Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive

Many Evangelical Christians today claim that we ought to defer to the tradition of the Church when faced with difficult matters such as the status of homosexuals in the community of faith or the nature of the atonement. We can see a lot of changes in the position of the public against homo couples. In the polls worldwide we can see attitudes have shifted over time. In 1988, the two-thirds of white Americans for example, believed that “sexual relations between two adults of the same sex” was “always wrong,” including 85 percent of born-again Christians. By 2010, both groups began to accept same-sex relationships. Born-again Christians still opposed homosexuality, but they answered the questions the same way non-believers answered in the 1980s. In 2010, two-thirds of evangelicals believed that homosexuality is “always wrong,” compared to just 30 percent of others.

John Piper's church. Also see here

John Piper’s church. Also see here (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Evangelicals may also differ on the role of the women in their community. Most of them affirm male headship in ordain­ing men only to pastoral ministry, but they also practice male headship in the way that they carry out the other dis­cipleship and teaching ministries of the church. So male headship characterizes both ordained and non-ordained minis­tries in the church.

In the catholic and Protestant religions we do find that many are convinced that only qualified men are ordained to the pastoral office (hierarchy in principle), and women do not teach Christian doctrine to men (hierarchy in practice). John Piper‘s position:

“Men should bear primary responsibility for Christlike headship and teaching in the church. So it is un­biblical . . . and therefore detrimental, for women to assume this role” (John Piper and Wayne Grudem, “An Overview of Central Concerns: Questions and Answers,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 60-61).

This hierarchy in both principle and practice reflects a certain interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12, an interpretation that Douglas Moo ad­vocates in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood:

“We think 1 Timothy 2:8-15 imposes two restrictions on the ministry of women: they are not to teach Christian doctrine to men and they are not to exercise authority directly over men in the church.” {Moo, “What Does It Mean Not to Teach or Have Authority Over Men?,” 180.}

While most of the young reformed evangelicals are closing ranks around traditional, conservative views of biblical inspiration and author­ity, some in the emerging church are re­vising and moving away from the same. One can hardly envision reconciliation on the gender question as long as the two groups continue on these radically divergent trajectories.

John Piper describes practices of Pas­tor Mark Driscoll who allows women to teach and lead men within the minis­tries of Mars Hill Church, as “detrimental” to the life of the church. {John Piper and Wayne Grudem, “An Overview of Central Concerns: Questions and Answers,” 61.} Nevertheless, these two men in particu­lar share a basic commitment to comple­mentarian principles and have enough common ground in their shared vision of the gospel to cooperate in endeavors such as “The Gospel Coalition,” a gos­pel renewal movement that confesses a strong complementarian position.

Priscilla Shirer who’s marriage appears to be just the sort of enlightened partnership that would make feminists cheer, avoids using words like “feminist” or “career woman” to describe herself. She is an evangelical Bible teacher who makes her living by guiding thousands of women through the study of Scripture in her books, videos and weekend conferences — in which she stresses that in a biblical home and church, the man is the head and the woman must submit.
She steers women away from the “feminist activists” who tell women to do their own thing. does a woman has to go out of the house and find a ‘proper’ job to bring more money in the family till? Can the woman make up her own decisions or is tit that she let a man “slow her down,” as she puts it?

For her it is clear that it is an evil demon, called “Satan” who “will do everything in his power to get us to take the lead in our home.” She forgets to see that satan just means any adversary or evil within, and according to the Bible is not a sort of monster which shall bring people into his realm were people shall be tortured for ever.

Molly Worthen writes

Shirer and many conservative Christians believe that the Bible defines gender as a divinely ordained set of desires and duties inherent in each man and woman since the Garden of Eden. Gender is not an act or a choice, but a nonnegotiable gift. To these Christians, the story of Adam and Eve’s creation granted man authority over woman, and they understand the New Testament teachings of Paul and his comrades — in particular, that wives should submit to their husbands — not as cultural relics of the first century but as universal teachings that Christians apply today.

Cover of "Women in Ministry: Four Views"

Cover of Women in Ministry: Four Views

In the industrialised countries we see sexual liberation has saturated the general culture and brought most citizens away from the church-institutions, but also away from the Holy Scriptures. Many people took the attitudes and sayings of churches as actions of men of God. They took their conclusions when they saw so many wrong goings by the clergy. In the meantime mainline churches are ordaining women and homosexuals, conservative evangelicals are escalating their counter-offensive.

To critics, “complementarian” is code for sexist patriarchy, a license to keep women muzzled and homebound. Yet spending even five minutes with Priscilla Shirer and her husband suggests that reality is far more complicated — not only at home but also in the new “separate sphere” that this theology has spawned: a subculture of Bible studies, conferences, ministries, religious retreats and literature ranging from Christian fitness books to Christian romance novels, all produced by and for evangelical women.

Molly Worthen writes in the New York times Magazine article Housewives of God.

Those who think the woman may not teach about the Word of God should look at those persons who opened their houses and got people in to listen to them. There we found in the first home-churches active women who not only taught their children but also their servants. The woman of the household was the  person teaching becoming the authority. Since the parent is already the authority, as God intended it to be from creation, there should be no problem in women teaching doctrine to their own children. but they had to remember that the husband would always be the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, but he is also subject to his Father, the Only One God. Like Jesus follows his Father, man and woman who say they are followers of Christ Jesus the Messiah, should follow Jesus.

The wives when they are in subjection to their own husbands should not have to bow to every other man and have to follow what they say. those wives also had to follow first the Word of God, like for every body it should be the Law of God which has to be followed in the first instance and than the laws of men as long as they contradict not the Law of God. It is by the right attitude the subjective woman can gain the man. Namely that, if any obey not God’s Word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.

MInistry in Contemporary Culture - Does Evange...

MInistry in Contemporary Culture – Does Evangelicalism have a Future? (Photo credit: George Fox Evangelical Seminary)

Those discussing the role of the woman in culture and in the church often also claim tradition as a source of authority. But why then do those Christians not take literal translations from the original Scriptures? Should English speaking people not be translating their English Bibles from the LXX since that is what the early church (not to mention the writers of the NT!) considered inspired?

Some of these same Evangelicals boldly proclaim that every book that we have in our canon as Protestants (and onlythe set that we have in our canon) is without error. Again, where does that leave our sisters and brothers from the early Church (or the Eastern Orthodox tradition which uses the LXX)?

writes Garret Menges in Rethinking Scripture.

A brief survey of the history of the LXX raises some questions about the way we view Scripture today. For example, is the LXX inspired Scripture even though it’s a translation of a more original textual tradition? If not, then are the fragments that have made it into our NT inspired? Were the scribes who translated Isaiah, for example, quickly taken up in the Spirit while contemplating how to translate the Hebrew word for “young woman” only to have the Spirit leave them shortly after the translation of that single verse?

To make matters even more complicated, the earliest copies of the Hebrew text we have are those of the Masoretes from the 7th to 11th centuries CE. The Masoretes, being faithful preservers of the oral tradition of the Scriptures that were passed on from generation to generation, decided that it was time their tradition be put on paper and so they transcribed the documents that we use today for the translation of our own English Bibles. The fact that we consider the Masoretic Hebrew text to be the authoritative version of the OT is based on the (not small) assumption that the Hebrew oral tradition was indeed successfully passed down from generation to generation completely untarnished. In fact, modern Christian translators are so committed to this assumption that we overlook the fact that the LXX predates the Masoretic Text (MT) by over 1,000 years! Could it not be argued that even though the LXX is a translation of a more original textual tradition it nevertheless ought to be considered more reliable than the MT simply because of its much earlier date of composition?

Men and women should look into that matter and get to know what the Holy Scriptures can tell them about their positions they do have to take.
They should get to remember where the words came from in what sort of language and how that language was used. Getting to know the proverbs of that language they should get a fluid and organic understanding of what Scripture is to begin with. Many may think lots of fallible and errant human beings were involved in “making up what some consider to be an infallible and/or inerrant group of texts.”

Though we should trust the Higher Being who let His Words to be written down for future generations so that they could learn from it. We should look at Jesus who kept to the Words of his Father and considered Them to be set apart (holy) and inspired, bearing witness to the God many believe was fully revealed in the person of Jesus. but those who take Jesus to be God look over the Words of the Father who calls that Jewish man His son and not Himself. It are doctrines like the Holy Trinity, twisting of the Words of God, church teachings of flat earth a.o. things people did have to believe which undermined the credibility of the Holy Scriptures.

To say it is authoritative means that as a body of believers we are committed to reading the text and rereading it, both devotionally and liturgically, wrestling with it, discussing it over a meal, and maybe even at times disagreeing with it but never, despite all the frustrations it may cause us, doing away with it. In other words, the authority of the Bible is not something it inherently holds but is something we grant it as the Church. The Bible is authoritative because we say it’s authoritative and we need no reason beyond that. And none of this has anything to do with whether or not there are any mistakes in the Bible or if it’s scientifically or historically accurate or if the virgin birth was based on a mistranslation.

Mistranslation or not, people should always go and look what is behind the words, written in black and white,or some also in colour ink. then they would find out that the Bible is not as difficult to read and understand as they first thought. When willingness is there to take the words for what they say, everything shall become clear, and than people will see that the Bible always told the truth and brings a message to believe in, giving us enough indication what to do with our life, how us to behave and which roles we do have to take.

Man can find solutions and guidance for their position and should be aware of the role the Creator had for each of us, men and women.

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Please do find:

  1. Younger Evangelicals and Women in Ministry: A Sketch of the Spectrum of Opinion
  2. Housewives of God
  3. How Evangelicals Have Shifted in Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage
  4. What The Bible Says About The Role of Women
  5. Rethinking Scripture

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  • Wayne’s World Without Women Pastors (bltnotjustasandwich.com)
    Wayne Grudem’s and Barry Asmus’s book may fall into the hands of women who are church leaders, even pastors, in poor nations.
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    As we move out from the church and the home we move further from what is fairly clear and explicit to what is more ambiguous and inferential…. When it comes to all the thousands of occupations and professions, with their endlessly varied structures of management, God has chosen not to be specific about which roles men and women should fill…. For this reason we focus (within some limits) on how these roles are carried out rather than which ones are appropriate.
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    The godly women portrayed in the Old Testament are always seen as submissive to the leadership of their husbands. In fact Peter sees a pattern in their behavior that Christian wives should imitate, for he says, “For … Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord….”
  • Dear White Christian Leaders, Don’t Do It. (davidswanson.wordpress.com)
    Last week brought disheartening news from white-evangelical-church-world. A well-publicized men’s conference was reported to have used both women and gay people as punchlines to jokes told from the stage. And, in An Open Letter from the Asian American Community to the Evangelical Church, a group of influential Asian American Christians pointed out a bunch of instances of racial stereotyping by different evangelical conferences, publishing houses, and pastors. For those paying attention – and/or on the receiving end of these offensive and marginalizing stereotypes – it seems impossible that these things keep happening. How is it that many Christian leaders of the evangelical-ish variety are continuing with language, images, and assumptions that are so unloving? It’s crazy, right?
  • Staying Married Is Not About Staying in Love, Part 1 by John Piper (davidandleahweathers.wordpress.com)
    what it means for a Married couple to Truly be “One Flesh”, as God commands Marrieds to be in Several places in the Bible, starting in Genesis 2:24. Becoming One Flesh is what we Strive for in our own Marriage. But while we hear lip service paid to it, the high divorce rates, as well as the way we see Marrieds treat each other– even among professing Christian couples – suggest that it is indeed lip service only. Finding an example of a True “One Flesh” union is nearly impossible!
  • Responding to the Gay Agenda (rethinkingtheology.com)
    The first thing you may want to do is to familiarize yourself with the details of the “gay agenda” (click HERE). Then think carefully about the components of it and ask yourself if the society envisioned by the homosexual apologists is the kind of society you want for yourself, for your children and for your grandchildren. Do you want your children and grandchildren to be indoctrinated and recruited into an abnormal, unnatural, immoral lifestyle that is inherently harmful to their health and will not produce grandchildren and great grandchildren for you to enjoy and love? Do you want our churches to be infiltrated by their heretical and damning theology and filthy morals? Do you want to be punished legally for merely disagreeing with them?
  • New controversies in Evangelical theology (patheos.com)
    Evangelicals today are being torn by some major theological controversies.  The debate between Calvinists and Wesleyans is getting more and more heated.  Then there is a related debate between “Traditionists,” who believe Christians should hold onto the traditions of the historic church (particularly the decisions of the early church councils0 and the “Meliorists,” who reject holding onto traditions and believe the church can get better and better.  The Calvinists tend to be Traditionists (who themselves can be divided between “Biblicists” and “Paleo-Conservatives”) and the Wesleyans tend to be Meliorists.
  • Church History (daltonmoore116.wordpress.com)
    The body of Christ suffers when believers are not accountable to each other and when they are not saturated in the Word of God, both inside the church and outside the church. I feel this way because in my opinion so many of the problems that the church faced throughout history, specifically in theology, could have been avoided or handled better if believers were accountable in their walks. Now whether or not this was truly the case I am not sure, but one thing I do know is that time spent in the Word and accountability are crucial in the walk of a Christian and without them problems are inevitable.
  • “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism” (graceandphysics.wordpress.com)
    “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism”

    This studies the role of the man and woman in a biblical manner: more complementarian, and therefore hierarchical, or egalitarian? I really want to read this book… I have no idea what it will say or what God will show me through it, but yeah. I really want to read this book.

  • Qumran Pt 2: Why do the Dead Sea Scrolls Matter? (glanier.wordpress.com)
    Though scholarship is still unfolding even today regarding the Scrolls’ origins, interpretation, history, etc., we at least have the benefit of over sixty years of perspective to evaluate the findings. That said, the Scrolls can be a bit of a hot-button issue (both in the scholarly world and the church), so I will try to be as balanced and critically sensitive as possible. I will cover three main topics and my standard concluding set of implications:
  • How the Early Church Sought to Resolve Textual Variants (str.typepad.com)
    Dan Wallace of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts has an interesting article offering evidence that the transmission of the New Testament text wasn’t merely linear—that is, it wasn’t like a child’s game of “Telephone” (or “Chinese Whispers,” for our European friends), where one person tells the next person, and he tells the next, and so on.
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    By the middle of the second century, when canon conscientiousness was on the rise, the Christian community regarded the autographs, or at least the earliest copies of the New Testament documents, as important witnesses. They were concerned about the purity of the text with regard to select textual variants. Most likely, this implies that the copying of the manuscripts in the early decades of the Christian faith was not that of strictly linear descent (one copy of another copy of another copy). Rather, there would be times when at least a few scribes would want to check behind their exemplar and look at its exemplar. This would especially occur whenever a disputed reading cropped up. So, there seems to have been a bit of a check on the quality of the transmission of the text from very early on.
  • Men and Women: Equal yet Different (hillsbiblechurch.org)
    Gender is important because God created male and female (Gen. 1:27).
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    Some men have either become domineering or passive, whereas some women have become usurping and bought into the lie of a false sense of liberation. The truth is, only the Word of God provides a right understanding of gender. Such an understanding will provide true liberation as men and women function as God designed.

Divisive pastors and Strange Fire conference

Weekend of Deep Spiritual Contrasts

Beginning last Wednesday during the Strange Fire Conference at his church in Sun Valley, Pastor John MacArthur continued his case against the Charismatic movement. A backlash of criticism from many in the Christian community resulted in the conference name and subject matter trending online over the last several days.

John MacArthur on Calvin's Pulpit

John MacArthur on Calvin’s Pulpit (Photo credit: six steps )

The Rev. John MacArthur, influential author, pastor, old school fundamentalist whose church draws over 8000 weekly attendees, and seminary president has (according to his words) hosted the Strange Fire conference to help the Church, and people who believe the Bible is the Word of God and that God has revealed Himself clearly and consistently and without contradiction.

Whereas the Jesus movement looked for ways to include people whom the church was not including (hippies, ’68 flower child counter-culture, etc), MacArthur’s movement is criticised because he seems bent on figuring out how to exclude a large majority of Christians from the movement they are already in. John MacArthur believes all Charismatics are blasphemers, misguided at best and perhaps even likely in league with evil forces, and ultimately hell-bound, which is the premise of his Strange Fire conference, based on his recent book of the same name. MacArthur spent the conference denouncing the prosperity gospel, the social gospel, charismatics….

Many think it is more a promotional tour of MacArthur using this gathering to promote his book and to have his ever-shrinking group of friends getting them back again as his followers.

English: Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houst...

Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MacArthur’s punches thrown during the three-day conference included calling out mainline, Pentecostal-influenced pastors such as T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen, and congregations that he says focus on “spirit-filled” services rather than Christ-centered doctrine.

“If the Charismatic movement was being produced by the Holy Spirit, the glory of Christ would prevail everywhere,” said MacArthur during the morning session Thursday. “It would be Christ dominated and everyone in the movement would be bowing the knee to the true Christ in belief of the true Gospel.”

He continued,

“The people would be humble. They would be joyful. They would be sacrificial. They would be confessional. They would be declaring Jesus as Lord and themselves His slaves. They would be denying themselves, taking up their cross and following Him wherever He led.”

MacArthur called the Charismatic movement a “long war on truth.”

“The true people of God have always had to battle the false prophets and the liars,” he said. “What makes them effective is the deceptiveness of it. It is a strange irony to me, in the Charismatic movement, that if you criticize them, if you endeavour to be vigilant and discerning, and if you endeavour to contend for the truth and hold them to Scripture and expose their error, they will condemn you as the sinner … How do I know that? I have lived that.”

He responded to critics of the three-day Strange Fire conference at his Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., that many pastors believe is causing dissension among the faithful because he’s teaching that the Charismatic movement is leading people astray and dishonours the Holy Spirit.

MacArthur commented that some of his critics have said that he’s fixated on the Charismatic movement, a claim he countered by noting that in his 45 years in ministry, this was his first conference he’s held on the movement, and believes it has come too late.

“In response to this conference, there have been some attacks, and we’ve been unable to escape them,” MacArthur said to the more than 3,000 attendees at the conference Friday night. “I just want to address those, because I do think that it’s important to answer the criticisms that have come.”

Through the last decennia we heard of many “miraculous” works presented as the work of a sovereign God. The people ‘speaking in tongues‘ become more popular and by many shaking and moaning is considered to be divine.

Jeremy Egrerer, CP Guest Contributor writes:

“if acting drunk is something which proves the presence of the Almighty, then every clumsy fool and every epileptic should be canonized into sainthood, and every bar considered a temple.” {In Defense of John MacArthur, Strange Fire Conference and the Challenge to the Charismatic Mov’t}

“If Charismatics are speaking the language of heaven, let us record and prove it. Release every Christian scholar in its study; let us learn to speak it on our own, and therefore prove ourselves the sons of God. But if it remains a universally undecipherable mess, incomprehensible and unmanageable beyond every human means, then it is only fair to wonder either whether we really are speaking the language of heaven, or whether perhaps God divided the nations of angels because they built a tower of Babel in the clouds – a historical assertion neither provable nor sensible. And if we cannot even do this, then let us at least abide by the rules contained in Scripture for the orderly and Godly expression of spiritual gifts.”

Prophesy and speaking in tongues does not mean something Godly. with prophesy we should take attention and check what those called prophets told about future events and how they enrolled. Soon we shall see they have no such power to foretell the future correctly. It is just not given to man. Even the great prophet Jeshua, Jesus Christ could not tell when he was coming back to this earth to judge the living and the dead. You would think such an important event for mankind this son of God should surely know, but he did not.

Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll at the Strange Fire conference on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, hosted by Pastor John MacArthur's Grace Community Church.

Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll at the Strange Fire conference on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, hosted by Pastor John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church.

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Washington state, made his way Friday to Pastor John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference in California to hand out copies of his new book, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? and presumably share his views on the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit — which the Strange Fire conference challenges. He believes that people know they have the Holy Spirit if they speak in tongues, the primary evidence to Pentecostals that a believer has the Spirit.

Driscoll who used this conference as an opportunity to stir up some drama, has posted photos of himself talking with attendees at MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference on Friday, where he did indeed hand out copies of his new book — until they were reportedly seized by members of the Strange Fire security team. (find the photo: Handing out free copies of my new book, A Call To Resurgence) The director of the conference explained to Driscoll that those who are distributing books have gone through an extensive process and that they’d like him not to distribute them. After continuing to direct attendees to take the books, security offered to help him take the books back to his car. Driscoll insisted multiple times, “No, they’re my gift to Grace Church. I want you to have them.” After insisting that security not help him with the books back to the car, the conference director accepted the gift and brought them to GCC offices. This book clearly seems to bring disunity and dishonour to the Christian community.
The security people graciously asked Driscoll three times to stop hanging out books and he continued to do so. This shows how the ego went over the respectful attitude at some ones place. The Pentecostal movement shows the world it has also become as sick as the many other denominations in Christendom. Here we could see a pastor subverting a fellow pastor in his conference and attempting to dissuade people from MacArthur’s church to his own. I would consider that a very impolite action and calling it a terrible example. People have a right to share their ideas and point of view but they should know their place and consider where and when they want to take the word and attention.

Rob Shryock remarks:

Ironically, this whole incident highlights another similarity between Driscoll and MacArthur: besides both being relentless self-promoters who make their names by loudly denouncing others, they also hate when people call them out as self-promoters who loudly denounce others, preferring to be known as quiet, humble men of God who love and respect their enemies – despite all tweets to the contrary.

Christians like Driscoll and MacArthur thrive on conflict.

But Christians should be as followers of Christ brotherly united. Though brothers and sisters may argue with each other they always should be careful not having their fight s coming into public and damaging the name of the family.

MacArthur who commented that the conference wasn’t for nonbelievers within the Charismatic movement, for which there are many, he contends.

“I don’t expect nonbelievers to have a desire for the truth, a hunger for the truth or to search out the truth. That’s not what unbelievers do unless they’re being prompted by the Holy Spirit.”

, pastor.

pastor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though the task Jesus has given to his followers to get unbelievers and to bring them to him (Christ), getting them to know the Good News of the Kingdom of God. In the teaching of Christ Jesus it is shown to us that it would be unloving to leave people in darkness and error. So we should also meet the unbelievers and for the believers we should show them the right way and when they go wrong we also should show them their mistakes. Already very early in the beginning of Christianity perverse, deceptive men came to distract the community from the Word of God. already then there where preachers trying to get people away from the truth of Scripture and to lead Christians astray.

For this reason we should look at all those who like to preach and consider their attitude against each other. We also have the duty of to pointing out errors and giving biblical arguments also to those who call themselves pastors and church elders.

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Do find:

Strange Fire Organisation: Strange Fire + Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California.

Find additional reading:

  1. John MacArthur Responds to Critics Who Believe His Strange Fire Conference Is Divisive, Unloving
  2. Mark Driscoll ‘Crashes’ John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference? (PHOTOS)Mark Driscoll ‘Crashes’ John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference? (Ppotos)
  3. Mark Driscoll vs John MacArthur: Battle of the Self-Promoting Calvinists
  4. Speaking in Tongues—A Growing Phenomenon
  5. Tongues, Speaking in
  6. Speaking in tongues
  7. Meaning of “speaking in tongues”
  8. Speaking in Tongues—Is It From God?
  9. Speaking in Tongues—Is It From God? — Watchtower Online
  10. Is Speaking in Tongues an Evidence of True Worship?
  11. Is the Gift of Tongues Part of True Christianity
  12. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  13. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  14. Not enlightened by God’s Spirit
  15. Why hasn’t anything been inspired recently? Revelation was the last inspired book and it was a long time ago. Why aren’t there any more?
  16. Pope Francis I on the Holy Spirit
  17. Louise Weiss building and towers after Ziggurat Babel
  18. Not all Christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  19. Christianity is a love affair
  20. Bringing Good News into the world
  21. The task given to us to love each other

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  • ‘Strange Fire:’ Addressing the Dangerous yet Popular Teaching of Charismatic Leaders (averageus.com)
    What do Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Paul and Jan Crouch, John Hagee, Benny Hinn, and T.D. Jakes have in common?
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    Charismatics are a large, diverse, loosely knit group who are difficult to define because they are often independent, united only by the personalities they follow, rather than being formally organized as groups of churches. But in general, Charismatics (and their theological first cousins, Pentecostals) are Bible-believing Christians with this distinguishing feature: They are committed to the ongoing miraculous work of God’s Spirit in Christians’ lives.
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    Charismatics tend to be experience-driven, pursuing personal power, victory, and prophecy while placing a low value on doctrinal and theological training. They tend to appeal to their personal experiences for proof that a particular belief is true, or practice is valid. They crave ecstatic experiences, the miraculous, new revelations, and physical healing, and generally believe that these are all available to those who have enough faith. Since they prefer immediate experiences over life-long biblical learning and growth, they can be easily persuaded to believe whatever a convincing personality tells them. In other words, they are easily deceived. And according to MacArthur, they often are.
  • The Top Seven Strange “Strange Fire” Statements (holyspiritactivism.wordpress.com)
    Here are the top seven strange Strange Fire statements!
  • John MacArthur’s *Strange Fire* Conference, Charismatics, & Christ (bjstockman.wordpress.com)
    Christian’s should be known much more by what and who they are for than by what and who they are against. Yes, Christians must distinguish between that which we are for and that which we are against, and this comes from naming what we are against, but this should not be our central mark. Nevertheless, what follows is all done with what began here in mind.
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    It is my understanding that CJ Mahaney, a charismatic, preached in his pulpit and that he has relationships with other continuationist pastors like John Piper. Maybe it was intended to be alarmist to better “market” the conference? After all, in a later video, he seems to clean this up a touch, as he gives a “word of encouragement to faithful Pentecostals” and says that the conference is addressing the aberrations and extremes of the movement. (Would of been nice to hear that the first time). But this was *not* communicated in the first video, even if it was intended.
  • Strange Fire Conference: MacArthur’s Appeal to His Continuationist Friends (challies.com)
    Before addressing the accusations against the conference, MacArthur charged attendees to carefully read their copy of Strange Fire and to measure it against the Word of God. He is convinced that this book, with its well-documented research and extensive footnotes, will withstand careful scrutiny. He reminds us that this book and conference is intended for the Church. He has no expectation for either one to be helpful to non-believers, which he suspects makes up much of the charismatic movement.
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    Here are the seven accusations, along with brief responses.
  • Lessons Learned at Strange Fire (challies.com)
    Those who listened to the conference heard again and again just how many charismatics there are in the world—somewhere around 500 million. Conrad Mbewe made it clear that in many places in the world, and especially in the developing world, to be a Christian does not mean that you trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, but that you believe in and practice something akin to the miraculous gifts. Charismatic theology is a North American export that is making a massive impact elsewhere in the world.
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    The charismatic/cessationist issue is polarizing. Before Strange Fire I did not know just how polarizing it could be, though I suppose others did know, and this is why we have been loathe to address it. Based on the reaction to the event and the discussions back-and-forth, it seems clear that this is an issue many of us feel as much as it is an issue we believe by reasoning it out from Scripture. It is one of those issues where we see our own position with utter clarity and look to the opposite position with shock that they can believe something so absurd. Those tend to be the most dangerous issues of all because they can turn sour so quickly and easily. In the face of such a polarizing issue, I need to consider how I can maintain unity in the faith while still holding fast to what I believe the Bible teaches.
  • John MacArthur vs. Mark Driscoll: Megachurch pastors clash over charismatic theology (religionnews.com)
    Rich Gregory, assistant to John MacArthur, said he was there when it happened and that Driscoll’s books were not confiscated and there was nothing confrontational.“It was great, we were happy to have him at the conference. He brought books to hand out. We explained to him that all the books distributed on campus need to be approved. He told us that he wanted them to be a gift to us from him. One of our conference directors took that gift and brought them up to the offices. If you hear from him and he wants them back, we can send those back if he wants them. We were not looking at him like, ‘Boy you’re trying to stir up controversy.’ I don’t want to judge his motives for what he wasn’t trying to do. I wish they had actually stayed for the actual content of the conference.”
  • Samuel Rodriguez Takes on Strange Fire: Tells John MacArthur he Needs to ‘Focus on Preaching the Word’ (blackchristiannews.com)
    “If the Charismatic movement was being produced by the Holy Spirit, the glory of Christ would prevail everywhere,” said MacArthur during the morning session Thursday. “It would be Christ dominated and everyone in the movement would be bowing the knee to the true Christ in belief of the true Gospel.”
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    Rodriguez, who is considered the leading spokesperson for the Hispanic evangelical community, much of which is a part of or has a background in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, said in a statement sent to The Christian Post via email that MacArthur misses the mark by a wide margin. Rodriguez has been an Assemblies of God ordained minister since the age of 23. His bio includes the statement that in 2010, he was called to start a multi-ethnic, Christ-centered, spirit-filled, Bible-based church in Sacramento, Calif.
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    “John MacArthur suffers from spiritual, cultural and theological myopia,” stated Rodriguez to CP. “With great due deference to a Christian leader many of us admire, his conclusions regarding the largest and fastest growing of global Christendom, the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, speaks to a man ignorant of the community’s unbridled commitment to biblical orthodoxy.
    “Unfortunately, this blessed Christian leader cannot differentiate between substance and style, or engaging a biblical metaphor, between Christianity’s ‘wine’ and the varied ‘wineskins.’ In other words, Mr. MacArthur should be focusing on the fact that while many in the church continue to abandon our Christian faith, the Pentecostal/Charismatic community continues to offer the church a legitimate growth mechanism.”
  • Strange Fire Conference: John MacArthur’s Opening Address (challies.com)
    It is inevitable that at some point John MacArthur will be the subject of a biography (beyond the existing biography written by Iain Murray). Today he is beginning something that will, I think, appear in that biography. We will know better as the conference unfolds what impact it will make in his life and ministry and in the wider Christian world.There are 4,000 people in attendance at the Strange Fire conference and many thousands more who are watching the live-stream in English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Italian, French, Russian and Mandarin. Here is what they heard in the opening address.
  • Strange Fire Conference Wraps Up; John MacArthur Calls on Reformed Pastors to ‘Police the Charismatic Movement’ and Guide it Back to the Gospel (blackchristiannews.com)
    Conrade Mbewe spoke again, delivering a message titled, “Are We Preachers or Witch Doctors?” As Tim Challies reported, “The first session of the final day at the Strange Fire conference brought Conrad Mbewe back to the pulpit. Phil Johnson introduced him by sharing how others have called him the Spurgeon of Africa. Today he brought message entitled, “Are We Preachers or Witch Doctors?” Though an odd question, it is pertinent to him because there has been a clear shift in how “evangelicals” relate to pastoral ministry. Mbewe’s aim is to give a broad sweeping picture of the landscape of African “evangelicalism.” Throughout this message his caveat is to put “evangelicalism” in quote and end-quote, because it does not represent biblical and faithful Christianity. There will be those in Africa who do not fit within the picture Mbewe portrays, but what he shares today is the trend and it is a dismal trend.
  • John MacArthur Responds to “Strange Fire” Conference Critics (blackchristiannews.com)
    “This is for the true church, so that they can discern; so that they can be protected from error; and so that they can be a source of truth for others outside the church,” he said, adding that his book, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit With Counterfeit Worship, can withstand the most intense scrutiny, when measured against the word of God in the Bible.