Your session will end in  seconds due to inactivity. Click here to continue using this web page.
The Study Bible - A Bible that gives you instant access to all of John’s teaching on the passage you’re reading.

Why Confront the Charismatic Movement?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 | Comments (60)

The sons of Aaron . . . offered strange fire before the Lord . . . and fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them (Leviticus 10:1–2).

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.

To bring God’s Word to bear on these vital issues, Grace to You is hosting the Strange Fire conference this October. Starting today, we will post a new Strange Fire media blog every Tuesday leading up to the conference. The purpose of these video and audio clips is to provide biblical answers to important questions about the worship and work of the Holy Spirit, the doctrinal dangers of the charismatic movement, and how these matters influence and impact your spiritual growth.

Today in our first video blog, John MacArthur tackles the question “Why do you think it’s okay, even loving, to confront the charismatic movement?”

GTY Staff


You have 3000 characters remaining for your comment. Note: All comments must be approved before being posted.


#1  Posted by Chew Kek Liong  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 6:03 AM

The charismatic movement is widespread and its churches are big and vibrant. Many of our friends, even family members are in it. A way must be found to engage these Christians without being 'confrontational'. I have tried confrontation and it all resulted in bitterness. In fact today when a non-believer begins to show interest in Christianity, more often than not, they are looking at the charismatic movement. The worship in charismatic churches seem enjoyable and the church settings exhibit a modern sense of professionalism in all aspects. Little need to be said about non-charismatic and traditional churches - they are like deadwoods. When we confront, we are asking for war. WHAT BETTER ALTERNATIVES DO WE HAVE BESIDES CONSTANTLY HARPING ON THE FACT THAT THE CHARISMATIC ERRED IN SCRIPTURES? The feel-good feature of 'charismaticism' (wow I got a new word) is simply over-powering and over-whelming. I feel we are in a losing battle.

#2  Posted by Arlene Herbert  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 6:16 AM

I was saved within the charasmatic movement at about 16, but the focus was not living a holy life. The major concern was being filled with the Spirit, i.e. speaking in tongues, "words" of knowledge, being "slain in the Spirit," binding demons, and a host of other erroneous practices. Consequently, my life did not reflect that of a new creation. I did not grow in the knowledge of our Savior and it was apparent in my behavior, speech and attitude. My relationship with the Lord was only as "warm and fuzzy" as my last "experience," and I didn't have many. I spent years on a spiritual roller-coaster. Spent a lot of time wondering what was wrong with me that I didn't have all these manifestations of the Spirit. As a babe in Christ, I depended on the assembly which led me to salvation in Christ, and trusted their guidance. I now know how crucial it was that I should have been a "Berean," and yet I did not know how to examine doctrine, much less understand the scriptures. The Lord slowly caused my nagging doubts about the charasmatic doctrines and practices to lead me to the truth. As I spent many months struggling with these things, I "stumbled" onto John MacArthur's book, "Charasmatic Chaos." Finally! Someone who could help me make sense of what was being taught, as well as help me to understand what the scriptures were actually teaching. Through further study and prayer I left the charasmatic church after confronting the (female) pastor; but I was called divisive and not yet mature enough to let the Holy Spirit have His way with me. The most chilling thing she said was almost an exact quote from MacArthur's book which exposed of the lack of confidence by Charasmatics in the sufficiency of scripture. As she put her hand on her bible she said, "Oh, I believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, but it's not enough." It took me years to "undo" the error in my thinking and to understand the truth. This is the danger: God may save someone within this movement, but there is virtually no sanctification happening afterward. I was the double-minded, unstable, carnal Christian. Most of what I was taught about the Holy Spirit was error. At one point my life was so corrupt I made sure no one ever knew that I had ever claimed to be a Christian. I knew my life was a contradiction of my profession; but it was almost instinctive to protect the reputation of Jesus. Yet I believe I was truly saved because for all that time I was so, so miserable. I believe there are untold multitudes of believers stuck in this system. My heart breaks for them. My own cousin, who was instrumental in leading my whole family to the Lord, is still seeped in this stuff. I long to be able to talk to her, but she is so closed to anything other that what she "knows" by experience or feeling. She continues to sit under false teachers and she has developed almost no spiritual discernment. Praise God for faithful men who are able to teach His truth!

#3  Posted by Michael Kennedy  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 7:18 AM

I have for a while now been trying to convince many people in this movement that they are wrong in their learning of the Bible ...and relaying, "if what you knew was wrong, would you want to be advised of it?" Their answer is always a prideful, turn-around answer which basically says that I'M listening to the wrong teachings and "how dare you approach me....". Whatever. Okay, time to knock the dust off my feet here.

I used to belong to these type of teachings as a new Christian, along with listening to John on the radio before going to work every morning, so that got me saying, " this CAN'T be right...? can it? So then I would ask God to show me, and He did and He does....all the time.

I was riding around on my friend's mower praying to God and what I thought was praying... in tongues! I'm just mowing and mouthing some sounds out of my mouth (that someone taught me) and then laughing and more tongues....and I thought, if anyone sees me right now, they must think I'm nuts! Well, if they didn't, I did because I just kept thinking, " this can't be right". So I again asked God to help me by showing me what was what. That LED to me getting the tapes of John's teachings on tongues (6 tapes). John proved to me that I was right in my thinking and that tongues HAD ceased. THAT was the start of getting the RIGHT teachings in my renewable mind. Because it made sense, what John was he does all the time. (that's because... he STUDIED !)

I learned from somebody(?), that if you don't have the right UNDERSTANDING of a scripture, God won't let you continue with more until you get that one right. I believe Charles was correct because, why would God let us keep giving out the wrong information? He wouldn't. So neither would I.

While in the charasmatic church I felt God leading me to go to the prisons to teach after I sang with the choir in one. God DID NOT let me into the jails for 5 YEARS, (I noticed) because I was in the wrong churh all that time. So I stopped going to them, kept listening to John , was being transformed in my thinking and being sanctified, and THEN and only THEN did God move me in.! It was truly a revelation stepping back and seeing what God had done.

I truly believe we HAVE to confront these people, because being there myself , I have seen the rewards that are out there from God when we HUMBLE ourselves in order to learn the TRUTH.

Like someone once said, "IF you have the TRUTH, you NEVER HAVE TO REMEMBER ANYTHING.

God bless and thank you John for humbling yourself after that car wreck which changed your renewable mind. MIKE

P.S. I'm now in a Baptist church....hmmmm, okay, here I go again...

#5  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 8:31 AM

I don't disagree with the need to proclaim truth in regards to the cheap charismatic gospel. Un-fortunately our daughter is being heavily influenced by it. And I have studied all of Pastors Johns messages on it and spiritual gifts, and can debate their fallacies fairly well. And after travelling to Africa I see the travesty of that sell job. It's devastating.

However, my only query is that Paul calls the believers in Corinth "saints" and "brothers" numerous times. And I'm guessing that the Church in Corinth was about a bad and off base as any of todays churches.

And many of our so called conservative Evangelical Churches are as far off base in the opposite direction that it's as big a crises there. i.e the lack of discernment.

So as Al Mohler stated the "good intentioned" heresy is equally serious.

So I'm thinking that we need to be very careful in how we love and approach our friends in this movement. Their theology sooner or later runs them onto pretty shallow ground. So me must equip ourselves scripturally first, and train ourselves with the right "if/then" questions, and love them to the truth.

#6  Posted by Jacob Barber  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 8:35 AM

1) 1 Corinthians 13:12 “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

Do we know everything completely, just as God now knows us completely. No, so the time of perfection has not yet come. This is not talking about the closing of the canon.

2) Why does Paul go through the whole body analogy right before he sets up the church offices that include, apostles, prophets, those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, as well as those who speak in unknown languages. When we say these things have ceased, and that these Gifts have been withdrawn, which is contradictory to Romans 11:29 (29For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.) and is put right before Romans 12 again where Paul talks about spiritual “GIFTS,” aren’t we just saying that we don’t need certain parts of the body, and doesn’t that contradict what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:21 (21The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen.)

3) Why does Paul scold the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 14:36, asking them if they think God’s word originated with them and if they think they were the only ones to whom it was given. Doesn’t this align with 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 (16All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.)Then in verse 14:37 why does he state that what he is saying is a command from the Lord, and if we don’t recognize this, then we will not be recognized, and then in verse 39 why does he tell us to be eager to prophesy, and not to forbid speaking in tongues? This next passage is right after Paul gives instructions to the church for worship, including the spiritual gifts.

“36Or do you think God’s word originated with you Corinthians? Are you the only ones to whom it was given? 37If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord himself. 38But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized.39So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues.”

#7  Posted by Jacob Barber  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 8:36 AM

4) God still wants to work through His church. He still wants to use us. This is scriptural. You claim that you are arguing from the Word of God, but you are not. This whole movement against your brothers and sisters in Christ comes from Cessation theology, not the inerrant word of God. You have to disregard complete passages of scripture, completely take other scriptures our of context, and also say that many parts of scripture, that is the WORD of God, are not for the church today. The Bible does not say that God will not use His people in miraculous ways to display His glory and power. In fact, it says the contrary. Ephesians 3:20 “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

We still need God, and we still need Him to work through us. He is God, we are His people, and we do not get to say how He works. He is far above are understanding, and we cannot confine Him to any box, no matter how hard we try. Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes.” Isaiah 55:8 "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” No matter how intelligent we think we are, or what we think we know about God, He will never cease to amaze us!!! He is God, He does as He pleases, and He delights in using His people. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

5) Why does Jesus say in Mark 16:17-18, These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe; they will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages, they will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous it won’t hurt them, and that if they lay hands on the sick they will be healed?

Words of Jesus—“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Why does He not instead say these miraculous signs will accompany those who believe only to set up the church until the closing of the canon, and then I will withdraw certain gifts that require too much faith and make people uncomfortable, but not other gifts that don’t go beyond their reason and understanding? Doesn’t the bible say not to add to or take away from it? It never says that these things will end with the closing of the cannon, so why do we? On the contrary it says in Romans 11:29 (29For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.)

#8  Posted by Jacob Barber  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 8:37 AM

6) I will leave you with this. Paul, or Saul at the time was zealously persecuting Christians, because He thought He was doing the will of God. Then, He had and “experience” with God, which converted Him to Christ. Three days later, was filled with the Holy Spirit when Ananias laid hands on Him and prayed. Acts 9:17 “He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

We need unity in the body. This persecution has to stop. I pray that we can all humble ourselves before the Lord, and let Him be God. I pray that we can move out of the way so that He will use us. God is a gentleman, and He loves us more than we can imagine. He will not force Himself on us, but I know that He is just waiting for the church to unify, and be used by Him in miraculous ways so that God will be glorified!

#9  Posted by Brad Kennedy  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Jacob (6), Is it not also wrong to begin stating a bold case while concealing evidence? See I Cor 13, especially verses 8-11. How can you you accuartely start with verse 12 and unashamedly continue ad infinitum with a clear conscience?

#10  Posted by Charles B. Gray  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

I cut my "Biblical teeth" in an Assembly of God church. Before that a manner...asked God to "take me" . This encounter was after listening to Garner Ted Armstrong on the radio several times. I say all that to say this: It is the power of the Gospel that leads to salvation for those who believe (those whom He has elected).

During my college years I attended an event featuring Marjoe Gortner. For those unfamiliar with him, he was a chid evangelist who preached at many tent revivals, etc. As an adult he was in several movies. At the college event he said that he had long renounced all that. He proclaimed himself a non-believer.

Are we to think that all those saved because of his actions are really not saved? Of course not. It is certainly true that there may be many who were not of the elect and succumbed to their emotions. Whatever you may think of the child Gortner, one thing is for sure. If the word was preached then certainly many were saved, regardless of what Mr. Gortner may say today. It is the power of the Gospel that saves.

As for my experience with Mr. Armstrong, I have to say I was most sincere when I said to God "If your real, then take me. I'm yours." I knew that if he is what I knew he claimed to be, according to His word, that he would know my heart and he would hear me. It actually happened years later, with some experiences in between that acted as reminders that He was still there, that I would make a public confession and eventually be baptised. This was when I attended the A/G church. The word was preached there along with the usual charasmatic dressing one would expect. I would go home after service and re-read the passages and explore the word even more. I was never slain in the spirit and wondered what was taking so long. I began to doubt.

Again-the word was preached. All who were saved at that church could not be lost. God promises that.

Sometimes we lose heart when we witness. The road is narrow that leads to salvation and few shall pass there. That was hard to remember when I was teamed up with a group of "power house" evangelists when we went to houses for our Evangelism Explosion" training. After all-I had done well and memorized and practiced so much. Later, I was awakened to the fact that Jesus was a pretty good evangelist and yet they killed him. So, who did I think I was?

I hope I am not bringing anyone down. I only hope that we realize that the world is not going to accept the Gospel. They will adamantly reject it and lash out at you. The enemy will provide a nearly countless number of evil alternatives.

People are seduced by lies. He is a liar and the father of lies. The charasmatic movement is in many aspects just another lie. It is the world. Just another of Satans tools.

It is the word, the truth, that saves. It will work no matter who preaches it or wherever it is spoken. Be loving and patient. And realize that many churches are an estension of the world.

#11  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Jacob Barber, if you haven't yet, I would encourage you to find the sermons on this website related to those texts you mentioned--particularly Mark 16. This comment area isn't the place to debate point-by-point your interpretations, so I won't attempt to do so.

It would also be worth considering whether or not the recipients of Paul's letters felt they were being persecuted by Paul when he sought to correct their thinking. To seek to correct one's understanding of truth is not persecution... it is exactly what we as Christians are called to do for one another, with gentleness, respect, and love.

Biblical unity is not keeping quiet about the apparent errors being propagated through churches. Biblical unity is a continual growth of agreement on the truth (Ephesians 4:11-14). While we shouldn't seek uniformity in many areas (cultural differences in dress, music, length of services, as well as use of gifts of service, etc.), we should pursue uniformity in the truth, that is, if we believe in truth being absolute, universal, and unchanging.

In real life it is quite possible to have some measure of disagreement and still experience unity. But when certain teachings become harmful, it must be addressed. For example, when a person tells another person to speak in tongues for half an hour a day so that the Holy Spirit can take care of their sin problem (actual advice given to someone), that is serious error. I realize not every charismatic would offer such advice, but it is not an uncommon way of thinking among charismatic circles.

#12  Posted by Jacob Barber  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Here ya go Brad: 1 Corinthians 12:8-12 "8Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9NOW our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10But WHEN THE TIME OF PERFECTION COMES, these partial things will become useless.11When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12NOW we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but THEN we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know NOW is partial and incomplete, but THEN I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."

Once again, cessationists take these verses out of context and use them to throw out several passages of the bible. This passage is saying that Love is the most important! It is also saying that when the time of perfection comes, these things will be useless, but love will remain. Now to verse 12: NOW we see things imperfectly, like a puzzling reflection in a mirror, but THEN, (talking about the time of perfection) we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know NOW is partial and incomplete, but THEN (talking again about the time of perfection), I will know everything completely, just as God knows me.

So obviously and clearly, using this passage to say that spiritual gifts ended with the closing of the canon is adding to the word of God.

#13  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Lately I've often wondered if what we are seeing in contemporary churches is a new form charismatic. By contemporary I don't mean chronological I mean style. And by style I don't mean guitars and drums I mean seeker sensitive. I wonder if there is some cross confusion or contamination in these churches. I may be wrong but I know in my half traditional half contemporary church although we don't practice tongues or healing most members including the pastor "knows somebody who does". Is it this tolerance for error that allows similar practices in contemporary churches? I'm sorry if these comments are beyond the scope of the blog.

#14  Posted by Timothy Crabtree  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 6:52 PM

The Charismatic Movement is devilish, damning, deadly and divisive. Like every other false religion, its devilish, damning, deadly, devisive grip can only be escaped by the grace of God by means of correct expository preaching and teaching of God's inspired, inerrant Word - the Bible. We (my wife and I) discovered this reality through Pastor John's clear articulation presented in all his preaching and commentaries and all the resources made available through Grace to You Radio Ministries, specifically, two key books were and still are CHARISMATIC CHAOS and HOW TO MEET THE ENEMY. Thank you Pastor John! Keep up the battle - we're with you alllllll the way! (amanuensis: my wife Julie)

#15  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Jacob (#12), it's a bit disingenuous to use the New Living Translation (NLT) to make the point that others are adding to the word of God. On the spectrum of translations, the NLT is on the far side of translations that do much more interpretation and adding words to the original. For example, you can compare v.9 in the NLT to how it's simply and easily translated the ESV, "For we know in part and we prophesy in part." I would encourage you to use a translation that seeks to be more faithful to the original, like the NASB or ESV.

Nevertheless, I trust you have studied and read the other substantial biblical and historical arguments for why the gifts ceased at the closing of the canon? If you choose to not accept the interpretation of that text, there are still critical arguments left to be dealt with.

A good starting place would be with this series. You may be mostly interested in the messages entitled "The Temporary Sign Gifts," but those passages must be understood within the context of the whole chapter, so I would encourage you not to skip the first group of messages.

One of the things I've found, along with many others, is that non-cessationists consistently accuse "us" of taking certain verses or passages out of context. But it seems to me non-cessationists seem to take their passage contexts out of both biblical and historical context. A solid method of interpretation includes not only the words and sentences and paragraphs, but also looking at the book/letter within the context of all of Scripture together with the context of redemption history.

For example, take "Second Blessing Theology," the idea that Christians need a secondary filling of the Holy Spirit exemplified by speaking in tongues. This comes mainly from the passages in Acts where it *appears* believers receive the Holy Spirit subsequent to believing, and they demonstrate it by speaking in tongues. But such a theology misses the historical context and progression of Acts. Furthermore, it takes a *descriptive* passage of an event, and makes it *prescriptive* for all believers.

#16  Posted by Rosalina Adraneda  |  Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:18 AM

It is so sad that there are christians who sincerely believe that they have been saved but do not believe that they have been baptized by the Holy Spirit simply because they do not speak in tongues. Why do pentecostals make a mountain out of a molehill? Why major in something minor? Speaking in tongues is the least of all gifts, why desire the least? It is even more sad when the leaders of the church are the ones encouraging this charismatic movement inside the church. There is no orderliness, only chaos. It is indeed a strange fire that they are lighting up at the altar and it grieves me that they are leading the congregation in doing so. Is it not the blind leading the blind?

#17  Posted by Brad Kennedy  |  Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:58 AM

Jacob, 1 Corinthians 13:8-11 was where I was hoping to lead you. We are certainly in agreement that love is the greatest of all gifts. We differ in that it is the greatest gift that still remains.

#18  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:47 AM

JB I appreciate your passion, or anybody with passion. Let me make a couple of observations regarding this issue.

1) the "so called" sign gifts are just that. you don't go to LA and stop at the first sign and say "we are here". The purpose of signs is to point you to something. So the question that begs an answer is what were the signs pointing to?

The racial discrimination between Jews, Gentiles, and Samaritans was far worse than that between the black's and whites in the US ever was.

2) So how was God going to bring UNITY in the Church (the toughest place to find unity) and eradicate the massive hatred between those 3 groups.

Peter and the Church in Jerusalem said it very well. Brothers they got the same HS that we got. "It's evident". No more arguments. It's over, we're ONE. The speaking in tongues is recorded 4 times. Once with the Jews, the Gentiles, the Samaritans, and remnant John the Baptist followers. Once they and we realize that God provided and paid for UNITY and there are no "Blue ribbon sheep, and also ran's", unity is possible. One Lord....

ftn: In Paul's instructions to the Churches he never instructs the practice of the sign gifts. But he harps on the "one another"!!

Lets be obedient.

#19  Posted by Jacob Barber  |  Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Hey Brad, that second post to you was 1 Corinthians 13:-8-12. I mis- typed the 12 instead of 13. I apologize. That is my mistake.

#20  Posted by Gregory Brown  |  Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM

I belong to an evangelical church (noncharismatic) and we are soon to host a well known charismatic preacher for a "Night to Honor Israel" is this something that we should be doing? There are many in our congregation that do not believe we should work with group even though this is not supposed to be an evangelical outreach but a celebration of and to raise support for the Nation of Israel. Is this wrong for us to do? ... to host a pastor who will speak in the pulpit and does not hold our doctrinal beliefs? I support Israel and love God's chosen nation but am unsure what a correct response should be.

#24  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM

I myself came out of a pentecostal church many years ago, because of John MacArthurs teaching.

Once a visiting charismatic preacher, lined people up to be "slain by the Spirit", and they fell to the floor. I stood there, and was praying, "if this is from you Lord, then let it be", but nothing happened.

The preacher was disapointed with my lacking faith, and I felt ashame. Whats the matter with me? Am I not a Christian?

What a great relief when I heard John MacArthur teaching the truth on this.

#25  Posted by Manuel Jr. Reyes  |  Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 1:54 AM

The Word of God is the only source of Truth that God gave through chosen people (much were Apostles). These writers were guided and blessed by the Holy Spirit in order for people to believe and exalt Jesus Christ and no one else. In fact all of them were martyred for that.

Therefore, they were qualified people like the apostles (Acts 1:21-22) including apostle Paul and others who were authorized by God to ink the spirit of the Word in paper.

Meaning, any other authority outside of that established Word of God, can never be at the same time Spirit-filled, authoritative, inerrant, educative, instructive, everlasting, etc., much the the Bible we have today.

Instead, all teachings must be based, scrutinized, and revolving around the Scriptures. And if not, it is a lie and a total waste of time.

Sola Scriptura.

#26  Posted by Pearl Bradley  |  Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 5:12 AM

Friends, I will say first of all that I as a Pentecostal certainly enjoy Pastor Johns ministry and have for many years. I don't always agree 100% but I certainly take the majority of what he has said and apply it as much to my life as possible. Please keep in mind that when discussing the Charismatic movement versus traditional Pentecostals there are many huge differences. Traditionally, yes we still believe in the attributes of the Pentecostal doctrine but it is taught that Christian Character comes way before any "signs or wonders"..... It is your daily walk that matters first and foremost, and not the other way. I too see many of the Modern Pentecostals/Charismatics of today and I shake my head and say "Really ?". It seems that many want to throw out the part of being a follower of Christ, and being the salt of the world when it feels comfortable to them and that to me is where the huge error is.

#27  Posted by David Smith  |  Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 6:14 AM

@ Gregory Brown (comment #20).

I think it all depends on the specifics of the preacher, and his beliefs, practices, and associations.

Whilst I regard the main charismatic beliefs (baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, etc) as wrong, I don't think that, in themselves, they should be a barrier to fellowship, or speaking from your pulpit. I take the same view about infant baptism - there are plenty of pedobaptists who are totally evangelical. We have to accept that not everyone understands the Bible in the same way.

That said, there is a lot of baggage associated with the charismatic movement. I'm thinking of things like the prosperity gospel or the Toronto Blessing. If he promotes these things or associates with those who do, that changes the situation. Even though he is still a brother in the Lord, you are quite entitled to say that you feel that he is involved with deception or major error to such an extent that your church cannot give him a platform.

Regarding the idea of a "Night To Honor Israel", I am aware of the shocking 2000 year history of Christian antisemitism, and I do believe that the church has a collective responsibility to support the Jewish people. However, I cannot agree with the approach taken by the organisation behind such events, or the beliefs of its leader (who incidentally is a prosperity preacher), and would not wish to give him a platform. My primary concern is that they are so concerned with gaining the favor of the Jewish community that the gospel (which is for the Jew first) has taken a back seat. You will also find that no Jewish believers in Jesus are featured at their events. A good thing to do would be contact a local messianic jewish congregation (preferably a member of the two mainstream associations - MJAA/IAMCS or UMJC) and ask for their views.

#28  Posted by Gregory Brown  |  Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 9:11 AM

@ David Smith Comment #27: Thank you for your response. it's interesting as I haven't heard anything about local Messianic congregations joining this night but I do know that several Rabbis in the area will be in attendance. They are moved to see such support of National Israel. I think I may write to one of the local congregations as you suggested and see what their take on it is. I'm not really upset. I know nothing about Hagee except what I've been told recently that he is Charismatic and believes in the prosperity gospel.

#30  Posted by Michael Farley  |  Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Wow Arlene...sounds like my story. Came to the Lord out of Mormonism when I was 15 back in 1996. The Lord used a Foursquare church where we heard more about Amiee McPherson than about Jesus.

In my confusion between mormonism and the gospel, my youth pastor told me that if I wanted to know what was true that I should study the bible, and if something isn't in the bible, don't believe it.

After three years of not understanding why I wasn't speaking in tongues or falling over and having convultions, I finally understood enough to ask my pastor at the time about these practices and how he can justify them. I was told I had no faith, that that's why I wasn't filled with the spirit. My church turned their back on me since I was perceived as the unfaithful child in our group. Spent a few years going from church to church, trying to find one that actually wanted to hold God's word as the standard instead of their own crazy experiences and notions. Even had one church try to TEACH ME how to speak in tongues. That was weird.

Most of my charasmatic friends in my first church fell away. They found that their experiences got old after a while and went on to something different. One friend thought God was telling her to marry a drug dealer (which she did), then date a man who cheated on his wife...last I heard, God told her to move to Texas to marry some guy 20 years her senior.

Where I live now there are no churches that fast to God's word alone. The best we have is a Calvary Chapel, and the pastor, who I believe to be a godly man and a great teacher, even himself believes in the tonges thing, even if he keeps it to himself.

Unfortunately, this movement has permeated just about everything Christian, it would seem.

#31  Posted by Charles Williamson  |  Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#35  Posted by Joyce Wilson  |  Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 10:46 PM

Hi Jacob. You are not alone. Cessationist look at a few phony-baloney charlatans, like Benny Hinn, and form a bases for their arguments. Would you look at the Seven Sons of Sceva to determine whether Paul could cast out demons? No, you’d look at scripture. When we look at scripture, we see that all groups of believers, to include prophets, disciples, apostles, and believers born out of apostles, had signs establishing their relationship with God. When Paul addressed gifts, he was primarily speaking to everyday Corinthians, not just other apostles. He told them that some would have gifts of miracles and faith. While holiness and love for one another has always been a true sign of having a relationship with God, sign gifts and miracles have also accompanied them. Not everyone will get the same gift. Paul says the Holy Spirit will distribute as he pleases. Not everyone will speak in tongues or have the gift of healing; but the community of believers will have some people with such gifts. Jesus Christ the same today, tomorrow, and forever.

I believe the only reason we don’t see more of the true gifts being exercised in bible-based churches is because ministers keep telling people, “ah, the Holy Spirit’s not doing that kind of thing anymore.” Doubt is contagious. And the idea that the 66 books of the canon are “that which is perfect” is the mark of an intellectual stronghold. While intellectual atheists dismiss God, and intellectual Jehovah’s Witnesses dismiss the God essence of Jesus, intellectual cessationists truncate the power of the Holy Spirit for today’s believers. This is what too much human reasoning does. They use deductive, human reasoning that winds up making knowledge this supreme and “perfect” thing. However, both the knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil were at one time forbidden. Jesus alone is the perfector of our faith, and when he gives us our new incorruptible bodies, only then will our knowledge and nature be truly perfect. The canon is a snapshot, or an approved portion of knowledge. John 21:25 tells us there can be no perfectly complete book of things that Jesus did.

I am disappointed that “Strange Fire” does not feature cautious continuationist like Jack Hayford. If you only have people with the same beliefs, wouldn’t you get the same answers you had before the conference? Even Charles Stanley once said, while he doesn’t really believe tongues are for today, he will not put God in a box and say it can’t happen. I already know I don’t agree with cessationists, so why would I want to attend this event? Furthermore, I believe this issue must be spiritually discerned, not intellectually reasoned and hashed out in a conference. I believe the body of believers would be better served if all prayed and fasted on the topic. It is a Holy Spirit question, so then maybe it’s time to believe him alone for the proper answer.

#37  Posted by Cameron Buettel  |  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Michael (#30),

if you tell me the area where you live I would like to try and help you find a solid biblical church.

#39  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Tongues,healing/sign gifts. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that one of the missing foundational principles is that: The Spiritual Gifts", or better put a person with the "Spiritual Gift" is 2 different things.

All those in America with the Supernatural Gift of healing, or with the "Spiritual Gift" of healing, should be going through our hospitals and emptying them out. Eliminate Obama Care. That is if the gift is the same as the NT gift. Butt they can't. Because the need for proving one was sent by God isn't needed anymore we have the Bible.

The other foundational issue is; Just how many interpretations are out there?

#40  Posted by Michael Farley  |  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Hi Cameron (37),

Though I do very much appreciate the thought, I'm not comfortable broadcasting where I live. Even on my photography website ( I am purposefully vague. Though prayers are always welcome!

#42  Posted by Cameron Buettel  |  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Michael (40),

Finding a good church is an essential priority for all believers. With that in mind this webpage might help you.

#43  Posted by Cameron Buettel  |  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Joyce (#35)

I do understand the point you are making. The spectrum of charismatic theology is very broad and spans all the way from conservative Calvinists like Sam Storms and Wayne Grudem to the bizarre world of “name it and claim it” prosperity preachers. My question is which end of that spectrum is the biggest problem? I do not doubt the faith of men like Storms or Grudem. But I am perplexed by their continual silence on the obvious excesses of the heretics they are prone to be associated with. Their silence has been deafening on that front for a long time now. Phil Johnson has written an excellent article pointing out that very issue:

True shepherds are compelled by Scripture to maintain the purity of Christ’s church through faithful preaching (2 Timothy 4:2) and by exposing error (Titus 1:9). “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17 KJV).

In that vein, Joyce, men like Jack Hayford have a biblical responsibility they are neglecting. Hayford’s got to know that his association with Benny Hinn—he’s written a forward for one of Hinn’s books and has personally counseled Hinn—is essentially a stamp of approval on Hinn’s ministry and lends him credibility. That passive approach is pervasive throughout the charismatic landscape.

The Strange Fire conference is not about establishing those necessary lines of demarcation. It’s about the broader problems that arise when the sufficiency of Scripture is questioned and attacked.

#44  Posted by Ben Enders  |  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:39 PM


Please answer a few questions.

1. If intellectual reasoning (based on the Word) was good enough for Paul and Peter, then why isn’t it good enough for us?

2. You use scripture to make your point in the beginning and then in your final statement, it seems that scripture isn’t good enough anymore, can you explain that?

3. How do you know it is the Holy Spirit giving you the answer?

You said, "Intellectual cessationists truncate the power of the Holy Spirit for today’s believers. This is what too much human reasoning does. They use deductive, human reasoning that winds up making knowledge this supreme and “perfect” thing". Are you saying that men like Macarthur and Sproul throw out scripture to worship at the feet of human intellectualism?

For the record, at this point in my understanding of the subject I would not define myself as a cessationist. I never heard the term before this blog. I am concerned about the emergent church movement and its love affair with spiritual formation and the potential dangers that brings. I believe this is something we all need to discuss.

#45  Posted by David Smith  |  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 4:23 PM

@Cameron (#43)

I too have noticed that moderate charismatics and pentecostals (I include the people you've mentioned - Storms, Grudem, and Hayford - in that category) seldom speak out against the heretics (such as Hinn, Bentley, Joyner, Johnson).

The reason for this is simple - the charismatic and pentecostal movements all share a common root, and heresy has been present from the start. If you speak out against what certain contemporary people are doing, you have to condemn historic figures as well, and the whole movement comes crashing down. The truth is that the foundations were rotten, so everything that's built on them is unsound.

A good example was 2008's "revival" in Florida with Todd Bentley. Most charismatic/pentecostal leaders supported it. Why? Because they do exactly the same things as Bentley. Yes, Bentley took them all to extremes, but the core beliefs and practices - spiritual gifts, prophecy, divine healing - are identical. So you can't criticise someone else without the finger also pointing at you, and the people you respect, and very soon there is a big question mark over everything.

A few years ago, I became aware that charismatic and pentecostal beliefs are fundamentally wrong. This really was a shocking conclusion. These movements have millions of followers worldwide - and they are in error. I still find it conceptually difficult. Fortunately, the vast majority of pentecostals and charismatics are bible-believing born-again evangelical christians. As I said earlier, they are our brothers in the Lord, and we need to pray for them - they have sadly been led astray by a corrupt religious system.

I need to finish now, but hope this makes sense and is helpful.

#46  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Friday, April 19, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Psalm 78:29–32 (ESV) — 29 And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved. 30 But before they had satisfied their craving, while the food was still in their mouths, 31 the anger of God rose against them, and he killed the strongest of them and laid low the young men of Israel. 32 In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe.

There are many scriptures including Christ's scathing rebuke to the crowds who wanted a sign. paraphrased "All you want is you bellies filled".

And today we think we deserve better treatment than those in the OT or NT. Or we are more sanctified or something, so that God has chosen this generation of more qualified sheep, so He give us tongues and signs. Da, I don't think so. I don't think we are any better, or anymore deserving and our hearts are a deceitful.

#50  Posted by Timothy Black  |  Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 7:05 PM

In 1995, after an entire life of extreme pain in my hip because of bursitis and arthritis, a tongue-talking evangelist prayed for me to be healed in the name of Jesus. I began to shake and quiver, and I fell to the floor. When I sat up, the lingering pain was one hundred percent gone. I was healed. About a year later, another tongue-talking evangelist walked to where my wife was sitting in a church service, and he began to tell her that she was worried about her youngest child, who was not sitting with her. The evangelist told my wife that her child was being healed at that moment. Earlier that week, we had taken our daughter to the emergency room because she could not breathe. She was about three, and had suffered with intense asthma up to that point. But after that evangelist spoke that, she was completely healed. She has not suffered for a single second since then with any kind of breathing ailment. Not for a second. Both of those healings took place in charismatic services that you are condemning. Tell me, what am I missing here?

#51  Posted by Joyce Wilson  |  Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 1:04 AM

Cameron, I agree that Jack has some explaining to do about his support of Hinn. Perhaps a conference would give him that opportunity. I do believe topics like these must come to a head in order for the true church to merge into a tighter community. Eventually, the phoney-ballonies will be obvious to all true believers. “My sheep know my voice and another they will not follow.” Perhaps if people are following false teachers, it’s because they never fully learned the voice of Jesus.

Ben, (1) it seems that Paul knew the difference between thinking from his own opinions and analysis vs. thinking from spiritual discernment, revelation, and illumination. When it was from his own judgment, as wise as his own judgment was, he would often tell us so (1Corinth 7-6; 7-12). That way everyone was clear as to whether it was a commandment of God or point of wisdom from Paul.

2 & 3) Scripture requires more than just our reading of words. I have met atheists who have read the bible cover to cover and didn’t learn a thing. No doubt they read it in a mechanical, superficial way. There was no Holy Spirit in them to make the words come alive. Words must be mixed with faith and understanding in order to take root and mature a true believer. As Jesus told Peter, flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to you, but the Father (Matt 16-17). Major truths have to be spiritually discerned (Romans 8), not just intellectually reasoned. In order to know the ways of God, we must be pure in heart (Matt 5:8), having no other motive but to know truth. If we have ill emotions when we read scripture, they will no doubt cloud our ability to see clearly and truthfully. For example, if someone resents people who claim to speak in tongues, then they might find scriptures that will help eliminate tongues. Motive is a tricky think and ill feelings can be hard to discern. Paul wasn’t thrilled about tongues either but he still never eliminated them. He only restricted them.

3) And, no, I don’t think John and RC just throw out scripture to worship at the feet of human intellectualism. I actually believe RC has the gift of teaching and John has the gift of knowledge—that is, the ability to draw logical conclusions (ironically, it’s a gift cessationist believe is no longer available for believers today).

#53  Posted by Andrew Mack  |  Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 6:10 PM


I am really interested in what the GTY Staff thoughts are on what I am about to write. First, I want to say that I have been very blessed by GTY's ministry. The Lord uses your ministry to get keep me on course. On the subject of the Charismatic movement, I tend to agree with you that a lot of what the movement stands for is in error. But let me share this. I attended an Orthodox Reformed Presbryterian school from K-12 in Pittsburgh, PA. The school laid a great foundation but I the idea about becoming a leader in the Church did not even cross my mind until a Prophet, prophesied over me and said that I was called to the ministry. After that experience, I felt equipped for leadership and I started to take a more of a leadership role in my OPC school. The year before the prophesy I was a strong Christian but very, very shy. A year after my prophesy, I was elected president of my reformed school's student christian leadership council and I was elected christian student leader of the year. Then it continues from there...with various leadership positions including an advisor to a pittsburgh youth leader council, an advisor to the Pittsburgh's Mayors Youth Policy Office; I was appointed as an Elder at my current church at the age of 33 and now I am the head of the adult sunday school program . I agree that there is a lot of error in the Charismatic movement but I do believe that maybe the gifts are for today, like Prophesy. I believe that the Holy Spirit used the Prophesy to help open my eyes to the providence of God and the direction that God pre-ordained the way I should go. Again, there is a lot of strange fire, but there is some good fire was well. I love your ministry and please continue to accomplish the vision that God has given you.

#54  Posted by Timothy Black  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Very objective, very good comments, Brother Mack. It is certainly evidence that the gifts are very much in operation today! It would be hard for anyone to dispute that after hearing your testimony. And yes, "strange fire" exists!

#55  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Timothy and Andrew,

You have brought to light one of the common challenges in a discussion such as this--personal accounts of the gifts in action. The reality is (and this is not at all derogatory) is that your stories are subjective and cannot be scrutinized or analyzed. Many discount charismatic teaching on account of witnessing fraudulent activity. Others, like yourselves, affirm charismatic teaching on account of positive experiences.

The problem is truth cannot be measured by personal experience. If we measured truth by personal experience then we would need to accept the truth claims of many other religions where people's lives were changed, healed, and some claim to have been raised from the dead!

As believers in the God who revealed Himself in the Bible, we must always use Scripture as our test for truth. Please understand, I am not at all saying your experience is invalid or unreal. I am simply saying that it is subjective, not objective. We should always seek to interpret our experience from Scripture, not interpret Scripture from our experience.

Along these lines Peter wrote that even though he witnessed the glory of Christ on the so-called Mount of Transfiguration, we have the Word which is more fully confirmed than personal experience (2 Peter 1:19).

#56  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 10:47 AM

So Gabriel Powell, would you concur that if you new these 2 fellows (T & A) very personally and saw first hand their live change that would then make their testimonies "objective"?

I know what your getting at and believe you, however to say "The problem is truth cannot be measured by personal experience". is pretty categorical, when your own experiences are objective to you.

Even Paul stood his ground on his experiences, ie on thee road to Damascus.

As I said in a previous post, I think there need to be clear, very clear distinction between the gifts and those who proclaim to have the "New Testament Spiritual Gifts" . Like say healing. Then they should get into hospitals and empty them out, "all" of them, prophets should have warned Boston.

#57  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson (GTY Admin)  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 11:00 AM


The point Gabriel is making is that our experiences are not objective--no one's are. Relying on our own memories, impressions, and perspectives to accurately and thoroughly sum up all the pertinent details is hopeless. We cannot trust our finite minds or our limited reasoning to be the final arbiter of truth, especially the truth about God.

#58  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Please, I'm not disagreeing JJ. I have used the same argument many times in regard to the subjective nature of Charismatic claims. However I'd like you to affirm that in scripture. I know my heart is "deceitful...", but the children of Israel (as are we) are instructed many, many times to remember where we've come from. "Remember how God opened the Red Sea, the miracles in Egypt, remember the Passover, on and on and on. Paul tells us to remember where we've come from. I'd really love to have someone objectively qualify your statement Biblically.

#59  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson (GTY Admin)  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 11:39 AM

The Israelites didn't have to rely on their own faulty memories to remember where they'd come from--the history of how God provided for and protected them was recorded in the pages of Scripture. In the same way, we ought to continually draw our minds back to the objective biblical record of how the Lord protected and provided for us in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

#60  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Rick in #58 writes,

Paul tells us to remember where we've come from. I'd really love to have someone objectively qualify your statement Biblically.

The examples you supply were objective, historical events that happened to be God moving in spectacular, miraculous ways. Especially God moving during specific periods in the history of His dealings with Israel.

God didn't call Israel to remember them because of the miraculous nature of those events, but to remember them because of God faithfulness to the promises He had made to His people.

In a similar fashion, the Gospel narratives and the book of Acts is God calling us to remember the work Christ did during His ministry and the revelatory nature of the apostle's message. The miracles confirmed the divine hand at work during that time and we remember them not because of the miracles but because they direct us to display how God is still faithful to the promise of salvation.

#61  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 12:36 PM

There is another side to the evaluation of experiences (thanks Jeremiah and Fred for responding there), namely, evaluating the performers of the gifts. As many "conservative" charismatics know, the more popular charismatic teachers/evangelists have serious theological problems beyond the area of the gifts. Many preach a health/wealth/prosperity gospel, Second Blessing theology, egalitarianism, etc.

I recall John MacArthur saying once, if the gifts were indeed for today, why wouldn't they be given to those who faithfully teach the true gospel and all of Scripture? Why would the gifts be most prominent among false teachers? Of course, many would object to that line of thinking.

But for those who agree with John's teaching on almost everything except the gifts, this is a serious matter to consider. If non-cessationists are correct, then the experience of the gifts serves to validate the theology they perpetuate. This is, after all, the purpose of the gifts in the NT.

Benny Hinn has countless testimonies of people who claim to have been healed by him. Setting aside contradictory testimonies (they clearly didn't have the necessary faith), if someone is able to collect hundreds--if not thousands--of personal testimonies, does that not validate their teaching? If experience is a measure of truth, then one would have to conclude that it does. But I doubt any reader of this blog is prepared to affirm Benny Hinn theology, let alone his practice.

#62  Posted by Timothy Black  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Mr. Powell:

Absolutely, scripture is "our test for truth"! And what is the basis for my daughter and me being healed? Scripture. All throughout scripture, God healed. He used prophets, disciples, apostles and even Stephen the deacon (who never really "healed" according to scripture but performed miracles). But not everyone got healed! The Word is plain on that, too, which discounts the notion that those with the gift of healing should empty out hospitals as suggested by Mr. Ratzlaff. We don't know why some get healed and some don't, except it is the glory of God to conceal a matter.

All I know is this: We were both healed at revivals led by two Christian evangelists who prayed in the name of Jesus. And since scripture is our test for truth, please, with all due love and respect, show me where God quit healing. Please show me the verse. Please don't direct me to a four-part sermon from someone whose paradigm already suggests that healing has stopped. If we simply listen to the commentary of someone without a clear-cut pronouncement from God's Word, then we truly are just relying on someone else's "experience," and not all of them reflect scripture.

#63  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Mr. Black Everybody that Christ ministered healing to WAS healed. That's one of the monumental differences between NT healing and healers and today's imposters.

Matthew 4:23–24 (ESV) — 23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.

Matthew 8:16 (ESV) — 16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.

IF you were healed ( I don't doubt that, I'm just saying for me to say you were is subjective) then I think it's fair to say it was a result of Prayer. Not a modern day healer.

The pastoral epistles were Paul directs the activity and direction of the Church he never implores them to speak in tongues or heal. In fact they all died. The disciples I mean.

#64  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Monday, April 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Point B - After the book of Acts there is not one recorded healing. (I think I'm right about that)

Even in Corinthians where Paul deals with a mis-use of the gifts is there a recorded use of the sign gifts.

Timothy - the gifts recorded in scripture are there to point to the onlookers that the gifted person was under God, or sent by God's authority. To prove their aunenticity. And we don't need that any more as you point out, "we have scripture".

#65  Posted by Michael Kennedy  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Let's not forget; Satan is the counterfeiter, is he not? Is he not the father of lies? But our focus is on God and His Word and what it is really the tremendous help of our teacher John MacArthur.

By learning what the Bible says is having God's wisdom, IF we trust Him for everything, then whatever happens, God is in control.

Gotta remember, satan loves to fool people and keep them in question. So just keep your eyes in the book and stayed on God cause He will make perfect sense of His Word; He won't forsake us.

#66  Posted by Timothy Black  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Mr. Powell, Mr. Ratzlaff:

Actually, Mr. Ratzlaff, here are some verses where people did not get healed, in response to your previous post: Matthew 13:58, Matthew 17:16 and Mark 6:5.

And in response to Mr. Powell's previous post concerning why so many "false teachers" operate in the gifts, that is pure subjectivity which Mr. Powell denounced in an earlier post.

Here's what I'm after, gentlemen: If your camp is so willing to put the charismatic movement on blast (and granted, it contains phonies and fakes just like any other "movement"), and included in your package is the suggestion that gifts no longer operate today, and that all these prophets and healers and those speaking words of knowledge are fake because those gifts ended, there needs to be some pretty hard-core biblical evidence to support that. I asked for that earlier, and Mr. Ratzlaff's response fell shy by him talking about what the gifts were for in the Bible.

If your group is taking such a hard stance against these who seem to operate in the gifts, again, please show me one verse that substantiates that the gifts ended. Your pronouncements are very bold against them, so I feel you must verify it from God's Word. No subjectivity, no redirecting me to someone's subjective study or sermon series, show me God's Word that says the gifts ended.

In a previous post, I displayed modern evidence to support that they haven't. And my basis for believing that came from the Word of God, which is full of the gifts in operation.

And by the way, in one of your posts, you stated that healing only took place one time after Acts, which may be true. But the word "gift" or "gifts" as used in 1 Corinthians 14 when talking about spiritual gifts is found in 1 Tim. 4:14, 2 Tim. 1:6, 1 Peter 4:10, Romans 11:29 and Romans 12:6.

I look forward to your response, or anyone else's response. Thank you.

#67  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM

#66 Tim Black wrote,

If your camp is so willing to put the charismatic movement on blast … and included in your package is the suggestion that gifts no longer operate today... there needs to be some pretty hard-core biblical evidence to support that.

On the contrary, I would say in response, if these gifts are still operative today there had better be some hard-core real life evidence in support of that. IOW, I want to see a healer heal a real, quadriplegic who is entirely wheel chair bound. I want to see a healer go to the burn ward down at UCLA, heal the people there and then proclaim the gospel. I do not want it to only be seen at a staged, evangelistic crusade style event. IF these individuals still operate today because God gifts them with such gifts, then we need to be able to see them operate in real life. I don’t see it at all.

Typically, it is claimed that the reason the people don’t get healed is because they don’t seek it. A) that was never a condition of healing in the NT and B) I know personally of individuals who did seek it yet to no avail.

Moreover, the instance of healing is always in the arena of “hearsay,” meaning a person who allegedly was risen from the dead or a man who had a limb cut off but completely restored was in some backwater, third world country setting where such instances of healing are unverifiable. The NT documentation of healing was in public with thousands of witnesses testifying to the reality of the healing. The healing was so public that it got Jesus and the apostles in trouble with the religious and governmental authorities.


If your group is taking such a hard stance against these who seem to operate in the gifts, again, please show me one verse that substantiates that the gifts ended.

And if your group is taking such a hard stance favoring the continued operation of those gifts, please show us one substantial instance where a person who was a complete paraplegic was restored to health. Bring him forth with documentation that he was completely paraplegic but now is able to fully function with the use of all of his body because it was restored to complete health.

In a previous post, I displayed modern evidence to support that they haven't. And my basis for believing that came from the Word of God, which is full of the gifts in operation.

Honestly, you provided a hearsay story that is unverifiable except your testimony. You also didn’t say who the alleged healer was who healed you. Is there a name to that “evangelist?” A person we can verify.

Look. I am not saying you are lying, or misleading us. And I would say that God still heals today. But the contention is with the idea of gifted individuals who have the spirit giving them ability to lay hands on people and totally heal them of their ailments. And we are not talking about people with back pain. We mean people with stage four cancer or missing limbs. That gift of the holy spirit certainly came to an end.

#68  Posted by Rick Ratzlaff  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Mr. Black - please allow me to BOLD face what Fred said.

"But the contention is with the idea of gifted individuals who have the spirit giving them ability to lay hands on people and totally heal them of their ailments".

God can heal today and He does, but not as result of some NT styled Spirit filled healer. THEY ARE GONE. Through prayer like Paul instructed the Elders to pray, or any caring person, if and when God chooses to heal, He will. If God places a person, by His sovereign will, in a situation where he needs another language HE can. Tongues in the NT are a dialect/language that is writable or translatable. But not the gibberish of today.

The verses you gave back to me don't say that Jesus could not heal those in his home town because he or they, didn't have enough faith that he could do it. It's saying that they never came down to the tent meeting because he was a commoner. To think or claim that Jesus relied on MY faith to give Him power to heal is prosperous.

He created and sustains the universe, he doesn't need me to unleash the power. That's one of the broken planks in the charismatic movement; bringing God in flesh down to my level of humaneness.

I'm sure you don't mean that either, but that's the essence. As far as the disciples go, they had neither the HS (He hadn't been given) nor the scripture. So Christ taught them a lesson. A one time only not a norm.

On another note - maybe you don't believe in the Trinity. If you do there is no scripture to support that categorically either. Same with God. Can you objectively prove that there is God. Thankfully not. But the summation of all scripture clearly point to the fact that there in one. So your logic requiring an objective verse is limiting.

Have a great day.

#70  Posted by Timothy Black  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Mr. Butler, Mr. Ratzlaff:

I do not know why some people get healed and some do not. But once again, you are not using the scriptures to back up your claims. You are using your own logic and subjectivity to support your views, and you are not sticking to the topic. I just want to be shown where the gifts ended through God's Word. Instead, I get the same rhetoric where you use your own viewpoint to try to convince how they don't exist.

And I understand it's very easy to question me, someone you don't know, but I can document every testimony I have. My daughter said last night she remembers most of what happened. And the evangelist, once again, told my wife that she was worried about her youngest but that God was healing her right now. And she was healed. I'd call that pretty prophetic, wouldn't you? And you're discounting that that was gifting in action?

Please go to God's Word. Please do not use examples of Joe Shmo who is a phony and a fake. Please consider ONLY God's Word. Please show me they ended. Fellas, I have other testimonies similar to the two I gave. There are testimonies in books. But please, show me how gifts ended in the Bible. And the reason that you write back with your own opinions and arguments is because you won't be able to find it in the Word. It's not there.

#71  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Timothy Black writes,

I do not know why some people get healed and some do not.

I would think such would be an important thing to know. I would be inclined to ask why not anyone being healed if the gifts are so manifest as you claim they are.

And I understand it's very easy to question me, someone you don't know, but I can document every testimony I have.

Isn’t questioning individuals who make such claims a biblical response? In Mark 2, for example, when the paraplegic was healed and made completely whole and able to even pick up his bed (notice he didn’t even have to go through therapy in order to learn to walk), the people could verify his healing. It wasn’t a “testimony” of someone far away. The point being is that miracles in the Bible happened before audiences. There were eye witnesses who knew the situation beforehand, saw the work of God, and could testify afterward.

Moreover, I believe it is perfectly legitimate to ask you the name of this evangelist to know where that person is coming from theologically and what his background is. The Scripture, does tell us to consider who the person is who is claiming to do signs and wonders. See Deut. 13 and 18 for example.

Please do not use examples of Joe Shmo who is a phony and a fake.

I’d like an example of Joe Shmo who is the real deal. I haven’t even gotten a name yet.

And the reason that you write back with your own opinions and arguments is because you won't be able to find it in the Word. It's not there.

On the contrary, you have been answered according to the Word. Perhaps not specifically with this post, but John MacArthur has taught extensively on this subject both when he taught through 1 Corinthians and when he addressed the charismatics specifically. I would refer you to those indepth studies.

However, I am kind of getting the impression that I can go to many passages of Scripture and no matter what I say, you won’t accept it as reliable. Am I wrong or right about that?

#72  Posted by Timothy Black  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Mr. Butler:

Please just show me one scripture that definitively says that the gifts ended. That's all. I will wholeheartedly accept it.

#73  Posted by Ben Enders  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Joyce (or anyone),

What are your thoughts on spiritual formation? I think this connects into this blog because the teaching is that you can be in direct contact with the Holy Spirit. The reason I asked, “how do you know it’s from the HS” is because I believe there is a danger that evil spirits may enter a non-Christian who attempts some of the techniques taught. My church has recently started a study of Richard Fosters “Celebration of Discipline” and no one is interested in discussing my concerns over his theology and meditation techniques.



#74  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Adding to what Fred wrote...

... The problem with asking for "a verse" is that's an invalid way to argument over truth. No matter what the issue is, throwing a verse into the mix never solved any theological debate. We can't throw a verse out there, because both the cessationist and non-cessationist positions require exegetically-driven, reasoned out explanations.

Though truth is contained in verses, Scripture wasn't written "verse-by-verse." It's not like a legal textbook which was written from the start with chapter, section, paragraph, and line numbers. Therefore the truth in Scripture must take into consideration the historical context, author, recipients, reason for writing, etc.

I can't help but get the impression that you haven't heard or read the theological position and biblical interpretations of cessationists (like John MacArthur, but not only him). If you're really interested in knowing why "we" think the way we think, then it's going to take an investment of time to investigate it. There's plenty on this (GTY) website to do so, but you can also see a series of blog articles here (scroll down the Nathan Busenitz's articles on cessationism.

But as Fred said, are you really interested in listening?

#75  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson (GTY Admin)  |  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM


We posted a series of articles from John MacArthur dealing with spiritual formation and the biblical pattern of spiritual growth late last year. We don't have a page for the series yet, but you can find the first post here:

#78  Posted by Becky Haynie  |  Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 12:48 PM

#72 Timothy Black

You might consider looking at for clarity regarding cessationism and gifts.

Just type in 'faith healing' or 'speaking in tongues' and read the answers. They are all supported by scripture.

Your first post - #50 - mentioned two 'tongue talking' evangelists who healed both you and your daughter. Do you (or your wife) have the gift of interpretation? You cannot have one without the other.