John MacArthur’s #StrangeFire is burning

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are often times I take positions opposite of Rodney just to irritate him. This is not one of those times. As a matter of fact, Rodney’s piece is required reading before wading into the water of MacArthur v. Driscoll.

There are other bloggers sounding off as well.

I generally have no issue allowing Mark Driscoll to be taken down a notch and I am not predisposed to love or have loyalty of John MacArthur. So with this, let me move on.

MacArthur has recently said,

I am here to say that reproaches that are falling on His holy name are falling on me as well, and mostly this comes in the professing church from Pentecostals and Charismatics who feel they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly.

He goes on:

How do they do it? By attributing to the Holy Spirit words that He didn’t say, deeds that He didn’t do, and experiences that He didn’t produce, attributing to the Holy Spirit that which is not the work of the Holy Spirit.

He goes on to cite the New Apostolic Reformation, Cindy Jacobs, and a host of other nutters I’ve long called attention to as false teachers and reprobates. I have no qualms about citing them as a destructive force on Christianity. It is not merely that I don’t believe their bunk, garbage, and… well you get you idea, but they stand a part and often against the Great Tradition of Christianity like their father Montanus.

Many believe MacArthur lumped all pentecostals and charismatics together, but it seems he cited several specific examples.

Anyway, while I believe he is correct, I think he misses a great deal. First, I wouldn’t bandy about the concept of blasphemy as easily as he has. After all, what they do, we all do to some extent in pronouncing biblical interpretation. Frankly, if the NAR is blaspheming the Holy Spirit, so is Calvinism because both are wrong.

Further, I think he misses the corporate experience of the Spirit rather than the individual. He, instead, latches on to the actions of these individuals as well as forgetting to give a better view of the Holy Spirit. But, all in all, his take on the specific people, I believe, are dead on (except I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are blaspheming).

Anyway, I wanted to call attention to this and get your thoughts. On one hand, I like what MacArthur said but on the other, I think he goes too far in labeling these people as blasphemers.

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Post By Joel Watts (10,107 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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4 thoughts on “John MacArthur’s #StrangeFire is burning

  1. It bugs me when people (like John MacArthur and Jim West) continue to hold up Montanism as a heresy. Virtually everyone in the past 200 years (and more) who has studied Montanism has concluded that the early church had no good grounds to pronounce Montanism a heresy, and that the real reason for the early church’s stand was because they were put off by Montanism’s willingness to put women in high positions, and because the Montanists refused to put themselves under the authority of the non-Montanist bishops. If those things make Montanism a heresy, then Protestantism must also be a heresy. (BTW, John Wesley is one of those who studied Montanism and concluded that they didn’t deserve the “heresy” label.)

      • Quite by chance, I just came upon this quotation from Ulrich Luz:

        “As a whole we can say that the ‘New Prophey’ [= Montanism] was an unusual phenomenon in the variegated, ‘unstable’ and ‘unstructured’ movement of early Christian prophetism. But that it was excluded so quickly from the main-church as a heresy despite its orthodoxy remains remarkable” (“Stages of Early Christian Prophetism,” in Joseph Verheyden, Korinna Zamfir, and Tobias Nicklas [eds.], *Prophets and Prophecy in Jewish and Early Christian Literature* [WUNT 2/286; Tuebingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2010] 57-75, esp. 70).

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