Arminian Today

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Strange Fire Review: Chapter Four

This is an ongoing review of Strange Fire.  You can find the first post here.

In chapter four of Dr. John MacArthur’s book, Strange Fire, he continues to deal with Jonathan Edwards’ testing of the spirits (1 John 4:1).  In this chapter MacArthur will deal with four points from Edwards (and from 1 John): Does it oppose worldliness?  Does it point people to the Scriptures?  Does it elevate truth?  Does it produce love for God and others?

I was disappointed in this chapter.  The chapter reminded me of Charismatic Chaos where it seemed that MacArthur would try to point out the faults of the charismatic movement by pointing to its moral failures and bizarre activity among some of the people involved.  This chapter is just one long rant on how the charismatic movement has produced many moral failures and the strange lives of those in the prosperity gospel.

I won’t spend long on this post because frankly I know that nearly all Pentecostals that I know would read chapter four and side with MacArthur in that they would oppose any teachings and preachers who would advocate what MacArthur starts with.  As a boy growing up at an Assemblies of God church, I know firsthand that worldliness was opposed.  I wasn’t allowed to hardly watch TV because of worldliness.  Movies, dancing, tobacco, etc. were all viewed as worldly.  We were to be separate (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).  That was how we were taught.  Right or wrong.

While the Assemblies of God has certainly changed (as the entire Pentecostal movement has and I would add for worst by seeking the seeker movement instead of God), there remains faithful disciples in the movement who would agree with MacArthur, that we must be holy and pure in a corrupt world (Philippians 2:15; 1 Peter 1:15-16).  They would agree that we must avoid sinning and live lives that glorify Jesus.

Yet this chapter is just one sad story after another mainly from Word-Faith teachers and their prosperity message along with their moral failures.  MacArthur does include on A/G pastor from New Zealand Neville Johnson who left his wife for another woman by claiming that he had had a revelation that she would die and he was free to remarry.  Again, Pentecostals that I know would reject all of this. They would point to the Scriptures and show Johnson and others that they are not following the Word of God.

I agree that every movement has its faults.  Every movement has its moral failures.  MacArthur believes that the theology of the charismatic movement opens the door to this more than any other movement.  From the likes of an Aimee Simple McPherson to the likes of a Benny Hinn, MacArthur believes that the theology behind the charismatic movement is what produces the sinful results.  I disagree frankly.  It is the sinfulness of man that produces such sins.  Mankind is sinful and this flows out like a river on any given day in our world.  There are many people who claim to be disciples of Jesus who are nothing more than hypocrites and don’t love the Lord.  They don’t hate their sins.  They live in them and love them.  The clear call of Scripture is to forsake sin (Matthew 1:21).  Jesus came to save sinners and I feel I was the worst (1 Timothy 1:15) but thankfully His shed blood was able to cleanse me and save me.

All disciples of Jesus should hate sin.  We should deplore strange teachings that don’t exalt the Lord Jesus Christ to His rightful place of worship and honor.  Furthermore, the fact that we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us must produce holiness (Romans 8:12-13; Galatians 5:16-17).  We cannot overcome sin by our own willpower but only by the grace of God (Titus 2:11-12).  I pray that we all would hate sin and any teaching that allows for us to continue to live in sin (1 John 3:4-10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/11/2014 at 11:33 AM

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