RT Kendall responds to MacArthur’s Strange Fire

Though I do not agree with Mr. RT Kendall use of every Scripture text he quoted, I do appreciate what he has to say here in response to John MacArthur’s recent Strange Fire Conference.  Much of what RT Kendall has to say is why I’m neither a continuationist nor a cessationist, but rather someone who believes that God can do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

“Dear Dr. MacArthur,

I have admired you as an able writer and speaker for years. I have not only read your book Strange Fire but listened to your talks as well as the panel discussions at your recent conference. I am as reformed theologically as you are and can say we are on the same page when it comes to many issues you address.

I was not prepared however for some of the things you said. I had to reread some parts to be sure you said what I thought you said. First, if your book purports the danger of offending the Holy Spirit with counterfeit worship, I fear you are in greater danger of offending the Holy Spirit by attributing His work to Satan. Does this not worry you? You are risking an awful lot by counting on cessatonism to be totally true. You have tried to turn the hypothetical teaching of cessationism into a dogma.

Second, surprisingly, you imply that my predecessor Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones would agree with you. A major portion of my own book Holy Fire is devoted to what he believed regarding the gifts, the baptism and the immediate witness of the Holy Spirit. He was no cessationist; he loathed cessationism. Nearly every Pentecostal and charismatic in Britain knew he was their friend. Not only that; he has turned more of them into reformed thinkers than anybody in the twentieth century. He would be horrified that you dismiss as demonic all contemporary testimonies of experiencing the direct work of the Spirit. According to you, my own baptism with the Spirit was demonic even though it led me to reformed theology without reading a single word of John Calvin.

Third, to be consistent, if you have got it right, we should counsel new Christians to disregard many Scriptures – e.g. those that encourage us to believe that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb.13:8), that he still shows us when we are on the wrong track (Phil.3:15), that the Holy Spirit cannot speak today as he did to Philip (Acts 8:29) or that we should covet earnestly the best gifts (1 Cor.13:31).

I hope you will consider reading my book. It will do you no harm and, just maybe, you might hear God speak to you in a way you never thought possible. I only pray with all my heart that you have not gone too far already. In the second panel discussion at your conference you actually said, “I know I am wrong somewhere”. If so, who would you listen to? Would you not want to know as soon as possible if you have got it wrong on those matters you are so dogmatic about?

If I knew for sure it would be honoring to God – for the sake of sincere Christians who are fence-straddling on cessationism, I would ask that you and I have a civil debate (presidential style) on the issue of cessationism. Could we pray about this?

– R. T. Kendall (source)

Mr. R.T. Kendall has certainly taken John MacArthur to task here, exposing MacArthur’s downright dogmatism and even ludicrous conclusions and inferences.

“First, if your book purports the danger of offending the Holy Spirit with counterfeit worship, I fear you are in greater danger of offending the Holy Spirit by attributing His work to Satan. Does this not worry you? You are risking an awful lot by counting on cessatonism to be totally true. You have tried to turn the hypothetical teaching of cessationism into a dogma…

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5 Responses to RT Kendall responds to MacArthur’s Strange Fire

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    Let’s see if they have the debate!

  2. Pingback: RT Kendall responds to MacArthur’s Strange Fire | ChristianBookBarn.com

  3. Michael A Miller says:

    I believe this is timely, I think it’s about time Dr. MacArthur be honest and admit he is deadly wrong, no more and no less, simply and just.
    Alternatively accept this debate, and come out clean, put up or shut up! That is not by any mean disrespectful to brother MacArthur or personal. It is strictly about The Word.
    This debate is long overdue.

  4. glenn loewen says:

    wow…this is very sobering. I find this to be a very tender, sober subject. As with R.T.; I tremble at doing what MacArthur has done….Please, brother John, reconsider your ways. I know there have been horrible abuses in the Charismatic camp…most of us do.

  5. Robert Whitehead says:

    I am a member of the same church as brother Kindle. He preached there this morning and I bought his book, “Holy Fire”, after the service. I have books by brother MacArthur also. I admire and respect the ministries of both men. No denomination, preacher or theological philosophy has a corner on truth, so, like the noble Bereans, we must trust only God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance for understanding. Either one of these men can be wrong as well as myself. In 1st Corinthians 13: 12 God tells us we all have limited understanding now, but as the old hymn says,
    “We will understand it better by and by”.

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