Should Type-R Charismatics Get A Free Pass?

In October 2013 Grace to You (GTY) hosted the Strange Fire conference at Grace Community Church to launch John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire.  The conference critiqued those on the fringe of the charismatic movement who flagrantly misrepresent the work of the Holy Spirit.   The conference caused quite a stir, to say the least.  But that was two years ago.  Seems GTY is not going to let sleeping dogs lie:

While the response to the conference was overwhelming, many of the issues that were raised have yet to be seriously acted upon. Our goal is to fan the flames of this important discussion and continue the call for discernment and discipline in the charismatic movement. To that end, we want to rerun some of the important articles from before and after the conference, and encourage you to visit the Strange Fire website for all the sermons, articles, and videos from that landmark event. 

The first person to fan the flames is Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace to You.

Strange Fire

by Phil Johnson (2007)

A prodigious wacko fringe has always been one of the charismatic movement’s most prominent features. In little more than a century, the Pentecostal and charismatic movements have spun off so many bad doctrines and bizarre characters that I have a thick dictionary in my office just to help me keep track of them all.

Furthermore, I’m convinced it’s not just some kind of fantastic cosmic coincidence that has loaded the movement with an unusually high number of charlatans and heretics. I’ve suggested on more than one occasion that a major reason the charismatic movement has produced more than its fair share of aberrant behavior is because the distinctive doctrines of charismatic belief foster gullibility while constantly seeding the movement with all kinds of whimsy. Specifically, the charismatic belief that it’s normative for Spirit-filled Christians to receive extrabiblical divine revelation through various mystical means has opened the door for all kinds of mischief.

I would not for a moment deny that there are some relatively sane and sensible charismatics who love Scripture and generally teach sound doctrine while avoiding most of their movement’s worst errors. I think they represent a fairly small minority of the worldwide charismatic community, but they do exist. A few of them are good friends—even longtime friends—of mine. I have friends (for example) in the Calvary Chapel movement, which is mildly charismatic in doctrine but whose worship is generally more Bible centered than even the typical non-Charismatic seeker-sensitive church. As a matter of fact, my chief concern about the Calvary Chapel movement would not even be its advocacy of charismatic views, but its increasingly aggressive campaign against Calvinism.

That’s not all. I have warm affection and heartfelt respect for most of the best-known Reformed charismatic leaders, including C.J. Mahaney, Wayne Grudem, and Sam Storms. [Let’s call them “Type-R charismatics.”] I’ve greatly benefited from major aspects of their ministries, and I regularly recommend resources from them that I have found helpful. I’ve corresponded with the world-famous Brit-blogger Adrian Warnock for at least fifteen years now and had breakfast with him on two occasions, and I like him very much. I’m sure we agree on far more things than we disagree about. And I’m also certain the matters we agree on—starting with the meaning of the cross—are a lot more important than the issues we disagree on, which are all secondary matters.

But that is not to suggest that the things we disagree on are nonissues.

Candor, and not a lack of charity, requires me to state this conviction plainly: The belief that extrabiblical revelation is normative does indeed “regularly and systematically breed willful gullibility, not discernment.” Even the more sane and sober [Type-R] charismatics are not totally exempt from the tendency.

Remember that Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets found an amazing amount of support from Reformed charismatics on both sides of the Atlantic, even after it was clear to more objective minds that the “prophets” were regularly and systematically issuing false prophecies.

And that fact ought to have been clear very early. In 1989, the senior Kansas City Prophet, Bob Jones, acknowledged that he could claim an accuracy rate of no higher than two-thirds. By 1991, Jones was utterly discredited because of his own sexual misconduct with women who came to him seeking prophetic counseling.

Shortly after that (in early 1992), John MacArthur, Lance Quinn, and I met with Paul Cain and Jack Deere in John MacArthur’s office at Jack Deere’s request. Deere wanted to try to convince John MacArthur that the charismatic movement—especially the Vineyard branch—was on a trajectory to make doctrinal soundness and biblical integrity the hallmarks of Third Wave charismatic practice. He brought Cain along, ostensibly so that we could see for ourselves that Cain was a legitimate prophet with a profound gifting.  Continue reading


Dr. Michael Brown debates Phil Johnson on Strange Fire conference

Research papers:

New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism

Word of Faith Movement


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12 Responses to Should Type-R Charismatics Get A Free Pass?

  1. JBrumbaugh October 14, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    I am a little confused about why the Berean Research is posting an article about “Should Type-R Charismatics Get A Free Pass?”, what is your point? Are you saying Calvinism is right and Biblical? Are you supporting Calvinism? Is there something we need to watch out for? I am trying to understand this article. Calvinism (Reformed) is an abomination in the eyes of God, and absolutely against the Word of God, so what am I to think about this??? Please explain thank you…

  2. Lyn October 14, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    The doctrines of grace did not originate with John Calvin, they originated with God. When followers of Christ stop labeling biblical truth as doctrines of men and start being teachable, then this nonsense will cease. Sinners are chosen by God (2Thess.2:13) born from above by God the Spirit (John3) and saved by grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9). Why do so many insist on robbing God of glory by giving Calvin credit for these biblical truths?

  3. Faith October 14, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    1. The gifts are for today, and so is the Holy Spirit baptism. Whatever goes on in the name of charismatics or pentecostals is irrelevant to that fact. Nothing in the bible contradicts this fact, but only supports it. I know there is a lot of lunacy and hooey going on in that realm but let’s not paint everyone with the same shade of accusation just because of it.

    2. God does speak to us today. No, it is not heretical. The problem is when the revelation is contrary to the bible, of course we must test all things by the bible.

    3. “My sheep hear My voice…” is for today. The Holy Spirit reveals things to us; “He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16; 13. That is for today too. It is revelation, and it is from God. There is simply no way around it.

    4. Calvinism is wrong. The bible teaches both freewill and predestination, there are verses for each if you want to do a search for them. Somehow they coalesce in God’s plan. The main problem with Calvinism is that it teaches limited atonement, but the bible teaches that Jesus died for all. Of course not all will receive the benefit, only the few who do get saved, but the offer was there so they have no excuse.

    5. John MacArthur is a wolf. I don’t care how many ‘good’ things he has said. He also said (google for it online, can’t argue with documented video proof) that it was “OK” to take the mark of the beast, no worries, you will still be saved. It can’t get any worse than that. THAT is what only the devil’s servants could say. Revelation says the exact opposite; it will land your hide in hellfire, do not take the mark! It is clear as day heretical but many still won’t see it. I hate to jest, but perhaps they are not of the elect?

    6. The church needs a strong wake up call on these things, many prominent ‘bible teachers’ are undetected wolves leading unsuspecting sheep down the path to destruction simply because they will not sever their idolizing affections for them, and that at the expense of God’s word rather than vice versa. It is a serious ill that requires strong medicine.

    7. God bless!

  4. Lyn October 15, 2015 at 12:49 am #

    Crediting Calvin with the doctrines of grace is wrong. The bible does not contradict, it does not teach free will at all. There is no biblical support for that view.

  5. Lyn October 15, 2015 at 1:22 am #

    Here is further proof God’s word does not teach free will- Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
    Until God quickens, the sinner is spiritually dead. Another proof text is found in 1st Corinthians-the natural man receiverh not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14
    It is obvious from that text sinners in their natural state, which is dead in trespasses and sin, cannot discern their spiritual state. They cannot even come to Christ unless the Father draws them (John 6:44).
    Please, instead of closing your mind to God’s truth and giving Calvin undue credit, cry out to God the Spirit for wisdom and understanding.

    • JBrumbaugh October 15, 2015 at 8:16 am #

      Oh my well I am excited to see such heretical thinking and total misuse of the Word of God. Such blasphemy that you use the Word of God to justify your opinion instead of changing your opinion to conform to the Word of God. I am very sad to see you are only able to bring up a few scriptures to justify your point, there are 66 books in the Bible and a lot more scripture that totally dismisses your argument. I will no longer be part of this berean research group since you totally discredit yourself and the Word of God to mean whatever you want it to. I am a Christian, a follower of Christ and a child of God, not a child of Calvin or Calvinism, the foolishness of it all. Twist not the scriptures or you will be like satan. I will not be responding to anymore articles or comments from this subject, Calvinists are as bad a Mormons when it comes to they are right and everyone else is wrong. I will end with all Calvinists are as a Pharisee of Pharisee.

      • lyn October 15, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

        it is shameful that you falsely accuse. You present no scripture at all to back your view, you just give your opinion and use name calling. If you cannot debate from scripture, then it is best to remain silent. Name calling and falsely accusing are how a child would respond.

  6. Faith October 15, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4; 7-8
    This is not possible without a freewill.
    “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2; 16-17
    God gave humans freewill to choose between good and evil. If that were not so, then why did they choose to disobey God, resulting in man’s fallen sin nature, the curse, death, sickness, etc.?
    “choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24; 15
    You can’t choose without a free will.
    So, yes, it is sad that so many of these young people don’t know their bibles! To deny that our will takes part in it goes against the bible. How can a man be saved if he does not make a commitment to Jesus? How does he make a commitment to Jesus if he does not decide in his heart to do so? See Rev. 3; 20.
    Good thing I’m no spring chicken!

    • lyn October 15, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

      The verses from James that you’ve presented do not imply free will is how one submits to God. You are adding to the text and imposing upon it your view. Who is being addressed by James? The Apostle is reproving the Jewish Christians in the verses prior, then advises them to submit, draw near, and cleanse themselves of their ways by doing what James has prescribed. So, to sum up, James is addressing believers, not unregenerate sinners.

      As for the text from Genesis, where does those verses imply one has the ability to discern their spiritual condition and decide for Christ and be saved? It was a warning from God, and Adam and Eve rebelled against God by disobeying, as all sinners naturally do.

      As for Joshua, again, who is being addressed in the text? All of mankind? No, not at all. This is addressed to the nation Israel, a nation that already claimed to follow God. They were a backslidden bunch and Joshua was calling them back to follow God as they had previously professed to do. The text does not imply free will at all, for they were already supposedly followers of God. However, they had fallen into their old ways of idolatry and sin. Joshua commands them to stop straddling the fence, so to speak. They claim to believe, as many do today, but their actions prove otherwise. If God be their God, then they must put away their idols. These verses do not state sinners have the ability to freely accept or reject Christ, they are reproving words for God’s chosen, the Israelites, to walk in obedience, to stop worshiping idols and Jehovah God simultaneously. Choose which God you will serve, it has to do with Israel’s idolatry and NOT salvation.

      Now, let’s address Romans 10:13. You have pulled the verse out of its context; you must continue reading the rest of the chapter in order to get the right understanding, so let’s do just that…

      Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
      Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
      Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
      Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
      Rom 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
      Rom 10:19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
      Rom 10:20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
      Rom 10:21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

      Romans 10:13 does not imply man has the ability to ‘choose’ Christ. ‘Whosoever’ is not a random bunch who’ve used their free will to be saved. The Apostle was making a point, that God was willing to save both Jew and Gentile. The Jews anger at the Apostle for preaching to the Gentiles was addressed here and in no way implies the ‘free will’ of the sinner, as you claim. You missed the point of Paul’s argument altogether. Paul goes on to state the reason why he must proclaim the Gospel, for how shall they believe if they have not heard? He quotes Isaiah to justify his preaching to the Gentiles, then he points out how the Jews had already heard and as Paul stated, not all have obeyed the Gospel. The rest of the chapter deals with that subject.

      As for Revelation 3:20, again, you must ask yourself who is being addressed? Christ is addressing the church of Laodicea, which He had just reprimanded for being filled with sin. Here is a brief summary – The Wrong Application: If you have never accepted Jesus into your heart to be your personal Lord and Savior, know this: Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart, asking you, begging you to let him in. If you have never done that before in your life, I want you to pray this prayer with me. Just repeat after me. “Lord Jesus…”
      The Problem: In chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation, Jesus is dictating letters that are to be sent to the churches of Asia. This particular portion is written to the church in Laodicea, a church with a reputation for well-being. By all appearances Laodicea would be a church where Jesus had been invited in a long time ago. Jesus is not knocking on the door of anyone’s heart, but knocking on the door of the church.
      The Right Application: The reason that Jesus is at the door knocking is because the church has effectively removed Jesus. He is no longer present at the church and they are only keeping up appearances. Jesus is highlighting the irony that a church with a reputation of spirituality is a church where he needs to knock on the door and wait for it to be answered. Therefore, today we must recognize that outward growth and spiritual reputation can be present when Jesus is not. We need to bring Jesus back into our church by preaching the gospel and performing works that are worthy of the gospel of God.

      May you seek the Lord and His guidance on how to study the word of God in context, not cherry picking verses and pulling them out of their context and forcing them to fit your erroneous theology.

  7. Darrel October 15, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    Oh, how easy it is to deceive one that loves himself. What ego must be employed to conceive the notion that by a mere act of one’s will heaven may be entered. To come to such a conclusion many Scriptures must be redacted from the brain in favor of man’s approach to God of his own accord. It is only WHEN the Holy Spirit breaks through the lies man has perpetrated on himself that one can begin to see who God is, how He works, what He has done and to see one’s self for it truly is: a totally depraved, utterly helpless, having no strength or desire for God, or even the notion that salvation via repentance and faith in Christ is mandatory for his soul’s well being.

    So feel free to ignore the following Scriptures:
    John 1:13 “…who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” In order for your “free-will” fantasy to work this phrase ‘nor of the will of man’ must of necessity be completely destroyed. Which, by the way, none of the free-will gang has ever been able to do.

    Then there is John 15:16; “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” Another pesky verse that must be maligned into oblivion in order for your fantasy doctrine to come true. Yet no one of your league has successfully dismantled the VERSE. Instead you opt for character assassination of the one that presents it to you.

    There are hundreds of other verses I have found that tell the tale of the heresy of the “free-will” fantasy doctrine that is so popular with those who have never repented of their sins, but show instead a greater love for their favorite sin (themselves) rather than humble themselves (this too is a gift from God and not innate to any human), confess their sins of self love and seek forgiveness—another gift from God essential to real salvation, but absent human capabilities.

    So when you-the “free-willers”-can demonstrate FROM SCRIPTURE (not your imagination) that the two verses referenced above do not apply to salvation, then come back and present your case. In the mean time you should know that there is no proponent of salvation being initiated by man that claims to have obtained salvation because of an act of his “free-will” that does not also state that this so-called ‘salvation’ may be lost due to sin at some time in the future or that the on claiming to be saved can further exercise his “free-will” to “opt out of salvation” become lost (again) and spend eternity in hell (all because he chose to do so). They also end up in the “universalist camp” where all are saved no matter what. So sit back and enjoy the ride that you insist is the Biblical way of salvation.

    Many of those who object to the total Sovereignty of God (which is the heart of “free-will” salvation) have gone the last mile and have committed the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by their constant belligerent insults toward Him (Heb. 10:29). It is always a danger and fallacy of any false doctrine that seeks to replace the Truth with itself—eventually one ‘goes over the edge’.

    A last word for now: If you think that salvation is gained by an act of your “free-will” then you have placed yourself above the need of grace and seek to enter God’s heaven by another way. Eph. 2:8&9 John 10:1-5.

  8. Howie Gardner October 31, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    I posted the following question on John MacArthur’s web site: “If spiritual gifts have ceased then we must see face to face while Paul only saw through a glass darkly. That would make the Bible obsolete so how can this be accurate?” The response I got consisted of a rebuke of Benny Hinn’s haircut and a statement that the author had never seen a genuine miracle. That is not an answer and a woman from MacArthur’s own church then posted “No no you’re not answering his question. He has a legitimate point. What is the answer?” At that point I was blocked from making any further posts. I would submit that there is no answer and that MacArthur is an incompetent scholar for making such claims and then being too cowardly to defend them. .

  9. BERRY FARMER November 6, 2015 at 6:43 am #

    Is this a discussion on spiritual gifts and if certain ones have ceased or not?? If we look at Acts chapter one, we can see where much deception and false teaching arises for both spiritual gifting and eschatology. We read in Acts 1:6-8 the following 6)Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7)And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8)But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” First off, we must note He is speaking to the 11 and they are asking Him a specific question. Note that they said “this time” and not sometime or some future time. They wanted to know if He was going to do it right then and there. He gives them a specific answer. “It is not for you to know times or seasons ” put in place by His Father. We must understand if we were asking Him this same question face to face, He would actually be doing it! Many have taken this statement by Him to mean that the exact time of His return(the day and the hour) is of no concern for the Church. We must read and believe what He said of the season of His return. The day and the hour does not mean the season. What if He said the ‘minute and the second’? The hour was marginally the most specific unit of time when this was spoken. Minutes did not show up for another 15 centuries or so.

    So we see that the 11 are going to receive power from the Spirit in verse 8. We also see that they are going to be witnesses to Him to the ends of the earth. ‘Ends’ here is a reference to time and or space. How could the 11 be witnesses this way? They were the fleshly writers of the New Testament, that is how. How are we to be witnesses, we are proclaiming what is already written and said. Remember Deuteronomy 18:17-18 which said 18)I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19)And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. Was it required of Israel? It was! Is it required of us? It is! Note that is says “whoever” in verse 19. What does this Prophet say in Matthew 28. The KJV has the most literal interpretation of His words which were “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. He is speaking to the 11 again here. Take note of the words teach and whatsoever. These have been changed in many modern Bible versions. God have mercy on us! Peter then repeats this again in Acts chapter 3:22-23 which state 22)For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23)And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ The Prophet of prophets again repeats this same theme in
    John 14:15,21,23,24,26 ; John 6:63 ; John 8:26,31,43,47,51,55 ; John 12:42,43,48,49,50 ; John 15:10,14 ; John 17:3,17 ; John 18:37.
    The modern church for the most part has put forth that evangelism is the most important spiritual gift left and that most other gifts serve this gift. They say that the sole responsibility of the church is to get people saved and spread the gospel. We must realize that God has Himself covered here. We read in Acts 2:5,23,24 the following 5)And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 23)“Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24)“whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. Here we see the gospel presented to Israel. Next we read in Colossians 1:23 the following 23)if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. Here we see the Gospel was preached to everyone else. This is not a call not to spread the Gospel, it is a call to listen to Him!

    Do we not see that we are so busy “carrying out God’s work” for us that we have left Him on the cross. He is not there anymore! He is at the right hand of His Father while His enemies are being made His footstool! We should take note of how Israel did not do well at this. We read in Jeremiah 7:23 the following “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Jesus repeats this sentiment in Luke 10:38-42 which state 38)Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39)And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word. 40)But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
    41)And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42)But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” This is where we need to be, at His feet listening to His word, not being made a footstool as His enemies. Many in the modern church look at all this listening to Him and following His commands as a work and state “we are saved by grace alone and not by works”. We would then need to confirm our definition of ‘Lord’ and we must realize that listening to Him and at least trying to follow His commands is a natural response for those who are His.

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