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John MacArthur on the Deafening Silence of Evangelicals

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 | Comments (4)

There is a widespread reluctance in the evangelical community to offer strong, biblical critique in response to theological error. And the glut of unrestrained charismatic teaching serves as a glaring example of that.

Theological pacifism has inadvertently given license to many false teachers. They have free reign to misrepresent the Holy Spirit and mislead the people of God by proclaiming their imaginings as direct revelation from the Lord. Believers cannot sit and watch as such blasphemy poisons the minds of people looking for the truth.

In the following video clip, John MacArthur challenges the silence of evangelicals toward errant teaching about the Spirit, and exposes what he believes is the driving force behind it.

False teaching always flourishes where there is little accountability and poor discernment. The Strange Fire conference is intended to fill the void of silence that has been created by passive and undiscerning Christians. For more information, please visit our conference website

GTY Staff


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#1  Posted by John Gerald C. Gomez  |  Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Its true regarding these Charismatic Christians, they do have their own type of strangeness under which the Holy Spirit is misleading and strange fire comes out, yes it is disturbingly shown. We need more understanding on sound doctrine, not to give in to spiritualism their own brand of feeling puff up emotions etc.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.

True worship must be in the proper way of worship not to give into emotional experience that are stranger than fiction. God Bless

#4  Posted by Sean Lov  |  Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 9:35 PM

John 10:11-13

The reason pastors do not speak out about false teachings, false signs, and false wonders is because they themselves are either (1) false teachers or (2) they prove themselves to be just hirelings.

A true pastor, a true shepherd, protects the sheep God has entrusted to him.

John 21:16-17

The shepherding of the sheep is an essential, necessary and integral portion of every pastor's care. When assailed by the wolf of heresy, by the hostile marauder, by new conditions of any kind, by special danger, unless he can in self-forgetting love pilot and protect his flock, he is no true shepherd. – Pulpit Commentary

1 Peter 5:1-4; Jude 1:3; Titus 1:13

Some excerpts from John MacArthur’s message about this, “The Good Shepherd, Part 2” January 24, 1971:

Now you see how Jesus...this is so powerful. Here are all these, you know, religious mucky-mucks from Israel standing there listening to Jesus. And now He hits them right between the eyes again and says, "You care nothing about the sheep, you are hirelings, you are religious mercenaries in it for the money and the prestige. And when any trouble comes you bail out and the sheep get ruined, scattered, crippled and devoured." In fact, they were even earlier called those who destroyed the sheep. But here he calls these false leaders mercenaries or hirelings. They work for the job, they don't care about the sheep, they only want the money. They have no love for the sheep, only love for the pay. And when the wolves attack the flock, the hireling forgot everything but the saving of his own hide and took off.

Lest you think that the only hirelings are in Israel, they're not. We've got them all over the place. Paid professionals, ministering in the name of Jesus Christ. May I say that we have hireling teachers, we have hireling preachers and we have hireling pastors. We have hirelings in every dimension of Christian service who want only their money and could care less about the sheep.

We're trying to run right down the middle, and watch out for the stuff from the outside and the problems on the inside. And the inside danger is the greatest, obviously, because if there's a strong faithful shepherd, right, if there's a strong faithful shepherd, then he's going to defend the flock from attacks from the outside, right? But if you've got a hireling, not only is he propagating error, but at the same time he is totally incapacitated to defend them from the outside attack. So you've got total destruction and chaos and everything is a disaster.

So the church's first essential is Christ-like leadership which cares for the sheep to the extent of risking its own neck. All right, so we see that the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep, pays the price. And the right kind of under shepherd hangs in there with the sheep and defends the sheep.

#5  Posted by Robin Lane  |  Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 4:11 AM

One reason for this silence may be that many evangelicals do not agree with the Cessationist view on the gifts of the Spirit. Thus, while they do not approve of behaviour that is clearly out of line with the Scriptures, they find it difficult to support a conference like this one.

To give an example, we have debated elsewhere in this blog some differences in interpretation of the Scriptures, including 1 Corinthians 13:10. Many Cessationists say that they are ‘reformed’ in their theology and claim that this verse refers to the completion of the New Testament. Yet that was not John Calvin’s view. He wrote:

‘But when will that perfection come? It begins, indeed, at death, for then we put off, along with the body, many infirmities; but it will not be completely manifested until the day of judgment, as we shall hear presently.’ (John Calvin, Commentary on Corinthians, Volume 1, page 361).

#6  Posted by Charles Williamson  |  Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 1:29 PM

The deafening silence of the evangelical community to offer strong, biblical critique in response to charismatic theological error could be because of the confession as to what an evangelical is?

The National Association of Evangelicals: Their definition of what a evangelical is…

“Evangelicals take the Bible seriously and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

The term "evangelical" comes from the Greek word euangelion, meaning "the good news" or the "gospel." Thus, the evangelical faith focuses on the "good news" of salvation brought to sinners by Jesus Christ.

We are a vibrant and diverse group, including believers found in many churches, denominations and nations. Our community brings together Reformed, Holiness, Anabaptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic and other traditions. Our core theological convictions provide unity in the midst of our diversity. The NAE Statement of Faith offers a standard for these evangelical convictions.

Historian David Bebbington also provides a helpful summary of evangelical distinctives, identifying four primary characteristics of evangelicalism:

•Conversionism: the belief that lives need to be transformed through a "born-again" experience and a life long process of following Jesus.

•Activism: the expression and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts

•Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority

•Crucicentrism: a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as making possible the redemption of humanity

These distinctives and theological convictions define us, not political, social, or cultural trends. In fact, many evangelicals rarely use the term "evangelical" to describe themselves, focusing simply on the core convictions of the triune God, the Bible, faith, Jesus, salvation, evangelism, and discipleship.

For further study:

Wheaton College Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals

An Evangelical Manifesto

David W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989)

Mark A. Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2003).”

If we encourage this association to critique the content of their website, would that fill the void of silence that has been created by passive and undiscerning Christians? Would people as a result changed in their beliefs from following errant teaching about the Spirit? Could it be they’re too busy going to college and seminaries trying to learn how to take the Gospel to the world?

Why don’t we just obey the commission and go! Make, baptize, teach disciples, proclaim the gospel, set them free. Be his witnesses, depending on the Holy Spirit to satisfy the hunger of life.

If we don’t obey then they languishing.