Strange Fire: Radio MP3 and Questions for cessationists

Strange Fire: Radio MP3 and Questions for cessationists October 22, 2013

The MP3 of the radio chat I had yesterday is available. It is in two segments Michael Brown speaks first to Phil Johnson and then to myself and Sam Storms. I think that it should make interesting reading.

During the chat I posed four questions for cessationists that I think help to determine whether you are a moderate cessationist, or one who doesn’t accept any experiences of God as valid. I explain in my book that a vibrant sense of a relationship with God was once very broadly accepted. Today this is less the case.

1. Are experiences of God (eg “my heart was strangely warmed”) and/or the kind of “prophetic” utterances Spurgeon experienced during some of his sermons ever acceptable?
2. Are such things ever acceptable for us today or are they only acceptable for a special few?
3. Is it accpetable to persue such things as part of your relationship with Jesus?
4. Does it really matter what we call such things? And if so, wouldn’t it be better to use biblical language?

The fifth question is: do you think it is OK for MacArthur and co to state that most charismatics are not believers and that their experiences are often demonic? Of course I think that is very much isn’t !

I thought I would also share a few tweets from the Twitter conversation we had afterwards, where Phil and I seemed to be talking past each other. I’d love to have a head to head with Phil on this subject and there is an open invitation to him on that.

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  • John B


    Perhaps your questions are in a gray area and your playing into your critics hands. I would rather concentrate on the biblical case for the nine gifts of the Spirit to the church and defend them. The critics of pentecostalism you are dialoguing with will never be satisfied and you will find have no interest in a friendly discussion since they don’t consider us Christian brothers. It’s a shame but I haven’t experienced otherwise

  • BrendtWayneWaters

    I started to point out Johnson’s foolish use of “NEVER” in his tweet, but then remembered that he has argued that “all” means “some”. #Probability101Fail

  • Daddy50

    Adrian, thank you for standing for truth. This issue is biblically worth defending, and it seems too few are willing to stand up to the self-appointed critics.

  • jackbrooks

    Johnson and MacArthur only pay lip service to recognizing, but don’t really acknowledge, the existence of continuationists who are *not charismatics.* Meaning, the many Christian leaders who do not believe in a two-step, second- work-of-grace-with-speaking-in-tongues doctrine; who are not Arminians; who reject WoF; and who enforce the rules described in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

  • Trezire Reforma

    My observation: theologically none of the speakers at conference had powerful arguments. If have to be too bigot not admit what Scripture stands for. My argument is this: Why only gifts and baptism with the Holy Spirit ceased? Why they apply this rule so subjective? Why they do take from the Bible chapters, like 1 Cor. 12 and 14? I observed from the first speech of John MacArthur, that they do not stand for a theological debate but rather for a scandalous debate, which I think in this case can be extended for ever on both sides. There are many scandals on both sides of Christianity, evangelical and Pentecostal/charismatics. One more observation, when they had the panel sessions, the type of mocking discussions and a lot of laughter it did not show very appropriate for their level of could, sober type of Christians.


    Hi Adrian. Looking forward to hearing program from last night. As an opponent of your view I look at the comments below and quite honestly the self appointed critics are us the peanut gallery (including myself). Not sure macarthur can be classified as a person who has done his theology and contending on the internet alone or has focussed on conferences like this – he started pastoring his church in 1969 and has preached thru entire NT in 42 years. Has built a worldwide ministry and influence and equipped the global church. So I guess he has earned a right to speak and speak he has. Not sure how your questions above are helping or making things clearer ie 1.quoting wesley’s conversion narrative without knowing what he meant as a defense or example for what is happening today is quite a leap and not being honest about where spurgeon would stand on this issue is just as bad as Phil J points out 2. neither of the two examples quoted have anything to do with second work of grace modern charismatic phenomena. 3 by all means pursue them and make them a disctinctive of your movement as you have and 4 call them by biblical names. But when I read the book of Acts I see proper languages and real miracle-workers that no-one since the apostolic age has ever been verifiably reported to even closely resembling. And we have smart phones, cameras everywhere and medical technology to back that up as you would know. God Bless.