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A Jet Tour Through the New Testament
Strange Fire
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Like the sons of Aaron, many in the church today have put themselves in the path of God’s judgment and wrath through careless, unbiblical worship. In particular, the Person and work of the Holy Spirit is the subject of many deceptive lies, distorted ideas, and damning errors. And the evangelical church has been silent or indifferent on these matters for far too long.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
In preparation for the Strange Fire conference in October, we will post a new Strange Fire media blog every week. You can always catch up with the latest audio and video clips at the conference media site.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Registration for the Strange Fire conference is filling up fast, and we wanted to remind you that the early-bird pricing window closes at the end of the month. There are only a few hundred seats remaining and we don’t want you or your friends and family to miss this great opportunity.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The highlight of the Strange Fire conference is going to be the opportunity to hear from several different godly preachers who come from a variety of settings, all united by their love of the Lord and their conviction to faithfully teach His truth.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The issue of false teaching and the question of how to address it is a present reality for every believer. Many Christians choose to respond with silence rather than incur the wrath of a world that demands tolerance. But is silence the best reaction to doctrinal error?
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
How dangerous would it be to leave the spiritual operations of Christ’s church to the opinions, feelings, and personal preferences of its leaders? Can you imagine the uncertainty and instability of not having an ultimate standard of authority on all matters of faith and practice?
Monday, May 20, 2013
John MacArthur knows there are those in charismatic and Pentecostal churches who love Christ, serve His people, and—like John—are disturbed by the sinful excesses they see dominating the charismatic movement. In the following video, John has a heartfelt message for those folks.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Strange Fire conference represents a thorough, biblical response to the errors and excesses of the charismatic movement. It will be comprehensive both in its scope of content and breadth of teaching. On that note today we wanted to let you hear from another of our keynote speakers...
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
There is pervasive confusion among many modern evangelical churches—especially those that are charismatic—regarding Satan’s activities and operations.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Dr. Steve Lawson is a dedicated student of the Reformation and the great Christian men behind it. His understanding of modern church trends is heavily informed by his knowledge of the theological wars that have been waged throughout church history. And the crucial battles fought by the Reformers in the fifteen hundreds provide valuable lessons in assessing the twenty-first-century church landscape.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Rodney Howard-Browne, self-styled “Holy Ghost Bartender,” has taken notice of the Strange Fire conference sponsored by Grace to You (October 16-18, 2013). He seems unnerved by the prospect that twenty-first-century charismatic phenomena are going to be examined in light of Scripture. Howard-Browne’s trademark giddiness has gone missing. Recently, he wrote this stream-of-consciousness rant on his Facebook page:
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The charismatic movement is a recent development in the history of the church, but its distinguishing belief is not. The idea of modern prophets who receive special revelation from God is nothing new.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Today there is widespread hesitancy among many evangelical leaders to criticize the claims of charismatic theology. While many of these leaders are not charismatics themselves, they are open and sympathetic to the supernatural claims prevalent in the movement.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
At the heart of the controversy over charismatic theology and practice is a simple question: What is the nature and purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Is Spirit baptism an internal, one-time event that occurs at the moment of salvation, or is it a subsequent event that’s manifest through ecstatic expressions of tongues, signs, and special revelation?
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Most Christians have heard of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformers. But there is good reason why you have probably never heard of their contemporaries, the Zwickau prophets. In the following two videos, R.C. Sproul and Steve Lawson explain who they were and why they left no lasting legacy...
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The charismatic movement claims that it is the movement of the Holy Spirit, but there’s a serious problem with that assertion according to John MacArthur. In the following video, John explains what that problem is and how to address it...
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
That frequently quoted verse has become a popular proof text for charismatic doctrine. In fact, a recent article in Charisma magazine used it as biblical support for speaking in tongues as a form of “spirit-to-Spirit communication with God.”...
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Identifying and confronting false teachers is extremely unpopular today. But Scripture calls Christians to discern truth from error...
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Popular theologian and apologist Dr. Michael Brown has written two articles for Charismanews critical of John MacArthur and the upcoming Strange Fire conference...
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Christians exalt God—we understand that. That means we should exalt each member of the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The charismatic movement, however, tends to focus attention on the Holy Spirit to an inappropriate degree. In the following video, Steve Lawson explains why that is a problem...
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Pentecostalism is a charismatic movement that derives its name from the day of Pentecost described in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the members of the early church. That passage remains a centerpiece of Pentecostal teaching to this day. It is ironic that such a “movement of the Holy Spirit” has always paid little or no attention to Jesus’ clear description of the Spirit’s true ministry in His church...
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Many charismatic teachers look to John 14:12 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...
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...
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Recognizing and exercising spiritual gifts is a confusing and difficult issue for many believers. At one end of the spectrum are Christians who may attend a church for many years without ever recognizing any spiritual gift. That causes passivity in the church and can lead to a disabled body of believers—one with severed limbs and missing organs (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:14–25; Ephesians 4:11–13).
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Does the office of prophet still exist today? To the hordes of modern, self-appointed spokesmen for God, the answer to that question is a no-brainer. The office of prophet is alive and well in many charismatic churches today—it comes with a detailed job description and is taken with the utmost seriousness.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
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...
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Having a lot to say is not the same thing as being an expert. The charismatic movement would have all Christians believe that they—the charismatics—are the experts on the Holy Spirit. But is volume the true measure of expertise?
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
In the following audio clip, John MacArthur explains the significance of the signs and wonders of Jesus and the apostles.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The charismatic movement is hard to define. It represents a vast, diverse array of teaching and practice. On the charismatic spectrum, you’ll find extravagant prosperity teachers, ecstatic speaking in tongues, strange “spiritual” manifestations, as well as legitimate ministries where the gospel is faithfully preached. However, regardless of where charismatic groups might land on that spectrum, they are all tainted with the same dangerous defect.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The sufficiency of Scripture is a hill Christians need to be prepared to die on. Embracing additional revelation portrays the Bible as insufficient, dilutes biblical authority, and often supplants Scripture altogether...
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The following is an excerpt from the preface of the Chinese edition of Charismatic Chaos. It explains the origins and early history of the charismatic movement. With the Strange Fire conference rapidly approaching, we believe it is appropriate to share this material with you.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
The following is an excerpt from the preface of the Chinese edition of Charismatic Chaos. It explains the origins and early history of the charismatic movement. With the Strange Fire conference rapidly approaching, we believe it is appropriate to share this material with you.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Strange Fire starts tomorrow. Throughout the last several months building up to the conference, we’ve heard critics saying that we don’t understand the true nature of the charismatic movement—that we’ve chosen too broad a brush to paint with. Defenders are quick to point out that any negative elements only represent the outer edges of an otherwise healthy Christian movement.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Catch up on Strange Fire with some quick snapshots from Day One.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Here's a quick look at the sessions from Day Two of Strange Fire.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Here are some short glimpses from the final day of Strange Fire.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Good news! The audio and video from the Strange Fire conference is coming soon. You can help Grace to You share this powerful teaching with as many people as possible by directing them to And whether you saw it as a conference attendee or you’re planning to catch up online, we know you’ll be encouraged, exhorted, and enriched by these resources.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Below are some helpful thoughts from John MacArthur on the aftermath of Strange Fire and how best to respond to the teaching from the conference.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Without question, the most common complaint I hear from my charismatic friends about the Strange Fire conference is, “You always paint with a broad brush!” I hate being pedantic, but I can’t resist pointing out that such a criticism itself is a fairly sweeping overstatement.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Earlier this week, John MacArthur was a guest speaker at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. During his visit, he was interviewed by Dr. Jason Allen. Their brief discussion primarily focused on the charismatic movement, Reformed continuationists, and the recent Strange Fire conference. And since these are John’s first public comments about Strange Fire since the conference, we thought you’d be interested and encouraged to read what he had to say. What follows is a transcript of their discussion. –GTY Staff
Monday, November 4, 2013
Earlier today, part one of a new interview with John MacArthur was posted at Tim Challies’s website. In the interview, John responds to several questions regarding the Strange Fire conference and Strange Fire book—all of which came directly from readers of Challies’s blog.
Monday, November 11, 2013
A goodly portion of Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians is focused on correcting that congregation’s abuse of spiritual gifts—tongues in particular. The whole theme of the apostle’s admonition about how the gifts were to function is neatly summarized in 1 Corinthians 14:40: “All things should be done decently and in order.” Along the way, it’s hard to miss the stress the apostle places on that which edifies. The point Paul makes repeatedly is that the gifts should always be used in a way that enlightens and instructs the mind. “I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (v. 19).
Monday, November 11, 2013
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.
Monday, November 18, 2013
What should we think of self-styled apostles who meet none of the biblical standards for apostleship? They make much of the gift of prophecy but lack the prophetic ability to identify charlatans and phonies in their own midst. They can’t perform apostolic-quality miracles and healings, and their message sounds nothing like what the original apostles preached. The truth is that they don’t do anything that would qualify as “apostolic” by any biblical standard.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The self-professing modern apostles of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) would have you believe they have the most direct line of communication with God. But their faulty track record—even on matters of simple biblical discernment—gives you good reason to wonder if they’re perpetually dialing the wrong number.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
On June 23, 2008, C. Peter Wagner and sixteen other high-profile charismatics—including many of the big guns of the modern apostolic movement—gathered in Lakeland, Florida, to affirm the Lord’s blessing on the ministry of Todd Bentley, and to commission him as a fellow apostle. Just days later, the wheels would begin to fall off Bentley’s ministry, and the ensuing scandal would expose both his unrepentant immorality and a shocking lack of discernment on the part of several key charismatic leaders.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Have you ever met an apostle? Considering the vast number of people today who have laid claim to the highest of biblical offices, it’s entirely possible you have at some point. Some people have even tried to label me an apostle for this generation.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Lots of people today claim to be apostles—to wield the same authority and power as the leaders of the New Testament church. To properly evaluate those claims, we’re looking at the biblical requirements for apostleship and measuring the credentials of these modern apostles against those of the men the Lord used to found and establish His church.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Titles have meaning. They communicate authority and position, and they depend on the proper credentials. A person can’t simply call himself an army sergeant, a ship’s captain, or a medical doctor just because he likes the sound of the title. And he certainly can’t assume any legitimate authority by self-applying those titles. That is a sure path to confusion, chaos, and disaster.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Depending on whom you believe, there are perhaps thousands or even tens of thousands of apostles living and serving in the church today. Never mind that these modern apostles bear little resemblance to the men we read about in the New Testament. In fact, their teaching and their ministries are often radical departures from the apostolic work we see in Scripture.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The New Apostolic Reformation—led by Peter Wagner and other modern apostles—contends that we’re living in the second apostolic age of the church, in which they exert the same authority over the church as the New Testament apostles. But as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, these modern apostles aren’t even a shadow of their biblical forebears. In any examination of the biblical marks of a true apostle, these modern apostles routinely fall short.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
One of the common criticisms of the Strange Fire conference held this past October was that the speakers (this writer included) painted all charismatic Christians with the same broad brush by lumping them in with the extremes of the Word-Faith/N.A.R./Dominion movement. Charismatic theologian, author, and radio host Dr. Michael Brown on the eve of the conference posted an open letter to Dr. John MacArthur stating that he “attributes the extreme errors of a tiny minority to countless hundreds of thousands of godly leaders worldwide.”
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
In the final chapter of Strange Fire, titled “An Open Letter to My Continuationist Friends,” John MacArthur outlines several dangerous ramifications of the continuationist position. The first of those dangers is that “the continuationist position gives an illusion of legitimacy to the broader Charismatic Movement” (p. 234).
Friday, February 7, 2014
My complaint, however, had nothing to do with the tone or timing of Dr. Bown’s original announcement. Nor does it ease my concern that he now regrets the announcement of his partnership with Hinn. What troubled me from the beginning (and still does) is the reality of Brown’s partnership with Hinn.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Near the end of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus issued this stark warning to His listeners: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
After warning about false prophets in Matthew 7:15, Jesus tells us what to watch for in identifying them. Because they are so extremely deceptive and dangerous—ravenous spiritual and moral wolves in sheep’s clothing—the Lord would hardly have left us without means of determining who they are.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Throughout history, deadly epidemics have ravaged mankind. In the fourteenth century, the infamous “Black Death” (an outbreak of bubonic plague) killed millions in Europe. Cholera, diphtheria, malaria, and other sicknesses have ravaged towns and cities. Our generation has witnessed the rapid spread of the fatal disease Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). More deadly than any of those diseases, however, is the plague of false teaching that has afflicted the church throughout its history. While illness may kill the body, false teaching damns the soul.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
When it comes to false teachers, naming names seems to have become the unpardonable sin for many in the charismatic movement. Certainly, much of the criticism aimed at last fall’s Strange Fire conference focused on that issue. But is “Thou shalt not call out false teachers” really another commandment for the modern church, or is it an unbiblical shield designed to protect heretics from theological scrutiny?
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Ignore it and it will go away. That seems to be the tactic the charismatic movement has adopted when it comes to false prophets, heretical theology, and phony miracles. Many charismatics simply turn a blind eye to the corruption in their midst, assuming that if it’s not happening their church then it’s not their problem.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
What would you call a man or a woman who claimed to receive direct messages from God that contradicted the clear teaching of Scripture? Words like charlatan, heretic, liar, and phony probably come to mind. And yet there are many Christians—often earnest but ignorant believers—who follow and even defend such men and women.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Among many pastors and church leaders today there is a popular rationale that proclaiming truth is the viable alternative to rebuking error. Rather than wrestling with false teachers and their heresies, they’re content to cover their eyes, plug their ears, and “stay positive” in their teaching.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Any literal shepherd tasked with feeding and leading a flock of lambs would be thought deranged if he regarded wolves as potential pets to be domesticated and amalgamated into the fold. Suppose he actively sought and tried to befriend young wolves, presuming he could teach them to mingle with his sheep—insisting against all wise counsel that his experiment might succeed, and if it does, that the wolves will acquire the sheep’s gentleness and the sheep will learn beneficial things from the wolves. Such a shepherd would be worse than useless; he himself would pose an extreme danger to the flock...
Monday, March 10, 2014
It’s been nearly five months since the Strange Fire conference, and we’ve been very encouraged to see how many good conversations have started as a result. The conference dealt with a sensitive, deeply ingrained way of thinking, so the potential to hurt feelings and offend friends was very real. I never took that lightly, but I believed it was important to tell the truth about the charismatic movement and proclaim the absolute sufficiency of Holy Scripture.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
In episode 215 of Ask Pastor John, Dr. Piper gets to the crux of the cessationist-continuationist debate. In his view, modern prophecy is not “infallible, Scripture-level, authoritative speaking,” but rather “something that God spontaneously brings to mind in the moment, and—because we are fallible in the way we perceive it, and the way we think about it, and the way we speak it—it does not carry that same level of infallible, Scripture-level authority.” He claims three texts of Scripture to provide “exegetical reasons” for his view.
Monday, March 17, 2014
In my last article, I started to address John Piper’s comments in episode 215 of the Ask Pastor John podcast. In interacting with his interpretive claims, that post was getting a little long; I decided to show mercy to the reader, bring that article to a close, and pick up here where I left off.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
The final argument John Piper made on his podcast in support of the continuation of fallible prophecy has to do with the identity and timing of “the perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:8–12.
Friday, March 28, 2014
After providing three exegetical reasons for believing that the gift of prophecy continues beyond the apostolic era, John Piper set out to offer some critique of charismatic abuses. The Ask Pastor John podcast addressed doctrinal and emotional abuses in episode 216, and discernment and financial abuses in episode 217. Piper’s constructive criticisms raised several issues that must be addressed.
Monday, May 5, 2014
When Grace to You asked me to present the biblical case for cessationism at the Strange Fire conference last October, I was excited about the opportunity. Although I am a convinced cessationist and had addressed this issue with my own congregation, I spent several months studying the Scripture and reading the relevant literature on both sides of this contentious issue. But it wasn’t long before my initial euphoria turned to discouragement.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Conrad Mbewe was one of the keynote speakers at last year’s Strange Fire conference. He delivered two powerful messages about the corruption in African charismatic churches. Among his many talents, Conrad is a gifted writer, and he maintains a blog called A Letter from Kabwata. In his most recent article...
Monday, October 13, 2014
Southern California has always been a hub of Pentecostal influence. Although the first experiments with modern tongues-speaking took place in rural Kansas in 1901, Pentecostalism became an actual movement with the Azusa Street Revival of 1906, in a dilapidated section of downtown Los Angeles.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Looking back over the history of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, it is significant to note that Pentecostalism’s distinctive teachings have always been outside the historic mainstream of Protestant and Reformed conviction. All the Reformers and their heirs were cessationists. They believed and taught emphatically that God is intimately involved and providentially in control of every detail of everything that happens in the universe. They also held the firm conviction that apostolic sign-gifts ceased when the apostolic era passed. They saw no conflict between those two articles of faith. Nor did any cessationist imagine a conflict there until three pernicious trends began to turn the tide of twentieth-century evangelicalism.
Friday, October 17, 2014
A final point to consider, specifically with reference to modern prophecy, is that by eliminating the simple biblical standard by which false prophets may be identified, modern charismatics have opened the door for chaos and doctrinal confusion in the church. Fake healings and false tongues are bad enough, but when someone claims to have private revelation from God, the sufficiency and singularity of Scripture is instantly clouded, and the authority of Scripture is undermined. It is a terribly dangerous breach of a fundamental principle of evangelical Protestant and biblical conviction.
Monday, November 3, 2014
It’s been just over a year since the highly publicized and controversial Strange Fire conference. As a Grace to You employee with a charismatic background, I watched the buildup to the conference with a considerable amount of interest.
Monday, October 12, 2015
A prodigious wacko fringe has always been one of the charismatic movement’s most prominent features. In little more than a century, the Pentecostal and charismatic movements have spun off so many bad doctrines and bizarre characters that I have a thick dictionary in my office just to help me keep track of them all.