One hundred years ago, the modern Pentecostal movement was born. By October 2013 the Pentecostal movement had morphed into the Charismatic movement with its particular brand of false doctrine and had infected much of western Christianity and polluted quite a bit of Christianity at home and abroad. The excesses of the movement include faith healing, reports of raising the dead, babbling tongues, alleged prophecies and direct revelation, disorderly church services and worse. The movement assaulted the sufficiency of scripture, the inerrancy of scripture, besmirched the name of Jesus Christ and damaged the faith of many.
John MacArthur and his team at Grace To You took a stand against this movement and sought to bring clarity to why its doctrines needed comparison to the Bible and thus correction. To that end, they organized the Strange Fire Conference, held in the fall of 2013. One of the main purposes of the conference was to initiate a substantive discussion about these issues. It achieved its purpose. Every sermon preached at the conference rebuked the movement simply by preaching the truth, and brought correct biblical doctrine regarding the sign gifts of the Spirit to the fore. Given the outcry, it seems that the effect was immediate.
There were many good questions asked at the various seminars and Q & A sessions held during the conference period, but not all of them could be immediately answered. After the conference concluded, ministers and theologians at Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary wrote out answers to these unanswered questions, compiled them, and put them on one web page.
The page is a treasure trove of good, solid rebuttals to and practical helps about what to do if encountering Charismatic doctrines in your church, in your family, or in yourself.
Epidemic in the Charismatic movement is the acceptance of personal revelations. Everybody and their brother it seemed was hearing from Jesus and were eager to share “a word from the Lord”. Such practices assault the sufficiency of scripture, of course, and must be corrected. However, one book is doing its level best to continually to attack the sufficiency of God’s word- and that book is “Jesus Calling”. Jesus Calling was published in 2004, 16 years ago now, but is still on the bestseller lists. The book has spawned a cottage industry of studies, devotionals, children’s books, and other material that has never stopped polluting the faith. Indeed, it seems to be increasing in its staying power and corrupt work.
Here is just one of the Questions and Answers in the Strange Fire Q&A page.
Last year a friend gave me the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. How do I approach my many friends who love this and similar books?
Scripture has true spiritual power to save and sanctify those who listen and obey it, but human writings masquerading as divine prophecy—such as Jesus Calling—have no such power. Nevertheless, many people today are enticed by the idea that God is speaking supernaturally through these frauds.
In order to help your friends, you should gently point out the superior authority of Scripture and refer them to passages such as 2 Peter 1:16–21, 2 Timothy 3:16, Jude 3, and Psalm 19:7–11. Another good resource is John MacArthur’s two-part series, The Sufficiency of Scripture.