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Discussion Forum : General Topics : John MacArthur Responds to Critics Who Believe His Strange Fire Conference Is Divisive, Unloving

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proudpapa
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Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


 John MacArthur Responds to Critics Who Believe His Strange Fire Conference Is Divisive, Unloving

The Rev. John MacArthur, influential author, pastor and seminary president, responded to critics of the three-day Strange Fire conference at his Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., that many pastors believe is causing dissention among the faithful because he's teaching that the Charismatic movement is leading people astray and dishonors the Holy Spirit.

MacArthur commented that some of his critics have said that he's fixated on the Charismatic movement, a claim he countered by noting that in his 45 years in ministry, this was his first conference he's held on the movement, and believes it has come too late.

"In response to this conference, there have been some attacks, and we've been unable to escape them," MacArthur said to the more than 3,000 attendees at the conference Friday night. "I just want to address those, because I do think that it's important to answer the criticisms that have come."

He first said that he hosted the Strange Fire conference to help the Church, and people who believe the Bible is the word of God and that God has revealed Himself clearly and consistently and without contradiction.

"This is for the true church, so that they can discern; so that they can be protected from error; and so that they can be a source of truth for others outside the church," he said, adding that his book, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit With Counterfeit Worship, can withstand the most intense scrutiny, when measured against the word of God in the Bible.

MacArthur also commented that the conference wasn't for nonbelievers within the Charismatic movement, for which there are many, he contends. "I don't expect nonbelievers to have a desire for the truth, a hunger for the truth or to search out the truth. That's not what unbelievers do unless they're being prompted by the Holy Spirit."


According to MacArthur, even before his conference started he was being accused of being unloving. He countered that assertion by saying that the most loving thing anybody could ever do, would be to tell someone the truth, because that's how love acts.

"It is unloving to leave people in darkness and error," he said. "In Acts 20 it says 'to warn you with tears,' knowing that perverse, deceptive men will rise up to lead you astray." He then added that Titus 1:4 outlines the duty of pastors and church elders to point out errors and give biblical arguments against them.

"We have also been accused of being divisive. I would agree with that. Truth by its very nature is divisive. That's why Jesus said, 'I came to bring a sword.' To divide people, to divide families. Truth by its very nature is separated from error. And it is far more important to be divided by truth than united by error."

He continued: "I remember years ago when I wrote the book, The Gospel According to Jesus, a leading evangelical preacher took me to lunch and said, 'You have divided the body of Christ.' And I said, may I ask you a question? And he said, 'Yes.' Is what I wrote true? That's the only question I have. Of course, the truth divides."

A third criticism of MacArthur's Strange Fire conference is that some believe the issue is not clear in the Bible, and even some well-known Bible scholars have demonstrated that the scripture is not clear on this issue.

"I would like to say, in response to that, that if the issue is unclear – as some are claiming – it has only become unclear under the influence of false teachers. It was clear to the apostles. It was clear to the early church fathers. It was clear to the reformers. It was clear to the puritans. It is clear in creeds like the Westminster confession. It has been clear to reformed theologians like BB Warfield. It was clear to Spurgeon. It was clear, in the more modern times, to R.C. Sproul. Has it now become unclear, because of Aimee Semple McPherson, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and Kenneth Copeland? That's a ludicrous idea."

Another accusation has been that MacArthur and cessationists are talking about something that is only true of the extreme, lunatic fringe of the movement, to which he contends is "patently not true." Because he believes there is error in the Charismatic movement that sweeps through the entire movement.

"Ninety percent of the people around the world connected to the Charismatic movement take ownership of the prosperity gospel," he said. "Twenty-four to 25 million of them deny the trinity. One hundred million of them are Roman Catholics. This is not some fringe; this is the movement. And it is growing at a rapid rate."

According to MacArthur, other critics feel that he's attacking a movement that has given Christians rich worship, and have said that the music is enriching the worship of the church.

"I'm convinced that the contemporary style of Charismatic music is the entry point for Charismatic theology into church. If you buy the music, the theology follows," he continued. "I think that the Charismatic movement has significantly diminished worship. It has taken it out of the area of truth, out of the mind, and reduced it to the feelings of the flesh."

For those who've told MacArthur that he's attacking his brothers in Christ, MacArthur responded that he "wished he could affirm that." In his opinion, he and his fellow speakers noted throughout the conference that the Charismatic movement is made-up largely of non-Christians.

"If reformed leaders who know the truth, Gospel and word of God don't police this movement, the spiritual terrorists will dominate," he said. "I hope that I told the truth with kindness and love, but when I open the word of God, it must speak. I do care about the feelings of people; I do care about offending them; but not nearly as much as I care about offending God."

According to MacArthur, the Charismatic movement is an "alien movement" whose roots can be traced back to 1966 when the hippies of San Francisco moved to Orange County and joined Calvary Chapel and the "barefoot, drug-induced young people told the church how the church should act." he said. "Hymns and suits went out. For the first time in the history of the church, the conduct of the church was conformed to a sub-culture that was born of LSD and marijuana."

MacArthur contends that the Charismatic movement is a culturally-bound, culturally-driven and seeker-driven church movement that depreciates and diminishes the glorious way the Holy Spirit worked in the foundation of the church.

"If the gifts practiced in today's Charismatic church are equivalent to those described in the New Testament, then those original gifts were nothing special," he said, adding that it degrades the true gifts God gave to the first century church.

He added that the movement dishonors the Holy Spirit by enticing people with counterfeits, and it makes people think they don't have what they need, and that there's something out there they need to chase.

MacArthur also pointed to those who call themselves continuationists as aiding the problem, because they want to give a place to the Charismatic movement, and said they are not helping to resolve the issues of false doctrine.

"The broader Charismatic movement has opened the door to more theological error than any other doctrinal aberration in this modern day," MacArthur added, noting that in chapter 12 of his book, he has written an open letter to his continuationist friends.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-macarthur-responds-to-critics-who-believe-his-strange-fire-conference-is-divisive-unloving-107051/

 2013/10/26 14:32Profile
dohzman
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Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 Re: John MacArthur Responds to Critics Who Believe His Strange Fire Conference Is Div

MacArthur:According to MacArthur, even before his conference started he was being accused of being unloving. He countered that assertion by saying that the most loving thing anybody could ever do, would be to tell someone the truth, because that's how love acts.

The Word of God declare that wisdom makes knowledge acceptable and we all know the fruit of wisdom as outlined in the book of James.

I do believe that he has a love for the Word of God and maybe even a real concern for the things he is seeing in the church and maybe even in charismatic circles, however in this one he stepped out of "grace to Us" who claim to be Pentecostal, at least. There is more going on here than what is being reported and what we personally will ever know. Good time to just let his words roll off our backs like water off a ducks back and keep him in our prayers.


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D.Miller

 2013/10/26 14:53Profile
Sidewalk
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Joined: 2011/11/11
Posts: 703
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 Re:

Whoever this John MacArthur fellow is, and I am not familiar with his ministry, he certainly has missed some very critical aspects of the Charismatic movement by focusing on just some of the glitzy players. Would that he had met Derek Prince, Erne Baxter, Bob Mumford- to name a few who taught a generation of Pentecostal/ Charismatics genuine cross based trinitarian, interceding, mission passionate Christians how to go to God, be filled with His Spirit, and walk in a manner worthy of the Lamb.

Sure there are nut-job charismatics who fit all his stereotypes, but he should be assured that in non Charismatic churches such as would welcome him there are nut-job baptists and unrepentant sinners who could easily be someone else's stereotypes as they criticize his ministry!

Don't call a conference, sir, call on God that you might have one of the many veils that cover the human mind and heart be removed. These Charismatics who love the Lord Jesus Christ are not your competition!


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Tom Cameron

 2013/10/26 15:33Profile
Sidewalk
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Joined: 2011/11/11
Posts: 703
San Diego

 Re: Interesting quote from Tozer

“If the Lord’s people were only half as eager to be filled with the Spirit as they are to prove that they cannot be filled, the church would be crowded out.”
- A. W. Tozer


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Tom Cameron

 2013/10/27 15:07Profile
murrcolr
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Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1529
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 Re:

Beware of the angry watchman.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP1fjo9PGKU


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Colin Murray

 2013/10/27 17:15Profile
hulsey
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Joined: 2006/7/5
Posts: 640
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 Michael Brown/Phil Johnson debate/talk on the radio about the Strange Fire Conference

Here is a link to Micheal Brown's radio program where he interviewed Phil Johnson about the 'Strange Fire' conference.

http://askdrbrown.org/portfolio/line-of-fire-dividing-over-truth-or-just-plain-divisive-dr-brown-interviews-christian-leaders-regarding-the-strange-fire-conference/


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SI Moderator - Jeremy Hulsey

 2013/10/27 17:35Profile
savannah
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Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 1957


 Re: quote



To attempt to apply this quote from Tozer to the issue shows just how much of a lack of understanding,at the least,of the issue.

Any and all who'd be favorable toward this conference are quite eager to be filled with the Spirit. None would be eager to prove to any that they cannot be filled.

And be not drunk with wine, in which is excess; but be filled with the Spirit - Ephesians 5:18

 2013/10/27 21:16Profile
proudpapa
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Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


 Re:

RE: ///To attempt to apply this quote from Tozer to the issue shows just how much of a lack of understanding,at the least,of the issue.///

I am not so sure that sidewalk is lacking in understanding when he quote Tozer,

The problem is language and difference in definitions of the same words held by different camps.

It makes it confusing to understand who trully believes what. as all Christians are going to speak of being filled and walking and etc, but are they speaking of the same thing ?


John MacArthur says :

///.......I remember a chorus that we used to sing long time ago when I was a little guy. I almost said younger, young. But when I was a little kid I used to sing this song, Let Go and Let God. Now I thought that was nice song and I used to sing that little song, Let Go and Let God, have his wonderful way or something like that. You know, I began to think about that the other day. Let go, now wait a minute. Let go, I don't like that. The implication of the song is that you just sort of flop on the Holy Spirit and you say well there I am do it.

That's what we call the theology of quietism. If you want a term for it, quietist. Those are...incidentally, probably the quietists that you would be most familiar with would be the Quakers who are quietists. For years and years there were great Bible conferences called Kezicconferences. Kezicconferences were for the most part quietistic. Some of you, I'm sure, have read Hannah Smith's The Christian Secret to a Happy Life. That's a quietistic approach. That's sort of do nothing and He'll do it all kind of approach.

Charles Fenneytaught that. From time to time you find it in the writings of Wesley and others. This is the idea that all the believer has to do is just sort of flop on the Holy Spirit. The Spirit walk they say and this is fairly common to most quietistic views, the Spirit walk does not involve any effort on my part. In fact, wherever there is effort, I hinder the holiness that God wants to accomplish. So I absolutely must eliminate effort and surrender. That's the word. That's the word. If you read...I was reading the other day the convocation of 48 messages given my Kezic conferences, and I suppose as much as you see the word the, you see the word surrender. That was the word.

Now as long as we are in this attitude of surrender, we live virtuous holy lives. And normally the view continues to go on and teach us also a second work of grace. That you get so surrendered at one point in your life that the sin nature becomes eradicated. And at that point, you never sin again. Now I believe that it is true, and I want to get this right and God bless many of these quietists, because we're indebted to them, believe me. And some of them were nearly as extreme as others. But this is beyond Scripture. When you get to the place where you just don't do anything. Where you just sort of do nothing that because there's a problem here and the question I ask is this. Then let's say you're in a state of surrender and you're flopped and the Spirit of God is doing whatever He's doing. And then all of a sudden you sin. Who's fault is it? Well, that's a tough question. You say well it can't be my fault, because I surrender. Well, it can't be the Holy Spirit's fault, because He doesn't do that.

You say oh I know I took back my surrender. Well, that was sin too. Who prompted that? Who's fault was that? It's not that simple. Now the command to walk by the Spirit is very simple. But you see if it was all up to God, I'm not sure we'd need the command. The command is there to keep on walking in the Spirit, so I've got to have something to do with it. He says keep walking and that applies effort. This implies a moment by moment kind of commitment........///
http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/1668

 2013/10/27 21:59Profile
Sidewalk
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Joined: 2011/11/11
Posts: 703
San Diego

 Re: Sidewalk lacking understanding

I must certainly say amen to that, if I had full understanding I sure wouldn't need Sermon Index and the banter that this forum generates!

I do think ProudPapa hit it on the head that the different camps use the same words with different meanings. Tozer's comment, which I found right here on SI, just seemed poignant to the conversation and the need for balance. I did not intend that the quote be used to generate another stream of thought.

I am actually a pretty simple guy who speaks no Hebrew or Greek, or even geek- I have a hard enough time wrestling my thoughts into English.

I did not want to weigh in on the Strange Fire issue, and I don't know MacArthur. But I do have some experience in loving God and ministering in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I would concur with what seems to be one of the Strange Fire concerns that there has been a lot of abuse. Prosperity doctrine has been the cause of too many shipwrecks, and I know names. My wife used to like a Christian nutrition counsellor named Gwen Shamblin? who decided to leave the doctrine of the trinity and led a bunch out into her own wilderness there. I wouldn't object to calling that some Strange Fire! But those two cited phenomena are downstream from the gifts of the Spirit as delineated in the New Testament.

Never-the-less the large number of people, thousands, who have gone off into these doctrines would by reason warrant investigation. But it seems unlikely that many would hear a loving call to return to orthodoxy if the caller is one who denies a modern Baptism in the Holy Spirit.






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Tom Cameron

 2013/10/27 23:52Profile
savannah
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Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 1957


 Re: by proudpapa on 2013/10/27 21:59:04


proudpapa,

Please point out the specific error you're alluding to in the quote in your previous post. (by proudpapa on 2013/10/27 21:59:04)


Thanks.

 2013/10/28 7:14Profile





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