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John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, Reviewed by R. Loren Sandford

 

On a side note, in his introduction MacArthur asserts that Fuller Theological Seminary abandoned the doctrine of biblical inerrancy in the early 1970s. I was there from 1973 until my graduation in 1976 and I can state categorically that Fuller at that time held to inerrancy. MacArthur is wrong on many fronts and should be held accountable for what is either blatant intellectual dishonesty or just inexcusably sloppy research.

In reading MacArthur uncritically, you’d think that we all focus in unbalanced ways on manifestations and behavioral aberrations like barking and animal sounds. We do not. Over the years, I’ve spent at least a cumulative 5 months in meetings at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, now known as Catch the Fire, serving for 14 years in leadership as a regional coordinator and international council member. Never in all that time did I hear an animal sound. I think he must be reacting to what he has heard from other revival critics, rather than his own eyewitness experience. This, again, constitutes intellectual dishonesty and sloppy research.

He states, “I’ll start believing that the truth prevails in the charismatic movement when I see the leaders, who are the people who are most exposed to its principles, looking more like Jesus Christ.” Yes, some very few of us have been guilty of seeking or walking in anointing without character. Our exercise of church discipline in response to their failings has often been deficient. Tragically, some of those failures have been seen in people with prominent ministries and as a result we have all had to wear the mud we didn’t deserve.

The truth is that the foundation of the Toronto Blessing, for instance, was and is the kind of transformation of character to conform to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29) that has produced people like Rolland and Heidi Baker. In their ministry in Mozambique, not only are many thousands of orphans given homes and countless thousands of hungry fed, but thousands of churches are planted, hundreds of thousands come to Jesus, the dead are raised, the sick are healed and the lame walk. The vast majority of lesser known leaders in the renewal go quietly about the business of doing those same things in the places where they labor all over the world. The fallen leaders and those operating with less than the character of Jesus to whom John MacArthur actually objects are not my leaders and never were for a majority of us.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2014

About the Author: R. Loren Sandford is the eldest son of John and Paula Sandford, widely recognized as pioneers in the charismatic renewal, prophetic ministry and inner healing. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Loren has been in ministry full time since 1976 and is the founding pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colorado. As well as traveling internationally as a conference and seminar speaker, he is the author of numerous books, including: Burnout: Renewal in the Wilderness (1998), Purifying the Prophetic: Breaking Free from the Spirit of Self-fulfillment (Chosen, 2005), Understanding Prophetic People: Blessings and Problems with the Prophetic Gift (Chosen, 2007), The Prophetic Church: Wielding the Power to Change the World (Chosen, 2009), Renewal for the Wounded Warrior: A Burnout Survival Guide for Believers (Chosen, 2010), Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare (Chosen, 2012), and Yes, There’s More: A Return to Childlike Faith and a Deeper Experience of God (Charisma House, 2015). Married since 1972, he and Beth have two daughters and one son who have collectively given them nine grandchildren. Loren is also a member of the Osage Nation, a Native American heritage he deeply treasures. rlorensandford.com Twitter: @pastorrls

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