Daily Archives: October 18, 2014

GTY Blog: Strange Fire Redux, Part 3

Code: B141017

by John MacArthur

Editor’s Note: To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Strange Fire Conference, we are posting an article by John MacArthur which will appear in the next issue of the TMS Journal. For the purposes of this blog, the article is posted in three parts. Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2.

A Departure from the Inerrant Word

A final point to consider, specifically with reference to modern prophecy, is that by eliminating the simple biblical standard by which false prophets may be identified, modern charismatics have opened the door for chaos and doctrinal confusion in the church. Fake healings and false tongues are bad enough, but when someone claims to have private revelation from God, the sufficiency and singularity of Scripture is instantly clouded, and the authority of Scripture is undermined. It is a terribly dangerous breach of a fundamental principle of evangelical Protestant and biblical conviction.

The Bible is authoritative revelation. It sets forth truth in words and propositions.  The authors of Scripture wrote down those words exactly as God ordained—“not . . . words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:13). That’s why a prophet was judged by the accuracy of what he said. If he said, “Thus said the Lord,” and the Lord didn’t really say that, he was to be stoned.

When someone claims to have received an “impression” from God—a non-verbal revelation—the door is opened wide for all kinds of confusion.  Personal impressions are inherently enigmatic, vague, and frankly dubious. Non-verbal sensations cannot articulate truth. But charismatics are taught to accept their impressions and hope that somehow this legitimate revelation of God doesn’t get messed up when we try to verbalize it. Frequently, when they verbalize or act on what they believe God has told them, it is absurd—sometimes even reckless in the extreme. But a strong impression is never to be doubted on those grounds, they insist, because God moves in mysterious ways. That is why charismatics are so prone to embrace rather than question all kinds of strange and innately irrational phenomena like drunken behavior and uncontrollable laughter.

When you believe God is trying to communicate through some non-verbal, intellectually vacant means, all meaning inevitably gets lost in translation. This is not how God reveals truth. Seeking messages from God in one’s own feelings and imagination is a practice rooted in pagan superstition, and it wreaks havoc in the lives of anyone who thinks that impression in his mind or feeling in his gut is a message from God. Scripture says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26).

True believers in Jesus Christ must return to the basic truths of the sufficiency, authority, verbal inspiration, and inerrancy of God’s Word. Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God is true. That is the principle of biblical inerrancy. The charismatic notion of “fallible prophecy” directly undermines it. The more casual the church becomes in these categories, the more her people will falter, and the weaker her testimony will be. The evidence of this is already all too obvious across the entire evangelical movement.

The Shepherds’ Conference next March will be a major summit on the topic of inerrancy. Ten keynote speakers have been invited to address the issue. Our commitment to biblical inerrancy is the core principle that defines and delimits everything else we confess and teach at The Master’s Seminary. This is what we want to be known for. We affirm without reservation the authority, sufficiency, and reliability of Scripture, and we believe the Bible supersedes and stands in judgment over all other truth claims, all other worldviews, and all beliefs that are rooted only in general revelation or natural theology. For the honor of the Lord and the safety of His people we must hold settled, biblically sound views on these issues, and we must be able to proclaim the truth with clarity and genuine conviction. That means no matter how popular and widespread an erroneous doctrine may be, we nevertheless must point it out and offer biblical correction.

Listen to some of the pundits and trend-setters among the evangelical elite, and you might think the only options left for conservative evangelicals are to fall in line with the prevailing evangelical drift or else become a pariah because you represent a threat to peace and unity. Scripture points us in a totally different direction: “Be steadfast, immovable” (1 Corinthians 15:58)—“holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). “Retain the standard of sound words [and] guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13-14). “Preach the word . . . in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction”—even when people just want to have their ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:2-3). And “be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).


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The Reliability of The Book of Acts

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

 

One book in the New Testament that plays as indispensable role in evaluating the resurrection of Jesus is the book of Acts. It is within Acts that we see the resurrection was part of the early apostolic preaching and the evidence given that Christianity is true (Acts 2:25-32; 3: 15; 10:39-41; 17:2-3, 18, 31). It is also within Acts that records Paul’s testimony to the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 9:1-9; 22: 1-11; 26: 9-19).

Eduard Meyer, the distinguished historian of classical antiquity, commented that Luke’s work in spite of a more limited content, “bears the same character as those of great historians, of a Polybius, a Livy and many others.”(See Meyer, E.M. and Strange, J., Archaeology, the Rabbis and Early Christianity. London:SCM, 1981).

In his monumental work called The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, classics scholar Colin Hemer has shown that Luke has also done…

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Christmas in the Hands of Reconstructionists

hipandthigh

christmasSo for the last few weeks, I have been tussling off and on with some strong critics of Kirk Cameron regarding an interview he gave to a Catholic radio program and the assertion that he is sliding into a slough of ecumenism. You can get the background to those sparring matches with this POST.

I highlighted in that post how Kirk has a movie coming out on the subject of our Christmas traditions called Saving Christmas. As you would expect, lot of the same folks who didn’t like Kirk’s Catholic show interview also have problems with his forthcoming film.

If you have seen the trailer, it tells about a guy who is all down on Christmas because he has been told by glum legalists that it was originally a pagan holiday that has become heavily commercialized and dishonoring to baby Jesus. Kirk plays the long suffering friend who…

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Richard Dawkins fan investigates God, then changes his mind about atheism

Running The Race

image

Engineer Nick Berryman was an atheist who found that the Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion resonated with him, until he investigated.

(h/t God Running)

As for me, the empty and hopeless claims of atheism are, to a large degree, why I rejected it 15 years ago.

Simply put, I found the unyielding despair intolerable.

“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that…

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Why are progressives so blithe about pressuring Christians to act like non-Christians?

WINTERY KNIGHT

A great post from Dr. George Yancey explains the worldview behind so many things we hear in the news these days. Here he is responding to the story about the Houston mayor who subpoena’d all the sermons from the Christian pastors in order to chill dissent to her LGBT agenda.

He writes:

I am a sociologist studying anti-Christian attitudes in our society. This brings me to my take that I am qualified to talk about – whether this legal strategy is tied to Christianophobia. There are reasons to believe that this attempt to obtain sermons and other information is part of a larger strategy to stigmatize Christians. Thus, I do not discount the possibility that Christianophobia plays some role in these actions.

However, it is work of another book I wrote a couple of years ago which I think is more relevant. That book is named What Motivates Cultural Progressives

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Are Christians responsible for making plans and making good decisions?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Here’s a wonderful post on decision making and the will of God posted on Neil’s blog. Neil links to another post where someone is trying to figure out what God wants him to do.

Excerpt:

Really short version: Aside from direct and clear personal revelation from God, you don’t have access to his sovereign will when making decisions.  Therefore you must look at other factors.  If it isn’t moral, don’t do it.  If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it.  If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.

Using this model you can end up with a wise and biblical decision, but you have avoided the traps of the “God told me to ____” routine.  People who run around saying that God told them this and that convey a super-spirituality that can leave less mature believers wondering if they really have a relationship with God…

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