Saturday, January 25, 2014

Book Review--"STRANGE FIRE" by John MacArthur.

Good Afternoon to All!
I have received what I thought was going to be a Wonderful book by John MacArthur titled “Strange Fire”. I received a complimentary copy of this book  through Thomas Nelson Publishers for my Honest opinion.    All of the opinions stated in this review are my own and freely given.

I honestly thought this book would ignite something within me. My Pastor has talked about things like false worship and “showmanship” (my words) many times and how dangerous it is. 

I could not have been more disappointed . It's as though the author “had” good intentions, but went off the deep end, bashing the charismatic (which I agree with him ) and Pentecostalism. Let me rephrase that. I don't believe in “bashing” any religion, but I had to agree with what he said about the charismatic movement. Its one thing to teach the difference in “PURE WORSHIP and Praise to God, and presenting a show for everyone's benefit except God's. You can usually spot them a mile away.  

Yes, unfortunately there are some who want to “put on a show” with their worship, but "Strange Fire" seems to be used as a tool to do nothing but criticize the Pentecostal Faith and their worship.  It also criticized the Charismatic movement as well.  I must say that I agreed with him on that specific issue.

  I have no idea where Mr. MacArthur got his information about the Pentecostal worship, but it's obvious that he  doesn't know anything about or had the wonderful experience of being in an Apostolic Jesus Name, Oneness Pentecostal service.  We in this faith are ones who live and breathe their Savior Jesus Christ. He is not just a name to us. He is God. He is our Savior and deserves every bit of our worship. According to the Psalms we are to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. We are to worship and praise Him with lifted holy hands, psalteries and cymbals, shouting, singing and dancing for the Lord. We are to love, worship and praise Him with EVERY part of our being.

No offense, but it seems as though you haven't read your whole Bible through, or are just picking and choosing what you want to believe in. I know I don't know you personally, but before you start criticizing other faiths, you better look at yourself in the mirror. You are doing something very dangerous when it comes to dealing with other peoples souls, not doing enough research, or maybe injecting your own personal opinions about us. Our worship is the purest worship you will ever find. Although I'm sure there are some exceptions, that's called being human. But DON'T try to completely obliterate the doctrine or Worship of the Apostolic Pentecostal. That is just wrong as wrong can be.

The Bible says that everything that has breath, praise the Lord. According to Acts which introduces the EARLY, or FIRST church, to be saved, We are to REPENT, BE BAPTISED, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. This is proved evident by speaking of other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance. It also says it if for us today, because it says it is given to those “afar off” meaning the future generations. 

This book does nothing but insult Pentecostalism, so I see no value in this book. He did bring out some good points as far as false worship. Yes, when we worship, it should come from our hearts. God knows whether your heart is in it or whether a person is doing it for show. Yes, there are some that go to extremes such as handling snakes, which I never understood. That is what I would call “tempting the Lord” which we are specifically told not to do.
When Paul encountered the viper , it was not intentional. He was putting wood on a fire. He was not tempting God. There are even those who claim to “TEACH” tongues. This is wrong. The Bible says as the “SPIRIT gives the utterance” which means God will cause us to do so, we cannot do it on our own, because it comes from our SOUL not our brains.

What I am saying is that you SHOULD NOT spend chapter upon chapter bashing the Pentecostal Religion. I could do the same for certain others which I KNOW for a fact that they are wrong in their teaching, but it is not for me to judge. God will lead them into the truth hopefully. This being said, I was shocked at this book to say the least. All this author did was try to place a bad light upon a precious faith that he evidently didn't do enough research on. Don't stereo type all Pentecostals with Charismatics or the false teachings of SOME Pentecostal religions. Apostolic Pentecostals believe that we are to use the first church or Early church as it is called, as our example. Jesus said to Peter, “upon this rock I will build my church”, and we are to follow Him and Him alone. There is ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, and ONE BAPTISM, according to God, and it is ALL about Him.

Now, in case you haven't perceived it yet, I did not like what this book said, and unfortunately, in good faith I COULD NOT Recommend it. It is spreading “half-truths” because of it's way of “stereo-typing” certain faiths.
Jesus, Himself said we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. If you will notice, the “s” in spirit is lower case. Therefore in this instance he is talking about OUR spirit. He wants us to worship Him with our body, mind and strength. There are many scriptures that tell us how we should love God, and with the love comes worship. One such example is Joshua 22:5 where it tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul. Another is Mark 12:30 “ And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. If we do as we are instructed, then the worship would flow freely. 

I will say, the general idea was correct. Strange fire is false worship. But that was the only thing I agreed with in his book. He should not have singled out certain faiths. 

In the beginning, the little “blurb” said it would be disturbing.... the reason it was disturbing is because it was full of nothing but his opinions, and bashing faiths.  Truthfully, I had to skip around.  I would read some of one chapter (until I got too upset) then I would go to the next chapter and read some, and do the same thing.    Because of this, I couldn't learn anything if I wanted to. He didn't have anything to teach me. 

NO, under any circumstances I would NOT RECOMMEND this book to anyone.

I am truly hoping that this review will be approved by the Publisher.  I know it may seem a bit harsh, but I feel I need to write this with complete honesty for every person out there of the Apostolic Pentecostal Faith.  I won't "water down" what I know to be true.  That is the problem with so many preachers and religions today.  They are afraid to "offend" any person, so they offend God instead by not speaking the whole truth.  As Apostolic Pentecostals we take our God and our Worship seriously, and this author should maybe talk to someone of the faith before writing a book about us and "attacking our way of worship". 

My normal book reviews are usually just a few paragraphs, but this one definitely hit a nerve, so I got on my soapbox. I am thankful that the Publisher says we “don't have to give a positive review if it is not warranted”, because I couldn't do it for this one. It was a “nice” book until I opened to the first chapter and it went down-hill from there. 

Remember, this review is strictly my own opinion and when it comes to MY SAVIOR, and my Faith, I am VERY OPINIONATED.  

Have a wonderful day and May God Bless!


1 comment:

Frank Blasi said...

Dear PJ,
Yours was a very interesting review.
In many ways I fully agree to what you have written; I don't like John McArthur either, and I believe he teaches some dangerous heresy concerning salvation.
Personally, words such as "Charasmatic", "Apostolic Pentecostal" and so on are just names, as with "Baptist" - the group I belong to. I for one, have not studied the differences between these groups and what each of these groups teach.
But I fully agree with you, worship is from the heart, and not to impress others. I can go as far to say that I often sing praises to God while alone at work. This too can be classed as true worship, as it comes from the heart.
But what people such as McArthur don't realise is that worship format can vary from church to church, and even more from country to country. For example, would you expect an Anglican church in Uganda to praise God in the same style as a very conservative Anglican church in the Shires of England? Wouldn't God accept one with the other?
McArthur and his ilk has no right to stand on the soapbox and decide what's what and what's not when it comes to church meeeting and worship format. That is only what God decides upon.
God bless.

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