Pastor John MacArthur has announced a strange fire conference to be held this October, claiming that part of the charismatic movement offers to God unacceptable worship, distorted worship. It blasphemes the Holy Spirit. It attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.If these charges are true, this means that many leaders in the charismatic movement have committed the unpardonable sin and are therefore hell-bound. If these charges are not true, Pastor MacArthur has seriously overstepped his bounds and misused the Word of God.And it is only fair to ask whether Pastor MacArthur, in his rightful zeal to correct excesses or errors in the charismatic movementwhat he calls strange fireis also guilty of rejecting the true fire. Does he embrace the glorious things the Holy Spirit is doing worldwide, resulting in the salvation of tens of millions of souls, or does he write them off as the result of emotionalism and deception?Before addressing these very weighty questions, let me express my deep appreciation for Pastor MacArthur. He has been in high-profile ministry for decades without a hint of a sexual or monetary scandal. He has been an unashamed witness for Jesus before the world; he has preached the cross and the blood; he has renounced cheap grace and emphasized the importance of the lordship of the Son of God; and he has been a devoted student of the Scriptures.In all these ways, if we had more leaders like John MacArthur, the church and the world would be in much better shape.At the same time, he has made sweeping, critical statements, often throwing out the baby with the bathwater, not only rejecting the dangerous excesses and extremes in the charismatic movement but also labeling some genuine works of the Spirit as charismatic chaos.The fact is that there has never been a true outpouring of the Spirit that has not been controversial, be it in the ministry of Jesus, at Pentecost in Acts 2 or throughout church history, right up to our day. Yet all too often, sincere leaders like Pastor MacArthur have failed to discern what God was doing in the midst of the human emotion and response.One church historian pointed out that during the Great Awakening in 18th-century America, the biggest difference between Jonathan Edwards, the preeminent leader of the awakening, and Charles Chauncey, the foremost critic of the awakening, was that Edwards focused on the wheat while Chauncey focused on the chaff. Has Pastor MacArthur been guilty of doing the same thing when it comes to the charismatic movement?Without a doubt, there are horrific things being done in the name of Jesus and the Spirit, often on Christian TV for the whole world to seeand this stuff is downright shameful, bringing reproach to the reputation of the Lord. Along with other charismatic leaders, I have renounced these things for decades. But is it the responsibility of every charismatic-Pentecostal pastor and leader to renounce these things all the time?Pastor MacArthur has called on his Pentecostal brothers and sisters to stand up and speak out against these abuses, joining him at his upcoming conference; but if a pastor is shepherding his flock and feeding them Gods Word and his people are not guilty of these abuses or watching these TV preachers, why is it his responsibility to address these errors? Does Pastor MacArthur feel the responsibility to monitor the preaching of tens of thousands of non-charismatic pastors across the country and publicly renounce their errors? Why, then, must Pentecostal and charismatic pastors renounce extremes in their movement to somehow prove their orthodoxy?And which is worse? To preach a carnal prosperity message or to give people false assurance that, once they are saved, no matter how they live, no matter what they do, even if they renounce Jesus, they are still saved? Which message will result in more people being misled and finding themselves in hell?Pastor MacArthur rightly renounces the carnal prosperity message, yet many non-charismatics who follow him embrace an extremely dangerous version of the "once saved, always saved" doctrine. Why the double standard here?Again, I am not for a moment excusing doctrinal errors, emotional manipulation, financial greed or other spiritual abuses often perpetuated in the name of the Spirit, but it is absolutely outrageous that Pastor MacArthur claims, The charismatic movement is largely the reason the church is in the mess it is today. In virtually every area where church life is unbiblical, you can attribute it to the charismatic movement. In virtually every areabad theology, superficial worship, ego, prosperity gospel, personality elevation. All of that comes out of the charismatic movement.And he is quite wrong when he states, Its theology is bad. It is unbiblical. It is bad. It is aberrant. It is destructive to people because it promises what it can't deliver, and then God gets blamed when it doesn't come. It is a very destructive movement.In reality, more people have been savedwonderfully savedas a result of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement worldwide than through any other movement in church history (to the tune of perhaps a half-billion souls), as documented recently in Allan Heaton Andersons To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity. And professor Craig Keener has provided overwhelming testimony to the reality of Gods miraculous power worldwide today (see his brilliant two-volume study Miracles).Tragically, rather than recognizing the outpouring of the Spirit worldwideGods true fire, falling in abundance in many nationsand focusing on the spiritual deadness that exists in many Spirit-denying churches, Pastor MacArthur has chosen to focus on aberrations and extremes in the charismatic movement, even making the extremely dangerous claims that charismatics are blaspheming the Spirit and attributing to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.To be perfectly clear, I am not for a second claiming that Pastor MacArthur is blaspheming the Spirit (God forbid!), but in the New Testament, blasphemy of the Spirit is knowingly attributing the works of the Spirit to Satan (Mark 3:23-30), and I am far more concerned about denying the true fire than I am about putting out every aberrant charismatic brush fire.Let Gods holy fire fall!from: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/39944-john-macarthur-strange-fire-and-blasphemy-of-the-spirit
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
This is a very good article. I have read McArthurs book Charismatic Excess and it grieved my a lot. He did not correct their errors but damned the whole movement. There are other teachers that do a much better job on correcting these errors and teach the right application of spiritual gifts. It is very dangerous to unsettle Christians who know the gift of the spirit and prevent them from using it.Everything that God gives is essential and neccessary for the church. I cannot imagine that anyone who knows the baptism of the spirit came come to the conclusions McArthur draws.
Good article. My problem with the article is the tying together of the Charismatic movement and the Pentecostal movement. For lack of a better description, and if pushed , i would say that I am a " classic pentecostalist." This was also how a bunch of brothers we met from Poland described themselves. And so to me, a classic pentecostalist is someone who believes in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the sign gifts that go along with it, but who stand upon the word of the Lord therefore would reject all that which is not found in the Scriptures, prosperity gospel, word of faith, Florida revival's where there was roaring like lions and so called holy laughter and so on. So what does that mean? It means that you would upset the Charismatics and McArthur. On the one side you have people who claim to be Baptized in the Holy Spirit but who fall for every wind of doctrine and pay little attention to the Word of God, and on the other hand, people , often times very proficient in the Word, but who deny the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the sign gifts, cessasionists for the most part and proponents of once saved always saved. The whole truth does not lie in either of these camps. I appreciate what McArthur is speaking about when it comes to worship, but can I worship along side someone who would deny the power thereof? Anti- Christ means " anti-replaced" and " Christ-the anointed one." So, anti Christ, at its most basic, is a replacement anointing that passes itself of as God. This is what McArthur is talking about, but if you do not believe in the power of the Holy Spirit as described in the Bible, can you ultimately be better off than the charismatics? .............bro Frank
1 Thes. 5:19-22Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully. Hold fast to that which is good. Abstain from every form if evil.I believe the above verses provide the best balance. Personally I respect John MacArthur's ministry. But do not agree with his views of cessionism. At least, I think he still holds that position.Bearmaster.
"Tragically, rather than recognizing the outpouring of the Spirit worldwideGods true fire, falling in abundance in many nationsand focusing on the spiritual deadness that exists in many Spirit-denying churches, Pastor MacArthur has chosen to focus on aberrations and extremes in the charismatic movement, even making the extremely dangerous claims that charismatics are blaspheming the Spirit and attributing to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.My question is this: How can someone that rejects the true fire of God consider themselve an authority on what he says is "strange fire"?Mike
My question is this: How can someone that rejects the true fire of God consider themselve an authority on what he says is "strange fire"?
Narrow path, Frank, Bear, Mike, Greg,Amen brethren, I am in agreement with you all!
And so to me, a classic pentecostalist is someone who believes in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the sign gifts that go along with it, but who stand upon the word of the Lord therefore would reject all that which is not found in the Scriptures, prosperity gospel, word of faith, Florida revival's where there was roaring like lions and so called holy laughter and so on.
"There are 2 extremes perhaps being posed. One being everything is essentially strange fire and the spiritual gifts have ceased. The other is the desire to see all the spiritual gifts in operation that no discernment is shown. May we be those pressing forward in the Spirit for all the spiritual riches in Christ Jesus and have also the Spirit of discernment to compare all things with the revelation of God's Holy Word and example in the saints before us.True Christianity never worked unless baptized in and fully controlled by the Spirit of the living God."Amen Brother! Having been very much a part of the Charismatic Movement and the move of God in Pensacola at Brownsville AOG, I have been a witness to both the true fire of God being poured out which resulted in many people getting saved, backsliders coming home, and the presence of God being manifested, but I have also seen the excessess and strange fire, and men moving out in the flesh and calling it the Spirit. Men like Michael Brown, Steve Hill, and John Kilpatrick did exercise true discernment, but they were not trying to put out every trace of wild firethat broke out, but they really wanted to see true change and transformation within the Body of Christ, and the gospel of the Kingdom of God being preached, which means both repentance and outpouring of the Spirit being spread throughout the world. Mike
But God's servants such as Michael Brown nay have grown out of some the immaturity as seen in the charismatic movement. My understanding is Michael Brown is theologicalky trained. Yet he writes and teaches with a dependence upon the Holy Spirit. I might add Michael Brown is one of the one's crying out against the falsr teachibg of hyper grace. Bearmaster.