Friday, January 24, 2014

Authentic Fire: A Most Bizarre Movement Indeed

Michael Brown's latest book titled, “Authentic Fire,” claims to defend something genuinely spawned by the Holy Spirit. It claims to defend biblical truth. The book is Brown’s apologetic to John MacArthur’s book, “Strange Fire.” Before you waste your time thinking this is a review of Brown’s book, I want you to know it is not. This post is a criticism of the very notion that there is such a thing as authentic fire in the sense in which Brown and modern Charismatics define it. I limit my method to a review of the practices that fall into the category of authentic fire, and subject them to biblical scrutiny.

Speaking in Tongues

Dancing in the Spirit

Slain in the Spirit

The Mystical Sensation of the Spirit

The Laughing Revival

Kathryn Kuhlman in Being Filled and Controlled By the Spirit

Ladies and gentlemen, if observing these sad, shocking, and perverse videos are not enough to provoke you to anger at how Christian theism is mocked and displayed by these groups, no amount of reason, biblical or otherwise, is capable of convincing you that these groups are in possession of authentic fire (whatever that might be). I applaud Fred Butler and Mennoknight for their labors and excellent research on the subject. The notion that Matthew 3:11-12 has anything to do with bizarre mystical encounters like those experienced in modern day Pentecostal churches is without a shred of exegetical warrant. All on has to do to understand what John the Baptist meant by fire is read v. 12. The Coming One will baptize the repentant with the blessing of the Holy Spirit. But the unrepentant, those who are not receptive to the Coming One, will be baptized with the judgment of eternal fire.[1] The prophecy John references is Joel 2:28-32. This prophecy also contains the promise of reconciliation and of judgment, to be carried in the end under the new covenant. Review the videos in light of Scripture and plain human reason. If they cannot convince you, it is unlikely that anything will.

1. Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 25.

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