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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 ...

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Displaying 1–20 of 20 comments

David Pantele

November 10, 2013  11:32pm

I'm sorry to have to inform Mr. Wilfred Fon - but there isn't a baby in the Charismatic bathwater.

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Tom Jefferson

November 07, 2013  3:19am

As a 20 year veteran missionary in South Africa I can vouch for the rampant chraismaticism and word of faith dogma that permeates this country. Charismatic theology has enabled many Africans to syncrestically homogenize their animistic beliefs with Christianity and create a hybrid that allows them to keep one foot in African culture and the other in Christianity. Part of the problem is seen in the following quote above: "But we don't correct extremes with top leaders in public," he said. "I discuss some of the areas needing moderation with leaders at the personal level." Once again this evidences culture taking precedence over Scripture--Matthew 18:15-20. It is obvious from my vantage point on the ground as an eyewitness that the private rebuke is not working. The truth is that the Benny Hinns and Reinhard Bonkke's are rock starts all over sub-Saharan Africa. CT can play down the charismatic and word of faith influence here in Africa all they want. But realty tells a different story.

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audrey ruth

October 21, 2013  10:01pm

P.S. I too have been physically healed by the Lord, more than once. He healed me of an infirmity for which medical science has no cure. I've witnessed a number of healings of other people too, including my own husband and children. In the book of James (chapter 5, I think), the Lord clearly tells us what to do when someone is sick. I don't understand why some Christians disregard the clear Word of God and also throw the baby out with the bath water.

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audrey ruth

October 21, 2013  9:11pm

On reading that again, Rick, it looks like you're right. Oh well. I have great respect for Joni and R. C. Sproul. But I do fear for anyone who attibutes things God does to the devil. Jesus Himself issued a very strong, even fearsome, warning about this very thing. For me it's about what the Word of God teaches us, what is His norm for His people. He showed me a few years ago that it angers Him when His people are denied their rightful inheritance for which Jesus died and rose from the dead (Ephesians 4:8). When I saw that, my eyes were opened to the gravity of this issue.

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Rick Dalbey

October 21, 2013  7:46pm

Audrey, I believe Joni and RC Sproul are speaking in support of MacArthur. I love them both too. However, I read part of Joni's presentation and she says that she went to a Kathryn Kuhlman meeting years ago, hoping Kathryn could heal her, and when she didn't, Joni became more firm in her cessationist beliefs. For her, healing is emotional healing. Heal me of anger, jealousy etc. Sad. But two wonderful Christians who have other things to teach us. Just not this.

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Rick Dalbey

October 21, 2013  1:21pm

I was raised in a Conservative Baptist denomination church. Their official position was that the Charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit (the 9 listed in 1 Cor. 12) ceased with the canon of the New Testament. My Mother led women’s Bible Studies and when she experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit, she spoke in tongues. Somehow the rumor mill went into action and Mom was removed from being a teacher. They believed, as does MacArthur, that the gifts of the Spirit were demonic. One by one, anyone who had spoken in tongues was removed from positions of authority in that Church. Which became a tough job to keep up because it was at the height of the Jesus people and Charismatic movement in the 70s. Mom went on to lead her neighbors to Jesus and she and Dad became missionaries to Eastern Europe and Russia finally going on staff with Luis Palau. She is Now 82, still active in ministry and prays in tongues daily. Even Mark Galli, the editor of CT, has spoken in tongues and had his leg healed.

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Laura Bower

October 21, 2013  11:04am

But why? As a baptist whose life and heart and physical body were healed through the use of charismatic gifts, I don't understand. What's the abuse? I see abuse from both sides. How can we fight spiritual battles with the flesh? Don't we need the spiritual gifts to fight spiritual battles (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)?

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Laura Bentz

October 20, 2013  7:29am

I believe in the gifts of the Spirit but not the sign gifts. We, in our church, of course, believe in miracles, healings and whatever the Spirit wishes to do but the ones not for today were the specific miracle gifts the apostles did. If there were no gifts of the Spirit, the church wouldn't be able to function. I used to be Charismatic and then Pentecostal and saw how the gifts were terribly abused. That disillusioned me so much I left these movements and ended up being Independent Baptist. There's more emphasize on Bible study and teaching than on all the emotional worship, and its more practical to help me cope with everyday life...

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Thomas Gary

October 19, 2013  2:47am

I'm happy for you Rick especially for your own healing & that of your daughter. I believe miracles do happen of course but I've never seen them aligned with only charismatic experiences. I always share with my "Holy Ghost" friends one thing - people can come up with some pretty wild doctrines or beliefs about their gifts very quickly so be prepared! LOL Also prophecy folks are behind some of the political extremism going on in the USA. They believe they know God's Will for the USA & it's theocratic & anyone against them is evil. I'd like to honestly know how people know tongues interpretations are true. 1970's research by religious students in Pentecostal churches using old languages showed that the interpreters were wrong 100% when the language was real. No knock but it happened that way. In Africa, whoever goes into an animist village to convert it must come up with the most miracles. Anglicans are big winners. Liberal Episcopalians listen up! Peace

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Wendy Willmore

October 19, 2013  12:52am

To quote an acquaintance of mine: extremes are easy, balance is hard. I did some of my growing up in charismatic churches and moved to non-charasmatic churches during college because I wanted a more cerebral faith, and one that celebrated the heritage of the saints through the centuries. At that time, I didn't find it in the charismatic church. Living in Africa now, the prosperity gospel is certainly a huge poison, but it is by no means limited to the charasmatic church. The thing about the true charasmatic gifts is that they are powerful, unpredictable, they shake you up, and do not necessarily conform to human plans. This, I think, is what scares many Christians. I know it has me at times: that God the Holy Spirit will show up in ways that I can't control and tell me things I do not want to hear, or use me for things that I am afraid to do. There is no doubt, Satan has twisted the gifts like everything else, but we need to stop being afraid of the power of God.

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Rick Dalbey

October 18, 2013  10:13am

Thomas, like you, I met the Lord in the heat of the Jesus people movement in 1970. I had heard about healing and dramatic gifts of the Spirit as well. But I could never pin them down. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and prayed in tongues as I have daily for the last 43 years. But 14 years ago I was dying of congestive heart failure and after someone laid hands on me and prayed, I got up out of my hospital bed and went home healed. I can't argue with that. My 23 year old daughter was dramatically healed last year. I'm involved in prayer ministries at church and the Lord has given me amazing words of knowledge that have helped draw people to salvation. I'm seeing firsthand many amazing miracles, and many at our church and other churches in the Northwest are experiencing the books of Acts in the last 15 years. We're a lot more mature now, we don't exaggerate, things are verified by doctors, prophetic words verified. More people are getting saved than ever and we are constantly amazed.

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Thomas Gary

October 18, 2013  2:57am

1/3 of tens of millions is a lot of people. Rick, I can't go back to the ancient times but I've been around Jesus Movement stuff since 1971. We heard about all of these same things happening all over the world back then. People started checking facts & most of it was bunk. Same thing probably now. I've seen healings that looked to be started with prayer, etc. But most of these stories happen in parts of the world where "superstition" is around every corner. Pentecostalism is growing wildly in So America & Africa. What do they have in common? Corrupt political elites. Maybe distant church leaders. Indigenous magic cults. But also a deep thirst for miracles & exorcisms & wild emotional experiences. OK. I believe these things can be valid but how many times have movements like this ended up in extremism & disillusionment? There is bad ju-ju, but some like to hype it up also. USA has folks who believe they see miracles everyday because they need to see them. Eye of the beholder. Peace.

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Rick Dalbey

October 17, 2013  1:29pm

What are we to make of the 1st century church? What if someone told you they were transported like Philip to preach the gospel? Or caught up to the 3rd heaven? Or fell into trances like Peter? Or spoke in tongues like the 120, like Cornelius's entire household, like all 12 Ephesian men, like Paul, like the Corinthian Church? What would you make of Paul saying I speak in tongues more than YOU ALL or handing out handkerchiefs and aprons to heal the sick? What would you think of stories like the sick being healed by Peter’s shadow? Or Peter, Paul, Philip, all 12 apostles and a good part of the church interacting with angels? Raising the dead like Peter? Or services where multiple prophets spoke and the secrets of men’s hearts were revealed by a gift of knowledge? Hearing the voice of Jesus? Stephen doing signs wonders and miracles, his face shining like an angel? Philips 4 daughters prophesying? 3000 saved in one service? The early church was quite charismatic. MacArthur is the odd one.

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Christ's Slave

October 17, 2013  11:04am

(Part: Two) The other too common & worse response today is: "Who are you to question what I choose to believe about anything? How dare you judge me in any way you hater!!" That's the typical response to anyone calling us to defend who we are/what we do in the world today - the only difference we find in the church is that the response is more vitriolic, arrogant, & usually ends: "You call yourself a Christian!!" The Holy Spirit was sent to reprove the WORLD of sin (John 16) – that includes Christians. We are told to rebuke our leaders before ALL (1Tim 5). We ought to listen to our detractors, weigh what they say against the scriptures & not our feelings – & if any part at all is true, repent of it; if none is, we don't respond with attacks and accusations of our own; but as glorifies our God. BUT, to our shame, the church overall utterly rejects any attempt at admonishment out of hand – insisting the only heresy today is in calling anything heresy.

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Christ's Slave

October 17, 2013  10:23am

(Part: One) The article headline reads: "Surprise: The African Church Is Not Very Charismatic", before going on to say that fully 1/3 of African churches ARE charismatic. What qualifies as "very" if not 1/3 of all? In this particular instance, the subject matter is the spread and/or depth of charismaticism within the modern Christian church, but the responses and reactions I see here (and elsewhere) to those who question or decry it is the same as I see happen in every instance: "I don't see the problems being touted by the detractors within my own home church, or my own personal experience, so they do not, can not, exist within the body of Christ entire". In other words, I don't see it, so you're exaggerating the issue. Not happening in your yard, doesn't mean it isn't happening - and any time we shout "Can't happen here!", it isn't too awful long until we are proven wrong. (continued...)

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Rick Dalbey

October 16, 2013  10:01pm

I go to a 6000 member Charismatic church (Foursquare) in Oregon and in NO WAY do any of us support the "prosperity gospel". In fact I don't know of ANY Charismatic or pentecostal churches in Portland that believe in a prosperity gospel. This is a red herring. It is like saying all Baptists hate homosexuals because the Westboro Baptist church does. We are as evangelistic as they come, leading people to salvation weekly. MacAurthur is really off.

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Rev. Jason P. Peterson

October 16, 2013  9:55pm

Glad to see this issue receiving publicity. I have been hearing reports from a classmate of mine for years about this and similar challenges faced by African Christians. I am indescribably thankful that His Ministry - Lutherans in Africa ( http://lutheransinafrica.com ) and others are working to relieve the anxiety caused by divergent movements and equip African pastors to make a pure confession of the Gospel in their ministry.

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Greg Morris

October 16, 2013  3:13pm

Timothy Law, as the author states above, "it would be a mistake to equate the charismatic movement with the prosperity gospel." That should go for churches in the US as well as Africa. I currently belong to a well established Pentecostal church that reviles the prosperity gospel. To equate continuationists with blasphemy is to needlessly further separate the global body of believers. Not to mention discount a sizeable number of well-known pastors and teachers. There are many (especially in Reformed circles) who disagree with Johnny Mac's eschatology, but to say that he is a blasphemer would go too far. So for him, or anyone else, to call those who believe the gifts did not end with the completion of the canon a blasphemer is to go too far. The prosperity gospel is an aberration of the pentecostal movement, everyone should be careful to acknowledge the differences.

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Peter K. Johnson

October 16, 2013  2:22pm

MacArthur is treading on dangerous ground throwing stones at Pentecostal beliefs and experience by labeling it as "strange fire". While there are excesses and abuses in any movement, he denies and refuses to converse with Pentecostal scholars about the Biblical support of Pentecost for this age. What is he afraid of? And how does he reconcile Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians 14:39? MacArthur's ignorance is astounding, or is his motive based on sensationalism to sell a new book. Worldwide, the Pentecostal church is growing and leading millions to Christ. Is MacArthur wallowing in sour grapes?

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Timothy Law

October 16, 2013  10:30am

Sometimes, just follow the money trail and you will know who supports Charismatic and who doesn't.

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