As an Assembly of God ordained minister, I feel heartbroken regarding statements that John MacArthur made during his recent Strange Fire conference. Not heartbroken for myself, but heartbroken for the entire Body of Christ. Despite stating that “This is about honoring the Holy Spirit, rather than blaspheming him,” (MacArthur). The California preacher and iconic author has seemed to singlehandedly brought a decisive blow that is now dividing the Christian church. While anyone that knows me understands just how strongly I disagree with the various false-teachers and frauds in the Charismatic arena. They also know that I find it even more alarming for someone of faith to spend their time, especially in ministry, on a mission running down others they don’t agree with.
I agree that it is shameful how preachers today are taking advantage of their flock by doing what they do in the name of the Lord. However to blanket coat all Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians in the world, seems to be very wreckless, and somewhat borderlines disparaging the Holy Spirit. The following is an article my Senior Pastor, Dr. Todd Hudnall, gave me permission to repost regarding the statements John MacArthur made at his recent Strange Fire Conference. I find it very fitting and truthful for I believe that there is a very “Strange Fire” going on today in the American church. ~ Pastor Steve
Response to John MacArthur and the Strange Fire Conference
There is currently much discussion about John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference. I find it sad that in a world of brokenness and pain, so in need of Christ, a gifted Christian leader with such a big platform would invest so wholeheartedly in painting the half a billion Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians in the world with a broad brush and then slandering us all as deceivers or the deceived.
Because human beings are fallen and flawed we are going to see error, extremes and foolishness in the church and in every movement. The Charismatic movement has had more than its share but no wing of the Christian church is immune. Yes, there are abuses, impostors and false teachers in the Spirit-filled church. Just as there was in the New Testament. I commend MacArthur for pointing out true abuses but they do not discredit the movement any more than they discredit the churches of the New Testament. MacArthur condemns what he doesn’t understand because he’s not experienced God in the same way others have nor does it fit his narrow theological boxes.
Dr. MacArthur fails to acknowledge Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul and Jude were all by definition Pentecostal/Charismatic believers. They spoke in tongues, operated in the gifts of the Spirit and saw supernatural signs and wonders. So you could say it was the Pentecostals and Charismatics, under the Spirit’s inspiration, who wrote the doctrinal truths he claims the Pentecostals have not contributed to. The church has always been diverse and we all contribute our part. But it is obvious John MacArthur believes he has a corner on the truth and Christian leaders such as Reinhard Bonke, Gordon Fee, George Wood and Jack Hayford are all involved in deception and serious error. Apparently he feels the same about Charismatics who are Reformed in doctrine like theologian Wayne Grudem or popular pastor Mark Driscoll, to name just two.
Global missiologists tells us while the primarily non-Pentecostal northern hemisphere of the church is spiritually cold and declining, the primarily Pentecostal southern hemisphere of the church is spiritually dynamic and prevailing. Rather than focusing on what the Charismatics and Pentecostals are doing wrong, Dr. MacArthur might invest some time in discovering what they are doing right. The church in America certainly needs to experience some of the fire, passion and life our southern hemisphere brothers and sisters know. The Scripture makes it clear that there is more to Christianity than crossing theological “T’s” and dotting doctrinal “I’s.” And many of these third-world Pentecostals are experiencing it.
Unlike John MacArthur, my experience is that the majority of Pentecostal leaders are striving to be Christ-dominated, in repentance bowing our knees to Jesus Christ, proclaiming His Gospel, taking up our cross to humbly, joyfully and sacrificially serve Him. We may often fall short but fully following Christ is our aim and we’ve found we need the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to achieve that objective. A large number are laboring in countries where they can be tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus. Based on his scathing attacks, MacArthur apparently doesn’t know us. I pray the Holy Spirit would open his eyes.
Dr. Todd Hudnall
Senior Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO
Original Article: http://pastordodd.com