Strange Fire

If you see this title and are familiar with your Bible, then you probably already know the Old Testament story it is related to.  Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, were just consecrated for their priestly duties and they disobeyed the Lord in rapid order.  “They offered fire, strange fire before the Lord, which He had NOT commanded them.  And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.”  (Leviticus 10:1b-2)  They did not obey God and were not holy before Him.  This story represents all of the false doctrine and teachings that man has been involved in throughout all of history, going back to Cain’s similar unholy sacrifice in Genesis 4.  This is the opening article of the category “Charismatic Chaos.”  The false teachings of today will be examined, that include all kinds of emotional and unbiblical hoopla, including but not limited to 1)speaking in tongues, 2)the so called second baptism of the Holy Spirit, 3)modern day prophets and apostles, 4)becoming slain in the spirit, and 5)laughing bouts.  These teachings have come to the forefront during only the last century and were nonexistent before then.  Since the Bible tells us that “Jesus fulfilled the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets”  (Luke 24:44; Matthew 5:17), this ought to cause great consternation to the church that all of these new teachings or strange fire, has surfaced in recent times.  It makes perfect sense however, as we contemplate that the Bible also tells us there would be a great falling away and apostasy prior to His return.  Maranatha, Pastor Steve

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9 thoughts on “Strange Fire

  1. I am very interested in this topic, and came across your post while searching Google about the issue of Strange Fire. I would be curious to know:

    Aside from their eccentric behavior, how do you explain people coming to God through Pentecostals/Charismatics? Granted, any movement has its fakers/impostors, but if this movement is not of God, why does it bear fruit?

    Also, isn’t the statement regarding Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law, Psalms, and Prophets speaking directly to the divisions of the canon as it stood in Jesus’ time? I suppose I’m not getting how you see this point as indicating Charismatic belief is false

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    • Charismatic beliefs are diverse within themselves, some differ a lot from mainstream Protestantism, and some very little. Please read the two following articles on “speaking in tongues,” under the category Charismatic Chaos. There will be more added. We agree in the essentials regarding salvation (repentance and the blood of Christ), yet many extreme charismatics believe speaking in tongues is essential for salvation. Their idea of “tongues” goes back to the 1890’s and Charles Parham in Topeka, Kansas. He tried to replicate Acts 2 and could not, as his parishioners, “gifted” in tongues, were embarrassed on a mission trip, not able to speak the native tongue at the countries they went to. Parham then amended his tongues to “glossolalia” which means some ecstatic utterances— having nothing to do with other languages which is the only thing Acts 2 is about. In fact the only Greek words referring to tongues in the New Testament are glossa and dilectos— both referring to foreign languages. William Seymour continued the movement in L.A., California from 1906-15 called the Azuna Street revival which is often alluded to as the birth of this movement. Teachings are plentiful today that never existed for 1900+ years of the church age such as “speaking in tongues” (not foreign languages but ecstatic utterances), laughing bouts, slain in the spirit, modern day apostles and prophets not seen for over 1900 years (the pastoral epistles of Titus and Timothy I and II give us pastors, deacons and elders only), the second baptism (which in reality was a one time event in Acts at the birth of the church prophesied by Joel). Ephesians 4:5 “One God, one faith, one baptism….” ……etc., etc. What is your definition of fruit? If you mean many are saved within their ranks I would agree. But there are cults which have grown in number as well for hundreds of years, so numbers alone are not an accurate barometer. Also, we are warned of a great apostasy in the last days. The great error of the charismatic movement is an emphasis on EXPERIENCE as opposed to TRUTH. Remember Jesus’ rhetorical question? “When I come back will I find faith on the earth?” Hence many believe that in the charismatic movement that mere emotions and loud clamorous activity masquerade as the Holy Spirit. Excellent books that place charismatic teachings into perspective are 1)Spirit Works by Jerry Vines (former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and life long pastor) and 2)a)Strange Fire and b)Charismatic Chaos by John MacArthur (Grace To You Ministries and pastor in southern California. I used the titles of his books on this site). In a nutshell, most charismatics and other Protestants would agree on the essentials of salvation but not on the teachings that came about 100 years ago from Topeka and LA.

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      • If many are saved within their ranks, especially many who would not be saved otherwise, then how can the movement contribute to apostasy if they are contributing to the numbers of Christians?

        Cannot truth be experiential? To put it another way, can’t experience lead one to truth? Or another way, if something is true, shouldn’t experience prove it as such?

        You say Charismatics and Protestants would agree on salvation essentials. Isn’t that all that is needed for salvation?

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      • You are big on experience but you never quote scripture. My guess is you may be stunted in knowledge of the Word. II Timothy 3:16 tells us God’s Word 100% true, and to submit to His Word. We are not to look for a quick fix. Peter, James and John were on the mount of transfiguration and saw the risen Christ and Moses and Elijah on either side of Him. When Peter came down do you know what he said about their experience? He said we have a more sure word of prophecy, which means Bible truth supersedes their experience. Jay, I gave you 3 excellent books referring to the truth of the movement if you care to read them. If I get saved in a church that has poor doctrine beyond salvation, I will leave. The most famous preacher in the Victorian Era was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He was saved in a Primitive Methodist Church but left it immediately afterwards because he felt many other teachings beyond salvation were not true to the word of God. I plainly tell you that the “tongues” of today is mumbo jumbo, and to attempt to tell one that they need this “gift” to be saved is an apostate teaching because it clouds one’s view of salvation! God bless…..

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      • I haven’t quoted scripture because anything I quote will be something we have already heard used by one side or the other. Therefore, it is not worth tossing the same old verses around, rather it worth furthering the consideration of all the verses.

        As for the experience problem: Just because something is susceptible to abuse or misuse, it does not seem one should write it off. The reason the gospels bear such weight is not just because they simply speak truth, but because we read eyewitness accounts, and hear from those who walked with the truth. They related experience that proves truth. They experienced the power of Christ to testify of him as the Son of God, they experienced his return from death to tell with no uncertainty that he lives, etc. As I talk this out with you, it seems I am more sure that if the Bible proves anything from the parting of the Red Sea to the jail doors opening up for Paul, it is that experience is a key part of knowing, finding, and confirming truth.

        I hear the truth of salvation, I accept salvation, and the experience I then have confirms the truth of my faith and what I believe in.

        I agree that the Holy Spirit speaks to us for many reasons, including to edify, encourage, and comfort us. Which is the exact role of prophecy (1Co 14:3). Why would I not believe that in the midst of a hard time, the Holy Spirit would use a brother in Christ to encourage me with a glimpse at my future? It is not new revelation as we would understand scripture, but it is a personal, prophetic revelation to me. When the prophecy proves true, it bolsters me.

        Sure, personal prophecy can be abused, but abuse will quickly prove itself as such for the honest seeker of truth. Is abuse a reason to throw out anything? The gospel itself has been abused, but we keep it.

        Certainly experience, and even prophecy, must be looked at through the lenses of the scripture we believe to be absolute truth.

        I thank you for your patient dialogue. As for my call, I feel called to be a teacher and theologian of sorts, whether at a church, seminary, or elsewhere.

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    • Also, Jesus is the full revelation of the Godhead— Emmanuel, meaning God with us. He is the last Adam. Matthew 5:17 and Luke 24:44 tell us that He fulfilled the law (first 5 books of the Bible), the psalms (meaning all the poetic books, etc. and not just our book of Psalms), and the prophets (that is the last 17 books of the Old Testament from Isaiah top Malachi)—- He fulfilled everything period from Genesis to Malachi! There is no further revelation. We serve until the end of the church age, use our God given gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit to glorify God and fulfill the Great Commission through carrying the Gospel around the world.

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      • So you believe that everything in the OT is fulfilled?

        Aside from what Christ fulfilled, do you hold any room for personal revelation or prophecy? A prophecy perhaps given to an individual for their edification, guidance, or warning?

        What are the God given gifts as you refer to them?

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      • Gifts? They are listed in the Bible? I list them under Speaking in Tongues, the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The gifts are in Ephesians, Romans and Corinthians and listed in Speaking in Tongues. It is presumptuous for one to call themselves an apostle today. The apostles were ones sent at the beginning of the church age. They saw the risen Lord and were with Jesus Christ (Paul saw Him “out of season” on the road to Damascus), raised people from the dead through the power of God (Peter and Paul), one even fell under Peter’s shadow for healing. Second generation believers like Polycarp wisely never claimed they were apostles. Do I believe the OT is fulfilled ? No. Enoch (read Jude) prophesied of the Lord coming with thousands of His saints and he lived before the flood and that has yet to be fulfilled! Nearly 1/3 of the Bible is dedicated to Bible prophecy and what is not yet fulfilled and (end time events) is called eschatology.
        Personal revelation/prophecy is fertile grounds for false prophets like the Book of Mormon, Watchtower & Awake periodicals, The Plain Truth, etc., etc. Peter warned AGAINST this: “That the scripture is not open to men’s private interpretation.” By the way Jay, I believe you bring up great points. I believe God gives man general revelation. I believe the Holy Spirit speaks to us, edifies, guides and warns us daily as individuals, ONLY IF we are listening. We must be sensitive to the Spirit brother. Most Christians tell me they believe we are on the brink of the rapture/tribulation period as they read the times. What do you think? God calls men/women into Christian service. My friend was called to be a missionary when he was first saved over 30 years, and has been in Asia and Africa ever since. Obviously God gave him this burden. I also believe that even though Pentecost was a sign from God and a one time event, that He could easily give one the ability to speak in a foreign language in order to share the Gospel. That point is open to a lot of discussion…. God bless you brother. Do you feel God’s call into a particular field of ministry? You obviously take your faith very seriously. Isaiah 26:3 Steve

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