Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Review of Strange Fire by John MacArthur

I was excited about reading the book (and reviewing it here), even though his conference by the same name caused quite a stir among many Pentecostals and Charismatics.

As I start this review, let me state I am very, very familiar with John MacArthur's teachings and have read many of his other books and listened to countless sermons of his.  Most of his material is great and I love it; except when he gets on the subject of spiritual gifts, tongues, healing and miracles, and on those subjects I lovingly and respectfully disagree.

When MacArthur stays with scripture, he's an awesome teacher.  But when he closes his mind to charismatics, he also throws out any scriptures that support Charismatics'/Pentecostals' view of miracles as still being for today as well as tongues, etc.

In about 90% or more of this book MacArthur's examples refer to the Word of Faith, TBN or some other false sect of the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement.

Even with the shortcomings cited in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement, it is usually no more flawed than any other non-charismatic (even cessationist) ministry or church.  Man is flawed and if you look deep enough no one is perfect.  But on the other hand, I am thankful for the many ministers that do represent the Lord in a God glorifying way.

Throughout this book he calls "tongues" gibberish and irrational blabber.  Wow! That seems quite disrespectful and irreverent to call something Charismatics look at as from the HOLY Spirit!  He also calls all healings or miracles that happen when the sick are prayed for as fake. Really, are ALL healing's and miracles that happen in a prayer meeting or through the laying on of hands fake?

Note: I do believe John MacArthur believes God can sovereignly heal or do a miracle today, but it has nothing to do with the gift of healings or miracles as taught among Charismatics.

Based on my reading of this book,  he could have more accurately named it, "Charismatic Chaos II – Exposing the Word of Faith Movement (TBN) in the 21st Century".

All that being said, since he does share some real concerns, I found his book somewhat helpful.  I also found it informative on how a cessationist's mind set works.

Interestingly, it has made me think all the more how precious it is to me to be a conservative Continuationist.

John MacArthur is a wonderful teacher when he sticks to the Bible passages and stays away from this issue, and very possibly a Biblical view called Continuationism as believed by Charismatics.

My recommendations on this subject from a Continuationist's view would be Wayne Grudem's book  "Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine" (Covers many doctrines), or his book "Bible Doctrine" (abridged from Systematic Theology).

Also two book that I know of, but have not read, that have been written by Charismatics as a response to John MacArthur's "Strange Fire" are "Authentic Fire" by Michael Brown and "Holy Fire" by R.T. Kendall.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review blogger's program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

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