Review: Strange Fire, by John MacArthur

January 18, 2014

I recently had the chance to read Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship, by John MacArthur. This nonfiction book was released November 12, 2013 by Thomas Nelson.

About this book (from the back cover):

What would God say about those who blatantly misrepresent His Holy Spirit; who exchange true worship for chaotic fits of mindless ecstasy; who replace the biblical gospel with vain illusions of health and wealth; who claim to prophesy in His name yet speak errors; and who sell false hope to desperate people for millions of dollars?

The charismatic movement has always been a breeding-ground for scandal, greed, bad doctrine, and all kinds of spiritual chicanery. As a movement, it is clearly headed the wrong direction. And it is growing at an unprecedented rate.

From the Word of Faith to the New Apostolic Reformation, the Charismatic movement is being consumed by the empty promises of the prosperity gospel. Too many charismatic celebrities promote a “Christianity” without Christ, a Holy Spirit without holiness. And their teaching is having a disastrous influence on a grand scale, as large television networks broadcast their heresies to every part of the world.

In Strange Fire, bestselling author and pastor John MacArthur chronicles the unsavory history behind the modern Charismatic movement. He lays out a chilling case for rejecting its false prophets, speaking out against their errors, showing true reverence to the Holy Spirit, and above all clinging to the Bible as the inerrant, authoritative Word of God and the one true standard by which all truth claims must be tested.

My Verdict:

Strange Fire is a book I first heard about from my husband, and he has given me his input on the book for the purposes of this review. MacArthur is a very well-respected pastor, teacher, and writer, and there is nothing in this book that is necessarily provably wrong. This book details MacArthur’s arguments against the prosperity gospel (and I agree with MacArthur here) and the charismatic movement (where I’m not completely in agreement.) He is a cessationist, which means that he believes while the spiritual gifts outlined in the Bible were accurate during the time of the apostles, now that the apostles are dead, supernatural spiritual gifts have gone away also. MacArthur takes a very strong stance in this area, and he defends his position well, but I believe his stance is a little too rigid, and takes away the opportunity for dialogue with our more charismatic brothers and sisters. Do I believe supernatural spiritual gifts occur as often as they’re claimed? Not at all. Do I believe that they could never occur again? I don’t necessarily believe that either, and when it comes to the issue of discerning whether something is truly from God, I figure, as long as it’s not harming anyone and doesn’t contradict scripture, it’s okay with me. Great book for theological insight, even if you don’t agree with MacArthur on every point.

My husband would also like me to point you to this review of Strange Fire by the brilliant Tom Schreiner, who is much more eloquent on this subject than I could ever be.

If you’d like to check out Strange Fire it is currently on sale for $14.99 for the Kindle version right now, which is 35% off. (Regularly $22.99.) If you prefer a physical copy the hardback version is currently on sale for $17.71. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Entry filed under: Books, Reviews. Tags: .

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