John Macarthur is still playing video clips from his controversial Strange Fire conference. I watched this teaching tonight and it was interesting. Let me explain a little about me.
I love MacArthur! His book, “The Gospel According to Jesus” is probably the best book on the gospel outside of the Bible itself. No overstatement there. I also agree with him on much of the silliness and downright wickedness ascribed to some fringe groups in the Charismatic movement. However, that being said I consider myself charismatic. Very conservatively but still.
What I found interesting is that MacArthur did not describe what I see as my idea of charismatic. His basic definition is that charismatics look for interior personal experiences as evidence and grounds for truth over and against the word of God. He says a charismatic starts with personal experience as their foundation and the Bible is subject to that.
My problem is that I don’t believe that way at all. In fact, in all honesty I’d rather not be charismatic due to the fringe wackos who blaspheme the Holy Spirit by their godless shenanigans! However, it is because I see scripture clearly teaching about the gifts of the Spirit and the rules and principles we need to adhere to that I affirm them. I mean Paul goes out of the way to train us to recognize them and to rightly interpret them and use them in no less than three books! Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians. It is because I can’t ignore scripture that I believe they are active today. I never see definitive scripture that declares a time they would cease, save for the consummation of all things.
As to experiential confirmations, like I said, I’m very conservatively charismatic. I don’t seek after these manifestations despite what MacArthur claims charismatics do. In fact I get leery anytime anyone says they have had one. I don’t even want an extra biblical experience because I totally believe in the sufficiency in what has been revealed in scripture! Yet, it is because of that scripture that I can’t see where it declares these gifts have ceased or that God is now mute.
For example, I recently had someone tell me they thought they had received a word from the Lord for me. This person loves the Lord and is not a wacko and didn’t even say it was definitively a word from the Lord. They only said they thought it was. Honestly it confused me. It was only two words. Yet those two words did tie in with a current spiritual situation! Weird, I know. Honestly, I wish I hadn’t heard them.
So what I’m saying is I think you’d be blessed to hear MacArthur’s message. If you agree or disagree see if it lines up with the word of God.
In the end I have to say, if what MacArthur describes in his teachings is a Charismatic then I’m not one and agree with his scorn of the movement. But I’m not a cessationist and am a continuationist only because that’s what the word dictates to me. So where am I? Let me know your thoughts if you’d like.
In the end though it is driving me to prayer and study so praise God. May God bless you as you seek Him!