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John MacArthur on What It Means to Do Greater Works Than Jesus

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 | Comments (10)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).

Many charismatic teachers look to the above verse to validate their teaching. They see it as a proof text for the notion that present-day believers can perform miraculous signs and wonders—even more spectacular than Jesus Himself. Reinhard Bonnke, who claims to have raised the dead, is one prominent charismatic who subscribes to that view, and has even written a book offering his interpretation of what Jesus meant by “greater works.”

But Bonnke’s view not only contradicts church history, it also defies Jesus’ teaching in Scripture. In the following audio clip, John MacArthur explains the true, and far more profound, meaning of John 14:12.

One of the great tragedies of the charismatic movement’s fixation on miracles is that it drags the focus away from biblical priorities. Rather than bring the life-transforming power of Scripture to bear on a lost and dying world, too many charismatics long for God’s power to manifest itself in and through their own experiences.

The Strange Fire conference will be a much-needed biblical response to the wildly unbiblical ideas formed from subjective experience. For more information about Strange Fire, please visit the conference website.

GTY Staff


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#2  Posted by Ken Laws  |  Tuesday, August 13, 2013at 5:56 PM

Thank you John for unveiling this false teaching at a time when it permeates the air waves and our local communities. This teaching has a tremendous following and one that is not easily broken and only by the authentic work of the Holy Spirit will hearts and minds be changed.

#3  Posted by Gary & Denise Getman  |  Thursday, August 15, 2013at 7:47 AM

May God bless the Strange Fire Conference, it's leaders and attendees. May the truths expressed there be passed on to darkened hearts to the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

#4  Posted by Nigel Lloyd-jones  |  Thursday, August 15, 2013at 9:23 PM

I was "born" into a signs and wonders Pentecostal Church, but by the Grace of God, he led me to the truth. This conference is sooo important and I encourage all who have Pentecostal Christian friends, to bring them along!

Personally, I found the signs and wonders very exciting, only instead of leading me to a solid foundation of truth, it resulted in searching for the next dramatic "miracle".

It reminded me of a child when you bring home a new toy. As soon as he sees the new toy, he drops the old one and it is soon forgotten. The trouble is, the "old toy" that I dropped was the love for Gods Word that was so strong when I was first saved. Let no one fool you, it's deception of the worst kind, and what's worse is, that Mr Bonkke probably really believes that he raised someone from the dead. They all lie so convincingly, that they actually start to believe it themselves!! God bless you for hosting such an important event.

#5  Posted by Bongani Mkhabela  |  Friday, August 16, 2013at 4:58 AM

I so wish I was in the States to attend such an important Conference. Any one who loves the Lord Jesus Christ will be privilleged to be there.

Thank you Pastor John and all the speakers in the Strange Fire conference, I pray that God will bless you and help you to bring the truth that we desparately need concerning this deceptive gospel which is no gospel at all.

#6  Posted by Bongani Mkhabela  |  Friday, August 16, 2013at 5:04 AM

Great conference to attend. Pity I am in South Africa, where this false teaching is so rife. Please Pastor McArthur and the team leave no stone unturned. God bless you all.

#7  Posted by David Phelps  |  Friday, August 16, 2013at 11:29 PM

I am often reminded of two passages of scripture when I watch the strange fire conflagration on satellite TV:

1) Jesus sent out the 70 (they weren't prosperous since they weren't even supposed to take essentials!). He told them to raise the dead, heal the sick etc since they had "freely received and now should freely give". Upon returning Jesus was full of "attaboys" saying, " I saw satan falling as lightening from heaven", but then said " nevertheless, rejoice not in this but that 'YOUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN". Just like satan to sidetrack folks with a dog and pony show that is more fun than sacrificial discipleship to fish for men.

2) Cannot help but remembering Jesus....not in a sold out auditorium for personal notoriety but after having performed jaw-dropping genuine miracles didn't draw attention to self but, on the contrary, said, "See that you don't tell anybody about this." Then they went out and blabbed it everywhere like anybody would do.

NOTE: His genuine, quiet mostly, compassionate ministry shook his world....so did the WORD which he wielded often and skillfully. " A sinful and adulterous generation seeks after a sign"!!

#8  Posted by Roger Anderson  |  Saturday, August 17, 2013at 7:06 AM

More than 30 years of my life in Christ as a Pentecostal. God has always remained faithful. Thank you John for this insight that I have experienced subjectively to be true. As well as having the objective witness of scripture and history on the matter. Of all the denominations of Christiandom the charismatic groups have in my experience been the least biblically literate. Focusing on a subjective life in the Spirit they have lost sight of the Biblical big picture and subjected themselves unknowingly to a compartmentalized teaching that can lose sight of the purpose of the Christ revealed in the Good News.

#9  Posted by Laura Young  |  Saturday, August 17, 2013at 9:00 AM

I would also like to thank John MacArthur for the sermons, articles and teachings that he shares with so many on this subject. Wish we would have known about the Strange Fire conference early enough to attend. We have learned so much watching your program and reading your website - if there is another conference in the future, we will definitely be there.

I just wanted to say that not all Pentecostal churches do the "signs and wonders" as mentioned earlier. My husband grew up in the Pentecostal church and we currently go to a Pentecostal church where none of these things occur. I am happy to say that the charismatic movement has not touched all Pentecostal churches, just as that purpose-driven nonsense hasn't infected all the other denominations.

The point is - I just wanted to make sure people didn't paint the entire Pentecostal denomination with the same broad brush. I've been going to my current church for nearly three years and I've never seen any behavior remotely like what I've seen in the charismatic churches or have read about online.

#10  Posted by Jennifer Mcfarland  |  Sunday, August 18, 2013at 10:48 AM

I'm so happy that you are able to hold this conference and that you have been so faithful in refuting the claims made by the charismatic churches. I am one of those who came from such a group and now see how awful it really was and stand with you, making sure people I know who were there in that church understand how wrong it is. One of the claims made (just want to mention it) was that God has a perfect will and a permissive will. I have seen nothing in the Bible that describes two wills of God. I believe He has one will - that's it. Isn't this the truth - that God has only one will and it's perfect as it is? God bless you in this project and may the love of Christ and the REAL power of the Holy Spirit be there with you.

#11  Posted by Roger Anderson  |  Monday, August 19, 2013at 4:35 PM

Permissive will doctrine isn't limited to charasmatics. it's found in many denominations that aren't charismatic. And some charasmatics deny it altogether.