General message is something I agree with. There is fraud and deception within the modern Charismatic Movement and Christians need to evaluate what is presented with what God says in the Bible.
Viewpoint is something I don't entirely agree with. I'm not a cessationist like MacArthur is. Does that make me right and him wrong, no. It just means I think spiritual gifts like prophecy and healing still happen. The biggest thing is, you HAVE to go back to what the Bible says. There are people in Muslim countries who say that Jesus came to them in a dream and said "I am who you are looking for" and they became Christians. I'm sorry but Satan wouldn't point people to God that way. So, I believe that dreams and visions and miraculous healings can still happen and have value. You just have to be really careful and evaluate everything based on Scripture.
It was really hard to check a box for "Would I recommend this book" because I would, but at the same time I wouldn't. I really do think the general message has value. But I don't think it will be beneficial to everyone, especially those who take writings from pastors as 100% truth. If that makes sense.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I am shocked that Janet would allow this Dr. on her radio show to discuss the garbage in this book. I am sure the Lord is very sad that this man would write such lies and sell them to the world, although it does state in the end times some will be fooled by lies. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and His word is true and complete. Saying Christians are crazy because we believe the Lord touches us in ways the author does not believe does not make them false. I am not crazy and I believe in signs and wonders as the Bible states. I am sure the Lord is asking the author, Why did you lie to my children?
Yet another work written by John MacArthur, Strange Fire is a book that quite literally unleashes MacArthur's indignation upon the charismatic and Pentecostal communities. Pulling its title from the biblical account of Nadab and Abihu, the son of Aaron, who after being instructed by the Lord about offerings, instead chose to offer "strange fire" and were thus themselves consumed in the fire of the Lord's holy wrath (Leviticus 10:1-3). How does this pertain to the charismatic communities? MacArthur argues that His divine judgment was upon the two brothers because they dishonored the Lord, worshipping Him with contempt, and refusing to treat Him as holy. In like manner, MacArthur declares that the leaders and their flock are dishonoring the Holy Spirit with their ignominious behavior, reprehensible deceit and false teachings.
After giving a few praise testimonials from the general believing public in the beginning (vs praises from fellow well-known authors), MacArthur introduces the subject at hand (easily summarized with his subtitle, The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship) and then divides the book into three main parts. Part One focuses on the counterfeit revival, and uses Jonathan Edwards' 1 John 4, 5-point "distinguishing marks" to validate whether the current charismatic movement is a work of the Holy Spirit. (It should take only one guess to figure out MacArthur's conclusion). The second part focuses on some of their defining doctrines, namely present-day prophets and apostles, tongue speaking, and faith healing. In his third part, MacArthur focuses on the identity of the Holy Spirit, as evidenced in Scripture and discovering what His true work is in the lives of believers. MacArthur ends his book with a letter to continuationist believers (those that believe that the miracles and gifts identified in Acts and I Corinthians did not end with the Biblical apostolic era), "Voices from Church History", and his notes, topical and Scriptural indices.
Although I do not agree with MacArthur on some doctrinal minutiae, I admittedly enjoy reading some of his work, because he consistently includes indepth research on whatever is his focus, copious notes and citations, and an ubiquitous usage of Scripture. In relation to these points, Strange Fire did not disappoint. I was a bit taken aback, though not surprised, by his pointed and accusatory tone towards those within the Charismatic movement. Since I noticed it in a Christian mailing and knew it was out, I did a quick google search and saw that there has been much hoopla over his viewpoints already. My thoughts? Good for him. As Christians, we are called to shed light on areas of darkness and pastors especially are supposed to guard their flocks from ravenous wolves. Is he causing disunity within the body of the church? Perhaps, but I think no more then he does in any of his other works where his beliefs might differ from others within the evangelical world. The only difference with this one versus others I've read, is this book does not hide it's direct accusation from the beginning. Do I agree with him on everything he has written within it's pages? No, but I don't always. I think he tended to lump sum every Pentecostal and charismatic believer as being at fault, though I noticed on at least a couple of occasions he used the non-absolute of "most"... but this could easily be overlooked with page after page of disdain directed towards those within the charismatic world. I for one, know of several believers that consider themselves Pentecostal, and I would not even begin to question their faith as their lives are easily defined by the fruit they bear. But there is a danger of allowing this movement and it's well-known leaders (Hinn, Meyer, Osteen, Dollar, etc) to continue to be associated with evangelical Christianity. I remember in high school, a skit portrayal of Benny Hinn and one of his ill followers desiring healing. I had no idea who Hinn even was, but the skit still produced a hearty laughter from the audience. But to think that the secular society at large might view my beliefs and his as similar and a member of the Trinity as a source for entertainment? Oy vey. Or no wonder people are confused and see us as narrow-minded when outspoken leaders such as Joel Osteen declare that Christ is not the only way to heaven, and justification comes not only through faith, but through your pocketbooks. Que lastima. For that, I'm grateful for MacArthur's bold, albeit controversial book.
In his introduction, MacArthur states that his prayer is that the "Spirit Himself will give you a clear understanding of His true ministry in your own life, that you will embrace a biblical perspective on the Spirit and His gifts, and that you will refuse to be duped by [those which]... vie for our attention today." That was my prayer as I read its pages. And that was the result for me. Would I recommend it? Yes. It is an informational tool for those like me who had no idea the ubiquitious presence of this in the mainstream society today. But I think I would also tell them to in the end, look not on whether someone is "charismatic" or "pentecostal" or any other titular identity, but to test the spirits (1 John 4:1), and look to see if they are bearing the fruit associated with the work of the true Spirit of God (John 15, Galatians 5).
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ® book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Mr. MacArthur is not the final authority on Scripture. Scripture is the final authority on Scripture. You don't need to be a Bible scholar to read your Bible. Jesus promised "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
If you truly desire to grow spiritually and draw nearer to the Lord Jesus Christ, read your own Bible with a humble and open heart. Pray to God and ask HIM to reveal the truth to you. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
Mr. MacArthur does not believe in the whole Bible, he believes parts of it has expired. There is nothing in Scripture to corroborate this error in thinking. On the contrary Scripture says:
"Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens." Psalm 119:89
"All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal." Psalm 119:160
"The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8
"But the word of the Lord remains forever." And that word is the Good News that was preached to you." 1 Peter 1:25
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrew 13:8
This is an awesome read. Everyone that claims to be a Christian needs to read it and examine themselves to see if they or their church is part of this mass abomination... to see if in fact they are part of those grieving the Holy Spirit! And if they are to stand up and shout!
May the Lord Bless John MacArthur for having the courage to write it... to warn all those that are blindly led by men that belong to the enemy of our Holy God.