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Are Pentecostals offering Strange Fire?

 

MacArthur Strange FireDid tongues and the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit cease in the early church? John MacArthur says they did and that practicing them today is false worship—an abomination before God.

Pneuma Review invites you to respond to these criticisms and to renew the biblical command to “desire spiritual gifts” (1 Cor 14:1).

We’ve been here before
In 1978, MacArthur wrote The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective (Zondervan). Charismatic Chaos (Zondervan) was published in 1992. Dr. MacArthur launched his latest attacks against Pentecostal/charismatic beliefs with the Strange Fire conference (October 16-18, 2013), with speakers including Joni Eareckson-Tada and R. C. Sproul. His new book is Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship (Thomas Nelson), due out on November 12, 2013.

Not known for a conciliatory approach, John MacArthur’s inflammatory language is sure to polarize any attempt by Christians to discuss the gifts of the Spirit. We all agree that spiritual gifts can be and have been misused. There are significant doctrinal errors and poor theology being taught by some Christian leaders today. But are all Pentecostal/charismatics worshiping God falsely? Are they believing and teaching a counterfeit Gospel?

Invitation to participate

Pneuma Review has invited Pentecostal/charismatic scholars and Bible teachers from around the world to read and respond to MacArthur’s book. This is your opportunity to join the discussion about the continuation or cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Use the Comment box below so that all of us may read your posts.

As we have this needed conversation

Please keep in mind the Pneuma Foundation’s (parent organization of Pneuma Review) principles for discussing controversial topics.

When presenting teachings over which there is disagreement in the body of Christ, the Pneuma Foundation will not make its position in a manner that alienates or ignores opposing views. It is better to follow the Biblical mandate of preferring others over ourselves (Phil. 2:3-4). The Foundation desires to present the differing viewpoints and promote dialogue, acknowledging that the goal of our instruction is love (1 Tim. 1:5).

Michael L. Brown

Pentecostals too? Is John MacArthur being as hard on Pentecostals as he is on charismatics? This brief video by MacArthur might make you think that he is more sympathetic towards classical Pentecostals. However, Dr. Michael Brown sent this note to us that he posted on his Facebook page:

For all those writing to me and claiming that Pastor MacArthur is reaching out to “faithful Pentecostals” in a conciliatory way, make no mistake about it: He renounces the entire charismatic movement as being in serious error and ends his book with a strong appeal to his reformed charismatic friends to completely renounce their beliefs in continuationism. It’s black and white, in his book, on my desk, no doubt about it.

John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, Reviewed by R. Loren Sandford R. Loren SandfordStrange Fire by John MacArthur is basically an attack on anything and everything related to the Charismatic Movement and the various movements descended from it, as if the whole of it were composed of one monolithic set of doctrines and practices that all of us espouse. It invalidates anything that smacks of the supernatural or of emotion freely expressed in God’s presence. MacArthur pours his vitriol – and I mean vitriol – through the filter of his own prejudices and theological presuppositions in a way that blinds… [Read more]

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John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, Reviewed by Eddie L. Hyatt
As a life-long Pentecostal-Charismatic, I recommend that every Pentecostal-Charismatic leader read Strange Fire by John MacArthur. I say this because we need to see how the bizarre “spiritual” behavior and doctrinal extremes by some in our movement are viewed by those on the outside and are used to whitewash the entire movement. We have done a very poor job of addressing these problems from within, so I do not doubt that God has raised up a voice that is fundamentally opposed to our movement to address these extremes. If God could use a pagan Babylonian king to discipline his people Israel for their sins(Jeremiah 25:8-11), could he not use a merciless fundamentalist preacher… [Read more]

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Frank Macchia on the Gifts of God to the Church
In the context of this hoopla over cessationism, it might be interesting to see how the issue of spiritual gifts was dealt with in the first round of international talks between the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Pentecostals (of which I was a participant). We agreed together that all of the gifts from the New Testament have value today, but that both global church families tended to favor different lists of gifts from the New Testament. In response, we affirmed that no single list of gifts is to be held up as all determinative for judging the quality of a church’s spirituality and that both sides must expand its horizons by embracing the value of the gifts cherished by the other side… [Read more]

ruthven_small[1]John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, A Brief Biblical Response by Jon Ruthven
As we shall see, John MacArthur’s abhorrence of “further revelation” via prophecy and related spiritual gifts derives, not from scripture, but from the frustration of Calvinists under Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) of watching so many of their members defect to the Quakers, the crazy charismatics of the time. People were falling down, making a lot of noise and encountering Jesus in visions, prophecies, and healings. Sound familiar? Calvinist scholastics responded to this outrage with the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF)—often now regarded as the gold standard… [Read more]

Bill Dearteaga 1John MacArthur’s Strange Fire as Parody of Jonathan Edwards’ Theology, by William De Arteaga
The thesis of John MacArthur’s new book, Strange Fire is that Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement, are heretical movements that must be rebuked and eliminated from the church. 1 Everything to do with these movements is fraudulent, inauthentic or a misrepresentation of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Strange Fire continues his war on the Pentecostals and charismatics begun with his book published twenty years ago… [Read more]

CHAS_6[1]John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, Reviewed by Charles Carrin
You will soon be hearing about two books: Strange Fire by Dr. John MacArthur and Holy Fire by Dr. R.T. Kendall. Dr. Kendall has written only in the emergency to defend Scripture and charismatic Christians from Dr. MacArthur attack. John MacArthur is a man of significant Christian stature.  He is the author of more than 150 books, a study Bible, other best-selling material, and a College President.  R.T. Kendall is equally a man of great achievement. He holds a PhD. from Oxford University, authored more than 60 books, for twenty-five years was pastor of… [Read more]

111110ATS-keener002-200x300[1]John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, reviewed by Craig S. Keener
While offering some very needed points, John MacArthur’s Strange Fire unfortunately extrapolates from those points to an entire “movement.” As I note below, I also believe that MacArthur suppresses some biblical truth on the basis of a postbiblical doctrine, the very offense with which he charges others. Nevertheless, there is much to be learned from his criticisms; he has brought again to our attention some serious errors that charismatic churches must be on their guard against. I start with some agreeable points in the book and then move to points where I believe MacArthur has clearly overstepped the bounds  of reason and Christian civility… [Read more]

FrankViolaLargeWhy I Took Time to Respond to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire
Someone has asked me, “Why waste your time on responding to MacArthur’s writings against the charismatics?” When I was in my 20s, I wrote a critique of John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos because a brother in the Lord broke fellowship with me and my friends after reading MacArthur’s book. Jesus said to His disciples, “If they reject you, they’ve rejected me.” So to my mind, restoring a brother to… [Read more]

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Strange Fire and Churches of Christ
Maybe you’ve noticed that over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk around charismatic vs. not charismatic protestant Christians. Some people held a conference, and John MacArthur wrote a book about it. Mark Driscoll even showed up at the conference and started giving away his newest book and just confused everyone. But what caught my eye is what these non-Charismatics called the conference. They called it, “Strange Fire” Which may not mean much to you, but… [Read more]

John MacArthur’s Strange Fire: Estranged by misinterpretation? (Quotes and Discussion)

 

Further Reading:

Tim Challies: Lessons Learned at Strange Fire

Adrian Warnock: Strange Fire – A Charismatic Response to John MacArthur

Alex Murashko: MacArthur Continues Case Against Charismatic Movement at ‘Strange Fire’

Alan Smith: Some Thoughts in Response to the Strange Fire Controversy

Samuel Rodriguez: John MacArthur Suffers From Spiritual, Cultural and Theological Myopia

Joela Barker: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference

Michael Brown: A Final Appeal to Pastor MacArthur on the Eve of His ‘Strange Fire’ Conference

Sarah Pulliam Bailey: John MacArthur vs. Mark Driscoll: Megachurch pastors clash

Benjamin Robinson: Strange Fire? A Response to John MacArthur

Credo House: Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice

R. T. Kendall: Dear Dr. MacArthur

J. Lee GradyTo My Fundamentalist Brother John MacArthur: Grace to You Too

Paul L. King: Scarecrows and Strange Fire

Paul L. King: Is It of God? Andrew Murray’s Strange Fire

 

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Category: Pneuma Review, Spirit, Winter 2014

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