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Posts tagged ‘Pentecostalism’

Jen’s Joy.


From Depression to Joyous Hope

Introduction

Be encouraged by this true story of a grandmother’s faith and hope reborn. While witnessing God‘s faithfulness throughout her daughter’s difficult pregnancy, Jenny reclaims the joy she once knew years ago.

This account is one of our featured testimonies from you, the members and visitors of this site. Each story reveals a life transformed by Christian faith. If your relationship with God has made a significant difference in your life, we would like to hear about it. Submit your testimony, by filling out this Submission Form.

Jen’s Joy – From Depression to Joyous Hope

I am a 47-year-old wife, mother and grandmother. I was raised primarily Baptist in doctrine, however, I attended Pentecostal churches on occasion with my grandmother.

My parents were both musically inclined and decided to form a family gospel group. I think I was 8-years-old at the time. Many of my Saturday afternoons were spent in front of a piano learning my “part,” as Mom put it. I didn’t realize at that young age how much church and music would impact my life.

I received Christ as my Savior at the age of 15 in a small Baptist church in Georgia. It was during this time that a few of us formed a gospel quartet and began singing in local churches. Within in a few years we were traveling around the southeast singing in churches, civic centers and other venues. I remember that although we had a good time in fellowship with others in the Lord, our ministry in song was most important to us and we took this ministry seriously.

We always closed church concerts with an invitational song, and as the spirit moved, many people came to receive salvation during this time. I know the Lord’s Spirit works in many ways. Matthew 18 says, “Where two or three are gathered together, there He is in the midst.”

Our quartet lasted for about 8 years, but eventually we drifted apart as some members got married and started families. It is hard to travel with a baby. I continued attending church faithfully with my husband. It was during my 20’s, as a new wife and Mom that I started feeling stress and found that I had trouble coping with some of life’s situations. My faith became weak.

I started drifting slowly away from God. Marital problems finally led to a divorce. I was away from God’s will for about 20 years, living a life of sin. Over time I fell into a deep depressionand began to feel that hope was gone. I did things that Christians should not do, and I was in a backslidden condition. God never left me, I left God. He convicted my heart at times, but I didn’t heed His call. I leaned to my own understanding and my own will.

Last year, my oldest daughter was pregnant and experiencing complications. She couldn’t eat due to stress and spasms of the esophagus. She drank nutritional shakes and took vitamins, but we were on pins and needles as she lost a total of 37 pounds. During this time of concern for my daughter, I began to reflect on my past. I realized that life is short and that we are not in control of everything that happens in our lives.

The baby wasn’t expected to make it past the 8th month, according to her obstetrician. But miraculously, he made it full-term. I was with my daughter in the operating room as they performed the cesarean section. The doctors delivered a precious little healthy baby boy. From that day on my faith in God began to grow. There was no doubt in my mind that God let this baby be born healthy, even when the situation looked bleak. I know medical science has an explanation, but all of my praise went to God, and my thanks to the doctors for their expertise in caring for my daughter.

This past January, my daughter was having thyroid problems along with other personal problems. I started to pray to God for help. It was at that moment that He filled me with a deep sense of warmth, joy and peace that I could not express in words. I believe this was the filling of His Holy Spirit. My burdens left me and I placed my daughter’s situation in God’s hands.

I continued to pray and ask God for forgiveness for being away from His will for so long. Ever since that time, I have been filled with a sense of peace, and now I have a keen desire to praise Him, to worship Him and to let others know about Him. I have had a problem with depression on a daily basis in the past, but now I start each day in prayer and in God’s Word. He fills me with hope for the days ahead. I know I will face troubles, illness and other adversities, but I don’t plan to let go of God’s hand ever again, no matter what comes my way.

It is my prayer that all who are hurt, or lost, and don’t know where to turn in life, will turn to God and find their purpose in life. I believe we all have a purpose and that we are divinely and uniquely created by God. I believe it begins by faith when we receive salvation through Jesus Christ.

I hope to start back in the music ministry soon. Until then, I am doing things for a needy family in my local town, helping take care of my grand baby, and trying to focus on God’s will for my life.

By Jeninga

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AG and COGIC Leaders Unite in Historic Pentecostal Meeting.


George O. Wood, Charles E. Blake
George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, with Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. (Facebook)

Last week the Assemblies of God executive leadership hosted the executive leadership of theChurch of God in Christ (COGIC) at the AG national office in Springfield, Mo. The historic meeting marks the first time the full leadership of these Pentecostal movements—two of the largest in the U.S.—have gathered specifically to dialogue together.

George O. Wood, general superintendent of theAssemblies of God, expressed his great pleasure in the COGIC’s acceptance of the invitation. He also warmly welcomed the executive leadership as well as local COGIC leaders and members to the Tuesday chapel service held at the national office each week.

During the chapel service, Wood explained that the Assemblies of God and COGIC were children of the Azusa Street revival—citing that it was COGIC’s presiding bishop, C.H. Mason, who personally attended the first General Council in 1914 and blessed the Assemblies of God as it was being formed.

Wood reflected sorrowfully on the separation that occurred because of the racial culture at that time in America, when culture—not the Bible—shaped the church into racial division. The coming together of COGIC and AG leadership now in a historic-time dialogue represents another step in the healing of a rift that occurred long ago.

Current COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., who also pastors the 24,000-member West Angeles COGIC in Los Angeles, then addressed the chapel attendees. He shared a brief but passionate message based on Acts, encouraging listeners to follow Paul’s example in thanking God during and after life’s storms. To view Bishop Blake’s full message, click here.

In addition to Bishop Blake, other top COGIC leaders who came from across the country for the meetings included: First Assistant Presiding Bishop Philip A. Brooks, Second Assistant Presiding Bishop Jerry W. Macklin, Bishop J. Drew Sheard (general board member), Financial Secretary Frank Anthone White, General Secretary Joel Harley Lyles Jr., Missions President Carlis L. Moody, Chairman of Auxiliaries in Ministry Lindwood Dillard Jr., and Chief Operation Officer James W. Smith.

“This is a wonderful day,” Wood said, prior to entering additional meetings with the COGIC leadership. “Meeting with our like-minded brothers from the Church of God in Christ is something we and the leadership of COGIC have longed to do for years, and now it has finally happened!” 

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

10 Things You Should Be Thankful For.


Worshippers after typhoon
Residents displaced by Typhoon Haiyan still manage to come together to worship the Lord—even in 16 inches of standing water. (J. Lee Grady)

Right after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines this month, a friend sent me the amazing photo I’m posting here. It’s a shapshot of a Pentecostal church service held a few days after the monster storm displaced 3 million people and killed more than 5,000. Notice that the worshippers are standing in about 16 inches of water. A flooded church did not keep these people from thanking God that they were spared.

I’ve stared at this grainy photo many times since I received it. I intend to stare at it some more, especially during the Thanksgiving holidays, because I want the image burned in my heart. When I look at the dedication of these poor Filipinos—some of whom lost what little they owned—I am forced to face my smug first-world ingratitude.

If you are reading this online, you are already blessed because 70 percent of the world has no access to the Internet. Here are 10 more things you should be thankful for:

1. Got drinkable water? About 1.1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. Because of that, about 9 million people will die this year because of water-related illnesses. The next time you open a bottle of Dasani or drink from your tap, remember that millions of women around the world spend an average of four hours daily walking to get water.

2. Do you eat three meals a day? The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world’s population is overfed, one-third is underfed and one-third is starving. Approximately 925 million people in the developing world are chronically undernourished, and 15 million children die annually because of hunger.

3. Got electricity? About 1.5 billion people in this world have no access to electrical power. In the nation of Malawi, where I preached two weeks ago, only 9 percent of the people have electric lights. Do you enjoy that oven in your kitchen? The next time you prepare a meal, remember that 2.5 billion people in the world still use wood or charcoal to cook their food. Do you enjoy your washing machine? Data analyst Hans Rosling recently reported that 5 billion people in the world still wash their clothes by hand.

4. Got a roof over your head? The U.N. Commission on Human Rights says there are 100 million homeless people in the world. One in three children in the world live without adequate shelter. And today there are about 42 million people who are living as refugees. Most were displaced by war and live in crude camps.

5. Do you own a car? The United States still has the highest number of motor vehicles in the world. Globally, only 1 out of every 8 people has access to a car. Many of the others either walk, take crowded buses or public vans or ride on bicycles, rickshaws or animals. Did you fly somewhere in the past year? You are blessed. Only 5 to 7 percent of people in the world have ever flown in an airplane.

6. Do you have a flushable toilet? The United Nations Development Program reports that 2.6 billion people do not have access to any toilet facilities. India has the largest percentage of people who lack adequate sanitation. About 638 million Indians must go outdoors.

7. Can you read? Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. There are 72 million children who should be in school but are not enrolled. If you have a college degree, you are in a privileged minority; only 6.7 percent of people in the world have a college diploma.

8. Do you have health care? Here in the United States, we are debating the pros and cons of Obamacare—and griping about the reliability of the government’s infamous health care website. But let’s keep in mind that in developing countries, you might wait 8 hours to see a doctor in a clinic where there are no medicines and no electricity—and you might have to bribe the doctor to see him.

9. Do you have political freedom? About 1.6 billion people in the world live in repressive societies where they have no say in how they are governed. They face severe consequences if they express their beliefs or assemble peacefully. The most oppressive countries today include North Korea, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea.

10. Are you free to worship? More than 75 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions. Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.

I encourage you to make your own list of blessings. Thanksgiving is not an optional virtue. Without it, our pride swells and our selfishness consumes us. This is why David wrote, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” (Ps. 103:2, NASB). Thanksgiving is an important exercise because it adjusts our attitude. It calibrates our hearts so we remember again why we are blessed and who deserves the credit for our blessings.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

J. LEE GRADY

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of the Mordecai Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @leegrady. He is the author of The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and other books.

The ‘Strange Fire’ of John MacArthur.


John MacArthur
John MacArthur

As a lifelong Pentecostal-charismatic, I recommend that every Pentecostal-charismatic leader read Strange Fire by John MacArthur. I say this because we need to see how the bizarre “spiritual” behavior and doctrinal extremes by some in our movement are viewed by those on the outside, and used to whitewash the entire movement.

We have done a very poor job of addressing these problems from within, so I do not doubt that God has raised up a voice that is fundamentally opposed to our movement to address these extremes. If God could use a pagan Babylonian king to discipline His people in Israel for their sins (see Jer. 25:8-11), could He not use a merciless fundamentalist preacher to point out our shortcomings?

That being said, MacArthur’s latest book does not represent an honest search for truth. It is obvious that his mind was already made up when he began his research for Strange Fire, and he found what he was looking for. He presents a circular argument, beginning with a faulty premise and proceeding with selective anecdotal evidence that determines the outcome.

He begins with a commitment to cessationism, i.e., the belief that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were withdrawn from the church after the death of the 12 apostles and the completion of the writings of the New Testament. That being the case, then modern expressions of spiritual gifts must be false. He then utilizes the selective anecdotal evidence to buttress his presupposition, which leads him back to his starting point of cessation.

It seems that MacArthur wants to believe the worst about the movement of which he writes. At times I felt he was embellishing the bad to make it even worse. For example, Oral Roberts was not a Christian brother with whom he had profound differences but a heretic who did much damage to the body of Christ—“the first of the fraudulent healers to capture TV, paving the way for the parade of spiritual swindlers who have come after him,” he wrote.

Make no mistake about it, MacArthur is not out to bring correction to a sector of Christianity with which he disagrees; his goal is to destroy a movement he considers false, heretical and dangerous.

MacArthur is either unaware or purposely ignores the historical evidence for the continuation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit as was presented in my book, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity. He ignores clear statements of church fathers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian and Augustine about healings and miracles in their time. He uses Augustine’s statement about tongues being “adapted to the times” as an argument that the gifts had ceased. He ignores, however, Augustine’s later works, including Retractions, in which he acknowledges the ongoing miraculous work of the Spirit and tells of miracles of which he is personally aware.

MacArthur’s biblical argument for cessation is also very weak. He relies primarily on Ephesians 2:20, where Paul told the Ephesian believers that they were being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. He then argues that the gift of apostleship was only for the foundational period of the church, which in his mind is the first century. He goes on to say that the other gifts of the Spirit passed away with the gift of the apostle.

This, at its best, is convoluted thinking that goes far beyond what the text actually says. Paul’s point in this passage is not to teach cessationism, but to show the common faith of Gentile and Jewish believers in that both are built on the same foundation, which is Jesus Himself, and this fact is witnessed to by the Old (prophetic) and New Testament (apostolic) writings.

MacArthur’s disdain for women and their prominence in the Pentecostal-charismatic movement spills over when he refers to 1 Corinthians 14:34, which carries the admonition for women to be silent in the churches. He then says, “Given the nature of typical Pentecostal and charismatic church services, simply following that final stipulation would end most of the modern counterfeit.” He fails, however, to address the fact that Scripture itself states that women will have a prominent voice when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh, as Peter so eloquently stated in Acts 2:17-18. The prominence of women, therefore, may be seen as an indication that the modern Pentecostal-Charismatic movement is a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.

In summary, we who embrace the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the world must not flinch or compromise our commitment because of Strange Fire. At the same time, may we be diligent to address the errors and extremes that always creep in to any Spirit-filled movement, whether the church in Corinth, early Methodism or the modern Pentecostal-charismatic movement.

This article originally appeared at pneumareview.com.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Eddie L. Hyatt is a seasoned minister of the gospel, having served as a pastor, teacher, missionary and professor of theology in the U.S. and Canada and having ministered in India, Indonesia, England, Ireland, Sweden, Poland and Bulgaria. His ministry is characterized by a unique blend of the anointing of the Holy Spirit with academic excellence and over 40 years of ministerial experience. Visit him online at eddiehyatt.com.

Secularism Sucking the Pneuma Out of Spirit-Filled Christianity.


worship
When Pentecostals don’t speak in tongues and Baptists aren’t getting baptized, it signals a deeper issue of faith. (Ashley Campbell/Flickr/Creative Commons)

Fewer Pentecostals are speaking tongues. Fewer Baptists are getting baptized. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. But what are we to make of the decline of baptisms in water and in the Spirit? I’ll get to that in a minute.

A couple of months ago, I wrote a column entitled, “Are We Pentecostals Losing Our Religion by Holding Our Tongue-Talking?.” In it I referenced an AP report about a small Assemblies of God congregation that looks just like every other Pentecostal church service—except nobody is speaking in tongues.

What I didn’t include are the stats from the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world with 66 million members. At the General Council meeting in August, the AG talked about the decline baptisms in the Spirit.

According to the denomination’s statistics, tongue talking decreased by about 3 percent to less than 82,000. That’s the lowest rate since 1995. How is that even possible, given that Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing sectors of Christianity? The Pew Research Center reports that at least 25% of the 2 billion Christians in the world are connected to the Pentecostal or charismatic movements.

“This is a long-developing phenomenon,” Harvey Cox, an expert in Pentecostalism and professor of religion at the Harvard Divinity Schooltold the Associated Press. “They don’t want what appears to be objectionable to stick out or be viewed with suspicion.”

And it’s not just the Pentecostals that are straying from the defining characteristics of their faith. The Baptists are also reporting a decline in Baptisms. Indeed, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) reports water baptisms dipped 13 percent in 2012 to under 300,000. Al Gilbert of the NAMB told One News Now that’s the biggest drop in 62 years—62 years!

“Maybe we’re not identifying the need to help our teenagers and even our older children understand how to publicly profess their faith,” Gilbert says. “Are we even making sure that they’ve understood the claims of Christ and then they have declared that they’re publicly a follower of Christ?”

OK, so what’s going on here and what does it mean for Pentecostals, Baptists, and Christianity at large? It doesn’t take a prophet to see that secularism is attacking the foundations of Christianity and we’re seeing the manifestations in two of the largest, oldest branches in the body of Christ.

Think about it for a minute. When Pentecostals don’t speak in tongues and Baptists aren’t getting baptized, it signals a deeper issue of faith. In an age of interfaith marriages, some may be abandoning their religious roots to avoid offending their spouses.

In a recent article entitled “Interfaith Unions: A Mixed Blessing,” Naomi Shaeffer Riley points out that before the 1960s, about 20 percent of married couples were in interfaith unions; of couples married in this century’s first decade, 45 percent were. She also notes that secular Americans welcome the rise of interfaith unions as a sign of societal progress. But it’s not progress when you abandon the tenets of your faith in the name of compromise.

Secularism is even creeping into churches. What does that look like? Some of the signs are blatantly obvious, such as teaching that Jesus is not the only way to God. But the Bible clearly states that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Approval of homosexual lifestyles is another obvious fruit of secularism in the church, just as is a refusal to confront other sins.

But secularism isn’t always so blatant. There are subtle secularistic messages invading the church. Messages that focus more on moralism than Christ and the cross sound fine and good but morality without Christ is not Christianity. Likewise, pop psychology-centered sermons can take our focus off Christ’s and distract us from our faith in His healing power and place it in steps or formulas that may actually contradict the Word.

When we’re scared our faith will offend, we’re bowing to secularism. When we stop publicly baptizing in water, we may also be bowing to the influence of secularism. And when we stop praying in tongues because we don’t want to scare off seekers, we’ve definitely given in to secularism.

This Scripture keeps coming to mind: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). Make no mistake, secularism is among the forces working to destroy our Christian foundation. It’s time for the righteous to rise up, bold as lions, and declare the cross of Christ, get baptized publicly, and speak in tongues to build ourselves up in our most holy faith. And ultimately, secularism must bow a knee to the name of Jesus.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer atjennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebookor follow her on Twitter.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

George O. Wood Sets John MacArthur’s Pentecostal Record Straight.


George O. Wood
George O. Wood

Recently, Dr. John MacArthur and Grace to You Ministries hosted the Strange Fire conference at Grace Community Church in Simi Valley, California.

Dr. MacArthur believes that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit ceased with the close of the apostolic era and that the Pentecostal and charismatic movements are therefore theologically aberrant at a foundational level.

By contrast, Pentecostal and charismatic Christians believe that “the promise [i.e., the gift of the Holy Spirit] is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39, NIV). With this promise comes the evidential sign of speaking in other tongues and the power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8; 2:4; cf. Luke 24:49). Consequently, following the apostle Paul’s teaching, we “eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 14:1).

While there have been isolated aberrations of behavior and doctrine over the past century among those who self-identify as Pentecostal or charismatic, the movement as a whole has proved a vital force in world evangelization—a fulfillment of the promise Jesus made to His disciples in Acts 1:8. On behalf of the 66 million adherents and 360,000+ churches in the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, I thank God that the faith and life of the Acts 2 church are still being believed and experienced today.

The Assemblies of God celebrates 100 years in 2014 and remains committed to the full authority of God’s Word. As a founding member of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Assemblies of God has sought to cooperate in the Great Commission with Christians of like-minded faith, even when they are not Pentecostal and charismatic, and we remain committed to that collaboration.

We trust the time will come when Dr. John MacArthur and those who share his perspective will acknowledge the great contribution that Pentecostals and charismatics are making in the evangelization of individuals without Christ. We pray God’s blessings on their efforts to share His gospel with a lost and dying world. Pentecostals and charismatics are their co-laborers in this effort, so we ask that they would similarly pray for God’s blessing on us as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission that God has given us all.

George O. Wood is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. 

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE.

GEORGE O. WOOD

To My Fundamentalist Brother John MacArthur: Grace to You Too.


 

John MacArthur
John MacArthur

Fundamentalist pastor John MacArthur is a gifted preacher, author and lover of Scripture. His Grace to You radio program points countless people to the Bible, and his Master’s Seminary trains hundreds of ministry leaders. He’s a staunch Calvinist, but that doesn’t make him any less my brother in Christ.

Unfortunately, MacArthur can’t say the same about me—and that’s sad. In his new book Strange Fire, he declares in no uncertain terms that anyone who embraces any form of charismatic or Pentecostal theology does not worship the true God.

My brother in Christ has written me off.

In John MacArthur’s rigid world, anybody who has sought prayer for healing, claimed a miracle, received a prayer language, prophesied, sensed God speaking to them, felt God’s presence in an emotional way or fallen down on the floor after receiving prayer has already stepped out of the bounds of orthodoxy.

MacArthur says charismatics think they worship God but that actually we are worshipping a golden calf. “Every day millions of charismatics offer praise to a patently false image of the  Holy Spirit,” MacArthur says early in the book. “No other movement has done more damage to the cause of the gospel.”

He doesn’t just write off fringe elements of our movement; he skewers the original founders of Pentecostalism and even goes after Baptist author Henry Blackaby for teaching that God can speak to people today.

MacArthur, who is 74, urges evangelical Christians to engage in a “collective war” to stop the spread of the charismatic movement, which he describes as a “deadly virus,” a “deviant mutation of the truth” and a “Trojan horse” that has infiltrated mainstream Christianity. MacArthur writes, “Charismatic theology has turned the evangelical church into a cesspool of error and a breeding ground for false teachers.”

No one familiar with MacArthur is surprised by Strange Fire, since it is really a rehashed version of his 1993 book Charismatic Chaos. Unfortunately, some charismatics have given MacArthur plenty of new ammunition to support his case that we are all a bunch of sleazy con artists and spiritual bimbos. Our movement is new and fraught with problems, so MacArthur doesn’t have to look hard to find examples of troublesome doctrine. But instead of offering fatherly correction, he pulls out his sword and hacks away.

I’m no five-point Calvinist, but I will make five points here in response to MacArthur’s book:

1. Not all charismatics and Pentecostals have embraced errors or excesses. To MacArthur’s credit, he quotes charismatic leaders who have addressed legitimate abuses and errors in our movement. But then he writes us off with a broad brush. Actually, the majority of our movement is not in error, even though we all know of doctrines and practices that need correction. There are millions of healthy charismatic and Pentecostal churches around the world that are winning the lost, launching missionary endeavors and helping the poor. And charismatics and Pentecostals are fueling the global growth of Christianity—even with our flaws.

2. We must leave room for the present-day power of God. MacArthur believes God’s miracle-working power stopped around 100 A.D. He says healing, tongues, prophecy, visions and other supernatural manifestations described in the New Testament don’t work today. MacArthur is particularly irked that charismatics emphasize speaking in tongues (which he calls “gibberish”); he also complains that we have a “perverse obsession with physical health” (in other words, if you get sick, just accept it because God doesn’t heal anymore). But the New Testament doesn’t tell us that heaven flipped a switch and turned off the Spirit’s power. That is MacArthur’s opinion, not a biblical doctrine.

3. The church needs a fresh emphasis on the Holy Spirit. MacArthur says charismatics are guilty of an unhealthy focus on the Holy Spirit. He claims that the Spirit points only to Jesus and that we shouldn’t seek the Spirit’s power or presence because He likes to stay in the background. My question: If that is true, why did Jesus teach so much about the Holy Spirit? And why is the Spirit’s powerful work so clearly highlighted in the book of Acts and the epistles? It’s true that the Spirit wants all the credit to go to Jesus, but we are making a huge mistake if we ignore the Spirit or limit His power. The church today needs God’s power like never before.

4. There is a difference between biblical correction and judgmentalism. Anyone who reads this column knows I speak out regularly about whacky practices in our movement—from prosperity doctrines to necromancy to adulterous pastors who say God told them to divorce one wife so they could marry another. I believe we must address sin in the camp. But there is a difference between confronting specific sins and condemning a whole movement to hell. John MacArthur’s book has crossed that line.

5. We should love MacArthur anyway. Strange Fire lists numerous ways charismatics are misusing or abusing the Holy Spirit, in MacArthur’s view. But he forgets to mention that one of the important works of the Holy Spirit is to unify and connect the Christian community in deep fellowship. The New Testament urges us to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3, NASB), and we are also told that love is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. But Strange Fire was not written out of a heart of love.

Still, there is no need to retaliate against MacArthur. He is our brother because we all believe in and worship the same Savior. The best thing we can do in response to this extremely unkind book is to love our brother in spite of his unfortunate bias against us.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE.

J. LEE GRADY

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of the Mordecai Project(themordecaiproject.org). You can follow him on Twitter at @leegrady. He is the author of The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and other books.

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