Home » Signs & Wonders » Why Cessationism is Unbiblical, Irrational and Boring

Why Cessationism is Unbiblical, Irrational and Boring

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John MacArthur

John MacArthur

John MacArthur is one of the leading cessationist theologians of today (cessationist meaning someone who thinks the miraculous gifts of the Spirit have ceased), and you may remember his name from my post What if Jesus Preached what Modern Preachers are Preaching where I tried to show how stupid it would look if Jesus had said what MacArthur is saying. MacArthur’s teaching has been widely criticized by many, and one of the best rebutals is in my opinion Jack Deere’s Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, where he explains how he went from being a cessationist to a charismatic evangelical and where he basically brings up all cessationist arguments used by MacArthur and crushes them to little tiny pieces.

It seems like MacArthur has changed tactics since then. Right now he is organizing a conference called Strange Fire which isn’t arguing for cessationism so much as it is accusing the majority of the charismatic movement to be heretic, demonic and a dangerous cult. Nothing new, already G. Campbell Morgan said that Pentecostalism is “the last vomit of Satan”, so MacArthur is basically continuing an embarassing evangelical tradition of demonizing Christians who don’t agree with him.

MacArthur’s argument is of course ridiculous and its main accusation, that most charismatics offer false worship, is non-valid since even if you disagree with charismatics you have to admit that their worship to Jesus is extremely passionate compared to many other churches. But I’m not going to waste ink on arguing for the sanity of the charismatic movement but bring the discussion back to its original issue: the cessation or continuity of the gifts. In my opinion, it is cessationism that is truly “strange”, it’s an unbiblical, irrational and, quite frankly, very boring theology.

Cessationists do not argue that all gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased with the apostles, simply because knowledge, compassion and faith (Rom 12:8, 1 Cor 12:8-9) clearly are still around. Instead, they argue that the supernatural gifts of the Spirit have ceased while non-supernatural (like the ones I just mentioned) are still here. Problem is: this distinction is totally unbiblical. When Paul talks about Spiritual gifts he never categorised them in supernatural and non-supernatural, and he doesn’t label some cessational and others continual.

Or does he? 1 Cor 13:8-10 says:

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. (NIV)

Cessationists often argue that the “completeness” in verse 10 refers to the Bible, meaning that there are no longer prophecies, tongues and… knowledge, I guess. But Paul says in the same letter says that the gifts will continue to exist until the second coming of Christ (1 Cor 1:7), which is much more logical that “the completeness” refers to when looking at the context of 1 Cor 13 (“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face”, v. 11). Besides, healing, miracles and deliverance are not even mentioned in 1 Cor 13, why it is irrational to use that text to claim that those gifts have ceased as well.

And speaking of deliverance – that’s not even listed as a Spiritual gift, and yet cessationists claim that it doesn’t exist anymore. Meanwhile, most of them believe that Satan still is doing false signs and wonders and that demons still possess people (this is why MacArthur can say that parts of the charismatic movement is demonic). Now think about it, demons still possess people, but we’re unable to cast those out of there! What’s the point of that? Why would God do that?

The same is true for healing – people are still sick even in post-apostolic times! People still need healing even when we got the complete Bible. I mean, the Bible is great, but in itself it cannot heal people. Thus, it cannot sufficiently replace healing. And more importantly, it never says that it will!

Finally, cessationism is boring. John Wimber, my favourite theologian, was saved in a cessationist church. He read the Bible, saw some huge differences between it and the church, and asked his pastor “When are we gonna do the stuff?” – “What stuff?” the pastor replied. “The stuff Jesus did! You know, healing the sick, raising the dead, that sort of stuff.”

“Well, we don’t do that any more.” the pastor said. “What do we do then?” – “What we did this morning! Going to the church service and drinking coffee.” John Wimber gasped, “For this I gave up drugs?”

Seriously folks, MacArthur may accuse us to have strange fire but he himself has no fire at all. This is what the Kingdom looks like:

Receive ye the Holy Ghost!


  1. […] look like them. The same could be said of continuationist/Pentecostal churches, but theologically, continuationist churches are committed to opening themselves up and receiving the Word of the Lord by way of their neighbor and the Holy Spirit. One […]

  2. […] Michael Grenholm also notes how the language of the discussion has changed from a doctrinal consideration of cessationism, to MacArthur coming out swinging; accusing the Pentecostal movement of being demonic. Why Cessationism is Unbiblical, Irrational and Boring […]

    • Thomas French says:

      Typically all these types of discussions devolve to that level. I see the whole thing as a waste of time and distracting and not blessing anyone. What happened to Gospel and loving thy neighbor as thyself.

  3. […] ← Why Cessationism is Unbiblical, Irrational and Boring […]

  4. […] their cessationist belief. I gave a short summary of why I think cessationism is unbiblical in my previous post, but I felt that the cessationist arguments given at Strange Fire were so bad that I cannot let […]

  5. […] As I’ve written before, evangelical pastor John MacArthur has recently organized a conference called “Strange Fire” and will publish a book by the same name, where he argues that the charismatic movement is a crazy, heretic, demonic mess. As I’ve gone through what MacArthur said at the conference I’ve realized that the event really lives up to its name. Here are the top seven strange Strange Fire statements! […]

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  8. Earl Robinson says:

    Just came across your blog by accident… I used to be a Charismatic until I woke up and smelled the coffee that much of what was being taught in that movement was unbiblical. Many people, including myself were deceived into believing that I could hear God apart from Scripture by some subjective means. Many of my friends were led into error, were bullied and intimidated by leaders trying to confront their errors, and many of my friends were extremely disappointed by the many false claims about apparent hearings that never happened, or being led astray by alleged prophetic words from self-proclaimed prophets (many of the them were leaders and elders in the church) that proved to be untrue. One of the major deviations from the truth of Scripture in the Charismatic movement, is the limited focus upon the need for the gospel and expositional teaching, so that people get a biblical view of God and Christ, and their need to to turn to Christ alone for the salvation of their souls. I cannot think of anything more important or serious than the need for the gospel that is the power of God to save sinners from the wrath of God and bring people into the wonderful blessing of adoption and ALL the promises of God in Christ… the Charismatic movement does not major on this most important subject. I used to work away from home and travelling around the country in my car, I began listening to long extracts of the bible. It became obvious to me that the God of the Charismatic movement and the worldview it purported bore no resemblance to the God of Scripture. I realised that God was in charge and is providentially ruling all of His creation by His own divine power and will. I have spent the past seven years reviewing and comparing the Charismatic movement to what Scripture teaches and had already drawn the same conclusions about that movement long before the “Strange Fire” conference was aired. Suffice to say, I left the Charismatic movement a number of years ago and have encouraged anyone who will listen to simply read and study the Scriptures and they will see (like I did) the many errors in that movement. And before you suggest that I was hurt or angry or suffering some kind of trauma, I was not. I left the Charismatic movement because the Holy Spirit opened my mind to understand and believe the plain truth of Scripture, which revealed the erroneous teaching of that movement, but the wonderfully saving truth about what Christ has done, which I now possess by faith in Him alone. I don’t want to take Scripture out of context, but the implications of this biblical text when applied to errors of the Charismatic movement says it all: “Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; and have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but have seen for you false and misleading oracles” (Lamentations 2:14 (NAS)… Selah…!

    • Hello Earl!

      Actually, hearing the voice of God outside Scripture by subjective means is what you find throughout the entire Bible. So the Biblical worldview was defenitely charismatic. There are abuses, yes, but also a lot of blessings. I’ve seen several healings, I’ve met people who have been raised from the dead, I’ve cast out demons and I’ve heard the voice of God and seen Jesus in a vision. Our times is Bible times, fortunately. 🙂


  9. Earl Robinson says:

    Hello Michael,

    I appreciate that you have taken the time to read and respond to my response. I would also like to thank you for acknowledging that there are abuses… I’m aware that abuses can occur anywhere in the body of Christ, but in this case, I’m specifically referring to abuses in the Charismatic movement because of the specific worldview of that movement. Can I also say, I have some wonderful Charismatic friends who don’t share my views but we share the love of Christ together. Obviously, my “beef” is not about the people, but the Charismatic worldview… This leads me onto my main point:

    Satan is the open and declared enemy of God, of all human beings, and in particular, of all true believers in Jesus Christ. Satan constantly tries to undermine the authority, inerrancy, clarity, reliability and sufficiency of Scripture as the final rule for Christian faith and practice. As you know, Satan employs philosophies, evil schemes, unbiblical world-views and false systems of belief that promote a lofty view of self, a low view or denial of sin or the sin nature, he promotes self-reliance and rebellion against God, and a denial of the truth of Scripture.

    Who’s to say that just because a person believes they are “hearing the voice of God outside Scripture by subjective means”, and that what was conveyed to them was accurate, how do we know that it wasn’t Satan conveying this information to them, in order to seduce them into believing that hearing from God by some subjective means is legitimate, when in fact, Satan has deceived them into trusting in a false system of belief? Are they now prime candidates to do Satan’s bidding?

    Is it possible for Satan to work through the subjective lifestyles of those who purport hear and speak words from God? Is it possible that such a false system of belief feeds fleshly attitudes rather than honouring God?

    I cannot deny that God can miraculously heal people… of course God can miraculously heal, He’s God. However, I’m also aware from Scripture that Satan can counterfeit apparent miraculous events for nefarious reasons. With such a subjective approach that you advocate, how do we tell the difference between a God-ordained miraculous occurrence and a Satanically inspired one? Is the ability to discern the difference a matter of subjectivity reasoning or an objective and external evaluation based upon the biblical text?

    Someone being raised from the dead is a significant event. It’s interesting that we very rarely hear anything in the secular news about such hearing! I presume such an event would make headline news!

    Now, I do believe that God can raise someone from the dead… Why? coz He’s God. However, many in the Charismatic movement make such bold claims, and when closely examined, unfortunately many such claims fall short of the original claim made. I’m not suggesting this in your case, but even in Scripture, such events were uncommon and very unusual. Today, we hear of a Charismatic claiming that they have raised someone from the dead almost every week… please forgive me if I sound skeptical about such claims!

    Even though you claim to have heard the voice of God and have seen Jesus in a vision, unfortunately, you have no way of verifying that it was the God of Scripture that you heard or Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture that you saw…. Why? because you are the source… and you are not divine or infallible…! Who’s to say it wasn’t a demon revealing himself to you? Who’s to say that because you are open to believing that God speaks and reveals Himself in subjective ways that you have not been deceived by Satan to believe that it is God doing these things?

    For me, these are significant questions that our Charismatic brethren fail to answer adequately. Unfortunately, experience seems to trump Scripture as the final authority for Charismatics… surely, this cannot be a safe or sensible way of developing a deeper and biblically sound understanding and relationship with God… As you can probably guess, that’s why I’m no longer a Charismatic!

    It seems to me that believers must use the means that God provides to resist Satan and his evil intentions. Ephesians 6:10-18 commands true believers to submit to God and use the divine means that He provides to resist Satan and his evil intentions. The primary means of protection and offensive action is Scripture, prayer and trusting in the finished work of Christ.

    In Christ!

    • Charlene D. says:

      Earl, I would love to see some of your 7 years of scripture study on this subject. . . Would you be willing to share? I agree with all of your comments and have become pretty close friends with a charismatic sister. . . We can fellowship in Christ , but discussion is upon me and I am seeking wise counsel. . . Meditating on the whole counsel of God, believing the Spirit has made me friends with her during this season for His reason, asking the Lord to equip me, for His glory. Prayers would be appreciated.

    • Laura says:

      Hello Earl, I would like to answer some of your questions with the Word of God. Pray to the Lord and let Him reveal the truth to you.

      “Is it possible for Satan to work through the subjective lifestyles of those who purport hear and speak words from God? Is it possible that such a false system of belief feeds fleshly attitudes rather than honouring God?”
      Firstly: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:24 I Making judgments based on the weirdness of a situation such as people barking, running, spinning, etc, is a judgement based on appearances.

      “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:16-20 It is that simple. We are supposed to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Believing that if Jesus said we can know them by their fruits, that’s it! The fruits are not manifestations that only last for a short period of time but they are results of a lifestyle. The works of the flesh which you will find in Galatians. Lawlessness. That’s how you will know who is at work.

      “With such a subjective approach that you advocate, how do we tell the difference between a God-ordained miraculous occurrence and a Satanically inspired one? Is the ability to discern the difference a matter of subjectivity reasoning or an objective and external evaluation based upon the biblical text?”

      “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:9-13 Again, we are supposed to apply this. Do you think that if we ask the Lord God to reveal through His Holy Spirit what is of Him or not, He will let us be deceived? No! Wouldn’t it be nice if God had given us a gift that would allow us to discern if a spirit is demonic or not…oh wait..He did!

      “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Luke 11:17-23 So, if we can rely on Jesus’s words, we can know them by their fruits. If they confess Jesus that he is the Son of God raised from the dead and have the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, then they belong to Him, because a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.

      “Who’s to say it wasn’t a demon revealing himself to you? Who’s to say that because you are open to believing that God speaks and reveals Himself in subjective ways that you have not been deceived by Satan to believe that it is God doing these things?” I can’t say if the author’s experience was genuine or not, but your question leads to another one. Who’s to say that your interpretation of scripture is right? How do you know you’re not being led by Satan to believe as you believe? You see, this kind of thinking leads people to endless rabbit holes. What did Jesus say? “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13 Does the Holy Spirit still guide us into all truth or did that also cease?! Of course the Holy Spirit still guides all true followers of Christ into all truth otherwise we would be wasting our times reading the Bible since we wouldn’t be able to believe and understand it! You are absolutely right that we by ourselves cannot do this since we are fallible, but we do not do this in our own power for Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. If we want and love the truth, He will not let us be deceived! We need to have faith that He won’t let us be deceived. “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” 1 John 2:24-27

      And last but not least: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

      God bless.

  10. Earl Robinson says:

    Hi Charlene,

    It’s good to hear from you…

    The past 7 years have been a joy and a challenge. My wife and I have grown at a different pace, so we have not always grasped the truth together… However, I thank God that the gospel, continually preached and believed has transformed us both. So, I do understand the challenge you face with your Charismatic sister… Please, please, please persevere, it will be worth it in the end. How can I be so sure? Well, firstly, you will certainly grow in grace and love through the process, and secondly, God may grant your charismatic sister “eyes to see the truth”. That is worth more than any amount of money can buy!

    The areas of study that I have covered over the years have been numerous, so, it’s difficult to know where to start…

    Daily reading of my bible and being a Berean (Acts 17), examining the Scriptures (which incidentally is my final authority on all things) has been the approach that I have taken. When studying the scriptures, proper exegesis of the biblical text is vital. This allows us to draw out proper implications from the text, which are binding. Only then can we draw forth trustworthy applications for our lives that can be relied upon. A good church will make expositional preaching and teaching of Scripture central to all they do – it is the means by which God speaks to His people.

    A good starting point might to review the Critical Issues Commentaries website (see attached link

    This website features articles and radio broadcasts by a great bible teacher. Bob Dewaay is a pastor who came out of the charismatic movement in the 1970s. He has written numerous articles that ‘debunk’ false doctrine and teaching that is central to charismatic, emergent, mystical and post-modern worldviews. The articles and radio broadcasts were extremely helpful to me. They helped me ‘detangle’ the mass of myths and old wives tales that had clouded my mind and helped clarifying the true meaning of Scripture in many areas that I was trapped in as a charismatic.

    I would also recommend this website (see attached link It was a life-saver for me. There are many great sermons, articles, free ebooks and links to other useful websites that helped me to ‘join-the-dots’ together of the historic Christian faith that Scriptures commands that I must believe as a Christian. It helped me to build a clear picture in my mind of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and the ‘rich stream of biblical truth’ that has been preserved throughout the church age by faithful men and women to this present day. It helped me to identify many of the heresies and false teachings that have dogged the church over that past 2 thousand years. You will find that many of the false teachings are ‘rehashed’ heresies that have been dealt with by the church over the centuries… Once you start to study church history, you will find that you don’t need to keep fighting the same battles over and over again… many of the false and dubious teachings today are just old heresies that have resurfaced.

    Let me encourage you…

    Alongside the Scriptures (the OT and NT writings), try and read some of the historical documents written by some of those that have gone before us – for example: Jonathan Edwards’ ‘Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God’; John Owen’s classic article on ‘The Freedom Of The Will’; Martin Luther’s excellent treatise entitled: ‘The Bondage Of The Will’; The ‘Canons of Dordt’; The Heidelberg Catechism’; The ‘Westminster Confession Of Faith’; The ‘Westminster Larger Catechism’; The ‘Apostles Creed’; The ‘Athanasian Creed’ and the Nicene Creed’. These are just few historic documents that will give you a sense that our Christian faith is an historic faith. Those who have gone before us have been defended and preserved our wonderful body of truth throughout the centuries. It will help build a sense of wonder of the sovereignty and power of God in building and preserving His church. It will help to realise that God is not absent from His creation or redundant from the lives of His people. It help to realise that throughout the generations, God is with His people and that He raises people up to bring His extraordinary message of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ to needy world.

    God, by the power of His Spirit, is with us now, glorifying Jesus Christ throughout our discussion (see John 16:14) and has providentially led us to interact on this website for the glory of His name… without having to resort to mysticism, divination or unscriptural methods.

    The next website that I can recommend is is Grace To You, in particular, a sermon series taught and a book of the same title taught and written by Dr. John MacArthur entitled: Charismatic Chaos (see attached link I read the book, listened to the sermon series and read the accompanying articles. They were life-savers because they helped me to see what was misleading about the Charismatic worldview.

    I’ll provide two more references (coz I don’t want to blow your mind… or enthusiasm just yet), It’s Dr. James White’s YouTube website (see attached Dr. White is a great Christian apologist. He has conducted debates with Islamic scholars, Mormons, Roman Catholics, King James Onlyists etc. Dr. White is my ‘go-to-pastor’ for apologetics. The other reference is Pastor Jim McClarty (see attached link Pastor McClarty unpacks and explains the Scriptures so well. He’s another pastor that ‘debunks’ myths like tithing as unbiblical for the present-day church.

    Originally, I came across this particular blog by accident. Obviously, I didn’t agree with the position that was being taken and felt the need to respond. It is a bonus and blessing that God has allowed my comments to reach and encourage others (for which I give God the glory). Therefore, I would like to recommend that you go to the Grace To You website and watch the ‘Strange Fire’ conference (see attached link and draw your own conclusions about the Charismatic movement that they discuss. I’m sure you will find, like me, that they have raised some very interesting issues and questions that our Charismatic brethren will find both challenging, but life-changing, if they are willing to step back and honestly engage with the biblical text, treating it as the final rule for faith and practice.

    I hope these websites open up a whole new stream of biblical truth and equip you in your loving interaction with our Charismatic sister.

    My prayer for you…

    I pray that the Lord will providentially use this information and these websites to guide you into all truth. I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your mind to understand and believe the truth revealed and use this material to sanctify you and cause you to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. I pray that the Word of God would transform you so that you become more like Christ every day; and that He would equip and enable you to be an effective witness to preach the gospel to lost souls in your circle of influence, and that through your faithful service, God would bring your Charismatic sister, and many others, to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, all for the glory of God.

    May the Lord richly bless your endeavours.


    • Hi again Earl! I have a few comments on what you’ve written:

      You say that you realized that something was wrong with the “charismatic worldview” after visiting Grace to You, but the charismatic worldview is the Biblical worldview. The charismatic worldview acknowledges the existence of angels and demons, of the Spirit being able to heal and deliver, and equip Christians to speak in tongues and prophesy. EXACTLY what we find in the Bible! The New Testament Christians both appreciated the Scriptures AND relied on visions, healings and supernatural gifts when spreading the Gospel. It’s not either or, it’s both and more.

      Furthermore, you claim that the cessationist belief is historical and refers to the apostolic, athanasian and nicean creeds, but the early Church wa charismatic, not cessationist. They believed in miraculous Spiritual gifts and the church fathers themselves experienced miracles, see and


      • Earl Robinson says:

        Hi Micael,

        It’s good to hear from you again…

        My goal in responding to this blog is to comment on the Charismatic worldview in generic terms. I have made every effort to faithfully represent my experiences as an ex-Charismatic as fairly as possible. Please forgive me if I have inadvertently misrepresented your position – that was never my intention.

        Obviously, in a response like this, it is impossible to adequately cover every point in sufficient detail to satisfy every position presented. If I have omitted any points that you feel I should have addressed, please forgive me.

        Clearly, we disagree with each other about the work of the Holy Spirit. So, I pray that the Holy Spirit will work through this interaction to reveal the truth; that we would both be enlightened by the truth of Scripture; that we would both display a spirit of love and humility that glorifies God, and that what is being addressed in this blog interaction is helpful to anyone who stumbles across it, particularly those who do not know Christ.

        Let me make an observation…

        Having read your blog, I believe you are misrepresenting the cessationist position. Cessationists do believe in a charismatic church, but do not believe that some of the charismatics gifts continue today… such as the people gifted with the gift of languages (tongues), the gift of healing, the gift of miracles, apostles and prophets (which will be addressed later in my response). Having misrepresented that position, creating a ‘straw man’ position, you attempt to refute the ‘straw man’ position you have created.

        MacArthur does claim that some of the people in the Charismatic movement are unsaved, and condemns some of the practices in that movement as “unbiblical”, “worldly” and in some cases “demonic”. However, Scripture does teach that we will have “wheat and tares” in the church, that false prophets, false apostles, false converts will be among us, and that any unbiblical practice can be traced back to Satan as its source. So, it is unfair to condemn MacArthur for pointing these things out when it has occurred in the Charismatic movement… Unless you are suggesting that the Charismatic movement is free from any of these falsehoods, errors and demonic influences that MacArthur addresses? And whether it is wrong or unbiblical to warn people about false teaching and demonic practices when they occur?

        Even if you disagree with MacArthur’s position, it is clear that he has made every effort in the ‘Strange Fire’ book and conference to faithfully exegete the biblical text to support his position and to fairly present the argument he is making using Scripture to examine numerous examples of dubious Charismatic doctrine and practices. It may be uncomfortable for Charismatic believers to watch and hear, but MacArthur has supported his position biblically. I think it is only fair if opponents of MacArthur engage with his book and use biblical text to refute his claims.

        It would be useful if people read the ‘Strange Fire’ book or watched the ‘Strange Fire’ conference on the Grace To You website to see the point that I am making here.

        Unfortunately, in my experience and my observation of the Charismatic worldview, many events labelled as miraculous have been found to be unverified or false. For example, Todd Bentley at the Lakeland Outpouring made numerous claims about divine healings, dead people being raised to life, apparent angelic encounters, prophetic words claimed to have come directly from God, which have been proved to be false. Unfortunately, this kind of behaviour does no good for the Charismatic position, or present it as being biblically sound.

        I am a cessationist and DO believe in the miraculous and supernatural work of God. I DO believe that God performs miraculous things today, such as supernatural healing, by the power of His Spirit, in response to the prayers of His people (in fact, any healing is the grace of God working in someone’s life and should be acknowledged and celebrated as such). I DO believe that God can DO unexplained things deemed to be miraculous. However, as a cessationist, I believe that Scripture teaches that God is sovereign, and as such, He is free to act as He wills, whenever He wills, wherever He wills, and through whomever He wills.

        However, now that we have God’s Word in Scripture, which is sufficient for all we need (2Tim 3:16-17), and which the church must adhere to (Acts 2:42), we need the Holy Spirit’s power to illuminate the truth of Scripture to us so that we can hear His voice in the Scripture, understand what His word says, empower us for service and enable us to believe and obey it. The difference is, as a cessationist, I believe Scripture demonstrates that because we now have the completed Canon of Scripture (OT and NT), superintended to his Apostles, Prophets and chosen servants, there is no longer any need for God to have people specifically gifted with miraculous abilities to carry out such things as miraculous healings, which was the way in which God attested to the church that they were God’s messengers and revealer of Scripture. There is no longer any requirement for additional revelation to be given by God to present-day apostles and prophets because we now have the foundation laid by the Apostles and Prophets (Eph 2:20), the revelation of God written down for us in the Scripture (Acts 2:42; Heb 1:1-2).

        Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14); regenerates dead sinners to life (John 3:5,6,8); baptises His children into the family of God (1Cor 12:13); seals His believers 2Cor1:22); indwells (Rom 8:9-11), empowers (Acts 1:8), fills Eph 5:18), guards (2Tim 1:14) and sanctifies the saints (rom 15:16). The Holy Spirit illuminates the truth of Scripture (1Cor 2:10-13) and teaches the truth to His people (John 14:26; 1John 2:20,27). The Holy Spirit intercedes (Rom 8:26,27), restrains and brings conviction of sin (Gen 6:3; John 16:8-10; Acts 7:51). The Holy Spirit provides spiritual character (Gal 5:16,18,25) and produces spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit is the source of liberty (2Cor 3:17-18), power (Eph 3:16), fellowship (2Cor 13:14; Php 2:1) and unity in the church (Eph 4:3-4). The Holy Spirit is the source of all spiritual gifts and dispenses His gifts to whomever He chooses for His own sovereign purposes and for His own glory (1Cor 12:4-11).

        Psalm 103:19 says: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” God, by His own sovereign power and divine will, decrees and brings about whatever He wills for His own glory and is free to determine whether He wants to dispense or cease using any particular grace or gift, like tongues, or prophesy or the gift of healing according to His own sovereign will and purposes. Many biblical commentators present an excellent view of the cessation of such gifts, which I am persuaded Scripture teaches.

        As a cessationist, I hold unswervingly to the belief that God can and does work sovereignly, providentially and supernaturally today. How else can anyone be saved, empowered for service, or the church exist or function if the Holy Spirit was not doing His work in and through the lives of His people? The Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost and birthed the church and sustains it throughout all generations. The Holy Spirit is the revealer of Christ and the One who applies the truth of Christ and His finished work to all true believers at salvation.

        One of the greatest miracles is the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation, because only God can save sinners! It is the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit that regenerates a dead sinner to life and applies the finished work of Christ to them. This is truly miraculous and why Scripture teaches that no one should boast.

        My response to Charlene D was to point out that a study of church history would help her to see where the battles have been fought and won in the past on important matters of doctrine and biblical truth, and that there is no need to keep fighting over the same ground today. A review of church history will open up a whole new world, and like me, they will find that some of the practices and teaching that we see today, even in the Charismatic movement, were deemed to be misleading, false, and in some cases, heretical.

        There is a belief, particularly in the Charismatic movement, that God has devolved His sovereign rule to human beings and that He acts only in response to man’s directives (many famous Charismatic leaders hold to this view). This position is man-centred rather than a Christ-centred view of God. Many who adhere to a Charismatic worldview may agree that God is sovereign, but in practice, man is sovereign.

        Unfortunately, many of my Charismatic friends have been left devastated by this approach and belief system. When God the Holy Spirit has not moved in the way they wanted Him to move or in the way they have tried to direct Him, they are left feeling that God doesn’t hear them, or He has abandoned them, or that their faith isn’t strong enough to achieve the outcome they want, or that some besetting sin prevents the Holy Spirit from responding to them in the way they want… The adverse is also true. Many Charismatic friends base their right standing with God on their own spiritual giftedness and performance rather than on the finished work of Christ alone. This too is devastating! In short, God is not sovereign to act according to His own sovereign will and purposes, but dependent upon the believer having enough faith to move God. This is a form of ‘works-righteousness’, which relies more upon the ability of fallen human beings to move God, rather than trusting in God to do what He wills for their good.

        God may not bring about what we want, but only a sovereign God can be relied upon to do whatever is right and good for His children… and whatever He wills is ALWAYS right and good…! “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).

        Given your response, I’m not sure we will ever agree on this particular subject. However, I believe that an honest study of Scripture, allowing the biblical text to speak for itself in context, will I believe, allow you to draw a different conclusion, like I did. Until then, let us continue to love one another in Christian love, but let us also agree to disagree.

        In Christ!

        • Jman says:

          Hi Michael and Earl,good discussions going back and fourth. Can you tell me a specific name of a church in the Charismatic Movement that might not be teaching the scriptures correctly? I understand if you don’t want to do that. I grew up in a very legalistic church,now we go to a spirit filled church,we love it and don’t see anything wrong or false being taught there. I know there are some abuses on both sides,conservative and charismatic. I was held back on certain things in the legalistic background….and now we feel free! Hope this makes sense,thx!

        • Weighing in here, because I’ve been a visitor in John MacArthur’s church, visiting in CA, and heard his preaching. Also witnessed the extreme misogyny masquerading at his vast church campus as male “headship.” If he’s opposing the Holy Spirit’s outpouring in these last days, it fits with the brittle faux fruit he’s dispensing. His legalism from his own ego (as if only his and his exclusively mentored male ministry’s writings and pronouncements are the highest truth) is deeply disturbing to any follower of Jesus Christ who knows the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Ka-ching! Being a misogynist is a good money maker in these fallen times, and his type of ka-ching ministry solicits big-bucks funds (through elaborate mega-bucks per plate dinners in luxurious settings, for example) for his version of male-dominant ministry. People who want to follow Jesus: Stay away from MacArthur and his ilk! He’s emblematic of the cadre of false teachers that Jesus warned about in the gospels.

  11. Tim Chambers says:

    My beliefs are somewhere in the middle. I do believe that Christians can be gifted for a purpose with any of the NT mentioned spiritual gifts. I do not believe spiritual gifts are permanent and under the control of the believer. I do not believe that all believers must speak in “tongues” nor babble in a so called “heavenly language” to show they have the Holy Spirit. There are modern examples of believers speaking in a language they did not know but another person has recieved the message in their own language and understood it (not just babble). I do not believe in any of the “… blessing” movements eg. Totonto blessing. It’s not about the correct phrases to say and waving of hands that are more like pagen witchcraft then Chrisitianity. Jesus did not like the big crowds and often tried to have some quiet time and limit the hype. Don’t tell everyone of a miracle and never asked for money. Contrast that to the modern BIG evangalists and “healers” that demand celebrity, money and wealth while asking others to be poor and forego wealth. A prosperity gospel is false. There motives need to be honesty, humility, love, glory to God and building of His church. I do not place limits on God nor believe that the Holy Spirit cannot do now what it has done in the past. May God bless all who read this.

    • Kate says:

      I am in the middle too, currently at a staunchly cesationism church, waiting to see if my husband gets the conviction to leave (submitting is not always fun, right?). I am sure the gifts are still around (I cannot find any scripture that says they departed) , but I also believe they are ripe for abuse. I feel like we may never find a physical church that is in the middle like I am….

  12. Amon Ziponde says:

    With much interest I feel I should contribute to this discussion.I’m a Charismatic Christian born again and circumcised by the Holy Ghost.The problem with Ceasationists is one as far add I’m concerned, They are the modern day Pharisees who like their predecessors persecuted Jesus.They labelled the Lord Prince of demons Beelzebub then because he was casting out demons and his message had authority unlike theirs.Then the people saw the difference between His doctrine and theirs and in drives thru left their synagogues to follow Jesus.From him they found healing, deliverance, peace, hope and all things became new.Scripture is from Jehovah but scripture without the Holy Spirit is dead.The problem with the doctors of theology is that done of them are bankrupt of the Source who is the Holy Ghost and merely use their carnal minds to interpret scripture like as what the Pharisees did.

    Why would Jesus promise the gift of the Holy Spirit only to the 12 apostles to be empowered by Him yet the gospel was to be preached even well after the era of the apostles? Does it mean that today’s ministers do not need to be empowered and that they have to
    go in their own strength without the supernatural
    power from on high.Is the Holy Spirit only for preaching and teaching? To some they have now substituted the gift of healing with faith in hospitals.I’ve nothing against hospitals but God’s healing power and other supernatural gifts are available to those who believe until the Son comes.

    Earl my brother, the same scripture that you study reveal at least to me that skeptics and cowards will not enter the kingdom of heaven.According to you’re faith you receive from Jesus.Who told Paul to pray for pieces of cloth to heal the sick and demon possessed with them.Somewhere in scripture it says no eye has seen neither has ear heard what God had prepared.The possibilities of what the Holy Ghost can do are beyond your imagination.What does the word mean when it talks of extraordinary miracles performed by Apostles Paul and Barnabas? Were they enumerated or described? It’s clear by implication that either they were too many or too complex to describe that the best human words that could be used were “signs and wonders.”

    God is still using Man as he did before even beyond that at first for these are the last days of the outpouring of the spirit on all flesh.

    Deep calls unto deep and those who believe shall do more than what he did.

  13. Earl Robinson says:

    Dear Amon,

    Thank you for your response to my comments.

    Amon, in reading your response, it’s clear that you have chosen not respond to any of my statements about the Person and work of the Holy Spirit and it would appear that you’re not actually engaging with the central issue we are debating: Does SCRIPTURE reveal whether certain gifts of the Holy Spirit have now ceased in the Apostolic church age?

    My understanding from your first paragraph is that you’re position (and accusation) is that those who hold to the Cessationist position are “…modern day Pharisees…”.

    Secondly, I’m unclear what you mean when you say: “…skeptics and cowards will not enter the kingdom of heaven…” I can only presume that this reference is intended to be directed at those who hold to the Cessationist position.

    All you appear to be doing is allegorising the biblical text to vent your anger about Cessationists.

    Amon, I hope you won’t be offended, but I won’t be making no further comment about your response. I think it would be unhelpful to the current debate.

    In Christ


    • amon Ziponde says:

      Thanks Earl for your response.I’m sorry if sounded emotional in my earlier comment.From looking at scripture it looks to me like Ceasationists views are in error concerning the the gifts of the Holy Spirit.1 Cor 13:8-12 which most who believe the gifts have ended is taken out of contex t.The primary purpose of gifts is to edify the church and equip the body of Christ for works of righteousness andfor both spiritual and physical benefits even as Christ himself did during his days on earth.He evangelized, taught, healed, have wisdom prophesied, decerned spirits and cast them out.Then before he went to the father he promised the Holy Spirit to his disciples and all who believed thereafter including us.Because he is now in heaven we have not been left like orphanes but under the Cate of the Holy Spirit who ever since he came has been working through men the works that Jesus did (the works of God-healings etc)
      Hence for as long as the church is in existence before the fullness of time when the Lord shall come back and establish his earthly kingdom at the end of this age, the gifts shall continue in the church of those who eagerly desire them.That is when imperfection in knowledge and prophecy shall cease.Because there shall be perfection of health and all things when tears shall be wiped , no death not evil in the new earth there shall be no need for three gifts then.Another point is even the prophet Joel foretold about the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh in the last days which wasfulfilled from the day of Pentecost when those waiting for the promised power spoke in other tongues when He came upon them.That was three beginning and the end is still to come as I alluded above.
      Another thing is if the gifts ceased, why are we still experiencing them now.If what we see is the manifestation of counterfeit spirits why can’t somebody help by casting out the devils?

      Stay blessed

  14. Jan Fourowls says:

    Love this calling out of truth by your post, Micael! You might appreciate a personal anecdote about my experience of the absence of Christ-centered joy in the MacArthur mega-church where I saw and felt lots of pretending, lots of forced smiles, lots of sadness behind the masks — because MacArthur scares people about hell but walls against their opening hearts to the Holy Spirit Who would point them to heaven and a changed earth here and now.

    Some years ago I lived in LA-area southern CA briefly as a house mate of a sad woman and homeowner/landlord who as sadly was enthralled by the Grand Expositor John MacArthur. As a result I visited (after she drove us) in MacArthur’s male-dominant, dry-as-dust mega-church dedicated mainly it seemed to equipping more men to behave like MacArthur as fellow cessationists.

    MacArthur from a distance had seemingly hooked my sad landlord into a bizarre hero worship of his authoritarian preaching and dry-as-dust devotional books (one of which was given to me at the church for visiting). Being in his church service was something I tried a second time at my sad landlord’s urging, but I could stomach the oppressive vibe no longer after that. The sad landlord turned out (from clues as it appeared) to have unchecked alcoholism that resulted in a DUI that kept her from attending his church because she could no longer drive there on Sunday’s. She continued to seemingly worship him from an unchurched distance and devolve into more bizarre behavior, as a result of which I moved out. This is a reminder for me to pray for her and him and his church, that the truth might set them free. (Not that I’m any poster girl for a perfect person!)

    • guest says:

      Jan…”dry-as-dust” seems to be the thing you despise most about non- Charismatic churches. Maybe it’s not all about your entertainment value????

      • reverendjan says:

        Hi, Guest. Please know that it wasn’t my intention to convey that I “despise” (your word) non-Charismatic churches. Indeed, while I write for the unchurched and seekers, I worship (sing in the choir even) in a denominational church which isn’t considered “charismatic” per se although people’s gifts are welcome on a non-racist, non-gendered basis. My concern about “expositors” like John MacArthur is that his brand of church and scriptural exegesis can act as an idolatrous stumbling block to people coming to Jesus Christ’s anointing of love, blocking them from learning how to genuinely rely on God instead of living in their sin. For me the experience of John MacArthur was not theoretical but occurred in my life through close proximity to a housemate who idolized him and his church to her detriment. This I experienced as a sad situation (dry as dust, too, instead of anointed in Jesus Christ). This was the intended context of my comment. Peace.

        • guest says:

          Leader-worship is common in the church today and no doubt happens in every “brand” of church. The issue I have with some people who align themselves as “charismatic” (I know…it is a very broad term and doesn’t always appropriately categorize people) is that they seem to feel entitled to entertainment. The anointing in Jesus Christ (your term) applies to ALL believers…not just those who claim “special” manifestations of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing more “special” than the regeneration that takes place through faith in Jesus Christ. THAT is the special working of the Holy Spirit.

          • reverendjan says:

            Agreed that nothing is more special than the regeneration that takes place through faith in Jesus. That is essential, and precious.

            It’s on my heart to write the following for all of us who believe and observe our faith as Christians. All of the theological analyses on Christian blogs are well and good, but with the pace of Muslim (and precedent-setting illegal) immigration to the U.S., the penchant for Islamist conquest in the 21st century (militant radicals always doing the harm in any system, religious or philosophical, from Nazism to Communism to Islam), and the decline of observant Christians as a percentage in the U.S., could we observant Christians agree to argue less among ourselves and pray more?

            I’ve been guilty, too, of wanting others to see it my Christian way on non-essentials, but Jesus Christ is the way. (Essential and precious.) And only He overcomes evil by His work on the cross and His resurrection. What if we put on Ephesians 6: 10-18 today on behalf of the remaining Christians in Iraq and Syria under siege by ISIS? And on behalf of the U.S. and those remaining Christians here who deserve better protection against evil in dark spiritual places than current political leadership is providing? If human leaders fail us, God won’t, but we need to stand in the gap and pray in the name of Jesus, “Christus Victor.” Then if those who don’t repent and accept our Lord find themselves in hell, that will be God’s doing. Not that I don’t support missions to Muslims through my church. My point is that God is God, and we’re not, yet the Bible calls us to prayer even if we don’t know how it will all turn out in God’s mercy, love, judgment and justice beyond human understanding.

  15. Schuyler says:

    From the lips of Charles Spurgeon himself:
    “Take care never to impute the vain imaginings of your fancy to Him. I have seen the Spirit of God shamefully dishonoured by persons—I hope they were insane—who have said that they have had this and that revealed to them. There has not, for some years, passed over my head a single week in which I have not been pestered with the revelations of hypocrites or maniacs. Semi-lunatics are very fond of coming with messages from the Lord to me and it may save them some trouble if I tell them once and for all that I will have none of their stupid messages. When my Lord and Master has any message to me He knows where I am and He will send it to me direct, and not by mad-caps!

    Never dream that events are revealed to you by Heaven, or you may come to be like those idiots who dare impute their blatant follies to the Holy Spirit. If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense, trace it to the devil, not to the Spirit of God! Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any of us is in the Word of God already—He adds nothing to the Bible, and never will. Let persons who have revelations of this, that, and the other, go to bed and wake up in their senses.

    I only wish they would follow the advice and no longer insult the Holy Spirit by laying their nonsense at His door.”

    • For people like Schuyler and others quoting Spurgeon, MacArthur and other dead or deadly dudes, I feel sorry for your addictive religiosity and churchianity and bibliolatry. You’re so blocked from the living Holy Spirit who keeps creatively moving in and through us, you cannot possibly even fathom what the rest of us are talking about. As if we’re on separate planets or at least separate planes. When Jesus spoke (as biblically reported) of worshipping in spirit and in truth, he was not directing you to some dead or deadly dude’s for-profit exegesis of a book Jesus never wrote in a profiteering ministry of somebody else that you’re supposed to support by tithing. The Bible’s a useful resource, but not a substitute or replacement for the living Word, Jesus, and his dispensation of the Holy Spirit to all who follow. Hopefully ours will be the last generation of dead or deadly Christians, from the evolution out of the papacy (Pope worshipping) and out of the bibliolatry (Bible worshipping, as a Protestant paper-pope reaction against Pope worshipping) and into, at long last, what Jesus intended for those of us called out (ecclesia) not for hierarchy, not for building fund structures, but to live fully under the living, breathing directions of our Creator. “Breathe on me … Holy Spirit breathe on me.” Some of the hymns of Spurgeon’s era nonetheless state excellent guidance for connecting with our Living God.

      We needn’t throw out all of our heritage as Christians to grow forward into spiritual fullness. For Protestants, for example, the Catholic appreciation of Mary (which is biblical, Luke’s gospel) can be seen as beautifully showing Jesus as fully human, born through his beloved Mother, and also fully divine, our Father in heaven loving us enough to incarnate and live among us. For Catholics, for example, the Protestant pentecostalism of the past century, and the raising up of women alongside men to lead and use fully the Holy Spirit’s gifts, might inspire them away from the all-male priesthood’s pedophile tendencies. Many other examples abound. We’re not stuck in the cement of either the papacy or bibliolatry. It’s been one long last age since Jesus was first here, and we’re still growing until he comes again at the end of this time. Nobody else can tell us how to approach the truth. Our direct line is upward to our Christ.

      • guest says:

        Dude…The Bible IS the living word and the Holy Spirit reveals nothing more or less than understanding of what has been recorded in scripture. A helpful resource????? To say the least!!!! God’s Holy Spirit (which thankfully, you hold in high regard) is the author of those books. The purpose of the books? To point forward and backward to the central theme…our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is any more truth than what God has already recorded through His Holy Spirit.

  16. Michael says:

    Matthew 16:4 and John 4:48

    • Laura says:

      Well Michael, the Lord works in mysterious ways. The 2 verses you shared here are the exact same verses the Lord gave me through the Holy Spirit, to teach me a new lesson while reading His word. I am assuming you are a cessationist. I don’t consider myself, cessationist, charismatic, or any other label other than a Christian. Therefore, I only believe and follow what the word of God says. If the word of God gives us an inventory of spiritual gifts and how to use them, and someone with a PhD in Theology tells me otherwise, well then let God be true and every man a liar. I guess I believe the Holy Spirit is a better teacher than any other human being!

      While reading John 1:43-51, even though I’ve read that passage many times, for some reason, this time I thought it was funny that Nathanael believed that Jesus was the Son of God so easily, just because Jesus had told him where he was at before they met. Jesus being God knows all things of course, but I wonder if it had been someone else saying or doing something supernatural, if Nathanael would have believed them to be from God. We need to be careful not to believe every sign and wonder, without knowing its origin. But we shouldn’t be unbelievers either but have balance. More important than seeing what God can do, is to know who He is! Follow Jesus not only for His signs and wonders. The question I asked myself and would like to ask many is this: If Jesus stopped doing signs and wonders, would you still follow Him? “Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” John 4:48 The point is, we should know Him for who He is and I think signs and wonders will inevitably follow.

      On the other hand, the Pharisees didn’t know who He was(is), they didn’t want to know and it wasn’t revealed to them by the Father. Despite everything else Jesus had already done, they were still asking for a sign from heaven! A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.” Matthew 16:4 If they knew Him, they wouldn’t need any more signs to show who He is. This takes me back to Nathanael easily believing in Jesus. The Father had already started revealing the Son to Nathanael with the first sign he saw, whereas the Pharisees didn’t believe Him despite the many signs they had seen and were asking for more.

      God uses signs in our lives many times, especially when He is starting to make something new in our lives, but He also wants us to know Him other ways too, whether it is reading His word, praying, etc.

      Jesus still does signs and wonders, but we shouldn’t make a goal of going after them, because when we are walking with Him, wanting to know Him, they will follow us, because He is with us, as was the case with Nathanael: “Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” John 1:50

      • nerdydad1983 says:

        Yes…It’s an evil and adulterous generation that seeks after a sign…However… Scripture tells us that signs will FOLLOW the believer.

  17. Daniel Lynem says:

    Earl has done a good job in presenting what my position is on this issue.

    Micael,I have read two articles by you in your effort to disprove the cessationist position. I remain open to being proven wrong. But I’m not convinced by your positions. I found misrepresentations which I’ll not take the time to give examples of.

    What I do want to bring up is a lack of love. In the las article I read by you (Micael) you mentioned 1 Cor 13 an “Love”. It came to me that in all your critism of cessationist you never mentioned that they are Christian brothers. But speakers at the Strange Fire Conference repeatedly spoke of “our Charismatic Brothers”. An made clear they were concerned with abuses an excess in the movement. There were men who are on the opposite side who also expressed concerns about the same things. So far most of the post come across somewhat hateful an mean spirited. Where is the “LOVE” we are to have an show towards each even when disagreeing. I have friends who are charismatic but I don’t make it an issue. My Pastor is Reformed an a cessationist but he relates an quotes pastors an others who believe otherwise an is friends with them as well. Micael, I would encourage you to write another article talking about the Love we need to show to each other, an even those we disagree with ie MacArthur etc. How we need to pray for each other, yes, even those we disagree with. How we need to reach out in “LOVE” based on our “Common Salvation. That’s how the world will know we are His disciples, by the “LOVE” we have for each other. I believe strongly in Miracles being alive and well today. I’ve been healed, seen angles, sopke with a guy in english and he heard me in spanish and I heard him in english(we discovered this the day after he prayed with me to submit his life to Christ)all my cessationist friends believe strongly in Miracles, healings etc. We just believe that’s God working in His Providence an Sovereignty. We experience the power of being sealed an filled with the Holy Spirit. We experience the Wonderful Mighty works of the Living God who holds our very breath in His Hands. I think we can get so wrapped up in this gifts issue ie healings,raising the dead, speaking in tongues, miraculous signs an wonders that we lost sight of what Christ said…”If I be lifted up….ya feel me. Not lift up gifts or even putting emphasises on the Holy Spirit. But it’s about Christ. And the Greatest Miracle that can be experienced is the “New Birth” “Being Born Again” Salvation is the Greatest Miracle, an that comes about thru the preaching of the living breathing Word of God. Its only thru the Word…..Rom 10:8-18,1 Tim 3:15-16,Heb 4:12…An that includes the’s about hearing the Word..Lk 16:19-31…Where is the Love? Much Love, Your Brother in Christ! Daniel

    • Hello brother!

      I definitely agree with you that love triumphs over disagreement 🙂 What makes texts special though is that the tone and attitude is formed in the reader’s head, since that cannot be easily printed in letters. So it’s always very hard to say that someone “sounds” unloving in a text because that’s to a lot extent caused by how the reader reads the text really.

      I don’t know if you have seen the video I made on the subject:

      I wouldn’t call myself hateful there, really, rather silly 🙂 Some think that the humour and irony I use is disgraceful, but at least I find it better than being angry and fierceful against people.

      See, for me it is crystal clear that cessationists are Christians, I have never questioned that. I say so in the video, everyone who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and believe that He rose from the dead will be saved. I take that for granted. That you simply asume that I don’t think that cessationists are Christian because I don’t agree with them is a sign I think how unfortunate this debate has become.

      See, your quote from Strange Fire is a bit misrepresentative I think. When it comes to MacArthur himself, he did say that most charismatics are NOT Christian (I quote him in the video). He claimed that many of us have a demonic spirit called Kundalini, and he called the Jesus movement, of which I am a part of, “drug-induced” and “formed on LSD” (and criticized us for throwing out hymns and suits, because those are obviously biblical or something?) Yet, I do not question MacArthur’s faith or call him unloving, I choose to test his arguments instead.

      Finally, I’m so glad to hear that you have witnessed God’s miracles. Continue to pursue Him and you will see much more. Blessings, brother!

      • Daniel Lynem says:

        Hi Micael, I owe you an apology. When I spoke of most of the post having a mean hateful tone I didn’t mean to include you. I wrote my post quickly an can see it coming across like that. There were some post that were name calling etc. Which I considered mean etc. I should have been more specific. I’m very aware of how John can come off an I heard some of what you spoke of. I don’t think I specifically said John but that those things were said at the conference. Things about charismatics being Christians an brother’s. I understand that there were over 30 msgs given an I’ve only heard maybe 10. But I did hear john clear up some of the things you mentioned in a video he made either during or after the conference. I to cringed when he said those things. But in spite of John’s mis-statements, overall I just haven’t been convinced certain gifts are operating in individuals as they did in the inception of the church…But God is a miracle working God yesterday, today, an tomorrow. He can work them thru you, me,etc etc.

        My focus is on the abuses an the excess in the movement by which some people have experienced more harm than help. I would still like you do an article on how we are to love one another an show it in the mist of this highly charged debate. Also another good subject would be what we do agree on an have in common. I have heard that John an others are working on a book to answer their critics an make some things clear. I hope that will clear up some of the things your concerned about. We might not change each others minds but I’m always excited to meet those while on this earth who I’ll one day spend eternity with. I look forward to more conversation an that article on “Love”(smile) Much Love!

      • Daniel Lynem says:

        Hi Micael, Just wanted to share some info that should up some mis-understandings Re: Alleged Statements by John MacArthur. Does John MacArthur believe God does Miracles today? (See youtube: “Does God do miracles today?”…for a statement John made in response to critics made after the “Strange Fire Conference” see YouTube “John MacArthur on Making an informed Response to Strange Fire”…also see another video “John MacArthur: What has happened after the Strange Fire Conference.” Because I’m hearing so many allegations that aren’t true, I feel people, if they are honestly interested in the truth, should educate themselves by seeking an searching for the facts before responding to any issue. Even if you still disagree, it will at least be an informed hopefully intelligent decision. Many make a response based on emotions an/or what someone says rather than by doing their study. John challenges, an I join him in challenging people who disagree but haven’t read book “Strange Fire” an haven’t taken the time to listen to the,I believe,15-20 messages given at the “Strange Fire Conference.” Do that an then let’s talk and debate. Micael,I gave some wrong numbers in my last post on the number of messages given at the conf. I said 30 orHi Micael, Just wanted to share some info that should up some mis-understandings Re: Alleged Statements by John MacArthur. Does John MacArthur believe God does Miracles today? (See youtube: “Does God do miracles today?”…for a statement John made in response to critics made after the “Strange Fire Conference” see YouTube “John MacArthur on Making an informed Response to Strange Fire”…also see another video “John MacArthur: What has happened after the Strange Fire Conference.” Because I’m hearing so many allegations that aren’t true, I feel people, if they are honestly interested in the truth, should educate themselves by seeking an searching for the facts before responding to any issue. Even if you still disagree, it will at least be an informed hopefully intelligent decision. Many make a response based on emotions an/or what someone says rather than by doing their study. John challenges, an I join him in challenging people who disagree but haven’t read book “Strange Fire” an haven’t taken the timeto listen to the,I believe, 15 messages given at the “Strange Fire Conference.” Do that an then let’s talk and debate. Micael,I gave some wrong numbers in my last post on the number of messages given at the conf. I said 30 or more, but John said it was more like 30 or more, but John said it was more like 15 or so. In Christ, Your Brother, Daniel

      • Gigi says:

        MaCArthur is a wolf, teaching cessation is blasphemy and will drag his sheeple to hell. They practice black magic in secret to stay rich and keep you poor.

  18. Colton says:

    Hey Micael,

    Be blessed my brother in Christ 🙂 I enjoyed your posting and the youtube video.
    I went to Harvest Mission School in Mozambique with Iris Ministries a few years ago and was able to spend time there with Heidi.
    The Lord showed us His power and love through so many healings while I was there! (The background image on your image reminds me of Mozambique.) So I know what you’re talking about 🙂
    I think it’s just hard for many Christians in America to accept the miraculous when they live within a culture infused with naturalism; discussion of the miraculous can become a dry academic consideration.
    Interestingly, as I’ve seen in Africa, other parts of the world seem to have keen awareness of the spiritual realm.
    I remember that when we preached the Gospel to the people of Mozambique, their main concern was not if Jesus was real, but if He was powerful enough to rescue them from the demons who tormented them!
    Anyway, I encourage you to keep testifying to the power of Holy Spirit and the Lord’s desire to love His children through physical (and often times more importantly emotional) healing.

    Blessings in the name of Christ Jesus,

    • Hi Colton!

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! I have personally not visited Mozambique yet, but I did go to Iris SOuth Africa last year to hang around with pastor Surprise and the others. I’m very inspired by Iris and pray that they will keep up the good work in spreading revival and healping the poor.

      God bless you abundantly!


  19. Daniel Lynem says:

    Hi Colton, just read your post. Thanks for your reply and for taking the time to check out some of the videos. I’m grateful for that. Quickly,I understand where some are regarding miracles. My, an John MacArthur an others concerns are with the excesses in the charismatic movement. Way to much emphasis on gifts, miracles, the Holy Spirit. Not enough Jesus an an emphasis on the gospel. As a result, we hear,as on this site(Micael)many testimonies about how many people got healed etc. but I’ve not heard much in these clips about how many people surrendered there life to Christ. How many got “Saved” Salvation is the greatest miracle. I may be healed of cancer but if I don’t submit to the Lordship of Christ, I’m going to spend eternity in hell w/o cancer. Scripture is absolutely clear. People are not saved by seeing miracles but by hearing the Word Alone preached(Rom 10:10-17). Christ said, if I be lifted up I’ll draw all people’s to Myself (Jn 12:30-33)He spoke of how He would die. This was never said about the Spirit. The Spirits ministry is not to glorify Himself but to Glorify Christ(Jn 16:12-14). His,the Spirits ministry is layed out in(Jn 16:5-12).

    I think cessationist in general an John MacArthur in particular have sadly been mis-represented as not believing in miracles are for today. There have been fals allegations regarding the Strange Fire Conference. I have suggested that before offering criticism please listen to all the messages given at the conference. Also John MacArthur’s response to the criticism. Check out His most recent statement on YouTube titled: Strange Fire Q an A, Answering the critics. John MacArthur and Phil Johnson. John really lays out his positions on many concerns. He goes into detail about a number of things he’s accused of saying. You may not come away agreeing with him but you will be clear about the truth of his statements an positions on what he believes.

    Hi Micael, Blessings to you my brother. I mentioned your name an your site. I’ve watched the clip you suggested an the one with 7? testimonies about healings. Again, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall hearing about anyone or how many people were “saved”, gave their life to Christ. I do plan to watch both clips again plus others on your site. I need to follow my own advice, Amen? I’m still waiting for your piece on “Loving those we disagree with”. John talks about his passion and love for people who are w/o Christ, both caught in the abuses an excesses of the charismatic movement an those who are in main stream churches. Then he points out and man in the front row who had been at Grace(John’s church)every Sunday an came to realize he wasn’t saved. Great video. Get back to me Micael, let’s dialog. Much Love, Daniel

  20. Daniel Lnyem says:

    Hi Micael: Since you have been on my mind I thought I should say hello and see how your doing. I must admit not hearing back from you or you acknowleging my challenge to listen to all the “strange fire” messages and then comment regarding any disagreements, has disappointed me. My hope and desire was to have an open and honest dialog regarding our positions on the issue of N/T gifts and their use today. And on the ministry and word of God the Holy Spirit based on scripture. I’m confident that such an open and honest exchange would be a great benefit to both of us as well as for the readers of your site. I would hope that you like me, are truly interested in the truth. I remain open to being shown when and where I’m wrong. I know I must be wrong on some things sometimes. One good way to help find the truth is thru dialog between those who disagree on said issues, Scripture calls it Iron sharpening Iron. A friend sharpening his/her friend and being sharpened in the process. Its also referred to as equipping, correcting, etc. etc. Plus I was also hoping to develop a friendship with you. We do share a common salvation making us blood brothers with the same DNA running thru our bodies. We both have been redeemed by the same Lord and Savior..Amen?

    But allow me to say that I do hope I haven’t mis-spoken or spoke to soon. I would pray that your doing ok and that nothing is going on in your life that would keep you from replying or your just not able to for any reason.

    In closing, I love you and will continue to keep you in my prayers.

    Grace and Peace,

  21. […] Why Cessationism is Unbiblical, Irrational and Boring. Another 2013 post with a slightly provocative title, I here criticize John MacArthur and his […]

  22. David Cole says:

    Actually cessationism is biblical, rational and refreshing.

  23. Nic Exner says:

    I was a disciple of John MacArthur for a few years, thanks to fear-inducing “Charismatic Chaos,” his popular book that is generally quoted by every cessationist. The main theme of that old book is that charismatics are maniacs, heretics, etc. and he builds his case using bizarre stories. If you are dedicated to cessationism you won’t budge, and EVERY story is suspicious, devious, mischevious, etc.
    But thankfully cessationism is a system of theology. You can find any system of theology in the Bible. Cessationism basically hangs on the assumption that it is true, and then tries to build a case from that. You can disagree but if you stepped back for a bit you’d see this is the case. You would imagine something as important as how God interacts (“speaks”) to people in his life would be super explicit in scripture. The entire Old Testament and New Testament are full of God speaking to people APART FROM Scripture, whether verbally or internally, as He is a Spirit. But then suddenly it all shuts down once the canon is completed and agreed upon…?
    Its a false argument to say that God speaking apart from Scripture is heretical / unnecessary. Cessationists generally already believe that God “speaks” to people apart from scripture, through others, promptings, circumstances, etc. But then the argument is made that charismatic-types want to write a new Bible every time they say God “told me” something. As if your “circumstances orchestrated by God” are then equivalent to scripture… its silly. The Holy Spirit becomes a theory and somebody silent, we must ignore many many verses of the NT and rather subscribe to what our teachers tell us / our theology school tells us, and rationalise away the supernatural until you get to the point where the only supernatural activity is darkness and demonic and the only thing God now does can basically be synonymous with human ability (teaching, leading, etc.). That’s called unbalanced.
    My challenge to cessationist (though having been one and just “knowing” that non-cessationists were my enemies!) is to actually go and look at the proof-texts for cessationism and look at the context and explicit meaning, not an implied meaning that your commentary says you must now use in order to explain plain meanings away. Its like James 5:14-15, when people take those verses to their elders and the elders are like, “Ah man, wish those weren’t in there cause we don’t believe in this stuff,” but they have to be obedient and they pray for the sick, and they are healed. We live in one box, and theologise out of another box, because theologies tend to just put everything into boxes, and take you out of the realm of relationship with a Father.

  24. Letz make technical, scientivic, accurate zurvey grounded on ze hypotheziz or zuzpizion zhat {A( more cults, more apostasy, und more support fur ze zame-zex lgbt have come frum cessationist churchez, rather zhan continuationist, und (B( most FAITHFUL CHURCHES or PHILADELPHIAN churches arr ov ze complete Holy Spirit. Blessed be ze Holy Spirit fur immer, in Jesus’ name, ahmein!

  25. If the Holy Spirit does not speak today, then he cannot speak through John MacAurthur, so therefore you do not need to listen to him. This logic would not pass an undergraduate logic and critical thinking class. So stop buying his books since the Holy Spirit cannot speak through him.

  26. Gigi says:

    Agreed. MaCArthur works with these demoms. Stay away from them, john MacArthur works with spirit of jezabel, spirit of python, spirit of religion, I BIND THESE DEMONS FROM DRAGGING INNOCENT PEOPLE TO HELL AND PERSECUTING TRUE ANOINTED ONES. IN JESUS NAME.

  27. […] Nashville, Tennessee: 2005), p.1601-1602 [6] John MacArthur, ibid., p.1602 [7] Micael Grenholm, Why Cessationism is Unbiblical, Irrational and Boring [8] Bob Schlenker, Watch Report, October 27, […]

  28. The church of Christ denomination ( they hate being called one ) is cessationist.They conclude that Mark 16:16, speaking of ” He that believeth ” is to continue until the Lord’s return. They then conclude that the ” them that believe ” was to cease at some point, even though it’s the very same group of people in the context of Scripture. This is illogical thinking, as well, as un-contextual. Did I Corinthians 13 do away with the spiritual gifts? If It did, then we need to rip 1 Corinthians 14 out of our Bibles, because It begins ” Follow after charity ( chapter 13 ) AND desire spiritual gifts ( chapter 12 ). Looks like a simple reading of God’s Word shows cessationists to be in error. I’ll take the Word any day.

  29. Donovan McCormick says:

    Wycliffe Bible Commentary stated that the reason for the gifts ” ceasing ” wasn’t because Scripture completion. Their argument was perfection meant “maturity”. That tongues were the ” baby talk ” of the church. Of course you all see how ” mature ” churches have become with different denominations arguing over truth.

  30. Hey Michael. Thank you for this article. It confirms what I’ve been sensing from God and what I’ve been studying in his word. Reformed Christians can be very heretical and almost always hypocritical in everything they believe and do. Reformed Christians are basically humanists that don’t believe in the spiritual aspects of the Bible and God. Sad and heretical. Great use of scripture to back up your claim and show the truth! God bless! #balancemovement (have a balance view of the Bible)

  31. James Sundquist says:

    Dear Micha3l,

    Thank you for your cessationist article.
    Where do Christians cast demons to?

    James Sundquist

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The author

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Check out my YouTube channel!

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