Thinking Out Loud

May 20, 2018

The Original Day of Pentecost United; Present-Day Responses to Pentecost Divide

As I considered options for Pentecost Sunday here on the blog, I re-discovered this article from 2013. I don’t usually repeat the non-original items which have appeared here, but the idea of doing that with this kept gaining traction in my mind…

A Prominent Pentecostal Responds to John MacArthur

J. Lee Grady (pictured below) epitomizes, for me at least, the phrase “balanced Charismatic.”  Here’s the opening to his article, To My Fundamentalist Brother John MacArthur: Grace to You Too

J. Lee Grady 2Fundamentalist pastor John MacArthur is a gifted preacher, author and lover of Scripture. His Grace to You radio program points countless people to the Bible, and his Master’s Seminary trains hundreds of ministry leaders. He’s a staunch Calvinist, but that doesn’t make him any less my brother in Christ.

Unfortunately, MacArthur can’t say the same about me—and that’s sad. In his new book Strange Fire, he declares in no uncertain terms that anyone who embraces any form of charismatic or Pentecostal theology does not worship the true God.

My brother in Christ has written me off.

In John MacArthur’s rigid world, anybody who has sought prayer for healing, claimed a miracle, received a prayer language, prophesied, sensed God speaking to them, felt God’s presence in an emotional way or fallen down on the floor after receiving prayer has already stepped out of the bounds of orthodoxy.

MacArthur says charismatics think they worship God but that actually we are worshipping a golden calf. “Every day millions of charismatics offer praise to a patently false image of the  Holy Spirit,” MacArthur says early in the book. “No other movement has done more damage to the cause of the gospel.”

He doesn’t just write off fringe elements of our movement; he skewers the original founders of Pentecostalism and even goes after Baptist author Henry Blackaby for teaching that God can speak to people today.

MacArthur, who is 74, urges evangelical Christians to engage in a “collective war” to stop the spread of the charismatic movement, which he describes as a “deadly virus,” a “deviant mutation of the truth” and a “Trojan horse” that has infiltrated mainstream Christianity…

Continue reading here

Perhaps we can paraphrase MacArthur’s statement — quoted in the 5th paragraph above — and say that, “No other individual has caused more potential for dividing the Body of Christ in 2013 than John MacArthur.”

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October 24, 2013

A Prominent Pentecostal Responds to John MacArthur

Filed under: books, theology — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:07 am

J. Lee Grady (pictured below) epitomizes, for me at least, the phrase “balanced Charismatic.”  Here’s the opening to his article, To My Fundamentalist Brother John MacArthur: Grace to You Too

J. Lee Grady 2Fundamentalist pastor John MacArthur is a gifted preacher, author and lover of Scripture. His Grace to You radio program points countless people to the Bible, and his Master’s Seminary trains hundreds of ministry leaders. He’s a staunch Calvinist, but that doesn’t make him any less my brother in Christ.

Unfortunately, MacArthur can’t say the same about me—and that’s sad. In his new book Strange Fire, he declares in no uncertain terms that anyone who embraces any form of charismatic or Pentecostal theology does not worship the true God.

My brother in Christ has written me off.

In John MacArthur’s rigid world, anybody who has sought prayer for healing, claimed a miracle, received a prayer language, prophesied, sensed God speaking to them, felt God’s presence in an emotional way or fallen down on the floor after receiving prayer has already stepped out of the bounds of orthodoxy.

MacArthur says charismatics think they worship God but that actually we are worshipping a golden calf. “Every day millions of charismatics offer praise to a patently false image of the  Holy Spirit,” MacArthur says early in the book. “No other movement has done more damage to the cause of the gospel.”

He doesn’t just write off fringe elements of our movement; he skewers the original founders of Pentecostalism and even goes after Baptist author Henry Blackaby for teaching that God can speak to people today.

MacArthur, who is 74, urges evangelical Christians to engage in a “collective war” to stop the spread of the charismatic movement, which he describes as a “deadly virus,” a “deviant mutation of the truth” and a “Trojan horse” that has infiltrated mainstream Christianity…

Continue reading here

Perhaps we can paraphrase MacArthur’s statement and say that, “No other individual has caused more potential for dividing the Body of Christ in 2013 than John MacArthur.”

May 22, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Rescued

Welcome to yet another installment of “Let’s see what everybody else is doing online.” Actually there are some really strong links here this week, you won’t be disappointed, but I think both guys in the above cartoon are going to be.

  • Our lead link this week isn’t lighter fare. The Dictionary of Christianese worked hard to provide you with the meaning of all things kairos, such as kairos time, kairos season, kairos opportunity and kairos moment.
  • Todd Rhoades invites you to play: Who Said It? Oprah or Osteen? Before peeking at the answers, why not phone a friend or use this as a small group icebreaker.
  • Jamie the Very Worst Fundraiser admits that some of the pictures — and descriptive language — you see in missionary letters may not be entirely representative of what is taking place on the mission field. Partner with someone to read this. 
  • The church once known as the Crystal Cathedral will be renamed Christ Cathedral, while the people who once worshiped at the Crystal Cathedral will gather under the name Shepherd’s Grove.
  • The Christian teen whose song Clouds recently reached 3 million YouTube views, Zach Sobiech, died Monday surrounded by family at his home in Lakeland, Minnesota. He was 18.  
  • As of last night, Oklahoma pastor Craig Groeschel reported that 71 families from Lifechurch had lost their homes.
  • At Parchment and Pen, perhaps the reason many adolescents and young adults have faith collapses is because they aren’t properly conditioned on dealing with doubts. Must reading for Christian parents. 
  • Also for parents: If you’re wondering what to do with your teens (or tweens) over the summer, you won’t be after reading this list.
  • Catholic readers should note that there are some rosaries on the market that aren’t exactly kosher.  William Tapley guides you to spotting the iffy prayer beads.
  • This just in: “No man whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may enter the Lord’s assembly.” Actually, it’s in Deuteronomy. A must-read for guys.
  • A music therapist at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville gets kids to write songs, and then gets the songs recorded by the city’s best. A seven minute documentary; keep the tissues handy. (Love what the kid said who had a song covered by Amy Grant!)
  • Pastors’ Corner: What if your weekend sermon was more like a TED Talk? Could you deliver the same content in 18 minutes or less? 
  • So in a debate of house churches over traditional churches who wins?  This article includes discussion of The Meeting House in Canada which reflects the best of both.  (Be sure to continue to page two.)
  • Graphic of he week: A conversation at the atheist’s car garage.
  • Top selling Christian music in the UK this week is the band Rend Collective Experiment, according to a new music chart service there.
  • …And graphics for your Facebook or Tumblr each week at Happy Monday at The Master’s Table.
  • The subject of the Soul Surfer book and movie after losing an arm to a shark while surfing, Bethany Hamilton is getting married.
  • My video upload this week for Searchlight Books — sponsor of our Christian classics collection — was a scratchy 45-rpm single of Roger McDuff (the gospel music guy) doing Jesus is a Soul Man circa 1969. To get on this YouTube channel, the songs have to not be previously uploaded.
  • Baptist book publisher Broadman and Holman aka B&H wants to stop publishing fiction in 2014 unless the book in question can have a tie-in with Lifeway curriculum product or other brand merchandise.
  • Ron Fournier aka Tehophilus Monk has a short excerpt from the book Why Priests? by Gary Wills which calls into question the entire concept of priests in the ecclesiastic hierarchy.
  • We can’t do it by ourselves. Sometimes we need Outside Help. Classic pop/rock some of you might remember from Johnny Rivers.
  • Not enough links for ya this week? Dave Dunham’s got another 15 for you at Pastor Dave Online
  • During the week between link lists, I invite you to join my somewhat miniscule band of Twitter followers.
  • The lower graphic this week is from an article at the youth ministry blog Learning My Lines.

Teenager's Brain

May 13, 2009

J. Lee Grady on the Economic Meltdown and Pentecostalism

Lee Grady banner

“Please don’t fight the changes God wants to bring in your life. As you hold on to His unchangeable love, allow Him to push the reset button.”

…Although I’m not a huge fan of Charisma magazine, or the way its parent company, Strang Communications, runs it web media;  I want to refer you today to two online articles by Charisma editor J. Lee Grady, of whom I am indeed a huge fan.

Lee is, for lack of a better word, a balanced Charismatic/Pentecostal.   He believes in the limitless work of the Holy Spirit today, but is not afraid to critique his own movement, especially its excesses.   In other words, unlike so many in the Church, he is indeed able to see the forest beyond the individual trees.

In the first, he compares the corporate and economic shakedown to God pushing a giant RESET button, and then offers four areas where this has practical parallels to what is going on in the capital-C Church.   This takes just about three minutes of your time, you can link to it here.

“Today’s Christian college students are nauseated by any kind of religious hype, whether it’s blow-dried evangelists, insincere appeals for offerings, faked healings, goofy buzzwords or schmaltzy Christian pop music.”

In the second article Lee zeroes in on the Pentecostal Movement today — he calls is version 20.09 — and offers some insights that might have you thinking about where your denomination is today.   You can link to that article here. You can also subscribe to receive his insights by e-mail, though you will also receive other bulletins and promotions.

January 7, 2009

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Filed under: Christianity, Church — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:44 pm

brian-stillerI remember doing a magazine interview years ago with Brian Stiller.  He had just left his position as national director for Youth For Christ Canada, and was executive director of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.   He would later go on to become president of Tyndale College.  (I’ve since told Brian that he has really lived three lifetimes.)

On that day, Brian told me about the great number of leaders who stepped up after World War II.   He told me about the various ministry organizations that were founded in those years including Trans World Radio, World Vision, etc.   He said the problem today is that the current “leaders” are simply doing “maintenance” of those organizations.   There is not that same maverick spirit.   And that interview was over twenty years ago now.  I wonder what Brian thinks of many of our current Christian leaders.

After interviewing Brian Stiller, I wrote a piece on leadership.   I began by noting how in summertime, children will often play “school.”  The job of schoolteacher is in many ways self-perpetuating; everyone has had exposure to the role.   Then I asked if it’s possible that some of us are just playing “church.”

jleegrady_newIn today’s link, J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma laments three specific traits that he sees lacking in today’s generation of Christian leaders.  Lee breaks away from obvious leadership qualities and looks at deeper, underlying spiritual qualities.   I see Lee as the ‘conscience’ of the Charismatic and Pentecostal sectors of the Christian world.  These are words worth considering.   Continue reading here…

Photos:  top – Brian Stiller, bottom J. Lee Grady


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