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Never the less, the only things that have really changed in the ensuing years and various editions of essentially the same book are: a the people and movements that Mr. MacArthur snipes at; b the increasingly shrill tone that came with each new offering, and; c the length and breadth of the polemic - it keeps getting longer and wider. Given all that, a better title for this book would have been, "The Charismatics: A Polemic Perspective".

Many Pentecostal leaders themselves acknowledge as much. But to discredit the entire charismatic movement as demon-inspired because of the frenzied excess into which some of its members have fallen is both myopic and irresponsible. It would be like condemning the entire Catholic Church because some of its priests are proven pedophiles, or like smearing all Baptist Christians because of the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church.

However, like MacArthur, I was more an observer than a direct participant. The reason for that is simple: The movements, places, and personalities that MacArthur criticizes often rightly in this work were all considered on the lunatic fringe back in the day. Unfortunately, many believers lack the discernment to tell the difference between what is of God and what originates with man. For example, after giving some examples of Charismatic excesses a lady who claimed that God "healed" her flat tire and a woman who claimed that she had taught her dog to praise the Lord in an unknown bark MacArthur makes this claim: "Granted, both of these examples are bizarre.

Perhaps it unfair to characterize the Charismatic movement with illustrations like these. I wish that were true. I wish these two examples are rare, but they are not. And the reason they are not is that in the Charismatic ranks no experience has to stand the test of Scripture. The Charismatics, by the nature of their theological persuasion, have no way to judge or stop bizarre testimonies of experience because the experience validates itself.

MacArthur, Jr. MacArthur it is unfair. This is nothing like the kind of normative Charismatic behavior and theology that the aforementioned Joseph Mattera articulates so well in his article: "Isaiah says if we speak not according to the scripture then we have no light.

Second Timothy teaches that all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, correction and for training in righteousness. The scriptures are our rule for life and the highest standard for judging truth The more sure word of prophecy comes from the inspired writings of the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments, which should be our guiding light for life 2 Peter and by which all prophetic utterances should be judged.

God has given His revelation is finished. What He gave is complete, efficient, sufficient, inerrant, infallible, and authoritative. This is a complete caricature of how I and most Charismatics that I know treat prophecy, dreams, and visions. Rather, Mr. Always has been, always will be. Equally upsetting is how Mr. No effort is made to change Scripture or even equal it. MacArthur, exactly! If so, then why do you disobey the apostolic injunction that clearly states: "Do not quench the Spirit.

Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Was Paul negligent in not reproving Luke and Agabus for their folly? And was Paul a fool for admonishing the Thessalonians to continue in the error of Agabus? And so it goes in this book. Straw man after straw man. Logical fallacy after logical fallacy. Misrepresentation after misrepresentation. Exaggeration, misstatement, imbalance, data mined propaganda,[1] confirmation bias driven presuppositionalism, and bigoted, prejudiced condescension from a mind so closed that no logic, reason, or appeal can possibly touch it.

Page after page MacArthur acts with all the grace, equity, and gentleness of a schoolyard bully. Just consider this "gem" from the chapter on authority: "Today, with their emphasis on experience, many in the Charismatic movement are perilously close to a type of neo-Baalism! It is not too hard to see that experience can be a dangerous weapon in the hands of Satan.

So the objection is circular, given their studied ignorance. Rabid anti-charismatics will love this book. It provides wonderful sermon illustrations for the already convinced. For those not so zealously anti-charismatic, this book serves only as a painful reminder of the lovelessness that characterizes too much of contemporary Christianity. MacArthur really expect anyone not already in his camp to listen to him? Theologian C. It is when you choose the worst representative you can and argue against him.

Why do they get the air time? Well, it is entertaining for many to watch. And the sensationalism that can come from these abuses is also easy for the non-charismatic to look at and discredit. But think of all the movements which are part of the Christian fold today that could be picked apart because of some abuses and excesses within. The first two that come to mind would be Calvinism and Pretribulationalism.

Certainly conferences could be done about both, characterizing each by the worst-of. But how responsible and godly is that? It is filled with monsters who believe God hates unbelievers.

It is filled with date-setting and causes people to be unconcerned with this present world. His reputation dismantles his platform to speak at just about any conference. I am not a charismatic, but such a statement really scares me.

And because of this it would seem even though the [Strange Fire] conference is sold out that John MacArthur may be losing his voice. Patton is right - and it breaks my heart. And even though I disagree with him in part, I absolutely adore my MacArthur Study Bible for the deep insight and into the biblical text that it contains - it is my "go to" commentary.

John MacArthur is not only not my enemy but I consider him a valued ally in preaching the gospel, proclaiming truth, and bringing glory to God alone. Yet here we are years and two more books later and Mr. So despite my respect and admiration for Mr. And the fact remains that this subject seems to be an obsession for Mr. So in another decade or so we can fully expect to see another work from him on the Charismatic movement.

I will be praying that between now and then things will change for him not unlike the Grinch growing a heart and his stance will at least soften to at least a point of respectful tolerance. Yes, it will take a miracle but we serve a great God - and one who still speaks, moves, and performs miracles today. That is why do not all the churches sell their possessions and have all things in common.

Or further, is it at all legitimate to take any descriptive statements as normative? If so, how does one distinguish those which are from those which are not? For example, must we follow the pattern of Acts and select leaders by lot?

Just exactly what role does historical precedent play in Christian doctrine or in the understanding of Christian experience? It records only the earliest days of the church age and shows the church in tradition from the Old Covenant into the New. The apostolic healings and miracles and signs and wonders evident in Acts were not common, even in those days.

They were exceptional events, each with a specific purpose, always associated with the ministry of the apostles and their frequency can be seen decreasing dramatically even from the beginning of the book of Acts to the end. The practice of infant baptism and the theology of its necessity are based first of all on the exegesis of some historical passages in Acts and one in 1 Corinthians 7: 14 ; they are made normative on the basis of the historical precedent.

Likewise, on the basis of Acts 2: 44— 45 some groups in the Jesus-movement required the selling of possessions and having all things in common. Even such fringe groups as the snake-handlers argue for their distinctive practices partly on the basis of historical precedent Acts 3— 6. The hermeneutical problem, therefore, is not unique to Pentecostals


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