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John MacArthur on Blessings, Truth, and Charismatic Error

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

“Thou shalt not criticize” has effectively become the eleventh commandment of the modern church. Sadly, the allegiance of many charismatic leaders to that mindset has created a climate where false teaching thrives.

Thankfully, there are also those who understand the biblical mandate to expose error for the sake of defending truth (Romans 16:17).

We don’t doubt there are faithful gospel preachers in the charismatic movement—men who see people coming to genuine saving faith through their consistent preaching of God’s Word. But tragically, many of those men undermine the very gospel they preach by ignoring, or accommodating, the heretics in their movement who claim to speak for God.

For that reason, the Strange Fire conference will provide a service to the charismatic community by addressing its need for biblical discernment—a need made desperate by the silence of its own leaders.

For more information about Strange Fire, please visit the conference website.

GTY Staff


#1  Posted by Quintin Abrams  |  Tuesday, August 20, 2013at 5:04 AM

I am delighted that finally truth is taking a greater stand. John is right, there are too many sincere believers caught in the vortex of error that do not even know it. To them ( and I was one) the charismatic error was normal. How refreshing to hear truth preached, and as Gods word says, you know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

I am also gutted I wont be able to attend, but hopefully this conference could be repeated in the UK, never the less, I have pre-ordered my kindle version of Johns book Strange Fire.

We are, as believers, responsible to do our own due diligence in the word of God, and I believe firmly that this is where I fell down when embracing strange teachings. Praise God, I have the chance in this life to get to grips with truth and live in obedience to what the word says. May God bless John MacArthur and all involved in the conference, I shall be praying for it and the freedom of many.

#2  Posted by Gina Pennington  |  Tuesday, August 20, 2013at 12:16 PM

I am so thankful for John's teaching on this subject. I was actually accepted Christ as my savior in a Apostolic Church. I attended for about a year, spreading their theology to family. Many accepted this theology and are now so into it I can not do anything to change their beliefs. This was in 1995, and after much study of scripture I knew the doctrines were so wrong, but those who want the thrill of the services instead of the truth of God are hooked like it is a drug. I have spoke in tongues one time, by the way, and I know it is not a language of any sort. The only way I can explain it is that there is a total letting go of thought, just not thinking, then opening your mouth and babbling like a baby. I have since actually thought there was some demonic influence involved.

I have never doubted my salvation, yet I know their teachings are not biblical. I also know those in the movement are so indoctrinated that they believe they will go to hell if they don't continue to practice. I have a cousin who has been told she is not saved because she has never spoke in tongues. I have another, who refuses to go to any type of church if she can not speak in tongues and dance and run the isles if "the spirit comes upon her". Though she does not attend any church at all, and says she will just worship at home! She is into the experience, but does not want to follow the strict doctrines of the Apostolic beliefs. I know from personal experience that studying on your own is not encouraged, and as John has said they are very aggressive in their defense of their beliefs and if any is questioned the same scripture is quoted, out of context.

I so wish I could attend the conference, but because of my financial situation it is impossible. I do hope to be able to purchase the book. I am currently studying John's commentary on 1st Corinthians, hoping to be more knowledgeable when the opportunity arises again to show them the truth.

It makes me so sad that so many are missing out on the true joy of the Christian life, held in bondage by this apostasy, and missing out on what Holy Spirit has for every Christian. God Bless you John Macarthur!

#3  Posted by Daniel Wilson  |  Tuesday, August 20, 2013at 12:21 PM

If one adds to the commandments, then the bible is false... Run from such men whom falsely preaches their own gospel....

#4  Posted by Joyce Atela  |  Tuesday, August 20, 2013at 6:56 PM

I study by myself with John's books & tapes. I pass them on to family & friends, that's my ministry. There is not one church in my area that teaches the whole truth. I've been to two charismatic churches & ran fast out of them. Then I went to two different Bible churches & they were constantly bickering with each other & taking sides etc. I keep waiting for one of John's churches to come to my area. The closest one is a 3 hour drive away in New Jersey. I do feel so much closer to God with learning the truth. It's like my brain is finally understanding the Bible. I remember it & think of it all the time. Even the nicest preachers on TV that I use to watch aren't 100% teaching the truth. It's sad. I hope they are not lost altogether. Well, I hope a church comes to my area. Meanwhile John's tapes are keeping me going until Jesus comes.

#5  Posted by Rose Michels  |  Tuesday, August 20, 2013at 8:23 PM

I'd like to make a comment but it will be in the format of a question. Your Video, Brother John, says that those 'in error' are cut off from God's blessings. How would one explain, then, how false teachers in mega church/audiences (men and women) outwardly look so very blessed by the Lord? From an apologetic standpoint, how might I refute it using the logic you explain about being cut off from God's blessing as 'others' will see ministries as blessed? I hope that was a clear question.

#6  Posted by Brad Kennedy  |  Wednesday, August 21, 2013at 10:38 AM

Rose (5),

Time and truth go hand in hand. Given enough time, the truth will manifest itself. "There is nothing hidden that will not be exposed." Those who see such 'movements' as blessed need the gospel, the truth that leads to all blessings from God, wether those blessings come in the form of trials, sufferings, or persecution. Or do you suppose they prefer to be cut-off from true blessing in exchange for indulged appetites and temporal slap happy satanic delusions disguised as blessing? I hope not. Such 'blessings' fatten one up for the day of slaughter and it is not God's will that any man perish.

2 Peter 3:16,17 warns of those who are untaught and ustable, distorting Scripture leading to their own destruction, and warns us not to be carried away by the errors of such unprincipled men-causing us to fall away from our steadfastness.

A blessing that is not cut off from God is to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." v.18. To Him be the glory!

#7  Posted by Andrew Pegman  |  Wednesday, August 21, 2013at 7:54 PM

I don't believe that there are any 'faithful' Christian leaders in the Charismatic movement. How can there be when their key teachings endorse a false Christology, aberrant soteriology, and indulgence in the occult (e.g. ecstatic 'tongues')? These so-called faithful leaders will never denounce their divisive false teaching on the so-called 'baptism of the Holy Spirit' or their pagan ecstatic speech, for example. There is also no such thing as an excess of Charismaticism versus an acceptable amount...it is all bad! If they truly had the Holy Spirit, they would be lead into truth and would leave the movement. It's a waste of time confronting these guys on their 'theology' because they are really just non-Christian pagans. It would be better to preach the actual gospel to them! :-)

#8  Posted by Rose Michels  |  Friday, August 23, 2013at 8:45 PM

I very much agree with your reply, Brad, especially that they need the Gospel so very much. I find it so hard to reach those steeped in the WoF, Prosperity, Charismatic 'gospel' though. I'm not sure where I'm lacking but I can't seem to find the words needed that will be accepted. They turn so angry and 'dare I say' ugly at the first sign of one disagreeing. I'm anxious to learn, via the outcome of the upcoming conference, ways in which the lay person must go about witnessing to those in need of truth. For now, I pray God softens the heart of these deceived to hear His words of truth.

#9  Posted by Brad Kennedy  |  Monday, August 26, 2013at 7:35 AM

Indeed Rose (8), there is nothing new under the sun. I stand together with you in the spirit of Ephesians 1:15-21.

#10  Posted by Regina Pennington  |  Monday, August 26, 2013at 9:15 PM

Rose, I know exactly what you mean. As I said I have close family involved in this apostate religion, and I get the same anger. That is one reason I feel it has satanic undertones. Children of God do not have that kind of anger. I do know from experience that there are only a few scriptures that must be clarified to them. Mostly 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Acts 2-4. But prayer is the best thing we can do, because until God opens their ears, they will not hear.

They also often quote things that a preacher said that is not biblical, but can not show you the scripture. At least I face that. I get an angry response of "I don't know where it is but it is in there". Individual study is not encouraged, and they are very lacking in biblical knowledge.

It is also very attractive. If you can have enough faith you will be healed, rich, powerful and righteous. I hope we all learn enough from John's ministry to break the bonds that hold our loved ones.

#11  Posted by Sean Lov  |  Monday, August 26, 2013at 11:11 PM

Reply to #5,

I TESTED NOTHING: I grew up in the Pentecostal/Charismatic church since I was a child. Everything taught from the pulpit, in Christian books, or Christian TV, I accepted & believed.

THEY WARNED US: I remember many times these Charismatic pastors warning us about other Christians who don’t believe in the charismatic gifts, or the power of the Holy Spirit, etc. So when I was older and I first heard John MacArthur preaching I immediately rejected what he was saying, identifying him as one of those Christians I had been warned about.

GOD’S MERCY ENDURES FOREVER: I'm now over 40 yrs old, and until a few years ago I never tested anything. It wasn't until the Holy Spirit awoken in me that the pastor’s teachings in the Charismatic church I was an usher in, didn’t sound right, that for the first time I searched the Scriptures. I thank God my wife also stirred me up that things being practiced were not Biblical. The Holy Spirit led me to Scripture verses clearly showing the pastor’s teachings were wrong. I finally questioned the pastor about it, and showed the Scripture verses. He told me we’re no longer welcome and needed to leave. That was very difficult at the time, but in retrospect it’s only because of God’s incredible loving mercy, that the pastor kicked us out. If God did not let the pastor do that, I likely would have stayed in deception with my family under that false teaching.

GOD’S TRUTH: Now the past few years my family and I have been blessed to be in a church that teaches God’s truth, and we practice testing all things.

IT’S ONLY BECAUSE OF GOD: It’s clear it was not my doing that led me out of that strong false teaching/bondage. It was only God’s mercy and working of the Holy Spirit through His Word.

HOW TO HELP OTHERS: During my false beliefs no one could have convinced me using arguments that it was false teaching because I had already been warned to watch out for Christians who don’t believe in the Charismatic gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit. So instead I suggest encouraging them to: (1) Do what the Bible commands us to do: 1 Thess 5:21, 22; (2) Show why we’re commanded to test everything: Jer 14:14; Mt 7:15; 2 Pet 2:1; Jude 1:4; Gal 2:4; Mk 13:22; Col 2:4; 2 Cor 11:13-15; (3) Show them they’re responsible to ensure they’re not being deceived: Mt 24:4; Mk 13:5; 2 Thess 2:3; Jer 29:8; Eph 5:6,7; Rev 2:2; (4) They cannot just believe a pastor because they’re popular: Jer 5:31; Is 30:10; Jer 29:8; 2 Tim 4:3; Lam 2:14; Jer 6:14,8:11,23:17; Ez 13:10; (5) Show them God’s warnings for not testing all things: Jer 29:31; 1 Tim 4:1; Rom 16:18; 2 Tim 2:17,18,4:4; 2 Thess 2:11; 2 Pet 2:3,17; Jer 27:10,15

Again freedom from false teaching can only truly come from the Holy Spirit through God’s Word. God can use you to pray and encourage them to open their Bible, and likely the first time, be like the Bereans to truly test everything. John 8:32

#12  Posted by Brad Kennedy  |  Tuesday, August 27, 2013at 4:37 PM

Amen #11! I encourage you, Rose M., and all whose eyes are focused here (if you haven't already) to download Pastor John's radio broadcast for today, August 27, 2013 entitled "The Fiery Trial, Part 1" I just listened to it and read your post. Hallelujah! The Holy Spirit, at this very moment, is making us lie down in green pastures, leading us beside quiet waters, restoring our souls, guiding us into paths of righteousness for His names sake.....Hallelujah!

#13  Posted by Rose Michels  |  Wednesday, August 28, 2013at 9:14 AM

Thank you one and all for your kind and helpful feedback to the question I posted. Brad ... now off to go hear the message you suggested. Thank you. I must say that I am so glad that there are indeed so many brothers and sisters in the Lord praying about this very issue at such a critical time.