“A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” ~Anonymous
For MacArthur, experiences that people claim to have that include miraculous encounters can be explained away in any number of ways. For those who claim miraculous healing, they have simply been hypnotized and their illness was psychosomatic to begin with. Others are simply lying about what they experienced or they are deceived by the devil.
When people claim to speak in tongues, they are simply faking the whole thing due to group pressure, or they are so caught up in the emotion of the moment they are simply speaking gibberish like anyone would do if consumed by enough frenetic energy. Or even worse, they are possessed by a demon.
What is peculiar about MacArthur’s argument is that he claims there are too many non-biblical actions taking place in the name of God. According to his belief, if something that a person feels or experiences can’t find a biblical parallel then it can’t be a move of God.
For instance, there are extremes in any revival that include people shaking and falling to the ground. Others make strange noises and scream as they get caught up in the ecstasy of the moment. While it is true that biblical counterparts should be found for anything that someone experiences that they believe is from God, MacArthur contradicts his premise when those with a more mystical bent do the very thing he says they should. He disagrees with those in this camp as well.
For instance, Todd Bentley has shared that if he finds an experience in scripture, he believes it is possible and perhaps even normal for believers to experience the same thing today. As Bentley discusses, people see angels in the Bible, so should we. People hear the audible voice of God, so should we. People are healed of all manner of diseases and even raised from the dead, so these should be gifts that are available today. In both the Old and New Testaments, there are people who have prophetic visions of what is yet future. According to Bentley, so should we.
For MacArthur, all experiences should be biblical. But when it comes to miraculous experiences in the Bible, those should not be experienced today. This is called having your cake and eating it to. It can’t be both ways. You can’t at the same time say, “Find it in the Bible” and “But not that part of the Bible.”
The issue is again, do miracles happen today? What is a miracle? Are there any real examples today? Tomorrow we shall see.