Strange Fire Conference: John MacArthur, “Reformed Theology is not a Haven for False Teachers”

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I apologize in advance for the length of this post.  Please read the Facebook status slowly and let it sink in, would you?

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H/T to Meaghan Varela, my dear friend (aka the other Woman of Mass Destruction) and former defendant in the Beaverton Grace Bible Church lawsuit who alerted me to this Facebook status from Grace to You, John MacArthur’s organization.  She had no idea what my post was going to be on today and boy, the irony!

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John MacArthur’s church, Grace Community Church has been hosting the Strange Fire Conference.  I was reading notes from the first day of the conference and these words spoke out to me:

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The Contrast of Reformed Theology

By contrast, Reformed theology, sound doctrine, is not a haven for false teachers. It’s not where false teachers reside. Reformed theology, sound doctrine, faithful biblical exposition among the long line of godly men, is not a place for false teachers, where frauds, deceivers, liars, and misrepresenters of the truth go. You’re not going to go to a Reformed church and find false miracles, false visions, false prophecies, false anointing, bizarre mindless pandemonium breaking out, shaking, rolling over, and falling down, saying false things about the Holy Spirit. That’s not going to happen in that environment, because they’re anchored to the truth. Once experience and emotion [and not truth] become the definition of what is true, then all hell breaks loose. (Source)

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The context of this quote is from the Strange Fire conference in which John MacArthur and others are discussing the dangers of the charismatic movement.  I do not deny there are abuses in the charismatic movement.  However, this comment in particular, by John MacArthur, upset me.

Does MacArthur really believe there are no False Teachers among the Reformed doctrine?  I find this appalling and arrogant and completely unbiblical.

Take a guess who is at the conference right now.  Any guesses?  I’ll spill it – - my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal, the Reformed pastor who went against scripture and sued me and four others for $500,000 in a defamation lawsuit, is likely sitting in the audience with his wife and other members of Beaverton Grace Bible Church right now.

Here’s O’Neal’s recent tweet indicating where he is:

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Read this again:

Oh YEA???????  Take a look at what John MacArthur has to say about False Teachers:

I had been following MacArthur’s teachings on False Teachers at the time I reached out to Grace Community for help regarding my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal.  If you recall, in a Google review, Chuck O’Neal publicly stated that a pastor from Grace Community encouraged him to file a lawsuit against me and other former members and so I called Grace Community in February of 2012 to see if they had any record of a pastor recommending that O’Neal sue me.  Here is a copy of the original Google review by O’Neal:

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After seeking counsel from a pastor on staff with Grace Community Church (under Pastor John MacArthur) and reading him several excerpts from JulieAnne’s endless defamation, he recommended that we FILE A LAWSUIT in an appeal to Caesar as the Apostle Paul did when falsely accused of crimes against God and the state.”  (Source)

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Those who have followed my story may recall that I had conversations with a volunteer “pastor-of-the-day,” and the following week, a couple of conversations with Bill Shannon and then later, an hour-long conversation with Phil Johnson, John MacArthur’s right-hand man, regarding the impending lawsuit.

The Bible is very clear on lawsuits and here are John MacArthur’s words on lawsuits.

In the conversations with the pastor of the day, Bill, and Phil, I reported to them that Chuck O’Neal was a spiritual abuser and also a false teacher.  I mentioned some of his practices.  I recall mentioning this common unbiblical practice of Chuck O’Neal’s:  False Teachers Who Mark and Avoid Church Members.

After getting sued and with the media attention, people started asking question about Grace Community’s involvement in this case.  Did a pastor from Grace Community really encourage O’Neal to sue us?  Phil Johnson contacted my friend, Dee, of The Wartburg Watch blog, who had covered my story, to let her know that a statement was forthcoming.   During that time, I requested to communicate with Phil and we made contact.

I had an hour-long conversation with Phil Johnson and I thought it went well.  However, the next day, he posted a link from Carl Trueman on his Facebook page in which my case was discussed.  At the bottom of the comments, Phil offers this comment:

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Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 9.35.28 AM

 

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Let me reiterate my intention of my original Google reviews and blog:  it was to warn people of a FALSE TEACHER.  I was very clear and concise with Grace Community pastors:  Chuck O’Neal was a “control freak” and a spiritual abuser.  Even Johnson stated on his Facebook that conservatives should speak out against control freaks in church leadership.

Keep in mind my former pastor has been a long-time Shepherds Conference attender.  He idolizes John MacArthur.  After arriving at Beaverton Grace Community Church, the Bible of choice among BGBC members was the John MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV).  We heard story after story about O’Neal being asked to sit at the right hand of MacArthur during a time when O’Neal when to some pastor’s expositor’s seminar.

So, picture this.  Right now, while pastors are CALLING OUT charismatics as false teachers, my former pastor is sitting in the seats at the #StrangeFire conference, as a legitimate shepherd and pastor.  Keep in mind, this same pastor, Chuck O’Neal, has lost his minister’s license and was put in church discipline by the Grace Brethren board.  He has never repented of filing a lawsuit against the 5 of us, he has never repented of the abuses occurring over 15 years of his being on staff at BGBC, or of the false teaching.

Remember the screen shot above about leaders of sheep associating with wolves?  Over the past year, a year after losing the lawsuit, Chuck O’Neal has found himself a niche among street evangelists, one in particular, Tony Miano, has bent his ear towards O’Neal.  It is my understanding that they met at an evangelism conference in the Portland area last spring put on by Christian Apologetics and Research Ministries (CARM).  In the evenings after the conference, groups went out street evangelizing and I believe that is when Miano and the people at CARM (Matt Slick and Ken Cook) “discovered” Chuck O’Neal’s street preaching “talent.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  When there is a church leader who seems to have the right stuff (doctrine, preaching style), it’s very interesting that patterns of behavior and actions are ignored.  Ie, as long as Chuck O’Neal can do a good job street preaching, it really shouldn’t matter much if there’s some spiritual abuse in his background.  It’s just a minor bump in the road that he sued 5 former church members and lost over $60,000 of the church’s money for the defendants’ attorney fees alone – - – this was God’s money, right?  ::::::blatant sarcasm:::::

Yea, it’s easy to overlook those “minor” discrepancies when you find someone who is charismatic (not that kind of charismatic, you know the other kind), who preaches the gospel that you preach, ya know, the Reformed doctrine on which you hang your hat.

So, guess who O’Neal invited to his own evangelism conference held late summer 2013?  Yup, Tony Miano and Ken Cook of CARM.

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Look what Chuck O’Neal’s wife brought to the #StrangeFire conference:

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Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 10.01.44 AM

Tonya with her new favorite book “Should She Preach” at the #StrangeFire conference. Thank you @TonyMianopic.twitter.com/OPOjbn4sNf

— Chuck O’Neal (@ChuckONeal_) October 17, 2013

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You probably can’t see it in the photo, but you can see it here.  If you look closely at the front of the book, you will see “Pastor Chuck O’Neal” on the front because my former pastor, the pastor who sued me and four others, wasting most likely close to $100,000 of the church’s money to cover his attorney fees and our attorney fees, wrote the foreword to this book.  Yes, the suing pastor is now is credible.

How is this man credible?  Based on what?  Just because he can do open air preaching well?  What about his church and scores and scores of personal testimonies of spiritual abuse, stalking, shunning, recording and playing private conversations, etc?  Why does that not factor in anywhere?

Edited to add:   I failed to mention that interviews from both Phil Johnson and Steve Lawson are included in Tony Miano’s book, Should She Preach – - – the same book in which false teacher, Chuck O’Neal, who:

  • lost his license
  • filed a lawsuit against us  - against Grace Community pastors’ advice (Phil tried to talk him out of it)
  • wrongly accused Grace  Community pastor of encouraging him to file a lawsuit
  • is currently in church discipline by board who licensed him

And they are okay with this?  How can they be okay with this?

Oh, maybe because that gets put on the back burner because of this:

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Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 10.38.32 AM

(Source)

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Yea, you don’t ever want to bite the hand that feeds you.  When you are getting a paycheck coming to you each month to help you stay financially afloat in “ministry,” it’s a little difficult to see the glaring warning signs.  Let’s see, which one does a righteous Christian leader choose, warning signs or dollar signs?

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Justin Peters called it, fo sure:

“It makes it very hard for us to warn people about the wolves when the leaders of the sheep are associating with the wolves.” –Justin Peters at #StrangeFire

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135 comments on “Strange Fire Conference: John MacArthur, “Reformed Theology is not a Haven for False Teachers”

  1. Does MacArthur really believe there are no False Teachers among the Reformed doctrine?

    Of course. Because Calvin has THE Perfect Doctrine, THE Perfect Theology. There can never be a False Teacher within Calvinism. Calvinism Can Do No Wrong by definition. Ees Party Line.

  2. I find it a little interesting that JMac has such assurance in the Reformed Church whereas Jesus, disciples, and the apostle Paul were calling out false teachers in the church practically in every book of the New Testament. Paul even stated that false teachers were already in the churches he was ministering to and that they would continue. Wow, JMac you guys must be made of super Teflon!

  3. Hi Julie Anne, I left a comment on the facebook page that you linked to quoting the foreward to the book about the great evangelists being all men. Maybe I’m foolhardy but I had to say something. Here is my comment:

    ‘What about the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well? Her whole town turned to Jesus as a result of what she had to say to them. And what about women like Mary Slessor in Nigeria who went where men refused to go? And, more recently, Corrie ten Boom? Restricting women from obeying what God calls them to do, just because they are women, is like the practices of footbinding and the wearing of tightly laced corsets; preventing women from reaching their God-given potential.’

  4. Here’s a quote from Jeff Crippen’s book “A Cry for Justice”–”Good people never pretend to be evil, but evil people love to pretend to be good. Sheep don’t wear wolves’ clothing”. Looks like a lot of sheep bashing by wolves at this conference!

  5. Those who think they have it all right usually don’t. I have seen more abuse in reformed churches where I am from than in the pentacostal/charismatic churches.

  6. Ok, I just realized I forgot another key piece that I added above. I forgot to mention that Phil Johnson and Steve Lawson (O’Neal loves Steve Lawson and likes to tag him in tweets at random) were interviewed in Tony Miano’s book. Yea, Phil Johnson, the guy who spent an hour on the phone with CON trying to talk him into dropping the lawsuit.

    I also didn’t mention that O’Neal was at the Shepherds Conference this year as well. Yea, a conference for church shepherds and a wolf sat amongst them. They know his history and they don’t care.

    Remember Phil Johnson’s words here:

    Abusive and heavy-handed, high-control church leadership is a serious problem among some very conservative churches, and those of us who are conservative should speak out against it. If there were fewer control freaks in church leadership, I think there would also be fewer out-of-control complaint blogs.

    Whatever, Phil. Your words are empty to me. Oh, and btw, I contacted Phil privately about this specific comment and he said he hadn’t read my blog and didn’t have my blog in mind. But take note his whole post had to do with my court case. Hmmmmmmm….

  7. JA,
    When I learned about CON’s lawsuit for the first time on pauspassingthoughts blog, I was upset by it & was beginning to understand the connection between outrageous, harmful action… & the Calvinist doctrine which supports it. Basically, I was beginning to connect the dots with their “one true doctrine” mentality & the actions that result. At first, I even skeptically read Paul Dohse’s blog for a while. But post after post, & after reading comments like Lydia’s, it became undeniable for me. I started to read your blog & some others from there. This doctrine doesn’t add up to the WHOLE of the Bible or to who God is.

    Since then, “free-reign” & “free-license” action & behavior by the leaders of this doctrine have solidly confirmed the connection for me. These leaders claim their one true doctrine is a foundation for their action (see J MacDonald, Piper tweets, Driscoll, CJ, etc.). As time goes by, we’ll see Calvinist doctrine lauded as the ONLY way to be saved, I’m guessing we’re there already. Yes, there are some good leaders & good people who hold to the doctrine. Just like there are some good people who believe in dominionism & reconstructionism & comp doctrine. There are reasons why (they believe but don’t live it out, one example). But that doesn’t make the doctrine itself right. I hear what you are saying about how these doctrines go hand in hand. They rely heavily on hierarchy, control & take over – which all appeal to the power-hungry.

    One more thing. There is an undeniable connection between this doctrine & arrogance of keeping people in their place. Phil Johnson’s facebook comment is an excellent glimpse into their ultimate foundational belief. It is important for us all to understand that while conversations (phone, tweet, etc.) on a personal level may go well, the reality is that position in the hierarchy will trump any problem.

  8. A Mom: I didn’t find that note on Phil Johnson’s FB page until a few weeks later, but it stung after having spent an hour on the phone where he seemed to validate spiritual abuse and even shared a spiritual abuse story of his own. It made me feel that he was just using the phone call to hush me up. I even publicly wrote that I was very pleased with the phone call and felt that he finally understood my side of the story. Ugh. I’m a sucker.

    I have a lot of things going against me with these guys:

    I’m a woman. I’m a blogger. I’m speaking out against someone from their camp (that’s a huge one).

    To me, this is about Christian integrity. You do not allow abuse just because someone believes the same doctrine. I’m so tired of these guys speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

  9. Pingback: the Jesus Event | Friday Blog Roundup

  10. Certainly false teachers are to be recognized by their fruit. I agree with John MacArthur on this point. However, for anybody in the Reformed camp to relay on this Scriptural principle to trash their Charismatic brothers and sisters is, in my opinion, the height of hypocrisy.

    The father of reformed theology, was nothing more than a very young lawyer, and is said to have been a Christian for only about a year, at the time he wrote what amounts to the de facto bible of Reformed theology, “Institutes of the Christian Religion.” What was the fruit of the theology thus published by the man whose name JA prefers that we not mention here? (Hint: His initials are J.C., and I’m not referring to Jesus Christ.)

    Well, this man, the intellectual and spiritual father of Reformed theology, was an absolute tyrant in the worst sense of the example of the 20th Century’s dictators. Nothing was more dangerous for an inhabitant of mid to late 16th Century Geneva to disagree with this J.C. In the early stages of his tyranny, he was content to merely reduce his detractors to poverty, which he did to Sebastian Castellio. Later, after having failed to achieve his execution at the hands of the French Inquisitors, this spiritual and political tyrant of Geneva stage managed the judicial execution of Miguel Servetus at the hands of the Geneva city council. J.C. seems not to have been satisfied with the mere execution of Servetus. Rather, there is evidence that J.C. arranged for Servetus to be slow-roasted over a low burning, smoking, greenwood fire.

    Having achieved his murderous will with Miguel Servetus, J.C. took a run at effecting the judicial of murder of the above-mentioned Sebastian Castellio, who’s natural death was doubtless all that cheated the slow-burning fires of the executioner’s stake .

    By the end of this J.C.’s life, he was arranging the judicial executions of his political opponents. The overall effect of this man’s theology was a reign of Reformed terror-at-the-stake throughout Europe. The Salem witch trials were in every sense a fruit of what now goes by the name of Reformed theology.

    Today, fortunately, about the worst these still-extant Reformed tyrants can manage is excommunication, shunning, digital stalking and the like. They can also have some success in inflicting economic damage on those who dare refuse to bow to their wills.

    I grieve, at least in part, to post these observations. I know that some here subscribe to Reformed theology to some greater or lesser degree. It is not my intention to insult or condemn. If any are reading this post, I do nevertheless encourage you to consider what might be the significance of the fruit of this Genevese doctrine. I personally have turned from my own radical allegiance to the doctrines of the man from Geneva. An examination of his fruit played a significant role in my decision to flee–into the arms of no man, excepting only Jesus.

    But to repeat my main point: For the likes of John MacArthur and his followers to try to discredit Charismatics on the basis of their fruits is the height of hypocrisy. Their very author of their own doctrine was guilty of multiple murders.

  11. This is just so crazy to me, without even getting into specifics. They’re complaining about people having “out of control complaint blogs” yet the entire purpose of this conference is to be AGAINST something. That’s not only a poor reason for a conference, it’s blatantly hypocritical.

    And the whole tone of it… it reads like such a desperate attempt to ensure a false sense of security or safety. Reformed theology isn’t an immunization against false teachers, and to limit “false teachers” to charismatics does nothing but create a false sense of security for those that aren’t charismatics. Charismatics, on the other hand, do the opposite against more conservative churches (“we’re right, look, here’s the proof!”) ALL churches are susceptible to manipulation and false teachers. Honestly, this is like reading comments on tragic news stories where the commenters go to elaborate lengths to explain why the tragedy should never have happened. It doesn’t help anything, it’s just a way for you to try and convince yourself that you’re immune and therefore still safe.

    It’s completely illogical, not to mention how blatantly wrong it is, considering the stories of horrific sexual abuse that have come to light lately. (SGM lawsuit, I’m looking at you). Clearly it’s not working.

  12. Hi JA, I love your sleuthing!

    Here’s a book title: “Should He Preach?” O’Neal that is.

    Those strange fire conference guys seem to be very concerned… yes… very concerned about all those Charismatics… yes… (and all those women… those preaching women too).

    Though I might agree with them on some things, that was really an over-the-top statement by JMac. Considering the circumstances, it turns out to be a rather hypocritical statement, and I think God hates religious hypocrisy more than all the other strange stuff they are conferring about. Maybe a spiritual pride conference is in order.

    I never liked PJs website with his acerbic annotations of everything that isn’t Calvinism.

    Thanks for the write up, Randy

  13. Sarah, it’s okay for Reformed church leaders to complain, just not women bloggers. Oh and when I call it out, it’s “whiny, complaint,” when they call it out, it’s “heresy, unbiblical.”

  14. Please do not confuse Reformed Theology with Calvinism. Calvin was just one Reformer. I am increasingly sad that this site is so negative toward those of us who believe Reformed doctrine and are thankful that we can live in freedom to serve without fear of condemnation and having our salvation revoked by one wrong and ill-defined move. Did I mention that I laugh at statements like MacArthur’s because I also consider myself Charismatic as I began my Christian life at a church that practiced a slightly modified Reformed Theology that included believer’s baptism (not infant) and that the gifts of the Spirit are active today. Because we were more grounded theologically, there was no rolling in isles or barking like dogs, just people who could openly talk about what the Spirit was doing in their lives which they knew through prayer and watchfulness. There were a few people who prattled on in “tongues” but I was not compelled to and never felt that “gift.” I realize it is a rare church that can walk this line and not be stuck in “either/or.” I think as Christians we are called to not be stuck in either/or but to be open to what is possible for God beyond our human reasoning. Sad at the tone here sometimes.

  15. Lisa – I know it sometimes seems out of balance here (and could be), but I hope you know that SSB is an equal opportunity sounding board. If there is abuse, I will call it out. The real issue to me is abuse and in this specific case, John MacArthur’s own words condemn himself by saying that the Reformed church is not a place for false teachers. That is ridiculous. False teachers creep in unnoticed, regardless of doctrine.

    I would like to understand more of how Reformed and Calvinism are not alike. Lisa, if you can shed more light on that topic, I’d greatly appreciate it. Calvinism is new to me and I’ve really learned it primarily by observing behavior of those who call themselves Calvinists and then can see how it lines up with TULIP.

    Thank you for sharing how you have been feeling here. You have a voice, too, and I’m glad to hear it. It’s okay to have different viewpoints here. It doesn’t bother me in the least.

  16. Lisa,

    I do regret that my previous comment is troubling to some I would count as being on the same page with me where issues of spiritual abuse are concerned. I respect your observation that not all Reformed would count themselves as followers of J.C. of Geneva. In fact I applaud those who would call themselves Reformed while in fact distancing themselves from Geneva.

    Whether I am right or wrong, I perceive that the brand of Reformed theology embraced by John MacArthur is very much in the vein of J.C. of Geneva. To the extent this is correct, I stand by my observation that they are hypocritical to condemn Charismatics on the basis of their fruit. I will now go further. Their hypocritical condemnations of our Charismatic sisters and brothers are a form of spiritual abuse.

    If I am mistaken about the theology of MacArthur and his followers, I am willing to stand corrected. Even if I am correct in my understanding, I hope you, and others who share your views, will accept the fact that, while I reject most all theology in favor of looking solely to Scripture, the purpose of my previous post was to note the hypocrisy, and not to contest any particular theology — including yours.

  17. Hey Julie,
    I am, once again, not surprised at the arrogance that I am reading from the MEN at this conference. I have learned a lot in these last 5 years and am thankful that the Holy Spirit guides me and protects me from these MEN who think they can judge others with complete abandon. Using verses from HIS Word to tear apart others and build themselves up is NOT BIBLICAL!!!! It happened at our former church, only the sheep were the ones torn down, and those who may have been weak in their faith decimated by the abuse. But all glory be to God, He loves us and will never forsake us.
    I remember when Phil Johnson got ‘involved’ with you on the lawsuit and remember feeling that he was taking a ‘on the fence’ approach. A few others from the GCC group were also squeamish about calling out the hypocrisy and unbiblical move O’Neal was taking against the church of CHRIST. Red flags are waving all over my brain!!! I am cautious with any man who does not call out abusive deceptive behavior within his own power of influence. Instead what GCC did was publicly support O’Neal by not publicly rebuking him. ~I am thankful God is leading me through this maze of life by His HOLY SPIRIT.
    I am not lost on the fact that O’Neal is under church discipline by FGBC, nor that his letter of ‘resignation’ from the fellowship of Grace Brethren ‘went’ to a dead guy. No letter has been shown to validate his ridiculous claims.
    I am not charismatic, nor calvinist. I am a believer in the one who has set me free, who died for my sins and I eagerly await for the day I will be reunited with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
    side note….all these conferences where ‘free’ books are handed out only to be taken back by ‘pastors’ to unsuspecting ‘flocks’ to be read and taught disgusts me. The pockets of these so called ‘godly’ men are being padded because the ‘flock’ are told to read this author or that author, meanwhile precious time and money are wasted following men not God. Read the Word, be ready in season and out of season to give the reason for our hope~ JESUS is our only hope. Not big business with Jesus stamped on it!!!
    This whole journey could make me sour, but strangely the fire that is within me is blessed because the Holy Spirit is teaching me through each and every path.
    My husband went to several of Johnny Mac’s conferences and the thrill was all the books we got for ‘free’. Um the information I ‘gleaned’ from these was worldly albeit ‘Christian’ covering…in hindsight. A couple of the churches I attended promote these authors. If the ‘author’ was recommended by my ‘pastor’ then it has to godly and good. It reminds of a drug dealer who gives out ‘free’ stuff only to get one hooked and then the person buys anything they are selling~in this case the authors books!!!
    BUT the education and understanding of this movement has been priceless. When I begin to feel overwhelmed by the deception I lean harder into my God who leads me unto Himself, and for that I am grateful!
    You, this blog and those who have the courage to post bless me and teach me to see the good in what God is doing to purify HIS church, Christ’s bride.

  18. I don’t have time to read comments now but just a few thoughts on the post:

    The cognitive dissonance with just McArthur alone is astounding. How does he explain his long conference partnering with CJ Mahaney of Reformed “Charismatic” fame for ONE example?

    The charismatics “don’t look like Jesus” but McArthur does? How is that so? I would love to hear McArthur expound on that one and my guess is the answer would be doctrinal instead of behavioral. Because many in both camps haven serious problems when it comes to “being like Jesus Christ”.

    Oy vey. These guys are getting more and more divisive and tribal.

    JA: Me thinks Chuck and Tony were looking for a venue to promote the book using their heros.

    Anyone who thinks Phil Johnson is an independent thinker needs to get a reality check. He is a party line guy. He has done very well with it.

  19. Please forgive me for posting to you by using “Julie”, my error. I know you are Julie Anne, I am just emotionally charged right now and it was an oversight on my part.

  20. Dear Julie Anne,
    CJ Mahaney and John Piper were 2 ‘authors’ I never would have known nor read about had it not been for MacArthurs conferences and the peddling of books. Just saying, these 2 are ‘charismatics’. Thankful their books were free~LOL
    And now John MacArthur calls them out? It will be interesting to see if he continues to invite them to ‘his’ church to sway unsuspecting sheep from the true Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

  21. The cognitive dissonance with just McArthur alone is astounding. How does he explain his long conference partnering with CJ Mahaney of Reformed “Charismatic” fame for ONE example?

    “These Truly Reformed said one to another,
    Reformed to Reformed o’er the world is Brother…”
    – filk of Chesterton’s “Ballad of the Battle of Gibeon”

    The charismatics “don’t look like Jesus” but McArthur does? How is that so?

    Just as Ayn Rand was the Most Perfect Human Being and Only Truly Rational Mind Who Ever Lived, so MacArthur is the Most Jesus-Like Christian Who Ever Lived. The MacArthur in the mirror says so.

    Anyone who thinks Phil Johnson is an independent thinker needs to get a reality check. He is a party line guy. He has done very well with it.

    Tabaqui the Jackal, panting after Shere Khan for the scraps that might drop from the tiger’s kill.

  22. Angry – I get that kind of anger. I was so caught up in your anger that I missed it :) Loved your comment, btw. You nailed it! Ugh – this stuff is crazy.

  23. Why would JMac need to denounce charismatics as non-Christian? The rest of us already know that the Reformed camp thinks we’re all going to hell anyway (we can’t be part of the elect, because we don’t believe their garbage).

    It has much less to do with theology or selling books as it does his ideology. Theocratic fascism run by an oligarchy of Borg drones speaking with one voice.

    And for people that don’t like the tone of people tired of these Reformed Mussolinis, how about you start calling your Reformed leaders out on their garbage before you complain about those of us who are tired of their constant condemnation of anything not “Reformed” and their duplicitous attempt to claim that they’re the only “real” Christianity.

  24. This was just posted on the SSB Facebook page and I thought it was so good:

    “sound doctrine” IS a haven for ‘false teachers’.. it is the club of doctrine that religious ‘teachers’ use to create a ‘us-vs-them’ environment, it is the wedge of doctrine that is used to seperate ‘believers’ from each other, from humanity as a whole. (c)TM

  25. According to Amazon.com MacArthur has a book, “Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship,” which is scheduled for release November 12. A very interesting (and rather scathing) pre-release review by R. Loren Sandford, a Charismatic pastor for whom I happen to have a good deal of respect, can be found here:

    http://tinyurl.com/lz6qx3q

  26. I wish that John Mac would have separated the two words of Reformed meaning from Calvin, and Reformed as meaning coming out of the Reformation of separating their theology from that of the Roman Catholic church. Just where does John Mac stand and what does he mean by Reformed Theology?
    The other separation I would like him to have expounded on is the difference between the Charismatic movement and the Pentecostal movement. A lot of the charismatics come from the Word of Faith movement and he may have some credence in what he says about them. However, I think it is a very foolish thing to include everyone in the charismatic that is a practicing pentecostal. Some of the most Godly Christians I know, speak in tongues and they are appalled at what has gone on in some of the so called Charismatic revivals.
    I think John Mac was far too general in his condemnation of the people that believe in the so called baptism of the Holy Spirit. From my 19 years in an Assembly of God church, I would say that there is a huge difference between a Pentecostal and a Charismatic. Yes, there were a few Charismatics in the churches I went to but they were not comfortable there and most moved on due to their actions not generally being accepted by the Pentecostals that were the majority there

  27. Jimmydee – You are echoing Lisa’s point and bringing up another valid one. When you say “charismatic,” there is a wide range of thought and practice and it really is difficult to know exactly what he means. Is he throwing the whole thing out? I don’t see how he can because he allowed CJ Mahaney to share a pulpit with him at his own Shepherds Conference and CJ identifies as a Reformed charismatic. It is all quite confusing.

  28. “It is a good thing that Mr. MacArthur was not around on the day of Pentecost – we would have had a Strange Fire Conference the day after the disciples left the upper room!”

    I saw this comment on PPT spiritual abuse blog today & thought it both funny & appropriate. Truth can be that way. :)

  29. Lisa,

    It appears many Calvinist who use TULIP as there manual to authenticate their doctrine consider themselves “Reformed”.

    Granted “Reformed” isn’t isolated to just the Calvinist School.

    5 Point Calvinist are shying away from being called Calvinist and are considering themselves as Reformed or New Reformed.

    The Non- Calvinist Reformed Christian Denominations in some respect, became a causuality of getting a bad rap for simply being Reformed.

  30. Mark’s comment makes me bring up this Reformed/Calvinist topic again. For me, the bottom line is abuse. I can see a whole culture at SGM in their hierarchical structure that becomes a breeding ground for high-controlling pastors and abuse.

    With the situation at Grace Community, I have seen a pattern in my personal dealings with pastors (and Bible teacher and staff, Fred Butler). Additionally, others have e-mailed me private stories that mirror my experience and so I know I am not alone in this.

    These 2 churches/groups happen to be Calvinist. I’ve also dealt with Calvary Chapel folks. They are not Calvinist. I’ve done a number of posts calling out the abuses of Bob Grenier. I’ve done a handful of posts on Faith Tabernacle church. The Homeschool Movement has Reconstructionist roots which are also Calvinist, so yes, it does seem to be out of balance. This is not intentional, but is probably because this is my frame of reference and I”m more in tuned with these specific groups (not because of the Calvinism, but because of the behavior).

    When I am posting articles, I typically do not even think about Calvinism or Arminian or Charismatic, etc – - my brain is focused on people who use their position of authority and trust inappropriately in order to control others. That is where my head is.

  31. This really chaps my hide cuz I used to respect Macarthur. But no more. He has set himself up for a fall. It’s one thing to call out false doctrine but to teach they are all evil and WE ARE ALL GOOD is nothing more than self righteousness. He has crossed the line into legalism. I guess there are as many legalist reformed preachers and churches as there are legalistic charismatic preachers and churches. Farmer John has gone far afield to inspect his neighbors’ fruit. Really stepped in it he has.

    Headless guy nailed it in his #1 post.

    For a book title: Macarthur’s Wife: Should she preach?

    or

    The Bride of Christ: Should She Preach?

    or

    Deborah: Should She Preach?

  32. JA, I happen to be of the persuasion that all these doctrines fall into the same trap of the number one false teaching- WORKS.
    Whenever, and I mean whenever these denominations (and I don’t care what you are) focus on works to somehow make you more pleasing to God or for salvation they will always fail to deliver. This “works based salvation” can be disguised in many different ways and can look good or even “right”, but in the end are death.
    These men have set themselves up as the “messengers of God” in delivering these messages of works. They have also fallen for power and money, because that is where a works-based belief system will take you. They are addicted to it and do not want to let it go. They will not let it go until it falls.
    So it does not matter WHERE they come from, it matters on WHAT message they preach, whether Calvinist or Arminianist.

    Has anyone noticed that even you will see some of these guys intermingle with each other in conferences, both Calvinists and Arminianists? Why? I think it is because the message of Jesus Christ is not important to them, but the affluence is.
    Their hypocrisy is astounding and we are hearing it loud and clear!

  33. “John MacArthur @johnmacarthur
    “I’ll start believing the truth prevails in the charismatic movement when its leaders start looking more like Jesus Christ.” #StrangeFire
    12:43 PM – 16 Oct 2013″

    My goodness! Now I can understand why the men at the Pyro blog sounded so mean. They sound just like MacArthur. How sad. I’m really astounded about this book and conference. It seems completely over the top to express disdain at this level toward other believers who believe in and move in the gifts. Yes, there have probably been some abuse. But there are abuses in his camp as well.

    . . . MacArthur does this, but his underlings are worried about women with blogs. The women aren’t writing books and having conferences to call into question the salvation of millions of believers!

    Am I missing something? Isn’t Mac the dangerous one!!

  34. This must be sickening to you, Julie Anne. To hear MacArthur say, “Oh, we could NEVER have false or abusive teachers among US!” And then to know Pastor Chuck is right there, welcomed with open arms.

    I’m reminded of Isaiah 56:

    “Come, all you beasts of the field,
    come and devour, all you beasts of the forest!
    Israel’s watchmen are blind,
    they all lack knowledge;
    they are all mute dogs,
    they cannot bark;
    they lie around and dream,
    they love to sleep.
    They are dogs with mighty appetites;
    they never have enough.
    They are shepherds who lack understanding;
    they all turn to their own way,
    they seek their own gain.”

    So much for the RBDs (Reformed Big Dogs). :(

  35. So, if: 1. you are charismatic; 2. if you are a woman; and 3. if you are a blogger. Well then, yikes–and three strikes yer out!

    Oh, and hey, what if: 4. the charismatic woman preaches too? Then, No. 4–there’s the door??!!

  36. You know what the irony is for me? Driscoll, McArthur, MacDonald are more alike than they are different. As I read around the twitteruniverse and news, I am seeing people are falling for the Charismatic/Non Charismatic arguments and ignoring lots of bad behavior and ridiculous teaching by both sides.

    Driscoll is a shameless self promoter, is he not? McArthur a hypocrite partnering with Mahaney……and the beat goes on. This is not about charismatic or non charismatic. It is about how ridiculous what passes for Christendom in America has become.

  37. Good comment from the blog donotbesurprised under an article the owner of the blog wrote about Driscoll’s actions at the SF conference:

    “AnonymousOctober 19, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Mac Arthur is no different than Driscoll and Mac Donald. He just repackages himself. You don’t need to go to a conference and spend all that money to learn about the charismatic church.”

    Yep-I agree with that assessment.

    But Erin’s (female blogger) donotbesurprised blog is VERY pro MacArthur. She’s a big fan of all things John MacArthur. I think she takes classes at The Masters, iirc, and tweets back and forth with Phil Johnson, etc. I find it amusing to say the least that she can write a scathing article about a professing Christian pastor like Driscoll and no one calls her out on how divisive that is…not to mention WRONG because she is a wimins. :-)

    Erin writes:

    “In summary, then, Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald, on their way to teach at a conference entitled, “Act Like Men,” pulled off a shameless and tactless publicity stunt in the midst of the important truth that is being shared at the Strange Fire conference. Driscoll then lied on social media about his encounter with conference officials, no doubt further provoking those who stand opposed to the message being relayed at Strange Fire.

    There is little doubt that this charade will find its way to the pulpits of Mars Hill Church and Harvest Bible Chapel as a witty and humorous anecdote. Acting like men? Hardly. Perhaps it is not coincidental that these words from the Apostle Paul appear amid his teaching regarding spiritual gifts:

    When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

    How sad it is when the shepherds of the sheep have not yet given up their own childish ways.”
    end quote

    Erin can write in a, well, I’ll say “descriptive” manner about a professing Christian pastor and his “publicity stunt” ….calling his actions childish, a charade, unmanly, a shameless and tactless stunt and no one says a peep (Phil…where are you?), but Julie Anne cannot document the unbiblical actions of a certain MacArthur devotee named Chuck O’Neal?

    I thought women writing blogs criticizing pastors was a no go in Phil’s book?

  38. JA said, “When I am posting articles, I typically do not even think about Calvinism or Arminian or Charismatic, etc – – my brain is focused on people who use their position of authority and trust inappropriately in order to control others. That is where my head is.”

    Yes! And this is found in just about every denomination of professing Christians. Every denomination, instead of bashing one another, should work together speaking out against abuse in the church.

  39. Pingback: Question for Tony Miano: Did Joni Preach? | Spiritual Sounding Board

  40. McArthur has been going after Driscoll for years. I am not saying he was wrong in doing so but at the same time, McArthur has some seriously flawed and legalistic teaching regarding women and he has partnered with Mahaney, too, as has Driscoll.

    McArthur is as much a celebrity Christian guru as the rest of them. He has amassed power, influence and a serious following. Not to mention a very comfortable lifestyle. There is not much humble about him at all, either.

    I am a bit surprised they are so obviously coddling CON. I would think they were smarter than that. But hey, get by with power for so long, it hardly matters. The blind followers often will make excuses for them.

  41. “Erin can write in a, well, I’ll say “descriptive” manner about a professing Christian pastor and his “publicity stunt” ….calling his actions childish, a charade, unmanly, a shameless and tactless stunt and no one says a peep (Phil…where are you?), but Julie Anne cannot document the unbiblical actions of a certain MacArthur devotee named Chuck O’Neal?”

    Diane, That sums up the hypocrisy nicely. If you have the right “doctrine” & follow the party line (as HUG points out), that’s what matters most at the end of the day with the “important” & popular leaders of the day. They will always accept people like CON first over laity.

  42. Diane, That sums up the hypocrisy nicely. If you have the right “doctrine” & follow the party line (as HUG points out), that’s what matters most at the end of the day with the “important” & popular leaders of the day. They will always accept people like CON first over laity.

    This is exactly the same as the SGM fiasco. We can call them out, but ultimately, CJ has the right doctrine. And I don’t want this to go into Calv vs Armin, but just look at the pattern, if the doctrine is approved, then they get the free passes. It’s disgusting behavior.

  43. “You know what the irony is for me? Driscoll, McArthur, MacDonald are more alike than they are different.”

    For sure. And Piper was the linchpin. He was the middleman, IMO. Now that he’s retired, the fake peace is gone.

    Driscoll drools over MacDonald’s acquisitions & wealth, it seems.
    MacDonald drools over TD Jakes’ income & influence, it seems.
    MacArthur admires Piper’s intellect, it seems.
    Piper was willing to overlook Driscoll, CJ, MacDonald, anyone’s? bad behavior IF they have the doctrine right, it seems.
    Mohler, ditto.

    Their definition of success? books, attendance, members, conferences, satellites, tithe, etc. It’s a numbers game. We are… just a number fueling their success.

    A Amos Love does a good job pointing out none of it is necessary for us. We need Jesus. Jesus alone! Amen to that. ;)

  44. Julie, I recommend Roger Olson, an arminian theologian, for some good historical perspectives on the use of the term “reformed” as well as a cogent, thorough,treatment of reformed and calvinist theology. Here is a link to a book excerpt: http://books.google.com/books?id=14_PGHTc6QsC&pg=PT55&lpg=PT55&dq=%E2%80%9Cinamissable+grace%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=tc2Bke_UHV&sig=D7Jus9JsxfDf-Ea7r8KxIjI4uwQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=DohMUoXzCrTCyAHNxYGwDA&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cinamissable%20grace%E2%80%9D&f=false

    Check out his blog for much more.

  45. This is exactly the same as the SGM fiasco. We can call them out, but ultimately, CJ has the right doctrine.

    I prefer the Marxist-Leninist term “Ideologically Pure”.

  46. The Pharisees thought they had correct doctrine (and Jesus even said on some points they were in fact correct, but on other points, no), but he still chewed them out for treating people like trash.

    Sometimes, they nullified the written commandments of God with their added-on rules, to treat people like trash.

    Independent Fundamentalist Baptists are a lot like that as well, and sometimes, other Christian denominations.

    Some Christians think it’s okay to use and misuse people as long as they have correct doctrine, but Jesus said, not so. It’s not always enough to have correct doctrine if you are stampeding over people in the process.

  47. HUG said,

    Of course. Because Calvin has THE Perfect Doctrine, THE Perfect Theology. There can never be a False Teacher within Calvinism. Calvinism Can Do No Wrong by definition. Ees Party Line.

    I sometimes wonder if Neo Calvinists have posters in their rooms of Calvin, the way some teen girls have posters of One Direction and Justin Bieber on their bedroom walls.

    And I feel a little sad knowing that I even know who 1D and Bieber are.

  48. The statement of faith for John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church can be found at http://www.gracechurch.org/distinctives/. Even a quick perusal of this doctrinal statement confirms that MacArthur’s brand of Reformed theology is firmly rooted in the theological traditions of Geneva. More to the point of the present topic, however, we find this statement:

    “With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13-14). The only gifts in operation today are those nonrevelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Romans 12:6-8).”

    It would seem to me that it is extremely dangerous to make this kind of a rather broad attribution of the so-called miraculous gifts to Satan. When Jesus was accused of casting out demons by the prince of demons, Jesus said “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30, ESV)

    While the Charismatic style of worship is not for me, and I do not consider myself to be a Charismatic, I have observed the operation of what MacArthur calls the miraculous gifts. Discernment is, as always, necessary. However, I will endeavor to avoid the unforgivable sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

  49. “I sometimes wonder if Neo Calvinists have posters in their rooms of Calvin, the way some teen girls have posters of One Direction and Justin Bieber on their bedroom walls.”

    Not long ago at some SBC YRR conference at some church they had t shirts with pics of Jonathan Edwards that said He is my homeboy. So, it might not be Calvin per se but Owens, Edwards, or some other dead guy.

  50. “It would seem to me that it is extremely dangerous to make this kind of a rather broad attribution of the so-called miraculous gifts to Satan. When Jesus was accused of casting out demons by the prince of demons, Jesus said “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30, ESV)”

    Gary, they get around this one by saying that blaspheming the Holy Spirit cannot happen today as in cessation. But if you think about it, rejecting Christ (and the Holy Spirit) cannot be done either in their construct so that would be a moot point! They are “chosen” so they cannot reject. No free will.

    Like you, I am not interested in Charismatic worship. It seems both sides, cessationist/non cessationists, can quickly go off their respective deep ends.

  51. “But if you think about it, rejecting Christ (and the Holy Spirit) cannot be done either in their construct so that would be a moot point! They are “chosen” so they cannot reject. No free will.”

    The demands of logical consistency would seem to require that these same principles be applied to Charismatics as well to the Reformed. The reality, it would seem to me, is that doctrinaire advocates of whatever theological persuasion have substituted salvation by right thinking for salvation by turning in trusting, obedient faithfulness to the Son of the Living God.

  52. Nothing but more arrogance. I am pentacostal, we don’t believe in prosperity gospel at all. Suprising considering Jmac makes over 160 grand a year, not including royalties on his books. Immature “I’m right, your wrong, so there!” And where on earth does he get his stats from? He is coming just short of condemning all who don’t believe exactly as he does. That is dangerous territory. I truly believe God is ticked over the state of the ‘church’ today.

  53. lynette, I do get a chuckle out of guys like McArthur who talk about the false prosperity gospel while making bank off Jesus with quite the income and lifestyle. Now his followers would say he is not stinking rich but lets face it, he is in the top 10% of income earners in this country. And if his church is in debt, then he should take a huge cut in salary. How much is his “Grace to You” income and how many family members does it employ? Royalties? How much did the gate take for this conference? Me thinks McArthur does quite well and a good way to continue that is to make a controversy. That way they don’t get bored.

    I would say his Gospel has been financially prosperous. :o)

  54. I am not a Charismatic & have never spoken in tongues. However, I will never knock other brothers or sisters in Christ who are & do. And I do not think them less “Biblical”. It’s not even close to a salvific issue, more a matter of personal preference. And not all Charismatics believe in health & wealth (I don’t know if MacArthur or anyone at the conference thinks this because I haven’t listened to any of the conference). I personally know Christians that are Charismatic or lean that way to varying degrees & they don’t believe in health & wealth at all.

    The bigger picture is that the conference serves to divide Christian brothers & sisters with a “better than thou” attitude. Not right.

  55. i pray that you would all see and do the research that john mac is a false teacher he teaches a works salvation gospel if u do not see this do the research of what lordship salvation is. stay away from washer, ray comfort and david platt, mark driscoll all preach false gospels. the reformed theology is catholicism its from augustine check it out it shocked me too many christians need to be better bereans and stop following men even if they are so articulate. calvanists teach another gospel and the p in tulip which is there gospel is perservnce of the saints. calvanists say reformed theolgy what are they reformng catholicsm. check outthe dvd wide is the gate done very well by caryl matriciana every christian should watch it calvanism is part of the apostasy. i have done an exhaustive study on the error of arminianism. lordship salva, and calvanism they will all lead back to rome. i have come out of catholicm and not about to go back,

  56. John MacArthur is a sinner. He has flaws. He has a long history of making – shall we say – non-nuanced statements. I think he once wrote that a Christian cannot murder. He sometimes overstates his case.

    Though C.J. Mahaney has apparently become much less charismatic over the years (probably to appease his friends), MacArthur is still not living up to his principles when he shares platforms with him and does not speak out against him.

    MacArthur is a Calvinist. I don’t see that as a problem, but I know that many do, and dismiss him for that alone.

    Unlike most Christian leaders, MacArthur sometimes speaks out against popular people and popular ideas. As Lydia has noted, he has spoken out against Mark Driscoll, as well as the New Calvinists. Unlike the vast majority of Calvinists, he is a premillennialist, and once gave a speech in which he told Calvinists that they should also be premillennialists. This did not go over well among his Calvinist colleagues.

    This blog rightly condemns Christian leaders who do not speak out against abuse in the church of any kind. MacArthur, in this conference, is speaking out against very wealthy, powerful, and influential abusers, but he is being condemned because he is too easy on those who believe as he does. This is not a negligible concern, but it also raises the question: How righteous does one have to be before he/she can condemn abuse that he/she is not part of?

    Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, Kenneth Copeland, and many others, are out-and-out charlatans who have been fleecing the flock for years, sometimes decades. Bentley resorts to physical violence, like punching a woman in the stomach, when the “spirit” tells him to. All of them spout loads of false doctrine and have gotten enormously wealthy by doing so.

    They have pretty much had a pass since they began. Relatively respected Charismatics like Piper and Grudem provide cover for them, and those who do criticize them are warned “not to touch God’s anointed.”

    I don’t know what percentage of Charismatics are under the sway of these people and those like them, but it must be in the millions.

    My point is merely that, in criticizing MacArthur and his ilk, we should not ignore the fact that they are going after people who eminently deserve to be attacked. It’s long overdue.

    Julie Anne – I totally understand you being angered over O’Neal sitting there at the conference. Do you know if he was invited by MacArthur?

    Diane – For the record, Phil Johnson criticized what Driscoll and MacDonald did. From his tweet:

    Phil Johnson ‏@Phil_Johnson_ 18 Oct

    So @PastorMark and @JamesMacDonald came by, acting like boys, for publicity’s sake? Missed it. Wish they’d been in my session. #StrangeFire

  57. “My point is merely that, in criticizing MacArthur and his ilk, we should not ignore the fact that they are going after people who eminently deserve to be attacked. It’s long overdue”

    It is not that simple. I wish it was. McArthur is a staunch cessationist so any view that is not in that category is, according to him, error.

    And what does this mean? It means McArthur HAS to put the Holy Spirit in a box.

    One reason there can be no real discussion is because the lines are drawn so serverely. If one is not a cessationist then one is in the same category as Todd Bentley.

    My view is that controversy sells. We would love to think it is all about doctrine but I don’t think it is. I think there is more using of doctrine to build followings. I think T4G does it, I think the WofF folks do it, etc.

    The fact they used the provocative name “Strange Fire” says it all. The shock jock stuff is getting old from all of them.

    We cannot forget that other CON men are using it as a venue to promote themselves and we have Julie Anne over here who was horribly abused by that CON man. You may think we cannot hold McArthur accountable for such things but I ask you, why not?
    ,

  58. @ Jeff Brown~

    “Diane – For the record, Phil Johnson criticized what Driscoll and MacDonald did. From his tweet:

    Phil Johnson ‏@Phil_Johnson_ 18 Oct

    So @PastorMark and @JamesMacDonald came by, acting like boys, for publicity’s sake? Missed it. Wish they’d been in my session. #StrangeFire”

    Good for him…but that was not my point.
    He did not call out Erin for her “gossip and slander” (as some of these men refer to a post such as hers) post about Driscoll when he has stated in the past women should not be on the internet blogging about such things…pastor’s mistakes, their criminal activities, fill in the blank.

  59. I found a brief post about this at Denny Burk’s blog. Now, I know he does not care for Christian “gossip and slander” yet he posts the story about Driscoll and at the end his only comment is…”Wow.” Just a wow. No comment or advice or instruction or asking for us to be in prayer….just a wow.

    In the comments section his lone addition was:

    “Denny Burk October 18, 2013 at 5:53 pm #
    Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.”

    How is what he posted any different from the articles he denounces as gossip and slander regarding the actions of professing Christian pastors who do unadvisable things?

  60. Because it is not ‘gossip and slander’ when they do it. It’s ‘correcting false teachers’.

  61. Jeff, O’Neal was most likely not invited by MacArthur. I remember him tweeting with someone about possibly going (probably Miano) and then finally tweeting that their family was going to make it. Trust me, if MacArthur personally invited him, there would have been an endless supply of tweets about that. (Ask any former member how many times he told the story of how Mrs. MacArthur invited him to take the seat to the right of JMac at a meal he attended for pastors who went to an expositor’s class. The story was an attempt to show how humble O’Neal was. We heard the story between 5-10 times in our 2 yrs.)

  62. One of the things they are asking us to do is test the Charismatics by their fruit. Well, may we not test MacArthur and his disciples by their fruit? The fruit I am missing is love, one of the 9 fruits (actually “fruit,” singular) of the Spirit.

    I suppose they would claim that they have “truth,” but to my way of thinking, where there is no love, there is no truth. It is interesting that “truth” is not listed as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.

  63. Well, may we not test MacArthur and his disciples by their fruit? The fruit I am missing is love, one of the 9 fruits (actually “fruit,” singular) of the Spirit.

    Gary W., that is a very good point. But I already know the response. They would say it IS loving to tell the truth (their harsh truth), even if it is divisive. If you don’t get that truth, it only underscores that you were not one of the elect. They will wipe their hands of you and move on.

  64. BTW – The story about MacArthur/O’Neal and humility sounds snarky, but I mention it because it’s an important one. This particular story was one of the red flags that stuck out for me as: bad fruit. It’s bad form to teach on humility and use yourself as an example. It is also bad form to repeat said story so many times that even the most faithful admirers roll their eyes. Servant leadership is about humility. When a leader of Christ’s church lacks humility, that should send out warning signals.

  65. “They would say it IS loving to tell the truth (their harsh truth), even if it is divisive.”

    Yeah, but they don’t get to define love. That’s done at 1 Cor. 13. This is one reason why we must read our own Bibles. They make up whatever fits their agenda, tell us it’s Biblical, and expect us to swallow the line, sinker and fishing pole, right along with the hook. After all, they are the very mouthpieces of God (and yes, MacArthur’s doctrinal statement at his church’s website confirms that this is what they think).

  66. John MacArthur from Christian Post article:

    According to MacArthur, even before his conference started he was being accused of being unloving. He countered that assertion by saying that the most loving thing anybody could ever do, would be to tell someone the truth, because that’s how love acts.

    “It is unloving to leave people in darkness and error,” he said. “In Acts 20 it says ‘to warn you with tears,’ knowing that perverse, deceptive men will rise up to lead you astray.” He then added that Titus 1:4 outlines the duty of pastors and church elders to point out errors and give biblical arguments against them.

    “We have also been accused of being divisive. I would agree with that. Truth by its very nature is divisive. That’s why Jesus said, ‘I came to bring a sword.’ To divide people, to divide families. Truth by its very nature is separated from error. And it is far more important to be divided by truth than united by error.”

    He continued: “I remember years ago when I wrote the book, The Gospel According to Jesus, a leading evangelical preacher took me to lunch and said, ‘You have divided the body of Christ.’ And I said, may I ask you a question? And he said, ‘Yes.’ Is what I wrote true? That’s the only question I have. Of course, the truth divides.”

  67. Actually, if and to the extent he claims the Bible has replaced the Holy Spirit, I think MacArthur is one of the false teachers against whom we are called to warn. Of course, this is not the only basis on which I would assert that MacArthur is a false teacher.

    As to the truth being divisive, sure. Believers will always tend to be divided from unbelievers. However, MacArthur divides believers from other believers. That simply cannot be good and loving. In fact the wedge MacArthur drives between believers may well create an even greater division than that which tends to separate believers from unbelievers.

    Maybe MacArthur doesn’t think he’s dividing believers from believers. Maybe he is of the opinion that only those who think what he thinks can be believers. No, it is not what we think, but in whom we trust, that makes us children of God.

  68. Diane – Yes, I missed your point. Sorry.

    Lydia – You wrote: “One reason there can be no real discussion is because the lines are drawn so serverely. If one is not a cessationist then one is in the same category as Todd Bentley.”

    MacArthur has never said this. What he has said is that he wishes that people such as Piper, Grudem, and, yes, Mahaney, would reconsider their views because some of the charlatans and their followers cite them as giving legitimacy to their false teachings and practices. And he has said that he believes that many continuationists are believers, but have, in his opinion, incorrect views of some of the spiritual gifts.

    What’s wrong with the name “Strange Fire”? It’s biblical and apt.

    Julie Anne – So, O’Neal, every time he told the story, would talk about how humble he felt sitting next to JMac (and on the right side, yet)? That’s pretty funny. And sad.

    Gary W – “No, it is not what we think, but in whom we trust, that makes us children of God.” Trusting has nothing to do with thinking? Also, at this conference, MacArthur did not pit Scripture against the Holy Spirit; he talked about what Scripture *says* about the Holy Spirit.

    To all: Again, I have no desire to whitewash MacArthur, but to implicitly trash 45 years of pastoring and teaching is, I think, going too far.

    And it’s not like he’s putting up straw men. Have any of you seen videos of Howard-Browne, Joyner, Hinn, etc., doing their thing? Do you have any compassion for the people who are so clearly being manipulated to moan, groan, laugh, crawl on the floor, cry, for 30 min. or more? I doubt that anyone who comments on this blog believes that this is the work of the Holy Spirit. So an imperfect guy like MacArthur calls out these phonies in a very public way. Does he get *any* credit?

    And those of you who believe MacArthur is in it only for the money (which I highly doubt) – do you see the way these con men and women live? Their jets, their multiple mansions?

    Please, folks, a little balance.

  69. Jeff Brown,

    If I trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, I can be saved without thinking all the right things. I can reject both the virgin birth and the doctrine of the Trinity and still be saved, so long as I have trusting faith in Jesus. On the other hand, one could hold to all the right doctrine and still be damned if they refuse to put their trust in Jesus. In fact I would go so far as to say that the only time incorrect doctrine will consign us to damnation is if we hold to a doctrine, such as cessationism, which leads us to ascribe to Satan that which is of the Holy Spirit. MacArthur is on extraordinarily dangerous ground.

    And yes, though I cannot say that I have seen the groaning and crying you describe, I have seen people crawl on the floor laughing for extended periods of time. Was the laughing real? I can’t speak for others, but I myself have experienced uncontrollable laughter. It wasn’t in a church service, but it sure was real. I don’t see why the joy which is a fruit of the Spirit should not be expressed in laughter — and I don’t see why it couldn’t happen regularly within the context of a Church Service. People for whom I have prayed report having been healed, some physically, some emotionally. And so on. And I am not Charismatic or Pentecostal.

    I will say this. I used to scoff at the idea that the Gifts are still in operation. In fact, I fear I may have mocked the idea. Many people fear they have committed the unforgivable sin. I do not believe that I have done so, but this is the very area in which I have experienced some fear. My own conviction is that our Gracious Lord has permitted me to experience just enough of His supernatural, loving, empowerment so that I will not be tempted to mock what He is doing in and through others. MacArthur and those who agree with him can question my doctrine, but they cannot refute my testimony.

    We can all agree that there are abuses. However, one is on very dangerous ground when they point to the abuses to try to prove the cessationist position.

  70. Jeff – I don’t have a problem with JMac calling out Benny Hinn and those who use a platform for their own $$ gain, to distort the gospel, etc. I also do not think JMac is in it for the $$. I think he went too far with this words, however. If he would have stuck with the celebrity televangelists, he would have had more credibility.

    I listened to the debate with Phil Johnson and Dr. Michael Brown and I saw the same thing happening with Phil and Dr. Brown. Phil was painting with a wide brush and discounting that Dr. Brown does acknowledge there are abuses within the Charismatic churches. In fact, Dr. Brown said that he has written more books on abuses within the Charismatic movement than JMac so that demonstrates that he takes it very seriously, but why doesn’t JMac give him credit for that?

  71. Jeff Brown,

    I didn’t say MacArthur pits the Bible against the Holy Spirit. What I said was, “Actually, if and to the extent he claims the Bible has replaced the Holy Spirit, I think MacArthur is one of the false teachers against whom we are called to warn.”

    Well, here is what MacArthur’s doctrinal statement says at http://www.gracechurch.org/distinctives/:

    We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. WITH THE NEW TESTAMENT REVELATION NOW COMPLETE, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13-14). THE ONLY GIFTS IN OPERATION TODAY ARE THOSE NONREVELATORY EQUIPPING GIFTS GIVEN FOR EDIFICATION (Romans 12:6-8). (Emphasis added.)

    Sure looks to me like MacArthur is taking the position that certain Spiritual Gifts have been replace by the Bible. What’s even more objectionable, if you read what the doctrinal statement says about the still-operative gifts, is that it is clear that MacArthur thinks the still-operative gifts are reserved for people like himself. Apparently, mere congregants must simply take MacArthur’s word for it that he, being invested with leadership “authority,” is to be believed and submitted to, no questions asked. So much for the priesthood of the believers.

  72. “What’s wrong with the name “Strange Fire”? It’s biblical and apt.”

    What is wrong with it is exactly what you said before it:

    “What he has said is that he wishes that people such as Piper, Grudem, and, yes, Mahaney, would reconsider their views because some of the charlatans and their followers cite them as giving legitimacy to their false teachings and practices. And he has said that he believes that many continuationists are believers, but have, in his opinion, incorrect views of some of the spiritual gifts.”

    Er……Reconsider their views because others who are wackos refer to them for credibility? That would be like telling me I should not be a mutualist because some Lesbian pastor said she was a mutualist.

    I am thinking it would be good for folks to not call themselves Calvinists because he was a tyrant who imprisoned and burned people for disagreeing with his ST. And some really really bad people out there are Calvinists which lends them credibility when they refer to nice Calvinists.

    Do you see the problem with his logic?

    How nice of him to acknowledge that some continualists are believers. Does he have a list? It is good to have McArthur’s seal of approval, I suppose.

  73. “Gary W – How do you know that Jesus is Lord and Savior?”

    How did the believers in the 2nd-4th Century know? How did believers know who were not allowed to read the scriptures during the Dark Ages, know?. How did the believing illiterate Romanian peasants know before my cousin helped teach them to read? Yes, they knew Jesus Christ but they had never read scripture. Did not even own a bible in their language. How did Hani know Jesus was Lord and Savior? An Afghan who lived in Pakistan during the Taliban. He said he dreamed of Isa over and over and sought Him out over a period of years very quietly and carefully.

    Scripture is wonderful and I study it quite a bit. But it cannot replace the Holy Spirit. It is a great companion but it is not the 4th person of the Trinity.

  74. Notwithstanding He has been gracious to provide confirming evidences, I cannot rationally prove to either myself or others that He is Lord and Savior. Nevertheless, His Spirit within me confirms the truth of the matter.

  75. Julie Anne -

    Is there somewhere we can listen to the debate you referred to, or read a transcript? If I can stomach it :(

  76. “Lydia – – he does have his own JMac Bible. I’ve always wondered what God thought about having another man’s name on His Word.”

    Oh, the whole bible translation (or study bible) thing is another topic that is very interesting. I have been amused that Mohler promotes the ESV when his employer, the SBC, has their own translation, the Holman. Of course, the ESV, we are told, is the most “literal” translation which is a hoot.

  77. Yesterday at 4:50 PM I struggled to explain in my own words how I know that Jesus is Lord and Savior. This by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones conveys the sense of what I was unable to find words to fully convey:

    “This is something subjective, something which essentially belongs to the realm of feeling and subjectivity, and the emotions. It is something within us at a deeper level than the level of the intellect. That seems to me to be the vital point in this statement. In other words this does not result from certain actions on our part; it is the Spirit that produces it in us. It is not something of which you can persuade yourself. As we have seen, by applying various tests you can persuade yourself whether you are, or are not, being led by the Spirit, but that is not the position here. This is not in the realm of intellectual argumentation or demonstration; it is something of which one becomes conscious. This is — to use the obvious and the simple analogy — comparable to what we know in human love. You do not persuade yourself that you are in love; at least, if you do, or have to do, you are not in love! This is not a matter of persuasion; it is something you know; you become conscious of it. It is on a deeper level than that of the intellect and of reason and of argumentation. This is, in my view, a vital principle. It not only demonstrates the advance in the thought, it also shows us the graciousness of God in giving us these further proofs, these yet more certain proofs. So the nature of this proof is thoroughly subjective, and it is produced by the operation of the Holy Spirit. (The Sons of God, p. 235)”

    This quote is found on internetmonk here: http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/mlj-and-the-holy-spirit, and also at this link provided yesterday by Julie Anne in the October 19 thread: http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/43911.

    Although my own faith has been lived out primarily in the realm of the intellect, my assurance of salvation simply has not come from the operations of the rational mind.

  78. David Hayward (the Naked Pastor) did a cartoon about the series and now they have attacked David. And, they are busy deleting the comments made below the video that are positive about David Hayward.

  79. Gary -

    I am perplexed when people ask that question. I find that many Christians want salvation to come either in the box of scripture “only” or the box of experience “only.” I just don’t see that those boxes need to exist. God draws men and women into his family in many ways.

  80. Ang -

    Who posted that audio and who is the person who created it?

    It seems like a proof text response to the Naked Pastor article.

  81. Lydia – “Do you see the problem with his logic?

    How nice of him to acknowledge that some continualists are believers. Does he have a list? It is good to have McArthur’s seal of approval, I suppose.”

    So – You’re damned (figuratively speaking) if you say that if you’re not cessationalist, you’re in the category of Todd Bentley, and you’re damned if you say that if you’re not a cessationalist, you are not necessarily in the category of Todd Bentley. I have a problem with *your* logic.

    I still don’t understand your problem with the name “Strange Fire.”

    Julie Anne – Michael Brown may have written some things against the excesses of the charismatics, but, as I understand it, there is a very thin line between his beliefs and those of the extremists. In any case, has anyone in his camp drawn as much attention to the problem as has MacArthur? He started to be attacked almost from the moment the conference was announced. What are they afraid of?

    Gary W – “Holy Spirit”? Where did that name come from? So this “Holy Spirit” told you it’s/his name, and told you that someone named “Jesus” is “Lord” and “Savior”? And how do you know what those words mean?

  82. Jeff Brown said:

    Michael Brown may have written some things against the excesses of the charismatics, but, as I understand it, there is a very thin line between his beliefs and those of the extremists.

    Tell me more, Jeff. I am not aware of his beliefs. The first I had heard of him was when he was publicly asking John MacArthur to have a dialogue I think it was weeks before the Strange Fire conference. I appreciated his tone and concern in requesting a respectful meeting of the minds.

    In any case, has anyone in his camp drawn as much attention to the problem as has MacArthur? He started to be attacked almost from the moment the conference was announced. What are they afraid of?

    I don’t know if that is a fair question to ask. As I mentioned earlier, Brown has indicated he has written more books than MacArthur. Why has MacArthur gotten more attention? Maybe because MacArthur followers are social media experts. If you recall, Phil Johnson had to take a break from social media because it was getting to his health and his doctor told him he should cut back. I don’t think they are afraid of anything. They want reasonable dialogue.

  83. Ang- I only made it to the 9 minute mark of that video. Thanks for sharing, though I now need to take a bath to wash away that creepy voice defending JMAC and Strange Fire. O my, my it never ceases to amaze me the way these folks can spin.

  84. “So – You’re damned (figuratively speaking) if you say that if you’re not cessationalist, you’re in the category of Todd Bentley, and you’re damned if you say that if you’re not a cessationalist, you are not necessarily in the category of Todd Bentley. I have a problem with *your* logic.”

    Huh?

  85. Bridget @ 4:17 PM
    I don’t know who this guy is. I got him started in a conversation on his fb page. He couldn’t back up some of his statement that I and others were asking him (there were 68 comments posted) then he shut the page down for a while. When it came back on line, all the comments had been deleted and those of us who had posted, including David Hayward, have been blocked from posting his fb page.
    Interesting, or ????

  86. Gail @ 5:41 PM
    Agreed, not the most inviting voice to listen to. I wish I knew who he was. His blog, fb and youtube has his identity hidden. That says a lot.

  87. Ang on October 22, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    I have some other words besides “interesting” to describe the behavior of the nameless person who made the video and FB page. How about cowardly, rude, inconsiderate, arrogant . . .

  88. Jeff Brown,

    You ask me: ” “Holy Spirit”? Where did that name come from? So this “Holy Spirit” told you it’s/his name, and told you that someone named “Jesus” is “Lord” and “Savior”? And how do you know what those words mean?”

    I’m not sure what you’re driving at, but yes, I agree that this “Holy Spirit” told me it’s/his name, and it/he told us that someone named “Jesus” is “Lord” and “Savior”? At least I take this to be an application of the proposition, that is claimed to be inerrant, that all Scripture is God breathed.

    The trouble is, having read that all Scripture is God breathed only gives me a knowledge of what is CLAIMED to be true. You are asking me how I KNOW a particular thing. Well, I don’t KNOW anything to be true until I have actually LIVED it. I can read a biography about, say, Winston Churchill, but that doesn’t mean that I come to KNOW him. That privilege was reserved for his wife — or in Churchill’s case maybe the privilege was also extended to his valet.

    As an aside, I find it interesting that you allow as how it may be appropriate to refer to the Holy Spirit as “it.” What’s with that?

  89. Gary W – I asked those questions because you wrote: “If I trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, I can be saved without thinking all the right things. I can reject both the virgin birth and the doctrine of the Trinity and still be saved, so long as I have trusting faith in Jesus.”

    My point Is: If you can think the right things about Jesus being Lord and Savior (which are in the Bible), why can’t you think the right things about the virgin birth and the Trinity (also in the Bible), *which are so intimately connected with Who Jesus is?*

    Yes, knowledge is not all of faith, but it’s a necessary part of faith.

    I wrote “it” because I was putting myself in the pov of someone who never looked in the Bible and got all his info from his own thoughts, which may or not be from the Holy Spirit. So – I guess you *don’t* reject the Trinity?

  90. A whole lot of Texans believe in the Trinity (river, that is)! Just a joke or poke.

    I believe that one can believe in Jesus Christ as God, accept and understand his gift of grace and forgiveness, and be a Christian, without ever considering or believing in the virgin birth or agreeing with the doctrine of the Trinity (which, btw is NOT in the Bible, but readily deducible from the text if one chooses). The preaching of the first century was, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”. The mention of the virgin birth disappears after the first few verses of Matthew and Luke. And there is no mention of a “trinity”, per se, in the NT writings. So if Peter, Paul, John, etc. were not teaching those doctrines, why are they necessary to be a Christian???

  91. Julie Anne – I’ll have to do more research on Brown to back up my “understanding” of him. On the positive side, I can say that he’s a brilliant scholar on the subject of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.

    My other point was that decades have gone by while millions have been fleeced and deceived by charlatans, while “cautious charismatics” like Brown keep saying that they have been critical of them. Why haven’t they even once held a very public conference in order to call them out? Finally, someone outside of their camp does this, and he is attacked, by Brown and others, as soon as the conference is announced. Why not, instead, say that they’ll join JMac, and offer their expertise on the subject, right from the start? If they did this, I stand corrected.

  92. I know I’m not Julie Anne, however, why do we need to have ‘conferences’ to call out anybody? Any conference to call out anyone will only cause the same issue the Strange Fire conference did. All it did was cause more division. How about being humble and asking those we are concerned about to sit down and discuss it or write them letters? Seemed to work in the Bible when Paul was addressing similar issues.

  93. The belief in Jesus as God is, I think, the important thing. I have found that people who have trouble with the virgin birth and the Trinity have trouble with Jesus’ deity. If someone has never heard about either one – a deathbed conversion, say – that’s a different story.

    The Apostle’s certainly believed in His deity. And their Creed mentions the virgin birth and strongly implies a belief in the Trinity.

  94. lynetteduquette71 -

    Because those ways haven’t worked. I know of one ministry leader who sat down with Benny Hinn, who agreed that he was in error. It wasn’t long before Hinn was back to his old ways – there was just too much money in it.

    A big spotlight has to be shown on false teaching, which Paul and others did in their letters. Of course, the false teachers and their appeasers will be upset. The truth always divides. But some may, in the process, leave the false teachers.

  95. Jeff said:

    Why haven’t they even once held a very public conference in order to call them out? Finally, someone outside of their camp does this, and he is attacked, by Brown and others, as soon as the conference is announced. Why not, instead, say that they’ll join JMac, and offer their expertise on the subject, right from the start? If they did this, I stand corrected.

    Jeff -As far as I can see, he was attacked because he used a broad brush. Maybe the reason why they don’t join jMac is because they don’t agree with other aspects that JMac is touting.

    Another thing: calling someone out does not often yield any positive results.
    Case in point: Chuck O’Neal.

    Since paying $60,000, without a minister’s license, while on discipline by his licensing board, he has written the foreward to Miano’s book, held an evangelism conference in which respected evangelists spoke, went to Strange Fire conference and others. MacArthur signed his daughter’s bible, etc.

    I’m not convinced calling out does a thing.

  96. Julie Anne – You might be right about the “broad brush” aspect. On the other hand, the so-called “cautious charismatics” like Piper, Grudem, Brown seem to believe that the Holy Spirit is bringing in new revelation beyond Scripture, and that opens a Pandora’s Box, imo. I’ll have to research it.

    Concerning “calling out”: I don’t think the charlatans and false teachers will change their ways, whether they are called out or spoken to nicely, as long as they can retain money and power. I’m thinking of their vast numbers of followers. A conference like JMac’s might be the one time they hear another side of the issue argued strongly, and start to think seriously about no longer following them. JMac is giving away tens of thousands of copies of his new book for this purpose.

    Of course, this tactic can make a lot of them dig in even harder. But I think that if any come out of it, it’s worth it.

  97. No, the point Jeff is making the exact same one JMAC was making. If you are not a cessationist then you are sliding toward Benny Hinn’s tribe.

  98. “i wrote “it” because I was putting myself in the pov of someone who never looked in the Bible and got all his info from his own thoughts, which may or not be from the Holy Spirit. So – I guess you *don’t* reject the Trinity?”

    And there is another problem unless you think the translators were “inspired”. If you think they were “inspired” then we really have nothing to discuss.

    The real problem is control. Some want control over what others think/believe. This makes them feel puffed up and they couch it as saving people with truth. It is also a way to build movements, gain followers, etc.

    The other problem is that Christianity is a “relationship” not a religion. Hard to control such a relationship. People are too independent when they know Christ and are guided by the indwelling Holy spirit.

  99. Lydia said-”No, the point Jeff is making the exact same one JMAC was making. If you are not a cessationist then you are sliding toward Benny Hinn’s tribe.”
    I wouldn’t go near Hinn with a ten foot pole. I know many charismatics who want nothing to do with him. I am pentacostal and I am not sliding towards anyone. That’s just another broad brush statement “If you do A you must also be doing B”. That’s just not the case at all.

  100. “And there is another problem unless you think the translators were “inspired”.”

    Actually, the English translations relating to the Holy Spirit are not adequate to convey the fact that in the Greek the words we translate “Holy Spirit” are neuter, not masculine. When we refer to the Holy Spirit in the masculine we are applying theology to change the plain meaning of the Greek text. Maybe the Spirit is masculine, but translators ought not to impose that understanding on us. Their job is to translate, not theologize.

    To my mind, if we are going to theologize the Spirit’s gender, there are good grounds for using the feminine. After all the Spirit is the Paraclete, i.e. the Comforter, the Helper, the One who consoles, encourages, uplifts.

  101. “If you are not a cessationist then you are sliding toward Benny Hinn’s tribe.”

    Well, O.K. But if that’s true then here’s a really, really scary thought:

    If you are a cessationist then you are sliding toward John MacArthur’s tribe.

  102. Actually, the English translations relating to the Holy Spirit are not adequate to convey the fact that in the Greek the words we translate “Holy Spirit” are neuter, not masculine. When we refer to the Holy Spirit in the masculine we are applying theology to change the plain meaning of the Greek text. Maybe the Spirit is masculine, but translators ought not to impose that understanding on us. Their job is to translate, not theologize.”

    I read some interesting pieces on this when it comes to translating. They simply assume since God is referred to as “Father” in the NT and Jesus came as a male, then the Holy Spirit is male.

    They need to take Isaiah 9 more seriously.

  103. Lydia – “No, the point Jeff is making the exact same one JMAC was making. If you are not a cessationist then you are sliding toward Benny Hinn’s tribe.”

    Nope. Merely using him as an example of the enormous influence of people like Hinn. His site says he’s preached to over a billion people in almost 200 countries. Even if it’s half that much, that’s a lot. And, judging by his extraordinary wealth, a lot of those people like him.

    Gary W – In John 16:13-14, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “He.”

  104. Jeff,

    Thank you for pointing out a passage where it appears, from the English translation at least, that the male gender is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It turns out, however, that this is another example where the translators are inserting a word, in this instance “he,” that does not actually appear in the Greek text. They convert one word, ἐκεῖνος, ekeinos, meaning “that one” into “he.” Other instances of “he” are assumed from verbs where the third person is specific, but not the gender. My translation, noting the Greek gender in parentheses, along with pronoun ambiguities inherent in the Greek verbs, would be along the following lines:

    And when that one (masculine), the spirit (neuter) of truth (feminine), comes, he/she/it will guide you into all the truth (feminine); for he/she/it will not speak from himself/itself (but not herself), but whatever he/she/it hears he/she/it will speak, and he/she/it will declare to you the things that are to come. That one (masculine), he/she/it will glorify me, for he/she/it will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    A good argument can be made that the masculine gender of the general term “that one” should control over the neuter gender of the specific term “spirit,” but I contend that the specific term should control the general term. The translators may have a right understanding of Trinitarian theology. My gripe is that they shouldn’t be writing their theology into what is supposed to be a translation. Their substitution of “he” for “that one” is particularly egregious. What is even more egregious in this particular instance is that the translation cum interpretation carries a strong connotation of Holy Spirit’s personhood. Again, this may be good theology, but no such connotation is derivable from the Greek text.

  105. Jeff,

    I am going to fess up. I have begun to have some problems with the standard formulations of the doctrine of the Trinity. Specifically, it seems quite difficult to reconcile the emphasis on three separate persons with Deuteronomy 6:4, ““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (ESV)

    Why is it not sufficient to simply acknowledge that the Lord or God, Who is one, manifests himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit? That’s difficult enough to comprehend. Why get wrapped up in trying to defend something Scripture doesn’t specifically teach, which is that there are three different persons in the so called Godhead?

    Why create unnecessary obstacles for Jews and Muslims?

    For now I’m not taking a position. But I am asking the questions.

  106. One group that I would highly recommend is the Society for Pentecostal Studies.

    This is a scholarly group from all sectors of Pentecostal and Charismatic streams. They are keen to elevate understanding of Scriptures and to expose error and things that do not measure up to the biblical text. There are books and studies available in so many topic areas.

    There is a wealth of knowledge regarding the history of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. I particularly like the research being continually done on the many women who were leaders in these movements. Their contributions are now being recognized!

    For those who are seeking answers to questions related to NT practices for today or questions about history and/or personalities involved, maybe there are some suitable resources that you could find through this group.

  107. I believe that if we do not accurately understand all of particular functions that the offices of apostle and New Testament prophet fulfill in their part of building up the body of Christ, we will then be vulnerable to misjudging whether or not there is a continuing need for someone to fulfill these functions today.

    In other words if I misunderstand all that an officer is responsible for I will also be prone to misunderstand when these responsibilities have been fulfilled.

  108. What a bunch of whiners….wrangling on about MacArthur this and MacArthur that. Shame on the pitiful wretch who launched this thread. I extend to him a virtual diaper. That said, I’d like to respond to two comments made on this board which reveal either an appauling ignorance, or intellectual dishonesty…probably a little of both. First, MacArthur didn’t say that no false teachers exist within the Reformed Movement….or that none have ever. What he said was that the Reformed Camp was not “a haven” for such, and he’s right. They police their movement, so a false teacher would be a maverick to that community. Secondly, MacArthur does not think all of Reformed doctrine is “perfect” as someone else stated. He advocates for a Reformed Soteriology, but rejects their ecclesiology and eschatology. Again, shame on the infantile tool who started this thread.

  109. I do not believe for one second that MacArthur was saying there are no false teachers in Reformed theology. It is not his fault the Chuck O’Neal was at his conference. It’s a free country. I know for a face MacArthur would have some strong words to say about Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.

  110. David said “What a bunch of whiners”; “Shame on the pitiful wretch who launched this thread. I extend to him a virtual diaper.” and “Again, shame on the infantile tool who started this thread.”
    Well, Ain’t you special!

  111. David said, “They police their movement, so a false teacher would be a maverick to that [reformed] community.” Most, if not all of the well known reformed leaders are false teachers (wolves in sheep’s clothes. Here’s just a partial list off the top of my head: John Calvin (a murderer and an extraordinarily evil tyrant), Al Mohler, Mark Dever, RC Sproul, L Duncan, J Piper, J Macarthur. These are all wolves and there are many more.

  112. Apparently, Bob Johnson prefers man-centered theology….”I’m a Christian…glory be to me…” <——Bob's mantra. Tell me, brainiac, how are any of the men you named "false teachers?" Tell me what they teach that is false…using Scripture to support your claim. If you're going to make such comments, be prepared to back them up. @ Dave A A, yes, actually – I am special…special enough for God to have chosen me from before the foundation of the world to be His child.

  113. Are you sure of that, David? I have to tell you, when I read this statement:

    Dave A A, yes, actually – I am special…special enough for God to have chosen me from before the foundation of the world to be His child.

    it did kind of come across as arrogant – - that you are a special one who was chosen, but too bad for anyone else who wasn’t. Maybe that’s not the way that you meant it, though.

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