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Sad but true
on 18 February 2001
I am a charismatic, and so naturally I disagree with MacArthur's views about whether the miraculous gifts have ceased. I also agree with those reviewers who point out that what John (for whom I have a great deal of respect; in fact he is one of my favourite Bible teachers) does is to highlight only the abuses he finds.
Unfortunately, there is far too much of this abuse going on in charismatic circles, and if charismatics themselves do not publicly acknowledge the current state of the movement, then it is left to anti-charismatics like John MacArthur to do it for them, and that means an awful lot of unfairness and bias along with it. The sad state of affairs is, though, that even when charismatic leaders do speak out on these things, they almost invariably (in my experience) tone the whole thing down as if it really is just a minor problem, or paint a picture of a charismatic movement of which just the fringe has gone overboard, and try and disassociate themselves, and the circles in which they move, from the problem.
The reality is that it is not just something on the fringes of charismatic movement: I am inclined to agree with John that what we are witnessing is indeed 'Charismatic Chaos'. It is hard to be a charismatic/Pentecostal in a day when being such is increasingly defined by whether you jump on the latest bandwagon, be it the 'endtimes revival' bandwagon, the 'Toronto blessing' bandwagon, or the 'apostles and prophets' bandwagon.
MacArthur does indeed cite abuses, but much of the time he is highlighting preachers and practices that are at the very heart of modern charismaticism. If charismatics continue to dodge the issue, people like John MacArthur will make themselves heard.