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

 

In bashing spiritual gifts, MacArthur characterizes the gift of tongues, for instance, as “babble”, relegating it to the flames of “strange fire”, seemingly ignoring the clear teaching of Scripture on the various uses of it. It was evangelistic on the day of Pentecost, but Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 clearly defines its use in corporate prayer (with interpretation) and for private personal edification, saying, “I wish that you all spoke in tongues.” The 120 did in fact speak in tongues on the day of Pentecost. Paul did in fact franchise its disciplined use in gatherings in Corinth and clearly described it as praying with an unfruitful mind for personal edification. Nowhere does the Scripture say that any of the supernatural gifts would cease.

MacArthur cries out against people falling into senseless trances but seems to miss that this very same thing happened to Daniel who broke into physical trembling when the angel touched him after he awakened from what was clearly a trance state. He seems to miss that the priests at the dedication of Solomon’s temple couldn’t stand up under the weight of the presence of the glory of God. And didn’t the disciples appear to be drunk on the Day of Pentecost? Speaking in foreign languages would have attracted little attention in a city where many thousands of Jews from different regions of the world had gathered for the feast, so it had to be their drunken behavior under the power of the Spirit that drew the comments. Through the filter of his cessationist theology, when these things happen today MacArthur calls them “strange fire”.

This book isn’t about strange fire. It’s about putting the fire out.

 

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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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