Thursday, November 21, 2013

book review--Strange Fire by John MacArthur

a devastating series of sledgehammer blows

This book has certainly stirred up no small amount of controversy in some circles, and I suppose with good reason. Frankly, though, a lot of the controversy seems either ill-informed or ill-adviced.

MacArthur does a very good job of showing how far too much in charismatic churches is going some very disturbing places. Prophets who are free to prophecy falsely and not be accountable for it? Speaking gobblety-gook and claiming it's tongues? Claiming apostles are still around today? All the fake healers putting on shows and leaving the truly sick people out in the cold? And much of this stuff has been going on for over 100 years? MacArthur rightly calls out those who practice and promote those things, and shows from Scripture just how off those ideas are, and then shows what the Scripture tells us how the Spirit works.

Reading parts of this book is liking seeing one sledgehammer blow after another—showing how supposedly spirit-filled ministers fall into immorality again and again, how they couldn't prophecy their way out of a paper bag, how they will do almost anything for money, how they hide the fact that they don't really heal much of anyone who is really sick, how they put more emphasis on the things they feel inside themselves than in what Scripture says. If charismatic churches were to really take these things to heart, this book would signal the end of the too-popular TV charlatans and fake healers and false prophets who have shamed the church for far too long.

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