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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good points but deeply flawed, 11 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Charismatic Chaos (Mass Market Paperback)
I can see how this book had to be written. Much of the criticism in the book is invited and deserved, and it is a good book for Charismatic leaders to read. Doing so will have these benefits:

1. So that they can counter John MacArthur's arguments scripturally rather than with reference to subjective experience.
2. So they can avoid the excesses, corruption and false teaching highlighted in the book.
3. To encourage leaders to test everything against scripture, avoid pragmatism and an over-reliance on the subjective, and to warn their people against false teaching.

With some exceptions, charismatics have been slow to teach scripture faithfully, slow to practice church discipline and slow to publicly denounce the antics of some 'false teachers'. As a result, they become guilty by association, as 'Charismatic Chaos' proves. Christian leaders should be both teaching the truth and protecting their flocks from false teaching. If more had done this, John McArthur would have found it harder to make the sweeping statements this book is full of.

I would define myself as a Charismatic Evangelical. To me, this really is an appallingly argued book. Here are some of MacArthur's statements, and my response.


"There is no command in the New Testament to seek miracles" (Page 141).


This statement is slightly 'loaded'. We are not just exhorted to seek miracles. We are sought to thirst for the Water of Life, to eagerly desire the greater gifts, to seek healing. What about 1Corinthians 12:31 and 14:1? Don't the 'greater gifts' include healing and miracles (12:28)? What about James 5:14-16? Seeking healing - that's a miracle isn't it?


"...from the day the church was born at Pentecost, no miracle ever occurred in the entire New Testament record except in the presence of an apostle, or one directly commissioned by an apostle".


This is an odd argument. Given that we are reading the Acts of the apostles, it is not surprising. But why did he overlook the miracles in the Galatian church (Galatians 3:5)? And are the Elders in James 5:14 apostles?


John 14:12-13, "Truly, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."


There is nothing in the context that speaks of supernatural signs.


So what is Jesus referring to? Giving spiritual life to sinners, according to MacArthur. But then, there is nothing in the context of the passage that says this either.


MacArthur says several times that the frequency of miracles diminishes even within the book (e.g. Page 208).


Again, an odd argument given that the narrative begins by talking about the events in the (large) church in Jerusalem and ends with Paul being sent to Rome. The kind of narrative lends itself to miracles at the start of the book anyway.


MacArthur contrasts how Jesus healed people with charismatics today (p.258-259). He states that Jesus healed with a word or a touch, instantly, totally, everyone etc. Healings today are not like that, he asserts, so they must be false. But wait a minute!


He could not heal many in Nazareth because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58). He healed the blind man (Mark 8:22) after 2 attempts. And he attempted to turn people away on occasion (See Mark 7:26f).


These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

`"In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
Acts 2:15-18

Quote (p.288)
Peter was simply telling those present at Pentecost that they were getting a preliminary glimpse, a projection of the kind of power that the Spirit would release in the Millennial kingdom.

So let me get this right. When we see Jesus face to face, then we get dreams, visions and prophecies. Right? What about 1Corinthians 13:12? And when does Peter actually say that it's just a preliminary glimpse? How is this good exegesis of scripture? When are the last days? They are the period between Pentecost and Christ's return - get the concordance and check me out!

"What happened to miracles, healings, signs and wonders in the nineteen hundred years since the apostles passed from the scene?"

Now I am not a well read scholar. But a simple Google search of the writings of church fathers such as Iraneus, Tertullian, Ambrose, Augustine etc will clearly show that miracles continued. Ecclesiastical History of the English People - more miracles. Then, amazingly, Spurgeon: A New Biography. Even Spurgeon successfully prayed for hundreds to be healed. My favourite source though is Word and Spirit Together: Uniting Charismatics and Evangelicals. Here we have evidence of spiritual gifts in the ministries of Spurgeon, Finney, Moody, the Hugenots, early Methodists, the early Brethren.

Finally, there is the testimony of large numbers of people to this day. When we have first hand knowledge of people (as I do) who would be dead but for the Lord's intervention through healing as a result of earnest prayer, are we allowed to say, 'Hallelujah'? Or do we patronisingly tell God that he shouldn't be messing with our theological systems?

Clearly there are plenty of charlatans, tricksters, occultists at large, profiting from the vulnerability of needy people. No book of this type would be complete without highlighting this. But this proves nothing. Jeremiah and Micaiah were clearly outnumbered by false prophets. That did not invalidate their ministries. If there was malpractice then, of course there will be today. This in no way progresses his argument.

To those who are secure enough to look at both viewpoints, I appeal to non-Charismatics to read David Pawson's The Normal Christian Birth. Pawson puts the scriptural case for some of the beliefs of charismatic churches. He does this without endorsing the foolish practices of the people MacArthur talks about, he tackles more scriptural passages than MacArthur does - and in more depth - and he does not resort to some of the negative caricaturing that I believe MacArthur does.

The presence, power and gifts of the Holy Spirit should be specifically asked for and sought (John 7:37-39, 1Corinthians 12:31, 14:1). We need not fear that our loving Father will give his dear children anything freaky or harmful (Luke 11:11-13).
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 May 2014, 15:51:42 BST
One of the best books of recent times has been made available for free in six formats; including Kindle.

Do get a copy, and get as many people as you can locally, and globally, to do likewise:

Principles for the Gathering of Believers Under the Headship of Jesus Christ

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jun 2014, 17:53:48 BST
J McMurdo says:
Are you gathering with believers under the headship of Christ?

Posted on 7 Jun 2014, 18:36:19 BST
Last edited by the author on 7 Jun 2014, 18:40:26 BST
No. But how nice to here from you.
I wish you well; and just want to pass on information that HELPS you; your family; and your local flock.

Listen, I think I did spot you on David Pawson's Facebook page BTW.

There HAVE been some lovely positive developments:
I have managed to get in contact with various folk around the globe, who have seen how wrong the HIGH-archy Kinghood Model is (as I call it); how POLAR Scriptura it is to 1 Corinthians 14:26,27.

One of the key guys being Tim Germain; a Canadian guy who spent 23 years in the standard pulpit-pew setting; but has been out of it for 16 years. He has put some lovely free resources together on YouTube; and, a South African friend has put together a free 159-page PDF.

Do watch this on YouTube; it is a kind of TRILOGY resource:
1) A 60-minute documentary, split into six 10-min segments (you'll see Tim at the very start of the documentary; introducing it).
2) A 43-minute white board presentation by Tim.
3 An audio presentation by the guys behind the free PDF (called "A Church Beyond Imagination").

If you want to cut to the chase; go to the white board presentation.

There is also some lovely stuff shaping up via Facebook, by Tim and others.
Let me tell you right away (boy is this nice news!), Tim is not deceived by either Cessationism or Calvinism.

Pleased you have broken silence.
Be sure to download that free Kindle book BTW.
Do watch the YouTube resources; do get back to me.
It would be lovely to bring you into contact with Tim (and others from around the globe).


Posted on 18 Jun 2014, 15:35:44 BST
Free PDF.


Posted on 13 Mar 2015, 09:21:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Mar 2015, 09:25:53 GMT
Just 2 let u know:

Both David's autobiography, and The Normal Christian Birth, are now out on Kindle.
Thus, week in week out, remember to encourage folk to at least download free samples:

Not As Bad As The Truth: The Musings and Memoirs of David Pawson

The Normal Christian Birth: How to Give New Believers a Proper Start in Life

Get the word out!

Posted on 13 May 2015, 21:00:43 BST
Heard of Joel Richardson? Key voice on Israel:

When A Jew Rules the World:What the Bible Really Says About Israel in the Plan of God

See video here:

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