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Do Miracles Happen Today? A Look At John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire”: Part 1

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“Charismatic theology has turned the evangelical church into a cesspool of error and a breeding ground for false teachers. It has warped genuine worship through unbridled emotionalism, polluted prayer with private gibberish, contaminated true spirituality with unbiblical mysticism, and corrupted faith by turning it into a creative force for speaking worldly desires into existence.” John MacArthur, Strange Fire (Available at Cleveland's Loganberry Books)

I have enjoyed a number of the late Dave Hunt’s books. I have found them to be well researched and filled with tremendous wisdom. Dave spoke often about the need to compare knowledge with scripture. Dave spent a lot of time doing massive amounts of research, but there was one area for which he would not consider new information, and that was in relation to eschatology. He was convinced Jesus would return soon for a broken and battered remnant in a world all but destroyed by the anti-christ. For those who challenged this theology with a more positive outlook, he had harsh words of rebuttal.

I have appreciated very much the work of Kent Hovind. I personally met him at one of his conferences, and I have learned a vast amount of science from his work. He is convinced the world is no more than 6,000 years old. For those who challenge this belief, he has reserved some of his most course criticism.

I have read and listened to many books and sermons by John MacArthur. The university I attended was a sister school to his and he came and spoke at the school while I was there. Some of his books were used in classes, and his commentaries and scholarly work on scriptural interpretation are highly respected. John MacArthur is convinced the age of miracles was for the first century in the lives of Jesus and his disciples. For those who challenge this belief, he has written Strange Fire, and as seen from the quote above, he has no problem using some of the most derisive language for those who disagree.

I respect the work of all three of these men. I simply choose them as examples as they are very dogmatic and passionate about their beliefs, and have been ready to defend their theology and work with scripture, theology, history and science.

I have read Strange Fire, and I have read scripture and studied church history as well. I also know my own experience as a believer and will share at least two things I experienced I consider miraculous. MacArthur summarizes beliefs that millions of people embrace, namely that you don’t need to hear from God, scripture is the only source you need to pay attention to. You don’t need to pray that things will change, be content with your circumstances and trust in God. And there is no reason to seek health and wealth, instead learn to carry your cross and walk by faith where you are. And perhaps most surprising, don’t talk too much about the Holy Spirit, for his job is to remain in the background and simply point us to Christ.

These are some of the ideas put forth in MacArthur’s work. But are they really in the Bible? You will have to judge and see. Let’s take a look, it promises to be an interesting ride.

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