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John MacArthur Answers His Critics, Part 2

Monday, November 11, 2013 | Comments (13)

Today, part two of John MacArthur’s interview on the criticism of Strange Fire was posted at Tim Challies’s website. In the interview, John responds to more questions regarding the recent conference and the Strange Fire book—all of which came directly from readers of Challies’s blog.

Here’s a quick summary of the issues tackled in part two:

  • Why pick a fight with well-respected, godly theologians who hold continuationist views? Does such a fight threaten the church? Why this issue, and why now?
  • What do you make of the stories of Muslims in closed countries having visions of Jesus that lead them to gospel preaching and saving faith?
  • What would you say to a close friend who regularly prays in tongues?
  • Would you be more comfortable with people who practice the gifts of the Spirit if they were practiced solely according to Scripture?
  • The Strange Fire conference frequently focused on the worst charlatans and the most egregious examples. Would there be some value in a conference that focused on some of the best continuationists and charismatics?

 You can read the interview here. And in case you missed it, you can read part one here.

 GTY Staff


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#1  Posted by Bongani Mkhabela  |  Tuesday, November 12, 2013at 2:29 AM

Ever since the Strange Fire started and long since its gone, I have read many blogs and articles in relation to it, I am still waiting for someone opposing JM's views and those of other speakers appealing to scriptures. No one...... its all about experience, experience, experience! No one says 'I disagree with JM because the bible says...'

I am realy greatful to you Pastor John for your bold stand on this subject. Few will heed the warning about the Charismatic movement.

I echo your sentiment, that this conference's purpose was appeal to those who are truly saved to 'come out among them my people.'

By the way I was able to download all of the messages of the conference.

They are life changing.

#2  Posted by Timothy Albert  |  Tuesday, November 12, 2013at 1:13 PM

You might find this debate helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFpqVPhWt2Y

Michael Brown vs Sam Waldron with James White Moderating

#3  Posted by Mark Rayner  |  Tuesday, November 12, 2013at 5:53 PM

God revealed the truth to me in 1999 through John's book called "Charismatic Chaos." At the time I was attending a Pentecostal church, following and doing the things they did, i.e. speaking in tongues, being slayed in the spirit, etc. I always believed deep in my spirit that something was not right. I was determined to study God's word to find out just what He expected from His church. I now know that He wanted me to see what was going on in there that was wrong. What I have asked many Charismatics since then is, if there came into the church an unsaved man sitting in the back pew, would he come to Jesus by your actions? Most of the time, they cannot answer. When they try to defend their actions, I say, well, if the man runs away because he thinks you are barbarick, is this the Holy Spirit running him out? That usually makes them think. I thank God for John MacArthur. I pray for Israel first and foremost, and then John MacArthur secondly. I am doing my best, not only to lead people to Jesus, but to lead them to John. It is a matter of life and eternal death. Stand with me?

#4  Posted by Clive Mekhoe  |  Wednesday, November 13, 2013at 3:49 AM

The truth has always been fought against and generally speaking people prefer to hide the truth and rather live in a lie. I'm glad that the error is confronted because there's nothing worse than going to hell thinking you're going to heaven. Because once Christ appears there's no turning back

#5  Posted by Aaron Nakashima  |  Wednesday, November 13, 2013at 10:38 AM

My wife and I was blessed to be able to attend the Strange Fire Conference last month at Grace Community Church. I have never been to a place where the love for God's Word was so eminent! The truth in God's Word was displayed in each person's life. Love ,joy peace,patience,kindness,goodness,gentleness,faithfulness and self control.

The conference was not about dividing the Church of Christ, it is at best, the love for those that may be deceived, and heading the wrong way. If you feel comfortable and secure in what you believe, then you should not care what anyone says about your faith. But if you feel uneasy and upset...check out what the scriptures reveal, listen to what these real men of God have to say. God bless!

#6  Posted by William Austin  |  Thursday, November 14, 2013at 8:42 AM

By William Austin Nov 14th:

I would first like to say that I agree with most of Dr. MacArthur's calling out the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements false teachings and activities. It has always bothered me how the practice of certain spiritual gifts does not line up with true scriptural practice and guidance. Nevertheless, even though there is a preponderance of false teaching and practice, I would not say that these gifts have totally ceased. 1 Cor 12 discusses the different gifts and then states in verse 11 "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills." God wills these gifts and not man. Even though we now have a sea of false teachers/prophets trying to make spiritual manifestations happen doesn't mean gifts are totally gone but I would agree that we really don't see the genuine article today and if it is happening, it is truly obscured by much of the false teachings and charlatans.

Nevertheless, Paul states in Chapter 12, "28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best[d] gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way." This is not in the past tense and we are told to desire the best gifts but again it is up to the Holy Spirit (v.11) to determine which ones, if any, we are gifted with. Paul teaches in the next chapter that love is the greatest gift and it has definitely not ceased. Manifesting certain gifts (healings, miracles, tongues, etc.) are NOT the main focus in how to serve God; bringing souls to repent and place their faith Jesus Christ should be our focus. Many people see and still do not believe and Jesus stated that fact himself in the gospels when He stated they had Moses and the Prophets and still did not believe.

Chapter 14 goes into further detail and in the present tense Paul gives instructions for the proper application of the gifts, especially tongues and prophesying, and states they are commandments from the Lord. He speaks as though he expects these activities to occur and thus states "39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order." He expected revelation to occur but from other scriptures we know that any revelation must line up with the Word of God and Paul even states "31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."

I humbly believe that we should not preach cessation but preach/teach the proper use of gifts.

#9  Posted by Michael Reynolds  |  Thursday, November 14, 2013at 12:27 PM

to #1 Bonagi

It's not about what the bible say's but about what the bible doesnt say. No where in the New Testament does it say that the gifts will stop before the millenium. You can't show me one scripture that the gifts will stop after the apostels die . Not one!!!

However what strange fire is doing is causing me to search the scriptures more and examine what i'm believing and my life. I like the way he is challenging us.

Keep up the good preaching John M

#10  Posted by Esteban Hernandez  |  Thursday, November 14, 2013at 7:18 PM

Thank you for preaching the Bible!

#12  Posted by Manuel De La Rosa  |  Friday, November 15, 2013at 2:05 PM

I'm really blessed because of the opportunity to listen to John's teachings in Colombia, South America, where we are flooded with those type of congregations. Everything is about experiences, feelings, miracles, talking in tongues, etc. It's very difficult to find a sound doctrine, biblically guided church. It seems everyone is trying to put up a show instead of preaching the Word of God.

I am fortunate to be able to access JM radio, videos, books, and podcasts and try to convince other Christian friends who speak English, to listen to his preaching.

God bless JM and his ministry.

As a journalist I can relate that everything is about the truth. In this case, The Truth.

Thank you for exposing the Truth!

#13  Posted by Robert Foertsch  |  Sunday, November 17, 2013at 1:39 PM

I'm reading "Strange Fire" again and have seen the conference several times. It seem obvious to me that many of the critics haven't studied the material, have contempt prior to investigation or a made up mind! Would Grace To You prayerfully consider utilizing GTY resources to develop a global network of home fellowship groups for True Believers? Peace

#14  Posted by Manuel De La Rosa  |  Monday, November 18, 2013at 11:48 AM

I have been watching the videos from the Strange Fire Conference and am very grateful with all the speakers for such an excellent job in presenting the Truth, with the Bible support every comment requires. This is real Bible teaching and the exposition of God´s Word as He intends it to be.

It´s not supposed to be a freak show, or who draws larger crowds, or where is the best music. For that you can watch reality tv shows, circus, NFL games or rock concerts.

It´s ALL about God´s Word, the Truth and our salvation. Period!

I can truly appreciate the hard work behind a real, faithful Bible teaching sermon like the ones John MacArthur gives week after week. There´s a lot o study and investigation and God will reward those loyal teachers and pastors who live for their flock´s sake.

I also want you t know that your flock is not limited to Grace Community Church in California, but around the world where we can listen and watch your teachings and read your books.

Thank you for being "God´s good and loyal servants".

God bless you all!!

Manuel De la Rosa

Barranquilla, Colombia

South America

#15  Posted by Scott Campbell  |  Tuesday, November 19, 2013at 7:08 AM

Thanks for posting the blog. Some great follow-up Q&A to continue the discussion on this very important issue.

#16  Posted by Roddy Macleod  |  Tuesday, November 26, 2013at 11:34 AM

Hi John,

I wanted to say how much I enjoy your book "The Gospel According to Jesus." Some time ago I felt the need to write a book on this topic of true Christianity as there seems to be so many and increasingly more people deluding themselves that they are Christian at all, their lifestyle betraying them. I then read your book which is far better than anything I could write and really answered this crucial topic well. Thank you for the book!

On another topic I was listening to "The Holy Spirit as Illuminator" a sermon on GTY and found it strange that you dismiss, totally, things like dreams and visions of Jesus in this age. I was wondering then if say in Iran a Muslim man has a dream about Jesus and is wonderfully transformed into a Christian at the cost of losing his family and everything he has, even his life, would u then say he is not really a Christian?

Would u dismiss someone who says they experienced God in a supernatural way resulting in a changed life that conforms to the Bible and would be able to put his amen to your book on Christian living " The Gospel According to Jesus? "

Regards Roddy