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 Re: John MacSrthur on Dreams and Visions Among Muslems

In an interview a few years ago Dr. John MacArthur was asked a question about dreams and visions among Muslims. I post the article below without comment.  I have posted the names just so there will be a clarification between the question and the answer.


Questiom asked byTim Challies

We often hear today that many believers from a Muslim background—especially those from closed countries who do not have easy access to God’s Word—are claiming they had a vision of Christ and that in this vision he directed them to a place or person where they could hear the gospel. This proclamation of the gospel led to their conversion. Do you believe these stories? Do you consider such visions a valid means that God may work in our world today?

Answer by Dr. John MacArthur

There are several points that could be made in answer to this question. Let me begin with just a general comment about how to interpret experience. It is important to remember that, as Christians, we ought to develop our theology from Scripture and then interpret experience accordingly. Danger comes when believers get that backwards—allowing experience to define their theology, and then reinterpreting the Bible to make it fit.

With regard to these kinds of stories, I am always somewhat skeptical about third- and fourth-hand accounts of supposedly supernatural happenings. It’s not that I doubt the power of God to do whatever He wants. Obviously, He can (Psalm 115:3). But I question whether the story itself is an accurate record of what actually took place. Sometimes well-meaning people misinterpret what really happened. Sometimes second-hand stories are unintentionally exaggerated. And sometimes, sadly, people purposefully manufacture tall tales.

For example, there are unbelievers in false religions all over the world who claim to have received divine revelations or to have witnessed miracles. I don’t believe any of those things, because they are reported by people who do not truly know God.

Regarding the visions in question, it is important to recognize that those who have investigated such claims have found the evidence to be sorely lacking. For example, this article directly addresses the issue.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to hear that Muslims are coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is remarkable, and I rejoice in that reality! Moreover, I would gladly affirm that their regeneration truly is a miracle (just as it is for every sinner), even if I would deny the notion that any previous dreams, impressions, or experiences were revelatory or miraculous.

I suppose that brings us to the crux of the matter. Do I believe that people in the Muslim world are actually seeing Jesus Christ? No, I do not. Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:8 that he was “the last of all” to see the risen Christ. So, I believe that precludes anyone outside of those listed in 1 Corinthians 15 of being able to claim legitimate visions of the resurrected Savior. (The apostle John, of course, was one of those included in 1 Corinthians 15. Accordingly, I don’t believe the book of Revelation sets a precedent for believers to expect genuine visions of Jesus to occur throughout church history.)

Furthermore, it is important to note that these individuals are still unbelievers when they reportedly have these experiences. Consequently, these experiences (whatever they are reported to be) cannot constitute examples of the charismatic gifts having continued, since spiritual gifts are only given to believers (1 Cor. 12:7)—and these people do not come to saving faith until later.

Finally, the New Testament clearly states that the way in which the gospel is spread in this age is through preaching. As Paul explains in Romans 10:14–15, unbelievers will not hear the gospel unless missionaries go to them proclaiming the good news of salvation:

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

To claim that the gospel is now being spread through supernatural visions and revelatory dreams (rather than gospel preaching) goes contrary to Paul’s words in those verses.

By the way, that is why we live-stream our church services every Sunday in Arabic (through so that those sermons are available to Arab-speakers all around the world. We believe that faith comes from hearing the proclamation of the good news. In our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission, we can’t assume that supposed visions are legitimate, when the means that God has ordained is the proclamation is the gospel.

Now, can God providentially work in such a way as to use people’s thoughts and impressions to draw them to faith in Jesus Christ? Yes, I believe that’s possible. As I noted earlier, God can do whatever He wants. But that work is neither revelatory nor miraculous. Phil Johnson gave a helpful explanation of this point in his breakout session at the Strange Fire Conference. He said this: ​

How do we understand that inner sense, especially when God seems to use it to prompt us to pray, or witness, or duck and run at precisely the right moment? Because let’s be honest: that kind of thing does happen to most of us from time to time.

Here’s the point: I do believe that God might providentially use a spontaneous thought in my head to accomplish something wonderful. But that’s what it is, and no more. It’s a remarkable providence, not a prophecy [nor a revelatory vision]. As I have been saying, God ultimately controls and uses everything providentially… . The fact that He uses an idea in my mind to achieve some good purpose doesn’t make the idea itself inspired.


Bro Blaine

 2017/7/25 12:56

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


I am not a fan of MacArthur, that is why I did not quote him.

 2017/7/25 14:21Profile

 Re: PO

Thanks bro for your response.

Bro Bkaine

 2017/7/25 14:34

Joined: 2008/5/3
Posts: 435


I was following the 'story' of going from something more sure to something
totally obscure that nobody can verify anymore. Personal experiences of
other people. From the Bible of true wisdom to the short form of "let's talk
to Jesus, He communicates only directly now".

a "pastor" initially questioned the validity of what the word says:

2 Timothy 3:15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in
Christ Jesus.

So Paul does call the scriptures holy, and people with a different mindset
or spirit most likely will not. Otherwise you would agree with Paul,
and not with an accusation that sounds coming from the direct opposite
spectrum. It sounds like that because it does come from somewhere else

and it's not a minor case, Paul talks about "makes you wise unto salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus." So the Bible is instrumental through faith
unto salvation. Not a small thing to overlook, or worse, deny.

Paul never said go to your bedroom and Jesus will manifest
himself to you. There is no instant fix short cut, the American instant fix
is not leading to wisdom unto salvation by faith in Jesus Christ .

"Jesus only" sounds interesting in theory, but I have no idea of what Jesus
you are talking about. The reference point is missing. It could be the Jesus
of Schuller that also used that phrase "bibliolatry" - what fits his 33rd FM degree

as I understand actually a majority in America thinks of Robert Schuler and
Norman Peal ref. by PP as being 'Christians', like for example here:

"i am protestant Presbyterian... and i go to church and i love god and i love
my church... and... the great Norman Vincent Peale was my pastor" - Trump

Norman Vincent Peale

Any position where the importance of the Bible is downplayed like the Bearmaster
version or the Charismatic version leaves you without compass when confronted
with supernatural spirits. and their big errors they bring with them, doctrinal as well
as experience wise.

And people will assume everything spiritual is Holy Spirit spiritual. To my surprise
the american christian community invites people with the "2 gods theory" as these
two above that claim to be Christians to minister to them. And they don't know or want
to know the difference, it seems to 'feel' the same to many as long we all have 'a good
time in the spirit' in our hour of power. I think it's ok to claim 'babyhood' for a while,
and call occultism christianity - but sooner or later you need to add some wisdom
or just wait for judgment, since God always allows unholy mixtures for a while only.

 2017/7/26 22:56Profile

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


RE : /// as I understand actually a majority in America thinks of Robert Schuler and
Norman Peal ref. by PP as being 'Christians', like for example here:.......... ///

Biblical Faith is Believing what God says.

The power of positive thinking is : believe in yourself , tell yourself things that are not true / visualize that they are true and if you believe hard enough they will come true.

I believe that those are two opposing messages.

add for clarity

 2017/7/26 23:35Profile

Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1262


I have come back to SI and see that you all are still going around this thing with Blaine.

My one and only post on the other thread, maybe was not explained very well. I still don't understand why any Christian would ever won't to classify a book that gives us the precious Holy Word of God as a book that is not Holy. The phrase was "the Bible is not a holy book" which is sad to even state such a thing. It is not how people use the Bible that makes it Holy or unholy. It is just the fact that we are so blessed to have the Holy Spirit written Word on paper so that we can read it. The Holy Spirit makes it alive in us.

The Word and the Holy Spirit are one. Let's say a person gets saved by believing in Jesus and is born of the Spirit. Well the true Holy Spirit will never speak from himself apart from the Word of God. Jesus said clearly that the Holy Spirit will glorify me who is the Word.

Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The Holy Spirit makes the Word of God come alive in you. Everything the Holy Spirit will say will line up with the written Word because the written Word came from the Holy Spirit. The more you read the written Word that the Holy Spirit wrote, and the more you surrender your life to the Lord Jesus, and continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit the more you will become like Jesus who is the Word of God.

We will never be able to grow as Christians properly without the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God. We must become people of the book (the Word of God) by reading it continually and allowing the Holy Spirit to work it in us.

There a lot of people who are going to be very disappointed when they stand before God because they used the Word of God improperly. There is also going to be a lot people with the excuse of I didn't know that Lord but He is going to say depart from me I never knew you. You see they had access to His Holy Word that was written down on paper, but they never read it like they should and fell in love with the One who had the Holy Spirit come upon Holy men to write down Gods Holy Word.

Blessings to all!

 2017/7/27 15:11Profile

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