John MacArthur and his Strange Fire

I was listening to a radio program the other day and heard about the Strange Fire conference that is scheduled for later this year.  The speaker said something about the need to warn about the dangers of charismatics, so I had to go to the website and see what they were even talking about.

The Lord calls His people to honor Him, to treat Him as holy. Leviticus 10 pictures the consequences of not doing so—of offering to Him strange fire.

For the last hundred years, the charismatic movement has been offering a strange fire of sorts to the third Person of the Godhead—the Holy Spirit. And evangelical churches have chosen to be silent or indifferent on the matter. This hasn’t served the church or the Spirit of the church with honor.

So what should be our response?

Strange Fire is a conference that will set forth what the Bible really says about the Holy Spirit, and how that squares with the charismatic movement. Through keynote speakers and seminars, the conference will expose the dangers of offering strange fire—and what the church can do about it.

The questions about and controversies surrounding the charismatic movement are more than theoretical. Your view of the Holy Spirit influences your relationship with God, your personal holiness, and your commitment to the church and evangelism. And He calls for our worthy worship of Himself.

I wish people would come out and say what they feel needs to be shared instead of making you wait and pay to hear it.  If this is really that dangerous of an occurrence, wouldn’t you want someone to know now instead of having to wait months to be set straight?  What if they die before the conference?  Are there no negative results of offering this “strange fire”?  What is this “strange fire“ that we are supposed to be offering up to the Holy Spirit?

I understand why people react the way they do when they encounter something that they do not understand.  I wish I could say that “charismatics” did not take the ideas to far and end up going astray, but I cannot.  That is true for every church and every theological group.  Just as I can honestly say that not everyone at my church has had an authentic encounter with God, I can say that about John MacArthur’s church and every other church that is in existence.  It amazes me at how much division there is within the Church.  If you think about the amount of time spent discussing theology instead of sharing the Gospel, I often wonder if it is worth it.  Of course, if a Christian thinks you might be going to hell for following a false doctrine then I understand why they feel the need to call it out.  I just wish they would not post pone the event or make people pay to find out what they are going to say.  Since the conference is really only going to attract those that agree with their position, I do not see much change coming in the near future.

I heard something the other day that I think pertains to this situation.  The statement was something to the effect that thankfully God uses people who do not think the way I think.  I am not sure who said it, but it keeps things in perspective.

28 thoughts on “John MacArthur and his Strange Fire

  1. If you’ve followed John MacArthur, or any of the others, for any amount of time you’d know what they were going to say because they’ve all written a whole ton on the subject. MacArthur has written 2 books specifically on the charismatic movement, and he’s written commentaries on the entire New Testament. Phil Johnson ran the Pyromaniacs blog for years, and Nate Busenitz writes for the Cripplegate blog. There’s dozens of articles on there about this stuff.

    They’re cessationists, and they make pretty hard and compelling arguments that the sign gifts (tongues, apostolic healing and prophecy) aren’t currently functioning in the church. They also make hard and compelling arguments that what is currently functioning in the church under those names (namely tongues and prophecy) aren’t the same things that are discussed in scripture; hence the danger.

    What passes for “tongues” in the church today has nothing to do with what tongues actually is. What passes for “prophecy” in the church today has nothing to do with what prophecy actually is. The people who give prophecies in charismatic churches speak either out of their imaginations or demonic inspiration, and the churches that heed the “words” of those prophets are either heeding the instructions of someone’s imagination or a demonic messenger.

    That’s what they’re going to say, though they’ll walk through all the pertinent biblical passages and make their case from the clear exegesis of scripture. If you think you disagree with them, you should go to the conference. Most likely, you’ve never heard anything close to the case that they’re going to make.

    1. Thank you for you comment.

      I have spoken with cessationists in the past and i understand where they are coming from even though i disagree with their position.

      I have known people in the past that will take the giftings and basically use them for their own self-promotion, but i cannot deny the workings of the Holy Spirit due to the abuse of a few.

      I think my biggest problem with the whole conference thing is that the information should be freely available if there is a serious concern towards the salvation of others instead of trying to make money in the process.

      I doubt there have been any new discoveries to try and prove that the Holy Spirit has stopped working today as He did when first poured out on the early church. Hopefully people who have been hurt in the past can attend the conference and find away back into the fold of the church. As for me, rejecting the giftings would be like rejecting the Holy Spirit. I pray that God is with them in their endeavors though.

      1. Xander,

        Since none of the information is new (they all have books and blogs that contain everything they’ll say), and the information will be free for download after the conference, the only reasons they’re doing it as a conference are:

        1. Paying the speakers for their time and research.
        2. Lots of people like going to conferences.
        3. Publicity.

        The information is currently freely available. The information will be freely available after the conference. You don’t have to go there or listen to anything they say to learn anything new at all. I don’t see the foul there; they’re allowed to have conferences and charge money to pay for it if they want.

        And for the record, I’d suggest going. It appears that you’re self evaluation about your understanding of Cessationism is slightly inaccurate.

        You said “I doubt there have been any new discoveries to try and prove that the Holy Spirit has stopped working today as He did when first poured out on the early church”. None of the Cessationists are suggesting that. He’s still convicting of sin, still empowering missions and evangelism, still indwelling believers, still producing saving faith, still empowering preaching, still working miracles, etc. I mean, some things that he does have unquestionably changed. You’re not suggesting that the Holy Spirit should still be judging the generation of Jews that killed Christ 1,900 years after they’ve died, or that the Gentiles should still be affirmed in their inclusion into the church 1,900 years later, are you?

        You also said ” As for me, rejecting the giftings would be like rejecting the Holy Spirit.”

        Which giftings? Nobody is suggesting that all the giftings have ceased. Only a “total Cessationist” believes that, and none of the guys at the conference are total Cessationists (in fact, I only know of 1 total cessationist in existence). You’re not just simply talking about tongues, (apostolic) healing and prophecy, are you? Is the activity of the Holy Spirit actually synonymous with those three manifestations to the point that if those aren’t occurring, he’s basically not doing anything?

        Yikes bro. Yikes. I’d be careful slandering the Spirit and calling him a 3-trick pony like that. He does a whole lot more than simply producing those 3 manifestations.

      2. mennoknight

        I have no problem with the conference being held or the people participating in it making money from the time that they have spent on the topic. My issue was that the way MacArthur made the use of gifts, like tongues or prophecies, out to be like demonic works or influences then i think it is wrong to wait for 8 more months before having this conference. If one is truly worried about the salvation of people, then why wait.

        Some of the material is freely available even if it is not easy to reference at one time. The benefit of a book or teaching is to put all of the material in one central location and they should be able to make money from that effort. I have read Pyromaniacs and the cripplegate in the past, but i disagree with several of the items they teach on and the methods they go about using to make their points so I choose not to spend much time, if any, there. I pray for all love and grace upon them as God uses them to do His will however.

        As for your quick judgement and accusation that i am slandering the Spirit, i would have hoped for a bit more grace to be seen from you, but I am hoping that you probably did not understand what I was saying when you responded.

        To clarify my prior comment, I have participated in tongues, healing and prophecy. For me to reject those as being alive and in use today, would be like rejecting the Holy Spirit. If i rejected a part of what I know to be real and true then i might as well be rejecting all that He represents. I know many have never experienced these gifts and i fully understand why they would reject them.

        Thank you again for your comments and sharing your point of view.

    2. Shut your blog down mennoknight. Your aggressive nature is collapsing the internets. I’ve been to other blogs like muddywaters, thethinplainhymn, and others like yours and I’m trying my hardest to have them shut down as well. Menno-lite should also be shut down, but there aren’t many recent posts. Please, your ideas are rotten garbage. Just ask Richard Seiner or Phil Jackson, iii. Remember?

      Good night and good luck!

  2. Conferences take time to plan. The speakers have schedules that are packed at least two years in advance (and the planning started long before the conference was announced). Hence the wait. You cannot simply throw a conference together in 2 weeks, or even 2 months.

    So I’ve experience tongues, healing and prophecy. I spent a decade in charismatic churches, including time in ministry in charismatic churches.

    You said ” If i rejected a part of what I know to be real and true then i might as well be rejecting all that He represents”. Well, if the scripture says that those things are not real and true, then you don’t know that they’re real and true; you simply want them to be real and true based on your misunderstanding of the phenomena that you’ve experienced.

    I reject those 3 gifts (as they’re manifest in charismatic churches) because the scripture tells me that they’re not real and true. I do my best to not interpret the scripture according to what I think I know to be true. I let the scripture tell me what is true and try to conform to that.

    1. We differ as I do not see where scripture says any of the three have ended.

      I am going to assume here that you are referencing 1 Corinthians 13:8-12. If it is another verse, please let me know and then we can discuss that.

      As for this passage:

      (1Co 13:8) Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

      (1Co 13:9) For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

      (1Co 13:10) but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

      (1Co 13:11) When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

      (1Co 13:12) For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

      When the perfect comes, these gifts will cease. What is the perfect? Surely not the complete Bible as there is continual translations and study going on of it. The Holy Spirit leads us in our understanding of the Bible, so I think it is a stretch to interpret it as a book that none of the writers knew would come.

      I submit to the Holy Spirit and listen to him explain the scripture to me.

      1. Xander,

        It’s funny how you assume that I think those things have ended based on 1 Corinthians 13:8-12. Believe it or not, I don’t ever use that passage in arguing for Cessationism. I also don’t take “the perfect” to be the completed canon (it’s far more exegetically defensible that it refers to the mature church), even though I (again) don’t bother trying to shove the ceasing of the sign gifts (tongues, prophecy and apostolic healing) into 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.

        The biblical case for the ceasing of the sign gifts (tongues, prophecy, apostolic healing) boils down to the biblical definition of them. If they are what the Bible says they are, then they’re NOWHERE to be found on planet earth today. In fact, if you can point me to any contemporary and biblically authentic example, I’ll wholeheartedly abandon my cessationism and join whatever church/denomination you’re a part of. I am sincere in saying that too, though people like CJ Mahaney, John Piper, John Bevere, Mark Driscoll, Jack Hayford, and others have tried and failed to produce authentic examples for me. If you can do what they cannot, I would love you forever. Being a Cessationist is definitely one way to NOT be popular, but my conscience is subject to the scriptures and not popular demand.

        Based on the biblical understanding of signs and wonders, as well as the definition of tongues (including the purposes for which that sign was given), tongues is nowhere to be found on earth today. Lots of people experience ecstatic speech, but nobody is speaking in distinct earthly languages (Acts 2:6-12) for the purpose of judging the Jewish rejection of the Messiah (Is. 28:1-13; 1 Cor. 14:20-22) and the purpose of confirming the inclusion of the Gentiles into the church (Acts 2:6-12, 17-21, 38-39; 10:44-48; 15:7-11, 14-18; 19:1-7).

        Based on the biblical understanding of signs and wonders, as well as the definition of prophecy (a person speaking as God’s actual mouthpiece, delivering the oracles of God to the listener), prophecy is nowhere to be found on earth today. Though false prophets are a dime a dozen, none of the ones who claim to be real prophets want to take the biblical test of truth and bet their lives that they’re a true prophet (i.e. Deut 13), none of them perform confirming signs and wonders (i.e. Ex. 4:1-17, 1 Kings 17:1-7, 17-24, etc.), none of them speak in accord with sound doctrine (i.e. Is. 8:19-20), and none of them are willing to say “thus saith the Lord”. The whole “fallible” prophecy is absolutely insane; if it’s God speaking then he cannot speak outside his own character and authority, but if it’s not divinely authoritative then it’s not God. Also technically, I should rather say prophecy has not ceased entirely but has only ceased for now, since Rev. 11:1-13 records that there will be two more authentic prophets of God present in the tribulation but due to the rapture, no Christian of this era will ever see them.

        Based on the biblical understanding of signs and wonders, as well as the definition of healing (the kind done by Jesus and the apostles, not the kind that is in response to prayer), apostolic healing is nowhere to be found on earth today. Lots of people get healed of “back pain” or “sore throats”, but you don’t see that in the Bible anywhere. Healing, as performed by the prophets, Jesus and the apostles was instantaneous, unchallenged, public, and a complete healing of outwardly manifest physical infirmities via a human agent. This sort of healing has not occurred since the end of the apostolic age (the last recorded healings were on Malta in Acts 28:8-9). Everyone in the New Testament who healed in this way received the authority to do so directly from Jesus Christ (Luke 9:1; 10:9), and scripture never records an instance of healing that wasn’t done by an Old Testament prophet, a New Testament apostle, or Jesus Christ himself. If someone claims to heal in the way of Jesus and the apostles (and many do), then it would be utterly simple to validate any of the “healings” that people claim. After 15 years of looking, I’ve seen lots of divine healing (by God in response to prayer), but never healing like the prophets, Jesus and the apostles did (for starters, the never prayed; they just told people to “rise up and walk”).

        As for the tongues and prophecy in my own experience, all I can say is this. I spent around 10 years in Full Gospel and Apostolic church circles. I had times where people tried to teach me to speak in tongues (mouth syllables, and the Holy Spirit will just take over). I did what they said, and i found that I could speak gibberish with the best of them. Everyone who heard me told me I was speaking in tongues, and the resident prophets told me I was speaking in tongues (I sounded like everyone else, I guess). Was that tongues if the people who taught me and the prophets who witnessed it said it was tongues?

        Same thing goes for prophecy…but the people that I learned prophecy from basically either spoke generic “words from God” (like being in a room of 500 young people and saying “The Lord is telling me that someone in here is struggling with lust” and then 40 guys start looking nervous…) or were simply scripture applied loosely to the situation (I think I heard Isaiah 58, or 2 Chron. 7:14 roughly cited in 20 different contexts as a prophecy…which works if nobody in your church ever reads the Old Testament). I used to do that in spades, and the people referred to me as both a “prophet” and an “apostle”, including the other prophets in the church (and all the pastors, who regularly told me that I had “the word of wisdom” and “the gift of discernment”, among other things). Was that prophecy if the people/pastors who heard me and the prophets who witnessed it said it was prophecy?

        Well, my experience isn’t self interpreting. I don’t have that kind of objective insight into the spiritual realm, and anyone who claims they do is simply a liar.

        Regardless of whatever I thought it was, the Bible instructs me that I didn’t speak in tongues and I’m not a prophet. I can think of some options (and not all of them involve demons), but I definitely know what it was NOT.

      2. Most Cessationists I encounter use that passage as the basis of their argument, but no slight was intended.

        The speaking in a distinct earthly language was one display of a supernatural occurrence of the Holy Spirit in Acts. I am not even sure that the disciples were speaking in an earthly language as we have Jews from every known nation under heaven hearing the disciples speak in their own language. Maybe it was a distinct earthly language but Luke describes it as a sound or noise, which is not a great representation of purposeful speech. That aside, the description of what happened does not make sense when looking at 1 Corinthians 14. Why would a person’s spirit be praying in a foreign language? Does God work better if a person prays in a language they do not understand compared to their native tongue? What we see here is a spiritual language that is known by God, who gives us the spirit in which we pray, but not known by our carnal mind. We can pray for interpretation, but there is still a form of communication going from the person’s spirit to God regardless of our understanding. Paul even identifies an angelic tongue and that people can speak it, so we should not limit tongues to a distinct earthly language.

        As far as super natural healing, I agree I have not seen instantaneous healing occur. I have heard many eye witness testimonies, but I cannot personally testify that they do exist based on personal experience. I did not see the apostles heal anyone, but most Christians believe it actually occurred, so maybe I do not need to physically see the healing occur to believe that they do occur. I would like to go to India and Africa where these are supposedly occurring to see for myself though. As for the healing only occurring from someone who Jesus personally gave authority to, where does the healing that Paul bestowed come from? We see him healing in Acts 14 a lame man and Paul was not present when Jesus conveyed the authority in Luke. Now Paul had the encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus, but that was not Jesus in the flesh so it is possible that fleshly encounter with Jesus is not required.
        I have never been privy to anyone who would come under the Deuteronomy 13 definition, as none have said to worship another god, but I understand where you are coming for. If we are to disbelieve a “prophet” if they fail to pass the test of their prophecies coming true, then we cannot trust Daniel and since not all of Jesus’ prophecies have come true then he must be out as well. In the OT, prophets were the mouthpiece of God and they were used to bring a word of judgment. How many times did we see Elijah go up to someone and say God is going to promote you at your job? That type of communication did not happen then. Now the point of prophecy in the NT is not to bring judgment on people as Jesus has taken care of it. We are not called to bring judgment, but that does not mean that God does not still speak to His children. I have personally “heard” a word from God that was used to bring clarity to another person about a situation they were going through. The words I give are not generic and usually the information that I am conveying is to someone who I have no personal knowledge of.

        I will agree that there are many people who abuse prophecy, tongues and many other spiritual gifts as there are many people who crave that type of encounter with God. I would like to think that they all begin with good intentions, but somewhere they get lost along the way. I struggled with tongues for the longest time until I asked a pastor who was honest with me. Tongues today are basically the gibberish that we speak. It is the faith that we put behind the words that make them real. The gibberish is just a way of communicating the faith that comes through the spirit to God. I don’t know if all people teach this, but it made me feel better about why I struggled with it and it never felt real for me. Since that time i have spoken in a tongue, but that only lasts until my mind questions if it is real. At that point I stop because my faith in it has left. Hopefully I will get past this someday but if not, then no biggie. I know there are many out there, including my own church, who speaks in tongues to fit in. I feel bad for them, but hope someday they move past that motivation.

        I asked about your own experiences because it makes sense to me as to why you do not believe. Coming from a church where people reassure you even though you know it is not authentic tends to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Maybe you will have an authentic experience in the future, but if not I do not doubt that your love for the Lord will continue to grow.

      1. Xander,

        Believe it or not, when I was in a Charismatic church, people gave me the same lines that you did. There are simple and biblically consistent responses:

        – We know for a fact that in Acts, the people were speaking human lanugages. The Greek word is “dialektos”, which means “dialect”.

        – Luke doesn’t describe it as a “sound”, unless you’re talking about Acts 2:6, where the word “sound” is shorthand for the “sound of tongues”.

        – 1 Cor. 14:14 is a hypothetical situation, hence it begins with “if…”, and it’s commenting on the obvious useless of a revelatory gift that doesn’t edify the church.

        – 1 Cor. 13:1 (“the tongues of men and of angels”) contains a hendiadys, which is another way of saying “every possible language”. It’s not saying that there ARE angelic tongues, only that if one could speak in them and didn’t have love, it would be useless.

        Tongues are an earthly dialect; a spoken human language. There is no other definition in the scriptures.

        – Healings are only supposedly happening in India and Africa? Well, the people I know in India and Africa have the same skepticism, and in India they talk about the “authentic” healings that are supposedly happening in North America.

        – I believe in the apostolic healings because they’re revealed as authentic in scripture. I disbelieve in the ones that I hear stories about because they (a) never stand up to a lick of scrutiny and (b) almost always don’t follow the pattern of scripture.

        – Paul got his authority to heal from Jesus, just like everyone else (that whole conversion and commission experience was directly with Christ, remember?). Where did I specify it had to be a “fleshly” encounter? For that matter, how do we know that Jesus, in his actual body, didn’t appear to Paul?

        – Deuteronomy 13? Well, I’ll also include 18:20-22.

        – Daniel and Jesus have prophecies that haven’t come true? What? Are they still future prophecies? I’m really wondering what you’re talking about here…

        – You said ” I have personally “heard” a word from God that was used to bring clarity to another person about a situation they were going through. The words I give are not generic and usually the information that I am conveying is to someone who I have no personal knowledge of.”

        Well, that’s called providence; you’re following the guidance of the Spirit and likely giving someone biblical advice that applies to their situation. Prophecy is always propositional communication from God, and if someone doesn’t heed that word, they’re sinning.

        Would you suggest that anyone who doesn’t heed the “word” that you bring them is sinning? Do you call people to repent for not heeding your “word” from the Lord? Every single true prophet of scripture did.

        – You said “Tongues today are basically the gibberish that we speak. It is the faith that we put behind the words that make them real. The gibberish is just a way of communicating the faith that comes through the spirit to God.”

        That’s NOT TONGUES. Go ahead and keep doing it, if it makes you feel good (or whatever). Just call it what it is. It’s the Christian equivalent of yelling “Yahoo!”

        It’s not tongues. The Bible only knows 1 definition of tongues, and that’s earthly dialects.

        – I don’t have a bad taste in my mouth. I gave up tongues kicking and screaming. The Bible judges my experience and tells me that it’s not tongues.

        It might be something that people are taught to do when they’re overcome with emotion, and I guess in that way it’s as “spiritual” as raising your hands, or kneeling, or closing your eyes, or whatever.

        It’s not tongues.

      2. – 1 Cor. 14:14 is a hypothetical situation, hence it begins with “if…”, and it’s commenting on the obvious useless of a revelatory gift that doesn’t edify the church. (mennoknight)

        I think you are reaching here. If I pray in the spirit is not the same as if I could pray in the spirit. Paul does not say not to pray in the spirit but suggests that the person should pray in their mind as well so that others will know that you are giving thanks. Paul says don’t pray like this in church without the interpretation as it does not instruct others. Not that a person should not or could not pray in the spirit. He even goes as far to say that praying in the spirit is “certainly giving thanks well”.

        – Paul got his authority to heal from Jesus, just like everyone else (that whole conversion and commission experience was directly with Christ, remember?). Where did I specify it had to be a “fleshly” encounter? For that matter, how do we know that Jesus, in his actual body, didn’t appear to Paul? (mennoknight)

        You explained to me previously that “Everyone in the New Testament who healed in this way received the authority to do so directly from Jesus Christ (Luke 9:1; 10:9)”. I was pointing out that your statement was not accurate. Paul had the encounter with him much later and he was able to heal. He did have an encounter directly with Jesus, but so should have all of us when we were saved.

        – Deuteronomy 13? Well, I’ll also include 18:20-22. (mennoknight)

        Good selection. So according to this, if what is spoken has not come true, then they are not a true prophet. Jesus said that He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel but this has not come to pass. Thus by this definition, Jesus is a false prophet. I believe that the future event will come to pass, but by your interpretation of the passage Jesus is declared a false prophet. The same goes for all of the OT prophets who spoke of the messiah.

        “Prophecy is always propositional communication from God, and if someone doesn’t heed that word, they’re sinning.” (mennoknight)

        Romans 12:6 we have the gift of prophecy. 1 Corinthians 14:6 Paul asks how he will help unless he speaks with a revelation, knowledge, prophecy or with a teaching. 1 Corinthians 14:22 Paul says that prophecy is for the believers. 2 peter 1:21 says that no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse rather is was carried along by the Holy Spirit spoken by God. These examples are of people saying something from God and failure to heed results in sinning?

        I like how Vines puts it as “”In such passages as 1Co_12:28; Eph_2:20, the ‘prophets’ are placed after the ‘Apostles,’ since not the prophets of Israel are intended, but the ‘gifts’ of the ascended Lord, Eph_4:8, Eph_4:11; cf. Act_13:1;…; the purpose of their ministry was to edify, to comfort, and to encourage the believers, 1Co_14:3, while its effect upon unbelievers was to show that the secrets of a man’s heart are known to God, to convict of sin, and to constrain to worship, 1Co_14:24-25.”

        While Vines holds your opinion that these gifting have passed, he does not share your same limited definition of the scriptures.

        “Would you suggest that anyone who doesn’t heed the “word” that you bring them is sinning? Do you call people to repent for not heeding your “word” from the Lord? Every single true prophet of scripture did.” (mennoknight)

        When I tell a person that God wants them to stop cheating on their wife, then yes I do believe they are sinning when they do not repent. When I have no clue of the infidelity, then I attribute that to God. You might refer to this providence, but all of God’s interactions with the world are providence.

      3. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
        (1Ti 4:14)

        I was reading 1st Timothy and ran across this and it reminded me of the discussion. Here you can see Paul using prophecy yet no one is “sinning” by not heeding it.

  3. It is very difficult to place your finger on the Mcarthor/Sproll percpective…on one hand they teach that God soverinley ordains every occurrence on earth, yet they will attempt to convince us that every current “manifestation” of God’s spirit that does occure identically as it did in the days of Jesus and the apostles, it must be dismissed as “STRANGE” fire. They will go even further and deny that Gods Spirit still distributes spirital gifts (ceasation) as he did in the days of the apostles. They stand to benefit economically from this conference, while altogether undermining the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13 Jesus said, if we ask (genuinely) for the Holy spirit we would receive the Holy
    Spirit.(to PARAPHRASE)

    1. Xander…I think that 1 ti.. 4:13 is one of many Scriptures cessationist ignore or entirely prance around in order to accommodate their beliefs. Timothy certainly wasn’t one of the apostles commissioned(in person) by Jesus but had spiritual gifts imparted to him…also the entire book of Jame lays out for the contemporary(as well as historical) church, the methodology of laying on of hands for healing…needless to say
      Luther questioned the authenticity of James

      1. I do not see it addressed that often, but it really addresses what we are calling prophetic. We are not told who these elders are, so they could be the apostles or they could be the elders of the local church or another church. What we do know is that the Holy Spirit passed a word on to Timothy of his gifting and calling in the church and there is no logical reason why that would not still continue today.

        Thank you for the comment.

  4. Xander: do not allow mennoknight to write on your blog any longer. His site is full of hypocrisy, slander, lies and malice. Mostly about Dr. Brad Jersak, but many other things as well. Please, recommend to all your friends that his blog be shut down. If we can find enough people it could happen! It’s my greatest wish.

    Good night and good luck!

  5. It truly saddens me that so many Christians are spending their time, energy, and money going after other Christians! Wouldn’t this time, energy and money be better spent in bringing people into the family of God? God never wanted to make a “religion” he just wanted a family…let’s stop fighting, and backbiting, let’s love each other, be kind to one another and help each other instead!!!! I know, instead of these people spending their money on Mr. MacArthur’s books, conferences, and sending his ministry money, they could send that money to Bible League so that Bible’s would get into the hands of a dying, lost, and hungry people!!!

  6. There is a lot of false humility floating around here (not you, necessarily, Xander). But, I feel like comments on men like MacArthur should be addressed. I went to his school, and the college debt was a mistake; but, his school wasn’t. A few things about this man:

    1) John has preached faithfully at the same church for over four decades now. He has ministered and preached God’s Word to a dying area, and many of those in his church have been saved from movements such as the charismatic movement or Roman Catholicism.

    2) Regarding the conference, there is a lot that goes into the conference. This is an effort to warn people, even to rebuke men of God who have great ministries but need to correct an area of their thinking. I don’t understand saying, “Why not reveal it now?” That sounds a lot like, “Why put so much effort and time into this conference?” “Why not just preach a quick sermon and get it done?” “Why not give out a bunch of free mP3’s?” If you know anything about their ministry, you know that Grace to You gives out free books and CDs to people on their mailing lists all the time. I can’t imagine how much money they lose in that. I know that both my mom and I receive very nice, hardback, and free books from John all the time.

    3) To the last bleeding heart comment, understand that-first of all-your statement is somewhat hypocritical. You could have spent the last ten minutes sending money to a child in Africa, but instead you maligned John MacArthur on the internet. Right? Why did Paul call Peter out in Galations? That was slightly divisive. The truth is, even I don’t always call myself a cessationist, but I think John is right to come out and start rebuking men who have aligned themselves with things that can quickly lead to false teaching (Piper joining Driscoll, Grudem and his Word of Knowledge, etc.). I think MacArthur, as one faithful to Scripture, is seeing it as his pastoral duty to call these men back in areas they may have wandered off.

    4) In a world full of false teaching and men who make no effort to tell the truth, I think-if John MacArthur and others are seeking to be faithful to Scripture-we should support them in our actions. In this conference, he is obviously seeking to set aside a special time (he’ll also have a book coming out), a time concentrated on the dangers of the charismatic movement. I wish I could be there.

    I didn’t quite understand the point of this post, but I wish you well, brother (not sister, I think; I should probably check names before I address you). Thanks for seeking biblical discernment.

    John MacArthur is not perfect, and he is not god. But he has devoted his life to the ministry, often even endangering himself in other countries (let’s not even talk about all the threats he gets there in LA). All he cares about is preaching God’s Word to a dying world, and calling men back when they’re not doing that. Paul called people out in the very same way. I am thankful for Dr MacArthur and, for our sakes, I’m not looking forward to the day the Lord calls him home.

    1. Thank you for your comment Adam.

      I want to publicly state that MacArthur has been a great champion for the Kingdom of God. To have a man who is unafraid to stand up and proclaim God for all these years is a wonderful thing. On top of that, he has been in the public eye for decades yet has not fallen because of sexual immorality or financial irresponsibility. I can honestly say I do not think there will ever come a time when MacArthur will hit up his congregation to pay for repairs on his helicopter.

      I know MacArthur is against some of the charismatic / Pentecostal practices, and primarily due to the abuse of the “gifts” at the hands of people who are not preaching the message of God or are taking advantage of those who take advantage of God’s children who are honestly looking for a spiritual movement by God. It is sad and I know that God will deal with those people in His own time. I fully believe in the continuation of the gifts and if someone disagrees, then they disagree. I am not going to fall into hatred and argument over something as trivial as that.

      I wrote the article because I get tired of hearing ads that someone’s salvation might be as stake, but they have to wait for many month and then go pay to hear what that threat is. If the person dies before attending the conference and MacArthur honestly feels that the person’s is a risk of going to hell, then he is responsible to some degree. I know MacArthur’s ministry gives out free merchandise and other materials which is a good thing. But to make the case of how important this material is and then to charge and make people wait to hear it, is to some degree irresponsible.

      I wonder why he is not having a “Strange Salvation” conference to address the abuse of the once saved always saved message that is being shared in unbiblical ways. Is it not dangerous to a person to believe that they can say a prayer once then go about living life however they want without abiding in Christ, is that not as dangerous to the salvation of a person as speaking in tongues? There are so many things tearing apart the Church that we need to find the commonality among the denominations and build up on that.

  7. Xander,

    Thanks for the response. I will disagree with your points about MacArthur respectfully and leave it at that.

    As for Lordship salvation, although I’ve struggled with serious sins even as a Christian, I am in complete agreement with you about Lordship salvation and the dangers of free grace. MacArthur is already well known for his views of lordship salvation, and he has addressed that often. Obviously he sees the need now to address some of the dangers of charismatic theology that seem to be seeping into even very legitimate, godly, Christ honoring ministries. If that’s the case, shouldn’t he make it a point to really set time aside and address that? As to the question of why he charges, I don’t understand the accusation. Any conference charges for attendance, in general; and any author charges for his or her books. That’s how they’re able to keep doing what they’re doing.

    Anyway, nice looking blog. Keep up the good work. I stand with MacArthur on this one. But we can respectfully disagree here.

    Have a great Lord’s Day!

  8. OOOOPs.. I think McArthur will be utterly disappointed to find that simple bible believing Charismatics are raising the dead in Mozambique. Heidi Baker is going to hell. Someone should let her know. McArthur go to Mozambique.

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