Dr. MacArthur's critique of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements is not "strident" or harsh, as some reviewers suggest. Paul named names. Dr. MacArthur has done the Church a favor by evaluating the weaknesses of the continuationist position. Strange Fire is a clear call for the Church to return to the authority of the Word rather than the subjectivism of Pentecostalism. This book will help clarify the issues in your mind.
As one who was previously burned by a charismatic church and who has seen first-hand the destruction of using the gifts immaturely, even inappropriately, I know exactly what it means for the wrong fire to be a foul offering. However, I'm very concerned to see how MacArthur condemns something encouraged in scripture, if indeed, God is changeless. You see, church history shows the church has an awful habit of mixing cultural beliefs with church practice. And I'm afraid MacArthur, a true man of God, has been influenced by the scientific naturalism prevalent in our western beliefs and culture and trusted by the western church. The problem with this is, naturalism is at odds with Jesus, the apostles, church history, and our Eastern brothers a sisters. Eastern Christians (China, Middle East, India, etc.) who are persecuted by their governments and families are also facing persecution from their Western brethren for something the West doesn't understand because it doesn't fit into our framework or understanding. But in cultures where the supernatural is everywhere and the worship of false gods is real, these gifts are not only normal, they are needed to distinguish the one true God. What would you say to these persecuted believers who heal in Jesus name and God is glorified? Who cast out demons and set people free from Satan? Who supernaturally communicate the gospel across language barriers? What would you say to the Corinthian church who were using gifts of the Holy Spirit immaturely, even wrongly but still was powered by God? Will you still condemn the gift if God is glorified? Because a house divided cannot stand. And should you implicate such things are not of the origin of God but of Satan when God is glorified, be careful: "If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong mans house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered. 30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven." John Macarthur you are a man of intelligence, don't drink the cool-aid of naturalism from the western gods and mix it against the word of God.
I won't bore you with repeating all the reviews listed here. It was well written, documented, and forthright. And yes, it was a bit strident. We aren't used to people naming names. I for one appreciate it. Why not. What I am amazed by is that a Jehovah's witness left a review (negative of course) and SIX people, so far, found it helpful. For those really ignorant in their theology, the JW's are a heretical non-Christian religion. They deny virtually every cardinal Christian doctrine there is. And yet six people found the review helpful. Please John, don't insult the charismatics? Perhaps if believers would actually study their scriptures John wouldn't have so much work to do. Swallow a camel and choke on a gnat for sure. Wake up people. Buy the book. Ignore the tone. Learn something and leave your emotions on the nightstand. Blessings
This book was very well written. I felt I was becoming lax in how I looked at things and this author made me see the truth. Every Christian in our world today should read this book. I love how the author states exactly what he thinks and backs it up with scripture.