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 Z3news.com 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.

James Bailey

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.

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Ken
Ken
Member
March 15, 2016 9:45 pm

What an interesting post but it sure is nothing new as when I was in Seminary in 1986 my Old Testament professor was having a war with John MacArthur on this subject. My professor was teaching at Moody and he got baptized in the Holy Spirit one weekend and when he came to work that Monday all his book were outside his office door and he was gone from Moody. He later on relayed in class that one of the strongest critics he and other Charismatic theologians (implied) had was John MacArthur.

Mark R
Mark R
Member
December 23, 2015 7:14 pm

I’m not surprised MacArthur would say this, he’s opposed the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement for years.

After all he’s a major proponent of Calvinism, which essentially teaches that God only chooses certain people to go to Heaven (of course MacArthur includes himself in this category) and that one can commit any sin and still go to Heaven. When you’re not afraid of God’s judgment (since you don’t think it applies to you) you can say anything and think you’re OK doing it.

Sujit Thomas
Sujit
Member
November 27, 2015 10:23 am

Hi James,

I remember going through all the posts on your blog when I joined. I don’t remember coming across this one. Hence, I just stopped by to read and comment.

It is very true what you say about the crux of the issue. You might find it interesting that in an entirely unrelated incident, during my meditation on Nov 1, 2015, God cautioned me to be wary of preachers who believe, behave, and act like they know it all. He explained that this was so that no one can boast and so that we all remain as a community of believers. I can see his wisdom in that.

For example, because I have personally experienced grace and mercy, I now realize their value and am reluctant to judge. But here is the problem: grace and mercy without check can lead to licentiousness and justice without check can lead to resentment. It is amazing that our God is both just and merciful, but what is even more amazing is God training us to work as a community of believers to be like him—one believer may always favor mercy while the other may always favor justice, but by working together, both learn the value of mercy and justice and the dangers of either extreme. Isn’t that wonderful!

Sometimes even little realizations like these leave me in awe of him. We truly serve an amazing God!

May God richly bless you in your ministry, James.

Mark Holtman
Mark Holtman
Member
March 23, 2015 3:47 am

I am so disappointed in MacArthur, at one stage I thought he was a good teacher when I listened to him in my car on the radio. If you do not let the Holy Spirit lead you it is so easy to go down the path of dry deadly theology.
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. I was tempted once to go down this dry road but thank God for his mercy and grace. I woke up to the fact that there was no love in what I call cerebral Christianity where all they do is try and put God in their little academic boxes and never stop arguing about every thing. Just get back to basics LOVE, FAITH and HOPE. Faith worketh by LOVE. The Holy Spirit does work through imperfect vessels. I am all for sound doctrine but in LOVE. I believe in living Holy but I also know I’m not perfect and need to show mercy (Mercy triumphs over judgement). The deeper I love God and led by the Spirit the more I hate sin and the ways of the world. You cant beat sin in your mind and flesh ONLY through the Holy Spirit.

Sujit Thomas
Sujit
Member
November 27, 2015 10:02 am

Hi Mark Holtman,

The last line in your comment, I just noticed—I think you mean “You CAN beat sin in your mind and flesh ONLY through the Holy Spirit.”

I second your thoughts about not being perfect and the need to show mercy. And it is usually those that have been shown undeserving mercy and repented who realize what mercy can actually mean for one. It is life altering in all ways that it can be altered.

May God encourage you in your daily walk with him.

David
David
Member
February 24, 2015 5:14 pm
James, I am writing a book on the power of fasting and praying in tongues. The HS has revealed more to me about my spiritual languages and what is occurring while I pray this year, than ever before in the past 25 years. I am not working right now and will go out and pray in tongues for hours on end til my face goes numb. Its awesome, yet I am also a fan of John MacArthur. Ignoring his take on Pentecost, he is an awesome teacher. I may not agree with everything but he is good. I know. He bashes us but we give him good reason. If we would police our own better then the John MacArthur’s would not be heard. However, you are a part of the problem James. I like you. I love your passion and energy but your “touch not my anointed” claims and your “satan is the accuser of the brethren” is an offense because you used these allegations against me and others incorrectly on this site. I judge both teaching and prophecy. The Bible instructs me to do so. Personal lifestyle I leave alone. You drive a Rolls Royce? I don’t care. Got a 20 bedroom home and make millions in the ministry? Not my problem. You answer as a steward but you go on TBN like Benny Hinn and tell the biggest fattest lies in the world and I am calling you out as a false prophet! You teach Jesus died spiritually in hell? I am calling you out. I am not claiming you endorse this but you have alleged me as a devil before on this site. God’s prophets can stand the scrutiny. If what they say is true then they will stand. They tell lies, then we need to discipline… Read more »
Jeanne
Jeanne
Member
November 21, 2015 4:05 am

Well said. I’m a little late to this post (Just saw it today). I am a graduate of ORU.I have seen the scandal personally when a truly annointed man of God gets sidetracked. I have lived in the IHOPKC arena. I have seen men of God carefully judge what is of the Lord and what is not. I have a long history and experience in the charismatic as well as the evangelical circles, and I have long known (and disagreed with) John MacArthur’s view on the Charismatic movement as a whole; but just as he seems to “throw out the baby with the bathwater,” so we must not “throw out his baby with the bathwater” either. He is reacting to the fleshly, immature manifestations that have gotten the attention and press. Yes, he’s decided it’s all false, and sadly so. But to call HIM lost, is also dangerous. The “charismatics” (since we have to use terms) tend to go beyond Scripture–if they are not careful; the “evangelicals” tend to stop short of all the Scripture says. The answer is to believe and obey the entire Word of God. Period. To say that he is in danger of hell is just as extreme as his saying ALL charismatics are in danger of hell. Both of us need to pay attention and ask the Lord humbly to correct where we need correction. We don’t have time to be anything else. If I get a verbal thrashing for saying this, I will be rather bewildered.

Christopher Sadoun
Christopher Sadoun
Member
January 15, 2015 8:07 pm
“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32) There was the First Aion Age when Jesus was walking the Earth and arguing with the Pharisees, which corresponds to when Jesus said “This age” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32) There was the Second Aion Age when Jesus was dead in the tomb, which corresponds to when Jesus said “the age to come” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32) There is a the Third Aion Age when Jesus was resurrected alive again and also is the Age when Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit is forgiven and is also the age that we are in now. This age goes on for eternity. Thus ALL GO TO HEAVEN and nothing changed about grace. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the term word for unbelief. ALL GO TO HEAVEN BECAUSE unbelief is forgiven. A Time in the Life of Jesus is an Age because Jesus is God and is that important. “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32) Matthew 12:32 is when Jesus canceled the Old Code of the law found in Matthew 12:31. “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31) “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in… Read more »
James Lee
James Lee
Member
January 4, 2015 11:19 pm

I must admit, this speaking in tongues stuff scares the life out of me. Some things
the Charismatic do makes me very afraid. I prayed that if tongues are of the Holy Spirit then let it happen to me and if it is not of the Spirit then protect me from it. Even though they laid hands on me it never happen. Never the less I would never claim that anything about the Charismatic’s is of Satan. I keep my mouth shut. I am not a pastor but I think John MacArthur could learn from my example. He is on dangerous ground.

Katie
Katie
Member
August 17, 2014 11:33 am

“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
Member
August 17, 2014 10:53 pm

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.

Martin Semrok
Martin Semrok
Member
November 27, 2015 6:27 am

Exactly right. Neville Johnson states that GOD told him that HE will no longer tolerate “leprosy”( in the church). “False” preachers who attack others will even die in the pulpit as they are preaching. Joe Sweet tells a story about a evangelist who was preaching in the Holy Spirit and a woman was repeatedly interrupting him. After warning her more than once, on the 3rd time he exposed her publicly for sleeping with another man, not the man she was sitting beside ( her rich prominent husband who gave money to the church for a new building). The pastor immediately closed the service and lied about why ( he did so, because of the money). The evangelist warned him, “You will see your new church built, but you will never preach in it”. The the first day that the church was open for service, the pastor died of a massive heart attack just as he was entering the sanctuary. GOD is not mocked! We are suppose to be “ambassadors of heaven”, not “accusers of the brethren” .

Denise
Denise
Member
July 12, 2014 2:34 pm
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… Read more »
James Bailey
Member
July 12, 2014 4:11 pm

Excellent point and very well stated!

Catherine White
Member
January 21, 2014 8:35 pm

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
Member
January 22, 2014 7:00 pm

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.

Martin Semrok
Martin Semrok
Member
November 27, 2015 6:10 am

Exactly what Pharisees did by calling Jesus and his works “the work of Satan”. The Pharisees were calling the workings of the Holy Spirit, “demonic”. They were committing the “unpardonable sin”. And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.Matt.12:31.

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