VIDEO: MacArthur consigns charismatics to hell and likens them to Mormons

VIDEO: MacArthur consigns charismatics to hell and likens them to Mormons November 17, 2013

I had only read a partial transcript of this portion of the Strange Fire conference before, as during the event I watched some sessions live and read transcripts of others. Someone recently sent me a link to this YouTube clip and I was again shocked and horrified. I really feel that more than almost anything else this clip demonstrates the reason for my concern about MacArthur’s comments in the conference and book.

I keep thinking I am done with all this, and then new things are said, or new aspects are revealed. But I can assure you that this week I will be posting also about other things here on the blog.  Some people keep trying to defend MacArthur, saying he doesn’t really believe charismatics are unsaved, but this video together with quotes I have shared previously here and here are pretty clear.

He is adding to the gospel by saying that in order to be saved you must agree with MacArthur’s views on the charismatic issue. I wonder how far along the broad spectrum of views on this subject he would draw the line and say, beyond this point people are not saved.

I have written a transcript of the relevant sections below the video:

And this is why I believe that we are not dividing the body of Christ in this conference. We are trying to identify the body of Christ and show that these people aren’t part of it…People have been hitting the Twitter thing all day . . . One of the criticisms s coming is: this is divisive, these are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They’re not. Should we be happy about that? No, we should be heartbroken. If we want to talk about “fire,” we need to talk about snatching brands from the burning (Jude 23). These people need to be rescued . . .the reality is that these people are lost in this system, and they are throwing the word Jesus all over the place. They don’t know the gospel, and they don’t understand the gospel . . . people can’t be saved out of that movement until they hear the gospel.

“Because this is such an important issue, I am certain with the people sitting here, they might say Dr MacArthur though I know some people, and I know its wacky and its goofy, but think they love the Lord, and they would tell you they were a Christian”

So are the Mormons.


Phil Johnson has commented below that MacArthur didn’t really mean to include all charismatics in his statement above. Obviously I would like to hear that from MacArthur’s lips. Here are some more quotes from his book which seem to confirm that he at the very least feels that being a charismatic puts a big question mark on whether or not you are saved.

“The Charismatic Movement began barely a hundred years ago, and its influence on evangelicalism can hardly be overstated. From its inception by Charles Fox Parham to its most ubiquitous modern representative in Benny Hinn, the entire movement is nothing more than a sham religion run by counterfeit ministers. True biblical interpretation, sound doctrine, and historical theology owes nothing to the movement—unless an influx of error and false- hood could be considered a contribution. Like any effective false system, charismatic theology incorporates enough of the truth to gain credibility. But in mixing the truth with deadly deceptions, it has concocted a cocktail of corruption and doctrinal poison—a lethal fabrication—with hearts and souls at stake.Strange Fire, Page 113

“By claiming fallible prophecies as legitimate, charismatics open the door wide open to satanic attack and deception—putting their movement in the same category as cult groups like the Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Errant prophecy is one of the clearest earmarks of a non-Christian cult or false religion.” Page 128

“I do believe there are sincere people within the Charismatic Movement who, in spite of the systemic corruption and confusion, have come to under- stand the necessary truths of the gospel. They embrace substitutionary atonement, the true nature of Christ, the trinitarian nature of God, biblical repentance, and the unique authority of the Bible. They recognize that salvation is not about health and wealth, and they genuinely desire to be rescued from sin, spiritual death, and everlasting hell. Yet, they remain confused about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the nature of spiritual giftedness.
As a result, they are playing with strange fire [NOTE: which he has previously identified with blasphemy against the Spirit]. By continually exposing themselves to the false teaching and counterfeit spirituality of the Charismatic Movement, they have placed themselves (and anyone under their spiritual care) in eternal jeopardy. For true believers, the Charismatic Movement represents a massive stumbling block to true spiritual growth, ministry, and usefulness. Its errant teachings regarding the Holy Spirit and the Spirit-inspired Scriptures perpetuate immaturity, spiritual weakness, and an unending struggle with sin. A parallel exists between those Christians who are trapped in the modern Charismatic Movement and the true believers who were part of the Corinthian church in the first century.” Page 81-82

“If the Spirit were still giving divine revelation, why wouldn’t we collect and add those words to our Bibles?

The reality is that the modern Charismatic Movement falsely calls itself evangelical because it undermines the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.  It is neither orthodox nor truly evangelical to elevate spiritual experiences, including imagined revelations from God, above the Bible . . .

The sad fact is that biblical truth has never been the hallmark of the Charismatic Movement, where spiritual experience is continually elevated above sound doctrine.” Page 71

“It is a sad twist of irony that those who claim to be most focused on the Holy Spirit are in actuality the ones doing the most to abuse, grieve, insult, misrepresent, quench, and dishonor Him. How do they do it? By attributing to Him words He did not say, deeds He did not do, phenomena He did not produce, and experiences that have nothing to do with Him. They boldly plaster His name on that which is not His work.

In Jesus’ day, the religious leaders of Israel blasphemously attributed the work of the Spirit to Satan (Matt. 12:24). The modern Charismatic Movement does the inverse, attributing the work of the devil to the Holy Spirit. Satan’s army of false teachers, marching to the beat of their own illicit desires, gladly propagates his errors. They are spiritual swindlers, con men, crooks, and charlatans. We can see an endless parade of them simply by turning on the television. Jude called them clouds without water, raging waves, and wander- ing stars “for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (v. 13). Yet they claim to be angels of light—gaining credibility for their lies by invoking the name of the Holy Spirit, as if there’s no penalty to pay for that kind of blasphemy. . .

Put simply, charismatic theology has made no contribution to true biblical theology or interpretation; rather, it represents a deviant mutation of the truth. Like a deadly virus, it gains access into the church by maintaining a superficial connection to certain characteristics of biblical Christianity, but in the end it always corrupts and distorts sound teaching. The resulting degradation, like a doctrinal version of Frankenstein’s monster, is a hideous hybrid of heresy, ecstasy, and blasphemy awkwardly dressed in the tattered remnants of evangelical language. It calls itself “Christian,” but in reality it is a shama counterfeit form of spirituality that continually morphs as it spirals erratically from one error to the next” Page 17

“In earlier generations, the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement would have been labeled heresy. Instead, it is now the most dominant, aggressive, and visible strain of so-called Christianity in the world. It claims to represent the purest and most powerful form of the gospel. Yet it primarily proclaims a gospel of health and wealth, a message completely incompatible with the good news of Scripture. It threatens all who oppose its doctrine with charges of grieving, quenching, resisting, and even blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Yet no movement drags His name through the mud with greater frequency or audacity.”  Page xvi

“Here’s the point: we can’t make God into any form we would like. We can- not mold Him into our own image, according to our own specifications and imaginations. Yet that is what many Pentecostals and charismatics have done. They have created their own golden-calf version of the Holy Spirit. They have thrown their theology into the fires of human experience and worshipped the false spirit that came out—parading themselves before it with bizarre antics and unrestrained behavior. As a movement, they have persistently ignored the truth about the Holy Spirit and with reckless license set up an idol spirit in the house of God, blaspheming the third member of the Trinity in His own name.” Page xiv

“Errant pneumatology is not ancillary to the charismatic movement. It is the very thing that defines it. And when an entire movement is defined by a heterodox theology that threatens the purity of the church by tolerating and even promoting false forms of the gospel, it must be boldly confronted . . .I do believe that modern tongues is an unsafe spiritual practice” Challies interview

“Ive been asking the question ‘where are the people rising up in protest against the abuse and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?‘” See this video

UPDATE: John MacArthur has recently stated that he did not intend to say that every Charismatic is not a Christian. I struggle to put that statement together with some of the quotes above which to me do seem to say exactly that. But, to give him an opportunity to explain himself a bit better than he does in the book or the conference that Q and A is worth a listen.

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  • Keith Schooley

    I agree with you, Adrian, and I’m one of those whom MacArthur would condemn. And yet, I feel that there are some situations in which MacArthur’s words would be right. I think there are a lot of people in a lot of churches who haven’t really heard the gospel. They really do need to know that they’re off-track, and their teachers really do need to be exposed. Certainly I don’t think that writing off the whole movement is the answer, but I think that we continuationists need to be at least as concerned about the aberrations in the Charismatic movement as we are about the critics of it.

    • I wish he had made clearer distinctions, though. If he has in mind Word of Faith movement folks like Kenneth Copeland or Benny Hinn, then certainly he’s not going to lump in others like Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms, and Michael Brown. But his muddied communication — not to mention his typical foot-in-mouth syndrome — is his undoing in this debacle; and I’m including others involved in the conference as well — so poorly reasoned and communicated.

      • Keith Schooley

        Oh yes, I agree.


        Yes, MacArthur does need to realise that not all those he thinks
        of as ‘charismatics’ are the same. Many of us who call ourselves charismatics agree that there are excesses, immature behaviours, mistakes, yes and sometimes demonic influences in some charismatic meetings. It is the responsibility of wise leaders to deal with these things. And there are some movements, leaders and evangelists many of us would not want to support for various reasons. But, like Adrian, we do not want to judge them, condemn them to hell or laugh at them. God alone knows their standing before him and he alone judges them, and us. It is interesting how MacArthur uses a sort of manipulative ‘humour’ and ridicule to get his congregation on side, even though he is saying horrific things about people.

    • Keith,

      But here’s the thing: your church likely both teaches the gifts and against extremes that MacArthur rightly criticizes. MacArthur’s preferred (and repetitious) mode of argument is to hold up the worst extreme and rightly condemn it, THEN argue, imply or outright claim that the continuationist theology naturally or almost inevitably leads to the craziness. It’s the last bit that grows tiresome. And it’s the last bit that rightly prompts questions about obviously sane and even godly continuationists. Unfortunately, MacArthur won’t even acknowledge that these folks base their theology on scripture, but rather, he calls it an anomaly and says these people must have friends or family who are charismatics for whom they must be overly empathetic. He won’t even acknowledge that an honest reading of the scriptures could lead godly people to continuationism, let alone do so more often than not. The combo of these uncharitable and/or intellectually incredulous stances leads to pushback, and it will do so every time, even by fellow cessationists, because of their glaring flaws.

      • Alan Molineaux

        Once again I agree here. MacAthur clearly, amd I mean clearly, does not understand the charismatic landscape. He uses phrases and terms that describe a caricature.

        In light of this, Adrian is right to challenge his stand.

  • Though I am not a continuationist, I agree that MacArthur’s words are appalling. Honestly, watching that video was sickening to me. The pompous and arrogance of some well-dressed, well-educated men, sitting around and handing out eternal death sentences — judging who is and who is not saved — was nothing short of ghastly. I’m quite confident that the Holy Spirit had little to do with that conference.

    • Avon James Carter

      Have u watch the whole video that this clip is from

      • No, but Phil Johnson just gave us the context of this clip below. And though I detest the foolishness that comes from the likes of Joyner and some others, I still wouldn’t condemn them to hell. They can still be genuinely regenerate even if they are seriously deceived. MacArthur and company have the nasty habit of judging God’s people — non-Charismatic Arminians included — and thus they bring these harsh criticisms upon themselves.

        • Cal Koe

          Well at least you agree that the rest are mainly false prophets .Jesus and the apostles warned us many times about them. As dumb sheep, we need Godly men to tell us who they are and save us from the deception which Jesus warned us about. Is Jesus and the apostles exaggerating. Of course not, so who are these false prophets.. If JPiper and the moderate reform continuatinists will not or are reluctant to name names, then don’t get angry when JMac, JPeters and the strange fire conference give us a list of strange fire burners. Better these loud mouths that will tell who these wolves in sheep’s clothing are than many ‘loving’ JPipers who choose to remain lovingly silent than save the many sheep who cannot discern.

          • Did you even read Adrian’s latest post?

            “He [MacArthur] doesn’t regret or apologize for those quotes in this audio. I think that he tends to think of the Charismatic movement in the main as being unsaved, although he sees some exceptions to that rule. In other words, if he meets a charismatic, he would be surprised to discover if they were a genuine Christian. MacArthur appears to limit the people who he thinks are saved to the Reformed charismatics and some of the traditional Pentecostals.”

            Just because “JMac” is “naming names” does not mean he is always right. Fundamentalists have been “naming names” for many, many years, but that doesn’t make them right, either. God has not given “JMac” the authority to tell us who is and who is not saved — who is and who is not God-approved. Even when I agree with “JMac” about certain individuals, that does not mean the individual is unregenerate ipso facto. Each Charismatic / Pentecostal / Third Wave individual must be evaluated by the principles established in God’s word. That would go for each individual as well, including “JMac.”

          • Cal Koe

            If JMac is not right,what about JPeters. If he is also wrong, then tell me who are the false prophets .Can JPiper or WGrudem tell us to save us from their cluthes. Do you think that Jesus and the apostles were overreacting and exaggerating when they gave the warnings pf the false prophets. if Jesus said it , can we just brush away the matter or make light of it? If JusPeter is wrong, then let the JPipers take heed of Jesus’ warning and tell us who they are. Can’t know for sure, can’t tell, can’t judge , can’t be divisive, can’t be unloving etc. is the common response. Yes come to think of it, John MacArthur and JPeters should not have been big mouths and make enemies.

          • As you said, It’s a democratic world, right?

          • Cal Koe

            So what Adrain attributted as what ‘JMac’ said is what ‘JMac’ said ? He dares to say that because he is aware that is not as serious as attributing things the Holy Spirit did not do or say to the Holy Spirit which ‘LGradys’ called strange fires. So he can do it as many times as he likes without any serious consequences. No fear.

    • Cal Koe

      I go on the neutral and only see a lack of political correctness in John MacArthur. If you really watched the videos and his post conference answers to the critics, you would have noted that he sees the unsaved equally among the cessationists who don’t get the true message of the gospel. Did you watch the presentation by Justin Peters.if you did, did you get sick by what you see and hear on the videos. I was and the Holy Spirit certainly did not have anything to do with the strange doctrines and practices.

      • I already noted below that I detest the foolishness that comes from the likes of such persons. So, yes, I “got sick” by what I have seen and heard on those videos as well.

        • Cal Koe

          I hope it makes some difference now that you know that John MacArthur says there are also unsaved people in his church and among the cessationist. Truth hurts but saves the person from the wrong path and judgement. Political correctness and ‘love’ keeps one happy without realising the danger he is in.
          I am also glad you felt the false teachers in Justin Peters presentation sickening. Justin would not enjoy exposing names as nobody wants to be the bad unloving guy.Everybody wants to be popular and loved and to the extent of even avoiding mentioning the word sin or just make the word sound less judgemental by substituting it with the word ‘mistake’.The modern gospel is getting to sound strange indeed.

          • MacArthur’s admission that there are unsaved people in his church and among cessationists does not change my opinion of him — no.

          • Cal Koe

            Will, whoa. This is a democratic world. We are all free to believe what we like. We can even make Matt 7:21 to refer to Cessationists. Whatever you say, sir.Salute.

  • Perhaps you’ll delete my comment again, but I am compelled to post it anyway.

    This is not an honest evaluation of MacArthur’s comments, and you know it. You have deliberately removed this clip from its context. MacArthur was NOT speaking of charismatics in general. His references to “these people” (in context) apply to people who indulge in mindless emotionalism in response to a Christless message and claim they are under an anointing by the Holy Spirit.

    The reference was very specific.The panelists had just been shown the infamous “Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey” video and asked whether that could possibly be a legitimate expression of genuine faith. Steve Lawson gave a long reply explaining that true faith by definition cannot be mindless or divorced from its proper object (Christ).

    MacArthur was making the point that charismatics (like you) who worry obsessively about “divisiveness” whenever they hear criticism of their movement ought rather to be concerned about differentiating authentic Christianity from Christless, mindless nonsense like Rick Joyner’s “Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey”–since the larger movement breeds so much stuff like that, and since so many professing charismatics worldwide seem to have no concept of what the actual gospel is.

    MacArthur has repeatedly and emphatically made clear that he has friends and brothers in the faith who are charismatic, and I know you know that. Why you feel compelled to perpetuate this myth that he consigns all charismatics to hell is beyond me, but it is yet another example of why I’ve found every attempt to dialogue with you fruitless.

    • I didn’t delete your comment last time. I wish you would believe me. But here’s the thing. There was a clear follow up question when it was said that people watching might say they had friends who were charismatic and surely Christian. It was then that the Mormon comment was made. The frivolity is very sad when they are talking about people’s eternal destiny. There are so many places where MacArthur says similar things in his book and the conference that I have been forced to conclude he really does believe that all charismatics are unbelievers. From the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit accusation to comments about charismatics following a false religion, being in eternal jeopardy, and many others it’s littered in the book. At the very least he is being careless with his language. Until I see MacArthur himself speaking to camera apologizing for the inflammatory careless nuanced

      • That should say unnuannced remarks, I won’t take an apology fr anyone trying to cover for him. He needs to agree to edit the book for a second edition asn any reasonable reader would conclude he believes that people like me are not saved. How charismatic do you have to be before you are included in these horrendous comments? What is the additional test to faith in Christ as lord and savior I have to pass to get into heaven? A pastors words should not need careful exegesis.

        • One more thing, the identifying the body of Christ quote was posted on @johnmacarthur during the event. No context there. Here I think this context is pretty clear.

      • Danny Wright

        Adrian, I believe you are truly missing the point here.

        a) MacArthur does make it clear that not all charismatics are unbelievers. That point was made SEVERAL times throughout the conference. It’s sad that you keep calling for a retraction there.

        b) The Mormon comment is also taken out of context. It was in response to a person saying, “But they must be faithful, and they must be saved, for their lives look frutiful.” At this point (perhaps more in the states than the UK? I have not idea how it’s discussed over there), using Mormonism is a perfect example. For years, the Mormon church has appealed that they must be orthodox because they are nice, polite, family friendly and acknowledge Jesus. MacArthur was not saying that Charismatics = Mormons, but that people need to redefine the way they describe fruitfulness.

        c) This gets to the third point. If Phil visited my church, the most loving thing he could do is not assume that every person in my church is a believer, but to listen and press at every person to see if they are in the faith. You should not be offended by those who take a position that doesn’t believe every charismatic worshiper is saved. I don’t believe every cessationist believer is saved either.

        Honestly, it just seems like you watched the conference thinking that MacArthur (and the others) were talking about you. That’s probably either a symptom of thinking too highly of yourself, or possibly conviction about some issues?

      • Cal Koe

        I don’t know about blasphemy, but as a person I will feel very sad if a good I did was a attributed to witchcraft but I would also be very equally upset if things I did not say or do were attributed to me especially not so good things. Peace my brother.

      • John Mushenhouse

        Why are we wasting time that could be used for sharing the gospel giving attention to Johnny Mac and Johnson. They have made up their minds and they are the self-appointed standard.
        pray for them to have a loving heart and that they would not continue to turn away from the love of God.
        In this world full of misery etc., we should be sharing Jesus and His wonderful help for us.
        It is time to not even listen to these discernment groups.
        Jesus is wonderful.

        • At some point, if not now, this is true. Amen. Warn a divisive person . . . then move on.

    • The problem, Phil, is that MacArthur has this pattern: he holds up an extreme bad example and from there makes conclusions about all continuationists or about where such theology leads down some assumed slippery slope. This is how he repeatedly deals with the subject. Hold up the worst examples one can find and generalize about the (much varied) whole of noncessationists. Most of us local ministers who practice and teach the gifts locally also teach against extremists, so this pattern of John’s strikes us for what it is: a choice.

      • Cal Koe

        The truth is that the many examples mentioned at the conference do not belong to the charismatic fringe but as Ps Conrad said represent the face of christianity today. Check out Justin Peters presentation and tell me if the names of the people mentioned are the fringe and rarely heard of. If you are honest, they are not. It is people like the Late David Wilkerson,Lee Gradys, Jim Cymbala, that represent the charismatic minority( more like classical Pentecostals). On the other hand, John Piper and Wayne Grudem and the like are non WOF type continuationist and are really not main stream charismatic per se. The speakers at the conference were aware of the different groups and their concerns were on the hyper WOF charismatics like the The NAR prophets who have affinity to strange doctrines, revelations and fires. If you listen in the neutral like me ( an ex WOF charismatic and now somewhere between non WOF continuationists and Cessationists), you will not necessarily agree with everything said, but will strongly share similar concerns and br less defensive.

    • Alan Molineaux

      Phillip. I have to agree with T Freeman here. MacArthur does use the worst exMple as norm style of argument to effective use.

      Unfortunately this does not mean that he is correct.

      I think perhaps it is you and not Adrian that us failing to address the facts here. MacArthur would exclude many of us charismatics even though we do not fit in the word of faith camp.

    • Cal Koe

      If John MacArthur used a broad brush to paint the charismatics, the charismatic used an even bigger brush, a broom to be exact, to seep away issues raised. Not even the late David Wilkerson or Lee Gradys could blast them into repentance and action, just plenty of excuses and merely giving lip service in some little sort of agreement but nothing more.
      Also being blunt to the point of being harsh on John MacArthur’s part, does not necessarily mean a lack of love, but definitely a lack of political correctness. The people who lacked love are the moderate continuationists who will refrain from speaking the truth which hurts in the name of political correctness and ‘brotherly love’. The bible clearly says spare the rod and HATE your child. But to be fair, the continuationist leaders can’t do anything even if they desire to bring some discipline, since the charismatics are a diverse independent groups with equally independent strong headed prophets and whether they are true or false prophets you cannot tell now, since John Pipers made God’s prescribed measure of 100% accuracy yardstick a non valid basis of judgement. You need another person with a fallible gift of discernment to tell you who is real and who is false prophet.

      • Cal, Do you see any NT gift as being infallible? Meaning, are people with a gift of teaching ever wrong without being ‘false’ teachers? Do people with a gift of evangelism ever blow a God-given chance to lead someone to the Lord and remain gifted? And, as you said, does someone with a gift of discernment ever misread a person or situation?

        I think that having gifts of the Spirit can be amazing and fruitful, with the power of God making wonderful things happen, but it doesn’t eliminate our ability to make mistakes, even in the area of our gifting. Again, the OT office of ‘prophet’, given to very few, is different from the NT reality in which God’s Spirit is poured out widely, giving dreams and visions to young and old, men and women. Many things are different in the New Covenant. We are still God’s priests, but in a different way under a different dynamic. Prophecy is also different, and Paul spends whole chapters on how even a messed up church can and should pursue it corporately, clinging to what is good, chucking what’s evil. A false prophet is a matter, not of isolated successes or failures, but of character of life and ministry.

        Also, I completely agree with this: “But to be fair, the continuationist leaders can’t do anything even if they desire to bring some discipline, since the charismatics are a diverse independent groups.” Bingo. Most of us that are giving pushback to MacArthur’s broad attacks are local church folks who have taught publicly in our churches and even online against the extremes for years. The TV guys aren’t in our camps or even in our consciousness (or TVs), but we regularly teach against the wacky and the health/wealth, word/faith stuff. The entire Calvary Chapel denom, for instance, is both absolutely void of health/wealth or word/faith teaching, but are supposedly “dangerous” and guilty of all the other charges laid at the feet of all Charismatics, including failure to reign in Benny Hinn or some other extremist that is completely outside of their lines of relationship. If MacArthur wants to “identify the Body of Christ” he needs to use a lot more precision. The shotgun and guilt by (strained) association approach probably isn’t the best way to do it.

    • John B


      Just for the record,

      You say

      “”these people” (in context) apply to people who indulge in mindless emotionalism in response to a Christless message and claim they are under an anointing by the Holy Spirit.”

      This is what Mac said about “these people”

      they are not brothers
      they need to be rescued
      they are lost in the system
      can’t be saved out of the movement
      even if some say they love the lord they are like the Mormons.

      So the target of the Strange Fire conference was the Rick Joyner’s, Benny Hinns of the world, so they can repent and be called a brother in Christ, so they can be rescued from the movement. because they are lost in the system, because they need to hear the true gospel from Johnny Mac to be saved out of the movement, and if other claim the Benny Hinns, Rick Joyners and Todd Bentley’s of the world are real nice and seem God loving, the best comparison is the Mormon Church as whole?


      So who really are “these people” Johnny Macs referring to?

  • Colin MacKichan

    I am no John MacArthur so my thoughts are uneducated at best in comparison to his. With that being said, I think MacArthur is one of the most respectable theologians today. What he is doing is exactly what Paul did throughout his letters. Were his denunciations a unique one time outpouring of the holy spirit specifically for the early church (Parallel with MacArthur’s view of spiritual gifts)? I don’t know. I believe we are called to show others the truth even when it is controversial. Clearly MacArthur isn’t shying away from controversy and would rather insult man than the Lord. The only thing that gets me is his matter-of-fact arrogant tone. Maybe its the culture I have been brought up in, but his statements do not seem humbled. I see the same thing in Driscoll. They both may be correct, but they carry a swagger that I feel is contradictory to the reformed teaching of human depravity and Jesus’ call for us to humble ourselves. From my perspective I think Francis Chan really does this much better. Like MacArthur and Driscoll he isn’t afraid to be controversial (Ex Erasing Hell) but it does it in a way that doesn’t scream arrogance. Thats my 2 cents for what its worth, which is literally less than 2 cents.

  • Donna Carlaw

    I don’t expect an answer, since Adrian has already made it abundantly clear that he is not interested in examining the context of the Strange Fire Conference.

    However, forget about MacArthur for a moment. Pretend that he does not exist.

    Now, go spend as much time watching videos of Benny Hinn in India and let this fact sink in. In India, millions upon millions of people believe that the prosperity Gospel he preaches IS the Gospel.

    Then go to Reinhardt Bonnke’s You Tube videos. Spend as much time listening to him as you have spent on MacArthur – who now does not exist in the little assignment I wish you would accept. Then let this sink in – the Gospel he preaches is the only Gospel that millions upon millions of Africans know.

    Then give a report here on your blog. If you are not weeping over the state of Gospel preaching in our day – all done in the name of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement – then I really wonder about your passion for the things of God.

    Don’t God’s sheep deserve better? There are many of God’s people trapped in this false power and prosperity Gospel. I’m not sure why you don’t care.

    I do know that MacArthur does care about God’s people and he wants them to be set free so they can believe the true Gospel of grace in Christ.

    Yes, there are many Charismatics and Pentecostals who are preaching the true Gospel. Unfortunately, like you, they are very much in the minority.

    Then, look here in the US. We had Word of Faith teachings infiltrate our church through an associate pastor and his wife. I suppose our church could be called Charismatic light. Anyway, this pastor had excellent credentials. BS from UCLA, graduate studies at Princeton, and masters from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

    He had been captivated by Word of Faith. His wife even more so. It got really bad. They were telling our head pastor and his family that they were killing their daughter in-law. She was suffering from Huntington’s. She was trying to claim her healing by faith, but the family took away her car keys. She kept crashing the family car.

    The associate pastor rebuked them for their lack of faith. Our head pastor told him to then let her drive their car!

    Then the associate pastor’s sister in-law got cancer. They claimed her healing by faith. She died. They then said that God healed her by taking her to heaven. I kid you not.

    This kind of junk passes for Christianity wherever the Word of Faith heresies travel, and the whole Charismatic movement is riddled with what I call the spiritual mad cow disease of WoF.

    …but you don’t want to know any of that, and just prattle on and on about how wrong MacArthur is. If MacArthur didn’t exist, would all be well in the movement? I say by no means!

    The disease is so widespread I don’t know if there is a cure. Well, there is a cure, but Bible honoring Charismatics are too weak to apply it, I guess. So, the rest of us do what we can to combat error.

    • I have said repeatedly that I have always rejected wholeheartedly the Word of Faith/ Prosperity teaching. But that is a separate issue to whether charismatics as a whole are a false religion

      • Donna Carlaw

        The Word of Faith movement at this point in time = the Charismatic movement. That is the issue, actually. You don’t even include WoF in your Charismatic spectrum. Why is that, since it is the dominant theology within the Charismatic movement as a whole?

        • Alan Molineaux

          Again Donna you are doing what MarArthur does in misrepresenting the Charismatic Movement. Just because a particular flavour owns more TV companies does not mean it is the dominant theology.
          if if this were true it does not mean that it is right for you or MacArthur to suggest that all charismatic churches are either wrong it should be excluded from the church as a whole.

          • Donna Carlaw

            1. If you are assuming that I am a hard cessationist, you are incorrect.

            2. The Word of Faith movement, and even worse heresies, dominate the Charismatic movement worldwide.

            3. I have never suggested that all charismatic churches are wrong, let alone that they should be excluded from the church as a whole.

            4. MacArthur does not suggest that all charismatic churches should be excluded from the church as a whole. Just the wolves, which are in the majority right now.

          • Alan Molineaux

            Again Donna – as much as you protest – Adrian has shown that MacArthur consistently lumps the whole of the Charismatic Movement together. He uses a broad brush to dismiss people that both Adrian and I know and love.

            It is worth pointing out that that Adrian and I are not part of the same group of churches but we can both see that John does nit understand the Charismatic Movement in any depth.

            This is the problem with his statements.

          • Donna Carlaw

            Alan, I answered you. Now please answer this. Do you think that MacArthur was wrong in pointing out the grave errors and worldwide influence of the Word of Faith movement? Was that part of the conference wrong in your opinion?

          • Alan Molineaux

            Donna – no he wasn’t wrong in pointing that out.

            He was wrong, as Adrian has pointed out genre, however, in suggesting that all charismatic churches are part of this problem.

            He just doesn’t understand the charismatic scene enough to make the statements he has made.

            Does that help


          • Donna Carlaw

            Thank you for your answer, Alan. I appreciate that. You think that JM was no wrong in pointing out the errors of Word of Faith.
            Do you disagree that Word of Faith is the dominant theology of the worldwide Charismatic movement? Remember, MacArthur has said many times that the conference was not directed at the Charismatics who teach the Word of God, like the Reformed Charismatics and the Calvary Chapel people, and probably others.

            He said that numerous times, and so did Phil Johnson right here on Adrian’s blog.

    • Alan Molineaux

      Sorry Donna but two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because you can find people who misuse the gospel it doesn’t mean that MacArthur is correct to exclude vast groups of people he has never met.

      Adrian is right to raise this issue.

      • Donna Carlaw

        Okay, so you agree that the Word of Faith teachers are deceiving millions upon millions of people worldwide. Do you really think that MacArthur was wrong to point that out?

        • Alan Molineaux

          That is like saying ‘are Westboro Baptist church part of the Calvinist movement’.

          The issue that Adrian us raising here is to do with MacArthur’s wholesale dismissal of charismatic churches.

          As much as his supporters say that ‘he doesn’t really mean it’ he is saying that. The text, the video, his book, all points to this bring his view.

          Once again – the fact that ‘some’ (or even in MacArthur’s view ‘most’) of the churches/ministries being suspect does not mean he is correct in suggesting that they should not be included as part of the church.

          If I did that about Calvinists by using Westboro baptists as the measure how would you respond?

          • Donna Carlaw

            1. I never heard that the Westboro Baptist Church was Calvinistic. It is Baptist, and I have heard many, many Baptists condemn their methodology. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Baptist group in the US, and maybe the world? Not sure about that. Here is a list of articles denouncing Westboro.:


            2. I would respond by denouncing Westboro and clearly distancing myself from their theology and practice. Westboro should not be considered part of the Church.

          • Alan Molineaux

            And I would respond, as Adrian as consistently done by denouncing word of faith teaching.

            Please hear this – Adrian’s point here is that Ps MacAthur’s wholesale denouncement of charismatic churches is mistaken. As mistaken as it would be if I denounced the whole of calvinism because of Westboro baptist church.

            You rightly protest that I would put them in the same group as other Calvinists. That is what John has done by suggesting that all charismatics are the same.

          • Donna Carlaw

            So, kind of a tit for tat there, Alan. Sure. No problem. It is not what JM has done, and MacArthur has said so numerous times, including in his opening message to the Conference. He was very careful to say that he did not include Charismatics like the Reformed Charismatics, but for some crazy reason, you guys are blinded. I can’t figure it out.

            So, the united answer of Charismatics is that no way, no how will they make a united effort along with the likes of that horrid MacArthur, – who probably does not have the Spirit anyway, – against the Word of Faith wolves. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. Charismatics would rather denounce MacArthur, that man who does not even have the Spirit, than they would with one voice rise up against the TBN crowd.

            Well, I am one somewhat Charismatic woman who is glad to stand with JM.

          • John B

            The reason why I as a 45 year pentecostal wouldn’t partner with Johnny Mac in a discernment of my church is he has no pentecostal experience. He doesn’t understand the the dynamics of what he speaks about.

          • worthywalking

            John, why do you think MacArthur has had “no pentecostal experience”? What’s kept him from experiencing it? Truly curious.

          • John B

            It’s not a pentecostal “experience” that would qualify him, it’s experience as a leader in the movement that would.

          • “All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?” MacArthur has experienced some gifts to great measure. It doesn’t make him innerrant, though, even in the areas of his gifting. Humans gifted as teachers are still humans.

          • Donna Carlaw

            Do you mean he does not have the Spirit?

          • John B

            that’s not what I’m saying.

            MacArthur doesn’t understand the movement on so many levels, not because he needs special revelation to understand it, but he needs a history of devotion to it’s welfare to be able to knowledgeably speak about it.

            He’s right about some of the problems, but doesn’t realize these issues have been dealt with on a denominational level. Most of the personalities he highlighted at the conference have all faced some type of discipline from their pentecostal authority, they leave and now continue their “ministries” without accountability.

            To blame a movement for their behavior is wrong.

          • Donna Carlaw

            So, if MacArthur’s approach is wrong, what would be a correct approach? I know that the Assemblies of God has distanced itself from a number of the more aberrant groups and teachers that were featured in the Strange Fire Conference.

            However, how many people in your congregation are reading books written by Word of Faith teachers? How many are watching TBN and even sending them money? Do you know?

            Have you or anyone in your church ever given a warning to people about the false miracle workers and false healings that are shown on TV?

            If not, why not?

          • John B

            The best approach is a commitment to the local church where a Godly discerning Pastor deals with these issues.

            “However, how many people in your congregation are reading books written by Word of Faith teachers?”

            I really don’t know, actually the WOF movement has seen it’s day, it’s not as popular as it was 20-25 years ago.

            “How many are watching TBN and even sending them money?”

            Again I really don’t know, in my circles its not wise to be known as a TBN watcher, so TBN watchers wouldn’t broadcast it to others.

            “Have you or anyone in your church ever given a warning to people about the false miracle workers and false healings that are shown on TV?”

            Yes, perhaps not naming them by name but dealing with the teaching that’s causing a problem

          • Donna Carlaw

            Excellent response, John B.

            Maybe your church cares for the sheep.

            Look at Joyce Meyers, who is not the worst of the WoF teachers. Millions of people watch her program. She is a NY Times best selling author, having written some 90 books. Her ministry has some 500 offices worldwide.

            Someone is listening to her and buying her books. In fact, my FB friends often post quotes from her. Like I said, she is not the worst by any means.

            Then there is Joel Osteen, also not the worst. He has the largest church in America and it is in Houston, TX. Have you seen it? It used to be a sports stadium and is right off the freeway.

            Someone is listening to him and reading his books.

            Then there is Benny Hinn, who, in spite of numberous scandals, is still going strong worldwide.

            …and so forth and so on…

            Somebody’s watching. Somebody’s reading. People all over the world are into the WoF movement.

            I’ve started looking at Bonnke, who does seem to preach the Gospel. I went through a Bible study at his site on the topic of thanksgiving. The first part was great. No problem. The second part got strange, as if giving thanks to God unleashed some special divine power.

            The third lesson was unintelligible gibberish.

            One out of three ain’t bad, I guess. I’m going to do more, but I’m still looking for a clear Gospel presentation. Bonnke is an evangelist. If I compare him to Billy Graham he doesn’t quite make the cut in actual Gospel focus.

            Now, tell me again why we should not be concerned about the Word of Faith movement because it has run its course?

          • Perfect illustrations. First, loads of charismatics (self included) have no interactions with those folks at all. Second, many of the ones that do read or listen to some of those, do exactly what you did and what we all do with various teachers: take the good and leave the bad. Third, I’m curious about the unintelligible gibberish in the third lesson, and Bonnke in general. Was the gibberish worth calling him a false teacher/demonized about or was it more of a not-helpful category? You mention that Bonnke does preach the gospel. I’ve heard other cessationists in these SF discussions name him specifically as one who does not. I’ve never heard him at all. Looking at the MacArthur quotes above, are these appropriately leveled at Bonnke, based on what you’ve read/heard from him or no? Or is more complicated than a simple yes or no? Thanks.

          • Donna Carlaw

            Howdy, T.
            1. I’m glad you don’t, and I believe you.
            2. Yes, if people are grounded in the Word, then the danger is lessened. We are supposed to compare what is taught to the Bible. Sometimes, though, the good is better gotten elsewhere, since the bad may be very, very bad.
            3. I’m curious about the gibberish, too. I really didn’t understand what the guy was trying to say. I’m not sure if I made it clear that Bonnke wasn’t the one teaching the lesson. It was an associate. The first part was great, about Jesus healing the 10 lepers and only one actually believing in Jesus and having the deeper miracle of a new heart done for him. No problem. I really am curious about the 3rd lesson, too. Was it a kind of pep talk? He lost me.

            It didn’t cross my mind that it was demonic, just poorly written and confusing.

            I’ve just started to look at Bonnke. What concerns me right off is the amazing stats he provides. Is enough Gospel preached consistently so that people can get saved? I hope so. What is the follow up like?

            I like to look into these teachers myself. I don’t know what people are saying about Bonnke. I know that he makes great claims about how God is using him, so that is kind of a red flag. I listened to part of a message where he preached on the power of the blood of Christ to save us from our sins. It seemed a little odd, but he does believe in Jesus’ death for our sins, burial, and literal, physical resurrection.

            Is it more complicated? Well, I hope that Bonnke is preaching enough Gospel consistently so that people are getting saved. Of course, I also hope that Obamacare will somehow work out. Maybe that’s not a fair analogy, since the Holy Spirit is sovreign in the salvation of individuals, and Obamacare is what it is.

            Mark Twain said about statistics.: Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

            I am just not sure about all the millions who have come to Christ for the first time in Bonnke’s crusades. I hope that even a fraction of the number he gives is true, though. So, I guess it’s complicated. I’m going to do more of his studies and listen to some of his sermons. I have to admit that I’m not crazy about him, but Billy Graham is pretty much the gold standard for me. Of course, many of my cessationist friends don’t like him, either!

          • LOL! I’m glad you added that last bit, cause it’s exactly what I was thinking! I remember hearing all the talk against B.G. because of alleged emotionalism or “watered down” doctrine, etc. It all sounded like arm-chair quarterbacking to me, or just down right nit-picking against a fruitful work and brother.

            More seriously, I’m encouraged by what you wrote. I suspect, though don’t know, that for even some of these big names, like Bonnke, people are taking a few things they think are weird, gibberish or even wrong, and making the kinds of “false teacher” or “false prophet” or “false gospel” conclusions way, way too prematurely, or more on the basis of style and not substance. Just the fact that you looked at a three part study that had the gospel in it, with stuff that lost you in the third, tells me that this ministry likely has a standard definition/presentment of “gospel” that is true. This is good news if even half of the statistics for salvations is accurate.

            And I take Twain’s advice on stats all the time, both for Bonnke and for the ones presented at S.F. 😀 Peace.

          • Donna Carlaw

            Glad what I said put a smile on your face. I aim to please. 🙂

            Okay, so I kinda’ forgot that this is coming out on poor Adrian’s blog! I see you in my Disqus dashboard. Anyway…

            I have been learing about people I have never heard of, like Kendall.

            Here is a little summary.: John MacArthur’s main focus in the conference was the prosperity Gospel and the Word of Faith teachers.

            Mark Driscoll has spoken out against the prosperity Gospel.
            John Piper has spoken out against the prosperity Gospel.
            Dr. Michael Brown has spoken out against the prosperity Gospel.
            There are articles at Charisma that express concern over the message of the prosperity Gospel.
            R.T. Kendall has spoken out against the prosperity Gospel.
            The AoG has distanced itself from some of the main players involved in the prosperity Gospel teachings.
            Adrian doesn’t even include the prosperity Gospel teachers in his Charismatic spectrum.
            All of these have spoken out against the excesses of ministries like Hinn.
            The late David Wilkerson used at least as strong language against the prosperity Gospel and blasphemy of the Spirit that happened in some of these ministries at least as strong as MacArthur, if not stronger.

            Now, I ask myself, and them – except for in the case of Wilkerson, of course – why not unite on that point? Why not draw up a statement that all of them can sign, in opposition to the prosperity Gospel?

            Is it male pride? Sorry to bring that in, but a lot of the reaction to MacArthur seems to be more of a pride issue than a doctrinal one, especially since all the guys I mentioned have independently spoken out against the prosperity Gospel.

            Not sure why that can’t happen. Pride is the only reason I can think of. I mean, some of the guys mentioned really love to talk about unity. Well, why not unite on this point?

            Is it a bit like why dems. and republicans can’t seem to unite even when they agree?

          • I don’t know if it can or can’t happen either. I don’t know if it’s been tried. Give it shot! Peace to you. Thanks for the interaction. I hope that’s what Adrian hopes for on his blog!

          • Donna Carlaw

            Thanks, T I think that if all the ones that I mentioned looked at the problem of Word of Faith teachings worldwide, that would help. What I see is more an attitude of “it’s not happening in my church, so it’s not that big a deal.” It is a huge deal.

          • John B


            Not that your concerns aren’t justified but I stopped being concerned about the popularity of the “rock star” preachers years ago, not because their right but there is nothing I can do about it.

            But let’s be fair, is John MacArthur beyond the same criticism. He’s popular, he teaches cessationism and dispensationalism, both teachings can be labeled dangerous. Where is the concern?

          • Donna Carlaw

            I understand what you are saying, John. I don’t blame you at all. Yes, no one is above criticism. All needs to be measured by the standard of Scripture, which is actually Spirit breathed. MacArthur has many critics.

            Take care, John. Thanks for the interaction.

          • Cal Koe

            .Does John Piper have a ‘Pentecostal experience’? He does not speak in tongues but confess he had asked God for it but did not receive it and tried to make it up. He is not known to have any sign gifts, Grudem teaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit is very reformed and don’t teach such things as evidence in tongues. Both these men theology is way different from that of the Pentecostal and the charismatics.i wonder why the debate are so focus on John Mac instead of the burners of strange fires, who are surely very glad they are being ignored by the debate here. No one scrutinise and comment on the names Justin Peters mentioned in his presentations as the false prophets and teachers. I think they are saying thank you for not focussing on their strange fires.

          • John B


            Just for the record the Bible makes no such distinctions as “sign gifts” compared to the others.

            Also I clarified what I meant by “pentecostal experience” in my comments above.

          • Alan Molineaux

            Donna – I apologise that I have not explained myself well. I read your last comment and see that I have left you with a wrong impression of myself and my views. Sorry about this.

            1. My concern with Pastor MacArthur is not that he isn’t a charismatic. I am concerned at the way he broadly sweeps away churches and people from being included.

            2. I am against the teaching of the word of faith movement. It is dangerous.

            3. There are non-reformed Christians who experience the charismata who are not wolves.

            JM has been too broad in who he has excluded.

            For me it is not about tit for tat. I didn’t intend to put that across (sorry about that). My intention was to give an example of how it would sound if I were to use the worst example of calvinism to dismiss most of my Calvinist sisters and brothers.

            Does that help.

          • Donna Carlaw

            Thanks for your response, Alan. No need to apologize. If we could do this kind of thing in person, it would be better – or worse? 🙂
            1. I understand your concern. You do not want to be taken out with the garbage, so to speak. You do not want to be called a loon and a heretic just because you are Charismatic. That sort of thing has probably happened to you in the past, and you are sick of it. Something like that? I understand. It is not fair. I still say that JM did not do that, but I certainly understand your feelings about the whole thing. It is upsetting.

            2. Yes.

            3. Yes. I know many fine Pentecostals and Charismatics who are not wolves, and who are also concerned about false teachers. They love the Word, know it, study it, and seek to win souls. Again, JM was not talking about those kinds of Pentecostals or Charismatics. No matter. I agree with you on that point. For example, the Calvary churches are not Reformed, but they love the Word, study it, teach it, and try to protect their people from the wolves. They are one of the original Charismatic denominations, begun by Chuck Smith in CA. In fact, JM and Smith were friends, and even opened their pulpits to one another back in the day. Also, you can even find a You Tube video from not too long ago where Greg Laurie and JM and some others were on a panel together. . Laurie is Charismatic. Anyway…
            Of course, I disagree that he was too broad, but I can see how you would feel that way.

            No problem. I understand the analogy.
            Take care, dear brother.

          • Alan Molineaux

            Thank you Donna : )

          • Donna Carlaw

            No problem, Alan. Take care. Thank you. 🙂

  • Alan Molineaux

    Hi Adrian. I don’t want to sound like a broken record on this but, as a fellow charismatic, I must point out how hollow your protests sound after the way many of our number cut Rob Bell off when John Piper looked to exclude him from the boys club.

    I don’t believe, correct me if I am wrong, that you have acknowledged this discrepancy. You, rightly in my view, feel annoyed that MacArthur has chosen to exclude us and yet many of the same voices that complain now were either silent when Piper excluded Bell or even tried to defend piper in ways that some of your commenters are doing here.

    Exclusion is not comfortable but it is less so when we are the ones being excluded.

    Let me know your thoughts.

    • Cal Koe

      Yes, and whether you like or hate him, John is never politically correct and steps on many toes. Even Billy Graham discussion with Robert Schuller when Billy endorse the wider mercy gospel to embrace all faiths, was not spared. Richard Foster, Dallas Willard etc and the teachers of spiritual formation or contemplation /mysticism got a whacking from him. He refused to participate in Chuck Colson ecumenical movements. He was one of the earliest who bothered to warn the brethen against Brian McLaren and the emergents. The list goes on. He never really attack Wayne Grudem or John Piper but commented on their theology which to him makes them almost like a closet Cessationists. But he was disappointed that they failed to take a strong stand on strange fires. So far I appreciate his consistency and forthrightness, not necessarily agree with everything he said. Used to hate him,but must say he is one of the rare kind in today’s compromising christiandom,

  • Laura

    im a classical Pentecostal and you obviously haven’t seen the video clip were mac arthur encourages the classical Pentecostals to expose the false teachers in the word of faith movement (which has its roots in new thought and the metaphysical cults) and he also exposes the false holy spirit of Todd Bentley and all the other false holy spirit manifestations in the soo called Revivals which started with the Toronto blessing in the early 90’s and incidentally did you not know that the main person that inspires Todd Bentley is William Brahnam who taught that the trinity was of Satan please read this and it will show you what brahnam taught Bentley has also taught.
    if you really listened to the context of that clip you would know that he is talking about that not about us Pentecostals that do worship the lord in order according the book of Corinthians. John mac arthur is by no means perfect but he is a honorable man of god. you however have totally taken this out of context. I have a dear godly friend who works in Grace and i asked him how does John feel about real Pentecostal Christians who live by the scripture have not got heresies as the basics of their faith and he said that. He said he sees them as our brothers and sisters in Christ. This clip is out of context and unfair i have made videos exposing false teachers one being joyce meyers but I HONOR the context..I pray that this response will make you think before you post something that is soo unfair. much love in Christ Laura from Ireland

  • Avon James Carter

    That is a lie saying john mcarthur is adding to the Gospel by saying u have to hold his view on the charismatic view

    He did not say that you have to hold to his view but there are people who have not heard the gospel but think they are saved because they love Jesus and all this miraculous stuff

  • Cal Koe

    The enemy seems to John MacArthur. Poor guy, play with strange fire and got burnt by strange fire apologists unexpectedly coming from the reform continuationists. Strange fires and strange bed fellows indeed. No one questioned Justin Peters who named names and bluntly called these guys false prophets and teachers. If it is not right to refer to these guys as false prophets , then who are the false prophets that Jesus and apostles so very often warned us of. Can’t be they are warning us for nothing. Honestly, I would love to hear Piper himself tell us dumb sheep specifically who these false prophets are . Many of us previously used the 100 accuracy yardstick to know the true from the false prophets. Since he declared that prophecies are not infallible,we have no objective basis of judgement anymore. Since many of us have no ‘gifts of discernment ‘ ( which he has yet to say is fallible or not) and for us to judge them by the fruits will bring protest of being judgemental or worst touching the annointed, then will J Piper the authority on gifts please protect us dumb sheep from the wolves that Jesus warned us of by telling us who they are. If he will not, then don’t be upset when John MacArthur, P Johnson,or Justin Peters etc points to the right or wrong ones.

    • Cal, you’ve misread what Piper and Grudem and the best continuationist theologians have taught. You’ve even misread what we rank and file guys have said in this thread. I will tell you right now that I distrust anyone making (and keeping) huge money on ministry. I think Jesus taught and did things differently, as did all the apostles, and leaders in the church should “not be lovers of money.” So, that’s just one factor we can use from scripture to start to discern, but there are few easy litmus tests. Character is more holistic, and even the best of us has flaws and weaknesses, so it needs to be more than a mistake here or there. And you don’t need a gift of discernment to get to know Jesus’ character. Starting there makes seeing the fakes easier. But lastly, you don’t need to be a wolf hunter to avoid wolves. Seek out the truth about suspicious teachings or teachers as you encounter them with wise counselors you trust, with prayer, and with scripture. We all have to do this to some extent, regardless of gifting.

  • Out of curiosity, what exactly should charismatics or any movement be “adding” to sound doctrine at this stage of history? I don’t even think most would claim that continuationism is new doctrine, as it has had adherents throughout Church history. Surely, there would be a greater uproar if we were arguing that new doctrines should be added to the faith!? Of course, I would argue that many continuationists have added clarity and better interpretation on exactly the point on which we differ with MacArthur–the bible just doesn’t teach cessationism!! But in actuality, there are many, many continuationist scholars and theologians, only a few of whom MacArthur names as so called “exceptions” who have made many fine contributions to the Church generally and to biblical scholarship and theology generally. That MacArthur would insist that these contributions have nothing to do with their continuationism is without basis. How would he know? I’m sure many such folks would say it cannot be separated out from their faith and thinking.

    Relatedly, I invite any one to tell me one other area of theology in which conservative, sola scriptura Christians attempt to overturn multiple, express NT commands and whole chapters of NT teaching and example without equally explicit NT basis. Because in this area, unlike any other, some sola scriptura folks who think that cessationism just must be true approach the NT like the liberals they so often criticize. They try to bend vague texts so as to trump clear NT teachings and commands. In no other area of theology does MacArthur’s camp use this methodology. Having women serve as elders has a stronger biblical case than cessationism(!), but the party goes on.