[Editor’s Note: For five years or so, a maelstrom of controversy has been building in reformed protestant circles regarding the protodenomination formerly known as Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), headquartered for more than 30 years in Gaithersburg, Maryland, near Washington DC. The organization that once claimed more than 100 affiliate churches and hundreds of affiliated ministers in numerous nations, originally named People of Destiny International (PDI), was founded by C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak and two other lesser-knowns in the 1970s, spinning off the so-called Jesus Movement spawned in California in the late 1960s. Conflicts and strife within the PDI leadership has been recurrent for many years, finally peaking around the mid-1990s with the ouster and disfellowship of Larry Tomczak amid internal accusations of misconduct, mishandling of related matters, and irreconcilable doctrinal/philosophical differences. A continuous current of criticism and allegations of flagrant relational and leadership wrongdoing against Mahaney coursed on for decades before and after the Tomczak debacle, erupting like a volcano in 2011 with formal charges of misconduct and corruption by him being widely disseminated by one of those aforementioned lesser-known, also disfellowshipped, Mahaney associates turned blogger. Some aspects of those revelations received substantial accreditation by a civil lawsuit against SGM, Mahaney, and other named SGM leaders, alleging multiple incidences of sexual misconduct by SGM employees and associates, an organization-wide cover-up conspiracy, hush-money payments and perks, decades-long employment of confessed sex-offenders, and failure to report to authorities multiple known criminal acts of child molestation, as well as aiding and abetting of same, filed in October 2012. The original suit with its several amendments, was eventually dismissed due to expiration of statutes of limitations and jurisdictional technicalities, but it spawned a criminal investigation, subsequent arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration of a longtime SGM employee in the organization-owned schools who was also a close associate and personal friend of a number of top SGM leaders, including Mahaney. The tentacles of the continuing controversy and conflicts have already reached deep into the Southern Baptist Convention and Reformed Theology realms and has been reported by numerous national media outlets. Knowledgeable, credible sources, however, presage that the expansive imbroglio is far from over and the complete story is yet to be revealed. What we do know with certainty at this time is that ongoing investigations are being conducted, facts are being compiled, books and articles are being written, and more revelations and fallout are forthcoming. SLM will report further developments in this disheartening and troubling matter as they develop and warrant. The following news-release by the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) urging the leadership of the Together for the Gospel (T4G16) conference conveners to disinvite C.J. Mahaney—one of the original founders of the amalgamation—as a conference speaker, provides a good overview of the ongoing controversy. It is for that reason, and the strong view that all believers should be aware and informed about such matters that we publish it.] Continue reading “SNAP Urges T4G16 Leaders to Dis-Invite C.J. Mahaney” »
Tag Archives: John MacArthur
John MacArthur—Strange Fire
By David Ravenhill
John MacArthur’s recent attack against the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement has certainly put him in the cross hairs of many. What possessed him to lash out against us is unknown. Was it sheer arrogance, ignorance or was he tempted or troubled by an evil spirit of some sort?
I can well understand some enthusiastic young buck zealously overstating his belief about some pet doctrinal belief he adheres to, but there is no excuse for a father in the faith to do the same.
What grieves my heart and the heart of many I know is the untold damage done to the young of the flock. Jesus warned us about this very thing when He said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” It is only when you consider the severity of the punishment that you realize how great this sin was that Jesus was referring to.
Only this morning I was reading again the story of how a handful of men successfully thwarted God’s purposes. This unbelieving minority caused the majority of God’s people to believe that what God said was possible, wasn’t for them. For the next forty wasted years they wandered aimlessly in the Wilderness. Then they died, never seeing the gifts that God had promised them. Why would anyone follow their example, and in so doing rob God’s people of the very gifts He purchased for them at the cost of His precious blood! “When He ascended on high…He gave gifts unto men” (Eph. 4:8).
You recall the day when the disciples were returning from one of their numerous field trips and began to tell the Lord what they had encountered. “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name; and we tried to hinder him because he does not follow along with us. “Then a few verses later we are told that they wanted to call fire down from heaven and consume those who rejected the Lord. Jesus turned and rebuked them saying, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of.” One would have to wonder the same about John MacArthur.
While I will freely admit that the Charismatic movement could stand a little weeding in its own garden, I can also testify to the reality of the Holy Spirit’s power. The FBI does not have a host of undercover agents working tirelessly to track down the counterfeiting operation of criminals churning out millions of thirty dollar bills. The reason is simple, there are no genuine thirty dollar bills. The fact that there is false fire is a testimony to the real fire.
One of the sure proofs that the Holy Spirit is at work is evidenced by the presence of the enemy at work. In the parable of The Sower we are told that as soon as the seed was sown, then Satan cometh immediately. Many people mistakenly believe that any demonic or fleshly activity gives them the right to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The scriptures tell us that where there are no oxen the manger is clean, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest (Pro. 14:14). Some pastors would rather settle for a clean church with no life, than deal with the aftermath of the Spirit’s activity.
Let’s face it, if you are going to have children, expect spilled milk and dirty diapers. If on the other hand you want a perfectly spotless house, then don’t have children.
My father would often say that he would rather pour water on a fire than try and raise the dead. Some pastors would rather minister in a morgue than a nursery. The former seems to be John’s preference.
The best cure for a cessationist would be to fly them into some heathen jungle where they are surrounded by every form of demonic activity. Only then would they see the need for the Holy Spirit’s power to be manifest. It is a known fact that numerous evangelicals who have gone to the mission field believing that the gifts of the Spirit have been withdrawn from the church; have returned with the very opposite belief. Being confronted by the reality of the demonic, their only hope was to cry out to the living God and see His miraculous intervention through healings, deliverance, signs and wonders. Only when the people see that the God of the missionary is greater than their god, will they believe.
Can you imagine John MacArthur confronting the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel? It takes more than fine expository preaching. It takes the God that answers by FIRE. Perhaps it’s time for him to climb down from his ivory tower of spiritual intellectualism and take a trip to the jungle for a season.###
This article was first published at on David’s blog (see link below).
We’ve heard this charge many times in the last six months: “If you charismatics did a better job of cleaning up your own act, there wouldn’t be a need for a Strange Fire conference and book.”
John MacArthur, Cessation Theology and Trainspotting for Cave Dwellers
By Mark Rutland
The arrogance of making experience into a theology that trumps Scripture is exceeded only by the arrogance of making lack of experience into a theology that trumps Scripture.
In Irvine Welsh’s dark Scottish novel Trainspotting, a bum living in an abandoned train station tells others he is watching for trains. Of course it is useless. It is useless there, at least, in that abandoned station. Trains still run elsewhere in Scotland. Just not there.
Here is a simple truth: Just because trains don’t run past your house doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as trains. Furthermore, if there are no trains where you are, why not check out other, more active train stations? Trainspotting for cave dwellers is dismally disappointing business, and train denial is absurdly arrogant. Continue reading “Rutland Repudiates MacArthur’s Attack of Charismatic Theology” »
[Editor’s Note: Fundamentalist Baptist pastor and author John MacArthur has always been an outspoken critic of Pentecostal/Charismatic beliefs, particularly those regarding the continuation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit following the original Day of Pentecost upon “all flesh” as Joel prophesied and Peter affirmed, which outpouring of the Water of the Holy Spirit distributes upon all recipients the supernatural “charismata” or Manifestation Gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-11). Recently, MacArthur conducted a “Strange Fire Conference” that he publicized widely devoted entirely to denounce the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Gifts of the Spirit, and the innumerable myriads—now and through the previous twenty centuries—who have received of the Baptism in the Spirit and the precious and powerful Gifts He distributes to whoso He wills. MacArthur is a vehement proponent of “cessationism,” which is a theological proposition that maintains that Pentecostal outpouring was for the First Century church only, which the fundamentalists regard as “The Apostolic Age,” and the Gifts of the Spirit ceased with the death of John, the last of the Apostles of the Lamb to die. This entirely unbiblical belief has been adamantly held by myriad fundamentalists despite the fact that many more myriads of Born Again believers have been partakers of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and personal operators and beneficiaries of the Gifts of the Spirit in their lives, proving by personal and pragmatic experience that the naysaying view of the cessationists is simply wrong. A number of leading Pentecostal/Charismatic voices have recently published articles to refute the anti-biblical theories of MacArthur and the cessationists he represents and to appeal to MacArthur and his allies to desist from their public diatribe against and broad-brushed condemnation of Pentecostals and Charismatics, as well as their venomous rantings against the Holy Spirit and His Gifts that comes dangerously close to actually being blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the one and only sin which Jesus Himself said would never be forgiven (Mat. 12:31,32). This article is an excerpt of the writings of the late A.W. Tozer, well known for his prolific and masterful monographs regarding personal intimacy with the God.] Continue reading “REPROOF: Tozer to John MacArthur & 21st Century Fundamentalist Cessationists” »
If these charges are true, this means that many leaders in the charismatic movement have committed the unpardonable sin and are therefore hell-bound. If these charges are not true, Pastor MacArthur has seriously overstepped his bounds and misused the Word of God.
And it is only fair to ask whether Pastor MacArthur, in his rightful zeal to correct excesses or errors in the charismatic movement—what he calls “strange fire”—is also guilty of rejecting the true fire. Does he embrace the glorious things the Holy Spirit is doing worldwide, resulting in the salvation of tens of millions of souls, or does he write them off as the result of emotionalism and deception? Continue reading “John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference” »
[Preface]Many of you may know John MacArthur as an expository preacher you have heard on the radio or maybe you have read his books. What you might not know is John has been very apolitical. He has been so apolitical and anti-activist that he has even said the American Revolution was a sin because it was rebellion against God since God established the government, per Romans 13. He has also preached messages around the Fourth of July and the time to vote downplaying civic involvement, activism, and voting. I have made public offers to debate him on these issues but he has never agreed.
But now, it looks like he has had a new revelation. I encourage you to listen to this short message from John MacArthur. It is very good and right on point. It is startling to hear this message from him. I remember seeing John on Larry King Live after Dr. Falwell died and he was saying he was glad that this era represented by Dr. Falwell has passed. He was referring to preachers addressing political (as Dr. Falwell would instead say, Biblical and moral issues). But now, John appears to have had an epiphany. He makes some very profound statements in the message below. I am beginning to see more and more pastors waking up realizing that Biblical and moral issues are under attack and they have no choice but to speak. This isn’t politics, it is Biblical and moral issues that have been politicized. —Mathew Staver founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel[end Preface] Continue reading “Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality” »