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William De Arteaga: Quenching the Spirit

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De Arteaga has written a powerful refutation of cessassionism from an historical perspective. In this sense Quenching is a strong defense of the modern charismatic movement. The author, however, may assume a greater unity in the renewal than is warranted. This is evident in his preface. Referring to D.R. McConnell’s book A Different Gospel, De Arteaga states, “It was moderate in tone, a scholarly ‘pastor’s book,’ but it offered a formidable challenge to the integrity of the charismatic renewal” (p. 13, emphasis mine). D.R. McConnell’s work was specifically addressing the Word of Faith movement, not the charismatic movement at large. Similarly he states that Charles Farah Jr.’s work From the Pinnacle of the Temple was a “Reproof for the Charismatic Renewal” (p. 225). Farah’s book, like McConnell’s was written only to the Faith movement.

Starting with chapter eleven until the end of the book, De Arteaga deals almost exclusively with the defense of what he terms faith idealism. He defines it as “An understanding of Scripture in which the believer may anticipate the fulfilling of a promise of God for which there is no sensory evidence” (p. 334). This adds up to a somewhat moderated form of word of faith theology. Thus, the latter chapters deal mostly with a defense of the faith movement.

The author embraces From the Pinnacle of the Temple, the aforementioned book by Charles Farah Jr., as a solid, Godly reproof of the faith movement that should be heeded, and laments that some have not listened (ch. 19). “While the charismatic renewal was undergoing its greatest expansion, it was also sliding into extremism. The faith-idealism theology of [E.W.] Kenyon . . . was being simplified into a system of absolutes. The new faith-popularizers were presenting a form of Christianity which claimed that suffering and sacrifice were no longer part of the price of the kingdom because proper faith could overcome all adversity” (p. 225). He maintains that though the leaders of the Faith movement have not directly responded, they have moderated their message. D.R. McConnell, responded to this statement by De Arteaga in his 1995 revision of A Different Gospel by saying, “If the Faith movement has moderated as is being said by some, let it be demonstrated by a massive reediting of their printed materials, materials that are being translated and distributed all over the world in their original form. As far as I’m concerned, the Faith controversy will never be over until that happens” (p. 212).

De Arteaga responded to criticisms from Dave hunt, Hank Hanegraaff, and John MacArthur Jr. He did an excellent job of showing how they generally misrepresent the movement by trotting out extremists as the norm, and often quoting out of context. Ironically, De Arteaga himself may have misrepresented MacArthur’s view on salvation. In chapter twenty-four the author writes, “MacArthur believes that a valid salvation experience must lead to a process of discipleship. He opposes those who hold to the more traditional view the salvation experience is sufficient to guarantee eternal life” (pp. 292-293, emphasis his). De Arteaga is referring to the Lordship-Salvation debate that has pitted many former theological colleagues of MacArthur against his view of discipleship. Anyone wanting to follow this further may read MacArthur’s book The Gospel According to Jesus.

Maybe the most controversial topic in De Arteaga’s book is his contention that God will, after trying everything else, send heretics to the church to bring about sound doctrine (ch. 13). He argues that “God uses whomever He wishes and whatever group He wishes to achieve His end” (p. 159). This chapter forms somewhat of a foundation for the remainder of the book. It is a tough case to make, and though De Arteaga argues it heroically, this reviewer found the argument without biblical foundation. Let the reader judge for himself.

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Category: Pneuma Review, Spirit, Winter 1999

About the Author: Michael J. Dies is the reviews editor for Pneuma Review. He and his family live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

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