Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship
Strange Fire: A Necessary Read
"Strange Fire" is not only a great book to read, but it's material is very necessary for believers and charismatics alike. We need to understand the false doctrine of charismania, so that when we encounter it, we can recognize it.
John MacArthur is, by far, my favorite author ever. God has gifted him uniquely to expound the scriptures, and he has done a fantastic job of that in this book.
November 29, 2013
Review of the book Strange Fire by John Macarthur
I enjoyed most of the book. The point of the book is what is the correct way to worship and praise GOD and the wrong way! The book talks about counterfeit worship and how it can offend GOD and Jesus. Yet the book talks about how real the trinity is and that is totally false. GOD is the father, Jesus is the son and the holy spirit is what they give us to help us worship him. They are not 3 in one like many people believe so the author is totally incorrect on this. Also the author got one thing wrong about Jehovah's witnesses, we do not believe the world will end in 2033, where did he get that? We do believe the world will end one day but we do not know when.
I enjoyed the quote on in the opening pages, the page xiii which says " it is a sad twist of irony that those who claim to be the most focused on the Holy Spirit are in actuality the ones doing the most to abuse, grieve, insult, misrepresent, quench and dishonor him...." The next quote I like on the next page is " They have become like the Israelites of Exodus, who compelled Aaron to fashion a golden calf while Moses was away." Another quote I like on page xvi that says " People proclaim a gospel of health and wealth, a message completely incompatible with the good news of scripture...The incredible irony is that those who talk the most about the Holy Spirit generally deny his true work."
On page 11 I like this quote " Some backing up their false teachings by twisting the scriptures or claiming new revelation from GOD". I also like the quote on page 12 " Many have over to ideas and practices which come straight from pagan religions, and large numbers of young and impressionable believers have been spiritually corrupted in the process." "Let each remind himself of the prohibition of taking anything away from scriptures or adding anything to it. "
One way to test who is the real religion ask yourself these 5 questions, Does the work exalt the true Christ, does it oppose worldliness, does it point people to the scriptures, does it elevate the truth, does it produce love for GOD and others? Another good reason to know if you have the true religion is to find Joy in it. "Their joy is found serving the Lord Jesus,and their love for GOD is seen in their obedience in him." (Pg 57)I like the quote on page 78 " It chooses bible verses selectively to fit a name-it-and-claim-it theory but it does not love Jesus." I like the quote on page 191 which reads " The spirit bestows his people with teaching and serving gifts for the building up of the church. "
All in all I enjoyed this book because the author really brings out the errors of those claiming to be people of GOD and how they trick you and how they really not of GOD at all.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255 : Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
November 19, 2013
I received a copy of this book from the publisher to review and I was excited to dive into it. I had never read much of John MacArthur, but had heard lots of good things about him, so I thought this would be a great place to start. The book discusses the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the Charismatic movement, and the prosperity gospel. Definitely a heavier topic that a lot of the books that I often read and review, but I was excited for the change. Jeremy said that it seemed right up my alley because it discussed history and theology which are two of my favorite things. I loved how much history was in the book and how well researched the topic was. The author discusses what the Holy Spirit does and doesnÃ¢ÂÂt do and the dangers of twisting our thinking on probably the most misunderstood part of the Trinity. Though I always knew that I did not agree with the charismatic movement and the prosperity gospel the book was eye opening to what the dangers of the movement are and how it can distort the true Gospel. Though the authors viewpoints are strong, I feel he handled the material very well and also addressed those who are unsure of what the Holy SpiritÃ¢ÂÂs role is today. I have been thinking alot recently about what Ã¢ÂÂilluminationÃ¢ÂÂ is and how God speaks to us as believers through His Word, and I loved this quote. Ã¢ÂÂTo be filled with the Spirit, then, is to yield our hearts to the authority of Christ, allowing His Word to dominate our attitudes and actions, His thoughts become the object of our meditation, His standards become our highest pursuit, and His will becomes our greatest desire. As we submit to GodÃ¢ÂÂs truth, the Spirit leads us to live in a way that honors the Lord.Ã¢ÂÂ So powerful.
November 19, 2013
Book Review: Strange Fire
About the Book
To say that controversy surrounds the charismatic movement and moreover their theology would be a massive understatement. If you listen to leaders and pastors in the evangelical world, one of the most asked questions is to define a stance that stems from the validation or condemnation of the more popular spiritual gifts of healing and speaking in tongues. In his book Strange Fire, author and Pastor John MacArthur makes his stance clear on this debate through a methodical grasp on the modern charismatic movement.
As the book unfolds MacArthur chooses the story of Nadab and Abihu out of Leviticus 10 to introduce his case for a call of accountability in the church today. Nadab and Abihu were consumed by fire because they lit the altar of the Lord with fire that was not from God, hence the idea of strange fire. In mishandling God's direct command to them by using means other than what God had provided to them, their careless and reckless manner of approaching God in worship was dangerous. He then explains how the abuse and mishandle of the church today when it comes to the Holy Spirit is not that far removed from this Old Testament story. He insists that it has, "obvious implications for the church in our time."
The book is broken down into three major sections. In the first section he deconstructs the false doctrines and practices of the charismatic movement when it comes to the Holy Spirit insisting they mock the Holy Spirit and claim the power of the Holy Spirit within unbiblical contexts. MacArthur builds his case from scripture and provides examples of what he calls fraudulent acts and likes some of the leaders inside of the charismatic movement to con men. MacArthur also walks through Jonathan Edwards approach to handling of the works of the Holy Spirit which I found fascinating.
"More moderate charismatics like to portray the prosperity preachers, faith healers, and televangelists as safely isolated on the extreme edge of the charismatic camp. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Thanks to the global reach and incessant proselytizing of religious television and charismatic mass media, the extreme has now become mainstream." Chapter 1 - Mocking the Spirit (p. 13)
In the second section of this book MacArthur a cessationist, extends his belief that the Holy Spirit works differently now than it did in the New Testament. He talks about how apostleship and specific gifts of the Holy Spirit ended with the canonization of scripture. Again, MacArthur speaks to those who twist scripture and perform fake healing as needing to be held accountable.
"If someone declaring himself a prophet proclaims any supposed Ã¢ÂÂrevelation from GodÃ¢ÂÂ that turns out to be inaccurate or untrue, he must be summarily rejected as a spokesman for God." Chapter 6 - The Folly and Fallible Prophets (p. 108)
In the third and last section MacArthur walks through the ways the Holy Spirit does work in the christian life. He state the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation, sanctification, and in the scriptures. He ends the books with an open letter to his "continuationist friends" pleading with them to take a fresh look at the Word of God and rethink their stance.
All in all, I found this book encouraging although I think it deals a little too much with broad strokes against the charismatic movement. I would tend to agree with much of what MacArthur says, which ends up being quite a compelling case. My true concern is that his stance doesn't allow much room for the move of the Holy Spirit in some contexts in the world today. For instance, I think God is powerful enough that He could and does use at times extraordinary means to carry out the message of the gospel on the front lines in remote areas where missionaries are preaching the gospel. I think there has to be a balance within that contexts that MacArthur doesn't seem willing to concede.
November 14, 2013