathed, for you to say that the Bible is not God’s Word shows that you do not believe God. I never said that I believed the trinity was the answer to the plural use of the genises scripture, i said it gave credit to the trinity view. also, you cant dismiss my points on a mere conclusion that you made on the first point. It says in the Word of God, that salvation is a gift of God, and not of works, lest any man should boast. It doesn’t get much clearer then that. God says in His Word, your either for Him or against Him, their is no middle ground, and to say that the Bible is not Gods Word, or to say that God’s Word is not ultimate truth or is with error is to say God is with error, and that my friend is not the spirit of God in you that leading you to that conclusion. So if you dont want to take into account what the Bible says on these issues, just say so, dont try to beat around the bush with some theology that allows you to not take into accountability with what God says.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    The Bible is the Word of God!!!!!! Not part of it, but all of it! The Word of God is not a buffet line, you can’t pick and choose what to follow, you are either all in for Jesus, or luke warm! And lukewarm will get you spit out of God’s mouth!!!

  • Joshua Barbosa

    he didn’t condemn anyone to hell, he said that their are alot of people involved in the charasmatic movement that are in the darkness, he even went on to say that their are people involved that do have a heart out for Jesus.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    well. into the 1st hour of the sermon this is the case, i still have to watch the last half an hour.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    but john macarthur is challenging wrong

  • Joshua Barbosa

    This is a direct quote from a comment left by Gary, I would like to see how many people are in favor of this view of Gary’s, and how many are not. This I believe will help me to see what others think of this view so im not left with only my own thoughts.

    Quote from Gary
    ” These endless biblical debates are often the result of what I refer to as biblioletry. The insistence that the bible is infallible and/or without any error leads to a straining at gnats in order to maintain the false notion that the bible is God’s final Word. I on the other hand recognize that the bible is not a perfect and/or Holy instrument worthy of being worshipped. My former pastor worshipped his bible every time he used the silly phrase “The Living, Breathing, Word of god” to describe it. I am not suggesting there is no inspiration or truth in the bible…but I am stating very clearly it is not THE truth, nor does it contain all truth. Parts of it are downright repulsive perversions of the nature of God. And not everything that came out of Paul’s mouth (or those who forged his name on their views) represents absolute truth.”

  • TheodoreSeeber

    To me, the doctrine of original sin is obvious- and the proof is my own life. Try instead of judging the doctrines or other people, judging yourself.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    as far as your questions on how i view salvation, it is God who saves me, their is nothing I can do to save myself. I can’t be good enough, smart enought, loving enough to be saved, only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ my Lord am I saved. Good works are a fruit of being saved, not a means of getting saved. As far as salvation goes with obtaining it and losing it, theirs alot more studying to do on this topic for me, as far as I know, I dont know at this time, but I do know that my salvation lies in God’s hands and not the hands of men, same goes for anyone condemning anyone else to hell, they dont trully know because they are not God, but the Bible does tell us that we will know who does the will of God by the fruit they bear, and that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and vise versa, but ultimatly that persons salvation is in Gods hands, and only God knows the future and what will be.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    but as far as John MacArthur, im only an hour into his sermon, but i dont recall him condemning anyone to hell, he stated that their are alot of people involved in the charasmatic movement that are in darkness, thats not the same as condmening them to hell.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    and also, googling information on the internet is not the same as finding it in the Scripture, though their is alot of good information giving knowledge on the Bible, it is not to be replaced with going to God’s Word for truth, i still cant believe you are claiming to be a christian and you also claim that the Bible is not a Holy instrument of God, and that Paul speaks things that arent absolute truth, this is nonsense to any child of God.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Good news Christians! I ran some analysis and determined that the probability of going to hell is independent of your specific tendency to embrace either the Reformed or Charismatic approach to Christianity. Consider a “Charismatic percentage” where 0% means you are totally devoted to scripture being the final and only word on divinity. 100% means you believe each person can fully experience the Spirit and scripture is only once source among many. Figure out where you fall on the continuum and see your probability of going to hell. Hopefully everybody will be happy about this. Its all zero! Its all good!

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I think Gary is right on the money.

  • Gary

    You make several unsubstantiated declarative statements here which really do nothing for your argument. And no…the bible claims no such thing. This is a bad perversion of what the bible actually says. BTW – According to the scripture…JESUS Is god’s word…not the bible. And the bible is NOT what Jesus was referring to in John 17:17.

  • Gary

    Boy you are getting yourself all worked into a frenzy there Joshua Barbosa…LOL. Careful you don’t stroke out on us.

    Surely this is not the first time you have encountered the fact that actual believers exist who do not share your biblioletry. In fact…the number of Christians who believe in scriptural inerrancy are in the minority. Spare me the silly righteous indignation…the heavier you lay it on the more ridiculous you sound.

  • Gary

    But you are here to judge me…why do I need to do so as well?

    LMAO

  • Gary

    Nah…he is just a fundamentalist and a complete ass. He is judging those who disagree with him. HUGE difference.

  • Gary

    Nice to see you were at least paying attention to part of my post. Of course you totally sidestepped my points regarding the futility of proof texting.

    (Then of course you went on a dizzying display of righteous indignation and unsubstantiated declarative statements)

  • David Housholder

    David Hayward, you owe me a pizza. My link has sent a ton of people here! ;-). http://thornheart.com

  • Cameron Spencer Wedel

    A statement is declarative by nature and you yourself make such declarations. I may have made unsubstantiated claims in your view, which I’m still unclear of other than your previously vague remark that truth is bigger than scripture. You still have not stated your foundation for truth. You can say that scripture does not claim that, but then you appeal to scripture to say the same about Christ, who is the Word made flesh. That is inconsistent. How can you say for sure Christ is the Word? Because you are basing that on the authority of Scripture. But we are not arguing about Jesus, because He affirmed God’s written word as His own authority. You may disagree with me, but you you can’t argue against something with nothing. To what was Jesus referring in John 17:17? And again, how do you know that is true?

  • Gary

    You seem very confused. When I tell you what scripture actually says…it is to show you that even in your claim to have the authority of scripture on your side…you still get it wrong. As for the foundation for truth…you are missing the point entirely. You have declared the bible to be the ultimate foundation and it simply does not fit that description. In the search for truth (very elusive) one must evaluate many different views and beliefs and constructs. The belief that the bible is the inerrant and perfect “Word” of God simply does not hold up to scrutiny. When I say that your claims are unsubstantiated declarative statements it is because you are declaring a book as an absolute authority, a claim which means little to those who believe otherwise. I don’t have to offer up another book to say that your book is not the final word on truth. Even in your attempts to define the Christian faith, you seek to limit it to those who agree with you. Problem is the faith includes a MAJORITY of believers who recognize that the bible is a fallible instrument. It is wonderful and contains many truths and certainly much history of our faith…but it is not some perfect 4th member of the Trinity as so many biblioleters would seem to imply..

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    My stats say 231. Thanks for the link David :)

  • Gary

    John MacArthur is certainly not a beacon of truth…nor does he have a corner on the truth market.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    That’s the point, we need to judge ourselves, not each other. It’s called having an informed conscience.

  • Gary

    And yet you began by calling pentecostals “posers” and very harshly judging modernists and post modernists. And as for judging “doctrines”…do you really believe we are to accept the theology presented by others as truth without evaluating it? Telling me not to judge doctrines is a very odd statement it seems to me.

  • geoffrobinson

    If you are talking about Calvinism, you may want to look up Augustine. Definitely pre-modernity by most standards of the term.

  • m. castleberry

    Um, according to Scripture, Jesus Christ is the Word of God.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    After a little more analysis I also was able to determine that the probability of going to hell is the same no matter what one believes Yes, I know… it is shocking.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I do, not to judge them for all eternity, but to point out that they have failed to inform their consciousness.

    Doctrine, apart from the original Deposit of Faith, evolved the way it did for a reason. Mostly, the Protestant Rebellion was about rejecting those reasons; and with it, getting rid of the Original Deposit of Faith, masking history when it was inconvenient rather than revealing it.

    I’m saying that if one evaluates doctrines, rather than judging them, there is usually a very good reason for the doctrine- one that draws us away from our selfishness, rather than confirming us in our selfishness.

    The whole point of the doctrine of Original Sin is “You’re not OK, but that is OK, because I’m not OK either”. It is a lesson in humility.

    There were good reasons for the Protestant Rebellion. Many in the Catholic hierarchy had lost sight of the “because I’m not OK either” part (or as Pope Francis puts it, “I’m a sinner”). But the response should be to do better, not to jettison the concept of sin to begin with.

  • Gary

    Sorry but I have to call bullshit here. To identify the evaluation or rejection of doctrine as simply “confirming us in our selfishness” is such a self righteous (and stereotypical) way to defend religious doctrine and/or simple dogma whichever the case may be.

  • Riley

    Then you know that authorial intent is paramount. The infallible rule of interpretation is to interpret the Scriptures by the Scriptures. The more obscure passages are explained by those which speak more clearly.

  • Riley

    I’m not sure what you mean by “correct” belief. If you mean, without any error whatsoever, the answer is no. If you mean, is there a minimum of what must be believed correctly for salvation, the answer is yes.

  • Riley

    We are all fallible. That’s why we need to keep going back to the infallible source together, and not rest content with any person’s interpretation, not even necessarily our own.

  • Riley

    MacArthur is distinguishing between truth and error. Nakedpastor is not engaging the issues like MacArthur did. He is simply shouting, “MacArthur is a meanie! Don’t listen to him.” I would much prefer if he would just clearly express his views and why he thinks the opposing views are wrong and dangerous.

  • Riley

    The 66 books of Holy Scripture are God-breathed, not based on human imagination.

  • Gary

    I get that you believe this strongly…I however do not.

    Clarification…I did not say they were BASED on human imagination, but rather that I believe there is much in the bible that is the product of such. I think there is a lot of inspiration present. I also believe there is a lot of human error, various types of mistakes, and non inspired content.

  • Gary

    David I believe this will make post 300 in this thread. Is this a record for your blog? It is always interesting to me to see which topics generate the most buzz and/or debate. Usually it seems to be one of your posts supporting GLBT folks, or any post which portrays Christianity as a religion among many. I must say I am a bit surprised at the fervor on this topic.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    It is interesting Gary. I think it’s partly because Reformed Christians and theologians pride themselves as keepers of the Word, and when that’s defied in the name of Christ then they simply flip out. My experience, having been in it and out of it.

  • m. castleberry

    This is true, re: authorial intent. That said, I’m much better at sussing the correct meaning of uncertain text from an author with whom I have worked before than with one I have not. I agree that it is helpful to interpret Scripture using Scripture. However, used alone, the method is only as infallible as the reader.

    Absent being able to meet, for example, Paul, I believe it is important for me to learn what I can about when and where he lived, and who his audience was. He wrote to different audiences and was adept at adapting to each.

    And I’m reading the texts translated, since I lack abilities in any language other than English. There are many different translations to choose from, each of which is different.

    Last, since I exist in the United States in 2013, am white, and have never been Jewish, I doubt that I do a great job getting in the mindset of, for instance, Paul, without looking to other resources that would help me understand a bit about his culture(s), religion, and times.

  • Gary

    Infallible source? Do you have direct conversations with God Himself? (For something to be infallible it must be a divine entity) Gee I wish you would get one on audio and post it on youtube or something. I mean…how cool would it be to hear the actual words of God?

    If however, you are referring to the bible…of course it is not infallible. Not even close.

  • Gary

    Having read your comments here I can assure you that your flesh is no more dead than mine is.

    LOL

  • Gary

    You like to throw that word “infallible” around pretty freely.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    wow, i am shocked. How decieved you are man, do you follow after men, or God. What you call this righteous indignation and expressions is God’s law’s imprinted in my heart, for I know I stand on solid ground on these issues. You are putting your standards higher than Gods standards, a Christian isn’t someone who gives lip service and chooses what should be truth and not truth from the Bible, A Christian submits their will to Christ, and believes in Him, and takes God for His Word, not part of it, all of it. We are not to lean on our own understanding for truth, but to lean on the truth that is in Scripture. The Bible is our moral compass to life, its not just a book, it is the book in what God has communicated with us to follow. You can mock me all you want, I stand for righteousness, I will take up my cross and follow Jesus reguardless of how much of a fool you make me out to be. Worked up, this is my life, without Jesus I would have no life, God is everything to me.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    Jesus is the Word of God in the Flesh,The Bible is God breathed, Inspired by God, man, how decieved your hearts are, don’t you follow the Holy Spirits direction in your lives.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    At the core of the problem is this – You hold your moral standard higher than God’s truth revealed in the Bible. You believe you know more about God than the prophets and apostles. People like you are condemned by Jesus and the apostles.

    This kind of arrogant pride in oneself over God’s Word is that of Satan himself.

    Note this statement: “Parts of it are downright repulsive perversions of the nature of God. “

  • Joshua Barbosa

    The seared conscience is referred to in 1 Timothy 4:2 where Paul talks about those whose consciences—their moral consciousness—have been literally “cauterized” or rendered insensitive in the same way the hide of an animal scarred with a branding iron becomes numb to further pain. For human beings, having one’s conscience seared is a result of continual, unrepentant sinning. Eventually, sin dulls the sense of moral right or wrong, and the unrepentant sinner becomes numb to the warnings of the conscience that God has placed within each of us to guide us (Romans 2:5

  • Joshua Barbosa

    Hes not judgeing those that disagree with him, hes exersizing discernment and reading from the Bible on what the Bible says on matters that are relavent to the cause.

  • m. castleberry

    I thought only faith in Christ was required for salvation.

    I just end up with more questions…what’s the minimum requirement? How do we know we’ve reached it?

  • Joshua Barbosa

    mr. jeff, you actually believe that we can pick and choose what to believe from what the Bible says? Do you actually think that their is error with the messages God has influenced the writers to write? Do you acutally believe that Gary’s moral standards are to be considered over Gods? really?

  • m. castleberry

    Ah, the Holy Spirit. Yes, all of the Trinity is infallible. Nothing in creation is.

  • Riley

    Yes, but who is Christ? In order to be saved, there must be some knowledge of God, that He exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that I am created by Him, that I am a sinner under His wrath for my sin, and needing a savior. And there must be knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior and is able and willing to save me if I believe in him. Though even in these things there can be some lack of clarity and some degree of error, the basics must be believed, at least intuitively, even if one cannot articulate them very well.

  • m. castleberry

    I don’t see where Gary has shown arrogant pride over Jesus, the one and only Word of God. I don’t see where anything he has said has indicated that he is better than Jesus.

  • m. castleberry

    ?
    I don’t follow your response to my comment.

  • Gary

    Well…perhaps I am the first believer you have encountered who does not believe in scriptural inerrancy. It seems odd…since your biblioletry is a minority view in the Christian faith and really just the product of fundamental extremists in the last 100-150 years. You really need to get some education. LMAO

    In the mean time…why not take your condescending condemnation and your reprehensible FUCKING BULLSHIT someplace where you have an audience of like minded (I.E. Ignorant and closed) people to pat you on the back and help you feel all spiritual and puffed up for taking a stand protecting your dogma. I have no use for your arrogant nonsense.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Riley,
    You seem to have a vending machine view of God – that if we accept/believe A,B,C then we will be saved – like pulling the right lever on a cosmic vending machine. Is that what God is to you? A cosmic vending machine? Is God constrained by the words that the scripture authors happened to write down? If I were to go back in time and write something a bit different that ended up being in the bible, would that then describe God as well? If you base all your beliefs on what some people happened to write down a couple of thousand years ago, you can’t be surprised if others will question those beliefs. Perhaps God has done away with hell already. Perhaps there never was a hell. Perhaps our notion of a God that is sitting “up there” judging is all just a human invention. Perhaps God likes to bark, shake, speak in tongues, and roll around on the floor. ;)

  • Gary

    Fuck off man. If you can not have a sensible conversation without making false and inflammatory comments against me then seriously…FUCK OFF!!!

    You should feel honored. I save this colorful language for rabid fundamentalists like yourself. It always makes you lose any final grasp on sanity and come completely unglued. I am getting some popcorn out and preparing for the show.

    LOL

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Yes I think to be a moral person, we must pick and choose what we follow from the bible. I believe the bible was written by humans and that it ONLY describes what those humans thought about God. I definitely think that there are passages in the bible that should not be the basis of a moral standard. From what I know of Gary, I would take his moral standards over what I see in many parts of the bible. Gary and I do differ some in that he apparently believes that there is a moral standard given by God but this moral standard is just poorly communicated in the bible. I don’t really see any evidence that there is a moral standard given down by a God. I do agree that good moral standards are important to have and will find commonality with anyone who strives to find a good working moral standard. I just don’t think the bible necessarily describes it. Parts of it does. I like those parts. I just don’t like all the “killing of others” parts and the whole notion of eternal damnation of those that didn’t join the “Christian club”. That is not moral IMO.

  • m. castleberry

    If you trust Christ to deliver you safely from this world, is knowledge of the Trinity necessary? It seems awfully theological to me…when was it agreed upon that God exists in a Trinity? Did the Apostles understand this?

    And what of people who don’t have an understanding of sin but understand they are living in miserable conditions in this life and trust that Jesus will deliver them after death?

  • Gary

    I don’t think our views are all that different actually. It is true that I believe there is a moral standard that God has given…but I believe it is intrinsically imprinted on our hearts and as such can be heard by all who seek. Those parts of the bible you identify as immoral…oh yes we definitely agree on those.

  • Riley

    Yes, saving faith includes content.

    Psalm 16:4a Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god:

    Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

    “Is God constrained by the words that the scripture authors happened to write down?”

    You’ve got it backwards. The authors were constrained by God to write exactly what He wanted them to write.

    “If I were to go back in time and write something a bit different that ended up being in the bible, would that then describe God as well?”

    God would not have allowed it to end up in the Bible, so your question is N/A.

  • Riley

    Yes, the Apostles understood the Trinity ever since following Jesus’ baptism, they saw the Spirit descend upon him like a dove, and heard the voice of the Father from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

    God is Triune. Salvation is a work of the entire Trinity. The Father elects, the Son redeems, and the Spirit makes new. If you don’t believe in the Trinity, at least intuitively, you have a false god and cannot be saved.

    No, one who does not realize his sin is not prepared to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. You won’t grab onto the life raft if you don’t know you’re drowning. That is why the law must be preached along with the gospel.

  • Riley

    Indeed the Bible is, being God’s word. He speaks to us in and through the Bible.

  • Riley

    I said not that any person’s interpretation is infallible. I stated the infallible rule of interpretation. Note the distinction. Although none of us, using this infallible rule to the best of our ability, will have a 100% correct understanding of Scripture, nevertheless, those things which are necessary to be believed for salvation are so clearly and frequently set forth in the Scriptures that anyone can understand them with a little diligence. We call this the perspecuity of Scripture.

  • Riley

    huh?

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Quoting opinions of others (even scripture authors) does not count as evidence in my book. The idea that God only allowed what He wanted to be in the bible is very convenient for you isn’t it… It is just a self-serving belief. I also don’t count that as evidence in my book either. Anyway, have a good day. I’m off to dinner.
    If your beliefs on heaven and hell are right but you find yourself lacking a bit in some other necessary core beliefs, perhaps we can talk a lot more about things as we both roast in the big lake of fire ;)

  • Gary

    He speaks to us in many ways…the bible included. But it is, of course, not infallible. Serious students of the bible know this.

  • Riley

    Can you prove it?

  • Gary

    I love how the ones making the irrational claims always believe that it up to everyone else to prove them wrong…LOL

    Of course we can go through a long a tedious exercise of me identifying the errors, contradictions, false conclusions, only to have you play the silly let’s pretend that they don’t really exist game. Been there, done that, tired of the willful ignorance.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Doctrine and dogma is all about taking us out of ourselves to become part of a greater whole. That’s what it is designed to do. Call it becoming the Body of Christ, call it following the Eightfold Path to Nirvana, it is the same in that regard.

    If religion is to have any value at all, it is in that social function. Reject the dogma and doctrine, and all you have left is the selfish reasoning of “I do it because I like to do it”- which is a self-righteous and stereotypical American Post Modern Individualist way of thinking- the very culture that is self-destructing around us.

  • Gary

    LOL – Yeah, whatever dude.

  • Gary

    Of course the question is whose doctrine/dogma does one accept and whose does one reject? Good doctrine becomes abusive dogma when it no longer cares about right or wrong as much as it cares about preservation.

  • A. W. Thules

    Well exactly – which is why the need for dialogue! Stilfle it and what remains …

    Hence my criticism of those who were simply knee-jerk reacting to the conference rather than engaging the dialogue.

    Even if MacArthur has no corner on the truth market, at least he’s staked his position in the ground with clarity. That at least is something people can work with (more than the loudly braying masses at least …)

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    It is fine to have a psychology of “taking us out of ourselves to become part of a greater whole”. I like that and would support that to a certain extent. It is even OK to have societal myths about original sin and being saved and all – I just don’t think it is healthy to take those myths literally. I’m all for “getting out of your own way”, and “doing things for the greater good”, and “don’t take yourself too seriously”, and “put yourself in other’s shoes”, and the Golden Rule. I just don’t believe in that we have to literally believe the myths or God will punish us for eternity after we die. It is a concept of God that I can’t fathom existing.

  • Cameron Spencer Wedel

    You make the claim that “truth is elusive”, which is illogical because that is a truth claim. Then you proceed to assert even more ridiculous claims like “believers recognize the Bible is fallible”. Where do you get your definition of a believer? (don’t use scripture- it might not be accurate). In essence your position is, “I don’t have to offer a better truth that yours to prove my point, because the way I argue is by discarding truth altogether”. That’s a cliche cop-out. If you don’t have a truth source then your words are subjective and have no authority because truth by definition is absolute. It makes sense that it is confusing to you, because you have no certainty about what to believe. But It’s pointless to banter on with you that the bullets in the gun that I’m pointing at you are real because you’ll just keep saying it’s a toy gun. Acknowledging God’s Word as truth is what separates the faith built on rock and faith built on sand. In picking and choosing whatever parts seem right to you in your autonomy, you express hypocritical faith that is out of touch with logic, historical orthodoxy and the very definition of evangelical Christianity, which finds it’s unity based on a belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Your faith is not biblical which makes you correct that the majority of people in the world share it with you. But I won’t argue scripture with someone who doesn’t even have a sensible definition of truth and keeps arguing against something with nothing.

  • Riley

    That’s because they don’t exist. There is nothing more common than Bible-detractors making assertions of contradiction or error based on lazy, sloppy, and superficial reading of the Bible, which leads to them not being taken very seriously.

  • Sheila Warner

    My best friend of nearly 40 years married, and she and her husband became missionaries with Wycliff. The pastor of their home church gave a sermon one Sunday evening in which he denounced Wycliff’s acceptance of Pentecostals as missionaries. He believed speaking in tongues was of the devil. Never mind that my friend was not a Pentecostal, or that she had no control over the hiring practices of Wycliff, nor that he had been very close friends to them for a number of years. No, this was such an affront to him that he convinced the church members to stop giving support to my friend and her husband. They left that church with great sorrow, and returned to their previous home church, which was a good 40 minutes away. The former pastor of that church, a friend for decades, preached a fiery sermon about how taking away financial support from a missionary was tantamount to taking food from their children’s mouths. The real irony of that sermon was that the pastor also did not believe that speaking in tongues is a gift still in operation. But he saw the need for unity and for support of two fine Christians to help out Wycliff. Unbelievable events. I hope John MacArthur wises up. Turning your back on your fellow believers is a grave sin.

  • Sheila Warner

    I agree with Gary. The Bible is without error when it comes to God’s plan of salvation. It expresses with infallibility the truths and morals of God. But there are contradictions in it, they were written by men steeped in ancient cultures, and what we have now are not the original texts. We have a Bible which has been translated so many times over the years, in varying languages, that the truth is not always clear to the reader. And yes, the Bible is not the final word. It says of itself that all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for blah blah blah…. It does NOT say that ONLY Scripture is inspired by God. There is discernable truth in other sources. Jesus said that he couldn’t share everything he needed to teach to the apostles. He promised that the Holy Spirit would come along and guide them into all truth. That guiding is still in place today. How else do you find so many denominations? The Holy Spirit seems to be telling the pastors out there a variety of things. Pastor A swears that he is guided by the Holy Spirit that speaking in tongues is no longer in operations. Pastor B is just as emphatic about tongues being alive and well in the present age. I couldn’t figure out who had the truth, so I converted to the original church, the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Sheila Warner

    I was raised by parents who are Bible-only believers, The Bible, to them is the literal plenary infallible word of God. Because of that theology, I was raised to believe in the Rapture/Left Behind crap. I discarded that when I read through the KJV way back in 1984. Ezekiel sealed the deal for me. I understood that theology was taught by a cut and paste method of exegesis. Not for me. There are contradictions in the Bible. And yes, there are horrific passages within. The testing of a wife’s fidelity by making her drink a concoction of water and dirt, with the premise that if she didn’t get sick, she was not guilty. If she was guilty, her thigh would rot. Women having their period were considered unclean. After childbirth, a woman was unclean, and had to undergo a ritual cleansing bath in a giant laver. Oh yes, the Bible is soooo wonderful in every word, every verse, every chapter and every book! I could hardly contain myself when God commanded the Israelites to slaughter men, women, and children, as they conquered the Promised Land. I’ll stick with Gary’s opinion. I reject literal, plenary, infallibility of the Bible.

  • Sheila Warner

    Yes, when conservative Christians encounter a person who rejects the plenary, literal, infallibility of the Bible, it comes as quite a shock. I realized that my pastor at my childhood church was using a cut and paste method of “proving” the Rapture when I read the Bible through myself. All 66 books in the KJV. That turned into a years upon years of finding a church which supported my reasonable belief that there is more to a Christian lifestyle than the Bible. I ended up going into the original church, Roman Catholicism, and for nearly ten years now, I have been happy. I am very involved in the church, doing multiple volunteering as one who assists at Mass and who also teaches adult and children about the faith. I feel appreciated, I don’t hear a bunch of condemnation in the pulpit, and the entire congregation is unified during Mass. We realize that we are all in the same boat; flawed people who come together to experience something bigger than ourselves. I love it.

  • Sheila Warner

    It’s not a matter of picking and choosing, so much as it is approaching the Bible with critical reasoning. The Bible as we have it now is a translation from ancient texts. There are brilliant people who understand Hebrew and Greek, who disagree over what a passage is trying to communicate. I was raised a Fundamentalist, and I read through the entire KJV, in the order in which it was written, and I was shaken by what I read. I realized that the Rapture theology made no sense. The Bible doesn’t teach it. That theology came about in the 19th century, by men who were skilled at cut and paste. One of the other glaring problem with the “every single word is the inspired word of God” idea, is that verses and passages are wrenched out of context by the preacher. So, the theology that is presented is often just plain wrong. I believe that God’s holy spirit inspired men to write certain things down, but I don’t believe they were God’s secretaries, with a shorthand book and a pencil. I also don’t like it that Fundies refuse to acknowledge the role that Sacred Tradition plays in understanding the Bible. Oh, they accepted the NT canon, and also the doctrine of the Trinity, as well as some other things, but they always say if it’s not in the Bible, then it’s not true. Which is, of course, ridiculous on its face. As if there aren’t reliable sources outside of the Bible that can enlighten us as we read it.

  • Sheila Warner

    I read through the Bible when I was in my 20s (I’m now in my 50s) There was plenty in there that made me leave Fundamentalism. When you read passages in context that have been cherry picked by your pastor, it’s a whole new Bible. I read through the OT (in my Catholic Bible this time, which has extra books) and I was struck by how badly women were treated. As you say, it was written by humans, all men, and it leaves a lot to be desired as the various personalities of the authors unfold.

  • Sheila Warner

    And, thus you validate my ultimate decision to enter the original church, the Catholic church. If the Holy Spirit is the author of truth, then why does he tell some pastors that speaking in tongues is a gift to be used today, while at the same time telling another pastor that speaking in tongues is a bad thing? What about baptizing infants vs only baptizing older children and adults? What about the method of baptizing, immersion vs sprinkling vs pouring? Why do some pastors teach that women should always wear a veil, but others do not? Why are some pastors adamant that Christians shouldn’t dance or play cards, but not other pastors? If the Holy Spirit truly is the author of truth, it makes no sense whatsoever that he would give diametrically opposing commands to various pastors? Believe me, atheists are well aware of the contradictions among the Protestants, and the fighint over what is sound doctrine and what is not gets their attention. Christianity right now is a religion divided. That’s why it’s so hard to get people engaged.

  • Gary

    What I express is a rejection of a belief that I am more moral than God. Accepting the bible as inerrant requires me to believe in a God who chose genocide more than once, a god who in anger slaughtered a first born child for the sin of the father, a god who became weary of the cries for mercy and decided to slaughter thousands more of his “chosen” people simply to prove he could. A god who would in disgust wipe out every living breathing creature on the face of the earth save for a tiny fraction in a boat and later regret his action. I could go on and on but I think I have made my point. We are told to be “holy” as our God is holy. If these actions are the definition of holiness then there is something severely fucked up with the entire faith.

    If these actions represent the truth concerning God’s behavior then I am unquestionably more moral than He. That is a premise for a god which is profoundly ludicrous and I am tired of coming up with so called “truths” which seek to justify and defend the imaginations of a barbaric bronze age people. I spent too many years in fundamental churches teaching and preaching this bullshit and have come to a point of recognizing the absurdity of it. If the Christian faith has any truth in it, it is in the person of Jesus Christ, who revealed to us a very different God. One who put aside the law when it suited Him. One who made the primary component of the faith one of love and mercy, not wrath and destruction. One who challenged the status quo of the religion of His day.

    Why do I pick and choose? Simple…because I believe in a God who placed the moral code of love on my heart and gave me a brain with the capacity to identify that which does not fit.

  • Gary

    Bullshit. The majority of the Christian faith disagrees with you because your claim is both absurd and defenseless. Of course there are contradictions and errors in the bible which cannot be reconciled. You have to simply LIE to declare otherwise. I am not interested in a faith which relies on profound intellectual dishonesty. There are many great resources identifying that which cannot be reconciled in the bible. Some of course do reach beyond what is clear because of a personal vendetta. But those are as irrelevant as the blind who claim perfection. I’ll post a link or two to some good analysis done by very faithful bible believing Christians if you have any honest desire to learn. Or you can continue to place your fingers in your ears like a third grader declaring to all who speak the truth that you can’t hear them. That choice is yours.

    http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/inerrant.html#Introduction

    http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/theology/bible-inerrant.php

  • Gary

    I challenge the declaration that the rule itself is “infallible”. This is actually a rather silly statement. It may be good advice to be considered, depending on the specific circumstance, but to declare ANY such advice as infallible demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of language and the meaning of specific words.

  • Michael Raburn

    If you think you see some form of proto-Calvinism in Augustine, try reading his commentaries on Scripture. Then you will see how very far from anything approaching a Calvinist/Reformed/MacArthur mindset Augustine was. You can find his commentaries on Genesis, Psalms, and John online for free. Happy reading.

  • geoffrobinson

    Did you listen to the conference? Because that’s not what was said.

  • Dan McM

    The majority of the charismatic movement is not among those. Assembly of God, Foursquare, Vineyard, Calvary Chapel represent a larger portion of the charismatic/pentecostal movement.

  • Dan McM

    Hmmm. What do you think MacArthur is doing? He is a fallible human interpreter giving official pronouncements.

  • geoffrobinson

    I’m going to go out on a limb and assume what you think is anti-Calvinist is probably a misunderstanding of what Calvinism teaches. Feel free to provide an example from Augustine’s works that you feel goes against Calvinistic/Augustinian views of election, and I can probably show this.

  • Michael Raburn

    That would be a wrong assumption on your part. Read any of Augustine’s commentaries and you will see that he views and uses Scripture in ways that would curl MacArthur’s hair. Their theologies are very far apart.

  • Sheila Warner

    I know you were replying to Riley, but I visited both sites via the links. Some great material there! I have bookmarked both pages because I’m too tired to digest all the info. I’ve been up since yesterday, it’s now 2 pm, and my focus is shot. Anyway, thanks for the links.

  • Gary

    Seems you have selective hearing. He declared that vast majority are lost…even using language such as a hotter place in hell for those like them.

  • Gary

    Yes there is a great analysis of many irreconcilable passages in both links. I do not agree with their conclusions entirely (I.E. Infallible Word of god) but respect their attempt at impartial analysis.

  • Sheila Warner

    I watched the entire presentation, and he definitely said there is a hotter place in hell for Charismatic Christians. But then he rails against the idea that a person who is saved could somehow become unsaved. He believes in the once saved always saved theology. So, how can any believer be sent to hell if eternal life with God is guaranteed? I could only come up with one reason he’d say that: he doesn’t think Charismatics are even Christian. Pathetic. Insulting. Arrogant. And, boring–it was so hard to listen to the whole presentation.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    I hear your and I respect you

  • Joshua Barbosa

    Yeah, you not seeing the problems, that is a problem itself. I pray that God can reveal truth to both of you guys, this is dangerous ground guys, I really hope that you see the truth.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    Im sorry. I dont know what else to say

  • Joshua Barbosa

    how can you say these things? to view the Bible as just another book is no different then how the Unitarian Universalist take what they want from each religion to apply it to themselves how ever they see fit. You think I say these things because i think im better or more holy then you, nonsense. I say these things because you are following false doctrine, and the Bible warns us not to. If you want to follow these theologies that go against the very Word of God, then that is your choice, and I will respect that choice, but why not open your heart to God, and follow Him? He is the source of eternal life, His ways are much higher then our ways. I am no better then you, the only difference I see is that I am seeking to do God’s will, and you seem to be wanting do to your own thing when it comes to God. Theirs eternal consequences to that man, you’d know this if you believed what God communicates in His Word to us. I don’t want to see you be caught up in such deception and false doctrine because i know its leading you astray from what God has.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    What have I said that you would say these things? You may call my expressions and messages false, but i will agree to disagree. Why such hate in your heart? What have i said to have provoked such hatred and cruelty?

  • Joshua Barbosa

    I hear you and I respect the honesty you have said. I dont agree with you on alot of the parts, but i respect you for telling me your honest thoughts. I definatly would be lieing if i said that I understood everything that God has done, or does, but I know I can trust Him. Their are answers out their on why God allowed things to happen or ordered such things to happen that could do more justice that I can express, but i will say this. God created life, He gave life, who are we to say that God is wrong for taking it? Again, i can understand where your hearts at, I’ve had the same questions and concerns, but I knew that God has never done me wrong, He’s always been their for me, and has never failed me. out of all the things He has done, I’d be a fool to say that He doesn’t exist, and that He doesnt love me, so I had faith and trust that whatever the reasons were, that id either find out in time, or God would give me some closure, and if not, then I prayed that God would help me accept that. Living for God sure isnt easy at times, but I know that I can’t go back to the darkness and sin i once lived in. I know theirs nothing else out their for me, Gods way all the way. Thats what I think. As far as your standing, I pray that you really seek God out and ask Him to reveal what your heart longs for on these matters.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    Sheila, Jesus says those that believe in him and abide in His teachings shall know the truth, and that truth will set you free. No pastor can take you their, though he can give messages that will give you the tools to guide you their, the Holy Spirit will lead you, but no church organization, or person other then Jesus can be the way for you. Im not downing the Roman Catholics, im just trying to emphasize that it was Jesus that died for us, not an organization, so it should be Jesus we strive to live for and follow.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    Gods ways our higher then our ways, His thoughts higher then our thoughts. It would be intellectual arrogent to think that God who is all infinite and all knowing, that His morals dont live up to my own. God knows what He’s doing, and if you dont trust Him, then who can you trust, yourself? Did you create this world? Did you put life into your own body? Their are many things we can’t understand, but that shouldn’t give you lead way to reject God just because you don’t understand things of His doing.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    Im sorry to hear that. Those who are saved by God recieve the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, if you pray to Him to reveal to you what a scripture says, I think this would be a better result then leaning on men’s understanding alone. Even the most brilliant of men can’t understand God or His Word, because it is God who gives us understanding or lack of it. So when you lean on what other men have thought up by their own reasoning, you will fall short of God’s truth, the writers of the Bible were influenced by God, The Holy Spirit to write what they wrote, they didnt do this to reveal their own truth, they did this to reveal God’s truth.

  • Riley

    What thoughtful argumentation. You’ve convinced me! lol

  • Riley

    The problem is not with making official pronouncements. The problem is giving off that they are infallible. The last time I checked Johnny Mac has not claimed infallibility.

  • Riley

    According to the research presented at Strangefire with supporting statistical analysis, roughly 90% of the movement worldwide falls into one of those categories: Roman Catholic, Word of Faith, Prosperity gospel, modalism. If you have some statistical analysis of your own which refutes theirs, that would be interesting to take a look at. But you can’t just dismiss their work out of hand without showing where it goes wrong.

  • Riley

    If you believe that the whole Bible is God’s word, and that it contains no contradictions, that necessarily implies that interpreting the Scriptures by the Scriptures is an infallible rule of interpretation.

  • m. castleberry

    Creation is God-breathed, and seeing as the Bible is part of creation, I guess I can see what you’re saying there. But the Bible is not “the Word of God”. So…I don’t understand the point you are trying to make.

    The Bible is not at all on the same level as Jesus or the Holy Spirit, though I’ve been to churches where the functional trinity was the Father, Son, and Book.

  • m. castleberry

    Members of the Trinity are perfect. Where does Scripture testify to its own perfection?

  • m. castleberry

    I still have difficulty understanding how a rule is supposed to be infallible. If we fallible humans can misinterpret Scripture even when when follow the rule of interpreting Scriptures by the Scriptures, then the rule is not perfect.

  • m. castleberry

    What of a sex slave who has been reached by missionaries before she was kidnapped but hasn’t studied any theology aside from being introduced to Christ, and loves Christ already? What of people who lack the time and other resources to study God but have met God? What of those who have accepted Christ but do not yet understand sin?

    I think that people can certainly be attracted to Christ, and heaven, without an understanding of sin. Maybe you would not be attracted to Christ without an understanding of sin, but we are all different.

  • m. castleberry

    I don’t think everyone has to know/understand sin in order to love Christ and be attracted by Heaven, but I covered that above. God made each of us to be different.

    How long did it take the church to reach an understanding of the triune God?

  • Joshua Barbosa

    I dont think the Bible, the actual Bible is to be worshiped, that would be worshipping an object and not God. I do believe that the Bible is the Word of God, so I hear you, and I respect your belief, but I do not stand with you on your belief. I agree to disagree

  • m. castleberry

    “Word”, capital “w” refers to Christ in John 1:14.

    Calling the Bible the “Word [capital "w"] of God” is a form of idolatry.

  • James M

    I have no problem with 2, but perhaps I’m biased. But – a very big “but” – people who “Pope” should be jolly careful why they do; a change of that sort can’t be rushed into.

    A fourth possibility: MacArthur has some things right, and so do Pentecostals. Maybe the two can learn from one another.

  • James M

    A bit like the Pope, basically. Calvinism seems to tend to bring out the “inner Pope” in some pastors. Calvin – for whom this poster has a lot of respect, BTW – could be very Papal in manner, so perhaps it is not surprising that MacArthur speaks with equally dogmatic certainty. Whether so doing is consistent with the “genius of Protestantism” is another matter.

  • James M

    ROFLOL

  • James M

    No. Absolutely not. The Bible is only part of the answer – without the testimony of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is dead, or worse. God, not the Bible, makes Christians.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Hell isn’t a punishment, it is a mercy for those who can’t stand God’s justice and can’t stand to be in heaven. Has nothing to do with punishment, and everything to do with the balance between Perfect Justice and Perfect Mercy.

  • James M

    Which is why plenty of people pray, then read & study it, sometimes for years, stop being Evangelical Protestants, and become Orthodox or Catholics. Because they follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as made known through their reading of the Bible.

    Plenty of atheists are atheists because of their reading of the Bible. Muslims ditto. That is what actually happens. What does not happen, is that Protestant Evangelicals always reach purely PE conclusions fromn reading the Bible, and never become anything else than PEs.

    Evangelicalism is in the curious position of rejecting one Catholic Pope, and accepting 10s of millions of Protestant Popes. Apparently Catholicism is faulty for not allowing more than just the one.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Now that’s up to you. I would suggest studying history, but post moderns don’t believe people that existed before them were intelligent.

    Good doctrine is all about preservation- not preservation of the doctrine, but preservation of you. The reason things are taboo is because people tried them and got hurt trying them.

  • James M

    But the rule’s infallibility is only as infallible in practice as the person using the rule. An infallible rule used by a fallible person is, in practice, fallible. The theory is plausible and attractive, but in practice the theory does not work well. It works only if one is prepared to condemn as non-Christian those who differ from oneself.

    “Although none of us, using this infallible rule to the best of our ability, will have a 100% correct understanding of Scripture, nevertheless, those things which are necessary to be believed for salvation are so clearly and frequently set forth in the Scriptures that anyone can understand them with a little diligence. We call this the perspecuity of Scripture.”

    ## But what are those things ? Is Baptism one of them ? Or there is Church government – is it by bishops, by elders, is it democratic, or what ? To some people it is perspicuously clear that the Papacy and the Mass are essentials of NT Christianity – Protestant Evangelicals tend to think otherwise. Most Christians for most of the last 2,000 years have had a very high esteem of the Virgin Mary – she barely figures in Protestant Evangelical thought. St Augustine of Hippo, who is a major influence on Calvin’s thinking, accepted as part of the Christian Faith doctrines that many of Calvin’s theological heirs have regarded as heathen at best and satanic at worst: such as baptismal regeneration. Unless Protestant Evangelicals are to condemn the vast majority of Christians past and present as not Christian, it is hard to see that the doctrine of perspicuity does what Calvin expected of it.

  • Riley

    Being generally fallible does not prevent certainty on important doctrines of Scripture. They are to be proclaimed boldly with conviction. Re: Calvin, he was accountable to the elders of the Church at Geneva and the city council. This is sometimes lacking in independent churches like Johnny Mac’s. It’s an argument in favor of close interconnectedness between congregations.

  • Jonathan Mello

    This article is yet another shallow misrepresentation of MacArthur’s position. He did not say once that 500 Million Charismatic were going to hell. Such shoddy journalism immediately informs you of his bias. He is addressing a serious issue within the charismatic movement that charismatics have refused to address themselves.

  • Gary

    No…you BELIEVE (in your arrogance) I am being lead astray. You KNOW nothing of the sort. You continue to falsely bash my motives and declare Satan’s influence on my life and declare your condemnation. This is self righteous, pompous, and absolutely contrary to Jesus teaching against judging others. Spare me your bullshit. I am not interested in your attacks or your condemnation.

  • James M

    Predestination is – but total depravity ? And while predestination of some kind is the Bible, it is something else to say that the very specific two-fold positive predestination taught by Calvin is in the Bible. There are quite a few versions of predestination, but they all claim Biblical warrant. St Thomas Aquinas, like other Catholic theologians, fully accepted that predestination is a reality – but he was not a Calvinist.

  • Gary

    You confuse rejecting God with merely rejecting the views of those who would misrepresent Him. There is a huge difference.

  • Gary

    I have come out of the darkness you represent. I believe I have been freed from a great oppressive false teaching and have learned to fellowship with God. I mean with all sincerity…I will never return to the darkness you represent.

  • James M

    It’s possible to accept P1 fully, without for a moment denying that the Bible is totally human in every way, and is also totally divine & God-breathed. The human realities of it are not obstacles to its being sacred, inspired, canonical for the Church’s creed & behaviour. In principle, one could hold it to be totally inerrant while also accepting P1, but I’m not aware that anyone does in fact hold both both positions.

  • Gary

    Sorry…but that sounds more like evasive nonsense than a serious response. A false assumption delivered in the context of an insulting judgment is hardly a pretext for serious dialogue.

  • Gary

    Hmm…except it is based on the lie of there being no contradictions in scripture and therefor cannot possibly be an “infallible” rule.

  • Gary

    LMFAO. Way to demonstrate the third grader technique flawlessly. Bravo!!

  • James M

    Hmm – “Works salvation” rears its ugly head. MacArthur’s position is – arguably – a denial of salvation by grace alone. Which makes his position self-contradictory, not Protestant, and not very Evangelical either.

    It looks as though Protestant Evangelicalism is trying to accomodate both:

    1. salvation by grace alone (the logic of which relativises doctrinal orthodoxy)

    &

    2. doctrinal orthodoxy.

    But if God is a God of grace, our errors in doctrine cannot prevent His grace prevailing over our weakness, and He can be trusted to enlighten us in His own good time. To demand orthodoxy and unity in faith, when only God can give either, is to demand of men what only God can give. People read the Bible in the light that they have – not in the light that some pastor or other might want them to have. Growth in the grace of Christ cannot be forced.

  • James M

    It’s not easy to think of a theologian who gave Scripture a higher place. But, for Barth, Christ the Word of God takes priority over even the written Word of God. He gives Christ “the primacy in all things” – just as St. Paul did.

  • Gary

    And yet you still insist on worshipping a book rather than follow the leading of the Spirit? This makes no sense to me. If the HS had actually controlled what was written…we would have a far different bible than the one we now possess.

  • James M

    And it’s not his fault if people have no knowledge of the 19th-century German Protestant liberalism (so fully described by Schweitzer) that Barth was re-acting against. Just as it is not Rudolf Bultmann’s fault if people do not bother to find out just what Bultmann meant by “demythologisation”. Unfortunately, Protestant Evangelicals seem not to be very good at reading philosophy. But if they don’t, they are putting themselves at a disadvantage, as they are not likely to be able to understand modern theology sympathetically. People like Kant, C. S. Peirce, William James & Heidegger cannot safely be ignored.

  • Gary

    Surely you jest? You come along and tell me I am not just deceived, but that I place my standards higher than God’s, that I simply give lip service, accused me of not believing God, of being influenced by Satan, stated I am condemned by Jesus and the apostles, stated I have arrogant pride in myself over the Word of God, (need I go on? you said many more hateful things) and you act shocked when I tell you to FUCK OFF? Seriously??? Get a grip…you are severely disconnected from reality!!

  • James M

    It’s not Bible-detracting to say there are contradictions in the Bible. It is simply a fact. This may damage certain views of the Bible, but that means that those views are not true to the reality of what the Bible actually is. The Bible can perfectly well be both God-breathed (it is), and contain contradictions (it does). Admitting it contains contradictions does not in the slightest prevent one from having a very high &/or thoroughly Evangelical doctrine of Scripture. To understand the Bible, we have to take it as it is – not as we might think it must be, or ought to be.

    There is no Biblical reason why there should not be contradictions – nothing in the Bible requires it to be free of all error, perfectly self-consistent. If it were brimming with mistakes of geographical, historical, theological, botanical, palaeontological, moral, doctrinal & other mistakes, that would not in the least prevent its being Holy Scripture. Only theologies worked out by fallible human beings require it to be contradiction-free.

    It is entirely possible that the contradictions, & variations in accounts, & doublets of episodes, are in the Bible so as to tell us more than a single, self-consistent, contradiction-free account could. IOW, the Bible is richer, not poorer, for having contradictory accounts of the Temptation of Jesus or the Cleansing of the Temple. We are better off for having three different traditions as to what Moses’ father-in-law was called. We learn more about Jesus from having different accounts of where He met with His disciples after His Resurrection. Goliath is more interesting for being killed by both David & Elhanan. What such things don’t allow us to have is a perfectly harmonised, self-consistent story – but why do we need one ? How is our salvation helped by being persuaded that Shem was 100 when the Flood came, and 100 when his son Arphaxad was born two years after the Flood ? Why must the exact age of Patriarchs be essential to faith in Christ ?

    People notice these contradictions, and many more – that is why a lot of them have concluded (say) that Isaiah is not written by one man, but possibly by 12 or 20 – there is no Biblical reason why there should not be many men behind that book. It is not the Bible that requires us to accept that St Paul wrote Ephesians. A lot of the time, the Bible simply does not say what Protestant Evangelicals – & not them alone ! – want it to say. There is no Biblical reason why the OT could not be as recent as 100 BC – though this is, in fact, impossibly late.

  • James M

    That begs at least one question, perhaps more: which are the “important doctrines” ? Calvin was convinced that Predestination was important; & predestination in a particular form. Which means that all those who do not accept Calvin’s working-out of the doctrine of predestination, are not real Christians.

    That makes sense of Calvinist distaste for Arminians (even though Arminius was a Calvinist, though not a Gomarist Calvinist) – but it does not leave much room for Wesleyans to be Christians, because Wesley’s spat with Augustus Toplady (a Calvinist) was caused by Wesley’s (very severe) criticisms of Jerome Zanchi’s version of Calvin’s doctrine of predestination. But it is very difficult to see how John Wesley is not a Christian. The various Calvinist bodies in Scotland are all Calvinist, but their agreement in doctrine has not kept them from being divided in their Church life.

    FWIW, Sebastian Castellio, Jerome Bolsec, & the “libertines” in Geneva all disagreed strongly with Calvin. That he had theological opponents did not lead him to think he might be wrong – he thought they were wrong, as his treatment of them showed. But how many Protestants today agree with Calvin that heretics should be executed, rather than with Castellio, who vigorously denied this ? Very few Protestants in the 16th century, and even for some time after, would have differed from Calvin on this point. But his doctrine on the rightness of executing heretics would give most or all US Protestant Evangelicals today a fit of the horrors.

  • Dan McM

    Hi David. My background is similar to yours in that I’ve got a wide variety of denominational experiences and exposure to various traditions, and I consider myself (like you) as one who “still embraces a respect for each while feeling free to critique both.”

    This particular topic is one that I’ve weighed in on in discussions before. Back in the early 90′s, I wrote a letter to a radio preacher in So Cal who went from being someone that I would say “amen” with to someone who was accusing a whole segment of the church, including myself. In that letter, I told that preacher (not MacArthur) that our differences in belief aren’t so much about who is interpreting which verse correctly, but it is about the underlying assumptions that we carry in. He believed the “power gifts” were no longer in operation, so he interpreted scripture one way, while I believed the gifts are in operation today, so I interpret things differently.

    If I say that the answer is 42, do you know what I’m talking about? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, they ask the computer, “What is the answer?” in regards to life, and the computer at some point says the answer is “42″. Then they ask, ‘then what’s the question?” The computer gives out a few different answers that don’t make any sense…. one of those was, “What is 9 x 6?” Now, we all know that 9 x 6 = 54, not 42, right? So did the characters in the book (as well as the author), so they just assumed the computer was wrong.

    Thinking about this way back, and being a math major, I considered other possibilities, like perhaps the computer wasn’t using base 10. (Using base 10, 42 = 4 * 10 + 2) Well, It turns out that if you use base 13 ( first digit is 1; second digit is the number of 13′s instead of 10′s) then 42 = 4*13 + 2, which is 52+2, which equals 54. Which is equal to 9×6. So, in the story, the computer’s question “what is 9×6?” does have an answer of 42… in base 13.

    You’re thinking, what’s the point, right? The point is, people ignore the truth if they have an underlying assumption that conflicts with that truth. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide, the character’s ignored the computer’s answer that 9×6 was equal to 42 because they assumed the computer was using base 10 and did the math wrong. False assumption –> wrong conclusion. MacArthur and other cessationists believe that the Gifts of the Spirit, specifically tongues and healing, do not operate today (an assumption that I disagree with), so they interpret all scripture with that filter, that initial bias. Those of us that have seen evidence of the gifts in operation would interpret the same scriptures differently because of our underlying assumptions and bias. And then we shoot barbs at each other, trying to prove who is right and who is wrong.

    What I have noticed for many years, when Christians stand and accuse each other of false beliefs, we may be correct in some portions of the truths we are standing on. However, it’s very likely that we have one foot firmly planted outside the truth, and we are basing our argument on a false assumption. Hence, MacArthur looks at abusive practices in charismatic/pentecostal circles and points at the false belief outside of the truth, but at the same time, his beliefs are rooted on what you and I would believe is a false assumption, that certain gifts are no longer in operation today.

    I know that I don’t have perfect understanding or knowledge. But I also know that no other human currently walking the earth does either. Therefore, I will try to practice grace when confronted with someone with differing beliefs, and hopefully we can come to a better understanding of each other. I wish John MacArthur would afford others that same manner of grace.

    I really liked your post. Amen and amen. And thanks.

  • Dan McM

    It probably also generated a lot of buzz because Rachel Held Evan’s recommended it as a read, and she has a pretty large readership.

    Great post. Thank you.

  • Mark

    Been reading the thread here, which has been interesting. What I got out of David’s blog was that people like John MacArthur, and in this case him specifically, act as if they believe that their personal theology comes straight from God – they are right, and everyone else is wrong. And I agree with David that this is an arrogant attitude to take. I can’t get any more upset with MacArthur for his stand on charismatics that I already do with his condemnation of everyone from all Catholics, to Muslims, to Billy Graham. It sounds great to say we should discern false doctrine and shun it, but when it comes right down to it, that should be an individual decision, and should be respected by others, even when disagreed with. As I do with your theology; because, (thank you Sabio), I “hold the weight of the Bible” a whole lot “lighter” than I discern you to.

  • Mark

    Or, 3) faith/theology/doctrine is in the eye and mind of the beholder.

    This big blue ball would be a lot better place if people were more respectful of each others’ differing perspectives, rather than having the larger part of 8 billion people all claiming to have the one true religion.

  • Mark

    I do agree that God speaks to us through the bible; but, it’s filtered through the understanding and then the communication of the fallible humans who wrote the scriptures, and then filtered again by you and me and all the other fallible humans who read it.

    Further, although the apologists try mightily to refute this, the bible is replete with contradictions – you’re going to have to go to another website to find any semblance of a choir to sing your song of biblical infallibility to.

    And finally, I, and I think most of the readers and commenters here also, believe that IF there is a God in the first place, that God speaks to us in a myriad of ways, the bible being only one.

  • Riley

    True theology does come from God. He has revealed himself in the Bible. It sounds like you’re saying a minister of the word should not do his job as described by God in Scripture.

    “It sounds great to say we should discern false doctrine and shun it, but when it comes right down to it, that should be an individual decision, and should be respected by others, even when disagreed with.”

    You do realize that this is precisely the role of a minister of the word, don’t you? To rightly divide the word of truth. The approach described above makes no sense. One could just as easily say that MacArthur’s position should be respected and not criticized by others.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    If you don’t have Dogma, you no longer have Christ. Dogma is what Christ taught. Doctrine is the theological development based on human experience from dogma. What most people actually complain about is DISCIPLINE- how individual preachers teach doctrine and dogma.

  • R Vogel

    Having been raised in the Charismatic movement and attended churches on both coast of the US from independent non-denominationals to Assemblies of G*d, I am sympathetic to criticisms of the movement. And for the record I was raised on a steady diet of how ‘mainstream’ (said with derision) Christianity was a harlot, so it’s hard to feel to much sympathy for them. I also know the shame one feels when a room full of people swoon, literally fall on the floor, in unison while you remain standing and the pressure you are put under as a young person to ‘speak in tongues’ because if you don’t you are looked down upon as not having the ‘gifts of the Spirit’
    But I digress. I think where John goes astray is not his criticism, but his declaring that they are of the devil, yeah? There is much to criticize and question in the movement, just as there is much to criticize in most movements, but there is such a thing as going too far. Mark Driscoll uses his national and state borders analogy in ‘Hellbound?’ but who gets to draw the boundaries? Him? His particular religious tradition? The history of Christianity is littered with one group of believers persecuting another. We can rightly criticize each other, but setting ourselves up a final judge gets pretty dicey. Since there is no commonly accepted authority – and please don’t tell me it’s the Bible, since that has produced no unity in Christianity in 2,000 years – then we have to approach things with a lot of humility and charity.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    It is only evasive nonsense if you refuse to understand the purpose of dogma, doctrine, and discipline, and the differences between them. Dogma is what Christ (or Buddha, or any other religious leader) taught. Doctrine are those human lessons we’ve learned over time trying to live under Dogma, and are usually about the mistakes made along the way (doctrine only develops by human actions that caused additional suffering that didn’t need to happen- doctrine is about teaching you NOT to do those things). Discipline is merely how preachers adapt doctrine and dogma to a given population that they are preaching to.

    99% of what people complain about in Doctrine, is really merely discipline- Doctrine taught incorrectly or in such a way that it can’t be understood. But there is still wisdom in doctrine, for those who, as Christ said, have ears to hear.

    A good example has been how homosexuality has bee handled since the 1800s. Sodomy used to be a relatively minor sin, no different than heterosexual extra-marital sex or pedastery. Then the psychiatrists and circus freak shows got a hold of it, and twisted gender confusion into something that needed to be discriminated against. Then in 1974, the reverse happened, gender confusion disorder was born, and homosexuality was removed from the DSM, and today, we’ve got people claiming that even sodomy is no longer a sin. Good doctrine destroyed by bad discipline.

  • Dan McM

    Fair enough. I don’t know what research they were using, but I just did a quick search on Wikipedia (I know, not the most reliable source, but it is the easiest to access) and found a site that gives counts within various denominations. Here’s the link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations_by_number_of_members

    On this page, it’s impossible to breakout which Catholics are pentecostal/charismatic, and I don’t know of the top of my head which groups are Word of Faith, etc. What I do know is, of the denominations that are listed as “Pentecostal”, the Assemblies of God is the largest denomination with 65 million. In the category below, Calvary Chapel and Vineyard, which would be both be considered charismatic, have 25 and 15 million respectively. I couldn’t find Foursquare on the list.

    Just those 3 denominations which I know from experience are NOT Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel add up to 105 million. Like I said, I haven’t seen the Strange FIre research, but if the 500 million that David referenced is the total, those three denominations alone make up more than 20%. Ergo, less than 90% remain…..

    My question coming back to you would be, does MacArthur lump all of the Assemblies of God into Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel? If so, then I would say he’s counting more heads under the various “errors” than he should.

  • Riley

    First of all, probably the majority in the movement are non-denominational/independent. Secondly, the groups you mention are not unaffected by word of faith and the prosperity gospel. It depends on the congregation. (I used to be AoG many years ago.) Note that the information presented was in worldwide, not just US, terms. Might I suggest examining the evidence presented in detail in the Strangefire book? Then you would know exactly what their conclusions were based on.

  • Dan McM

    (Shoot…. typed my reply once and lost it…. here goes again…)

    Fair enough. I don’t have access to the stats from Strange Fire, but did a quick search and found a wikipedia page that lists denomination size by headcount. I know wiki is not the most reliable, but I don’t have a reason to doubt these headcounts either. Here’s the link to the page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations_by_number_of_members

    On this page, Assemblies of God is the largest pentecostal denomination with 65 million. Calvary Chapel and Vineyard are in the category below pentecostal (nondenominational evangelical) with counts of 25 and 15 million respectively, and CC and Vineyard would both be considered charismatic.

    I have attended or been a part of CC/AG/Vineyard at different times of my life, so I know from first hand experience that they are not Word of Faith or Prosperity Gospel. Some of the Vineyards have had the reall wacky stuff going on which MacArthur is criticizing, but that is not the majority or the norm for Vineyard Fellowships.

    If you assume that 1/3 of the Vineyard falls into error (and I’m not saying that is the case, just simplifying the math), you still have 100 million between AG/CC/Vineyard. That is 20% of the 500 million total. So, I guess I mis-spoke when I said that those denominations made up the majority…. but they are among the largest denominations. If Strange Fire is saying that 90% of pentecostal/charismatic are Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel, I disagree with his stats.

  • Gary

    Perhaps you fail to understand my point. Let me try again. I believe the “dogma” which can be truly tied to Christ’s teaching to be a very small and limited subset of what many Christians consider incontrovertibly true, and most are in fact not required beliefs for a Christ follower. The religion of Christianity has taken countless doctrine (created by men) over the centuries and added them to the collection of what it considers true dogma. I.E., the belief by many posters here recently that the bible is inerrant. Your own example of sodomy is another perfect illustration. Sodomy is NOT a sin, (in the context of a loving relationship) but the doctrine of men seeks to make it such, even attempting to add it to some sort of sacred dogma. But the biblical basis for such a view does not even stand up to an honest biblical analysis, much less a societal one.

    This is why I say good doctrine becomes abusive dogma when right and wrong are no longer considered. The dogma of many concerning scriptural inerrancy becomes abusive when it attempts to justify genocide, infanticide, slaughter of innocents, slavery, homophobia, misogyny, and a host of other clearly immoral actions and/or beliefs on the basis that God MUST have said or done these things because a very barbaric bronze aged civilization grasping to understand God said He did, Thus the FALSE dogma becomes abusive in that there is no accounting for the basic principles of right and wrong.

    I have come to believe there is only one truly authentic dogma and it is the law of love. So universally understood is this God given truth that virtually all religions and/or societal constructs have some form of it in their value systems. Jesus Himself said that if we keep that one truth, we have not violated the law. I need no additional dogma, doctrine, and certainly not discipline.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Sodomy has been a sin since before Christ, in the time of our Jewish ancestors. But it isn’t limited to them; most agricultural and tribal societies ban sodomy.

    The Bible isn’t the only source on this- there are THOUSANDS of sources on the ban of homosexuality, but they have been suppressed and censored in modern times as men have invented a new doctrine- you are doing exactly what previous generations have done and you claim to deride them for.

    You in your postmodern hatred of history, of course, would have decided to rewrite dogma in favor of your own wishes. This isn’t love- it is hatred. You hate gays so much that you’d hide from them the true reasons, based in love, why homosexuality can be problematic.

    Your doctrine that “Sodomy is not a sin” is incredibly harmful, and encourages the spread of disease. I don’t blame you for that doctrine- you are only following the teachings of man. You rewrite the Bible to fit that doctrine, just as all the Protestants before you have; but that doesn’t erase the non-Biblical reasons to avoid sodomy one bit. You can’t cure AIDS by preaching the spread of AIDS.

  • Gary

    Hmm…seems you have chosen to ignore and/or distort everything I have said and launch into a tirade of false accusations and blatant judgmentalism against me. Typical.

    Sodomy was ONLY a sin to our Jewish ancestors in the same way as was blending fabrics and eating shellfish. Come on man…drop the nonsense. I think it is cute how you accuse me of having a hatred of history in the very context of making up your own history to suit your needs. LOL And your paranoid claims of disease are right out of the pages of the rabid fundamentalist playbook.

    I normally would take the time to discuss the homosaexual issue with you…but your ignorance is just too profound and your contempt too ugly. And your dialogue is not two directional and respectful in the least. You simply use every comment as nothing but a springboard to launch your next tirade of ignorant rhetoric.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    “Sodomy was ONLY a sin to our Jewish ancestors in the same way as was blending fabrics and eating shellfish. ”

    Correct. And given the shellfish that exist in the Black Sea, there was darn good reason for that taboo, and given pre-industrial methods of preservation, there’s good reason for the blended fabrics problem too.

    The claim of disease comes not from the Bible- but from the United States Center for Disease Control:
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/ngmHAAD2010PressRelease.html

    It is YOUR ignorance that is extremely profound, and in your ignorance, your contempt for historical taboos is extremely ugly and downright bigoted. Stop assuming that nobody has a reason for taboos, and maybe you’ll one day be able to “dialogue” in truth rather than just repeat a bunch of ignorant lies.

  • Gary

    You are consistent…I’ll give you that. Disease associated with sexuality (of any kind) is primarily associated with reckless behavior…not consensual committed relationships. You know that. And since your logic seems to be that since we NOW have methods to eat shellfish safely and blend fabrics (safely?) that it is ok for us to do so. Of course you allow no such equal treatment for homosexuality. And a bigot calling me a bigot? Now that may be your biggest whopper you’ve told yet. I am laughing my fucking ass off at you. I was willing to have a dialogue with you until you began condemning and attacking me and making it personal attacks at that. No more…now you can simply fuck off.

  • Martin Smith

    I don’t know about this John MacArthur guy, but I remember where it all started, let me take you back in time …

    ~~~~~~> to the Kansas City profits, whoops, prophets. That Charismatic movement ended as a total farce, in the end a “prophet” would stand on stage and guess the phone numbers of members of the audience… I don’t say random members of the audience, because of course they could not do that. LOL…. OH THE ANOINTING.

    ~~~~~~> a little later we have the Toronto Vineyard, another choice “Move of God”, which in the end degenerated into members of the audience making animal noises. Yes, THE LORD GOD WAS RUNNING A BARNYARD SIMULATION IN CHURCH. oh the newness, oh the freshness.

    ~~~~~~> only a few years ago, the Charismatics unleashed Todd Bentley, a man covered head to toe with tattoos. It turns out that GOD TOLD HIM TO DO IT. God also told him to kick an old woman in the head, he also routinely heard from angels and as it turned out, could not keep his penis in his pants.

    These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm–shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted–twice dead.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    In the end, the truth will be revealed to you, I just pray that God will shed light in your heart and understanding so you will be standing on the right side.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I think the best MacArthur could do in telling who is going to hell is to consult a Magic 8 Ball sitting atop his favorite bible and let the Holy Spirit control which message floats to the top.

    He would probably need to do it individually for each person he wants to know the answer.

    Is X going to hell?

    It is certain
    It is decidedly so
    Without a doubt
    Yes definitely
    You may rely on it
    As I see it yes
    Most likely
    Outlook good
    Yes
    Signs point to yes
    Reply hazy try again
    Ask again later
    Better not tell you now
    Cannot predict now
    Concentrate and ask again
    Don’t count on it
    My reply is no
    My sources say no
    Outlook not so good
    Very doubtful

  • Mark

    What I’m saying is that there are literally millions of ordained ministers out there; and, it’s up to each of us to weigh their advice and decide if it is the truth or not. Ultimately we are responsible for our own decisions. You have made a CHOICE to take a pretty literal interpretation of the bible. I am out near the other end of the spectrum. Your choice, my choice. You can make that choice after some very careful thought and study (and not only of the bible), or you can take the easy way, and just accept whatever you’ve been fed. Or even something in between. But the choice of what is truth is solely yours to decide – for YOU.

    But you know what? You’re right. I should respect your decision to go with truth as you see it, and I should respect John MacArthur’s. And I do respect your right to your beliefs. I guess I just get upset when people like MacArthur claim to have all the answers, and fail to acknowledge that others’ interpretations and beliefs might have merit. Nobody has all the answers, and that, by the way, is my first decider on truth vs. false doctrine – those that claim to have the one true faith immediately fail my truth test.

    This is just too draining. I don’t have the energy nor desire to explain my position any longer. I get that you believe you’re on the one true path. So, have a good life, Riley. Eat whatever your minister gives you and don’t question it.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    But you are decieved if you think you can choose and pick what to believe, that is putting your will before God’s will. How can Jesus be Lord of your life when you fail to put Him first. How can Jesus be Lord of your life when you cuss, swear, and say hatefull things to people that aren’t even doing or saying anything hateful to you? To try and correct someone that is in error is looking out for their soul, not being hateful. Taking it as hate is the deciever working his thing in you. YOu accuse me of arrogent pride and being self righteous, the only thing that makes me righteous is Jesus living in me, it is because of Him I can go through long suffering, and be persecuted and hated against and still give back love, and peace. I pray that you wake up to the errors of your ways, and i pray on a daily basis that God leads me and corrects me in the error of my ways. If all you have is hate in your heart from the truth, then its clear that you need to make room in your heart for God, because someone filled with His spirit would not be reacting the way you are.

  • Joshua Barbosa

    Since when did i say that i worship the Bible? Believing that the Bible is the Word of God is an act of faith, not worship. You are decieved to think this. What a false accusation you come with.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I also know that due to the statistics, homosexual relationships (and in fact, heterosexual relationships outside of sacramental marriage) are rarely committed. At all.

    Divorce is common among heterosexuals, what makes you think it will be any less common among homosexuals? And the same statistics don’t lie- Men having sex with men is a lot riskier than monogamous heterosexuality *even in supposed committed relationships*.

    Actually, we still don’t have a method to make it safe to eat Black Sea shellfish (or shellfish from several other locations in the world, such as the Port of Los Angeles, for the same reason).

    My point is that you’ve judged people in the past without actually thinking about WHY they’ve taught what they’ve taught. Or even asking the question.

  • Gary

    And there it is. In the end…when a fundy can no longer appeal to reason they bring out the veiled (or not so veiled) threat of their BIG BULLY GOD who will get me for sincerely believing the wrong things.

    Spare me!!!

  • Gary

    No…I really mean fuck off.

  • Gary

    You are really not paying attention or what? Do you deny all the personal attacks? Enough of your condemnation…you can take your rebukes and seriously blow them out your ass!!!

  • Sheila Warner

    I was born and raised in a Fundamentalist family, went to church twice on Sundays, and Wednesdays for prayer meeting. I asked Jesus into my heart at an altar call when I was in second grade. I accepted all of the theology hook, line, and sinker. It was in reading through the KJV of the Bible way back in 1984, that I was jarred at what I was seeing. The theology I had been taught came through cherry picking of passages and/or verses. I have a brain and it kicked in big time. It took me 20 years to enter Roman Catholicism. It was a very long quest at a variety of Protestant churches that led me to Catholicism. The Roman Catholic church teaches that we cannot go to heaven without following Jesus, who died for our sins and then rose again. No one gets to heaven apart from Christ’s finished work. That is such a huge misunderstanding among Protestants: that Catholics do not receive Jesus. Some of the most devoted followers of Jesus I have ever seen are in my parish. The Bible is how we know God’s mind, but let’s face it–one’s interpretation of it depends on the teacher one sits under for instruction. Too many denominations with too many opposing doctrines for me.

  • Sheila Warner

    Yes, God’s ways are higher than ours. I trust Him explicitly. What I don’t trust are pastors who cherry pick the Bible. In my parish, as in all Catholicism, we have a three year cycle of Bible readings. At the end of the three years we have read nearly the entire Bible. There is always a reading from the OT & the NT, as well as an epistle and also a Psalm (which is sung in a responsorial way.) We are Bible saturated. The OT reading is paired with a NT reading that brings out the meaning of the OT. I know more about the Bible after nearly 10 years as a Catholic, than I knew up to my 49th birthday. Remember that your interpretation is only as good as the one who interprets/explains/expounds it for you from the pulpit. If s/he is wrong in that interpretation, so are you. The Catholic Church does not condemn homosexuality. But it does teach that homosexuals should remain celibate.

  • Sheila Warner

    Do you have a pastor? Does he teach straight from the Bible? Do you take heed of what he says? Then you are leaning on a pastor to understand the Bible. If you only read the Bible yourself, and don’t go to church, there is no way you can understand what it says on your own. Difficult passages that I come across I have always taken to a pastor for clarification. I recognize and hold in respect the years in which the pastor has studied the Bible. On my own, I’m lost. Of course the Holy Spirit helps me, but the Holy Spirit also gave me a pastor. That’s the authority on earth established when God gave out different gifts to different people It’s all in the Bible, by the way.

  • Sheila Warner

    No, that is a closed circle. It’s been awhile since I read through the entire Bible. I read all of the OT in 2011, and parts of the NT since. I need to go back and find the contradictions. How can one decide which contradiction is the right one? And, further, why would there be contradictions in an infallible book?

  • Sheila Warner

    Me, too. That’s why I converted to Catholicism at the ripe old age of 49.

  • Sheila Warner

    Suffer not the little children to come to me. That was Jesus. He was saying do not hinder the children. We Catholics baptize our infants. That’s how much we value them, and want them to be a Christian.

  • Sheila Warner

    Yes he did! Listen to his opening speech at the start of the convention. He said there are 500 million charismatics. He goes on to state why (in his opinion) worshiping the charismatic way blasphemes the Holy Spirit. That is the unforgiveable sin. As long as a person remains in a charismatic church, he is blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, he doesn’t explain why those coming out of the charismatic churches can be redeemed, if they have committed the unforgiveable sin. Remember that he said the fires of hell are hotter for charismatics. He did indeed send them to hell in how he presented his material. He is arrogant, to think that he can know with certainty the eternal fate of anyone’s soul.

  • Sheila Warner

    Don’t forget that the Bible says we were predestined to do good works. Ephesians 1:4-5

  • Sheila Warner

    And, once again, this type of fighting over doctrine within Protestantism is why I left it. Who has the “right” interpretation of the Bible? Those that practice infant baptism, or those who are Anabaptists? Those that speak in tongues or those who think it is demonic? Those that believe in eternal security come hell or high water, or those who believe one can walk away from the faith and go to hell? Those who believe in the Rapture, or those who don’t? It all gave me heartburn. Still does.

  • Sheila Warner

    Rightly dividing the word of truth involves cooperating with the Holy Spirit to avoid errors, right? So, again, my question is this: if the Holy Spirit is the author of truth, because he is the spirit of Christ (which I believe) then how is it that he is teaching differing doctrines to various denominations? Is he purposely trying to bring division and confusion in the Church? Is he unsure of himself with certain pastors? Has he lied when he inspired these ministers in how they “rightly” divide the word of truth? Of course not. Someone has to be correct and that means others have to be incorrect. This is the main reason I left Protestantism.

  • Sheila Warner

    You really should back off. Even a devout Christian can be pushed to the point of swearing. If you tell someone their interpretation of the Bible is wrong, if you call them deceived, if you question the legitimacy of their belief constantly, then why won’t they be angry? You can say those things with as charitable words as you like, but the recipient only hears the ugly words: deceived, not having Jesus as your Lord, wrong, etc.. You can state why you believe what you do, but to call someone out the way you have done is counter-productive.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    If you are implying that being Catholic solves all the docternal infighting within Protestantism, I view the Catholic Church as merely another Christian denomination alongside all the other ones. I don’t view the Catholics as being “of a different kind”. It is just the largest “denomination”.

  • Sheila Warner

    Nothing will change the infighting within Protestantism when it comes to doctrine. I don’t see the Catholic Church as just another denomination. Until Martin Luther, it was the only Christian Church. It is the first Church, closest to Jesus’ time. I trust its teachings on the Bible, (plus, we get to have more books in our Bible! that’s a joke). If you see the Catholic Church as just another denomination, you are free to view it that way. I don’t. I think it is distinct from Protestantism. But what you believe about my faith has no bearing on me, personally. I get weary of all the cat fights within Protestantism on here and elsewhere because only my daughter & I are the only Catholics in our family. It gets old being attacked. Protestants just have to try to jam their point of view down my throat, and just won’t let me live in peace.

  • Riley

    That is a false dichotomy which muddies the water of Scriptural authority. Scripture is the word of Christ. Its authority is based upon His authority.

  • geoffrobinson

    You’re not being precise here. No one is stating that Augustine is exactly like Macarthur. I was trying to get you to focus on questions about election.

  • geoffrobinson

    I think their judgement is that the majority are seeking after signs and/or a prosperity message and aren’t showing fruits of the Spirit. A very negative assessment? Yes. Condemning all of them to hell? No.

  • Riley

    Calvin would not rank the unconditionality of Predestination among those doctrines necessary to be believed for salvation. I know of hardly no Calvinists who would not rank Arminius and Wesley among the saints. If you’re looking to find out what they are, I suggest the Westminster Assembly’s “Sum of Saving Knowledge”

  • Riley

    God has chosen and appointed heralds to carry his message to the world. They are fallible. However, where they are speaking in line with the Holy Scriptures, in the execution of their office, it is to be taken as the very word of God to us.

  • Riley

    There aren’t any contradictions in the Bible, Sheila.

  • Riley

    The Holy Spirit is not teaching different doctrines to different denominations, but some are listening better than others. We can judge the teaching of any church in light of the Holy Scriptures. And by this standard, Rome falls far short.

  • Riley

    You claim that it is a lie but have yet to demonstrate such.

  • Riley

    It is remarkable what unity in faith there is between Christians of many denominations who take the Bible seriously. This is a testament to the perspecuity of Scripture.

  • Riley

    Our only Head is Christ. And his vicar on earth is the Holy Spirit, Who speaks in His word. This is sufficient to guide us into all truth.

  • Riley

    The Holy Spirit is the One testifying in the Scriptures. They are of Him. Yes, God makes Christians, through His word, the Spirit illuminating the mind to understand those things taught in it.

  • Riley

    The Church understood the Trinity ever since the disciples witnessed Christ’s baptism in the early chapters of the gospels. What happened later was a clarification of language and terminology used to describe the doctrine in response to those who did not believe it.

  • Riley

    It is impossible to accept Christ without a knowledge of sin, because one who is not a sinner does not need a savior. Unless, that is, he is merely received a talisman, buddy, or good luck charm, but that is not true faith. Without sin, you have not need for a Savior. Without knowing your need for Him, you cannot receive Him.

  • Riley

    The rule is perfect. The results will be perfect, to the extent that the rule is used correctly. The imperfection of the results is not a blight on the rule, but on the imperfect implementation of it. This rule encourages us to be dilligent students of God’s word, knowing that it can’t lead us astray.

  • Gary

    No he very plainly stated he thought they were not in Christ, their theology was demonic, and would join satan in a “hotter hell”.

    Why would you seek to defend such behavior?

  • Riley

    Thank you for informing me that I am not a serious student of the Bible. All this time, I thought I was! How many hours a day do you study the Bible in the original languages, and how many graduate level courses have you taken on the Bible? I wanna know how much more it’s gonna take for me to become a serious student. Thanks!

  • Gary

    Nonsense. I posted two excellent links already which identify a large number of them. It really is not difficult to find contradictions…they are very plain in fact and quite abundant. Why would you simply pretend otherwise? What intellectual integrity is there in blatantly denying very obvious factual evidence?

  • Gary

    Bullshit and condescension does little to mask your clear and non-objective bias!

  • Mark

    I respectfully disagree. I believe we choose our own heralds. We read and/or listen to Marcus Borg, or John MacArthur, John Shelby Spong or Mark Driscoll, Rob Bell or Fred Phelps. Every one of them makes a case for their theology, and we each choose based on how the messages speak to us. We surely choose differently, you and I; but, that doesn’t make yours OR mine more “true.”

    I’m just suggesting that you consider there are many valid interpretations of the bible, and that God can love and speak to people of different faiths as well as fundamentalist Christians.

  • Mark

    What do you consider the important doctrines, and what are they, with your certainty? The Trinity, which didn’t become doctrine for 300 years? Speaking in tongues, which the charismatics are “certain” is biblical, and John MacArthur is “certain” is not? Come on, Riley, you have to know that there is disagreement over just about every doctrine in Christianity. That’s why there are so many denominations.

    God should have been more clear to His scripture writers, so we could have avoided all this confusion and dissent.

  • Riley

    Perhaps because the supposed contradictions were all “found” by people who understand very little of what they are reading, have not tried very hard to understand the Scriptures or reconcile what might at first glance appear contradictory, have hidden agendas, and are overall interpreting the Bible in a lazy and sloppy fashion. Their points are not sufficiently credible to even warrant a response. If someone wants to get a little more traction claiming that the Bible has contradictions, they’d better work at it a little harder. Do some homework in order to be taken seriously. This stuff is just laughable.

  • Riley

    God chooses who will speak for Him. The discerning hearer will learn to discern the true appointees from the impostors by comparing their message with God’s written word.

  • Riley

    There is remarkably little disagreement on the cardinal doctrines of Scripture among those who take the Bible seriously. For a summary of what these are, I would point you to the Westminster Assembly’s “Sum of Saving Knowledge”, available to read online.

  • Gary

    Seriously? Exact quotes of numbers that are different? A host of direct contradictions are present that those like you who engage in biblioletry simply deny and/or come up with outlandish and very untenable explanations simply because of a clear agenda. You can believe I have done my homework and I find the explanations offered by biblical literalists and inerrancy types to be not just ridiculous but extremely insulting.

    Do your own homework and join the majority of the Christian faith which recognizes that the bible is not inerrant if YOU want to be taken seriously. You are what is laughable.

    Here is one study from a very unbiased source that offers much opportunity for education. Only you can decide if you are willing.

    http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/inerrant.html#Introduction

  • Gary

    “Hell isn’t a punishment, it is a mercy…”

    Say WHAT???

  • geoffrobinson

    Because I actually listened to the conference and I heard actual portions with my own ears where all Charismatics weren’t declared to be non-Christians.

  • Gary

    So your point seems to be that since he declared a number that is somewhat smaller than 500 million it is therefor ok?

  • Sheila Warner

    I can think of one right off the bat. When God passed Moses by, declaring his name to Moses, God states that he will visit the sins of the father onto the next three or four generations. Later in the OT, God says that children will not be held accountable for the sins of the father. Which is it?

  • Sheila Warner

    “Some are listening better”. Who would those people be? Those that agree with you? Circular reasoning on display here. Your own interpretation of the Bible is only as valid as the pastor who interprets it for you from the pulpit.

  • Sheila Warner

    It’s equally as amazing that there is quite a bit that divides, to the point of vicious fighting between denominations a la John MacArthur’s attack. This is a testament to fallible teachers claiming to have the “right” interpretation of the Bible. The Church is the foundation and pillar of the truth, not mere men.

  • Riley

    The sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children and grandchildren. Yet they will not suffer for the sins of the father: the grandchildren will suffer for their own sins. The doctrine of Original Sin taught in Scripture clears this one up. The children and grandchildren are not innocent, but bear their own guilt, so it is not unjust for God to visit the sins of the father upon them. For many of these supposed or alleged contradictions, you have to do some homework to reconcile it, but usually those who bring them up are not interested in reconciling apparent contradictions. So they end up spouting out based on a superficial and lazy reading of Scripture. No one would be taken seriously taking other books this way.

  • Sheila Warner

    Then how can you say it is acceptable for a large portion of doctrine to be agreed upon by various denominations, but still disagree on others? Where is this “all truth” to which you allude?

  • Sheila Warner

    Clarification of language and terminology. Hmmm. Sounds like Sacred Tradition to me, since the word trinity is nowhere found in the NT.

  • Riley

    These days I am rarely privileged with hearing a sermon. Usually, I’m the one preaching. I wish I could hear a man of God preaching more often, like I used to. The ones who are listening better are the ones who are teaching and following the Scriptures more consistently. Duh!

  • Sheila Warner

    So, which “rule” on baptism is correctly implemented? The one that dunks, or the one that pours? And, if Christians are permitted to disagree on such a basic doctrine, which side is “right” and which side is “wrong”? What about praying in tongues? Who really has the ear of God? Don’t you see that contradictions in doctrine and practices really damages the Body of Christ? What is a non believe supposed to think?

  • Sheila Warner

    Are you in school right now? Or do you spend all those hours each day in study at home? If you are in school, which school did you choose and why? You’ve already rejected the Catholic Church out of hand. What made you decide that? It has to be from your choice of church. So, your pastors and teachers are really the guides for how you view Scripture. You state the the Catholic Church is “wrong”. So, how about other denominations which do not adhere to your own interpretation of the Bible? Are they all wrong, too? Circular, circular, circular, is the reasoning behind “sola Scriptura.”

  • Sheila Warner

    Well stated. And, the basic reason why it was my choice to leave Protestantism. Notice that I have not tried to convert others to my faith on here; I have only explained why I made my choice. People choose who their interpreters of the Bible are. They have a mindset which is predisposed to a certain way of reading the Bible, then join the proverbial church which is then preached to.

  • Sheila Warner

    Okay then, let’s focus just on one. If God never changes, then why did he say, in the same OT, that he visits the sins of the fathers to successive generations, then says each individual person is only responsible for his own sins? Why isn’t that a contradiction?

  • Riley

    I could answer those questions. But thankfully, having the correct answer to either is not among those doctrines which are necessary to be believed for salvation. I think they are sufficiently clear from Scripture, but I admit that there are doctrines in Scripture which are even more clear. A lot of it has to do with the hermeneutic with which one approaches Scripture. If you come to it reverently to learn from God in His inerrant word, with just a little dilligence, those doctrines necessary to be believed for salvation are more than sufficiently clear. Yes, it is troubling that there are divisions, even between true Bible-believing churches. I tend to think God has allowed divisions to keep us humble.

  • Sheila Warner

    How do you know that God has chosen a specific person to speak for him? What about pastors who preach one thing, and then later are found to be partaking in the very sins against which they preach? Were their sermons valid as long as the congregation didn’t know about the secret sinning? Does that mean that God chose sinners to preach? And, if preachers are sinners, how do we know for certain that they are giving us the “right” interpretation? By comparing their words to what we have chosen to believe the Bible says? If our interpretations are off base, how does God make that known to us? Or are we infallible once we pick a certain interpretation to follow? Using the Bible as one’s sole authority is, again, a closed circle. Even the Bible doesn’t say it is the sole authority.

  • Riley

    You would know based on their gifts to edify the body, and the purity of their doctrine and life. No, the uncleaness vessel does not invalidate the word preached, because preachers preach Christ, not themselves. But it does mean he should be disciplined and perhaps consider stepping down depending on the offense. God ALWAYS chooses sinners to preach because we are all sinners. You would know the correct interpretation in the same way with any preaching–by validating the word preached with the word written. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. He is active in bringing us to a better understanding of the Scriptures over time, for all of God’s elect.

  • Riley

    God speaks for Himself in the Scriptures, and we are obligated to listen. There is no circularity in that. Any infantile Christian can see based on studying the Scriptures that Rome does not teach what the Bible teaches on many key topics. I am no longer in school, thank God. Yes, I spend several hours studying the Scriptures every day because it is my calling. May the Triune God richly bless you.

  • Sheila Warner

    “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” You say: “The doctrine of Original Sin taught in Scripture clears this one up. The children and grandchildren are not innocent, but bear their own guilt, so it is not unjust for God to visit the sins of the father upon them.” So, explain this: in Ezekiel, God separates the sins of the father from the sins of the son. If the father sins, but the son does not, the father’s sin does not pass to the son. There is a nuance here that is not in Exodus. Oh, and by the way, the doctrine of original sin is not described until the NT, in which Paul puts forth the notion of Adam and the New Adam. On its face, the Bible contradicts the nature of God. In the OT an adulterous woman was condemned to death, but in the NT the adulterous woman was not condemned by Jesus. There is nothing in the NT that states the woman was repentant when brought before Christ. On its face, it looks like Jesus, God in the flesh, has changed the Law. You can in depth all you want from the Hebrew and Greek, but there are passages which defy explanation on their faces. In my hermeneutics class in college, I was taught that the first reading is the sense in which it is to be taken, if that first reading makes common sense. So, it’s not a lack of common sense reading of that NT passage to say that Jesus went against the Law with the adulterous woman. If the Holy Spirit guides us poor peons without fancy ancient language degrees of the Bible into “all” truth, then how do you explain all of this? Is a diligent reading of the Bible really superficial and lazy, or should we all sign up for Hebrew and Greek? Your reasoning is still circular. Either the Holy Spirit can guide everyone in whatever state he may be in, or the Holy Spirit cannot do so.

  • Sheila Warner

    You honestly believe that the average layperson is not listening to his pastor? Wow, that’s very arrogant of you. So, only a 1) preacher who teaches what you believe or 2) a person in the pew who agrees with what you preach are the only two categories of people who listen carefully to what their own pastors preach? And, if you miss hearing sermons so much, go online. Lots of preachers put their sermons on the Internet. You need not go without. Of course, you might find a problem finding your own point of view out there. However, I doubt that. There are lots of people just like you putting forth their views on the Internet. You dismiss out of hand millions of people who study the Bible seriously, just because they don’t reach your own conclusions.

  • Sheila Warner

    Well, my story is this: I became very concerned at what I saw happening in Christianity. I remember asking God about how the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, could be giving “wrong” teaching to some denominations, and “right” teaching to others. You are blithe to blow off teaching which you claim is not necessary to salvation. For example, the charismatics with whom I attended church for a time, believed that speaking in tongues was the proof that you had the Holy Spirit. I was raised that a person who is born again automatically gets the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is not just some minor doctrine, for we cannot please God unless we walk in the Spirit. Or, so I was taught. Who gets to decide which doctrine is important for salvation and the ultimate obedience to Christ which God demands? I know you don’t believe that Roman Catholicism is true, but we believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. That’s a major departure from the sole Fide crowd. And, we believe salvation is a process, not a static occurrence. There are some Protestants denominations which hold that view, too, eg. the Nazarenes. You just can’t quite admit that who you choose as your pastor, or which church you choose to attend, plays a major role in how you interpret the Bible. It all comes down to other people.

  • Sheila Warner

    “You would know the correct interpretation in the same way with any preaching–by validating the word preached with the word written.” The word written can be interpreted in more than one way. For example, the written word has much to say about speaking in tongues, yet some pastors believe that speaking in tongues is no longer done. So, depending on how you personally feel about what the Bible has written, you would either accept or reject the preaching of any particular pastor based on your own interpretation of what the Bible really says in the text. You act as if the Holy Spirit automatically, simultaneously, interprets a wide variety of truth, which is then either accepted or rejected by pastors and laypeople based on–what the Bible says. Circles.

  • Sheila Warner

    “God speaks for Himself in the Scriptures, and we are obligated to listen.” Funny thing, because Rome uses the Bible for its doctrine, too. Calling Christians “infantile” who understand Roman Catholic doctrine, really is insulting. I would never say you are infantile for choosing to follow what you think God is speaking when you read the Bible. I was raised a Fundamentalist, believed in Bible-alone authority, faith-alone salvation, and once-saved-always-saved for decades. When I asked God to show me his truth, because all of the contradictions in doctrine were of deep concern to me, he led me to the Catholic Church. I believe it is the first Church, the Body of Christ, and that I can trust the doctrine. That’s my story. I would never go around telling those who disagree with me that they are infantile, superficial, or lazy. John 17 clearly prohibits such behavior.

  • Riley

    Sheila, you’re overreaching. An “added nuance” is not a contradiction. When the NT makes the case for Original Sin, what is the basis of its argument? Where do its quotations come from?

    “Is a diligent reading of the Bible really superficial and lazy, or should we all sign up for Hebrew and Greek?”

    It would be good if everyone could. Nevertheless, it is good for people to have translations in their own language they can study.

    You were not being very diligent with your English Bible in way you presented the texts you quoted above. You said, “on its face” without even making an attempt to understand the various passages in harmony. This is part of the laziness and superficiality problem I’m talking about.

    “Either the Holy Spirit can guide everyone in whatever state he may be in, or the Holy Spirit cannot do so.”

    The Holy Spirit is an able guide, but has chosen to guide some to salvation while passing by others. And, among the elect, He has chosen to guide them to varying levels of truth, for His own purposes. Nevertheless, for all of God’s elect, they may sufficiently understand those things which are necessary to be believed for salvation, the Holy Spirit assisting them, from the Scriptures, without relying on any pretended infallible human interpreters.

  • Riley

    It wasn’t God. It was another spirit.

  • Riley

    Where you’re going wrong is that my belief is not based on my interpretation. It’s based on the Bible’s own interpretation of itself. The Bible is its own interpreter. I would gladly change my view on anything if convinced by the Holy Spirit speaking in the Bible. It’s not about feelings.

  • Riley

    But we are not to blindly accept the teaching of any Church, but to follow the example of the Bereans. Note that I never said that doctrines on which genuine Christians may disagree are not important. Anything God has revealed is important. But we are in the process of coming to a greater understanding. And it’s the Holy Spirit who Christ left as His vicar to lead His people into all truth, not the pope of Rome.

  • Riley

    An online recording is not a sermon. It is merely an audio recording of a sermon. Big difference from being there during the event. They should listen to their pastors, with a high degree of trust, but not with blind uncritical faith.

  • Sheila Warner

    On its face is not laziness–there’s that pejorative rhetoric again! Indeed it was the first principle of hermeneutics I was taught at Philadelphia College of the Bible (now Philadelphia Biblical University). When the first sense makes sense, seek no other sense. Do you ever stop insulting those with whom you disagree?

  • Sheila Warner

    Oh, now you imply that God didn’t lead me to the Roman Catholic Church? Because, of course, you don’t believe the Roman Catholic Church teaches the “right” doctrine, according to your interpretation of the revised Bible (down from 73 to 66 books)? And, of course, if someone else has a different interpretation of the Bible, that person is necessarily lazy and superficial. Okay, I got it. God said, Riley believes it, and that settles it for anyone who isn’t an imbecile, lazy, or superficial. smh What really cracks me up is that you have set yourself up as the arbiter of what is or is not necessary for salvation according to your interpretation, and those doctrines with which you disagree 1) are in error, and 2) not from God. I am in awe–I have never spoken for so long with a person who truly does have the ear of God.

  • Sheila Warner

    Well, I said that my faith is also based on the Bible. But, according to you, the interpretation of the Bible on which I rely is, well–lazy, superficial, etc. etc. etc. Your interpretation of the Bible was not something you decided for yourself. You had to have had a source or sources that guided you into the faith you now possess. How did you decide that the Roman Catholic Church is “wrong” it its interpretation of the Bible? We read (mostly) the same Bible and have differing interpretations of it. Don’t forget that it was the original Catholic Church which decided the canon of the NT used by Protestants. Remember, too, that the Bible says of itself that all Scripture is given by inspiration. It never said that only Scripture is given by inspiration. There are other sources of inspired doctrine.

  • Gary

    And therein lies one of the fundamental problems with all who proclaim the bible supports their views. Everyone who differs with their interpretation must be lazy, stupid, uneducated, or lead by a demonic spirit. Any other explanation for the disagreement would mean that there is no scriptural authority for their chosen belief. Arrogance and condemnation is not just a character flaw…it is an absolute requirement for their belief.

  • Sheila Warner

    You are correct, Gary. I used to be a condemning, arrogant person. By the grace of God or whatever you believe in, I was able to change. No way would I ever accuse those with whom I disagree to be lazy or stupid or uneducated. Adults understand that there are differences in all areas of life, and we respect those differences in each other. I have not been in someone else’s skin, so I cannot judge.

  • Guest

    Actually the Bible says that the Spirit leads the children of men, and Jesus says those who belong to Him will be known by their love for one another. What you have said is not actually Scripture, but tradition.

    Scripture also tells us to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead. Do you follow this? Because this is actually what the commission is. Jesus didn’t say get people saved.

    He said, preach the good news of the Kingdom. He told us to build His Kingdom and He would build His church. He mentioned Kingdom 85x and church 2x.

    Also…

    Where does Jesus actually say to quibble over what you believe the Scripture says? In fact, doesn’t Jesus tell the Pharisees that they search in vain in the Scriptures, because the Scriptures POINT to Him.

    Scripture also tells us, that everything Jesus has done couldn’t not be contained in all of the pages of the Bible. Jesus also tells us, there are MANY things that I can not tell you now, but the Holy Spirit will guide you in truth later.

    If you think, the Holy Spirits role is merely dividing what Scripture says, you might want to pray and search the Scriptures for this.

    Finally, David was quite adept in his handling of the situation, showing that MacAuthur’s Scripture usage could actually have been aimed at himself.

    Why? Because it is tradition and man’s interpretation that is trying to force Scripture to say what they wish.

    But to take the stance that other loving children of God are going to hell because they have a different interpretation of Scripture than you is the epitome of pride.

    This is like the Pharisees thinking they are defending God as they murder Christians. With these words, they are murdering the children of God. How far will it go? How far will love be stretched? I wonder, when it will be okay to crucify believers who think differently? When will we see love that grows cold, will there be faith left on the Earth when He returns?

    Jesus told us that we would be persecuted, not by the world, but by the religious traditionals. White washed tombs, they wear suits on the outside, have clean pretty churches, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

    There is nothing wrong with suits or clean churches, but there is quite a lot wrong with not showing love.

    Because God Himself is love, and He is inside of us and it is by these fruits we shall know who belongs to Him, not by one’s theology.

    We are all growing and learning. Discovering new things about God Himself and the Word He wrote to us. But, we must not value our interpretations of Scripture above love and each other!

    We can know all things, know all mysteries, but if we do not have love, we amount to nothing.

    What is love? 1 Co 13:1-8 is a nice refresher course, we should apply this to all of our actions, thoughts, and beliefs… afterwards we should also apply it to those who try to teach us… do they support love? Do they maximize it or minimize it? If not, what do they truly have to teach us about God? Who is love, Himself.

    Let us be unified as one, trust the Holy Spirit in us to guide us, and let our love be what separates us from the world.

    In doing so, we preach Christ.

    C.

  • christopherdittemore

    Actually the Bible says that the Spirit leads the children of God, and Jesus says those who belong to Him will be known by their love for one another. What you have said is not actually Scripture, but tradition.

    Scripture also tells us to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead. Do you follow this? Because this is actually what the commission is. Jesus didn’t say get people saved.

    He said, preach the good news of the Kingdom. He told us to build His Kingdom and He would build His church. He mentioned Kingdom 85x and church 2x.

    Also…

    Where does Jesus actually say to quibble over what you believe the Scripture says? In fact, doesn’t Jesus tell the Pharisees that they search in vain in the Scriptures, because the Scriptures POINT to Him.

    Scripture also tells us, that everything Jesus has done couldn’t not be contained in all of the pages of the Bible. Jesus also tells us, there are MANY things that I can not tell you now, but the Holy Spirit will guide you in truth later.

    If you think, the Holy Spirits role is merely dividing what Scripture says, you might want to pray and search the Scriptures for this.

    Finally, David was quite adept in his handling of the situation, showing that MacAuthur’s Scripture usage could actually have been aimed at himself.

    Why? Because it is tradition and man’s interpretation that is trying to force Scripture to say what they wish.

    But to take the stance that other loving children of God are going to hell because they have a different interpretation of Scripture than you is the epitome of pride.

    This is like the Pharisees thinking they are defending God as they murder Christians. With these words, they are murdering the children of God. How far will it go? How far will love be stretched? I wonder, when it will be okay to crucify believers who think differently? When will we see love that grows cold, will there be faith left on the Earth when He returns?

    Jesus told us that we would be persecuted, not by the world, but by the religious traditionals. White washed tombs, they wear suits on the outside, have clean pretty churches, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

    There is nothing wrong with suits or clean churches, but there is quite a lot wrong with not showing love.

    Because God Himself is love, and He is inside of us and it is by these fruits we shall know who belongs to Him, not by one’s theology.

    We are all growing and learning. Discovering new things about God Himself and the Word He wrote to us. But, we must not value our interpretations of Scripture above love and each other!

    We can know all things, know all mysteries, but if we do not have love, we amount to nothing.

    What is love? 1 Co 13:1-8 is a nice refresher course, we should apply this to all of our actions, thoughts, and beliefs… afterwards we should also apply it to those who try to teach us… do they support love? Do they maximize it or minimize it? If not, what do they truly have to teach us about God? Who is love, Himself.

    Let us be unified as one, trust the Holy Spirit in us to guide us, and let our love be what separates us from the world.

    In doing so, we preach Christ.

    C.

  • Murray Scott

    It would seem that grace is just a theory to MacArthur and not an actual experience of the influence of the Divine upon his soul. Pity.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Macarthur is not condemning other believers but counterfeit Christians. plse get it right.

  • Geoff Hughes

    tx Riley. right on point.

  • Geoff Hughes

    plse get real. the vast majority of charismatics watch and support tbn and daystar- like mass media. This alone dis proves your erroneous statement. The snakes and barking comment is a correct and true general statement meant to be taken mostly figuratively today .But The charismatic pentacostal movement came out of this backdrop. Study early to mid 20th century church history.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Amen/

  • Geoff Hughes

    Quit blaming God for our wretched sinfulness. God isn’t fuzzy about anything. I noticed that you left out wrathful in your description of Gods cardinal attributes

  • Geoff Hughes

    You cant be followed because your thinking is fuzzy. I don’t think you even know what you mean.

  • Geoff Hughes

    John Macarthur has carefully and exegetically spoken the truth in love with great authority and clarity and the unbelieving heart rebels against that. The Lord Jesus Christ gives His disciples great authority according to their gifts and faithfulness in His word. Matthew 18 authority to bind and loose is a passage that helps to understand this.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Satan dearly loves your opinion because it attacks the perspicuity of scripture. Isnt God Almighty able to communicate His story clearly? And able to teach His children His truth simply? I think so. This attack on God started in the garden. Read Genesis 3 carefully

  • Geoff Hughes

    2 Timothy 2:15 plus And preach the word in season and out of season. That is, when your hearers want to hear it and also when they hate you for it because they have itching ears and seek false teachers to tickle their sinful fantasies.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Wow. So everyone either passes ( or fails) your truth test, Mark. Sounds like youre the one playing God , not Macarthur or Riley. If you belong to Christ you are His slave. Slaves have no rights. A slave just does his duty. That is a slaves only responsibility. A slave has no autonomy. Im elated to be His slave because He is an infinitely kind, loving trustworthy master who loves His Own in a very personal special way that the worldly minded person cannot begin to fathom.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Please listen to yourself Geoff… you seem to have a pretty clear idea of the truth test for yourself.

  • Geoff Hughes

    That’s exactly right. When there is serious doctrinal disagreement someone is sinning and needs to repent. But how does that translate into leaving Protestantism? It is your duty to search the scriptures daily to see what is true and what is false. Acts 17:11 Differences prove what is true and expose what is false. That is a gift from God.

  • Geoff Hughes

    God uses circular reasoning. Are you going to box with God? I think your arms are too short, Sheila. Youre right in that we are not to use it because our thinking is tainted with sin and darkness. But God is light and in Him there is no shadowing of turning. Jesus said that scripture is unbreakable and that the Pharisees had twisted scripture to their own damnation. Read Psalm 19 and 119 to see the majestic nature of the word of God. These are Gods very own words to the whole human race for all time. Did God stutter? Does God mumble? So….when God uses circular reasoning we are permitted to repeat Him. For example, In the bible God says thousands of times “thus sayeth the LORD” ,the idea being, “I said it, “therefore it is true.” THAT is circular reasoning. And the prophet of God wrote it just that way so the writer was commanding the people to listen attentively and reverently and understandingly because these were Gods very own words that he was about to speak.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Geoff: you’re making the assumption that many don’t make… that the bible is the very words of God.

  • Geoff Hughes

    So now you are using circular reasoning Sheila when you say that milions of people study the bible seriously and still reach different conclusions. Being serious or sincere is no antidote if you swallow poison by mistake. It will still kill you regardless of your zeal. The Pharisees were dead serious yet Jesus severely condemned them for their error. They studied the scriptures but were they saved? No, they were not. They worshipped the right God but did God accept their worship? No, He did not. They believed In the right God but were they saved? No, they were not. They got it all wrong. Sheila, you must be born again. That was Nicodemus’s problrm in Jhn 3. He wasn’t born again becase he hadn’t humbled himself under the mighty hand of God. He hadn’t truly repented of his sin, he hadn’t come to Gog on Gods terms, broken and contrite in spirit, devastated by his own wretched wickedness. Read Isaiah 6:1 ff Read Jesus words in Matthew 5:1 ff about being poor in spirit, about hungering and thirsting. Read John the Baptists scathing rebuke to unrepentant sinners. It will curdle your blood. Read the great apostle Pauls horrible indictment of the entire human race in the first three chapters to the Romans. This Gods cure for our disease. First the bitter medicine of who we really are and last what God has done for us in His Son.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Roman Catholicism is not merely another denomination within Christendom. RC is another gospel. RC is a false religion having little to do with true Christianity. RC violates Gods multiple severe warnings not to take away from scripture and not to add anything to scripture among many other things. There are libraries out there by reformers exposing Rome as an antichrist demonic religion and they prove it with a mountain of evidence.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Wrong. Scripture interprets scripture. Scripture interprets itself. The meaning of scripture is scripture. Havent you read that there is no private interpretation of scripture but that holy men of God were lead by the Spirit Himself. Read Peter.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Name one error in the bible, Gary. Plse stop standing in judgement over God. Do you really think that you can ungod God? Incredible. If the Almighty didn’t graciously grant to you so generously your very next breath you would be dead. You only even exist by His Good Pleasure until He says it is over/ How can the puny creature be so arrogant and self satisfied? Amazing Talk about proof of original sin.

  • Gary

    What arrogance you yourself reveal in your accusation of me. You are not defending or speaking for God. You protect nothing but your own limited understanding and declare it to be God Himself. I have no interest in your lies or desire to remain in ignorance…nor will I be silent in the face or your empty rebukes.

  • Sheila Warner

    It sure seems as if John MacArthur thinks that anyone who worships in a charismatic manner is actually blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and thus, according to his thinking, they are headed for hell. That’s what I gleaned from his opening sermon.

  • Sheila Warner

    The definition of a Christian is one who has accepted forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We aren’t talking so much about core doctrine, as we are a way of worshiping God. Some churches only use the KJV, a piano or organ with traditional hymns. Other churches use other translations of the Bible, have live music with guitars and drums and so forth, and sing modern “praise and worship” songs complete with huge screens showing the lyrics. Some are somewhere in between. Who is John MacArthur to condemn millions of born-again Christians who believe the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit are still operational? MacArthur has set himself up as a higher authority on how to worship God. That’s what is galling. It really hurts the Body of Christ to have this kind of public fighting going on. (Disclosure: I am a former Fundamentalist who left Protestantism and became a Catholic. So, I have no skin in this game.)

  • Sheila Warner

    What do the viewing habits of some Pentecostals have to do with what MacArthur is proclaiming? Look at the historical backdrop of Protestantism and you will see so much ugliness. Really, it’s time to stop berating other people who love Jesus and worship him in a different way than you do. No one has a lock on the “correct” way to worship. There are as many ways around as there are denominations. And, God knows, there are plenty of those.

  • Sheila Warner

    I Corinthians 1 (NKJV) vss 10 & 11: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.” Hmm, looks like a contradiction, so look at the context in your passage. It occurs right after telling women to keep their heads covered, and men to have their heads not covered. Next Paul is addressing people who get drunk before coming to the Lord’s table for communion, and fighting with each other. His words are stern, and the ultimate thing Paul reminds us is that each one of us has to examine his own standing before God prior to taking Communion. It’s not talking about doctrinal messages. The passage I cited is: the church members were arguing over who had the “right” to instruct them, according to the person by which they had been baptized. There is to be no divisions in doctrine. The fighting among the drunkards is something else. “Your mama wears army boots” comes to mind.

  • Sheila Warner

    Sabio isn’t blaming God for our (so-called) “wretched sinfulness.” He said that matters of varying belief systems are unclear (fuzzy). And, of course his point is well taken. If we proclaim that God is love, and then dissolve into fist fights over doctrine, it sure looks like God could have been clearer to an outsider. Which Sabio is. He isn’t a believer. We are seeing what Christ was afraid of back in John 17. We are not one. We are divided.

  • Sheila Warner

    Sabio tends to get into the weeds with his philosophy, but I understood what he meant about the fuzziness in Christianity. I have a feeling that I might be talking to another Jon G on this forum. Red meat, much?

  • Sheila Warner

    Ah, but the charismatics say the opposite about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and they believe that cessationists are in error. In this case, they believe MacArthur is sinning via declaring that they are headed for hell b/c they blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. And, they also believe that no one has been filled with the Spirit unless they speak in tongues. So, charismatics have that power of binding and loosing, too. I think at this point I really am dealing with someone who wants to bait others into an argument. Let’s see how harsh the reply to this comment might be.

  • Sheila Warner

    If God is so clear, then why are there so many different denominations out there? Someone has to be incorrect. They all claim the Bible supports what they teach, they have binding and loosing power invested in them in Matthew 18. Surely God could be much, much, clearer in this. Which denomination is interpreting Scripture correctly? My premise is so obvious but I am continually amazed at how my fellow Christians fight against me when I ask that question.

  • Sheila Warner

    Searching the Scriptures is exactly why I left Protestantism. I discovered that snippets of Bible verses used to support certain beliefs (such as the Rapture) were yanked out of context. I don’t believe that someone is sinning and needs to repent when there is a serious doctrinal issue. People make mistakes. It’s that whole attitude of “someone who disagrees with my interpretation of the Bible is in sin” that drove me away. I have been to many Protestant churches in my life. I have studiously read the Bible, having read it through more than once, in different versions, with a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by my side. I listened carefully to various preachers, took notes, then went back and looked up all of the verses cited on my own. You could call me a Berean, searching on my own to see if what I was taught is correct. So, it was inevitable for someone like me to bump up against interpretations that made no sense, or that were condemned by perfectly fine men behind the pulpit. The reason I went to Catholicism is because it is one church, not many, and it is the first Christian church. The interpretation of Scripture makes more sense to me, and I believe I have a better understanding now of what the Bible means than I did before. And, I got 7 extra books to read–a bonus!

  • Sheila Warner

    **Cute. Love how you brought in the book with the arms comment. You’re quite close to throwing out red meat.**

    So, I agree that God is light. I agree that he remains constant. I believe that Pharisees had twisted Scripture. Does God stutter or mumble? Maybe not, but he is on record as whispering. God says “Thus sayeth the Lord”, and a dozen different pastors hear those words in a dozen different ways. Just like the blind men trying to describe an elephant. You say our minds are tainted and darkened: is it any wonder that sometimes we just misunderstand? Why is it so terribly important that we shout from the rooftops “only I have the right interpretation of the Bible! And the Bible proves it, just read these verses (put Bible references here).” I find it arrogant that any preacher would claim that he has the absolute truth and right interpretation of the Bible.

  • Sheila Warner

    Even if I accepted the plenary, infallible, literal view of the Bible (which I do NOT), I still have to contend with the reality that there are so many denominations out there that there has to be a variety of ways to interpret the book. I would not proclaim ever, that I am the arbiter of truth. It’s just ridiculous on its face. No one is right all of the time about anything. Learning from our mistakes and considering all points of view helps us to mature our thinking.

  • Sheila Warner

    This is laughable. Your response to me about my years of studying the Bible is to–read the portions of the Bible you suggest. Which, by the way, I’ve read and read and read. I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 7, because I believed that Jesus died for my sins, and I believed that I could never be good enough on my own to please him. And now you are telling me that I must be born again–I already am.

    We see through a dark glass until we die. It’s impossible to know how to interpret the entire Bible perfectly. Casting doubt on my salvation is throwing red meat, trying to bait me into getting into a heated discussion, but I just can’t do it. See, I respect what others have to say, even when they are wrong. There’s no need to suggest they aren’t really saved, or that they are in sin, or whatever. I’m sure you are born again. I just believe you are, well, wrong.

  • Sheila Warner

    blah blah blah. I’ve heard it all before. I was raised on that condemnation. Guess what? I’m born again by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and I am a Roman Catholic. Funny thing how I went along with what I was taught and also condemned the Roman Catholic church, but when I started attending Mass, I realized that those who condemn the Church are, well……wrong. But I don’t go around bashing Protestants and telling them they have to become Catholic. It’s sad that it’s the other way around with many Protestants, as evidenced by your rant.

  • Sheila Warner

    Scripture interprets itself. Hmmm. Why then do so many disagree with each other over that interpretation? Oh, right. Only a select few get it right, the rest are in sin, right? smh

  • Sheila Warner

    If you believe that the Bible is the plenary, inspired, infallible word of God, then when a passage contradicts another, one passage must be wrong. Oh, but you’ll say it is an apparent contradiction, and if I am confused about any contradiction, then I must be in sin, or I’d see it clearly.

  • Sheila Warner

    I love this one: http://theresurgence.com/2012/05/28/what-to-say-when-someone-says-the-bible-has-errors
    The author, if you take him at face value, admits that 1% of the Bible has errors. That kind of blows the plenary, inerrant, infallibility of the Bible right out of the water, right there. The author admits that those who copied the manuscripts didn’t get it right all of the time. Of course, the author also has decided when an error is significant, and when it is not; hence his number of one per cent. But there’s that pesky “plenary” part–that means every word of the Bible is without error. Ridiculous.

  • Sheila Warner

    I sent this to Gary, but you might find it interesting as well.

    ‘I love this one: http://theresurgence.com/2012/
    The author, if you take him at face value, admits that 1% of the Bible has errors. That kind of blows the plenary, inerrant, infallibility of the Bible right out of the water, right there. The author admits that those who copied the manuscripts didn’t get it right all of the time. Of course, the author also has decided when an error is significant, and when it is not; hence his number of one per cent. But there’s that pesky “plenary” part–that means every word of the Bible is without error. Ridiculous.’

  • Mark

    If your idea of discussion is to build yourself up by tearing me down, have at it. We all have litmus tests. We all play God. Unlike MacArthur, I don’t preach to mass audiences that “I am the way and the truth.” And I stand by my comment – if you think you have all the answers, I can conclude you aren’t asking enough questions.

  • Riley

    MacArthur’s message is not that some born-again Christians are condemned because of their charismaticism. It is that charismaticism is dangerous and often opens the door to Christ-denying false gospels which DO affect core doctrines of Scripture.

  • Riley

    The passage says the opposite of what you are arguing. It says that Christians must not be divided in doctrine. The way they do this is by clearly distinguishing true doctrine from false doctrine, and everyone embracing the true doctrine together, i. e. being of the “same mind.” This takes instruction on things. That’s why MacArthur is addressing this topic, so that Christians may be unified in the truth that the charismatic gifts have ceased.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Christians agree with one another (just do a bible study of all the “one anothers”) because Christians love God so they love Gods word so they study Gods word and they let Gods word speak to them without forcing their own interpretation on Gods word. They love to hear their teacher and to apply what their Lord tells them to do. The unbelieving heart is not a good student of the bible because they refuse to repent and be saved, therefore since they reject the doctrine of salvation, withholds all the other teachings of the bible from them, that is the true inderstanding of scripture. read Matthew 5:1ff and there you will see the true definition of a Christian. Jesus warned “my name is on their lips but their hearts are far from me.” They claim that they have had their sins forgiven in Christ but they are self deluded . Merely saying something does not make it so. John Macarthur has studied the charismatics in great detail but even more than that he has studied the bible. Why don’t you go to gty and and for free study the teachings on the cessation of tongues in 1 Corinthians 13 and 14. Study the grammar , study the context, study the history of the Israeli people and then critique Jn Mac if he has erred in his studies regarding this doctrine? I have no problem with you all attacking me of him or Riley or any other Christian IF you have done your own homework first and have a real argument that supports your case. If you truly love the Lord you will obey Him and study to show yourself appoved unto God….

  • Geoff Hughes

    My truth test is the word of God. My truth test is the scripture alone. The bible examines me which is what James meant when he said to look in the mirror. So you are right. I do have a clear idea because it is God Himself that is my truth test and He is reliable. My point was that unbelievers have as their source Themsleves rather than God. They unwittingly worship themselves. They idolize their sinful thoughts. Because they are darkness they love the darkness. Read Jn 3 where Jesus Christ exposes hypocrites and their very motive for refusing to be saved. This is why God hates a lying tongue and a proud heart. It damns the sinner to his or her source of truth which is no truth at all

  • Geoff Hughes

    Sheila got it right. I do believe that the bible is the plenary infallible literal word of God which she and you do not accept. This is one of the vast chasms that separate true Christians from professing Christians, et al. I don’t pick and choose,or accept what agrees with me and reject what disagrees with me. The reason that I am able to do this is because of His grace and not because I am better or more intelligent or any other reason. When God elects a sinner to eternal life (many are called but few are chosen) light floods in and utterly destroys the darkness “for it the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes”. This greek word is dunamis and our english equivalent is dynamite so the salvation of God is dynamite, that is how powerful salvation is on behalf of the sinner. Do you want to experience real forgiveness then repent, turn away from trusting in yourself and turn to God in Christ Jesus. Be broken, be astonished at your own sinfulness, be so burdened down by the realization of how bad you actually are, and cry out to Him alone for His forgiveness and acceptance. Romans 5:1ff Jesus Christ is a great Saviour. So now I have the wonderful presuppostionThat God is who He says He is and He says it in the Holy Bible alone. You and Sheila have the other presupposition, that God did not breathe the Bible into existence through His holy prophets and that every word and thought is Gods alone, and not man’s.

  • Geoff Hughes

    Genuine believers avoid interpreting scripture for themselves like the plague because as they study they learn that the bible interprets itself and our duty is to let it do that for us and for God’s glory. The most loving thing that I can say to you is yes you in all likelyhood had a false conversion when you were seven years old and it showed up big time when you reached the age of accountability, Sheila. The evidence is your sinful life today and I am referring to your thought life in that you reject the absolute authority of scripture. Tell me which parts of the bible do you believe? anyway? Just the parts that you like? No one who truly worhips God would think like you do . Why don’t you read Foxes book of martyrs so that God might help you by humbling you under His mighty hand. If I was unsaved I would want someone, anyone, to tell me and show me why that was true because I would rather be devastated now than ruined in hell forever.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Geoff: It is you intellect which leads you to embrace the belief of the bible you espouse which you use to separate yourself from people who don’t believe the way you do. You can blame that on your god, but don’t blame that on God.

  • Geoff Hughes

    I commend you for getting a concordance AND STUDYING that was a good start. What caused you to give up? And do you see how you are feathering your own nest, that it is all about what you did? You didn’t go on and worse you blame others for your failure and disinterest in God’s word. Start blaming yourself, that would be a good start. Everything God says is brilliantly clear and so are His teachings on the rapture. You didn’t study enough. His word is always satisfying. And when it isn’t then I blame myself for my laziness, disinterest, forgetfulness, and sinfulness. If you speak soft words to your own heart, Sheila, you will forge a hard heart in yourself. But if you speak hard words to yourself you will cultivate a soft heart towards God and all the things of God. Show me as a glaring example since you mentioned it the vagueness of the rapture in the bible and mens ability to get it right or get it wrong. Reference the verses and I will look them up.

  • Sheila Warner

    So, I have encountered a Tom Giocondra here, too. Someone who has the supernatural ability to see into my soul and state with authority that my conversion was false. Um, the age of accountability is around 7, but no matter. Once someone on here sets him or herself up as the arbiter of what is true and what is false doctrine, and what is the correct method of interpreting the Bible, it’s time to get on bus, Gus; make a new plan, Sam; just get oneself free.

  • Sheila Warner

    No, you won’t. Because the same passages which you claim support the Rapture are the ones I believe have been misinterpreted. And since you believe my conversion was false and my study of the Bible insufficient, there is no point in getting into a back and forth over the apocalyptic passages in the Bible.

  • Geoff Hughes

    You are oneofthe mostarrogant , self righteous, self justifying, self satisfied , self deluded human beings that I have ever met in my life. I just read many dozens of your posts and was sickened. I’ll make this my last post to you.Warn someone once or twice and then leave them alone was Jesuss’ command. You are of the same spirit as Simon Magus who Peter cursed “you and your money perish” Even your 85 year old parents are fair game for you to attack. You really do hate true Christians. With unmitigated gall. Oh by the way error by definition is not what you say it is, but error in substance of which there is none in the bible. It’snot merely a typo by a scribe but an actual contradiction tht is un resolvable with other scripture. Such errors do not exist. You Sheila have no fear of God in any sense of the word, thatis, positively or negatively which is the sure mark of a rebel heart. You have no saving awe or reverence for Him nor do you have any fear of His wrath. Plse do not respond to this final post of mine. You had better start to besech God to forgive your wicked soul just as Peter warned Peter warned Simon Magus to do. You refuse to even honor your own parents. How vile does it get. No! I don’t want to know anymore about you.

  • Jonathan Mello

    I don’t think you listen to it. He specifically said there are many who are saved in the charismatic movement. And his book he calls charismatics his friends it is opening speech he said there are charismatics who have and orthodox view of the Gospel. If you have an orthodox view of the gospel that you believe in by faith then you are safe that’s his position I find a lot of these responses you’ll be based on emotions

  • Jonathan Mello

    Forgive the typos did this through Siri

  • Craig23

    Absolutely negative. God (with a capital G) is listed as such in the Old And New Testaments. The god you call yourself is because you want to pick and choose Scriptures for Your sake… and alot of That is based on Your subjective feelings. It’s Not based on the objective Word of God : which calls itself so btw . . . . You seem to be rejecting the whole basis Christianity exists, the SELF proclaimed Word of God. So it’s really you sep. urself from people who don’t believe as You do…. And “fear of God (God w a cap G.) is the beginning of all wisdom.” So don’t go by your feelings but instead of God’s consistent revelation. That quote I’ll bet many have a problem with because you don’t feel good about it. Same with burning hell and turn the other cheek. Christianity is not based on our subjective and short-sighted feelings. Short-sighted even of this universe. 96% of it we don’t know what it IS!! So the open mind is one that expands openness about what GOD says about things. One last good one is God Part 2: “Those ones who love me….. are those that keep my Commands . . .” And those are are much more ‘narrow-minded’ are those that look through the prism of what’s in front of their own eyeballs of these 4 dimensions and what happens here….. Not through the consistent Words of “God” which is beyond this universe in front of their eyeballs i.e. immediate perceptions and flighty ‘feelings’. By the way, I’ve been reading these posts and GOD says who loves HIM… “Those that obey My Commands.” God settles it, not you and not any mortal who’s about to turn to dust….. Signed, formerly completely disgusted Catholic. And God also made clear: “If you are lukewarm…, I will spit you out of my mouth…” Are these clear enough for you??? I don’t pick and choose God’s Word, that’s your job….

  • Craig23

    Excellent again, Geoff. I (& I’ll bet God) loves the “because they didn’t humble themselves under the Word of God”. (“they” & “Word” exchanged because it’s so true and sooo many of “they” r guilty of that out there in this world- right Now.

  • Dan Ortiz

    you misunderstood my post.

  • Dan Ortiz

    He never said that though…. your comment makes no sense.

  • Dan Ortiz

    Yep… two…. care to give another one….

  • Dan Ortiz

    The issue you are raising is a good one, but I think you have not chewed it over. The contradictions in the bible are found between books. I.e. one book will say one thing, and another book will say another thing. But each book does not contradict itself. For example, Exodus 20 states that Israelites should work for 6 days and rest the 7th because God created the world in 6 days, etc… (I don’t hold to a 6 day creation btw) but Deuteronomy 5 says that it should be as means to remember their slavery in Egypt. So which is it? is there a contradiction? or is the author of Exodus trying to say something else that the author of Deuteronomy? (btw I don’t hold to Moses being the author of the Pentateuch either, not the only author)

  • Gary

    So ALL those other Christians are not part of “the one true Church”? It’s either all or nothing and your “all” is limited to the roman Catholic Church?

    I guess it’s too bad for all them protestants, poor bastards…

    Hell I guess we can also lump into that same category the hindus, Buddhists, Islamists, etc, etc, etc.

    Yup…all doctrine is false or their is only them catholics. No other possibilities exist.

    Right…LOL

  • Sheila Warner

    I’ve actually come to another view on this. The Scriptures are the Word of God, but they are interpreted by fallible people. Hence, the vast confusion and fighting over the “right” interpretation. I am out of those conversations from here on out; those discussions go nowhere fast.

  • Gary

    So ALL those other Christians are not part of “the one true Church”? It’s either all or nothing and your “all” is limited to the roman Catholic Church?

    I guess it’s too bad for all them protestants, poor bastards…

    Hell I guess we can also lump into that same category the hindus, Buddhists, Islamists, etc, etc, etc.

    Yup…all doctrine is false or their is only them catholics. No other possibilities exist.

    Right…LOL

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Except that the Hellfire doctrine is a perverse mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked: http://bit.ly/17fVMYm

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Were you aware that there are literally ** thousands ** of ancient Bible manuscripts – in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine – available today in museums the world over? In fact, no other ancient writings are as well attested to as the Bible’s. When you compare these manuscripts to modern Bibles it’s unmistakable how accurately these render the ancient texts. As such, any fears of tampering or errata are unwarranted.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    The reason for so many denominations can be found in Christ’s parable at Matthew 13:24-30; 37-43.

  • Sheila Warner

    I have decided that varying interpretations have as much to do with our own fallibility in understanding the meanings of passages as they do in the numbers of translations that are out there. Since I believe that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, I believe it is the Church which rightly interprets the Bible. For over 2000 years many Bible scholars have been digging into the texts. Of course there will be sharp disagreements among them.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Excepting the reality that the Scriptures stated clearly these thousands and thousands of clashing religions – each one boasting to be genuine disciples of Christ – are the denouement of Satan’s activities, not God’s:

    “The Kingdom of the heavens may be likened to a man who sowed fine seed in his field. While men were sleeping, his enemy came and oversowed weeds in among the wheat and left. When the stalk sprouted and produced fruit, then the weeds also appeared. So the slaves of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow fine seed in your field? How, then, does it have weeds?’
    He said to them, ‘An enemy, a man, did this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ He said, ‘No, for fear that while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest season, I will tell the reapers: First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up; then gather the wheat into my storehouse.’”

    ““The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man; the field is the world. As for the fine seed, these are the sons of the Kingdom, but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil.

    The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will collect out from his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and people who practice lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace.

    There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be. At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Let the one who has ears listen.” -Matthew 13:24-30; 37-43

    As you can easily make note of, Christ does not state the wheat would turn into weeds but that weeds would be sown among the wheat. Accordingly, this representation does not depict legitimate Christians who fall far away from the truth. Instead, it points to the intentional action undertaken by Satan the Devil to corrupt the Christian body of believers by inserting wicked men and women into it much in the same manner spies are planted in enemy government agencies as moles. Just as prophesied, the period marking the senectitude of the last of the Apostles, John, saw this apostasy well underway, becoming visibly prominent. —2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18.

  • Sheila Warner

    What are you talking about? Please don’t tell me you’re one of those Christians who believes only HIS interpretation of the Bible is the “right” one. I mentioned nothing about false religions in my previous comment. What I said I now believe is that people are fallible and they can sometimes be mistaken when trying to figure out what certain passages of the Bible mean. I certainly did not at all state that those who are mistaken are agents of the devil.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Argumentum ignorantio elenchi. You evaluate someone’s argument based on the body of facts and information presented, not who they are personally. Try again.

  • Irv Spielberg

    [I ran into this piece on the net. Also check out "John MacArthur & Pretrib Rapture. Who knows...."]

    Stages of Pretrib Rapture History

    If a young woman in Scotland hadn’t dreamed up the
    “pre-tribulation
    fly-away” in 1830; if a British clergyman hadn’t hijacked her dream and
    sneakily planted it around the world in the 1800s; if a crooked,
    jailed-for-forgery lawyer with no theological background hadn’t come out
    with a reference Bible in 1909 with the same fly-away escapism in
    marginal notes; and if modern-day rapture
    robber barons and tribulational tycoons hadn’t found numerous ways (and
    gimmicks like four “blood moons”) to widely mass-market
    the same delicious delusion for the masses while breaking sales
    records, no one could now be into the moonshine, looking up at
    the moon and saying “Moon, you mush be drunk becaush I shee four of
    you!” LOL (If none of this had ever happened, no one would have written
    anti-pretrib articles that are on Google etc., articles like
    “Evangelicals Use Occult Deception,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,”
    “Pretrib Rapture Pride,” and “Pretrib Rapture Stealth.”
    And no one would have written “The Rapture Plot” – the most accurate,
    most detailed, and most highly endorsed nonfiction history of the
    184-year-old
    pretrib rapture theory, available by calling 800.643.4645; the author of
    it will give $1000 to anyone proving there is any deliberate dishonesty
    in it.)

  • Sherry Davis Mayer

    I find it hard to be a Christian without the Holy Spirit. That’s why I am a “charismatic” Christian who has spoken in tongues for over 40 years. God gave us the gifts to use to be more than conquerors. Also God is the one who judges, not John MacArthur.

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