John MacArthur attacks the Charismatic Movement at ‘Strange Fire’ Conference

John Macarthur 01

If you’re an Evangelical and you’ve been connected to the internet for the past few days you have no doubt heard about the “Strange Fire” conference hosted by Grace to You, the ministry of Dr. John MacArthur. The conference is largely a critique of the Charismatic/Pentecostal movements that have steadily been growing in influence in world wide Christianity. John MacArthur’s position on the topic is really quite simple: The Charismatic movement with signs, wonders, “miraculous” spiritual gifts, prophecy etc. is a work of Satan and is being used to single-handedly destroy the Church of Jesus Christ.

As you may know, John MacArthur doesn’t mince words. This is literally the message that he and those speaking at the conference are promoting. What is more surprising is that this isn’t a small conference at all. This isn’t just John MacArthur off in a corner spouting of this craziness. Rather, this conference features many of the leading voices in conservative Evangelicalism, like R.C. Sproul (the grandfather of the neo-reformed movement), Conrad Mbewe (the “Billy Graham” of Zambia), Steve Lawson (prominent reformed preacher), and Joni Erickson Tada (prominent Evangelical woman minister). All of these leading “Evangelicals” have teamed up to attack and condemn the fastest growing movement in the global Church and perhaps the fastest growing theological orientation among conservative Christians.

Related: The 6 Worst Things About American Christianity – by Stephen Mattson

What makes the Strange Fire conference so shocking to me is that some of the most prominent conservative Christian leaders today are charismatic- people like John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Joshua Harris, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, and D.A. Carson. These men have historically been friends and fans of the ministry of John MacArthur. They swim in the same theological vicinity. And on top of his criticism of these individuals, MacArthur even extended further and criticized my alma mater and one of his publishers, Moody Bible Institute, for calling him out last year for anti-semetic statements he made at our annual Founders Week Conference and blasted our school for publishing an article in our newspaper following the election of Pope Francis. (I am not entirely sure what this even has to do with Charismatic Theology seeing as Moody is a Cessasitionist Institution?) Here’s what MacArthur said:

We know that the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness, of judgment, to bear historical witness to the Gospel, to empower those who preach its saving message. The Holy Spirit is faithful to the Gospel and would never misrepresent the Gospel. So wherever the devaluing of Gospel truth is visible, we know that’s not the work of the Holy Spirit. And let me be blunt: Any movement that can fully embrace Roman Catholicism is not a movement of the Holy Spirit, because that’s a false gospel!…

 

I was criticized openly and publicly for what I said at Moody Bible Institute for what I said on Isaiah 53. The next week, there was an article from students at Moody hailing the arrival of Pope Francis as the new Pope. Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone in Evangelical historic Protestant history make a concession to Catholicism? It’s just become part of the contemporary fabric of Evangelicalism.”

All of these men were friends of John MacArthur. At least, until now. I am not sure how you could to continue to work with someone who publicly says that your theology and practice is “demonic” and has a legacy of “perverting the gospel and forsaking the truth of God’s Word.” MacArthur, in his closing message of the conference, acknowledged that the conference was divisive and offensive to many of his collegues. But he continued to say, according to Tim Challies, that “he does care about offending [peoples feelings].Just not nearly as much as he cares about not offending God.” And that most people in the [Charismatic] movement are “not Christians” anyways. It’s obvious that John MacArthur is not too worried about severing these long held ties. He’s got his own theological crew, he has a mega church, he has his publishers, and so he doesn’t really need anyone anymore.

But this major division that is forming among Evangelical Christianity’s most important and influential leaders is, I believe, the beginning of the end of “royal era” of right-winged Evangelical Christianity. In other words, the right-winged version of Evangelical Christendom seems to be quickly dying.

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Not only are the leaders in the upper echelon of Evangelicalism clearly going senile, but it seems that these divisions being caused by their overly-dogmatic theology cannot be undone. Or rather, they will not be undone. This long standing manifestation of Evangelicalism values theological rightness over relationship. If John Piper is seen as demonic by John MacArthur, then all of John MacArthur’s faithful followers will see John Piper as demonic and vice versa. The divides that this new (or not so new) kind of rhetoric are causing seem to be irreversible. This seems to be a sign that the tectonic plates are shifting beneath the ground of Evangelicalsm. The foundations are shaking. It’s times like these that highlight our need for reformation. For revival.

Also by Brandan: The Future of Evangelicalism in the Millennial Generation

Looking at these events unfolding, I feel a growing sense of embarassment. The Church of Jesus Christ in the West cannot seem to get it’s act together. We spend more time and money forming conferences that blast those who differ from us theologically, create billboards that are meant to piss non-believers off, and to write books about how the Church is heading for immanent death because of the legalization of gay marriage and abortion while millions are dying of aids, poverty rates are sky-rocketing, and the world around us is falling into despair. We, the body of Christ, should be spending our time spreading love, building the Kingdom, providing for those in need, and preaching the Gospel. Not arguing about whether John Piper is demonic because he believes in the gift of tongues. How absurd. How blasphemous.

But even in light of all of this, I have hope. I believe that it is these sort of events that shine the spotlight on the profound need for God to do a new thing in our midst. It’s these situations that cause substantial reformation to begin to bubble to the surface and make waves within the Church. It’s these situations that I desperately hope provoke the Church to once again heed the Gospel’s call and rise up to create a brighter future for the Church and the world through rethinking, reforming, and renewing the way we live and believe our faith.

May it be so.

Note: Post updated by author on October 21, 2013 at 5:45pm.




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About the Author

Brandan Robertson

Brandan RobertsonBrandan Robertson is a writer, activist, speaker, and dreamer behind The Revangelical Movement. He has a B.A. in Pastoral and Biblical Studies from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and is pursuing his Masters of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary. Brandan writes for a number of prominent outlets and is a frequent guest on national and international radio programs. Follow him on Twitter @BrandanJR.View all posts by Brandan Robertson →

  • Michael

    Brandon, in your largely incoherent diatribe, you didn’t use Scripture to support any of your arguments: not once. The Strange Fire conference based its entire platform on what the Bible actually says and not the musings or opinions of men. I think you should challenge John MacArthur to a debate. Many of us would enjoy that very much. I am glad you are still in school. You have so much to learn.

    • Daniel King

      Here is a great Scripture for you. 1 Cor. 14:39 “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.”

      • Charles

        Thanks for sharing the passage. Just for a bit of context…

        1 Corinthians 14:33–40 (ESV) — 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

        In all honesty, how often is it that women speak in tongues in worship gatherings, along with those who operate as a pastors and teachers over men (1 Tim 2:12)? How do we get around the fact that Paul says this is a command from the Lord (v.37)? Does God change? If what we see being practiced in modern charismatic churches is authentic, it should never contradict Scripture. As someone who grew up in charismatic churches, I can relate to much of the disorder Paul is addressing in 1 Cor 12-13. The problem far too often is that it’s deemed unloving to want to discuss how preferred practices fail to line up with Scripture in context, although we are clearly commanded to rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).

    • Brandan Robertson

      Michael-
      Thank you for your comment. It’s clear you are not very connected to the Holy Spirit, because you’re obviously not filled with love but rather divisiveness. I am not offended that you don’t like the piece, I am offended at how degrading you are.

      Stop worshiping the Bible. Seek Jesus. Lord knows we all would benefit from that.

      Love-
      The Author

      • Frank

        Thanks for confirming your immaturity. Right on cue.

      • Michael

        Brandan, you just judged my entire faith walk on a single comment made on a single internet post. Frankly, I don’t know much about you or your personal relationship with God. What is apparent; however, is that you have a low view of Scripture. You rely too much on your feelings, too much on your opinions, and not enough on the unchanging perfect infallible Word of God. You obviously didn’t attend (or even watch) Strange Fire. If you had, you would know that the conference was aiming at the silliness you see in movements that are obviously absurd and that make a complete departure from biblical Christianity; Movements where people are told to not seek doctors when they have AIDS, Movements where people are told that the reason they are in a wheelchair is due to their own lack of faith. If you feel led to support such movements, that is your own choice; but, don’t claim to be loving when you do so. Your article wasn’t factual and it’s entire purpose was divisive. If you have a personal issue with John MacArthur seek the Biblical method of conflict resolution. Pick up the phone and call him directly. Don’t write an article devoid of Scripture and devoid of fact to aid you in your personal attacks of a Christian brother. Furthermore, I lovingly implore you, if you haven’t done so already, repent of your sins and put your trust in Christ alone. Then get yourself to a Bible believing Church and under the authority of a Pastor who values the Word of God.

        • Brandan Robertson

          I am a christian. I hold a high view of scripture. My article is not divisive. I did watch the conference. I go to a Bible Believing church. And have you ever attempted to contact John MacArthur? I have MANY times. He refuses to talk. Lets stop making this so personal. Much love, Michael.

          • Frank

            If you have a biblical case to counteract what MacArthur is saying do it but you can’t whine now about it being personal when you made it personal to begin with.

            Brandon I know you are young but you have to try and so better than this.

          • Brandan Robertson

            Frank-

            My age has nothing to do with my ability to interpret scripture, brother. Be weary that you do not sin in judging me because I am younger- age doesn’t mean you understand “truth” more than anyone else.

            Also, of course there is a Biblical case to counteract MacArthur. His theology on this issue is dramatically unbiblical. But the point of this article isn’t Bible study. It’s to call the Church to seek God for reformation.

            Why not check out John Pipers work over at Desiring God? They have a lot of good, thuroughly Biblical support for Charismatic Movement and Sign Gifts. Or check out my video on YouTube interviewing Wayne Grudem about why he believes in Sign Gifts. But let’s not pretend MacArthur has cornered the market on doing “biblical theology”.

          • Frank

            Brandon you make the mistake that many young people do, myself included.

            Whether your post came from immaturity, misplaced zeal or a lack of understanding, instead of defending yourself why not do yourself a favor and rewrite the piece with more wisdom and less hypocrisy and display the qualities you believe you have?

      • Chrissy

        In reply to the statement “Stop worshiping the Bible”!!!! Am I mistaken in my belief that Jesus is the “Word” made flesh, and that every word in the Bible in the “inerrant word of God”..plus when everything else passes away only Gods “Word” will remain. Surely sound biblical knowledge must be number one in our Christian walk…how can we know the “Word”….Jesus if we don’t know the “Word”… the Bible.

    • Calvin

      He seems to have struck a grand note with you, sir. So much so, that you feel the need to demean, as if you are in any way better than he or more able to understand the issue at hand. Perhaps you could simply ask for scripture without your snide comments that only serve to tear one down.

      • Frank

        Um the whole blog post was a sophomoric attempt at tearing down.

        • Brandan Robertson

          No. The post was an attempt to call out MacArthur and his team to highlight the division and harm they are causing the body of Christ.

          And let’s keep attacking my writing shall we? No one said this was the most eloquent piece in the world. That’s not it’s point. Sheesh.

          • 22044

            Brandan,
            I like you. If you want to make points, you should be able to communicate them in a persuasive way. It would be helpful to see first-hand sources that MacArthur is criticizing people, rather than ideas.

            I like some of the people mentioned in both “camps”.

            There are some excesses in the charismatic movement that should be called out as such. Hopefully all the folks mentioned can respectfully debate and discuss those, to honor Christ.

          • John

            Well said, 22044. This discussion needs to lower its temperature, and stop the name calling. This is a very worthwhile conversation, and one we are capable of having.

          • Frank

            The writing is the least of the problems with this post. You are correct.

            So are you really oblivious to the hypocrisy of calling someone out for calling someone out? Or the hypocrisy of causing division and harm by ostracizing those you claim are causing division and harm by ostracizing others?

          • Drew

            But you support the division insomuch as you believe it will usher in a mass conversion to your brand of postmodernist and relativist philosophy.

  • LenNorthfield

    Superb piece, Brandon. I wholeheartedly agree with you.

  • Scott Arthur

    Great article Brandon. i could not agree more.

  • Jared S

    While I’m not a fan of MacArthur’s increasingly small circle he’s drawn around himself, It’s a pretty huge leap to see this as a sign Right-Wing Evangelical Christianity (RWEC) is dying. Some of those he’s accusing are even bigger names in sections of RWEC: Lou Engle, Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle, and Larry Hutch come to mind.

    As an example, Ted Cruz’s showdown attempts weren’t influenced by MacArthur or even James Dobson — they were influenced by charismatic sects usually called the “New Apostolic Reformation” which sees itself as the way revival comes to the world along with governmental powers.

    MacArthur’s been a grouch for decades — notably calling Mother Teresa some nasty things 20+ years ago. He has a small, yet fierce, following (I grew up in a Reformed church and never even heard of him until I was 21!) that has never been the prominent face of conservative evangelical Christianity.

  • Daniel Olson

    Of course my own fleshly tendency is to shun Christian leaders who shun or condemn others. But if I do that I guess that makes me just like them. With a compassionate heart, I’m simply grieved that division is being caused. I try to judge the words as true or false… by the Spirit, but….

    I havent been given practical authority to judge/rebuke those to whom I’m not in relationship with, and truly they will be judged (good or bad) by God, for they hold the reigns to the hearts of all those God has entrusted to them. They need our prayers more than anything.

    In the mean time I try to embrace a voice of reconciliation and objectivity, refraining from rhetoric and merciless bashing which we are warned of throughout the Gospels and Paul’s letters. Let me be an instrument of peace.

    • Michael

      The divisiveness begins at the departure from Scripture. When our faith or our worship contradicts Biblical Christianity, we have departed from the faith. Additionally, Jesus gives Christians a clear criteria for judging false teachers in Scripture. Romans 16:17-18, Matthew 7:15, are two places to start.

      • Susan

        Yes!! Earnestly contend for the faith!! Jude 1:3 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, profuse are the kisses on an enemy. Prov. 27:5-6

      • Daniel Olson

        Matthew 7 starts like this…”Do not judge…” It goes on using the speck/plank analogy. But we arent even talk about my speck/plank or your speck/plank. We are discussing someone else’s speck/plank who we dont even know.
        And whatever word comes to me over the airwaves… i judge the word by its content, not the person delivering it. for i dare not judge someone as a false prophet with so little reference. After all scripture does say… if a man *comes to you….* not if you hear a message some other way. Should we really judge someones fruit from such a great distance and no personal interaction?

        Divisiveness begins when we find it necessary to judge/criticize others we are not in covenant with. Satan loves when we speak about that which we do not know. A legalistic sense of scripture does not require or tolerate objectivity and discernment; only compliance to the NT scriptures which we have then reduced to a new form of “law”.

        Do we recognize that there was no nationwide community of the church in the first century? No internet. No TV. No telephone. Not even a postal service. These guidelines were given to be used in the LOCAL body. What right or responsibility do I have to criticize a pastor/teacher on the other side of the state much less one on the other coast? How does that serve ANYONE?

        I have learned this: build relationships with my LOCAL body. HERE I will learn the true dynamics of rebuke, edification, community, authority, submission, accountability and commitment. The rest is no better than gossip or slander, and partaking draws me no closer to the truth or my Savior. If the lack of productive growth, accountability, etc. observed on the discussion threads here is any indication, then what i said above must be true.

  • otrotierra

    Thanks, Brandan, for your commentary, and for informing us about these evangelical horrors. Whatever happened to that “Toronto Blessing” movement that erupted through Charismatic churches and essentially dividing and splitting churches across the world back in the 1990s?

    Thankfully, Hank Hanegraaff and his family were not murdered by God as publicly prophesied/predicted by that prominent Toronto Airport pastor. Since Hanegraaff and numerous other biblical scholars have already denounced Charismatic Movements years ago, why are John MacArthur and his friends coming out of the woodwork now? Some bills to pay?

  • Derrick

    You say that MacArthur says Piper is demonic and lumps Driscoll, Chan, and the others with him but you don’t site your info as you do with the Moody and Pope/Catholicism instance. Quotes would be helpful! Without references for your assertion, it seems like you are assuming he demonizes them and therefore you are demonizing him in part without proof.

    • Ashwin

      I also listened to the conference .. Its in You tube..in the preterism global channel. He said that all 500 million charismatics in the world are involved in ascribing to the Holy Spirit the works of Satan which is being done among them.He was pretty categorical in lumping ALL charismatics as doing whatever they claimed as the work of the Holy spirit through Demons. He mentioned ALL charismatic leaders are either deceivers knowingly deceiving the public or themselves deceived.He said it in a very dignified manner, but thats what he said.

  • Frank

    How much do you want to be that most here will willfully ignore the hypocrisy in this post. Truly sad.

  • David Beattie

    I guess he would not like a comment made by a vicar friend of mine who told me once ” Jesus was not always evangelistic, but he was always charismatic”

  • Jerry Reiter

    As a former evangelical and charismatic, I see similar thinking in both the charismatic and non-charismatic schools of thought – literalism. It is the same mistake the Pharisees who argued with Jesus made. They did not heed what Jesus said the scriptures were all about: Love God…Love your neighbor as yourself.

    • Drew

      The bigger issue that Jesus had with the Pharisees was with their insistence of adding man-made rules on top of Scripture. This was a great burden and often inconsistent with the Scriptures.

  • Drew

    Which is it – are you sad the divisions are occurring and you pray for reconciliation and unity, or are you happy the divisions are occurring because you hope that the disillusioned will start to worship your brand of postmodern and relativist Christianity? You clearly express both sentiments in your article.

    The Bible is crystal clear that unity is not the end goal in and of itself. Unity in Christ is the end goal. Jesus and Paul both spoke of the eternal hell that awaits false teachers and their false doctrines. It’s even in the Red Letters. Jesus even said He would end up dividing families, precisely because some would believe in Christ and some would not. If my wife, my child, my father, my mother, my boss, my pastor say something that contradicts the Bible, it is my responsibility given from Jesus myself to speak out against it. If it is not critical for salvation, then I do not let it be a dividing line, and would not break communion with those folks, but I still can speak out against it.

    The majority of the conference, which you did not pay attention to, was aimed at the Charismatic movement as a whole, yes, but was primarily focused on the more extreme abuses, which definitely deserve our attention.

    While you and Rachel Held Evans become orgasmic over a potential fracture in Christianity that you can capitalize on, I hope this conference causes those in the Charismatic movement to more carefully examine their beliefs against Scripture.

  • Barack Obama

    That’s not how you use the word literally.

  • Charles

    Brandan,

    I am very thankful that you have a heart to serve our Lord and
    it is very clear that you have a special gift in writing. However, I was deeply
    saddened to see many of the things I saw in your post, and other posts you’ve
    done after I read this one. I don’t think it was wise to say, “…not only are the
    leaders in the upper echelon of Evangelicalism clearly going senile.” You may
    disagree with them, although I have serious doubts as to whether you fully
    comprehend their convictions about safeguarding biblical truth. But I in no way
    believe it was tasteful or wise to show such blatant disrespect to our elders in
    the faith. I know the new “Christian” craze is to hang out in pubs, bash guys
    like John MacArthur, and speak like the “cool” pastors, but the redeemed should
    not speak like the world (“…meant to piss non-believers off…”) (Ephesians
    5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are
    out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.) Finally, if you actually
    watched the conference, then you would know that MacArthur didn’t say that guys
    like John Piper were demonically controlled or influenced, not even close. His
    case, which I think was compelling, is that when these types of leaders openly
    teach that we should remain open to many abuses in charismatic circles, all the
    while acknowledging the harm that it causes, they are in fact giving credibility
    to wrong and destructive theology. As I said in the beginning, I am thankful
    your heart is to serve the Lord, and you have a great talent. But you must
    decide to what degree you are willing to cling and stand for biblical truth. (2
    Timothy 4:2–4 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound
    teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.)
    From a concerned brother and pastor not so much older than
    you,
    Charles

    • Frodo

      Charles, You have a superior tone and are passively condescending. You may not like Charles language or style, but he raises valid issues with John MacArthur’s focus – that of disrespecting the beliefs of a large portion of the Christian brothers and sisters in this great nation.

      I suggest that you stick to defending your position on the blog post and not presume that anyone cares to have you admonish them personally as a concerned brother. Charles’ style and language are just fine as far as I am concerned,and if you like more ‘polite’ dialogue then visit other sites. People here prefer to discuss matters and not be lectured about their style.

      From an equally concerned brother, not a pastor, but possibly much older than you.

      • Dorian Anthony Jones

        The only issues i see are the questions of whether Charles actually watched the conference… perhaps he would like to answer the “Errors” of the statements, made by these men, instead of writing them off as senile… The conference was full of biblical, historical, and current references of the “Charismatic movements abuses of scripture…It is obvious from his post that if he has, he did not commit time to properly critique the speakers, instead choosing to use ad homonim attacks…

    • Christopher Erik

      “puke”, “piss-off”, “poo-poo”, oh my!

    • Joey Hernandez

      Joey Hernandez NYC – 46 years old.
      I am not a man of eloquent words and my writting skills are not very good. For that I ask all who read my post to forgive me. You really have to see/hear the conference messages to understand the critique.
      I was born and raised in a Pentecostal Church. Throughout my teens I attended assemblies of God church, United Methodist church , Jesus Only church and Creflo Dollars meetings (2006). The Gospel was NEVER NEVER expoused or explained. Everything from legalism to asking the Lord for the “babtism of the Holy Spirit” were the teachings. I was a witness of all the crazy behaviour described by the speakers in the Strange fire conference in All these gatherings. As a little boy my mother would take me to “healing campaigns” for a miracle on my nerve dead left ear. Countless times I remember being prayed for as a kid for healing and witnessed unorderly behaviour in these campaigns.
      It was not until many years later (2007) that I was introduced to Bible expositors such as R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur and John Piper. By reading Gods Word, praying and listening to the expositions of these pastors I belive The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to TRUTH and since then I know I was saved.
      I ask all to really pay attention to the arguments in the Strange Fire Conference and you will see the errors the charismatic church practices.
      John MacArthur is a man and he does make mistakes, however, he will be down in history as one of the best bible expositors in the 20 and 21 first century along with RC and Piper and others of the same line of thought … TRUTH.
      Lets all pray for eachother that God helps us dicern the Truth and that all the junk in “Christian TV” be dealt with by dicerning Christians.
      God Bless you all!.
      Joey

      • Andrew

        But MacArthur espouses Lordship Salvation, which erroneously claims that you require more than faith for salvation! Sadly, just about everything he says and writes is tainted by it. I agree with everything he has said about the Charismatics though.

  • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

    John MacArthur and his theology is largely irrelevant. Many people stopped listening to him years ago. It’s only the MacArthurites that finance his empire and keep his platform going. Give it a few more years… he will be a memory to a bygone era.

    • otrotierra

      Greg, you’re more hopeful than I can be on this matter. Although it can be argued that MacArthur and other Calvinist Evangelicals are becoming increasingly marginalized politically, socially and intellectually, religious fundamentalism in all its stripes maintains its frothing-at-the-mouth defenders, as has been well documented here among other spaces.

      • Tim Mayeaux

        THERE IT IS ! Do you want to be aligned with the “political” voices of today ? Social morality? Intellects? “be NOT of this world” My GOD can defend Himself, HE doesn’t need my help….ever ! “Test the spirits to see if they be of GOD”.

    • Drew

      You want to talk about being divisive, look in the mirror, Greg.

      • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

        Thanks for the words of wisdom. But, I got news for you. Christianity has gone far beyond being unified. My comments won’t add a single splinter to what is already a fragmented body. I’m willing to push folks who have done great harm to the church, like MacArthur, in order to bring about the minutest attempt at unification.

        • Susan

          Jesus main concern is not unification! For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Matt 10:35 Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:38 The ecumenical church of the last days will be brimming over with false doctrine all in the name of unity and peace!

          • Peter Den Haan

            Context. Matthew 10:35 is about the disunity between church and world which may cut through family ties. It’s not about the church family and cannot be used to think about the church. Use John 17:14ff; it addresses both world disunity and church unity. The big trick, of course, is to figure out when someone has put themselves outside the church family with a different gospel. Much as I disagree with what MacArthur has done, I’d say he was surely still a brother in Christ – making unity important.

          • Myriad

            I think the point MacArthur is making is that the world (and satan) has moved into the church and that there are indeed false prophets and false Christ’s (anointed ones) amongst us not sparing the flock. When spiritual gifts are emphasised above the ‘fruits’ of the Spirit (when Jesus clearly says spiritual gifts are NOT even a proof of spiritual life Matt7:21-23) and when “the Lord told me” syndrome rather than Scriptural sufficiency and authority, dominates an ethos- then it must be stood against.

          • Frank

            Very well said!

          • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

            You give Satan too much credit. That’s the problem with half of evangelical Christianity.

          • Drew

            Number one problem in Evangelical Christianity is the blatant worship of postmodernism, something it appears that you may support.

    • Jerry Dodson

      I wait to see if you are right. But I doubt it. And what Lordship Salvation heresy are you referring to? MacArthur simply pointed out that if you don’t have works in keeping with repentance, you aren’t saved. Post-moderns hate such black and white truth, which is why they don’t like MacArthur. That hardly makes him irrelevant, just irritating because darkness and light don’t stand on the same ground.

      • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

        Jerry – There is nothing to wait for. MacArthur has already exposed his false teachings to the public many years ago. This is why nobody listens to him and he is more or less non-essential.

        Works does not figure into the equation of salvation. We are ONLY saved by grace through faith. In fact, it’s a gift from God (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Works is a result of salvation, certainly not a means to an end. What MacArthur teaches is heresy at least according to Protestant standards.

        • Frank

          Its quite ironic to say no one listens to MacArther when obviously you are not only listening but responding. Not to mention that he stil has agree amount of influence, much more than anyone who writes for this site.

          • Peter Den Haan

            If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, yet the rest of your life says “no he isn’t”, did you ever believe? Everyone can repeat a few words (Mt 7:20ff). He who has begun a good work will surely finish it. If there is no sanctification, there never was justification or faith.

          • Frank

            Great! How is that relevant?

          • Carl

            I just hope you are living a sanctified life..in word thought and deed or else you fit into that group of never justified. And if you are presently living a sanctified life I hope you continue else according to your theology it will mean that you were never justified.
            Have you not read 1Cor where we read of some really unsanctified people whom Paul addressed as the sanctified in Christ.
            I am in no way advocating unholy living as I believe that the judgment seat of Christ will bring weeping and gnashing of teeth to those who are positional sanctified in Christ yes justified but does not live a practical sanctified life.
            Let us therefore serve with acceptably with reverence and Godly fear as we are exhorted in Heb 12:28..for our God is a consuming fire. Vs29. He is speaking to believers and that fire refers to the seriousness and intensity of the judgment of believers.
            God bless you

          • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

            I think the only reason there is a lot of response is because most people are tired of these John MacArthur types highjacking evangelical Christianity. And, they’re making their voices heard. You conservatives had a lot of response to Rob Bell a couple of years ago, even though Piper dismissed him. It goes both ways.

        • Rob Crosby

          If no one is listening to MacArhthur ,then why are we having this discussion and why was the conference the number one tweeted item three days ago?

          • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

            Easy answer. It’s because most people are tired of these John MacArthur types highjacking evangelical Christianity. And, they’re making their voices heard. Same thing you MacArthurites did with that little known, post modern, Love Wins, pastor from Michigan. What was his name?

    • Gary Huddleston

      Have you ever heard of Jesus Christ? Have you ever heard of the Bible? What an ignorant post.

      • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

        I can see the MacArthurites are out in full force.

        • Gary Huddleston

          Is that some sort of cute reply you’ve come up with. Obviously you have a low view of Scripture. Or no view at all. So those who believe in the inerrancy of the Word are fading out huh. Ever thought about thinking for yourself instead of following some kids blog.

          • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

            Thought you’d like that. Actually, I have a high view of Christ… who is the Word (with a capital W) of God.

          • Gary Huddleston

            Okay Greg. good for you sir. We can accomplish very little on the board I suppose. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you are my brother. All I have to say is that Macarthur stated that he had nothing but love for Piper. He never said he was of the devil. Piper is a great man of God as I trust you are. May you enjoy health as your soul also prospers.

          • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

            Same to you, brother. God bless.

          • Gary Huddleston

            Greg, i won’t attempt to keep our conversation going, but you seem to be civil and have a heart for the Lord. You and I nor anyone else can ever judge another’s motives. The most important issue in all of life is to be reconciled to a holy God that we have actually committed high treason against. That is only accomplished through the cross of Christ. If you and I have come to the Father through the Son Scripture tells us there is no condemnation on us. Rom. 8:1. I surely don’t want to be guilty of judging others motives. I have listened to Johns preaching for a lot of years and always find him truthful and loving. I want to leave the accuser where Scripture does. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but rather a spiritual one. John is not the enemy, neither is any charismatic. It’s always the teaching. What does the teaching hold. Peace my brother

          • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

            Gary, I wish you would have just left the conversation as it was. Where I differ from you is on John’s teaching. He is arrogant, puffed up, and unloving. With rarely any modeling of God’s grace. He drives many away from the church and he is a divider. Jesus says we are to judge. That we will know believers by their fruit. And, Mac shows no fruit. Only judgment, anger, condemnation, arrogance, and other attitudes of the world.

            If you are truly a believer and follower of our King, I implore you to examine your heart about people like MacArthur. Are they living their lives in such a way that draws people to Christ and show what the Kingdom of God looks like? Are they loving God and their neighbors? Are they getting dirty in the trenches, living sacrificially, helping the poor, and the least of these? Or, are they mere academics, spending their time on the pulpit bickering, fighting, dividing, and pushing people away? Are conferences such as these REALLY necessary when there are millions of people on this earth who have not heard the Gospel and who cannot afford to put food on their table? The American church is lost. And, people like MacArthur are helping it to sink. Plain and simple. Time for MacArthur and others like him to repent and turn from their ways.

          • Gary Huddleston

            Greg, I will leave it like this. You are one sick puppy. If you believe what you just said, you are delusional at best. I’m sure you’d say the same thing about Lloyd-Jones and Spurgeon. Thanks for clarifying whose side your on. You’re nothing but an accuser of the brethren. By your words you take the side of the evil one himself. What are you one of the new prophets or a psychic. Sheesh how blind can you be. Goodbye

          • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

            Thanks. Love you too.

          • Drew

            Greg,

            So the only fruit you believe in is being a self-righteous missionary? No wonder you have turned to postmodernism, awfully high view of yourself you got there. Preaching and teaching the Word of God faithfully to millions of people across multiple generations is fruit. It might not fit your narrow view of what you have redefined the Bible to mean, but it is fruit. I suggest putting into proper perspective your own worth, God’s worth, and the worth of leading millions to people to a relationship with Jesus as MacArthur has done over the course of his life.

    • Rob Crosby

      Isnt that exactly what scripture tells us will happen. Men will turn away form sound doctrine and look for only that tickle their itchy ears makes them feel good. We are seeing that allove churches today. The gospel is no longer about repentance and sin, it has become “turn to Jesus and he will fox your life, your wife and you money. He will give you happiness.

      • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

        Rob – I would challenge you to define what the Gospel is. The Gospel is not confined to just sin and repentance. It involves much more than that. Reconciliation. Redemption. God’s kingdom. Loving God. Loving neighbor. Abundant life. Just to name a few. Sin and repentance are certainly one aspect of it, but not the ONLY part of it. Sadly, for many churches like MacArthur’s, sin and repentance seems to be the only focus. And, they are the first to point out the sins of others and not at oneself.

  • Judi

    Brandon, you say, “I am not sure how you could to continue to work with someone who says that your theology and practice is “demonic” and has a legacy of “perverting the gospel and forsaking the truth of God’s Word.” and “If John Piper is seen as demonic by John MacArthur, all of John MacArthur’s faithful followers will see John Piper as demonic.” –There is a term in logic, maybe someone else can help me her, for what you are doing with these statements. It is not good logic. MacArthur’s stating that the Charismatic movement’s signs, wonders, “miraculous” spiritual gifts, prophecy etc. is a work of Satan is not the same as saying that these people are demonic. It certainly is possible for Christians to be influenced by Satan, and “bewitched” (Gal. 3:1) by wrong doctrine, even as the Apostle Paul points out to the Galatians. What would you have said to Paul when he confronted Peter at Antioch? (Galatians 2:11ff) Was he being devisive? Truth, of course, IS, and must be, devisive.

    • drew

      This is a little different. Paul was in the right and Peter was clearly in the wrong as ashamed of his association with Gentiles. MacArthur is blasting anyone who believes in the gifts of the Spirit for today, not just the heretics on TBN and other distorters. And he does so based off of one verse which he misinterprets in 1 Corinthians 13.

  • Henry Rojas

    Brandon, Keep sharing and speaking. Many need to know that a dualistic view of Christianity was never what Jesus intended. It is by conversation within pieces like this one that brings many to have their marginalized voice heard. The voice that says my faith in Christ is not being represented by statements such as MacArthurs. The push back for what you have written is based on fear and a need to be “right.” I truly believe that blasphemy is proclaiming that God is not in something He is in and vice versa.

  • Judi

    To clarify, what I just wrote below: It seems to me that your argument rests upon faulty reasoning. The precise terminology for the fallacy escapes me at the moment, but I am sure there are people out ther who can state it.

  • Jerry Dodson

    Could you explain your comment about Sproul being “the grandfather of the neo-reformed movement,” in light of the fact that he only teaches historic Reformed theology; the same taught by Calvin and Boettner and Machen and Warfield and so on? What makes him “neo-reformed,” and what exactly does that mean?

  • Bob

    You said….”We, the body of Christ, should be spending our time spreading love, building the Kingdom, providing for those in need, and preaching the Gospel. Not arguing about whether John Piper is demonic because he asked God for the gift of tongues. How absurd. How blasphemous.”

    But your piece, I think, would be considered argumentative.

    You are right, of course, to say the above quote. But saying after doing the opposite is questionable.

    In the end, to all, is Christ divided ? Was John MacArthur crucified for you ? Was John Piper crucified for you ? None of us were baptized in their names.

  • Simz

    Just to point this out: John MacArthur did NOT alienate Pastors like John Piper. In fact, he said those pastors are people who have done much for the faith, should be respected, and loved. Most of the names you mentioned, he mentioned, but in a positive light. Im not saying you meant to, but you really misrepresented MacArthur’s view on this topic.

    • http://about.me/jonathan.boegl JS Boegl

      Simz,
      To be clear, MacArthur’s treatment of the charismatic movement was irregular at best and antithetical to the spirit of Christ.
      a.) Where do the scriptures exhort us that when you have a disagreement with a brother or sister that you RALLY A CONFERENCE AGAINST THEM. Rather than engaging His charismatic brothers and sisters in a face to face dialogue. Paul exhorts us to “make EVERY EFFORT to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” [Eph. 4:2,3] Clearly, obeying this scripture was inconvenient to John’s purpose.
      b.) John broad-stroked – AND “condemned” every pentecostal, charismatic believer along with the very few excesses that drew his dogmatic ire. When you’re saying “Charismatic theology has become the strange fire of our generation, and evangelicals have no business flirting with it on any level.” and “I’m convinced the charismatic movement has opened the door to more theological error than any other modern movement.” while likening pastors and leaders of a 5 billion member movement to “spiritual terrorists” isn’t even close to doing Ephesians 4, much less “discharging his pastoral duty”. It’s an irresponsible broad-stroke condemnation of a most vital part of the body of Christ.
      c.) I watched more of the conf than I thought I could tolerate. Mockery, jocularity, guilt-by-association flowed freely from the platform – again, not even close to the spirit of Ephesians 4 tenderness, humility and gentleness…
      I’ve been in the pentecostal/charismatic pool of the Holy Spirit for over three decades. I am currently serving as a pastor of one of the featured “targets” of MacArthur’s denigration. In the 30+ years of my involvement in anything evangelical, I’ve never met more people who have been more radically transformed, more in love with the God/Man Jesus, more committed (in terms of prayer, life involvement and finance) in loving individuals with the personal love of Jesus Christ, reaching the nations with the gospel, more zealous for the vital connection of “understanding” and “doing” the Word of God, nor more committed to a sound, authentic expression of the body of Christ than I’ve experienced here. I have yet to see a clucking chicken or a barking dog. ) What I see are weak individuals who, having been rescued by the mercy of God are hungry to encounter His love in ways that manifest a wholehearted response of love through their heart, soul, mind and strength. I am deeply grieved by John MacArthur’s condescending condemnation of this tangible Kingdom work of God. My guess is the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are grieved all the more.

      • Drew

        You are reacting with wild, raw, emotion, because you feel MacArthur is targeting you. This is a normal reaction – nobody likes to be rebuked – however it is definitely not an appropriate reaction. I pray that you learn to do more than foam and froth at the mouth when faced with a critique.

        • http://about.me/jonathan.boegl JS Boegl

          Friend, I forgive you for the demeaning indictment. Truth be told – the only foaming and frothing that’s going on was at the Strange Fire conference this past week. My exhortation to MacArthur and friends is sound and sober: “do the Word” and employ an Ephesians 4:2 & 3 relationship with the rest of the body of Christ.

          • Drew

            Are you not violating your own exhortation by posting it in public, then, rather than going directly to MacArthur?

          • http://about.me/jonathan.boegl JS Boegl

            A few Christian leaders have…

          • Drew

            Didn’t answer my question, but you didn’t have to. The answer is no, you want to hold MacArthur to a higher standard than you hold yourself. Appreciate the honesty.

          • Carl

            Drew I am not a Charismatic but I am flabbergasted at your reaction to JS Boegl. There is absolutely nothing in his statements that fit your criticisms. Your words are certainly void of the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
            Many Charismatics have certainly gone to the extreme but so have most reformed conservative fundamentalist when it comes to the fruit and the filling of the Spirit which is often evidenced in attitudes like yours.

            My brother as a younger preacher and steeped in fundamentalism I had that same spirit. Praise God He has been merciful to me and allowed me time …I am in the 60′s now…to repent and even though I am still very much anti much of what is said and done in charismatic circles yet I am abled to praise the Lord for the many who are saved under their ministries and those who live Godly lives.

            Let us who say we have the right knowledge about the person and work of the Holy Spirt manifest HIS FRUIT and be controlled by Him as we are commanded BE YE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.
            God bless you.

      • Val

        “in toto.”

        In wot?! I’m not picking on you (ok…maybe a little, but only in fun <3) but I didn't get that. You are over my head, tall one.

        • Unabashedly Christian

          “In toto” is a common Latin literary expression. It means in total, completely or altogether.

          • Val

            Oh, thanks!! I am not well versed in Latin. Point of fact my only exposure is “carpe diem” and “e pluribus unum” and ” carpe pedale (seize the sock)” which I’ve just pulled out of my rear via (oh!…another one!).Google Translate. The phrase, not the sock. I’m going to go explore Latin now.

      • J Fred Spear

        I think this was very well said. I have been raised in a conservative Baptist environment but have very good friends involved in the Pentecostal church. My wife and I attend evening services there and there are some very God-loving, God-seeking folks there. Also, scripture is preached and revered (the pastor is hesitant to depart from the KJV). They are humble, active in the community, joyful, etc.. In some cases, I think that emotionalism kicks in and the gift-seeking/miracle hunting takes the place of being in humble submission to the Spirit. This happens in all churches though. Individuals will take a wrong turn on theology and get things wrong or will be selfish about interpreting the Bible. In the end, I believe that the spiritual gifts are still alive. I believe that the Holy Spirit leads (not the person) and that we can receive gifts if open (again, only as the Spirit leads). Like Francis Chan, I believe in the Supernatural Church and I am firmly disappointed in the hasty generalization made at this conference. It seems very dark that a conference should be built around condemnation. That seems odd and it certainly doesn’t seem biblical. I agree with everything that you said and God bless you in your ministry.

        • http://about.me/jonathan.boegl JS Boegl

          It’s a bonafide blessing to connect with you brother. The Father’s abounding blessings to you all the more.

  • 22044

    By the way, I’m reading Tim Challies’ series of blog posts commenting on the various sessions at the StrangeFire conference.

    I’d recommend them to anyone interested in another perspective on this event.

    Located at challies dot com.

  • Nathan

    I have appreciated John MacArthur’s commitment to Scriptural faithfulness, and at the same time, been worried that he appears to have a ministry of criticism. He’s either an incredible prophet of our day, or someone who might be accused of the similar error to the pharisees who would confuse the work of the Holy Spirit with the work of Satan. I’m not going to be as bold as to come to any conclusion on his faith or work. If the Spirit is giving him a prophetic voice, I hope we heed his call. If his voice reflects a more deep critical spirit devoid of love or Spirit, I hope God corrects him before too much damage is done.

  • Michael Boyd

    As one who watched the SF conference, counts MacArthur a spiritual father and became a believer under his preaching 24 years ago, and as one who has most of the books and has listened to hundreds of sermons by men like Piper, Mahaney, Harris, Carson, and many more (even Driscoll I own most of his books and have read 1/4 of them), this article is misleading, inciteful, marked by many half-truths, and just plain ignorant of facts in general pertaining to MacArthur, these other men, their ministries and situations surrounding their ministries. If a person with no knowledge of any of these people and their doctrinal positions read this they would be misled. This really reminds me of a lot of secular reporting marked by an underhanded intention meant to sway people’s thinking to an inaccurate understanding of the truth. I told my wife after I read this article, it amounts to if I was to try to write on the Charismatic Movement with its various players and divisions. I may get some things right after doing some research, but would ultimately fail due to not having an intimate knowledge. As one who loves all these guy’s preaching, books and ministries, and has kept up with events related to these guy’s ministries (for ex the controversy surrounding Mahaney and SGM), I am well positioned to know when something like this contains errors, and it does.

    • Christopher Erik

      Come on Michael. The numerous, specific quotes of MacArthur are indefensible! He has literally said that the Charismatic movement it worth than useless but is a “virus”, “demonic”, “idolatrous” etc, etc, and those who do not share his view are at the very least deluded. How in Hades can you look right past those aggregious statements. Quit your hero worship and enter into a conversation among adults. What MacArthur has said and done has hurt a lot of people. The fact that you may “agree” with him because you admire him so much and you think he deserves a “big break” is quite honestly, disgusting to me. Stop defending the man and engage the issues – MacArthur and NOT the moderator of this blog has launched a furious witch-hunt against not just the heretical fringe of the movement but of millions of faithful believers.

      • David

        The problem is that your “millions of faithful believers” are only faithful to satan, not Christ.

  • Susan

    Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18

  • Keeper_at_home

    “If John Piper is seen as demonic by John MacArthur …” Wow, you should be ashamed of such a blatant misrepresentation to support your position. If any of your readers listened to John MacArthur at this conference, they would know that this is not at all true.
    I’m so overwhelmed with thankfulness for the faithfulness, courage and leadership of men like John MacArthur who boldly take a stand for the truth instead of always looking for a “new thing” or a “new experience”. Like he said, he cares about offending people, but not as much as he cares about offending God.

  • Guest

    “If John Piper is seen as demonic by John MacArthur …” Such a misrepresentation. How sad. I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness for the faithfulness, courage and leadership of godly men like John MacArthur. They boldly stand for the truth in a day when so many are looking instead for a “new thing” or a “new experience”. Like he said, he cares about offending people, but not as much as he cares about offending God.

  • Rodney McNeely

    Here’s what the rest of us think when we hear believers dicker among themselves about who’s right and who’s wrong:

    When a 5-year-old tells you his imaginary friend is better, it’s kind of cute. When grown adults do it, it’s kind of pathetic.

    • Frank

      How ironic that you display the very quality you accuse others of. Well done!

      • 22044

        Meh. Let the atheist be.

      • Rodney McNeely

        I’m not sure I follow. I don’t go around making claims that can’t be verified with evidence. I damn sure don’t expect the rest of the planet to drop what they’re doing and organize their entire future around the predictive analysis of a book that can’t get ethics, morality, or even basic bat taxonomy correct.

        Understand this: Nonbelievers view these kinds of arguments between Chrisitans EXACTLY the same way we’d view them if they were happening between comic book fans arguing over which of the X-men is strongest AS IF SUPERHEROES WERE REAL. We’re under no obligation to treat your position with any respect whatsoever, or to treat you as a serious thinker if you insist on thinking like a child.

        If I and other rationalists make a claim, you can rest assured we’re going to have a TON of peer-reviewed, easily accessed, testable, and verifiable data to support it. Even then we’re not going to demand that you come around to our way of thinking.

        But you don’t get to draw a false equivalency between what we do and what you do because THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. You don’t get to put your irrationality on the same shelf with reason. You don’t get to put your mythology on the same shelf as reality.

        So please stop trying to muddy the water with a blatantly inaccurate comparison.

        • Frank

          See above and thanks for proving my point so quickly and perfectly!

          • Rodney McNeely

            Care to tell me how, or you gonna sit there with your non-point and feel smug all day?

          • Frank

            I don’t feel smug at all. I feel sorry for you that you are so misguided and deceived and cannot see how pathetic it is for an atheist to come onto a Christian blog and hurl the sort of ignorant criticism that you did.

          • Rodney McNeely

            Well, I guess I’ve been misguided by the entire body of scientific knowledge that humanity has acquired in it’s 1.5 million year history. But if you want to run around believing that one tribe of Bronze Age goat herders got it exactly right, be my guest.

            I’m done.

          • Frank

            Thanks for proving my point yet again. There is no dilemma between science and faith.

            And yes you were done whenever you rejected God.

          • Rodney McNeely

            Are you kidding? There absolutely IS a conflict between science and faith. The Bible makes scientific claims ALL the time – claims that have been tested and proven utterly false. When the Bible says that Methuselah lived 969 years, that’s something we can investigate. We know using forensic science that humans who lived 6000-10000 years ago were usually dead long before they reached 40, usually because of their teeth or infection. We know the events in the book of Exodus didn’t happen the way described in the Bible. And I could go on.

            Sorry. You don’t get to tell the rest of us that your myths are real and expect us just to swallow it. You have to provide some evidence to support your claims. And so far, every supernatural claim made by believers – including predictions of doomsday – has fallen flat on its face.

            Like your argument.

          • 22044

            Rodney, why are you here?
            Atheists are welcome to comment but you’re only bashing people of faith? As atheists are often already perceived unfavorably, you won’t help change that perception.

            And nobody is obligated to prove anything to you.

            You have your own framework, it seems. Don’t be smug, and be rational.
            Based on your posts, you fail to meet that framework.

  • SamHamilton

    I don’t know a thing about John MacArthur, and funny, I’m an Evangelical and connected to the Internet! How has that happened?

    Seriously, from reading the comments here it sounds like more thorough reporting needs to be done about this conference.

    • 22044

      His website is www dot gty dot org.

      This next suggestion is certainly not scientific, but perhaps his relative invisibility on the “internets” implies that he’s a relatively uncontroversial guy.

      • SamHamilton

        Thanks.

    • Drew

      If you look at Reformed Theology within Evangelicalism, the old school notables are MacArthur and Piper, while the new school notables are guys like Driscoll and Platt.

      MacArthur, being one of the most Godly and faithful pastors in recent history, is reviled and hated by the left, simply for existing. Since MacArthur took a bold step by talking about the abuses of the Charismatic movement in the Strange Fire conference, he is now reviled and hated by certain segments of the right as well.

      While you would think that the left would be happy with MacArthur taking on the abuses on the right, instead, because they hate his very existence, are slandering him, and hoping that this fractures the “right” and leads everyone to worship postmodernism and usher in an era of ecumenical unity where nobody believes anything and nobody corrects anybody and everyone is right about everything because nobody can know anything.

      • SamHamilton

        Thanks for some context Drew.

        • Drew

          Just look at Greg Dill, who is usually somewhat thoughtful, foam and froth and wail and gnash teeth over MacArthur, calling anyone that says a single word of support of MacArthur a “MacArthurite,” Sometimes, the more Godly someone is, the more it irritates people.

          • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

            Nice.

          • SamHamilton

            Greg,
            As I said above, I don’t know who MacArthur is so I don’t have a dog in this fight, but saying that if someone attempts to defend someone else they admire from criticisms then it must mean that the criticism is true is ridiculous. For example, if I call you a racist and you react defensively it doesn’t mean there’s some truth the accusation.

            Your logic is basically just a way of telling people being criticizing to shut up lest they prove their critic right.

          • Drew

            We all have vices. Greg’s vice is anger and bitterness. He’s got some good theology, and I’ve learned from him when he’s in a thoughtful state of mind, but the past few days he appears to be in a dark place.

          • Drew

            Slur and foam and froth all you want, fellow Christian, but I worship Jesus Christ.

      • SamHamilton

        I think you might be on to something. In a blog post over on God’s Politics (Sojourner’s blog), a blogger writers about this controversy:

        Most of my Twitter friends are theological liberals, and we liberals love it when our conservative brethren get in fights.

        Woo-hoo! A scandal!

        He’s admitting that his liberal Christian friends love this controversy because two people they apparently don’t care for are fighting. And apparently they’re stoking the controversy, “giving it legs” as the saying goes, by publishing blog posts highlighting it. Classy…

  • Gary Huddleston

    You are posting a total lie. JMacarthur said he has nothing but love and deep respect for John Piper. It’s very telling that you are only a student, and a legend in your own mind. You are totally guilty for doing exactly what you “claim” Macarthur did. And browsing your blog, I can see you do not follow the tenants of true Christianity. Amazing that you choose to dispute historic Christianity. but I suppose that’s what children do.

  • Stan

    John MacArthur doesn’t say charismatic Christians are not Christians. He says that they are Christians despite their “bad” theology, just like some Catholics and Orthodox.

  • Berruiser

    So this is what it comes down to, right Brandan? All the points made by the writer are non-valid just because he makes a stupid “senile” comment near the end? Your sweet and, lets say insincere, compliment to open your commentary, is disingenuous at best. The real facts are these….Pastor MacArthur is my first GO-TO when I want to get a clear opinion on a scriptural contextural position. I love the man. I even see him as a champion of the Faith. My problem? I am a charismatic believer that reads and depends on the Bible for illumination and guidance. His mean spiritedness and name calling is reprehensible for such an esteemed believer.

    I see this trend to bash the charismatic, by the evangelicals as akin to the Pharisee/Sadducee sects of the time Jesus first came. The Lord came to destroy the legalistic and contentious spirits of the day (i.e. brood of vipers) and this position of gathering together an army of biblically legalistic thugs to find a battlefield, will only serve to unify an opposition equally as rigid and non-Jesus as the other. Great time for revival I think. Jesus came to defend the poor, honest, hopeless, gentle, widows, and trodden down, of mankind. I say the battle lines are drawn and the real people of God won’t waste their time fighting the battles of leaders of both sides. Jesus came to show-up the leaders of His day, and his 2nd coming looks to do the same.

  • Rob Crosby

    You clearly are misrepresenting the conference and all those involved in it. Strange fire was not after anyone who believes in the gifts of the spirit. Strange fire was out to say that all the signs and wonders meetings, give to me and god will bless you meetings, word of faith teachings, experiential feeling meetings and the such are false gospel and should be avoided. I understand the cessationist believe the gifts are no more and the others believe they continue. MacArthur did not set out to be divisive to Piper, Driscoll, or any other that holds a different belief than him. This was more to teach people the difference between the real and the fake. Everything needs to be tested by the written word and the fact that so many churches and pastors have bought into this fell good, watered down gospel, with miracles and signs, is astounding. You totally misunderstand the meaning of the conference and if yo were to sit down with the speakers you might get a different feel. ANytime you tell the truth or confront sin, you are bound to be criticized.

  • Calvinist

    If being all inclusive of all Christian beliefs is ok, like accepting people that speak in tongues, Mormons, those that pray to Mary, those that do not believe Jesus is God, etc, then I submit that the same people that include those so called “Christians” should be accepting of we “right wing conservative evangelicals”, right? Or do you just accept those that do not confront with scripture. I did notice in this article that not once was there any Scripture used to deny the authenticity of the entire point of the conference. If anyone believes that “in the name of Christ” we should accept gross, non-biblical errors just to not be devisive, then I would tell that person to read their scripture instead of trusting in horribly bad doctrine.

  • sharedfaith

    I read a lot of your comments. I was a Roman Catholic. Never read the bible Catholics are not taught too. Got Saved. Still knew nothing fell into the Charismatic movement it caused nothing put confusion. Had the radio on on my way to work. John MacArthur was on first time I ever heard him. I said to my self this man speaks the truth. Been listening to him ever since. I have grown more in the last 10 years listening to John MacArthur than 30 years in the Charismatic movement. I know where my feet are planted on the rock. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. John MacArthur is a godly man who I call my mentor in the faith. His teaching has gotten me to study the scriptures for myself to see what is said is so. And I found it to be so. I thank God that He lead me to himself through the teaching of the word through the teaching of Mr. John MacArthur .

    • Drew

      Thank you for your testimony. Brandan would have a great future as a pastor if he were to follow the example of MacArthur. Instead, he comes into the pastorate with the agenda to divide the Church against Bible teachers like MacArthur and replace it with ecumencial liberalism based on postmodernism and influenced but political liberalism, what is culturally acceptable, and what feels good emotionally.

  • mark

    Amen. I’m a redeemed grace killer – a former devotee to this grace-less attack teaching. It incited my critical spirit; aroused a constant anger (that I thought was righteous) and left me bankrupt of any sense of grace to me and virtually everyone else! In doing my best to join the battle for truth, I, like my mentors, had lost sight of the very essence and point of the truth I sought to defend! Instead of progressing toward a “well done”, I had unwittingly aligned myself with the Satan- I.e. – the Accuser of the brethren!
    The real truth about the truth is love. Anything else is the actual threat.
    Anything else undermines everything Christ came to accomplish for everyone – regardless of whatever theological errors they may embrace. Jesus only condemned the self righteous and proud defenders of their own way of thinking.
    Pray for them. If God can change me, He can change anyone!
    Mark

  • maria

    Christ did not come to save the world as a friend. He came as God the redeemer. Would we think John MacArthur would present this in any other way? To loose a friend to truth is to gain a soul in heaven.

  • Barry Koh

    If good men like John Piper and Wayne Grudem will not be forthright but instead lovingly soft pedal serious doctrinal errors and by it unintentionally lend credibility to the charismatics, then bad guys like J MacArthur, RC Sproul, JustinPeters, Joni E , etc will have to do it. When the charismatic fringe begins to influence the evangelical youths( the future leaders) it is no longer just a fringe issue. It simply means the 5 th column has made it’s move to brainwash our future leaders with false doctrine. If the good godly men will say nothing to admonish and stop them ,our hope lies in the bad unloving guys to do it.

  • CJ Sutton

    Hi Brandan
    It’s interesting to note that your disapproval of anything that was said at the conference cannot be backed up by scripture. I have listened to the conference and scripture was being quoted en mass to expose the charismatic movement as false. Your critique seems to be based on ‘…your own understanding” rather than God’s authoritative Word. Your spelling, punctuation and grammar are pretty bad too. (Just saying) If you have a problem with something that was said at the conference, please explain what the fallacy was and how it doesn’t conform to scripture. – Thanks

  • ashley stevens

    John MacArthur as well as other speakers at the conference made it abundantly clear they have benefited from men like John Piper, Cj Mahaney, etc. and they view them as friends.

    On another note, I have been a recipient of really bad theology- and let me tell you- after hearing sound doctrine from MacArthur as well as other not known men in the church, it was a BREATH OF FRESH AIR AND LIFE CHANGING TO MY SOUL. Truth is such a precious gift because truth gives you a sound mind and heart- and to me- that is better than healing physical suffering/personal needs any day =). Thank God for men who stand up for the truth. Because in the end, its all about the truth……

  • http://bartbreen.wordpress.com/ Bart Breen

    This really isn’t something new. MacArthur has been attacking the Charismatic movement from the 80′s. Some of it ties into the issues that were delineated in the 80s and 90s between MacArthur and Chuck Swindoll in the 80s and 90 with regard to Grace and Lordship Salvation.

    John MacArthur (and not just him, but focusing upon him now) has always known and practiced the use of media to create conflict to define himself. The Right-Wing Evangelicalism movement is diminishing for reasons that are as much related to demographics and societal shifts as anything doctrinal. The pool so-to-speak that MacArthur is fishing from is getting smaller and the competition more fierce for money and a sense of placement and significance. MacArthur knows it’s a lot easier to get an audience to pay to see a fight as opposed to inviting them to a peace sit-in. He’s just going to the well one more time to see if there’s more traction now then there was in the past, as far as I’m concerned.

    I used to be impressed with MacArthur. Over a long sustained time I now don’t have much time for him. The formula has become predictable, and delivered with a tone that is persistently self-righteous and unkind toward those with whom he disagrees.

    It’s not all that surprising that he attracts followers with similar qualities who appear more concerned about defining themselves in contrast to believers who are different than themselves. When the focus is on “doctrinal purity” as opposed to Christ, it’s not that hard to see why other elements of “purity” related to culture, traditions etc. are easily targeted by the those tied in closely the the still existent Pharisaical factions in today’s organized church.

  • Tom Kipfer

    Sad, it’s so very sad that people who love God cannot shelf differences in the name of love and Chriztian respect. I respect others who work real works of God. He is greived. The Holy Spiit is greived at the sight of this thing. We must come together in unity. Strength is in unity. Athiests can laugh us to scorn as a result of our disunity. The true church of the Living God has got to be concerned with salvation of lost souls. Over feeding hungry people, or getting good people off drug addiction.

  • Austin Hellier

    Folks,

    I didn’t get to see or hear the ‘conference’ but I’ve read enough of JMac as well as multiple online blogs, reply posts etcetera, and besides, we get him here on AM radio 5 night s a week on 4RPH. As a Classical Pentecostal, I find it hard to believe that my 35 year long walk with the Lord can be written off by this man as being irrelevant , let alone demonic. I believe that his influence is strong enough within the Reformed Evangelical movement, that if he were to ever go into seriously bad doctrinal error, millons maightfollow him. Peoples, you need to stop following a man.

    I just want to share a excerpt from a recent email to a cessationist friend of mine, which sums up how I felt about this ‘Strange Conference’:

    “Classical Pentecostal people like myself, have their blind spots too, and that is why we need each other – you ARE your brother’s keeper, whether he wants to be ‘kept’ or not!. There were four divisions in the “Full Gospel” church in Corinth. I liken them to some denominations of today. Those who follow Peter, are like conservative charismatic Anglicans. Those who follow Apollos are like converts to the Bapstist/Evangelical churches, while those who follow Paul are the ‘real’ holy rollers, but those who claim to follow Christ and Him alone are the most deceived of all. Why? Because that false belief caused spiritual pride to arise in their hearts. They were the ones who ‘compared themselves with themselves’ and apparently had no Bible standards to measure themselves with.

    This represents the ‘independent spirit’ that I have spoken of before. They recognise no other church but themselves, will not listen to any recognised mnistry (Peter, Paul or Apollos) and do more harm to the rest of the body than the other three (Corinthian) divisions put together. Pride is the thing that we must avoid the most, and that is what you yourself have seen in JMac – a certain arrogance that exposes the pride behind his questionable convictions in relation to the ‘salvation’ of Pente and Charismatic brethren. The church that claims to be solely of Christ is just a hop, skip and a jump away from becoming a cult, regardless of what name is over the front door.

    It was pride that caused Adam and Eve to fall into sin, pride that caused Nebuchadneezer to fall into madness for seven years, and it was pride that caused Lucifer to fall from the great heights of Heaven to the nether depths of Hell (one day soon) and so that is what must be guarded against the most.”

    I don’t spend too much time critiquing these kinds of people as it all falls on deaf ears anyway. Why would JMac listen to a ‘nobody’ like me? But some of you folks might be humble enough to understand my point…

    Austin Hellier
    Brisbane Australia.

  • AH

    Thanks for removing my post

    AH
    Brisbane

  • Robert Thornton

    Hey Brandan, this is Rob again, I just wish to apologize for some of my words in my previous entry. Please DO continue to write articles of importance. I guess I was frustrated with some of the things you wrote and I responded harshly. Please accept my apology. Please, do not stop to write. Develop your gift in this as a form of ministry, but if you could be more careful (as I will strive to be), especially on more “mature” matters. God bless.

  • Austin Hellier

    Now that the dust has settled on the threshing room floor, I’d just like to chip in with my ’2 bobs’ worth. From all that I’ve seen and heard (and that includes nightly radio broadcasts here in Brisbane on AM 4RPH) I must say that the ‘old divide’ between traditional evangelicals and classical pentecostals is starting to look more like the San Andreas fault line – it could crack open wider and swallow everybody if they don’t watch out.

    JMac is very smooth in his delivery no matter how he delivers it – it’s always very polished and ‘correct’, but underneath all that glitz is the undercurrent of guile and deceipt. JMac’s brand of Calvinism is a dinosaur from the past, kept in cold storage from the days of the Reformation. Taking it out of its Cryogenic chamber and microwaving it 5 minutes before the conference was a big mistake. Dishing up cheap food to honoured guests doesn’t get you any favours where I come from. Feeding the sheep with portions of the Lamb of God would have been more profitable – feeding them Jmac’s junk food was not.

    While JMac may have fooled his acoliytes and devotees with his Strange Fire conference, he has not fooled the genuine believers on either side of the divide. There is much sympathy for us ‘true believers’ after JMac got his fingers well and truly burnt by the fallout from Strange Fire myths and legends. That’s what you get for playing with ‘Pentecostal matches’ Jmac – you get burnt, and we get the blame, whether we deserve it or not.

    I am not a part of the NAR debacle, don’t go for Copeland, Myers, Jacobs, Hammon, Hinn, Hagin, hey I’m listing the proverbial “Hall of Shame” and there’s probably not enough room on this post to list them all. My roots don’t go back to Azusa Street, or the Salvo’s or the Weslayans or the Moravians, or any other legitimate group in recent church history with signs and wonders, or gifts of the Spirit in their midst, although it would be tempting to do so. My roots go all the way back to Jesus Christ, who promised me that “these signs would follow those who believed” Mark 16. There is NO use by date on Mark 16, but there does seem to be a use by date on Grace To You!

    I am well aware of the many abuses and contradictions within “Pentecost”, but most of those come from wayward Charismatics – not classical Pentecostals. Even so, I make the distinction between the honest seeking brethren in that camp, as separate from the sensational charlatans that they have to put up with, and who make them all look like self seeking fools, instead of being genuine seekers after God.

    JMac should dump his microwaved theology and his distasteful desserts, switch off TBN and get out a bit more often. Of course it’s too late for all of that now, as he has also burnt his bridges to those of us who would welcome most evangelical brethren with open arms, whether they speak in tongues or not.

    Maybe JMac needs to start talking in tongues too (can you imagine that, it almost makes me want to roll on the floor and laugh!) – he may find it far more edifying and beneficial to himself and those who surround him, instead of ‘correctly’ and in a ‘polished’ manner, rubbishing the faith of millions of genuine born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ for his own sordid gain.

    What surprises me the most about all of this nonsense, is that JMac has a mega church, he has media outlets and sells books, CD’s (Hymnsong?) and DVD ministry series. In fact, the only difference between him and many of the people he criticises, is that he DOESN’T speak in tongues – everything else looks much of a muchness to me! Has anybody on his side of the divide actually seen this yet?

    Austin Hellier
    Brisbane Australia
    ‘I’ll have a Big Mac please, but won’t take the lies with that…’

  • chw777

    Too much. I cannot think of a more demonic theology than reformed theology that says God turned into a man, unbelievers are tortured forever and ever, and that people who have died are not dead, but are alive in a place called heaven. And top it all off with denying the greatness of speaking in tongues. Sheesh.

  • Trevor

    Admit it, when you speak in tongues, you’re talking gibberish. God used tongues during the apostolic age to evangelize to foreign peoples. I don’t know what modern charismatic people think they’re doing but embarrassing us biblical-based Christians

  • Christian Michael Thornton

    I think you should read what David Ravenhill said concerning MacArthur and the strange fire conference. Theres one thing that sticks to mind that’s this. He needs to step off his ivory pedestal of mental ascent and go to indigenous Africa where people are posessed by demons. I think then, his heart would change pretty quickly, as has been the case with many cessationist missionaries (primarily with the conviction of the Holy Ghost of course.) Maybe then, he wouldn’t be so quick to put all of us Charismatics into one bundle and call us false leaders and teachers. Now I agree, even as a pentecostal, that much of the Charismatic movement is hogwash. But wherever there is true fire, satan will always try to send a counterfeit, but the truth is always revealed. And to add to that. Let us remember, Elijah wasn’t just a fine expository preacher, and it took more than just fine expository preaching when he was confronted by the prophets of Baal. It took faith…not a passive faith either but a faith that was overflowing with expectation that when he called on he called on God, he knew God would answer with fire.

  • Irv Spielberg

    Stages of Pretrib Rapture History

    If a young woman in Scotland hadn’t dreamed up the
    “pre-tribulation
    fly-away” in 1830; if a British clergyman hadn’t hijacked her dream and
    sneakily planted it around the world in the 1800s; if a crooked,
    jailed-for-forgery lawyer with no theological background hadn’t come out
    with a reference Bible in 1909 with the same fly-away escapism in
    marginal notes; and if modern-day rapture
    robber barons and tribulational tycoons hadn’t found numerous ways (and
    gimmicks like four “blood moons”) to widely mass-market
    the same delicious delusion for the masses while breaking sales
    records, no one could now be into the moonshine, looking up at
    the moon and saying “Moon, you mush be drunk becaush I shee four of
    you!” LOL (If none of this had ever happened, no one would have written
    anti-pretrib articles that are on Google etc., articles like
    “Evangelicals Use Occult Deception,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,”
    “Pretrib Rapture Pride,” and “Pretrib Rapture Stealth.”
    And no one would have written “The Rapture Plot” – the most accurate,
    most detailed, and most highly endorsed nonfiction history of the
    184-year-old
    pretrib rapture theory, available by calling 800.643.4645; the author of
    it will give $1000 to anyone proving there is any deliberate dishonesty
    in it.)

  • David

    McArthur is right. There are only two types of spirits – the Holy Spirit and demons. When a pentecostal is full of “the spirit” and spouting gobblydegook in “tongues” which spirit is he filled with? And how can you prove it? By the fruits of his spouting of course. If such lunacy frightens away a visitor and keeps her from Christ what fruit is that?

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