Blog

Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice

strange-fire

It is awfully hard to write a blog expressing disagreement. I particularly have trouble when it comes to naming names. I am not saying it is necessarily wrong, I am just saying I don’t do it well. I would rather keep things generic. On top of all this, it is really hard to write criticism about someone whom I respect so much. John MacArthur, the pastor, teacher, author, and Christian spokesman, is a man of God who has brought so much growth in my life in so many ways. He is an incredible Bible teacher who has changed many people’s lives for the better.

(Of course, when something starts this way, nothing before the “but” really matters, does it?)

But . . .

In his “Strange Fire” conference (that starts today), book (upcoming), and ensuing promotions, John MacArthur has, I believe, acted very irresponsibly and is doing incredible damage to the body of Christ.

It is no secret that John MacArthur pushes the polemic line and causes many of us to be uncomfortable. This is just who he is and I don’t really expect him to change. But this conference is an excessively eristic and unnecessarily divisive crusade against charismatics. And, to be frank, it is even over the top for him.

Now, let me make sure you know: I have not seen the conference or read his book. But I have been reading reviews of the book and viewing the promotional videos, created by John MacArthur, for this anti-charismatic campaign. You can see some of the videos here. It is quite the production. And this is not some passing slip of the tongue that may be excused (as is sometimes the case). This is a full-blown, all-out war he has declared.

Please understand that I am not charismatic. I have often expressed myself as the most “wannabe charismatic” non-charismatic you will ever meet. As well, I used to be as anti-charismatic as anyone you would ever meet. Frankly, charismatics made me angry. I attributed all that went on in charismatic circles to the work of Satan. I called, pleaded, and prayed that charismatics would “convert” to cessationism. And my arguments were, at least to me, persuasive.

However, I changed. God put way too many flies in my ointment for me to remain in this excessively polemic position. I suppose the first fly was “what’s his name” that sat next to me in undergrad. He was a charismatic. Worse than that, he spoke in tongues. I practically had a demon next to me! However, all semester long I observed this guy. I came to realize that though he knew everything I knew, he was still charismatic. What gave? I thought the right answers dispatched would bring home the booty of change. But he remained charismatic and continued to speak in tongues (though not in front of me). On top of this, he seemed to love the same Jesus I loved. On top of that, he seemed to follow the Lord better than me. I came to realize he was a better, more devoted Christian than I was. How could that be, if he had a demon? He was the first fly and this fly worked me over.

Eventually, I began to realize there was a whole other world of charismatics I had never met. My primary exposure to charismatics had been through crazy people on television and a highly controversial local pastor. Crazy church services, uninterpreted tongues, being “drunk” in the Holy Spirit, erratic prophecies left unchecked, people barking in the Spirit, and people howling at the moon was all I had known. John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos and Hank Hanegraaff’s writings increased my faulty views. But, this one fly — “what’s his name” — disturbed it all and introduced me to something different. This new exposure was filled with intellectual heroes. J. P. Moreland and Wayne Grudem were the next flies. How could these guys who were so theologically astute, thoughtful, balanced, and godly be charismatic? After all, they were thinkers. Charismatics are not supposed to be thinkers!

Soon, the flies became so many that I had to throw out the ointment altogether. Gordon Fee, John Piper, Sam Storms, Craig Keener,  C.J. Mahaney, Stanley Horton, and many other scholars made me rethink my position and return to the Scriptures. I now have a relationship with many of these guys and call them friends (one, I call pastor). Of course I have not been convinced by them (as I am not charismatic), but I have changed. No longer am I anti-charismatic. I am a non-charismatic wanna charismatic.

The reason I changed is because I quit characterizing all charismatics by their red-headed ugly stepchildren.

But for some reason John MacArthur hasn’t followed this same path. His criticism of the charismatic movement is more intense than ever. In fact, I would say that it is sinfully irresponsible. (Oh, that hurt to write . . . forgive me, Lord, if I am wrong.) He unnecessarily and continually lumps all charismatics together with practically no distinction. He says that the charismatic “offers to God unacceptable worship – distorted worship.” He calls it “strange fire.” He says they are “Satan’s false teachers, marching to the beat of their own illicit desires, gladly propagat[ing] his errors. They are spiritual swindlers, con men, crooks, and charlatans.”

Now, of course, many who claim to be charismatic do fit this description. I don’t think anyone would disagree.

One of the problems I have observed over the years is that the beginning of a movement is always the easiest to criticize. Many Christian movements in theology and piety are, at their beginning, very unrefined. Sometimes they contain some heretical elements. But over the years, they begin to change, adjust, mature, and sand down the rough edges. Think about dispensationalism for a moment. When someone criticizes dispensationalism, they almost never criticize it as it stands today. Criticism is made of Darby and Scofield. But so much has changed!

It is irresponsible to criticize a movement in a form that has already faded or is fading. Like dispensationalism, the charismatic movement has gone through many maturations. We talk about it in waves: the first wave, Pentacostalism; the second, the Charismatics; the third, led by John Wimber and the “Signs and Wonders Movement.”  I think we are in a fourth wave where we have the rise of the “intellectual charismatics.” Either way, things have changed.

More than this, it is irresponsible to criticize the easy targets within a movement. We call this a “straw man” argument. It is when you choose the worst representative you can and argue against him. Of course, with charismatics in popular culture, the easy targets are the “crazies” who get all the air time. Why do they get the air time? Well, it is entertaining for many to watch. And the sensationalism that can come from these abuses is also easy for the non-charismatic to look at and discredit. But think of all the movements which are part of the Christian fold today that could be picked apart because of some abuses and excesses within. The first two that come to mind would be Calvinism and Pretribulationalism. Certainly conferences could be done about both, characterizing each by the worst-of. But how responsible and godly is that? Yes, you may make a qualification at the beginning and the end saying, “Look, I realize that not all Calvinists are arrogant SOBs, but the movement is dangerous. It is filled with monsters who believe God hates unbelievers.” Or, concerning Pretribulationalism, “I know that not all Pretribulationalists are date setters, but the theology is dangerous and produces an unbiblical mentality. It is filled with date-setting and causes people to be unconcerned with this present world.” Of course, these criticisms can be true, but they are not the necessary outcome of their beliefs and, more importantly, they don’t deal honestly with the arguments.

But it is not simply this issue that has compelled me to write this post. If this was the first time John MacArthur had irresponsibly characterized a movement he is against, that would be one thing. But, unfortunately, this is what he is becoming known for. MacArthur is already seen by many as a divisive heresy-hunter.

The worst of it all is that John MacArthur knows of Gordon Fee, Sam Storms, John Piper, and all the others. Yet he does not seem to acknowledge their influence. Why doesn’t he have some of these guys join his conference? They all speak against the same excesses within their own movement. A unified voice would actually be more effective in helping people guard against these abuses.

Because of all this, John MacArthur is losing his voice, and I don’t want him to. His reputation dismantles his platform to speak at just about any conference. He has worked himself into a corner where every time he writes a book or opens his mouth, many of us say, “Oh no!” before anything else. His radio program is called “Grace to You” and we are often left thinking “grace to who?”

John MacArthur says the charismatic movement “blasphemes the Holy Spirit” and “attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.” Maybe he should think about who is actually attributing the work of the Spirit to Satan. I am not a charismatic, but such a statement really scares me. And because of this it would seem (even though the conference is sold out) that John MacArthur may be losing his voice.

223 Responses to “Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice”

  1. After Rich Nathan dismantled the arguments that MacArthur raised in “Charismatic Chaos,” I stopped giving him a whole lot of weight. He’s been doing the same thing for years.

    It’s sad… but, it’s just how he seems to roll.

  2. You said this much more graciously than I might have.

    Spot on.

    Thank you.

  3. All due respect dude, and I mean that because I really appreciate this blog and your ministry, you have been a blessing to me…but you should not have written this scathing critique before you saw the conference it read the book! That is just plain irresponsible. You talk about MacArthur as though you know he will not make any distinctions at this conference but how can you say that before the fact? Are you a prophet? This review should have waited. I guess we will see if you were right or wrong.

    • David, I thought the same thing until I saw all the promotional videos. There are over a dozen of MacArthur already teaching his strange fire stance. They are more than just promotional videos. If you look at them, they are teaching videos. So if you would like to see this blog only as a critique to the videos, these would be sufficient enough to instigate it.

  4. Thanks for your post. This is not a debate that I’ve looked into, largely because I’ve just been able to ‘taste and see’ the reality of God at work in charismatic settings (and elsewhere too!). Without mounting an argument, I personally know and can testify that cessationalism is false. How disturbing that the ordinary experience of many Christians is the object of an unwarranted polemic.

  5. David L –

    Here is an article by Michael Brown who has read an advanced review copy of the book and he graciously & humbly points out the same things (and more).

  6. Jay Saldana 2013-10-16 at 1:59 am

    Michael,

    I don’t get much time to participate as I have with school and ministry and I wanted to comment. Dr. MacArthur has been pushing the limit for a while. It has damaged and hurt him among the students being taught now. Many young students see the valid criticisms mixed with the emotionalism and hysteria and instead of looking to peel apart the bad from the good, they end up rejecting it in total and his voice altogether. Unfortunately, there is also the subtle damage he is also doing to his denomination as they are more and more beening seen (based on my very small group of fellow students and fellow ministerial candidates) as unchristian in their apologetics and a isolating expression of “Southern Christianity” at its worst.
    I know it looks like he is going great guns, but the medieval Roman Catholic Church thought the same when they started the inquisition. They are still doing penance for that today.
    I pray that abundant grace find him unawares and bring him around soon. As Christians, we do not need any more negative stereotypes to combat.
    Go with God and I pray the Holy Spirit and Sam Storms
    get you soon (LOL!)
    Your brother and always your student,

    Jay Saldana

  7. As far as I see, it’s all part of the chaos of sola scripture. Nobody can agree on what to believe or what hermeneutic to follow, and much worse…. nobody can agree on what to do when people disagree.

    Things related to acts of the spirit are difficult, because they relate to experience of the Spirit more than what the text says. This is the central area where sola scriptura falls down. The experience of the people of God over 2000 years is the best witness to what the spirit is doing in the world.

  8. Thanks for his post Michael.

    I too have seen his videos promoting this, and think he is dangerously close to blaspheming the Spirit of God, if not quenching him.

    I also appreciate the graciousness you approached this and think that Macarthur has now made a mockery of the TG4TG as he plainly states he doesn’t consider some on the platform with him as equals in the Gospel nor does he stand with them….

  9. I agree that it is wrong to call good evil and evil good, but the mistakes are not equivalent. To attribute the work of Satan to God is unacceptable; but to attribute the work of God to Satan—that is what Jesus calls blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

    If MacArthur is right then the charismatics are badly mistaken and need to repent; but if he is wrong and the charismatic movement is (broadly) of God then it is him risking blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

  10. Thanks for a great post – couldn’t agree more. I’ve not really been affected much by Dr MacArthur as I was a bit of a latecomer to the party, but whilst I admire his commitment to expository preaching I have always found his polemic somewhat ungracious. I think I first noticed it in his series of posts on the “YRR” movement a couple of years ago.

    As a “card carrying” charismatic who would love to see a greater unity in the church, particularly with our Reformed brethren, and combat the anti-intellectualism that is all too common in parts of the charismatic church, I find MacArthur’s words hurtful and damaging.

    And, as I mentioned in a comment somewhere else the other day, I think that anyone who bases a conference on a negative rather than a positive is already on a poor footing.

  11. This is an ill-advised post for several reasons:

    1. You haven’t heard or read what you are critiquing. That means you are speaking about things you don’t know. That’s unwise and dangerous.

    2. It partakes of the emotionalism you decry. You can’t make an emotional argument that these guys are nice guys and therefore their theology doesn’t matter. I would say their theology matters more because they are nice guys.

    3. You are factually incorrect. MacArthur is aware of Piper, Grudem, Mahaney, etc. He has even spoken with some of them and had them to speak at his church. Somehow you fail to consider (at least here) what that means.

    4. You fail to discuss the issue on its merits. You admit to being non-charismatic, but your focus is not on the issue that matters–namely, the theology and resulting confusion of the movement you disagree with. The issue has to be theology, not personality.

  12. Phil Barron 2013-10-16 at 6:28 am

    Michael thanks for the post. One thing I had a question about was, if I understand correctly, you consider John Piper charismatic? I know he and MacArthur have spoken together many times. I have listened to Piper for years and have never even had that thought enter my head. Thanks bro.

  13. Sometimes promotional videos and other such blurbs are written by marketeers in a sensational or somewhat exaggerated way to incite controversary and interest with increased sales and attendance as the goal. I look forward to a review of MacArthur’s book by someone like CMP who is not a charismatic but whose nose is not tweeked by their normative theology and practice.

  14. Phil Barron: Piper has talked a number of times in various interviews about believing in the continuation of the Spiritual gifts. There are probably a number of examples, but for one example see him talking about the gift of tongues here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzipsG3-S6A

  15. Does nobody else find it amusing that MaCarthur is putting on the same kind of sideshow antics to sell books and pack conferences he slanders the charismatics for?

    One side overplays their prophecy and healings and the other, it now seems, overplays their discernment.

    “Step right up and see the amazing man of God doing what no other man can…” The hypocrisy is almost laughable.

  16. I know that Billy Graham is Charasmatic. He became one on campus as a college student. A lot of speakers have to keep that hidden because Baptists are afraid of it. I personally think the enemy will do anything to pull out all stops to stop the Holy Spirit. And it sounds like MacArthur is his latest tool to use to get Christians judging and hating each other. A house divided cannot stand.

  17. “Maybe he should think about who really may be attributing the work of the Spirit to Satan. ”

    Indeed.

    THAT is the real definition of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit–calling the work of the Holy Spirit the work of Satan (Mark 3).

    His commentary on 1 Cor 14:1-4 is the most convoluted thing I have EVER read; Paul supposedly speaks truth and speaks sarcastically interchangeably within the same VERSE! And only Johnny Mac can sort it out!

  18. Pastor Steve 2013-10-16 at 7:53 am

    Michael,
    I would agree with a previous comment that you should reserve judgment about this until you have a sense for what is happening with this conference. It is not just John MacArthur that is sharing at this conference. Joni Erickson Tada is also speaking at this conference. You may be totally right but I think it would be prudent to listen intently to the different messages from this conference and do a follow up post on what happened. I would also say that there is still some charismatic theology that is definitely dangerous out there. It is still affecting people even if it doesn’t show up in much of the teaching anymore. Just spend time with someone who is on hospice that has been affected by some bad theology as they struggle with whether they measure up to someone else’s definition of spiritual (outside of the Gospel) and see if you think it is a dead issue.

  19. Don Johnson 2013-10-16 at 8:03 am

    For me, this is just one more in a long line of reasons that I think MacArthur does not know what he is talking about.

  20. Ben Thorpe..post 13

    That video was gold. I love Pipers humility and honesty in this.

  21. “…this, unfortunately, is what he is becoming known for. MacArthur is already seen by so many as a divisive heresy-hunter.”

    So are we shocked? I am wondering what Christians should, or can, do about such individuals before they get to this extreme point.

  22. Jason Woelm 2013-10-16 at 8:56 am

    Michael,

    I believe I understand the heart behind what you wrote. However, I believe that if you had grown up in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement as I have (in 2 large respected denominations), see and participate in all of the manifestations that are commonly referenced in the movement, and then be profoundly changed by true biblical interpretation and leave the movement, you might see this issue differently and perhaps be even more sympathetic to the urgency portrayed by MacArthur and others.

    I praise God everyday for setting me free through biblical truth and a right understanding of the Spirit and His work, and I pray that my family and friends who are still in it will be as well.

  23. Alan Hawkins 2013-10-16 at 8:57 am

    Thank you sir,

    This conference is way over the top if it is as advertised. He lost his voice long ago with me simply by the stridency of his posture. His earlier books did not pass the simple test of caricaturing so I am not surprised that he maintains the same worn out path.

    Clearly John is attempting to force an either/or status. He wants to create an environment where the kind of openness reflected in your blog is not possible. It is far too late. He will fail. He will only achieve the point you are making of muting his own voice. He is cascading into irrelevancy.

    In fairness I am a pastor who was for 25 years outside of charismatic renewal and I am now a full participant. To be sure we have an abundance of weirdoes, extremists and clowns to lampoon and avoid.

    John MacArthur speaks with the kind of certainty that demands conformity. He might just become the kind of sideshow that he is decrying. He is on his way to becoming the worst example of his own position, a caricature in the forming.

  24. Either you believe the charismatic doctrine, light, medium or heavy to be errant or not. If you believe it to be errant and seeing this error is present in many places, it stands to reason that a magnanimous error regarding the person of God be responded to so robustly.

    Your argument is that he is damaging something, what precisely is he damaging if he is right? This is a gross error regarding the person and work if God. And he should what, be sweet and light? He has to answer to God.

    Orthodoxy in one area does not exempt men and movements from error or being called out.

    I think MacArthur is losing an audience but not because he errors in method or message on this matter but because a generation of boomers and x’ers have arisen who eschew a definitive and dogmatic pneumatology.

    You are disciples with apologies and uncertainties overflowing where once orthodoxy stood in those before you. You seek to inherit the voice of orthodoxy and dogmatics with ears tuned to rationalism and the need of a theological child who claims, “well…it isn’t spelled out so I can’t say with certainty and the man who would dare do so is divisive and narrow minded” and believe it is insightful and illuminating to reject cessationism because it is so fundamentalistic. Yours is a reactionary protest based in disaffection.

    Never mind going to war before hearing the whole matter and you want to charge someone with irresponsibility?

  25. Missy M: You state that “Either you believe the charismatic doctrine, light, medium or heavy to be errant or not” but that’s a false dichotomy. There is a spectrum of charismatic theology, in the same way that there is a spectrum of many other theological types. This is, in part, the very thing that Michael is talking about – lumping all charismatics together, and tarring them with the same brush. You can’t say that it’s either errant or not, because it’s not a single doctrine, but rather a large collection of doctrines which each need to be considered.

    For example, there is an extreme charismatic belief whereby prophetic words carry the same weight as Scripture. Some people believe this, but the vast majority of charismatic believers would reject that doctrine wholeheartedly.

    You also say that “generation of boomers and x’ers have arisen who eschew a definitive and dogmatic pneumatology,” which would include pretty much everyone below the age of 67, but within those generations we do see some very definitive and dogmatic pneumatology from the likes of the aforementioned Fee, Piper, Grudem and Storms.

  26. MacArthur is at least consistent. Over the years he has always been of the same opinion. It seems to me that those of that same persuasion are just plain fearful of what the Holy Spirit decides to do with the Church. Thank God that the H.S. does not need John MacArthur’s permission for anyone He chooses to speak in tongues. I have always felt like the kid who opened his.Christmas present and had some bully pull it out of my hands and then tell me it wasn’t mine to be the same as having the gift God gave me called strange fire by some other person who didn’t get the same gift as me.

  27. I’ll go on-record to have this conversation with Michael (or anyone) to be podcasted and linked, without edits, at least at Teampyro.blogspot.com:

    (1) A quantitative discussion of the ratio of “good charismatics” vs. “red-headed step children”.

    (2) A quantitative discussion on the experience of miracles in the church.

    (3) A qualitative discussion on the relationship of the Charismatic movement to the spread of the Prosperity Gospel.

    (4) An open discussion of the consequences of Grudem-esque (that is: allegedly “cautious charismatic”) doctrine in the life of a church.

    Anyone can find me; if you can’t use Google, please e-mail at frank@iturk.com. I have no time for merely-private bickering about this subject. Public discussions only; serious people only.

    Ball’s in your court, whoever you may be.

  28. One more thing, are R. C. Sproul and Joni Eareckson Tada losing their voice too? They are both speaking at this conference.

  29. Alan Hawkins 2013-10-16 at 10:02 am

    I suspect that not all of MacArthur’s speakers share his extreme positions. I doubt they will draw a line in the sand the way JM has.

  30. Those promo videos were not done by the marketing team. They are basically excerpts from the book and conference. Again, there are over a dozen. I encourage you all to watch them before saying this post was premature. This post would have been of the same substance even if there were no conference or book since the videos were so substantive.

  31. Frank, I am not sure if I would be best since I am not charismatic. But I would be willing to discuss this.

  32. Michael,

    I too think that you have jumped the gun. Even if you confined your critique only to the videos and not to the unseen conference and unread book, a careful and even-handed viewing of just those videos would tell a bit of a different story than what you’ve told.

    MacArthur understands that there are people like “what’s his name” in the Charismatic movement. This post/video says that plainly: http://www.gty.org/blog/B130520 . Along with this, the entire final chapter of the book, “An Open Letter to My Continuationist Friends,” demonstrates that MacArthur understands the nuances in the Charismatic movement, and that not every individual is as culpable as every other.

    The other burden that this book and conference have is to demonstrate as just factually incorrect the popular conception that Storms, Mahaney, Grudem, Piper, etc. are the mainstream of the Charismatic movement, while people like Benny Hinn, Mike Bickle, Paul Cain, the NAR, John Crowder, Rodney Howard-Browne, Toronto Blessing, etc. are the lunatic fringe. In point of fact, faithful guys like Piper and Grudem are themselves the fringe of this movement, and that the overwhelming majority throughout the world (presently and historically) are deserving of the monikers: “spiritual swindlers, con men, crooks, and charlatans” or those deceived by them. And the conference and book claim to prove that. (A perusal of the “Top Posts” section of mennoknight.wordpress.com, or of the video documentation on Phil Johnson’s FB page, may help too.)

    Aside from this, it’s worth noting that others such as RC Sproul, Steve Lawson, Conrad Mbewe (who pastors in Zambia and is in the backyard of what we’ve exported to the third world in the Charismatic movement), Joni Eareckson Tada, and Justin Peters are joining MacArthur in this effort, because they see it to be as desperately needed as he does. So are the 4,000+ attendees from 50 states and 20 countries.

    Perhaps the problem is a bit more grave than you’ve perceived.

  33. I fear that the anti-charismatics, with such a wooden definition of what the ‘gifts’ are, have got to the place where winning the argument has begun to dominate.

    I would still consider myself ‘charismatic’ (how I have come to dislike such labels!) IF by that you mean seeking to understand and experience the gifts that appear in the pages of the NT, but anti-charismatic if you mean the barking, bar-tender, falling over, generational demons and inner healing stuff, i.e. what is not in the NT.

    Judging/discerning is fine and commanded – and indeed essential, but some of the strange fire at this conference may turn out to be coming from the burning of straw men!

    I hope there will at least be some attempt by those present to say what they are for, rather than just what they are against.

  34. I’d still just like to meet one charismatic who knows his bible and doctrine and church history as well as a cesassionist. And no, I don’t count Piper as one, he’s too light of a continualionist. I hear about these people all the time on the Internet, and yet have never met one in person.

  35. david carlson 2013-10-16 at 10:22 am

    StuartB
    You must be new to this site if you are not familar with Sam Storm, who clearly knows the bible and doctrine and church history better than most cesassionists.

  36. Here in lies the reason I left organized religion years ago. Reading and studying the scripture on my own with the help of the Holy Spirit has brought me closer to Jesus than any teacher I heard while trying to live in the traditions & forms of organized religion. The scripture does tell us it is the job of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. Could all of these smoke screens be what Pater was talking about in 1Peter 4:17? Study church history from the NT and you see it over & over. A movement (or whatever you want to call it) begins in the flow of the Holy Spirit then man decides he needs to control it so it doesn’t get out of hand, the Holy Spirit is out the door. If it gets really bad the larger group begins putting to death those that disagree. Check out Calvin in Geneva!! Of course we can’t kill them outright in today’s world so we just kill their character and the lazy sheep go along for the ride because it makes them feel superior!!

  37. Michael, I trust you have downloaded the Strange Fire app on your iPhone and you will be tuned in to respond to what is said. I will be listening as the conference starts in about an hour and a half. We’ll see.
    R.C. Sproul is also a participant. I did listen to a number of the promotional videos over the past week.

    • I was sad to see R.C. Sproul, but he is more balanced. Again, I just wish he had Piper. And, no, I will not be listening. I don’t have time and, unless they are being deceptive on the videos, then I know what they are going to say. And if their conference does not represent the videos, there are some other issues.

  38. david carlson 2013-10-16 at 10:35 am

    For anyone who wants to understand this topic, I heartly recomend the Why I Am – Am Not a Charismatic series of podcasts on this site. 17 great episodes with CMP, Sam Storms and Tim Kimberly get into over 8 hours of great discussion on the topic.

    Smart, bible believing pastors discussing the topic in a rational manner. So rare these days.

    Perhaps Frank can does his homework first, than make random internet challenges.

  39. “(even though he conference is sold out)”, if it sells …there will be a motive for any nonsense out there!

    BTW;I am yet to find Christianity free online, everyone has a sales pitch, a book to sell, an article copyrighted….It is hard to find truth that you can share free of charge….!
    Don’t see this practice in the teachings of Christ!

  40. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 11:12 am

    For those criticizing Michael for speaking about this issue before the conference, book, commemorative stamp, etc, two (inter-related) thoughts:

    1. In February 2011, it was officially declared acceptable in evangelical circles to make definitive statements about a work based solely on promotional materials. I find it (more than a bit) intriguing that there’s an overlap between those who were happy to see it done to Bell and those who are upset when it’s done to MacArthur.

    2. The video for “Love Wins” was unclear — how could it not be, after all? It was Rob Bell. In contrast, no one has ever walked away from a John MacArthur book, sermon, or video (let alone a dozen of them) wondering, “Now, what did he *really* mean?”

    I’m not a fan of either man, so don’t devolve this into a diatribe against Bell to try to put me in my place. My point is the compare/contrast, not the individuals.

  41. Charles Parham, a key figure in the Pentecostal movement, denounced the work of William Seymour, a black preacher, and the integration of white and black that he saw on Azusa St. Charles Parham, was a racist. Despite being the one that Seymour heard these teachings from, Parham still considered the revival on Azusa St to be a work of the devil.
    The history of the Pentecostal movement and its early leaders reveals confusion, sinfulness and death. Death because people were so convinced they could speak in tongues they traveled to other countries without any preparation and many died.

    Just to clarify, are you using charismatic synonymously with Pentecostal?

  42. I agree with Jason Woelm. I too have a charismatic/dominion theology background. I was in so much bondage to legalism disguised as spirituality. There was also a lot of pride involved, thinking we were much more spiritual than other “Christians”. I was confused because people in the church seemed to love Jesus so much. How could they be wrong???? I am convinced that there were some genuine born again Christians there, but there were also many wolves among the sheep. I am now more free to love God and to serve others than I ever was in the charismatic church. I know a lot of “nice” Muslims and non-Christians, but this does not prove that they are filled with the Spirit, I agree that personality cannot be the test of truth. It is when we open up to influences other than the Holy Scriptures that we become vulnerable to much deception. I believe we can be “led” by the Spirit, but it must always be in agreement with the revealed Word of God. All that to say that we can not judge Pastor MacArthur’s heart, I believe his intentions are to free believers from the deception so prevalent in certain circles, not to hurt the Body of Christ.

  43. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 11:37 am

    Tio, did you just decry the lack of free online Christian resources on a free Christian blog?

  44. @ David Carlson, no, not that new, been reading it since 2008. Very familiar with Sam Storms, but again, I’ve never met him or others like him.

  45. StuartB-

    I do recommend the podcast David Carlsen mentioned. You may not agree with Sam Storms’ opinions, but it will show that he “knows his bible and doctrine and church history as well as a cesassionist”.

  46. Here it is free….other places are not…blogs are usually ok information, but when searching for specifics like “the destiny of the un-evangelized” or “tithing” for example I run into “you must buy this…..”
    I translate a lot of good theology to my circle and cultural background….pentecostal,charismatic to the max, full of emotional content but lacking in serious theology….and just about anything I could use to share with my own has a price tag on it!

  47. Ben

    The men you mentioned, particularly Piper, have a weakened pneumatology and this is demonstrated by their uncertainties and imprecision regarding prophecy, just to begin with.

    As to forms of charismaticism, it is irrelevant, it is error in the form of a little or a lot. Just as the denial of the Trinity comes in soft or disguised/muted forms and some blatant. And I have no doubt JM will deal with the various brands distinctly.

  48. Michael – I think you are too kind. In my opinion (worth very little), MacArthur has become the cessationist Pat Robertson. Not only has he lost credibility to many, he is leading many others into dangerous ground.

    And TeamPyro have become his thugs (see Turk’s invite).

  49. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 12:15 pm

    I think I saw Weakened Pneumatology open for CCR in 1977.

  50. The soloist hasn’t lost HIS voice!

  51. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 12:19 pm

    Tio, then what you are decrying is not really a lack of free resources, but any kind of useful index of said resources. There are dozens of free (very helpful) MP3s on this web site alone. Not to mention millions of free sermon MP3s from all over the world. Most (all?) of Piper’s books are available as free PDFs. That’s just a few examples off the top of my head.

  52. Carl Johnson 2013-10-16 at 12:29 pm

    I remember going to a bible conference in San Antonio in the 1970s. One of the speakers was Bertha Smith. Prior to this Ms. Smith spent many years as a missionary to China sponsored by the SBC. I listened to her speak and was amazed by her commitment and love for Jesus. Many of the other speakers, Adrian Rogers, Jack Taylor, Manley Beasley also spoke about her accomplishments in advancing the Kingdom.

    Years later, she revealed that “she experienced a private prayer language”. As a result, she became persona non grata in the SBC.

    In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things love.

  53. Brendt, Yes and when searching for specifics it is so hard to find. An example is when I wanted to find the passages suggesting the destiny of the un evangelized, I knew in the 263 questions video classes it teaches about this, but when searching for it; it took me to the program you must purchase the series. This is one area of contention from the atheist, and since my best friend is one, I couldn’t back up my ideas, yet they are there. It is almost like pulling teeth when you set out to get resources for evangelizing…It shouldn’t be tat hard! Regular google searches almost always land you in some sales pitch site!

  54. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 12:44 pm

    Tio, I’d suggest crowd-sourcing over search engines. If you aren’t on FB, get thee there now, and gather together a bunch of weird friends like me. 🙂 Then throw out your question — “I’m looking for XYZ.” You might even get a “my pastor just preached a great sermon on that topic” and a link to something that’s never seen the light of day at Google.

  55. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-16 at 1:03 pm

    Are the following terms synonymous and interchangeable? Or do they have distinctions that should be observed? I use them synonymously, but should I change that practice?

    (A) Pentecostal

    (B) Charismatic

    (C) Continuationist

    To me, they all seem the same.

    —-

    FWIW, I think the side of wisdom would have been for CMP to have read the forthcoming book and/or watched the Strange Fire speakers before writing such a condemning post of Pastor John MacArthur. If he had, he might not have written this post. Or not written it as harshly as he has.

    But hey, we all make unwise decisions.

  56. Hi Michael, I feel the same way (I also hope Mr. MacArthur is not losing his voice). Let’s pray for him that he is not walking into a hornet’s nest. It never seems to help when anyone on either side of the aisle, tries to “up root” a particular “fellowship”; however, we are to expose false doctrine and maybe this is what Mr. MacArthur is trying to do? So then, my request for all of us is to please hold him up in prayer. This may be a dangerous territory that he is treading upon.

    At the end of the age (also know as the harvest, Matthew 13:38-42), the angels of God are the ones assigned to separate the tares from the wheat. Thank God we don’t have to do this as we may up-root some wheat in the process of up-rooting some tares. Are we to expose false doctrine? Yes, of course (2 Tim. 4-1-4 & 2nd Peter 2:1-22), and we are to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3-19); but, we should leave the decision to the people. Then, when the end of the age comes (the harvest), God’s angels will do the sifting and separating of the tares (goats) from the wheat (God’s sheep).

    Hopefully, Mr. MacArthur is simply exposing the error found rampant within the body of Christ. Truth sets people free to serve Christ without carrying around any extra baggage of false teaching. So then, hopefully what he is teaching will help the people whom God is drawing to Himself.

  57. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 1:10 pm

    TUAD, nice “Fail Safe” question in the start of your comment.

  58. I just read Frank Turk’s post above and couldn’t help but notice that every last one of the things he wishes to discuss is a complete and utter red-herring or rests on fallacious reasoning.

    (1) A quantitative discussion of the ratio of “good charismatics” vs. “red-headed step children”.

    Even if is is 90% Prosperity Gospel loving heretics to 10% John Piper’s this doesn’t allow you to paint the whole movement with a large brush. As has been pointed out ad nauseum it is not “one movement”, but many. Each must be critiqued individually. This is no different than the line of reasoning used by Atheists when they lump in Christianity with all other religions and claim that they just believe in one less god then we do.

    (2) A quantitative discussion on the experience of miracles in the church.

    What is the relevancy as to quantity? Out of all the sick people in Palestine how many were healed by Jesus or the Apostles? Furthermore miracles are just one thread of the discussion.

    (3) A qualitative discussion on the relationship of the Charismatic movement to the spread of the Prosperity Gospel.

    Cum/Post hoc ergo propter hoc and irrelevant to boot. Even if some strains of charismaticism lead directly to the Prosperity Gospel this would not be grounds to judge all strains. For instance I highly doubt I will see John Piper (any many like him) preaching the Prosperity Gospel anytime soon.

    (4) An open discussion of the consequences of Grudem-esque (that is: allegedly “cautious charismatic”) doctrine in the life of a church.

    The effects of something do not determine its truth. This again is a common line of reasoning used by Atheists against Christians.

  59. TUAD – I consider myself C not A or B. I’m not defining these here because I suspect that will just create another rabbit trail. If he hasn’t already, perhaps CMP will create a chart for this.

  60. david carlson 2013-10-16 at 1:32 pm

    Hilarious.
    TR posse gaming the system, voting up posts of their ilk in order to gain the yellow background

    nice. Of course, it doesnt make their screeds any better…

  61. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-16 at 1:38 pm

    “TUAD – I consider myself C not A or B. I’m not defining these here because I suspect that will just create another rabbit trail. If he hasn’t already, perhaps CMP will create a chart for this.”

    Thanks Rick. Eventually, I’d really like to know what the distinctive differences are between a Continuationist from that of a Pentecostal or a Charismatic.

    Maybe Sam Storms can help CMP create that chart.

    Pentecostal: “I’m a Pentecostal.”

    Continuationist: “I’m a Continuationist.”

    Pentecostal: “I’m a Continuationist too.”

    Charismatic: “I’m a Continationist too.”

    Bystander: “Okay, you’re all continuationists. Happy now?”

  62. From the vantage point of no fire, any fire looks like strange fire.

  63. Michael,

    I think you are a little young to get a sense of some of the history. There were intellectuals among the pentecostals of the ’50s, but not having recognized credentials, the cessationists refused to engage. In the ’60s, when they were highly credentialed (they referred to themselves as charismatics – the term has only become generalized in the last thirty years or so) the cessationists refused to engage. There was no will for further engagement in the ensuing decades, so it is scarcely surprising that engagement is minimal today. After one has put the prisoner in the cart and paraded him through the streets, there seems little reason to debate as to whether the blade should be dropped or not.

  64. It amazes me that we are quick to give our opinion and never use the Scriptures to justify our position. Check out what Paul wrote to Titus in Titus 1:10-16. A lot of the charasmatic teaching does this.

    How about 2 Timothy 3:16-17?

    Can we simply use Scripture to justify why the man is wrong in approaching this area wrong? Can we use Scripture to justify our position that he is right? When we fail to go back to the Scriptures, not our rational or experience, we open ourselves up to human reasoning.

    Can we at least go back to the Scriptures? What did Paul, Peter, James, and others have: the Scriptures! They didn’t have commentaries, books, and all of the other things that get us to reason on what is right or wrong. The Scriptures should be the source of judgment only. If not, we can start to show an apostate side that could deem any one of us not being a part of the faith.

  65. Surely CMP should have waited until all the “evidence” was in! (Reading the book itself!) 😉 Sorry Michael, having met and had lunch with John MacArthur, with a friend (a few years back), he is surely one of those rare pastoral prophetic types, who preaches and teaches from his great conviction! He is of course just one pastoral man, and thus subject to mistakes like all the rest of us. But he is also seeking to expose the great emergent errors which quite abound in many charismatic circles. Not to mention too the loss of the American democracy, daily! And Mac has plenty of “fire” btw, just listen to his preaching!

  66. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 2:24 pm

    Mike J: “Can we simply use Scripture to justify why the man is wrong in approaching this area wrong?”

    Perhaps we can, but there is stuff that’s so blindingly obvious that God didn’t bother to write it down. That’s where the “commentaries, books, and all of the other things” can come in handy.

  67. Note, I too practice the gift of the so-called “prayer language”, in my personal prayer closet, (1 Cor. 14: 2). But hey, I am an Anglican too! 😉

  68. Frank Turk –

    We’ve tried to engage Pyromaniacs and others from a biblical, theological and historical perspective on the continuing work of the Holy Spirit today at our blog To Be Continued. My colleague and I have been to DTS and CTS seminaries (stalwart cessationist seminaries), yet we remain continuationists. We would love some engagement with our plethora of posts looking at the positive case from a biblical, theological & historical standpoint.

  69. By the way, Adrian Warnock of Jubilee Church in London has listened to the first session and has offered some thoughts. I expected this might be how things began at the SF conference.

  70. Jelli Tomás 2013-10-16 at 2:37 pm

    Does it dawn on anyone that MacArthur could care less about his “voice?” As Challies pointed out recently, it seems that it is in style to criticize JMac – and this is potentially as sign of postmodernity leaking in a little bit – “we must affirm all – and condemn those who don’t.” Boldly he seems to care more about truth than about his reputation among the recent reformed literati.

    I am not entirely with MacArthur on the issue of charismatic gifts. BUT I am totally with him in this conference! This is calling out the 99% of Charismatic ministries who are nothing more than tools of Satan.

    Perhaps some of my brothers are so buried in the Piper/SovGrace/Grudem movement they think that they are the mainstream Charismatics. But the truth is they make up such a small percentage of charismatics it is negligible. So, I don’t see how MacArthur attacking the likes of Benny Hinn is so offensive – we should rejoice and join him in the effort.

    In conclusion: More gratefulness to our cessationist reformed brothers, please. After all, they are the ones who have fought for a biblical understanding of salvation for at lease 500 years. I cannot think of even one great truth the charismatic movement has defended.

  71. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 2:42 pm

    Apollos: Charles Parham, a key figure in the Pentecostal movement … was a racist.

    King David, a key figure in the lineage of Jesus, had some guy whacked to cover up the fact that he had knocked up the guy’s wife.

    But as long as you bring up racism, it should be noted that MacArthur’s attitude stems from the same place. He starts by poorly characterizing an entire demographic based on a small sample set. If the distinguishing characteristic of the demographic was pigmentation, we’d call this “racism” (admittedly a different issue, but the same spirit).

    But then he adds that, even if you aren’t in that demographic, but you don’t view it as poorly as he does, that you’re just as bad. Taking it back to the epidermal parallel, I keep seeing some 90-year-old grossly obese plantation owner accusing another man of being a “n****r-lover”.

  72. Brendt Wayne,

    Did the apostles and early church fathers need all that stuff (books, commentaries, etc.)? Did you take the time to read 2 Timothy 3:16-17? It states that Scripture is given for rebuke, correction, etc. so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for EVERY GOOD WORK!

    When does the Bible have to be second guessed by books and commentaries from the ideas of man? When the Scriptures are no longer Sola Scripture, we open ourselves up to doctrines of devils.

  73. Scott,

    I cannot value Adrian’s opinion for the simple fact that he embraces Rick Warren and says that he has learned a lot from him!! Really, what has the “purpose driven life” done for the Body of Christ?

  74. Don’t engage Frank Turk on this subject. He doesn’t even bother to read the top charismatic scholars on this subject, such as Fee or Keener. His public interaction with Triablogue–hardly a bastion of charismatic theology–was as revealing as it was embarrassing. Frank Turk’s definition of “serious” certainly doesn’t entail intellectual rigor. He just wants a “debate” he thinks he can win, one where he can bully and shame the opponent into acquiescence.

  75. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-16 at 3:11 pm

    FWIW, the Pyros have engaged and interacted with Adrian Warnock on their TeamPyro blog a while back.

    ———-

    Frank Turk: “(1) A quantitative discussion of the ratio of “good charismatics” vs. “red-headed step children”.”

    Michael T.: “Even if is is 90% Prosperity Gospel loving heretics to 10% John Piper’s this doesn’t allow you to paint the whole movement with a large brush. As has been pointed out ad nauseum it is not “one movement”, but many. Each must be critiqued individually.”

    Disagree. General statements are fine. FWIW, Scripture does employ hyperbole at times to establish a teaching point.

    “Even if is is 90% Prosperity Gospel loving heretics to 10% John Piper’s”

    Surely, that’s something that would be worthy of notice and concern and further examination.

  76. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 3:22 pm

    Mike J, where did I say anything about “need”? And where did *anyone* say anything about “second-guessing”? Nice strawmen — Ray Bolger is holding on line 2.

    And yes, I read (and have memorized) the Timothy passage. It speaks to the sufficiency of Scripture — i.e. it’s all we *need*. But nowhere in this passage (or anywhere else in the Bible) is truth in other forms/venues decried. Such an argument is for solO Scriptura — not solA Scriptura.

  77. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 3:22 pm

    Mike J, I cannot value the opinion of someone who reduces a person’s influence to one book that he wrote. But even if I could, Adrian’s article (did you take the time to read it?) is as much simply quoting MacArthur as it is Adrian’s view on the issue.

  78. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-16 at 3:31 pm

    Tim Challies: He [John MacArthur] paused to state that he is not discrediting everyone in the movement. He knows there are charismatics who desire to worship God in a true way.”

  79. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 3:38 pm

    MacArthur: I’m not discrediting everyone in the movement.

    MacArthur: Nothing good has come out of the movement.

    Everyone sing along: “One of these things is not like the other ….”

  80. Brendt,

    Sorry my man……. Anyone that embraces all religions has nothing to do with one book. Good try to call a “strawman”, but you have yet to use the Scriptures to justify what you are talking about. Whenever Scriptures are not the sole judge of everything, you are left with human reasoning. This is where you find yourself…….

    Kenneth Hagin is a good prime example. His plagarism of E.W. Kenyon and the likes with New Age Mysticism mixing it with Scripture has hurt “innocent” people more than it has helped. So, yes, one book tells a lot about what your foundational teaching is.

    Another example is Mr. T.D. Jakes. His background is Oneness Pentecostalism (OP). OP was basically kicked to the curb by Assemblies of God due to their denial of the Trinity of the Godhead. Yet, Mr. Jakes always “scapes” around the subject when asked about the Trinity.

    Mr. Joel Osteen who gets on CNN and says that he doesn’t preach on sin and that he cannot judge homosexuality because that is up to God. Do we need go on about simple things that define what their foundation dictates. If any man lay a foundation other than Jesus Christ, let than man be accursed!

    Also, memorizing and reading Scripture does nothing for a person. If the Scriptures aren’t lived out, what does it profit a man? Even the devils tremble and believe.

  81. Brendt,

    You are doing a great deal of reasoning with no backing up with Scripture? Help us all out by using the Word as justification!

    New Age thought can easily creep in to distort the proper view of Scripture!

    And to use “Ray Bolger”??? Really?? Out of all of the posts you have made, there has yet to be a single use of Scripture to back anything you are quoting.

  82. While I understand the sentiments expressed by this author, I disagree with him. Perhaps it is a part of human nature to want to avoid any topic or conversation that may seem “divisive”. But human nature is always wrong when it is disagreement with divine truth.

    Sometimes I believe that people within the church are more concerned about unity and receiving the praise of men, rather than seeking to honor of God alone. The criticisms expressed by the author of this blog (though I am sure heartfelt and expressing the beliefs of many other people) remind me of the critiques that were leveled at Spurgeon during and after the Downgrade controversy.

    Spurgeon considered whether it was worth risking losing his influence for the sake of standing for biblical truth. His conclusion rightly was that it was God who had given Him that influence anyway, and therefore dishonoring God by compromising for the sake of “unity” and maintaining that influence was sinful. (As if God needed Spurgeon to be popular in order to accomplish His will).

    Immediately Scripture, and eventually history have proven the correctness of Spurgeon’s position during that time.

    The same is true (testimony of Scripture) and will probably be true (testimony of history) of Macarthur as well.

    Grace and Peace

  83. Adrian Warnock said, “he was clear he believed that everything we attribute to the work of the Spirit is really the work of demons.”

    That was an unfortunate misrepresentation. MacArthur didn’t say that.

  84. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 4:12 pm

    Mike J, it is a logical impossibility to state that “Scripture doesn’t say” and then back that statement up with Scripture.

    But, you want chapter and verse? OK, here. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God has given us a spirit of a sound mind. There is nothing “sound mind” about the self-contradiction I pointed out in comment #83.

  85. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 4:16 pm

    Susan, MacArthur stated that Charismatics are blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to attribute to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit, or vice versa. Warnock didn’t misrepresent MacArthur at all; he merely distilled what MacArthur said.

  86. BTW: I think that Jack Deere’s defense of continuationism in “Surprised by the Power of the Spirit”, while having good points, completely misrepresents the other side, lumping them all together as dangerous just as John MacArthur has done. The difference is that Deere does not stand behind a pulpit with such a visible and polemic history.

  87. Brendt,

    You are doing what charasmatics love to do: take Scripture out of context. Either the Scriptures will be used in context on what they mean and how it is meant or it is distorted. 99% truth is still a lie.

    It is amazing that you want to discredit MacArthur and agree with the poster of this blog. If the poster of this blog writes on something you disagree with, will you discredit him as well?

    We all have to come to the conclusion that Scripture is truth. Our reasoning and flesh will always disagree with truth because there is enmity between the carnal and spiritual.

    Go back to all of your posts!

  88. And Deere, like MacArthur, knew better.

  89. TUAD,

    “Disagree. General statements are fine. FWIW, Scripture does employ hyperbole at times to establish a teaching point.”

    I’m not quite sure you understand hyperbole and furthermore I’m pretty sure that MacArthur’s statements are not intended to be interpreted as such. Hyperbole is a rhetorical tool which implies that it is not meant to be taken literally. I’m pretty sure MacArthur means what he says.

    “Surely, that’s something that would be worthy of notice and concern and further examination.”

    Perhaps worthy of investigation. Yet in this case the facts are quite well known. Basically anybody who believes that any of the spiritual gifts are for today labeled as a continuationist. Yet within this group the belief that at least some gifts are for today is about the only thing that is agreed upon. Everything from the method for arriving at the conclusion that they are for today, to the authority of the gifts, to exactly which gifts are for today differs. Often different strands of the group have views that are directly contradictory to another strands view. Given these facts there no reason to question continuationism as a whole (at least on these grounds), at least no more so than the fact that over half of those who believe in the literal resurrection of Christ are Roman Catholic should cause us to question the literal resurrection of Christ. You simply can’t lump people who fall under a broad label together when they have drastically different beliefs and methods for arriving at those beliefs. Rather certain groups within the larger group should merit our concern. To suggest otherwise is simply logically fallacious reasoning. It is a bit like saying that since a large group of those who reject the Pope also reject the authority of the Bible we should be concerned about all those who reject the Pope.

  90. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-16 at 4:39 pm

    FWIW, on the TeamPyro blog there is a post where John MacArthur and Jack Deere met. I believe Phil Johnson wrote that post.

  91. William Orris 2013-10-16 at 4:39 pm

    To all…
    Conflicting theology within the church isn’t new. In 1st John (~60 years after the resurrection) we find error was already creeping into the church. Any work of God throughout history we can find the satanic counterfeit in operation, times of revival included.

    The real enemy isn’t flesh and blood, it’s the arch enemy of our souls leading folks down a path to open their mouth (we all do it) and say things we shouldn’t say, espouse the thoughts and aspirations of our mind, even writing a book.

    All to say, we need (me especially) need to be quick to hear, slow to speak, pray for discernment and not feel like we need to comment on everything. God help me and bless all of you.

  92. I listen to J. MacArthur’s sermons every now and then on the way to work.

    He is a real assurance destroyer. He plants doubt. ‘If you are not living a certain way and behaving in a certain way…well…maybe you just aren’t a Christian.’

    He is a legalist and a modern day Pharisee.

    I grew up just a few miles from where his church is located in the San Fernando Valley, CA. (just an aside)

  93. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-16 at 4:44 pm

    Michael T.: “Rather certain groups within the larger group should merit our concern.”

    Okay. Which certain groups within the larger group of continuationism do you have a concern about, Michael T.?

  94. Recently, I watched John MacArthur’s video in which he encouraged “faithful Pentecostals” to join his war against the Charismatics. This video is a sham and a joke. MacArthur firmly believes that both Pentecostals and Charismatics are guilty of counterfeiting the gift of tongues. Therefore, how can he with a straight face ask one group of counterfeiters to help him fight against another group of counterfeiters?

  95. LT, I think I needed to respond to this:

    “This is an ill-advised post for several reasons:

    1. You haven’t heard or read what you are critiquing. That means you are speaking about things you don’t know. That’s unwise and dangerous.”

    I was critiquing the videos. They are all teaching and expositing Scripture. Have you watched them? They are very substantive. Why are they beyond the ability to critique?

    “2. It partakes of the emotionalism you decry. You can’t make an emotional argument that these guys are nice guys and therefore their theology doesn’t matter. I would say their theology matters more because they are nice guys.”

    That was completely misreading me. Who would ever believe that I think someone’s niceness makes them right. Did you really get that from this post. I think I may not be the one who is making emotional interpretations.

    “3. You are factually incorrect. MacArthur is aware of Piper, Grudem, Mahaney, etc. He has even spoken with some of them and had them to speak at his church. Somehow you fail to consider (at least here) what that means.”

    Factually? Okay, now I don’t think you read the post. I said JM knows these guys. That is what makes it so bad. Please read carefully before you critique!

    “4. You fail to discuss the issue on its merits. You admit to being non-charismatic, but your focus is not on the issue that matters–namely, the theology and resulting confusion of the movement you disagree with. The issue has to be theology, not personality.”

    I have a 16 session podcast where I argue in studio against Sam Storms. I have a 300,000 word post series dealing with every issue with Sam Storms. Just click on the charismatic section here on the blog. Not every blog post can do everything. Please get to know the person you are critiquing before you respond. It not only gives a bad impression of rashness, but it does not help people who are reading.

    Probably best to ask questions first.

  96. Jelli Tomás 2013-10-16 at 4:49 pm

    This post seems a little uncharacteristic of Mr. Patton.

    He knew the MacArthurites (eg Turk) would be reading and would respond with intensity.

    And he knew that the hyper-sensitive Charismatics would jump in and pile on and argue.

    It’s hard for me to figure out how this post is Kingdom-minded (or any better than what he is accusing JMac of doing).

  97. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 4:57 pm

    Mike J, let me put this another way. Early on you alleged that a “lot of the charasmatic teaching” aligns with the error that Paul pointed out in Titus 1:10-16. And yet there is *no* Scriptural backing for that allegation whatsoever. Rather, you used your God-given intellect, observed certain phenomena, and reached a conclusion. Now if indeed (as you state) “[t]he Scriptures should be the source of judgment only”, then what you did was wrong. But I don’t think that what you did was wrong (even though I disagree with the conclusion) and 2 Timothy 1:7 backs that up.

    But if my lack of Scriptural context for every statement that I make is wrong, then so is yours, and you need to retract several statements.

    As to the irrelevant red herring as to whether I would call out Michael if he wrote something I disagreed with, I certainly would. In fact, I *know* that there are things that he and I disagree on, and if I haven’t called him out on those already, it’s simply because there has not yet been an intersection of his writing and my (infrequent) reading of this blog.

  98. Lorilee Gill 2013-10-16 at 5:00 pm

    Some people are missing the point. The very nature of the Holy Spirit cannot be contained. He will do what He wants. He has that authority. This conference that John MacAurthur is putting on, is saying that the Holy Spirit is limited. Which is incorrect. We don’t need to read J.M.’s books, or attend his conference, he is limiting the Holy Spirit simply by hosting this event. I am praying the Holy Spirit shows up and wows the crowd. Wouldn’t that be a fun twist? Anyone care to join me in prayer for this? Lol

  99. Michael T.: “Rather certain groups within the larger group should merit our concern.”

    Okay. Which certain groups within the larger group of continuationism do you have a concern about, Michael T.?

    Relevancy??? There are numerous ones that I have issues with for various reasons. Often it is certain leaders that I have issues with rather than whole denominations. As an example I grew up in the Baptist General Conference. Within this Conference both John Piper and Greg Boyd are influential well-known leaders who head mega-churches. I disagree strongly with both of them on major theological issues, but i evaluate them individually. Your question is like me asking which strains of Protestantism do you disagree with (most of them, right)?

  100. So went to the hospital the other day, I had a broken toe!
    Imagine my surprise when the Doctor took out a baseball bat and started whacking my ankle and then my shin and then my knee! I thought he, with all his knowledge, training and resources was supposed to help me get better! Instead he made it worse, now I’m in hospital on pain meds and in traction. Everyday he comes back and beats me some more! Tomorrow he moves on to my head and I will die.
    This is the church folks. When someone slips up or gets things wrong, please don’t beat them down til’ they leave.
    I’m not a continuationist – too skeptical, but I attend a full blown prosperity gospel lovin’ rolling in the aisle, word of faith church. It is painful, but I go there to try and be educational to them. Not in a patronising way, I just ask people questions mostly, helping them think issues through more thoroughly before accepting what they are fed. They know I am a calvinist, yet speaking to them with respect not only defeats sectarianism, a tool of the devil, it fulfills John 13:35. They know I disagree with them and that my pastors words are somewhat painful too me.
    You want to know where this has got me? Respected, loved, valued and united even in diversity.
    I have been asked to write a curriculum for them. I have been doing a twenty session course for a few months now.
    Maybe if we put down the gloves and got out the ring so to speak, we could actually send missionaries into our churches to teach and help people get a grasp of scripture.
    Someone already posted the unity, liberty, charity quote, so I won’t but it’s worth rememberng.

  101. It might be helpful to look at other critical analyses of the charismatic movement and compare the tone and evenhandedness to John MacArthur’s. J. I. Packer in 1984 and 1989 offered critical interaction with the charismatic movement. A few of his thoughts:

    “Doctrinally, the renewal is in the mainstream of historic evangelical orthodoxy on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the objectivity of Christ’s atonement and the historicity of his resurrection, the need of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, personal fellowship with the Father and the Son as central to the life of faith, and the divine truth of the Bible. There is nothing eccentric about its basic teaching.”

    and

    “But even if the charismatic movement has no more to give to the church than it has given already, it is surely strange that it should ever be dismissed as not “from God”–that is, as manifesting throughout something other than God’s grace, so that every element of it should be explained as merely human or actually demonic. Yet that verdict has on occasion been voiced.”

    He adds:

    “The charismatic renewal has brought millions of Christians, including many clergy, to a deeper, more exuberant faith in Christ than they had before. It has quickened thousands of congregations, invigorating their worship, making love and fellowship blossom among them, increasing their expectancy and enterprise, and giving stimulus to their evangelism. Charismatic insistence on openness to God has transformed countless lives that previously were not open to him. Is this from God? The question answers itself.”

    I quote more of this article from Packer here:http://whiterosereview.blogspot.com/2013/04/strange-fire-and-responsible-criticism-2.html

  102. You mentioned how you changed because of individuals That you know who are *charismatic*.
    I know many Mormons who are great family loving people, does this mean that it would be wrong for me to say that the LDS Church is not of God?
    This appears to be your line of reasoning.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong or have misunderstood.

    After reviewing your post again your critique appears to be more about style. I just watched a about 20mins of a sermon that McArthur gave entitled Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, while I don’t agree with everything he says his critique of the Pentecostal movement was specific and appeared to be justified on biblical grounds. I understand that you would prefer he take a more gracious tone but can you understand why he doesn’t?
    I went to an Assemblies of God church in high school and to an AG college. Do you know what it’s like when all your peers are speaking in tongues and you’re down at the altar for the hundredth time, weeping and wondering what sin in my life was keeping me from receiving the gift of the Spirit that God wanted me to have?

    Is it of God for a teen to spend years in confusion and emotional turmoil because they know and everyone else knows that there is this sin that is keeping from the baptism of the Spirit?

    Is it off God to be told that despite being in the youth choir for years and in Bible quiz, that my hearts desire to be a missionary or pastor would never happen unless I have the initial physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is speaking in tongues?
    Perhaps it was of God when in junior high I went to an AG youth conference and ended up calling home close to 11pm because they had to have all the youth leave the auditorium because after hours of emotional worship demonic spirits that were possesing two people decided to emerge and have them on the floor foaming at the mouth and in convulsions while the students stood around them praying in tongues but to no avail.
    Ironically…

  103. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-16 at 6:41 pm

    Michael T.,

    You should be able to answer the question. You stated a criteria. I merely asked you to abide by the standard you yourself posited.

    No need to weasel out.

  104. TUAD,

    I’ll name three (which of course is just a start). The Oneness Pentacostal movement, Joel Osteen, and the Word of Faith movement.

    There you have some that I disagree with (and strongly so). Care to let me in on the relevancy? Or do you just like asking random questions and demanding answers?

  105. Apollo,

    It is not so much that you misunderstood it is that I was not very clear. “What’s his name” loved the same Jesus. What I meant by that was that his theology was good. As well, with those other guys, Piper, Storms, etc I assume too much. I should have explained that their theology was very good. Saying they were intellectuals was not enough.

  106. Amen there “Apollos”, this subject brings out more emotion then bible and theology! I am basically a cessationist on the so-called sign-gifts myself, but as I said I do practice speaking in what I believe to be the gift of prayer tongues or glossolalia, (1 Cor. 14: 2). But I was raised Irish Roman Catholic, and saw the Catholic Charismatic movement in the early 70’s. And I was a English Catholic Benedictine monastic for a few years back in my mid 20’s. My tour attached (myself a Royal Marine Commando) to the American Marine 3rd Force Recon in the Nam (’68), pressed me into searching for God for awhile in the monastic life. But, from there, in God’s providence, time and purpose, I left and became an Anglican Reformed, etc. I was actually already an Augustinian as a RC. I say all this, for we all come from some experiential place in our lives!

  107. TUAD,

    You know I really can’t think of a single continuationist movement I have a major issue with.

    Now if the above statement were true (which it isn’t) how would that be relevant to the ideas I’ve presented? Truth is I disagree with most of those under the umbrella, just as I disagree with most Protestants (even though I am one).

    To satiate your curiosity – Osteen, Word of Faith, Oneness Pentacostal, T.D. Jakes (to name four of many)

  108. Brendt, Warnock said that JM believes that EVERYTHING charismatics attribute to the Spirit is the work of demons.
    That simply isn’t true. MacArthur made no such sweeping statement. So, that wasn’t “distilling”, that was Warnock misrepresenting MacArthur.

  109. Michael T,

    “Truth is I disagree with most of those under the umbrella, just as I disagree with most Protestants (even though I am one). ”

    Good statement that we all need to consider.

  110. It’s kinda like doing a conference that is against Complementarians called “Wife Beaters”. Someone could say at the beginning “I realize that not all Complementarians are not wife beaters.” Then go on for the rest of the conference saying “Complememtarians would have you believe…” “Complementarianism is the most dangerous movement in the church.” “Complementarians suppress women.” At this point the qualification at the beginning makes no difference, does it?

    • This would be a whole different issue if everyone speaking, having qualified the “good guys” like Piper Driscoll, DA Caron, and Keener,the “the radical continuationists” or “bizzare revivalist”. Then his examples can come though people like Hagin or Hinn.

  111. Apollos,
    I know exactly what that’s like. What you just described is me. I remember when I was 8 yrs old being pushed over by a traveling minister who tried to say it was the Holy Spirit, I just stood right back up and went back over to him and said ‘you pushed me over’ in front of everyone lol. He said ‘no I didn’t’, and laid his hand on my head and did it again. So I got back up again and went back to my seat humiliated. I have had to forgive a LOT for that kind of thing.
    I never spoke in tongues or felt any tingling except bitterness and anger but was basically made to feel it was my fault. I was told that I needed to start saying ‘shouldaboughtahonda’ etc. and then ‘it will come’.
    But after having left church altogether (as a result of years of this) in my early twenties, I have gone back to the penties and am trying to show them how damaging this can be in all it’s facets.
    It CAN be harmful, but I agree with CMP, perhaps lets not just dismiss all of them as heretics and even try and talk with them?? I for one think most of those people are well meaning and worth the effort of talking with, not trashing.

  112. I think all Baptists are legalistic and graceless twits. My only encounter with them after all is Westboro Baptist Church…

    “Pure Sarcasm Here!” I actually know and like many great people within the Baptist movement.

  113. Shouldn’t the real question be ‘how do we seek to find unity in diversity’?
    Can we not practice what Christ preached?
    I am genuinely not seeing this being taught or sought.

  114. Francis Szarejko 2013-10-16 at 9:18 pm

    I respect John MacArthur and have read much of his writings. However, I am put off by the way he viciously attacks other believers over questions that are open for debate among believers but are not essential to the gospel message and are open for debate among Christians. I appreciate zeal but zeal can be misplaced and misdirected.

  115. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 9:21 pm

    Susan, not a single promo video even IMPLIES that MacArthur means anything except “everything”. And he’s been at this far too long to simply be clumsy in his wording over a dozen times. Spin-doctoring by the JM apologists aside, I haven’t read anything from the conference that changes this perception.

  116. “I remember when I was 8 yrs old being pushed over by a traveling minister who tried to say it was the Holy Spirit”

    I had a similar experience. I went up with an open mind, about everyone else falling down all over the ground. With a mind neither to resist it particularly, nor to succumb either.

    The minister put his hand on my head and kind of pushed me in a way that would make it hard to not just go lie down.

  117. Michael- I understand and appreciate that your approach to theological differences is highly irenic. In general I think this is a good approach in that it is respectful and allows for a real give and take in discussion, and perhaps real learning occurs. That being said, it seems to me that the Strange Fire conference arises to oppose the bad teaching characteristic of most of the charismatic movement. If all or most charismatics were of the caliber of John Piper, Wayne Grudem and Sam Storms, I don’t think a conference such as Strange Fire would be happening. But the fact is that the majority of popular charismatic teaching is not careful and balanced as is the teaching of these men. Its emphasis is not on proper interpretation of Scripture, but on the pursuit of experiences of all kinds. Yet it has been perhaps the fastest growing segment of Christianity for many years and is far-reaching–so the damage being done by the movement is not to be underestimated. I am speaking as one for who a time was myself lured into the charismatic view. What motivated me, as I believe many others, was a desire for a deeper experience with God. Now in itself this is not necessarily wrong. But in the charismatic movement I observed that this desire usually becomes divorced from scriptural expectations and moorings, and many are seeking after miracles, special experiences, prophecies, tongues and leadings, even demanding that one must have these things to be a faithful, obedient and truly Spirit-filled Christian. It is argued that the early church had all these experiences continually; that this is what New Testament Christianity really looks like and we must capture this again. But most of what we find in the movement is laughable & counterfeit. The miracles are not NT quality miracles; neither are the tongues/prophecies/interpretations NT quality. And the error rampant in the movement simply cannot be ignored because it is misleading well-meaning Christians worldwide.

  118. In the first five years I was in Christ, nobody had more of an impact on me than John MacArthur. Since then I rarely ever listen to him – he’s always angry about something.

    I will be eternally grateful for MacArthur, but I don’t need the robotic, study the Bible so I can heartlessly obey what it says because God is sovereign and holy anymore.

  119. Truth unites... And divides 2013-10-16 at 9:48 pm

    A good number of former Pentecostal/charismatic/continuationists support the arguments set forth by the Strange Fire speakers. These are credible insiders.

  120. I have no problem with CMP’s commentary. I am a former charismatic who is now a soft continuationist. The gifts are there but God decides when they are used, not us. I don’t like McArthur’s stridency. If he made reasoned appeals rather than purposely hurtful assaults, his message would receive a broader reception and might cause come charismatics to do a little thinking. I experienced the full charismatic experience right down to the oppressive legalisms of “you must pray this way or God doesn’t hear it” and rushing around to places where the Holy Spirit is “breaking out”. I left the movement when the church I was in decided to go on the attack against cessationists as if somehow they were the enemy. I still have many good friends in that church and we get together regularly for coffee. Things in that church have eased somewhat and they are once again back to having a real Bible-study of a sermon. If I had been in Sam Storm’s church I might still be in the charismatic movement. I think that McArthur should attend a Rupertus Melendes conference. “On the major things unity, on the minor things tolerance, on all things love.”

  121. Alex, I agree with you. In my 10 years in a charismatic church I saw it go from a good mix of excellent Bible teaching going through an entire book at a time, to becoming focused only on the things of miracles or teachings that supported the gifts. Every sermon ended up being a lesson on the Gifts. Now, that was just one church. But even the nationally known charismatic speakers that I encountered did the same thing. The one thing that I saw over and over, and this might be the crux of McArthur’s beef, was virtually know mention of sin and salvation. Indeed, I encountered charismatics that had no interest in the things of the Cross unless they pertained to miracles and healings. I know that isn’t the case in every charismatic church. However, I’ve seen it in a lot of them. For them salvation is just the step that you take before you can get the gifts. If this is the sort of thing that McArthur is addressing, then more power to him. But if he is just having a theological temper tantrum, then I’m not interested. Life today can make a person angry enough without a Christian leader encouraging more anger for the sake of…what? Indeed, what is McArthur’s endgame? I don’t think that he has even thought that far ahead.

  122. TAUD. Actually converts are sometimes the least balanced. I wrote on this a LONG time ago. http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/06/convert-tainted-glasses/

  123. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 10:12 pm

    Sadly, Joni Eareckson Tada allowed her physical issues to be exploited to prop up MacArthur’s views. Challies reports that “As MacArthur said in his closing comments, if anyone has the faith to be healed, it must be her.”

    Throughout my sojourn in the Reformed community, I was taught (by the Reformed luminaries of the day, including MacArthur himself) to despise the concept that salvation was even 0.000000000000001% man, but rather that it was 100% God. But suddenly, when it comes to physical healing, God needs us to throw in and have our own faith?

    Suddenly, it’s clear why MacArthur feels so free to dump on Piper, Grudem, Mahaney, Chandler, etc. He’s obviously leaving the Reformed ranch. Will Piper tweet “Farewell, John MacArthur” tomorrow?

  124. William Simpson 2013-10-16 at 10:14 pm

    Mac is one of a few men willing to address the heretical teachings associated with the prosperity garb today. There’s little I disagree with Mac on, having spent the fist 20 years of my Christian life associated with the likes of Copeland, Jakes, etc… Someone needs to address this trash for what it is. I wrote a book about it, but because most publishers publish this trash as Christian literature my book was dropped like a hot potato. I hope Mac pisses enough ppl off to cause the masses of churched ppl to listen to what he has to say. Just maybe the elect will hear what GOD has to say and will run away from this lie!

  125. Brendt, I listened to MacArthur’s talk today and he did not say or imply that all the works of the spirit as the charismatics see them are works of satan. He did qualify that there are some pastors who are gospel preachers, and there are some others who’s churches are characterized by all manner of chaos. He did not put all charismatics in the same box.

  126. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 10:45 pm

    William, that’s interesting. Because the first name I think of when I think of someone preaching against the prosperity “gospel” is John Piper, someone into whom MacArthur is currently ripping.

    I won’t even bother going into the fact that MacArthur is going after a LOT more than just the prosperity “gospel”.

  127. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-16 at 10:47 pm

    Susan, so did he also say that those promo videos were gross mischaracterizations of his point, and that he was firing his entire video team? Because (unless he’s being insulated by his handlers) he HAS to know that the promos came across as harshly as I suggest to many people who are much more influential than I. And if that’s the case, and he has ANY interest in correcting the problem, rather than just smugly pointing it out, he would have cleared up the mischaracterization from the outset, so that those troubled by the promos would be much more apt to listen to what he said.

  128. I am not a charismatic, but such a statement really scares me.

    Well you should be scared.

    I was saved out of the so called charismatic movement and I can tell you that blasphemy of all sorts is part and parcel of this movement. Let me explain.

    In the years before I was involved in the AOG I worked in mainly blue collar jobs with people from many ethnic backgrounds. I picked up a considerable amount of other languages or bits at least and in that environment the bits I learnt were mainly the swear words.

    I was “saved” into the AOG church 30 odd years ago and when all the fall on the floor and carry on began here in Australia I heard every one of those swear words said at various meetings in the name of speaking in tounges.

    Somebody has to speak out and bring the truth to this movement. You can’t tell me that people like Benni Hinn and the Copelands speak the truth.

    Hundreds of millions of dollars every year go to the false apostles and prophets and no one seems to mind.

    People like John do and in love they try to get others to see the truth. You think that they enjoy this task? Somebody has to do it. People need to know that they are on the wide path and not the narrow. My personal belief is that you are playing to the charismatic movement by stating their oft proclaimed statement of judge not. We are commanded to rightly test the Word.

    I thank God for people like John who have bought the truth of God’s Word to me.

  129. Another Ken 2013-10-17 at 6:24 am

    Having looked through the comments, am I the only one who gets heartily sick to death of all this strife? I have no problem with JM criticising Wordless Charismaticism in the strongest possible terms, but please avoid Graceless Calvinism in the process, and hitting out at godly men with ‘friendly fire’ as though they were little different from the fruitcakes no-one with an open Bible supports.

    Much as I would certainly agree with Frank Turk on opposing false doctrine and practice, there is something wrong with the Pyro’s approach to this that niggles me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s not just the tendency to argue against any continuation of gifts using similar arguments as atheists do against anything supernatural, I get the feeling there is a Pharisee (which we all have lurking somewhere within us) coming out here – ‘I thank thee, Lord, I am not like these poor charismatics – I’ve learnt Hebrew and Greek, the secondary standards and church history’. I am the only one here?

    I am certainly not against a vigorous intellectual component to Christianity – biblically taught renewed thinking is vital, but no-one ever was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ or endued with power and love from on high by reading books – not even reading the Book, but rather by asking for what the Book infallibly and inerrantly says its author is willing to bestow.

    Some of us believe in the various gifts because of the bible, not in spite of it, and regard relegation of this to the past as a form of theological liberalism – sound evangelical perhaps, but sound asleep!

  130. is there another teacher whose verse by verse teaching is so widely available free for anyone;

    who has such great zeal to prepare God’s people for the times ahead ( 2 Thess 2:9)

    with such zeal to protect God’s people: 1) such a message from Joni Erickson Tada yesterday-the Lord is only good and has His purpose in not granting physical healing and many not even interested in seeking spiritual healing He promises; and this concern: 2) http://www.gty.org/Blog/B130724

    yet, too, mustn’t we each grieve the Spirit sometimes, denying in our hearts the Lord’s absolute power; and also lacking humility not confessing we know in part for now.

    May the Lord Himself continue providing us great faith, discernment, protection from deceit and schemes for the difficult times ahead and have us rely on His Word that it may continue to come in word, power, and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction (1 Thess 1:5 )

    and let us too pray, for when the Son of Man comes, we want that He will find faith on the earth Luke 18:8

  131. People like John Piper and C.J. Mahaney may be more well known now than they were 10 or 20 years ago, but well known does not always equal influence. I’m really surprised you think that the “third wave” (signs and wonders) is fading and the “fourth wave” (intellectual charismatics) is taking over. I don’t see that at all. I see the “third wave” alive and well and on the increase while the “fourth wave” is a small minority having nearly zero impact on the “third wave” and content to keep to themselves. Don’t get me wrong– I would LOVE to see Piper et al clean house, I just don’t see it happening right now.

  132. Let’s try this: replace every instance of “charismatics” in this article with “deniers of penal substitution.”

    Does the fact that the guy you knew in undergrad was (otherwise) a “really devoted Christian who really loved Jesus” and the fact that there are “all kinds of [otherwise] really reputable scholars” who nevertheless believe this ONE THING (in this example, that penal substitution has no Scriptural warrant) in *ANY* way change that this ONE THING is still a serious error? Would such examples really give us adequate warrant for denying penal substitution ourselves?

  133. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-17 at 9:39 am

    a, the bona fides that you cite early on in your comment only make what MacArthur is doing now 100 times worse, as many who are familiar with the bona fides will simply accept this error as truth. Jesus told us that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” J-Mac has been given MUCH influence; and he’s squandering it on a secondary issue, and broad-brushing to boot.

  134. “robotic”? Mac is anything but robotic! Btw, I wonder if any remember his father: Jack MacArthur? Also a pastor! And Mac is simply older than most of the bloggers here, and from a much different generation, I might add at 74! Though, he has only ten years on me (1939 to 1949). I wonder too if any Americans know that Mac’s father was a removed cousin of Gen. Douglas MacArthur? True! I was raised to show respect to such men! But then most of my Irish Brit family: father, uncles, and some great uncles fought in WW II! Sadly it appears many in the 20-30 generation (both American and Brit’s), don’t have a clue of memory here! So lets try to show some respect here shall we? even if we don’t agree! But surely the Church of God is in most troubled times, and we need men like MacArthur, even with all of his imperfections! And just where are the “prophetic” pastor-teachers today?

    *Btw, all hail the Mac Study Bible! Mine is an NASB. (But then I have almost every Study Bible known to man! 😉 Indeed back to the Bible, or as we Anglicans say…Holy Scripture!

  135. FR. Robert – I became a Christian in an Anglican church, proof if ever needed that the age of miracles is not over! I have learnt much with gratitude from its teaching ministries as well (e.g. St. Helens).

    Like the charismatic movement, there is also much wrong in the C of E, but it would be wrong to concentrate only on the bad or only on the good. Either extreme does not represent the whole.

    As an afterthought, I wish we could get away from talk of blaspheming the Spirit. I think what is going on here (both sides included) is grieving the Spirit in wrong attitudes or quenching the Spirit in relegating some aspects of his work to history.

    It is only possible for unbelievers to blaspheme the Spirit, which may well apply to the faith healing charlatans and their ilk JM wants to combat, but not Christians however immature or badly taught they may be.

  136. @Another Ken: Yes, regeneration and the new birth is still the greatest miracle of God! 🙂 The early Cranmeran Thirty-nine Anglican Articles, with the later Irish Articles 1615 (Archbishop Ussher), are still historically and theologically profound!

    And whatever has become of the Charismatic Movement? it is surely well beyond the movement I saw in the 70’s and 80’s!

  137. I have not jumped into this because I’m increasingly seeing JM as background noise, although his choir still sings at the top of their lungs.

    So as I see it, CMP’s post is generous. For me JM is not losing his voice, he lost it some time ago. I hear nothing he says. Which is significant because I used to listen to and benefit from his radio broadcast every week. Yeah, that was then, this is now.

    The other thing I’m noticing is how devoted his followers are, as if they can see no one else. It reminds me of a guy who just left my church because I don’t preach the same stuff as Joseph Prince. It’s like there are strong similarities between JM followers and WOF followers – each group is so focused on the individual teacher that they can see and hear nothing else. How ironic is that?

  138. I’d say listen to the conference and read the book before writing such a critique. As someone who grew up in the Charismatic movement i’m finding John to be spot on. Its about time someone in evangelicalism stood up to the heresies being perpetrated in this denomination. It’s sad and dishonorable to God and His holy Word.

  139. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-17 at 12:59 pm

    Dave Z, it’s very ironical, and yet fairly common. The faith tradition that I grew up in was virulently and violently anti-Roman Catholic. And yet so much of what they did fit perfectly into RC practice (or at least their interpretation thereof). There was a distinct division between clergy and laity. There was an excessive veneration to the point of near-beatification of people in the Bible (instead of recognizing that they were schmoes just like you and me). Works were constantly harped upon. Etc etc etc.

  140. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-17 at 2:03 pm

    CMP,

    Love you brother. That’s established. But do thoughtfully consider the respectful objections from a number of folks that it was unwise to have written your condemning post before the Strange Fire Conference had even started.

    Prudence and wisdom, plus your own track record, would have cautioned you to not jump the gun prematurely in a rush to condemn. That’s really not like you. Actually, so unlike you. And very out of character.

    Read this comment from a reader on Challies post about Joni Eareckson Tada:

    “I have never watched a live conference via streaming. I couldn’t be happier that I decided to make this the first one. I had my concerns after reading Michael C. Patton’s plea to John MacArthur to reconsider his purpose for this conference and even your prelude remarks about it Tim although I found yours more insightful and packed with better understanding and maybe more respect. Still I was expecting some red flags, some over zeal against, condemning loud exhortations, naming names and shame on you’s pulpit pounding things. I was foolish to do so. The opposite could not be truer. None of that was present – sound Biblical teaching was however very present. Inspired teaching I think. So far I am very impressed and blessed. I already liked John MacArthur, I don’t agree with everything he teaches but I gladly sit before him and learn. And I have a great deal to learn.”

  141. TAUD,

    There are three substantive elements to the “Strange Fire” campaign: the book, the conference, and the 16 video blogs. Quoted from the video blogs and excerpts from the book. But most of this is a response to the video blogs. These provide substantive arguments and are more widely distributed than the book or the conference.

    I have been listening to the conference and I heard Joni. Nothing had changed. If they would retract and greatly qualify what the video blogs said, then that would be great. But they have not.

    Please respond to this attempting to understand where I am coming from. See these 16 videos as video blogs highly shared and viral. See these are what people come to the conference with preinderstading about. Then see the conference as a simple attempt justify their over the top and divisive stand. This is on par with what MacArthir has done for years. Just because we may agree with the individual arguments give us no right to misrepresent so many.

  142. Michael– it is Christianity that is on the whole being misrepresented by the charismatic movement. But you seem much more concerned that a few charismatics– that is, those more careful in their exegesis of Scripture, who present more solid biblical arguments for what they believe, whose theology is more sound– not be misrepresented at the Strange Fire conference. But that is not the point of the conference. What of the millions being misled by the insane and utterly unbiblical teachings that go on in the name of Christ in this movement? These are folks that desperately need to be rescued from this false teaching. They need bold teaching that makes it patently clear what the errors are, so that can see it and escape it and embrace good teaching that will actually help them.

  143. Alex, I believe that 90 percent of all professing Christianity are had eggs. The mainstream media normally only puts on tv these people who either don’t know what they are talking about, are nuts, or are involved in some scandal. I want the media to put the minority on the camera to help perception and influence.

    I believe that 90 percent of Calvinists are SOBs. I don’t want them to either be the rep tentative of calvinisms or Calvinists. Why? Because the best representative have the power to change and influence both the population and those bad eggs

    Not only is this bunch not representing the best- of but they, like the media , are hiding them in order to exploit through fear. It is unwise and irresponsible. These people are old enough to know better. What they would decry in other circumstances they readily commit here. Is that so hard to understand?

  144. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-17 at 4:06 pm

    “See these 16 videos as video blogs highly shared and viral. See these are what people come to the conference with preinderstading about.”

    Professional movie reviewers don’t write reviews based on just watching movie trailers. They watch the whole movie, then they write the review.

    Prudence and wisdom would have you doing the same.

    “Then see the conference as a simple attempt justify their over the top and divisive stand.”

    If lovingly warning and alerting others of harmful, aberrant doctrine is considered being over-the-top and divisive, then I suppose it’s a badge that the Strange Fire speakers will willingly wear.

    “This is on par with what MacArthir has done for years.

    See response directly above.

    “Just because we may agree with the individual arguments give us no right to misrepresent so many.”

    With regards to “misrepresent so many”, recall my earlier comment: “A good number of former Pentecostal/charismatic/continuationists support the arguments set forth by the Strange Fire speakers. These are credible insiders.”

    They willingly attest that the Strange Fire speakers are not misrepresenting what’s frequently being done in charismatic churches.

    You wrote this: “Actually converts are sometimes the least balanced. I wrote on this a LONG time ago. http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/06/convert-tainted-glasses/

    Apostle Paul was a convert. I suppose one could call him least balanced.

    Suppose a former prostitute is ardent in denouncing prostitution. Or a former abortionist is ardent in denouncing the practice of abortion. Or a sex trafficker is ardent in denouncing the practice of sex slavery and trafficking.

    Are we to dismiss them because they’re a “convert” and shallowly say that they’re “least balanced” in their ardent testimonies?

    Wasn’t John Newton a captain of a slave ship? He ardently denounced the practice of slavery. Was he least balanced?

  145. I’m listening to Phil Johnson now. He addressed the accusation that MacArthur throws out the baby with the bath water. He said that the reformed Charismatics are the small fringe of the movement, pointing to the vast viewership of the TBN chars tics worldwide..spawning false doctrine.
    He also talked about internet conversation this week regarding MacArthur and this topic.
    Johnson is naming a lot of names of those who have been the most notorious in the Charismatic Movement.
    Now he’s talking about the Pyromaniac Todd Bently (Lakeland) post they did a few years ago… Cautioning about how to evaluate a teacher. He tells of the backlash. He’s also touching on the “Jesus Culture”

  146. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-17 at 4:59 pm

    TUAD, either your reading comprehension skills are severely lacking or you are purposefully misrepresenting Michael. He stated that converts are ***SOMETIMES*** the least balanced — the stunningly clear implication being that someone being a convert out of XYZ doesn’t automatically make them a reliable analyst of XYZ (as you seem to imply). In response to his “SOMETIMES”, your argument is to pick out two specific people and a handful of hypotheticals to “refute” him. “Sometimes” means “not all the time”, so you can stack up as many examples as you want and it has no relevance to the issue.

    Let me give you a concrete example of an unbalanced convert. I have encountered several men who, before they were saved, were into wild sex and copious amounts of drugs while playing in a rock band. After conversion, they (rightly) gave up the drugs and fornication. But they lump **everything** from their BC life into one pot. And so (when it comes to music) they make Bill Gothard look like Lars Ulrich, condemning everything with a “beat”. According to them, even Reformed darlings like Townend and Getty are influenced by Satan and likely going to hell, taking us all with them. Does that seem balanced to you?

    It should be noted that nowhere did Michael say or imply that anyone should be dismissed. He merely implied that not everyone who is a “convert” should be automatically accepted. Please stop putting words in his mouth, especially when they’re 180 degrees from what he said.

    I must admit that you amused me when you said that it was shallow to call someone “least balanced” when you’re the only one who used that phrase or anything like it.

  147. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-17 at 5:13 pm

    On this very thread there are a number of former charismatics attesting to the abuses and excesses that they’ve witnessed and observed in charismatic/continuationist churches.

    Unless shown otherwise, let’s regard them as credible insiders.

    Also, on other blog threads there are many ex-charismatic continuationists who are coming forth to validate and affirm the Strange Fire speakers’ truth-claims about the abuses and excesses in charismatic churches.

    They are grateful that John MacArthur and the other Strange Fire speakers are prayerfully and lovingly addressing this important issue.

  148. @CPS: “Would such examples really give us adequate warrant for denying penal substitution ourselves?”

    Errm, bad example CPS, since penal substitution is one of those things that it is questionable if the historic church up to 1000 AD taught. So…. yeah, perhaps if found holy people who didn’t accept it, and reputable scholars don’t accept it, we should revisit that doctrine.

    http://www.antiochian.org/node/25462

  149. TAUD,

    I have to say that Brendt nailed it. You have to understand how hard it is to respond when people don’t listen. Whether not not you mistakes are slips or just the emotion getting the best of you, it is easy to lose your voice. And, ironically, this is what this post is all about.

  150. I am a Charismatic. I believe that all the gifts of the Spirit continue into today because Scripture says that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    One of the over riding issues I believe is behind the Mac / Johnson rant against Charismatics is that for the most part they do not hold to a ” Calvinistic Reformed” position.

    Simply put, in their framework of understanding, they don’t accept that any other doctrinal position, apart from the one they hold is Biblical.

    Now I see and agree that there are many excesses within the Charismatic / Pentecostal camp. I also see many excesses within the NON Charismatic / Pentecostal camps.

    I myself am living proof that the gifts of the Spirit still operate today. I was delivered of demons. I had a number of them cast from me in 1997, instantly freeing me from a masturbation and gambling addiction.

    I have prayed for people and seen them healed. At the same time I have prayed for others and heard God say no, not this time.

    I worked on a farm and distinctly heard God say to me.. Craig, be careful, there is a snake in the dairy shed..( in 18 years of working there, I have never seen a snake in that shed) When I arrived at work, there was the snake exactly where I was told it would be…and if I wasn’t warned about it, I would have been bitten by it.

    I can’t tell you the number of times the Lord used me to prophesy encouragement to others as well as they to me.

    I also have had a number of God given visions over the years, many which were to be used to give me great comfort and encouragement in times of great great hardship and stress.

    Yeup… I thank God every day that he is the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow.

  151. I am one of those former charismatics. I DO NOT agree with JM’s approach though and I am NOT thankful for his polemic approach.
    Who’s approach at discipline worked best when a well known pastor misrepresented the Song of Solomon?
    Was it JMac saying this guy is unfit for ministry and needed to step down? Or was it the fatherly, wise and loving Jhn 13:35 approach of JPiper?? Well the pastor listened to Piper.
    Well telling a bunch of people they are hell bound heretics will get you no where.
    He is nasty and abuses his knowledge.
    I could compare approaches like a meal, one fills and edifies with good things, the other leaves you feeling sick and leaves a bitter taste never to go back.

  152. TUAD,

    There are no doubt many, many continuationist movements, churches and leaders who are heretics. There are no doubt many, many examples of people who have suffered great harm as a result of these heretical teachings. There are also many continuationist movements that are edifying to the church, have proper teachings, and heal many souls.

    Your appeal to anecdotal evidence and individual stories in a form of fallacious reasoning. I can find anecdotal evidence of sugar pills curing cancer. Unless your criticism is much more precise then simply “continuationists” you are blaspheming fellow believers who do preach what is right and still fall under the continuationist umbrella. Unless MacArthur, yourself, and others like you are willing to lump Piper, Chandler, Storms, Driscoll, etc. in with Osteen, Hinn, and WoF, you must stop these attacks. Otherwise they are slanderous and blasphemous – something by which you condemn yourself.

    To wit – if MacArthur had done this conference on the evils of WoF, Osteen, or simply the Prosperity Gospel hardly one person on here would have an issue. It is lumping god-fearing, Gospel preaching preachers in with snake-oil salesmen that is indefensible.

  153. Michael, which is more important– to use, loud bold strokes to warn people about the clearly false and harmful teaching characteristic of most of this movement, or to protect the reputation of the handful of charismatics that don’t teach all the nonsense?

    When I turn on Christian TV there is tons of this terrible false teaching, one show after another. Is it really the media’s fault that this false teaching proliferates? Is it not the responsibility of the false teachers themselves and those who listen to it without correcting it? As for characterizing most (90%?) reformed people as “SOBs”to make your argument, this is quite simply silly. For someone eager that charismatics not be lumped together as all bad, it’s quite a statement to make, lumping most reformed people together, especially since you consider yourself reformed. Do I now know what you really think of yourself, or are you in the other 10%? 😉 Anyway, this is crass and beneath you– your ministry is better than statements like this.

  154. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-17 at 7:40 pm

    Alex, if I may re-phrase your question (without changing its actual meaning one iota):

    Which is more important — to bear false witness regarding one party to warn about another party OR to actually point out the truth (which isn’t really *that* nuanced)?

    So many people (yourself included) keep referring to the “fringe” or “handful” of charismatics who are theologically sound and therefore need no admonition, nor do others need to be warned about them. I find two things odd about this:

    1. This allegation is in no way proveable and is most likely simply a perception based on the fact that the extremes get all of the attention and air-time. Or are you prepared to say that the majority of Christians are just like Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen, and Fred Phelps?

    2. More importantly, though, at this stage of the game, that fact is irrelevant because MacARTHUR REFUSES TO EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THIS DISTINCTION. So why even bother alluding to it?

    Oh, and to be honest, I think Michael was low-balling his estimation. 🙂

  155. “…which is more important– to use, loud bold strokes to warn people about the clearly false and harmful teaching characteristic of most of this movement, or to protect the reputation of the handful of charismatics that don’t teach all the nonsense? ”
    Neither.
    The most important is to be fair, just, humble, meek and loving. Separate the wheat from the chaff, not lumping them all in together. To try to be knowledgeable enough to discern what is correct from incorrect and by the fruit of the spirit live your life that others may follow.
    Teach those who misunderstand complex issues in your love and by your example, that is the most important.
    As for JMac I have a quote from Chuck Swindoll
    “A leader who forgets that he or she is first a model short-circuits their influence upon others. You are being watched.”

  156. Jordan,

    It is amazingly simple to do both. Just created, advertise, and critique the principles that are the most abusive. Making against the Heath-wealth gospel. That would cover 90% of the anise and then you could mention the other issue with such a title. Or, even easier, call it “radical charismaticism”. Every time you talk about it qualify it by this one adjective. One little element of grammar would cover so much.

    We have so many precedents. Don’t have a conference against Calvinists, but hyper-Calvinists. Don’t have a conference against Complementarians but patriarchalism. And then invite balanced Complementarians or Calvinists.

    Again, do we really want to have an effect and be honest or do we want to misrepresent, be less effective, and throw good people under the bus?

  157. Ken Blatchford 2013-10-17 at 8:17 pm

    I’ve been watching the STRaNGe FiRe conference via Live Stream and it takes me back to the 1970’s when my Baptist and Catholic friends warned me sternly about “holy rollers”, “tongue talkers” all being of the Devil. The conference had an exclamation of applauses similar to the President getting a standing “O” for each sentence uttered. During the Q and A this afternoon Johnny Mac was asked about the dancing before the Lord by David and how that was any different to what is going on in Charismatic circles. He said that David danced in celebration of the truth with all his being including his body. Amazingly that is the same answer that charismatics say when they explain why they dance. I didn’t know whether he was defending David or the Charismatics with his answers but it did amuse me nonetheless when the audience blindly applauded for who said it and not the content of what was said. These people are closer to my age now but they still look like the same folks during the 70’s that wagged their bony finger at me then.

  158. And , in addition to this, there is a massive failure to recognize how influential and growing this “fourth wave” of theologically astute and balanced charismatics is, esp among Calvinists. All one has to do is look at the Acts 29 Network and see that they are having and impact and can do so much more to balance out the movement.

    In my experience, as of late, it is the cool thing to be a charismatic Calvinist. Credit Piper, Chandler, Driscoll, and Sam Storms for this. And, like it or not, each one of these men are far more popular than MacArthur these days, especially among the younger generation. How can one ignore such a growing movement within evangelicalism. More than that, since each one of these pastors is against the abuses in charismaticism, why not recognize their influence and use them?

  159. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-17 at 9:09 pm

    CMP: “There are no doubt many, many continuationist movements, churches and leaders who are heretics. There are no doubt many, many examples of people who have suffered great harm as a result of these heretical teachings.”

    No doubt.

    “Your appeal to anecdotal evidence and individual stories in a form of fallacious reasoning.”

    Craig Bennett, #158, your appeal to anecdotal evidence and individual stories is a form of fallacious reasoning.

    “Unless your criticism is much more precise then simply “continuationists” you are blaspheming fellow believers who do preach what is right and still fall under the continuationist umbrella. Unless MacArthur, yourself, and others like you are willing to lump Piper, Chandler, Storms, Driscoll, etc. in with Osteen, Hinn, and WoF, you must stop these attacks.”

    Please see Susan’s comment: “I’m listening to Phil Johnson now. He addressed the accusation that MacArthur throws out the baby with the bath water.”

    “But since the baby-in-the-bathwater cliché is one of the Charismatics’ most common replies to their critics, I want to address it.”

    “The Reformed Charismatics are a small fringe at the outer edge of the larger movement. They are a negligible minority in terms of both numbers and influence. And the guys you see on TV with poofy hairdos and shiny suits are the true charismatic mainstream.”

    “Sometimes the people you hope would be a voice of sanity actually join the aberrant movements and become part of them. Sam Storms lent his considerable credibility to the Kansas City Prophets for years, even after it was perfectly clear that they were false prophets.”

    “Furthermore, despite my criticisms and my frustration with their passivity, I do have warm affection and heartfelt respect for men like John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms.”

    Accept the nuance.

  160. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-17 at 9:40 pm

    TUAD, thanks for the specifics regarding the dismissive and derisive comments that Phil Johnson made about men for whom he allegedly has “warm affection and heartfelt respect”. With friends like PJ ….

    I’m assuming that we’re just supposed to take the unprovable allegations of “fringe” and “negligible minority” as gospel because Johnson said it?

  161. I keep on reading posts from people who say they grew up in the Charismatic movement, and they’re so glad God set them free from it. There’s also people who grew up in the reformed church who are glad God set them free from that legalism.

    The truth is, any time we leave an extreme church (whether it’s reformed or charismatic), we are set free. The Charismatics don’t own extremism and neither to the reformed believers. There is a healthy “in-between” that Christians can agree on. I, personally, am a believer who is charismatic but I go to a very reformed(John MacArthur-respecting) church.

    It would be nice if MacArthur took the time to attend some of the more main-line charismatic churches (Bethel would be a great place to start), put some effort into trying to get to know the people, and listened to their music. I think, at their foundation, he’d find a group of people who, despite a few wackos here and there, love the gospel and carry their passion for it wherever they go.

    When it comes down to it, it seems like MacArthur would have every Christian believe the exact same doctrines that he believes and live out their faith the exact same way he does. This is not a healthy way to view the body of Christ.

    A lot more dialogue and discussion needs to take place between different denominations rather than each one pointing fingers at each other. If loving Jesus is really our main priority, then we’ll find that we Christians have a lot in common.

  162. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-17 at 9:51 pm

    Maybe it’s just me, but if I was actually interested in resolving the issue (rather than simply pointing it out), and a clarification could turn a lot more hearts my way (or at least make a lot more folks inclined to listen to me), said clarification would be the *very first thing* that I addressed — if I hadn’t addressed it already well before the conference. It would not be something that could wait until the second day and be relegated to one of my employees.

    Perhaps TUAD’s “Accept the nuance” would be better addressed to MacArthur.

  163. I was born 70 years ago into the Foursquare Church. My grandfather was at Azusa Street. When I was young, I was taught by mainline preachers to “prime the pump” for tongues by saying “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba” or “Jesus-Jesus-Jesus-Jesus” as fast as possible until “God takes over your tongue.” I was taught that any time a person (usually a woman) interrupted a service with shouting, it was a holy moment. I listened to O.L. Jaggers (who taught that he would live forever) and A.A. Allen (the alcoholic). I joined with the nine and ten year olds that sobbed their eyes out trying to learn to babble. I saw Marvin Gorman and Jimmy Swaggart fall. I saw the president of the Foursqure denomination wreak havoc with a Ponzi scheme. I’ve watched Todd Bentley, Bill Johnson and the woman with the bobble head. I’ve seen one of our local pastors claim to have his teeth filled by God…. and through it all, I’ve not hear any one of them denounced by our leaders. When Todd B. was at his prime, Jack Hayford said this: “…it has not been the practice of The Foursquare Church to draw conclusions hastily in such situations.” You know… the old non-scriptural “test of time.” I think one of JM’s messages is to Pentecostal/Charismatic leaders to step up and call truth truth and heresy heresy.

  164. What, no mention of Sproul, Lawson, MBewe, justin Peters, Todd Friel? They are speaking to. Have they lost their voice too?

  165. Michael
    Depends on how tightly they cling to JMacs coat tails! lol

  166. Truth Unites..

    Normally I don’t respond to anonymous comments.. but to say my testimony is fallacious is rather annoying – when you know nothing about me and my testimony….is strange to the very least…

  167. [English isn’t my native language, sorry]

    To be honest, I don’t even understand why people like Piper or Chandler are being lumped in with the “Charismatics” just because they are not cessationists. In practical terms they have nothing in common with 99% of charismatics. They aren’t even a marginal fringe, they are something else entirely. They just have a common stance on a particular theoretical-doctrinal point, nothing more.

    And people in the US/UK need to realize that continuationists like Piper or Grudem have zero influence outside of the English-speaking world. That “intellectual fringe” simply doesn’t exist in most countries of the planet (even in developed countries like France, etc). If you think that they somehow represent a “4th wave”, you are quite mistaken.

    What JM says apply to 99.99% of the charismatics on the planet so I really don’t see why his critique is perceived as “unfair”…

  168. Jonathan,
    Your statement about Grudem and Piper leads me to the questions, ‘zero influence? really?’ I doubt that and in any case ‘How influential is JMac out side of the English speaking world?’
    Maybe he is a little, but since the context here is the english speaking world, why bother talking about the rest of the world?

  169. Not sure if I am happy about it or not, but clearly we have been forced to revisit the subject.

    I began as a person who was completely opposed to the “Charismatic” movement’s behavior and theology. I remain completely opposed to most of the “Charismatic” movements behavior and theology, (especially the “charismatic” part 🙂 )

    But I did begin to warm up to them as brothers and sisters in Christ because of my interaction with them. I still was grieved in my spirit when I heard them “speak in tongues” at prayer meetings, hated when they would hound me to attend the next prophecy conference, treat me like I didn’t know my Bible and so on. But I do like, love, many of them as my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    A few years ago our church began “The Theology Program”. And it was there that I first came across the “open but cautious” position. Seemed like the right position to take. Not because my theology on the subject changed. I still see the cessationist position as the most Biblical. But it seemed to be the most respectful position I could take, especially because I had so many people I considered brothers and sisters in Christ, who were “Charismatic”. And of course, “God can do whatever He wants.”

    But…, (Like you didn’t know that was coming. 🙂 ) Revisiting the subject through your blog, the comments to the blog and watching the “Strange Fire” conference, I am questioning my “open but cautious” position.

    I want to be “irenic” so I wont list all the reasons for rejecting the “Charismatic” movement. I am looking for one reason to accept it. Just one. One reason that is not: “These are nice people who love the Lord.”, “These are nice people who I agree with everywhere else.”, “These are nice people with Doctorates and Ph.d’s.”

    I am mostly interested in CMP thoughts. I have taken most of The Theology Programs courses, read most of your blogs, and listened to many podcast, (I am re-listening to “Why I Am Not A…

  170. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 9:21 am

    Jonathan,

    The critics of Strange Fire are also wondering why men like Piper or Grudem are being lumped in by MacArthur. Meanwhile, his defenders/apologists are claiming that they aren’t, despite multiple and specific statements made by him that demonstrate that he is. So your confusion is not due to a language barrier, but a logic barrier.

    Before you go throwing around phrases like “zero influence outside of the English-speaking world”, it might be wise to take into consideration the fact that Piper’s online (free) ebooks are translated into 25 languages, then consider that this is hardly the only non-English resource available.

    Lastly, your “99%” and “99.99%” are completely unprovable (just like Phil Johnson’s “fringe” and “negligible minority” pot shots from yesterday) and thus aren’t really worthy of being part of a serious discussion.

  171. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-18 at 9:30 am

    Brendt W. Waters: “I’m assuming that we’re just supposed to take the unprovable allegations of “fringe” and “negligible minority” as gospel because [Pastor Phil] Johnson said it?”

    You could take up Frank Turk’s offer to discuss the matter in #30, if you’re serious.

    He wrote: “(1) A quantitative discussion of the ratio of “good charismatics” vs. “red-headed step children”.

    “Maybe it’s just me, but if I was actually interested in resolving the issue (rather than simply pointing it out), and a clarification could turn a lot more hearts my way (or at least make a lot more folks inclined to listen to me), said clarification would be the *very first thing* that I addressed — if I hadn’t addressed it already well before the conference. It would not be something that could wait until the second day and be relegated to one of my employees.”

    Although it wasn’t done how you would have personally done it, thanks for your tacit acknowledgment that qualified nuance was provided at the Strange Fire Conference.

    “Perhaps TUAD’s “Accept the nuance” would be better addressed to MacArthur.”

    He did. See Pastor Mike Riccardi’s well-liked comment in #35.

    He wrote: “the entire final chapter of the book, “An Open Letter to My Continuationist Friends,” demonstrates that MacArthur understands the nuances in the Charismatic movement, and that not every individual is as culpable as every other.”

  172. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 9:37 am

    Ralph,

    I’m not CMP (for which I’m sure he’s grateful), but I can easily give you a reason, simply by altering one of your “not this” sentences: “These are nice people who love the Lord.”

    Let’s start by dropping the word “nice”, because there are many who (for some reason) look derisively on being nice. So now we have:

    “These are people who love the Lord.”

    Next alteration is …..

    Oh. Wait. I’m done.

    My point being that you can’t truly love the Lord and do the things that MacArthur is accusing many people of doing. So for those for whom his accusations are wrong (and they aren’t just a “fringe” or “negligible minority”), the revised statement — “These are people who love the Lord” — is really all the reason that you need.

    Jesus plus anything ruins everything.

  173. Your words sound very naive coming to those of us who have been in the charismatic church and have been brought out of it by the Lord. I could write volumes here on the error and blasphemy I witnessed in my 10+ years experience as a charismatic. We had mega preachers as well as small local pastor’s visit our congregation- I was exposed to many people and many personalities. I can summarize my experience very simply. They’re worshipping and serving a counterfeit. He looks like Jesus, sounds like Jesus and smells like Jesus. He’s not Jesus. You shouldn’t base someone’s salvation on how spiritual they ‘seem’ to be, as in the case of your charismatic friend. Buddhists seem to be kinder, more peaceful, more spiritual and grounded in their religion than I often do in mine but are they on the fast track to God’s kingdom (without Christ)? The gospel IS offensive. Truth IS offensive when it steps on our pride. Thank you John MacArthur for not shrinking from an offensive topic. Your words testify truth in my spirit…the one who has had scales fall from her eyes.

  174. If I may add one more comment, I would recommend everyone who is foggy on this topic read a book called The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelson. She does have some interviews on youtube but you must read her book to understand her unique perspective on spiritual counterfeits even within christian churches. What better tool of Satan is there than to infiltrate the church on this scale? Please just step away from both the MacArthur Camp or the Piper Camp- wherever your loyalty lies- and begin to pray to God for HIS truth to be imparted to you. “James 1:5- If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

  175. @Brendt Wayne Waters

    So what? I’m well aware that books are translated but it simply demonstrates a willingness to preach to the world, nothing more. It certainly doesn’t disprove my point. Just visit random evangelical churches in europe or Africa and talk to people, you’ll see that I’m not exaggerating anything, he is a complete unknown to the vast majority of non-anglophones, just like the entire TGC crowd. Trust me, I wish he had more influence.

    Regarding the 99%: how would you know anyway? You live in the US and know only of the US evangelical world, which only represent a portion of the ~500 millions evangelicals. On the global scale, I don’t think that the 99% figure is far-fetched at all unfortunately.

    Anyway, I’ve listened to JM lately and haven’t heard him “lumping in” Piper and the rest, I didn’t even hear him mentioning them, but maybe I missed something? Do you have some sources?

  176. If im not mistaking, on a few of MacArthurs strange fire videos, he said that not all charismatics are bad or lost, that there are some charismatics that are following Christ with a sincere heart (just paraphrasing not quoting). But I do believe in a way he could be a little too harsh when it comes to talking about the charismatics. Ive been a charismatic for over 20 years (even though in 23 years old lol) and im just now seeing that a lot of the things that we do in the charismatic movement aren’t biblical and that we would focus more on our feelings than Gods word! I can say this, I have had some quite edifying experiences in the charismatic churches. Some that I will never forget! And I also know some charismatic preachers that have sound biblical theology. But at the same time, I have watched, seen a lot happen and noticed that most Christians in the charismatic movement are bible illiterate and can easily take the bible out of context. But anyways, with all this said, I believe that Pastor MacArthur could’ve been more gracious when it came to talking about this movement. But at the same time, IN MY OPINION, being apart of that movement for so long, it has led me astray and it needs to be addressed so it wont happen to other believers. BUT IN A MORE LOVING WAY! Love all of your responses though! God bless all of you! Grace and Peace!

  177. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 11:04 am

    TUAD:

    You could take up Frank Turk’s offer to discuss the matter in #30, if you’re serious.

    Oh, puhleeeeze. I am serious, so the last thing that I’ll do is take up Turk’s demand that the conversation be framed in his terms only with no interest in engaging the subject as it already was being discussed.

    Although it wasn’t done how you would have personally done it, thanks for your tacit acknowledgment that qualified nuance was provided at the Strange Fire Conference

    I said the “if it was me” part tongue-in-cheek — it would more accurately read “if it was anybody who actually cared”. The firestorm regarding over-generalization began long before the conference. The open-but-cautious crowd and the reformed charismatics were among the critics of his broad brush. MacArthur had already made it clear that a big part of the “problem” was the “error” of their ways. He alienated these two groups (1) who were very probably the most likely to listen to him, among those who had overall disagreement and — by his own admission — (2) who were key to correcting the problem. And then he did *nothing* to clarify to them the nuances of what he really (allegedly) meant.

    I refuse to believe that both he and his handlers live that far under a rock that they weren’t aware of the situation, so the only other conclusion I can see is that he simply didn’t care that his words/actions had lost him a key demographic and that he’d simply be preaching to the choir. Had he taken just 5 minutes to clarify even a summary of the (alleged) nuance of his argument, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    (continued in next comment)

  178. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 11:04 am

    (part 2 – continued from previous comment)

    And then MacArthur did *nothing* to clarify the nuances of what he really (allegedly) meant during his opening sermon at the conference or before/after any of the other speakers. No, the task of noting nuance fell to Johnson. A few things occur to me:

    (1) Are you familiar with the phrase: “too little, too late”?
    (2) The fact that MacArthur, himself, did not address the issue (during *his* conference on a problem that *he* created) shows his disinterest in the topic.
    (3) Several clarifications/nuances were presented here and elsewhere (including the “clarifying note” by the much-ballyhoo’d Challies), many of which were shown to be wrong, not by someone’s opinion, but by MacArthur’s own words. It is likely that Johnson said what he said unsolicited. So, who’s to say that Johnson’s attempts at clarification weren’t also wrong? It is unlikely that MacArthur would publicly humiliate him by stating that he (Johnson) had over-stepped his bounds.
    (4) And yes, I am (again) acknowledging that nuance was presented at the conference. But with all the caveats that I just noted. And not by the man who created the need for the clarification in the first place.

    See Pastor Mike Riccardi’s well-liked comment in #35.

    The fact that the comment is “well-liked” is beyond irrelevant. Your inclusion of that phrase, however, lends a lot of credence to david carlson’s allegation in #64.

    “the entire final chapter of the book

    Oh, you mean the as-yet-unpublished book that so many of CMP’s detractors said that he should have read before writing the OP, and to which you’re now appealing? That book?

    (continued in next comment)

  179. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 11:05 am

    (part 3 – continued from previous comment)

    “An Open Letter to My Continuationist Friends,” demonstrates that MacArthur understands the nuances in the Charismatic movement, and that not every individual is as culpable as every other.”

    A couple thoughts generated by this (and I’m assuming that Riccardi’s summary/analysis is spot-on, i.e. that MacArthur would say “Yes, that’s what I meant”):
    (1) So MacArthur *has* considered the fact that there is nuance to be delineated here — and so important is this issue, that he dedicated a whole chapter to it? This, more than anything else I’ve seen, is the most damning piece of evidence against the fact that he’s said nothing either before or during the conference about this issue.
    (2) “not every individual is as culpable as every other” implies that *all* to whom this is addressed *are* culpable to some degree. This is merely a kind way of saying “you all stink, but some of you less than others”. But I guess you can’t say “you stink” in a chapter that has “Friends” in the title.

  180. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 11:20 am

    Jonathan, on the contrary, it (very nearly) does disprove your point. You stated that such men have “zero influence” in the non-English speaking world. If only one of those books was ever downloaded and read (which I’d guess is a 99.9999999% certainty or they would’ve stopped bothering well before they reached 25 languages), then your contention is completely wrong.

    The initial references to “fringe” and “negligible minority” were made based on observations limited to the knowledge of the person claiming such things. Such observations are statistically irrelevant and unprovable, and therefore one cannot claim percentages based on them. Your appeal to anecdotal evidence is even more invalid as any kind of measure.

    As to you not hearing the lumping: no, J-Mac has not specifically said the name, “John Piper”. But when you make sweeping statements that say or imply the word “all” regarding a demographic of which Piper is a part, he’s inherently going to get caught in that net.

  181. david carlson 2013-10-18 at 11:26 am

    If Frank Turk wanted an honest discussion, it would be about what this post is about, not his attempt to hijack and distract the conversation.

    This post is about JMac jumping the shark. But having any discussion about JMac is strictly verbotten at the flame boys. Nope, not going to happen. Everyone else can be flamed, but not JMac.

    Now, I get that. TP is Phil Johnsons blog, and JMac is his boss. It makes good sense to just have a zero tolerance policy on the topic.

    But to throw down the gauntlet about what this post is not, well, that is disengenous

  182. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-18 at 11:29 am

    Ralph: “Revisiting the subject through your blog, the comments to the blog and watching the “Strange Fire” conference, I am questioning my “open but cautious” position.

    I want to be “irenic” so I wont list all the reasons for rejecting the “Charismatic” movement. I am looking for one reason to accept it. Just one. One reason that is not: “These are nice people who love the Lord.”

    Admirable. And reasonable.

    Brendt W. Walters: “Let’s start by dropping the word “nice”, because there are many who (for some reason) look derisively on being nice. So now we have:

    “These are people who love the Lord.”

    the revised statement — “These are people who love the Lord” — is really all the reason that you need.”

    Ralph, Mormons are people who love the Lord. Does that mean you have to accept and approve their doctrine and the practices that flow from their doctrine?

    Suggestion: Love the person, and if the person has aberrant doctrine, don’t accept and don’t approve the aberrant doctrine and aberrant practices that flow from that doctrine.

    Jarring as it may seem to some, the Strange Fire Conference is the most loving thing that the organizers can do for those burned by the Strange Fire. Or for those tempted to be burned by the Strange Fire.

  183. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 11:39 am

    TUAD:

    Ralph, Mormons are people who love the Lord.

    I am assuming from the context that you meant to address that statement and its follow-ups to me, not Ralph.

    But if you honestly believe that Mormons truly love the (actual) Lord and not some cosmic energy ball whose brother is Lucifer, then we are at far too great of a disconnect to have meaningful conversation on much finer points like MacArthur’s lack of nuance.

    And if you don’t honestly believe that, then you are grossly misrepresenting me.

  184. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-18 at 11:45 am

    Brendt W. Walters: “I am assuming from the context that you meant to address that statement and its follow-ups to me, not Ralph.”

    Sorry. Wrong assumption.

    Main Points:

    o Suggestion: Love the person, and if the person has aberrant doctrine, don’t accept and don’t approve the aberrant doctrine and aberrant practices that flow from that doctrine.

    o Jarring as it may seem to some, the Strange Fire Conference is the most loving thing that the organizers can do for those burned by the Strange Fire. Or for those tempted to be burned by the Strange Fire.

  185. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 11:49 am

    TUAD, I find it utterly fascinating that when I point out something you said that borders on heresy (no matter who it was addressed to), that you gloss over it and simply repeat the other things you already said.

    Move along, nothing to see here ….

  186. John McArthur is simply doing what Paul and John did in combating the mystics and gnostics of their day. After seeing some of the absolute absurdity of some of the Charismatics
    I believe he and spot on.

  187. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-18 at 12:08 pm

    David Carlson: “If Frank Turk wanted an honest discussion, it would be about what this post is about, not his attempt to hijack and distract the conversation.”

    I didn’t think he was trying to hijack and distract the conversation.

    By the way, have you seen today’s post by Frank Turk: Here.

    Excerpts:

    “Let’s assume for a second (and this is a mightily-generous assumption) that all the US congregations of the AOG, the Apostolic Church, COG and COGIC, International Foursquare, and International Pentecostal Holiness are all wholly and fully inside what someone might call the “cautious Charismatic” camp. That is: let’s say they never have anything happening inside them that looks like barking like a dog, or prayer for healing that looks like a slap fight, or preaching which equates personal prosperity to the objective of the Gospel, and they never have a substantially-false prophecy which harms anyone. According to ARDA, a generous headcount there is 5 million people.

    Globally, TBN reaches 100 million people. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are over 500 million sociologically-Christian people (PEW research says 517 million)– and of that number, 15% self-select as “Pentecostal.” (source: ARDA) That’s 75 million Charismatic adherents who, frankly, are not as cautious as Dr. Brown are. My suggestion here is that it turns out that the cautious fellows have, for so long, merely sighed heavily when someone is exposed as a fraud that now they are in the tiny minority of people in their own theological camp.

    Do read the rest of Mr. Turk’s commentary.

  188. Todd H. McCauley 2013-10-18 at 12:40 pm

    To Micheal and all other critics: After you’ve preached through the ENTIRE NT over a 40 year period in the SAME church, mind you- THEN I MIGHT just give some validity to your critique.
    Are yall seriously ignoring the elephant in the room. The Charismatic movement is FILLED with spiritual potholes that are severely damaging the body of Christ especially the African American community. What may be a “strange fire” in White America is an INFERNO in black America. I just heard a WOMAN on the radio this morning who described herself as an “Apostle”. I heard my Pastor stay this past Sunday that we should “Usher in” the Holy Spirit, and I belong to a Baptist church. Charismatic chaos is infectious. So if JM’s criticism of this bankrupt movement is “losing his voice” then may we all become horse for Jesus. The Charismatic movement has given justification for all manner of unbiblical practice in the local church. Have we become so enamored with tolerance that we have lost our voices (BUT FOR THE WRONG REASONS).

  189. david carlson 2013-10-18 at 1:06 pm

    lol @tuad

    Frank refused to addressed what this post was about, hijacking it for his own hobbyhorse. It is more funny because he is so against that at his own blog. Well, I expect nothing more.

    Again, this post is about JMac jumping the shark. Period. CMP has dozens of posts and podcasts on the subject Frank wants to talk about, none of which Frank has demonstrated any interaction with.

    Why should CMP, or anyone, dance to Franks tune when he has done nothing to interact with CMP on this topic? Honestly, thats just lazy to come to a blog, throw down a gaunlet when you refuse to deal with the ton of material allready there.

  190. I just read Turks writing. The whole thing rests on a fundamental logical flaw. For the sake of argument lets assume that Frank’s numbers are right and something like 80% of those who hold to continuationism/charamaticism are off the deep end heretics (and his math is quite questionable on many fronts). And lets assume that the other 20% who do have right doctrine don’t really say anything about it (which they do – I’ve seen John Piper, among many others, harshly condemn the Prosperity Gospel). How does this give one the right to condemn the entirety?

    Additionally it would seem that the reason that Turk gave for not condemning Luther (namely that he is a Baptist, so by definition he disagrees with Luther on most things) applies equally to those in the charismatic camp. Why don’t you see me constantly condemning Oneness Pentacostals?? While very simply I’m not a Oneness Pentacostal and the denomination I am a part of by definition disagrees with Oneness Pentacostals.

    The kicker for me was this bit.

    “If the faults of Martin Luther raise this question to anyone not Roman Catholic, how can the sewer pipe of faults pouring out literally everywhere even today not require a response which does for it what Lutherans have done for Luther for 5 centuries”

    What makes this amusing was that person he was responding to was asking about Luther to make the point that not all Protestants are required to answer for Luther’s bad beliefs. The fact that Turk appears to take it seriously is hilarious. I literally laughed. Ultimately the exact same reasons that Turk gave for not having to answer for Luther’s wrongs are equally applicable to many in the Charismatic movement. This guy is a tool!!!

  191. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-18 at 1:30 pm

    David Carlson,

    I believe that Frank Turk was attempting to add to the thread conversation, not hijack it.

    But that being said, you are quite right when you wrote: “It is more funny because he is so against that at his own blog.”

    Michael T., was this the part of Frank Turk’s essay that you were laughing at:

    “The problems with Martin Luther’s racism and politically-partisan polemics are well-known, and have been well-dealt with by those who follow his teaching. Because the same can’t be said about the Charismatic movement, and in fact often those who see themselves as apologists for this movement look the other way when the movement is promoting men who are simply frauds and con men, the question of what other should do about Martin Luther is, at best, a distraction from the wolf at the door.”

  192. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 1:33 pm

    It is not surprising to me that Frank Turk would write something to try to minimize that percentage/number of people against whom MacArthur is bearing false witness, as though any number higher than zero is an acceptable level. But, let’s look at the statistics that he cites, shall we?

    Globally, TBN reaches 100 million people.

    BET reaches 91 million people, including me (until just recently when I dumped my cable). But get me on a dance floor, and even Helen Keller will know that I’m the whitest man alive. I can only assume that since Turk never again references this 100 million figure, nor uses it in his calculations, that he recognizes the stunning irrelevance of the figure, and was only using it as a shiny object with shock value.

    In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are over 500 million sociologically-Christian people (PEW research says 517 million)– and of that number, 15% self-select as “Pentecostal.” (source: ARDA)

    The choices among which these people “self-selected” were finite. In the field of statistics, this is known as a discrete variable. No religion (possibly least of all, Christianity) can be defined/measured with any reasonable accuracy with discrete variables (apologies to our friends at PEW). Case in point, my father:

    * His beliefs most closely align with the PCA.
    * But he believes that paedobaptism is wrong.
    * He is a member of a Baptist church and has held many official and unofficial leadership roles in that church.
    * He also confesses to having more than a few drops of Pentecostal blood in his veins.
    * But he doesn’t believe in any manifestation of tongues, not even as a private prayer language.

    So which box does he check?

    See, discrete variables don’t cut it.

    (continued in next comment)

  193. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 1:33 pm

    (continued from previous comment)

    Oh, and reliance on such polls also assumes that the “self-selectors” know what the heck they’re talking about. I note that Turk (rightly) used the term “sociologically-Christian”. A lot of sociological Christians haven’t put their faith in Jesus Christ and therefore (by what I would imagine would be a definition accepted by the large majority here) are not actually Christians. And yet, they’ll check the “Christian” box on that form, simply because they aren’t Jewish, Muslim, or Bill Maher.

    That’s 75 million Charismatic adherents who, frankly, are not as cautious as Dr. Brown are.

    But (to borrow from Frank), “[l]et’s assume for a second (and this is a mightily-generous assumption)” that every last one of those 75 million people is, indeed, Pentecostal.

    For 10 years, I was a Calvinist member of a church (nay, a denomination) that leans heavily Arminian. And you’re going to tell me my belief system based on a checkbox?

  194. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 1:41 pm

    EVERYBODY STOP! WAIT! I’VE FIGURED IT OUT.

    MacArthur’s acknowledgement of the need for nuance is reportedly given (solely, thus far) in the last chapter of his as-yet-unpublished book. Spoilers are generally regarding the end of a book or movie. I bet Harper Collins has told MacArthur not to spoil the book, and that’s why he refuses to acknowledge anything related to nuance now.

    We’ve been punk’d. Good one, John.

    Hopefully, HC won’t take legal action against him for breach of contract simply because one of his employees let the cat out of the bag.

  195. Brendt Wayne Waters,

    Your “re-phrasing” of my question indeed completely changes the meaning of what I wrote. I don’t agree, nor did I say that the people at this conference are bearing false witness. That is your accusation, not mine. As far as I can see they are bearing witness to the fact of the bad teachings that characterize and dominate the charismatic movement. And this is a good thing and I applaud them for it.

    It is also not accurate, as others have pointed out above, to say that MacArthur has not acknowledged a distinction between “wacky” charismatics and the more theologically balanced ones. He has done so, even at this conference. Another example is Phil Johnson, who at this conference is taking to task Reformed Charismatics like Wayne Grudem for their theological errors.

    Michael,
    I fear that your sympathy for certain charismatics who are your friends is overriding your cessationistic conviction. You sometimes speak like a wannabe charismatic. But if indeed you believe certain gifts are no longer valid for today then a massive movement that continually emphasizes these gifts portraying them as essential to the vibrant Christian walk is wrong, leads people down the wrong track and ought to be strongly challenged.

    Personally I think the continuationism present in some leading reformed thinkers is not a good thing– I think it contradicts reformed principles and opens the door to more error. I think that this conference wants in part to make a case for cessationism– therefore it makes sense they did not invite folks who are not cessationists to speak there. Also it does not seem there is a strong track record on the part of the reformed charismatics to actually challenge charismatic abuses.

  196. Yes, at 74 it is doubtful John MacArthur has heard the best arguments of the various charismatics, from cautious-but-open to the whatever-goes group. Yeah, he should have others with whom he disagrees and invite them to speak in his church since that makes all the sense in the world.

    No, actually that would be foolish. He is the shepherd, he guards the flock. He is quite adept at communicating their error. I am sure the charismatics, from soft to hard, are already inviting John MacArthur to their church so he can be the other side of their treatment of the matter….NOT.

    However, don’t worry, the conference left a crack in the door by Phil Johnson to give hugs and kisses to Piper, Grudem, and Storms and those like them from whom Johnson has personally benefited, hence they stay in the circle just with a finger wag.

  197. TUAD,

    The quote you gave from Turk only reinforces the point that Turk simply doesn’t get it. Charismatics are, like Protestants, too diverse to create the duty for one party to harp on another party for their heretical beliefs. I mean seriously tell me what John Piper and Oneness Pentecostals have in common beyond believing that the gifts are for today? Virtually nothing. Why should John have a duty, as a Reformed Baptist, to speak out against Oneness Pentecostals any more than Turk, as a Reformed Baptist, has a duty to speak out against Luther?? What makes this even more amusing is that many of those who Turk is claiming don’t address the excesses in fact have done so on a number of occasions by preaching against things like the Prosperity Gospel, and placing any authority above Scripture. Are they supposed to preach a sermon every Sunday on this same topic in order for MacArthur to be satisfied?? Who made MacArthur Pope??

    Like I said earlier if MacArthur had chosen to do a conference on the beliefs among some charismatics that are heretical no one here would be complaining. The fact that he lumped them all together instead of doing this is what is indefensible and slanderous. Do a conference on the evils of the Prosperity Gospel or the dangers of denying the Trinity!!! No one here is going to take issue with that. He simply didn’t do that and this is what people are taking issue with.

  198. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 2:52 pm

    Missy M, nice to see that you caught the spirit of the conference: dismissive and derisive with just a pinch of smartbutt.

    To borrow from your tone, yeah, that’s going to successfully persuade people to our way of thinking.

  199. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-18 at 2:56 pm

    Michael T.: “Charismatics are, like Protestants, too diverse to create the duty for one party to harp on another party for their heretical beliefs.”

    I appreciate those Christians and those churches and/or denominations who denounce and disavow the KKK who may have done so out of a call of duty to God. Even though they are diverse in theology from the KKK.

    I appreciate those Christians and those churches and/or denominations who denounce and disavow the Westboro Baptist Church who may have done so out of a call of duty to God. Even though they are diverse in theology from the Westboro Baptist Church.

  200. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 3:11 pm

    Alex, you apparently don’t understand the concept of re-phrasing. Just because the factual meaning of your statement didn’t change with new wording (and it didn’t) doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy with it or even acknowledge that what you meant was unaltered.

    I never said that you said that anyone was bearing false witness. But MacArthur is making sweeping over-generalizations. By very definition this means that what he is saying is not true of some people within the demographic he is decrying. Put simply, he’s lying about some people and it’s irrelevant that what he is saying is true about some portion of the demographic — even a 99.99999999999999999999% majority. It’s still a lie (or to put it in high falutin’ language, “bearing false witness”).

    There have been multiple claims that MacArthur has, in this conference, given nods to nuance. Thus far, all of them have simply been someone’s opinion of “what he really meant” and/or interpretations that were proven absolutely false. Does your contention have concrete evidence? If so, I’d love to hear it.

    I, and others, have already addressed the irrelevance of Johnson (or anyone else other than J-Mac) addressing the issue. MacArthur made the mess (read: error, sin, etc), let him clean it up (read: confess).

  201. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-18 at 3:11 pm

    Ralph: “Revisiting the subject through your blog, the comments to the blog and watching the “Strange Fire” conference, I am questioning my “open but cautious” position.

    I want to be “irenic” so I wont list all the reasons for rejecting the “Charismatic” movement. I am looking for one reason to accept it. Just one. One reason that is not: “These are nice people who love the Lord.”

    Keep the word “nice”. It’s irenic.

    Give some consideration to Brenda’s comment in #182:

    “I could write volumes here on the error and blasphemy I witnessed in my 10+ years experience as a charismatic. We had mega preachers as well as small local pastor’s visit our congregation- I was exposed to many people and many personalities. I can summarize my experience very simply. They’re worshipping and serving a counterfeit. He looks like Jesus, sounds like Jesus and smells like Jesus. He’s not Jesus.”

    She concludes with:

    “Thank you John MacArthur for not shrinking from an offensive topic. Your words testify truth in my spirit…the one who has had scales fall from her eyes.”

  202. Brendt

    Your sarcasm in your last few posts and particularly your claim JM punked people and accusation that he breached his contract with HC via his subordinates when you know nothing of the matter, factually, is quite derisive and as you termed it “smartbutt”. Let me guess, rules for thee but not for me is your motto.

    You have been ranting on and on like a high school sophomore who just lost her boyfriend to her best friend. Make a real argument and learn that adults use sarcasm to make points and other adults don’t get offended instead of using it to make false accusations.

    Here is hoping you have enough tissues.

  203. TUAD,

    “I appreciate those Christians and those churches and/or denominations who denounce and disavow the KKK who may have done so out of a call of duty to God. Even though they are diverse in theology from the KKK.

    I appreciate those Christians and those churches and/or denominations who denounce and disavow the Westboro Baptist Church who may have done so out of a call of duty to God. Even though they are diverse in theology from the Westboro Baptist Church.”

    I’m glad YOU appreciate this, but this is quite beside the argument that Turk was making and furthermore, while some churches may vocally condemn this, this does not make it a normative duty to do so in all churches. Every church cannot spend its entire time condemning every false teaching. To some extent you pick and choose based on what you are most confronted with within your church. For instance John Piper spent a lot of time confronting Open Theism because there was another pastor in our Conference who believed this. Additionally in many cases defining the very things that the church is for (e.g. racial reconciliation) will make it clear what they are against (the KKK).

    In any case you are making an argument wholly apart from Turks which was that as a Baptist he doesn’t have a duty to condemn Luther’s bad doctrine since he, by definition, disagrees with Lutherans – the job of taking Luther to task is Lutherans. I’m glad you have your own perspectives, but your view is not what is being discussed in my post (or your other posts for that matter) – it is the content of JMac’s and Turks preaching and writings.

  204. “Your sarcasm in your last few posts and particularly your claim JM punked people and accusation that he breached his contract with HC via his subordinates when you know nothing of the matter, factually, is quite derisive and as you termed it “smartbutt”. Let me guess, rules for thee but not for me is your motto.

    You have been ranting on and on like a high school sophomore who just lost her boyfriend to her best friend. Make a real argument and learn that adults use sarcasm to make points and other adults don’t get offended instead of using it to make false accusations.

    Here is hoping you have enough tissues.”

    Pot meet Kettle……..

  205. Brendt Wayne Waters 2013-10-18 at 3:42 pm

    Missy M, I find it impossible to believe that you don’t know satire when you see it, especially when it is as ridiculous and over-the-top as my “spoilers” analysis. Therefore I can only conclude that you are willfully misrepresenting me.

    And, no, my motto (which doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well) is actually:

    Rules for thee when thy clearly stated purpose from the outset is to win over to thy side those that disagree with thee, but not always for me when I’m simply discussing something.

    The rest of your comment is just an ad hominem attack and completely devoid of substance. As such, it is beneath reponse except to note the incredible irony that it tells me to “[m]ake a real argument”.

  206. Brendt,

    All I know is that I think MacArthur and the folks at the conference are not lying nor bearing false witness because the errors they point out are happening and doing very real damage. My statements have been very clear. If you want to make accusations against him and the conference you have the right to your opinion, but don’t “re-phrase” my own statement in order to tell me or others reading this what my statement supposedly meant.

    The problem I see and agree with MacArthur %100 on is that charismatic theology is running amok in popular Christianity and doing a great deal of damage. The conference by MacArthur addresses this problem, and I have seen evidence that he and others have qualified their presentation and acknowledge that not all charismatics are guilty of the worst excesses.

  207. Truth Unites... and Divides 2013-10-18 at 4:13 pm

    Michael T.,

    Phil Johnson, Frank Turk, et al are wondering or questioning why “careful” continuationists are so passive when it comes to the abuses and excesses in many continuationist churches.

    You argue that “careful” continuationists have no duty or no responsibility to do so. And that’s your excuse for the passivity or silence of many of the “careful” continuationists when it comes to the aberrant doctrine and practices of their fellow continuationists.

    If that’s the case, why then begrudge the faithful Christians who do step up to address the abuses and excesses in many continuationist churches?

  208. TUAD,

    “If that’s the case, why then begrudge the faithful Christians who do step up to address the abuses and excesses in many continuationist churches?”

    Apparently you have short term memory issues but this has been addressed. To quote myself.

    “Like I said earlier if MacArthur had chosen to do a conference on the beliefs among some charismatics that are heretical no one here would be complaining. The fact that he lumped them all together instead of doing this is what is indefensible and slanderous. Do a conference on the evils of the Prosperity Gospel or the dangers of denying the Trinity!!! No one here is going to take issue with that. He simply didn’t do that and this is what people are taking issue with.”

    If someone wants to do a conference on the excesses of certain strains of charismatics and nuance it enough to be clear who they are talking about (e.g. do a conference on the evils of the Prosperity Gospel) then more power to them. MacArthur did not do this and that is the issue. He took them all on. Furthermore to quote myself again….

    “What makes this even more amusing is that many of those who Turk is claiming don’t address the excesses in fact have done so on a number of occasions by preaching against things like the Prosperity Gospel, and placing any authority above Scripture. Are they supposed to preach a sermon every Sunday on this same topic in order for MacArthur to be satisfied?? Who made MacArthur Pope??”

    The idea that cautious charismatics are silent on the excesses of others is a complete myth. MacArthur is basically saying they aren’t loud enough FOR HIM. One must wonder what percentage of sermons a cautious charismatic pastor must devote to exposing the evils of radical charismatics in order to satisfy MacArthur.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Odd Approach of the Strange Fire Conference | The Prodigal Thought - 2013-10-16

    […] Michael Patton of Reclaiming the Mind Ministries (he being a cessationist): Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice […]

  2. The Odd Approach of the Strange Fire Conference | To Be Continued... - 2013-10-16

    […] Michael Patton of Reclaiming the Mind Ministries (he being a cessationist): Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice […]

  3. Cessationism, Charismania and Criticism | Lisa Robinson - 2013-10-16

    […] My heart was a bit heavy as I witnessed the blogosphere light up today over John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference and the broad brush stroke polemics against Charismatics. I appreciated Michael Patton’s thoughts on the subject. […]

  4. Links I like | Blogging Theologically - 2013-10-17

    […] Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice […]

  5. Strange Fire Turns Toward Strained Polemics | Think Theology - 2013-10-17

    […] his forthcoming Strange Fire. In addition to Brown’s final appeal, Michael Patton wrote on why he thinks MacArthur may be losing his voice and provided some extremely helpful reflections on why MacArthur wasn’t being as thoughtful […]

  6. Adding Fuel to the Strange Fire | Thinking Out Loud - 2013-10-18

    […] Also earlier in the week, C. Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen says that with the advance materials promoting the conference, MacArthur “acted very irresponsibly and is doing incredible damage to the body of Christ.” Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice […]

  7. Links & Short Thoughts on Strange Fire - Walking Christian - One Way, One Truth, One Life - 2013-10-18

    […] 4. Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice […]

  8. on the strange fire conference | συνεσταύρωμαι: living the crucified life - 2013-10-18

    […] Michael Patton (a non charismatic) talks about how John MacArthur is “losing his voice.” […]

  9. Fighting Porn; Redefining Sin; Justice Scalia; Deceptive Memorial Services for Soldiers; Obamacare; « ChosenRebel's Blog - 2013-10-18

    […] and the Church Staff  (Stunning to read how big a problem this is nationally.) Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice  (Important article that discusses the attempt by Dr. MacArthur to lump all […]

  10. John MacArthur and hearing the voice of God | Kingdom In The Midst - 2013-10-19

    […] been made in recent days about California pastor John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference. Michael Patton, a MacArthur fan, offers a critique of the conference, the book, and MacArthur’…, so I will […]

  11. Are Pentecostals offering Strange Fire? : The Pneuma Review - 2013-10-21

    […] CREDO HOUSE: WHY JOHN MACARTHUR MAY BE LOSING HIS VOICE […]

  12. Random Thoughts in the Aftermath of Strange Fire | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely... - 2013-10-22

    […] C Michael Patton over at Parchment and Pen (and also Credo House Ministries) has declared that MacArthur is losing his voice among Evangelicals, and has also informed the whole world what someone who’s never been part of the charismatic […]