Surprise: The African Church Is Not Very Charismatic
Image: Trevor Snapp / AFP / Getty

John MacArthur still doesn't like the charismatic movement.

The past decade or two have seen a rapprochement of sorts between American Christians who emphasize charismatic gifts—like speaking in tongues, prophecy, and the working of miracles—and those who believe those gifts ended in the early church. Especially in the Reformed and Calvinist world, groups like The Gospel Coalition have openly attempted to bridge the two groups (as well as to draw in softer "continuationists"—those who believe the charismatic gifts continue today, but don't identify with the charismatic movement). Meanwhile, as Pentecostal denominations like the Assemblies of God have become more mainstream, they have debated how strongly to emphasize speaking in tongues and Holy Spirit baptism.

MacArthur, an influential author, pastor, and seminary president, has never wavered from his teaching that the charismatic movement is wrong. But he hasn't emphasized his critique as much as he did when publishing The Charismatics (1978) and its 1993 followup, Charismatic Chaos. Today he is reigniting his criticisms with the launch of a book and a three-day conference, both called Strange Fire.

MacArthur said his "concern about the charismatic movement" has escalated in recent years as more mainstream evangelicals have joined the charismatic ranks.

Speakers including Joni Eareckson Tada and R. C. Sproul will join MacArthur to discuss the "true, biblical ministry of the Holy Spirit"—and to refute what MacArthur calls blasphemy.

Delivering the keynote address tonight is Conrad Mbewe, a Zambian pastor who is becoming increasingly prominent in American Reformed circles. He delivered a plenary ...

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Surprise: The African Church Is Not Very Charismatic
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