John MacArthur Launches Vicious Attack Against Charismatic Christians

Pastor John MacArthur

Pastor John MacArthur

In a previous post I shared prophetic warnings of a coming civil war in the church. That war ignited this week with a major assault on charismatic Christians coming from John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA.

MacArthur hosted a three-day Strange Fire Conference, October 16-18, 2013. The conference is tied to next month’s release of his new book, “Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit With Counterfeit Worship.”

MacArthur’s new book accuses charismatic Christians of blaspheming the Holy Spirit saying, “As a movement, they have persistently ignored the truth about the Holy Spirit and with reckless license set up an idol spirit in the house of God, blaspheming the third member of the Trinity in His own name” (Source: Charisma News).

MacArthur’s accusation is as serious as it gets because Jesus taught that anyone who commits blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31-32). Therefore, by claiming charismatics are blaspheming the Holy Spirit MacArthur’s accusation is like telling them they are doomed to eternal hell.

His book goes on to accuse charismatic leaders of being “Satan’s false teachers, marching to the beat of their own illicit desires, gladly propagat[ing] his errors. They are spiritual swindlers, con men, crooks, and charlatans.”

MacArthur argues, “The ‘Holy Spirit’ found in the vast majority of charismatic teaching and practice bears no resemblance to the true Spirit of God as revealed in Scripture,” even accusing the modern charismatic movement of “attributing the work of the devil to the Holy Spirit.” (Source: Charisma News)

At the Strange Fire Conference, MarArthur made the following comments:

“If the Charismatic movement was being produced by the Holy Spirit, the glory of Christ would prevail everywhere,” said MacArthur during the morning session Thursday. “It would be Christ dominated and everyone in the movement would be bowing the knee to the true Christ in belief of the true Gospel.”

He continued, “The people would be humble. They would be joyful. They would be sacrificial. They would be confessional. They would be declaring Jesus as Lord and themselves His slaves. They would be denying themselves, taking up their cross and following Him wherever He led.” [Continue reading]

By the prophetic gifts of the Holy Spirit, we were warned that attacks like MacArthur’s were coming, as documented in my previous post: Civil War Coming to the Church in AmericaNeville Johnson saw it coming and said, “It is going to be very vicious. It is going to center around moving in the realm of the spirit.” Bob Jones saw it and described it as a war between the gray matter of the brain and the blue matter of the spirit.

Launching attacks against God’s people is a serious offense because God takes it personally. Jesus warned us that whatever we do to one of His brothers, even the least of them, we are doing it to Him (Matthew 25:40). His warning applies to good deeds as well as evil deeds. In effect He is saying, “When you mess with them, you are messing with Me!”

The Bible warns us that Satan is the one who accuses the brethren (Revelation 12:20). Since Satan does not have a physical body on the earth, he uses the mouths of people to speak forth his accusations. From my experience, he almost always uses people who claim to be Christians to spew vile attacks against the people of God. These people think they are serving God, while in reality they are being used by the devil.

At I silence the voice of the accuser by deleting all comments that make personal attacks. I welcome comments about the topics discussed, but I delete comments that attack people. In some cases I have sent emails to these people to explain why their comments were not posted. I thought it might help them to realize they need to stop attacking God’s people. However, my efforts have so far proven to be a waste of time because these accusers have all responded back to me with even more vile comments than before. I no longer bother sending them any explanations.

Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these people revile the things, which they do not understand; and the things, which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! (Jude 1:9-11)

Here is the crux of the issue. No matter how smart we think we are by human standards, God is still much smarter than us. We might know some things, but we do not know everything. We might understand a few things, but we do not understand everything. The Bible teaches us we only know in part (1 Corinthians 13:9). There are many things about God that are beyond our ability to comprehend.

Since our human abilities are so limited, we must relate to God by our spirit and not by our own understanding. Jesus taught us that God is a spirit and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:22). He also taught us to humble ourselves and come to Him as little children. He said, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (Mark 10:15). This is how His kingdom works.

So when we see things happening that we don’t understand, we must humble ourselves to realize that even though it is beyond our experience, beyond our knowledge, and beyond our understanding that does not necessarily mean it is not real or true or from God. God has warned us in His word that He purposely confounds the wisdom of the wise, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside” (1 Corinthians 1:19).

The Bible is filled with supernatural events. It is a supernatural book about a supernatural God. By definition that means it is beyond the realm we live in. God did not have to present Himself in this way, but He chose to do so on purpose because our response to things that are beyond our ability to understand exposes the condition of our heart. Those who are filled with pride and think they already know everything will dismiss the supernatural realm. Their search for God ends where their own understanding ends, revealing that they really were not very hungry to know the Lord. Those who are truly hungry for God will humble themselves to seek God even when it requires looking past things they can’t understand. The realm of the supernatural is the acid test that separates the prideful from the humble. God gives grace to those who humble themselves, but He opposes those who are filled with pride (James 4:6).

The following 4-minute video presents the testimony of a pastor who was tempted by the devil and fell into sin. Rather than repenting, He continued to commit sins. Eventually this man started holding conferences to teach against the Holy Spirit. At that time he was killed in a car accident and he died and went to hell. Mary K. Baxter encountered this man in hell when the Lord took her there to see and record what she saw.


This video is posted here as a warning. Speaking against the work of the Holy Spirit is a serious offense. We should fear God enough to allow Him to be the one who corrects His people if He thinks they need it. They are His servants, not ours. In the meantime, we can focus on doing what God has given us to do.

Author: James Bailey

James Bailey is an author, business owner, husband and father of two children. His vision is to broadcast the good news of Jesus Christ through blog sites and other media outlets.

© 2013, All rights reserved. All rights reserved. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part online, email, or other digital formats but only with full attribution to the author and a clickable link to For permission to reproduce this content in other media formats please contact us.


  1. EB Reigel says:

    ….just a thought, that every move of God should have the trademarks listed below – not just Charismatics! It’s a wonderful goal for all of us to strive for… That Jesus be lifted up & the glory of God revealed in our earthen vessels….. “If the Charismatic movement was being produced by the Holy Spirit, the glory of Christ would prevail ,” said MacArthur during the morning session Thursday. “It would be Christ dominated and everyone in the movement would be bowing the knee to the true Christ in belief of the true Gospel.” He continued, “The people would be humble. They would be joyful. They would be sacrificial. They would be confessional. They would be declaring Jesus as Lord and themselves His slaves. They would be denying themselves, taking up their cross and following Him wherever He led.”


    James Bailey Reply:

    Of course every move of God should have those qualities. The problem here is John MacArthur is accusing charismatic Christians of not having any of these qualities. That is why he starts his statement saying “If the Charismatic movement was being produced by the Holy Spirit…” He is accusing the entire charismatic movement of not being produced by the Holy Spirit. His other comments, which I included in the post, show he is accusing charismatics of blasphemy. We need to pray God has mercy on him because he is on very dangerous ground and does not seem to realize it.


  2. There often seems to be a mixture in many Charasmatic churches. I have learned, you have to be very discerning! If it looks and acts like the world, maybe it is the world! I LOVE the HOLY SPIRIT and all of the gifts!!! I also see such a need for maturity. I have the HOLY SPIRIT to be just as, if not more so, alive and vibrant in the Catholic act of Reconcilliatoin. I argued against it for quiet a while, but one powerful experience after another in that Sacrament has made me believe and has opened up my eyes to the fact THE HOLY SPIRIT is loves to express Himself to us in many styles of worship as long as our hearts are truly intune.


  3. NilesDreamer says:

    Love is kind. Love holds no record of a wrong. Judgement without mercy shall be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. But if you harbour bitter envy or selfish ambition know that such wisdom is of the devil–The wisdom that comes from heaven is peace-loving, considerate and full of mercy. Those who are led by the Spirit of God these are the sons of God. There are two churches–The true church led by the Spirit of God. And–a man made church led by the theology of men. 2000 years ago Jesus confronted the theology of the Pharisees who thought they were the elect, chosen, predestined and Jesus confronted their hateful judgemental attitudes and said “you are not of my Father, you are of your father the devil. You have to be extremely separated from God to think God approves of you hating and spewing evil vicious words at His image whom He loves and is only kind and merciful towards. I am amazed that a person who deliberately sins against God and the Holy Spirit by refusing to love and be kind and bless others thinks he is a believer. Of course God who is patient will give Mr MacArthur till his last breath to repent.


  4. By using the words “everywhere” and “everyone”, MacArthur holds Charismatics up to a standard that no movement can live up to. In fact, Jesus’ earthly ministry wouldn’t live up to MacArthur’s standards. After all, Peter denied Christ, Thomas doubted, and Judas betrayed the Lord. Would MacArthur denounce Jesus for the missteps of the Twelve? MacArthur needs to heed the words of Gamaliel, “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God (Acts 5:38 – 39).


  5. The Bible speaks of these times. In the book of Jude the attacks made by Scoffers in our time period is plainly revealed. Jude 17-20 NIV says, “But dear friends, remember what the Apostles of our Lord Jesus foretold. They said to you, In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts, and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” I think the Amplified version is even clearer, “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions which were made by the Apostles (the special messengers) of the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), They told you beforehand,In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions. It is these who are [agitators] setting up distinctions and causing divisions–merely sensual[creatures, carnal, worldly-minded people] devoid of the Holy Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life. But you, beloved, build yourselves up[founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice; a building, higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit.” Paul was one who warned of this division in the church quite graphically here in 2 Timothy 3. After listing the many characteristics to be found in the Church in these last days, He ended with, “–having a form ( a type, an appearance) of godliness but denying [its] the power.” Denying its power…denying its power…denying its power. Denying that the power of the Holy Spirit is alive and well today. I think this says it all. It sure does for me. Continue to walk in love as the Lord Jesus would have us do. Be ready to pull as many out of the fire as possible. Pray always that the blind eyes will be opened, and the ears unstopped. Pray for the leaders, and those ones who are teaching fables and lies, that they will see the error of their ways and turn, repent, and receive the truth in the of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was raised with the heresy MacArthur is teaching. Many in my family and countless others need pulled out by the power of the Living God and by His love that is within us. x


  6. Stephen Mogagabe says:

    Who is God to among you to classify? Who has a right to classify? I am NOT a pentecostal (but I speak in tongues of fire as the Holy Ghost gives utterance), I am not a ‘MacAuthur-nist’ and I will never be one, I not a charismatic (but I have gifts of the Holy Spirit working in and through me given to me by the Holy Spirit), I am not an evangelical or an ana-baptist, nor a puritan, or a Cessationist, nor Baptist. I will never be a Trinitarian, or Unitarian, or any group that classifies believers. I don’t believe in groups of “Christianity”. I have never believed in groups OF CLASSIFICATIONS MADE BY “movements” and people or “theologians”. That is why I wrote a book GOD IS GOING TO MARRY YOU (Click this link:…. I wrote it TO BRING USA AND BELIEVERS WORLDWIDE BACK TO THE POINT OF SEEING THAT YOU ARE ESPOUSED (ENGAGED) TO BE THE BRIDE OF CHRIST. Christ did not die for you to be espoused to any ‘movement’. PAUL a true apostle strongly rebuked the followers of movements by saying: “Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,so no one can say that you were baptized in my name.(1 Corinthians 1:12-15). If your apostle preaches classification, he is not a true apostle like Paul the apostle. The bible is not for “movements”. MOVEMENTS BAPTIZE PEOPLE IN THIER NAMES, not the name of Jesus Christ (your ONLY Saviour). Jesus Christ is the ONLY TRUE SAVIOUR you must believe in everyday of YOUR life. THAT IS WHERE THE PROBLEM IS with movements- they take people away from JESUS CHRIST. Movements give you names of their ‘false beliefs’, and chains you to them as a slave. Movements always disagrees with the bible, to make their own doctrines and teachings. I am not a Marian, or Orthodox, or Anglicanism, I will never be a Calvinism, or Presbyterianism. I dont belong to groups of any movement. I am not a Methodist, I will never a Continental, or Jewish Christian, I wont join all these groups that fight over “categorization”. I am not an Adventist, I will never be a Universalism or Swedenborgianism. All these groups never shed their blood on the Cross. I am not a Eucharist, of a Sacramentist, I will never be a Liturgicalist, or Kosovo Protestant. All these are names which people use to ‘de-classify the classified and classed’. IT IS A CONFUSION of “war-nism”. A true believer does not ‘fight over’ movements. APOSTLE PAUL asked a very serious question to you (a believer): “Is Christ divided?”. LET ME ASK YOU A BIG QUESTION: “why are so many churches fighting and diving each other over movements and categorization?” Paul the man of God asked: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? THE ANSWER IS NO. Any movement which divides the body of Christ should re-consider why it was formed. THE BIBLE SAYS: “until we ALL reach UNITY in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ(Ephesians 4:13). DOCTRINE ought not to “divide the body/churches”. That is why a loved apostle of Jesus Christ named apostle JOHN said: “If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement”(2 John 1:10). JESUS CHRIST IS OUR DOCTRINE. Stop fighting over names and groupings and clubs and fraternity or socialism doctrines. GOD never send movements to shed the blood on the CROSS. ONLY JESUS shed the blood. ONLY JESUS. That is why the apostle John says: “If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home”. GOD did NOT ask “his disciples” to be classified by sinners or ‘fellow believers’. I don’t belong to any “movement”. That is why believers hate and fight each other, they “fight over movements”. GOD DID NOT SEND MOVEMENTS TO DIE FOR SINNERS OR PEOPLE. Jesus CHRIST(the only TRUE GOD as per 1John 5:20b) is the only one we are to be unified in and by. JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY ONE WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT. Not movements and classifications. I wont join the pentecostals, holiness, charismatic, pentecostals, catholics, puritans, trinitarian and all the groups or any group in the world that says it has “shed the blood on the cross”. GROUPINGS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH GOD’S WILL. It is our own “way” of segregating against other believers. AND I WONT STAND FOR ANY MOVEMENT WHATSOEVER. WRITE THIS DOWN AND REMEMBER IT AS LONG AS YOU ARE ALIVE: “we are the body of Christ”(1 Corinthians 12:27 ). The “bride” of JESUS CHRIST. We are not the body of any movement or ‘class’ or ‘grouping’. We are espoused [ENGAGED] to “Christ”(2 Corinthians 11:2). MORE THAN 100 MOVEMENTS HAVE SEPARATED THE BODY OF CHRIST.


  7. Lord Jesus..I pray for this mans very soul. This is uncalled for, not only that it is very destructive to the Body of Christ, it is flat out blasphemous against the work of the Lord!! His statements are not only mean and unfounded, but unscriptural. He starts attacking these believers, and yet the very same could be said of those that follow is belief system and movement, where are the fruit of those individuals and lives? There are many people that deny the working of the Lord today, and they claim to be followers? Yet it never ceases to amaze me that they themselves are the mouthpiece for the Almighty?? Their words of insight and wisdom are what?? Are they themselves speaking the word of the Lord? Oh wait, God does not move that way..right? So hmmmm then where is it that they fit in the equation and the big picture? At the end of the day, it is our responsibility of followers of the Lord to try to exemplify and let our light shine!! We should not judge, lest we be judged. To flat out state that the working and movement of the Charismatic movement and the moving of the Holy Spirit with the gifts in operation today are demonic? Wow all I can say about that is the following, that is a heavy rap to sell books!! I hope he has a turn of conscience, a repentant heart, and most certainly asks the Father to forgive his comments and leading people astray! May the Lord have mercy on this mans soul!!


  8. Catherine White says:

    Oh please — there was nothing vicious about his challenge to the charismatic church. I am an old line pentecostal who grew up in the Catholic church. I’ve been in the charismatic church for nearly thirty eight years. While I don’t agree with his position, his challenge is long overdue. There was nothing malicious, in fact, his appeal to his brethren was one of almost pleading with his brethren to please police it’s own movement. I live streamed the event, and remained with it from the outset. I read the comments on his Facebook page, and manly like myself from within the movement say bravo John MacArthur; indeed if the charismatic movement policed itself, we wouldn’t have men like John MacArthur sounding the alarm. God bless John MacArthur — he’s a braver man than most.


    James Bailey Reply:

    John MacArthur is claiming the charismatic movement is not from the Holy Spirit. The title of his new book and the title of his conference called it “strange fire,” which means it is not of God. He is quoted as saying charismatics are “blaspheming the third member of the Trinity in His own name.” The title of his book accuses charismatics of “Counterfeit Worship”. These are his own words. So according to John MacArthur charismatics are not of God, which means they are following a false god, which means they are lost. That is supported by the fact that he calls charismatics blasphemers, which would also make all charismatics lost since blaspheming the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin. These are very serious charges, as serious as it gets. Considering the eternal consequences of his accusations, calling them vicious is an understatement. Everyone knows there are human failures wherever there are humans, but that does not diminish the work of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for His grace and mercy to us when we miss the mark! John MacArthur has willingly given voice to the accuser of the brethren, the devil. His message comes too late to persuade those who have already tasted the reality of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God and who know the scriptures. He is only a danger to those who have not experienced these realities and who do not know the scriptures, but unfortunately there are millions of people who fall into that category. Unfortunately, it appears you are one of them.


  9. People attack what they do not understand because they have not experienced God in they way. If it goes against everything they have ever seen or experienced in church, they throw it out and determine it could not be from God. I remember when God took me out of my non-denominational church (with baptist roots) and took me to a non-denominational church (with Pentecostal roots). He had to do that because I needed to see and be around some things that I hadn’t experienced before. I needed to realize there was more to God than what I knew. I was skeptical and I even challenged the pastor on some things, but the first thing I noticed about this church was not the speaking in tongues (which I was not used to) but it was the love. I felt God’s love like never before! After I moved on from that place God began to take me to a deeper walk and I began to learn that He can manifest Himself in many different ways. I am blessed that he has shown me these things because while others are quick and to say that something is not of the Holy Spirit, I am slow and careful to say that now. The manifestations of the Spirit that are often criticized by others, and I have also been skeptical of in the past, I have now experienced myself. And there may be other manifestations in the future that man has not yet known. We cannot put God in a box! We should not be afraid of the supernatural…our God is a supernatural God and knowing Him also means knowing that part of Him! Yes, there are going to be people that are acting or faking it for different reasons, but that doesn’t make the real and the genuine any less amazing or important!


    James Bailey Reply:

    Excellent point and very well stated!


  10. “The Bible warns us that Satan is the one who accuses the brethren (Revelation 12:20)” .. I think John Macarthur is simply correcting churches, which are not leading/preaching the true Word of God. There is nothing wrong with stating the Truth according to the Word of God.


    James Bailey Reply:

    Yes, Satan is the accuser of the brethren, but all too often he uses Christians to speak for him. We all need to be on guard against his schemes.


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