Strange Fire Pentecostal Out of Bethel Redding Attacks John MacArthur

Recently an interesting Youtube video surfaced featuring John MacArthur speaking about his appearance at a Conference in Latin America, in which he stated,

the people in the Hispanic world know about Jesus Christ, they know about the Bible, they know about God, they know about salvation, at least in some ways. They have Biblical terminology, because of the impact, historically, of the Roman Catholic church. But they don’t know Christ. And they don’t know the Gospel of Grace. And they don’t know the full revelation of Scripture.

As you know, adherents to strange fire theology (post-Azusa Pentecostals, charismatics, etc.), already dislike MacArthur, because MacArthur has thoroughly exposed their sickness for what it is–a rampant disease that spreads like cancer.

Here to set the record straight, however, is one of Bethel Redding’s shining stars, and denominational swinger, Brandon Showalter. Showalter, the former Mennonite, Anglican, Assemblies of God…and Baptist is a musician whose melodies are inspired by the Holy Spirit…no really, he actually said that. Perhaps we should be putting his melodies in the canon of Scripture right under the Psalms?

Anyways, Showalter pens this (satire?) piece in the Christian Post, lambasting MacArthur, and claiming that Hispanics actually do know Christ because the Pentecostals have been there rescuing them from Catholicism. He states:

Ignoring the well-documented explosion of Pentecostalism in Hispanic nations, Pastor John MacArthur believes that people in the Spanish-speaking world do not know “the true gospel.”

Let’s be clear, Showalter is correct that Pentecostalism has been dominating the religious scene in Latin America, and as a matter of fact, in many areas Pentecostals now outnumber Roman Catholics. But what he fails to recognize is that what he thinks he’s defending, he’s only refuting. He states,

While is it indisputably true that the Roman Catholic Church has historically dominated the religious landscape in Central and South America, many scholars have noted that Pentecostalism has undergone a remarkable rebirth in the past several decades. According to a 2012 report from the U.S. State Department, approximately 43 percent of Guatemalans, for example, now identify as Protestant.

Well, according to another Pew Research poll, the vast majority of these so-called “true gospel”-bearers actually cling to the highly heretical Word of Faith theology–the “Prosperity Gospel.” As a matter of fact, up to 91% of professing Christians in Latin America hold to this false belief system–the system that’s so closely tied to Pentecostalism he’s defending. Shouldn’t Showalter be thanking MacArthur for ignoring that?

This comes as no surprise, though, since Bethel Church is one of the leading proponents of Prosperity theology. The Prosperity Gospel teaches that you can gain material wealth and health as a result of your faith, and if you don’t experience these things, your faith isn’t strong enough.

We recently wrote about Bethel Music’s influence in the Christian-speaking world, and how their ideology permeates the vast landscape filled with church-goers and those who believe they’re glorifying God with flesh-feeding music filled with bad theology. MacArthur has criticized the contemporary Christian music movement, specifically Jesus Culture, also out of Bethel Redding, for being dangerously close to blasphemy while seducing the believer away from biblical truth. He states in response to one of their songs, Fill Me Up,

…that doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity, nothing to do with God. In fact, I’d be afraid to put my mind in neutral and start yelling out loud with that kind of sensual music saying “fill me up, fill me up, fill me up” among a group of non-believers, who would go from being kind of normal non-believers living in the kingdom of darkness, to being demon-possessed.

MacArthur is right, this doesn’t have anything to do with God. In fact, the vast majority of non-traditional Pentecostalism and charismatic Christianity have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity or the true Gospel. This pathetic attempt by Showalter to discredit MacArthur is most certainly biased and well-deserving of scrutiny. His obvious attempt to defend his denomination’s fireplay should be followed up with a resounding “uh…no.”

While MacArthur has been exceedingly strong in his stand for biblical truth, sound theology, and discernment, Showalter is profiteering from MacArthur’s statement to advance the acceptance of aberrant theology and those denominations that subscribe to it. Essentially what he’s saying is, “Hey, we’re Christians too, ya know!” But in reality, the vast majority are not. Cults desire acceptance among Christians. The Mormons tried it through Glenn Beck. The Seventh Day Adventists tried it through Ben Carson. And the Charismaniacs will continue to push for it..through their music and emotionally captivating experiences. Sadly, many have bought into it.

MacArthur is right. The people in the Hispanic world largely do not know the true Jesus of the Bible. They know a false Jesus. They know both a Roman Catholic Jesus or a Word of Faith Jesus. Very few know the Jesus that saves the wretched, the poor, and the needy. They don’t know the Gospel of Grace. And they most certainly don’t know the full revelation of Scripture.

They know Strange Fire.

[Contributed by Jeff Maples]

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Polemics Ministries United (PMU), News Services
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