Why I am not a fan of John MacArthur, Reformed Theology, and Cessationalism

The church cyberspace is ablaze with articles and blogs about John MacArthur’s upcoming book,  “Strange Fire”. He recently hosted a conference by the same name. The Christian Post has published  some of Mr. Mac’s quotes from the book. I have included the website and attached the quotes. MY COMMENTS WILL BE A THE END OF MY POST HERE.


Quotes and statements taken from CP’s advanced copy of Strange Fire below are followed with page numbers from the book.

“The real Holy Spirit is not an electrifying current of ecstatic energy, a mind-numbing babbler of irrational speech, or a cosmic genie who indiscriminately grants self-centered wishes for health and wealth.” (xiv)

On Fuller Theological Seminary: “…a mainstream evangelical school that had abandoned its commitment to biblical inerrancy in the early 1970s…” (xvii)

Corruption of Worship: “Charismatic theology…has warped genuine worship through unbridled emotionalism, polluted prayer with private gibberish, contaminated true spirituality with unbiblical mysticism, and corrupted faith by turning it into a creative force for speaking worldly desires into existence.”(xvii)

Christlikeness over Flamboyance: “Those who have had a charismatic experience have been baptized with the Spirit, they say-and that supernaturally empowers obedience, fosters holiness, and produces the fruit of the Spirit. If their claims were true, charismatics ought to be producing leaders renowned for Christlikeness rather than flamboyance. Moral failures, financial chicanery, and public scandals would be comparatively rare in their movement.”(5)

New Age Parallel: “Influenced by TV’s most popular preachers, many charismatics treat the sovereign Spirit of God as if He were their slave-a heavenly butler bound to wait on their every command. Their teaching is not substantially different from the New Age poison popularized by the 2006 international best seller, The Secret, in which author Rhonda Byrne suggests, ‘You are the Master of the universe, and the Genie is there to serve you.'”(8)

Scriptural Authority: “If Scripture alone were truly their final authority, charismatic Christians would never tolerate patently unbiblical practices-like mumbling in nonsensical prayer languages, uttering fallible prophecies, worshipping in disorderly ways, or being knocked senseless by the supposed power of the Holy Spirit.” (16)

On comparing Charismatic Movement to the Day of Pentecost described in Acts 2: “the Charismatic Movement…grew out of the deficient soteriology of the Holiness Movement; it was marked by inconsistent eyewitness testimony; it produced counterfeit religious experiences; and it was initiated by a disreputable spiritual leader.” (28)

On Catholic Charismatics: “Though Catholic charismatics hold to Roman Catholic doctrine-including Rome’s denial that believers are justified by faith alone, belief in the ex opere operato efficacy of the seven Roman sacraments, all the idolatry of the Catholic Mass, and the idolatrous veneration of Mary-they have been openly embraced by many Protestant Pentecostal and charismatic groups.” (49)

Evidence of the Spirit: “Despite what is commonly emphasized in charismatic circles, the genuine evidence of the Holy Spirit’s influence in a person’s life…convicts the heart of sin, combats worldly lusts, and cultivates spiritual fruit in the lives of God’s people.” (56)

I have never been a fan of reformed theology (also known as calvinism). I consider it a doctrine built on elitism, arrogance, and pharisee-ism . Since I believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and the practice of spiritual gifts today, I reject Cessationism (the belief that all spiritual gifts stopped after the canon of Scripture was closed and the apostles died off. )After reading much of Mr. MacArthur’s quotes from the book and his conference , I feel even stronger in my considerations. To address all his statements would take way too much of my precious time, and he isn’t interested in my opinion of his opinions. I must say he truly comes across ,in this instance, as un Christ-like as the Pentecostal/Charismatics he has declared war upon.

 I am praying that God uses this controversy for another great outpouring of His Spirit. (with signs, wonders, and gifts of the Holy Spirit accompanying the preaching of God’s Word) 🙂 😉  

Pastor Steve


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