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The False Doctrine Behind John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, by Eddie Hyatt



In his latest book, Strange Fire, John MacArthur viciously labels the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement as “a false church as dangerous as any cult or heresy that has ever assaulted Christianity.” As I have read and reread his polemic, one thing that becomes clear is that MacArthur’s entire theological outlook is guided and determined by his commitment to the Calvinistic doctrine of cessationism, i.e., the belief that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were withdrawn from the church after the death of the original apostles of Christ. This, however, is a false doctrine that cannot be substantiated by either Scripture or church history.

Those who succeeded the original apostles as leaders in the churches make no mention of a cessation theory. They do, on the other hand, give testimony of miraculous gifts and healings occurring in their day. I have documented this in my book, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, published by Charisma House. Consider the following quotes from church fathers recognized by both Protestants and Catholics as the legitimate successors of the original apostles.

Justin Martyr (100-165)–“For the prophetical gifts remain with us even to the present time. Now it is possible to see among us women and men who possess gifts of the Spirit of God” (Eddie Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, 15).

Irenaeus (125-200)–“In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church who possess prophetic gifts and through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages … Yes, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years” (Hyatt, 16).

Tertullian (150-240)–“For seeing that we too acknowledge the spiritual charismata, or gifts, we too have merited the attainment of the prophetic gift … and heaven knows how many distinguished men, to say nothing of the common people, have been cured either of devils or of their sicknesses” (Hyatt, 17).

Novation (210-280)–“This is he [the Holy Spirit] who places prophets in the church, instructs teachers, directs tongues, gives powers and healings, does wonderful works … and arranges whatever gifts there are of the charismata; and thus making the Lord’s Church everywhere, and in all, perfected and completed (Hyatt, 20-21).

Origen (185-284)–“Some give evidence of their having received through this faith a marvelous power by the cures which they perform, invoking no other over those who need their help that that of the God of all things, along with Jesus and a mention of his history” (Hyatt, 18-19).

Augustine (354-430)–In his work, The City of God, Augustine tells of healings and miracles that he has observed first hand and then says, “I am so pressed by the promise of finishing this work that I cannot record all the miracles I know” (44-45).

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2014

About the Author: Eddie L. Hyatt, D.Min. (Regent University), M.Div. and M.A. (Oral Roberts University), serves the body of Christ around the world by teaching with academic excellence and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He has authored several books, including 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity. His passion is to see authentic spiritual awakening transform the Church and impact the world in the Twenty-first century. www.eddiehyatt.com

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