Strange Fire: Adrian Warnock interviewed about MacArthur on the RE2 podcast

Strange Fire: Adrian Warnock interviewed about MacArthur on the RE2 podcast November 1, 2013

I was interviewed on the RE2 podcast about the recent Strange Fire controversy. I think listening to this will help you understand why I have been so concerned about this. At points in the podcast we also discuss Spurgeon, and historic cessationists who had a clear relationship with God. Here is how they introduced the episode:

We talk with Christian blogger Adrian Warnock about John MacArthur’s Strange Fire book and conference. We discuss if MacArthur’s charges against charismatics are valid as well as how Christian leaders such as John Piper, Wayne Grudem and Mark Driscoll relate to the situation.

Download Episode | Subscribe | Visit the RE2 podcast website.

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  • Philippe Lafon

    Very good, very thoughtful contribution to the current debate Adrian. You stand for true biblical charismatic Christianity with humility and grace. Keep up the good work. BTW, Raised with Christ is a wonderful book.

  • The Woods

    Great Interview – Thank you for caring enough to take the time to study, research, and share.

    Many things stood out to me – but I want to share these two with you.

    1) The fact that MacArthur used the term “confused” when asked about Piper, Grudem, etc.

    That comment immediately brought to mind a statement that he made in 2009 which read, “I emphatically agree with those who say the Song of Solomon is not mere allegory. It is best understood when we take it at face value, like any other text of Scripture. Many interpreters whom I otherwise hold in high esteem (including Spurgeon and most of the Puritans) have unfortunately done
    more to confuse than clarify the Song’s message by treating it in a purely
    allegorical fashion that eliminates its primary meaning.”

    MacArthur feels that Spurgeon and the Puritans who preached Christ and the Church from the Song of Solomon where “confusing” people. He believes the book is a self-help book for marriage and that is all that it is and should be taken literally – to do otherwise confuses people.

    2) His reaction to John Piper’s experience with depression.

    I remember hearing a sermon from 1976 where Macarthur stated, “…Because your emotions will only be controlled by your mind. Because emotion is a responder. You see, the key to controlling your emotions is filling your mind with divine truth. That’s the key to controlling your emotions. You see, the emotions respond to what the mind perceives as true. Did you get that? Your emotions will respond to what your mind perceives is true. Even if it isn’t true! Try it. Have you ever been lying in bed and all of a sudden you woke up with a jolt when you landed after falling off that 40‑story building? (Laughter). You weren’t falling, but your mind perceived it and your emotions responded to it. You know what that teaches me about emotions? Don’t ever trust ’em. Don’t trust ’em. Because you can make your emotions do anything if you can just make your mind think it perceives that. And the only way to control your emotions is to make sure that your mind is filled with divine truth. Emotions are like bad little children, they’ll run amuck if you don’t control them. And you say, how do you control them? You control them indirectly by feeding the mind.”


    “You see, emotions should always respond to the truth. The key then to behavior and the key to the control of emotion is the heart. The heart as seen as the mind. We need to plant the truth in the mind, and it will control the emotional responses. I don’t know about you, but when they were singing tonight, when the kids were singing tonight, I got emotional. Did you get emotional? You know what I got emotional about? The truth, Every time they sang something that was the truth, oooh… terrific.(Laughter) Just got emotional about it. You get kind of sweaty, you know, and you get kind of those spiritual goose bumps and your emotions are reacting to the truth. That’s the way it ought to be. And that’s why Proverbs 4:23 says, and this is good: “Guard your heart.” What does it mean? Guard your mind, your brain, with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.

    You see? You want to control life, guard your mind, and don’t let anybody short‑circuit it.

    I felt this would be helpful in understanding John MacArthur better. He could not even acknowledge that he was moved by the simple sweetness of children singing. This might also help explain his reaction to Piper’s experience and MacArthurs own fear of experiencing strong emotions that cannot be controlled or logically explained.

    • John Warren

      Well, I think those mind quotes from John MacArthur are spot on. The Bible says we need to have our minds renewed (Romans 12:2). We should control our emotions by filling our minds with truth. Including the truth of the continuation of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit!

      I would add that this primacy of the mind doesn’t preclude having experiences in which the mind takes a back seat for a while.