Dividing Over Truth, or Just Plain Divisive? Dr. Brown Interviews Christian Leaders Regarding the Strange Fire Conference

[Download MP3]

We continue to have server overload on our Line of Fire site, but you can listen to the whole interview on our YouTube channel.
In the first hour, Dr. Brown speaks with Pastor Phil Johnson, the longtime editor and colleague of Pastor John MacArthur, and one of the principle leaders involved in the Strange Fire conference; in the second hour, he’ll speak with Pastor Adrian Warnock and Pastor Sam Storms, both of whom are Reformed Charismatics. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Let us ground our faith in the Word with our eyes fixed on Jesus, embracing the Spirit, and embracing one another.


This Week, Dr. Brown is Offering His Constructive Critique of the Charismatic Movement Through His Two in One Volume Book: Whatever Happened to the Power of God and It’s Time to Rock the Boat, Plus the Line of Fire Radio Broadcast Addressing the Strange Fire Conference with Guests Phil Johnson (From Pastor MacArthur’s Ministry), Sam Storms, and Adrian Warnock. Get These Resources Today for Your Gift of $25 or More, Postage Paid! (US Only)

Call 1-800-278-9978 or Order Online!

Other Resources:

Cessationist Call-In Day

Pastor John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference: Something Helpful or Something Harmful?

Dr. Brown Shares His Concerns Before Pastor MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference and an Appeal for the Real Work of the Spirit

  1. I have questioned several things on your ministry, now I no longer question anything . I no longer listen to you. I will pray for you

  2. I have questioned several things on your ministry, now I no longer question anything . I no longer listen to you. I will pray for you

  3. Hello Dr. Brown,
    I heard your interview with Phil Johnson, and it prompted me to actually begin listening to each of the sermons/lessons from this conference.

    I just heard the first message from John MacArthur, entitled “Strange Fire” (message #1).

    I just wanted to say that around 20 minutes into the message, MacArthur does concede pretty clearly that he by no means says EVERY non-cessationist or charismatic is deceived or lost.

    In your interview with Johnson, you didn’t seem to acknowledge that concession.

    Thank you.

  4. I’ve wrestled with many conflicts over the past few years since the Lord saved me. Unfortunately, this debate hits hard for me. I grew up in a charasmatic church and still haven’t landed on firmly on the issue. I also wrestled a lot with Calvinism/Arminianism, landing on the Calvaniststic side after beginning in strong opposition whne first addressed with the doctrine. One thing that I’ve noticed with many issuesin the church today is that there is a huge hurdle to jump in order to dialogue about any topic, what is it? Well, sin…anyone surprised? Those being sanctified are doing just that, growing and being conformed, but not there yet. So between chips on shoulders, smug assumptions, and people failing to say “hey, maybe this shoe fits me”, it’s pretty messy. I’ll sum up the 2 things that stuck out to me while listening to Johnson and Brown dialogue. Mr. Johnson did him self a huge disservice by not saying that some of the comments that were made at or before the conference were completely ignorant and assumptive. Dr. Brown did himself a hug disservice by refusing to call a spade a spade regarding false teachers. Yes, he addresses broad issues in the charasmatic church, but sometimes you have to clarify, “hey, that guy, he’s not one of us.” I also feel like there’s this idea that doing homework on someone makes you a heresy hunter. I’ve got family who wouldn’t dare question anyone who professes Jesus from the pulpit yet will examine a conservative politician to make sre that he is what he says he is. How silly is that? If you have the wrong Jesus and therefore the wrong Gospel then you lack the most essential Piece of the Christian faith. As Michael Ramsden puts it “If you Christ from Christian then you’re left with I-A-N…and Ian can’t save you.” I admire many people’s desire to have unity but it’s like watching a bunch of middle schoolers together playing recreational football and somehow the kid who says hey “I don’t wanna play with Billy cause he’s wearing brass knuckles.” Yet there’s some kid who just wants to play peacefully and passively and says “Billy just wants to play like the rest of us.” Okay so that’s not the best example. My point is as Shai Linne puts it “Today the only heresy is saying that there’s heresy.” It’s really nuts when you step back and look at it. Not to shift to politics but many can sit back and see that some representatives refused to sign the bill to pass Obamacare because of major concerns. These concerns were things that the left wing wasn’t willing to budge on either. Yet when those who oppose are addressed in light of the gov’t shut down, they are the bad guys who wanna cause conflict. The church needs to wake up. The argument should not be about accept the Gospel. If you are preaching the Gospel, then we’re cool. I grew up in a church that stressed the “deep” stuff. The fudamentalist churches where people didn’t speak in tongues, those were starter churches. The seeker friendly spots are doing what they can to heal those hurt by church by taking the Gospel, setting it aside and focusing on improvement and purpose. The Holiness church, they hate sin, well certain sin…not their sin but everyone else’s…you know the rebrobates who really offend God. The Reformed church who’s so busy inspect every detail of your doctrine that your life, good or bad, doen’t have time to be examined. I’ll try and finish if your preacher does not focus Jesus, the Messiah, the eternal Son of God. The One who made himself nothing and entered into humanity still divine and without a cursed nature like you and I. He lived a perfect sinless life in unbroken communion with the Father, whom all other natural born humans are enemies of. He was betrayed in accordance with scripture, delivered up to the suffer the exhaustive wrath of His Father on behalf of whomsoever would ever repent of sin (unrighteousness and self-righteousness, both are just as damnable) and place 1,000,000% of their trust in Jesus’ perfect life and right standing with God to be attributed to their bankrupt sinful account. How can this be? Because the father unleashes His wrath on the Innocent Lion who became a Lamb for His Bride, for His people. A group of people who did not seek God, followed Satan, and were infected to the core with sin. Like all humanity, the problem was not the sin they committed as much as it was the sin that they were infected with. The symptom, sin, is but only the indicator of an incurable disease. However the spotless Lamb of God became the bullseye and had the penalty for sin laid upon Him as if He were guilty so that He might in exchange lay His righteousness on His people. The perfect Judge carried out a perfect plan to save an evil criminals from their perfect Judge by substituting perfect Sacrifice, who is the Judge. God became a man and took the penalty from God due to man so that He could give men the righteousness of God and save men from God. Bet you wouldn’t have thought of that in a billion years. So bad news, you can do nothing to appease God’s wrath or accumulate the righteousness that God requires. Perfection is required. God doesn’t want your best, He wants His best. Good news, He offers His best as a gift. Give up throw your sin and pitiful attempts at being good in the trash and put your trust in Best God has to offer, His Son. He became nothing so His Father could justly adopt enemies and call us the Sons and Daughters of God. I got way off track but the Gospel’s the only think that will save anyone. Preaching anything less is futile. You need it all day everyday. Never lose your first love be blessed. Repent and believe…God’s so good He demands that you be saved. :o)

  5. Sorry I had a Gospel blackout and completely lost my focus. Hope my point was stille expressed. Anything exalted over the Gospel. Yes there are other matters to address in the Christian life but you never leave the Gospel. How do you fight sin? The Gospel…you’re free from sin and it’s penalty. You’re not enslaved. Will you wrestle, for sure but the unregenerate don’t wrestle, they are deaf, blind and dead. How about marriage, the Gospel. See Ephesians 5. Parenting modeling repentance in your household. Showing your children they are sinful and in need of a savior. Teach them to trust you as you model the love of the Father. I’m sure that you get the drift. You don’t leave the Gospel for anything. Spiritual gifts are only effective in the local church if practiced in love, right? How do we learn to love? You guessed it, the Gospel. We love because we were first loved while we were enemies of God. Everything that happens in the church, home and personal life is to point to Jesus, plain and simple. We are to never forget that Jesus is our only way to be reconciled to God. He is the difference between you and the most immoral human you know. You would not be a son or daughter of God w/out the One who first loved you and gave Himself for you. Have a great day.

  6. So maybe repentance for sweeping statements is in order so that you don’t throw a Michael Brown in with a Jesse Duplantis (personally listened to this guy talk about God as if He were Jesse’s subordinate. Likewise, Charasmatics need to drop this notion and fear of calling a “true move” a “false one.” If God knows your heart and you see non-sense that has nothing to do with the God of the Bible who seeks reconciliation through His Son and glory and honor through the work of the Spirit then seperate yourself. It’s simple, show people your error and concern and if they don’t hear you out move along. This is my biggest fear for people: EXPERIENCE DOES NOT VALIDATE TRUTH. If it does please tell me what you would do as Moses when the Egyptian magicians trhow down their rods? “Oh wow, we’ve got the same god!” How about Deut 13, the Prophet Muhammed, Joseph Smith, and on and on. Many think that the Lord would not let us be decieved if we use His name. I don’t agree at all. Make sure you know the character and nature of Yahweh before you are so flippant. He has revealed Himself in nature, scripture, and His Son. He operates through His Spirit but He has told us in scripture that we are preach His word, line upon line, precept upon precept. People are saved by the sharing of the Gospel. If they are not fed the Gospel, how can they be saved? It’s all through your New Testament. Letters written to Christians, none the less. So when you leave His word and use His name you run a great risk of creating and/or communicating a different god, a different gospel, and a different Jesus. Only Jesus has saved from the penalty due to sin and given freedom from sin to all who will believe on the innocent Scapegoat crushed by the Father.Preach the wrong Jesus and all of the bells and whistles, signs and wonders, law with no Gospel, health and wealth,or come pray this prayer garbage will leave people absolutely hopeless on the day of judgment and with no excuse. “We heard your name Lord!” Would that fly? He’s given us a Bible that reveals Himself to us. It reveals His Son and it was authored by His Spirit. I hope people will heal my hear on the matter. This burns in me all day. Examin the fruit of what some teach, not sound bites, but listen. If they’re giving and false Messiah and/or false Gospel then address their error if possible and warn others. Not to bash them but to love people. If you were in a drive thru and saw employees contaminating food would you not warn others? Some thing they’ve graduated from milk to meat when they’ve never been given milk and the meat is rotted and poisonous. Please hear me, only Jesus saves. Your faith doesn’t even save you unless it’s in Christ and the work He did for absolutely helpless enemies who were running from Him.

  7. Good debate Dr. Brown! Phil Johnson was at the “Y” in the road where he could have chosen to admit that John Macarthur painted with a broad brush, or he could have chosen to keep his nice peaceful friendship with Dr. MacArthur. It’s too bad he didn’t choose the truth.

    I purchased many of MacArthur’s teachings over the years, but disagree with him concerning the Charismatic movement. Basically, John MacArthur is against anything that moves. It’s a shame that he feels that I’m lost and part of a movement that is not of God.

    For a lost person I am doing a lot of wrong things that will only advance the kingdom, not take away from. My wife and I have taken in strangers in our home and fed them, we did Foster Care for three years and helped five children, My friend and I started a ministry where we evangelized the Jehovah’s Witnesses and we did this by attending there services and evangelized them afterward, we went to their home bible studies by invitation and evangelized them, we also went to their annual conventions and passed out literature and evangelized them. We did all this because we were lost? Really John? Don’t put me, my wife, and friend in your little apostate thinking.

    I don’t say these things to toot my own horn, but rather to show you that I am not deceived. I can explain the new birth, explain from scripture that Jesus is God, and that he is the only way. I can defend my position from scripture why I believe what I believe.

    Thanks again Dr. Brown for taking a stand!

  8. I’m arriving at this party late, but wanted to chime in all the same. Good dialogue here. I went to The Master’s College (of which MacArthur is president), and was a member of Grace Community Church for several years – so I am very familiar with both MacArthur and Phil Johnson, and personally know a few of the pastors there. I will say this about MacArthur, he stands for what he believes is right, and does not waiver from that; but he has a bad tendency to bomb the hospital to get the terrorists hiding inside. I don’t understand why he is drawing a line in the sand on this issue, especially when there are godly Christians with proven character on both sides of the aisle. In fact, I know for a fact that at least two of the professors in the Bible department at The Master’s College were continualists (or at least were not cessationist – if that makes sense).

    So overall, while I agree with many of the concerns noted by MacArthur, Johnson, and some of the others – they presented it in a divisive way, which does not foster proper biblical interpretation (in my opinion).

    Also, I see no need for personal attacks or questions of salary or associations. The bottom line is that the real debate is on what Scripture says, and I really wish MacArthur would have focused on that. There have been a lot of good posts on this board relating to Scripture – thanks to everyone! God Bless

  9. One other thing I forgot to add – Matthew 7:15-20 speaks of knowing “false prophets” by their fruits. While I really enjoy some of MacArthur’s teachings, I think one of his problems is that he generally separates “true” and “false” based on an arbitrary line in the sand which he has drawn on certain theologies.

    If you fall on Continualist side then, well, you must either be unsaved or deceived by the enemy; but if you fall on the Cessationist side then, well, you’re okay and we won’t talk about your faults.

    It’s that type of divisive rhetoric that starts the conversation in attack mode. And I know MANY Master’s Seminary grads that use this preaching style, and then when people react negatively they say “They’re persecuting us just because we’re preaching the truth”.

  10. I was raised Independent Baptist and born again in that church that taught against all Pentecostals and Charasmatics as demonic or just emotional. Although I had great bible teaching as our Pastor must have quoted scripture every other 30 seconds in each sermon but it was a dead church bound by doctrine and no life. After being a seeker of more truth and year of study and prayer I received the Baptism when hands were laid on me. I have only been slain in the spirit twice, other times I was pushed. Since that time, I tend to shake in church when worship is intense and when I testify of Jesus my body vibrates. I do not seek this nor do I wish to draw attention to myself as most people don’t unspderstand it, the ones that do understand it seem blessed by it. I do not want any experience that is not God inspired. I think Pentecostals and Charasmatics tend to tell stories and Baptists actually teach and preach.charasmatics are about receiving and the other denominations are about giving and sacrificing. If we could blend the good from both camps and discard the bad, it would awesome. I have been on both sides and neither have right.

  11. I listened to the debate, and was rather disheartened by it. I don’t think that Paul would have been too pleased about this. I’m not one of the Reformed camp (I think that Calvinism is an assault on the character of YHWH), but even when I was a heathen I could see that Benny Hinn was a con-man. I was amazed that Michael agreed to appear on Hinn’s show for a chat about his book. One can imagine what Jesus or Paul would have said!

    (By the way, I have used an alias and have not disclosed my real e-mail address because I think it is prudent these days to do so: sites are so often hacked.)

  12. Tree of Life ‘Version’ (II Peter 3 not of strange nor restorative fire where human soul life might continue on attempting ‘reform’ down here) “the heavens will be dissolved by fire, and the elements will melt in the intense heat (in the “keeping with His promise”. ‘Strange fire Conference People’ ALL, who are not looking for a “new heavens” above, not looking for a “new earth” also ‘above’, not making every “effort to be found in shalom, spotless and blameless before Him”, for in their ‘catholic’ Universalism, they refuse to believe for to live out their “lives in holiness and godliness” (rather increasingly they argue falsely, even as ‘chosen frozen’, stubborn in their false assessments, of the coming “day of the Lord”, which “will come as a thief”, their need for “all to come to repentance” for “on that day”, when these heavens “will pass away with a roar, and the elements will melt” causing this tiny footstool’s complete ‘disintegration’, no human soul life remaining here (& for all both Reformers attempts, at reforming ‘from within, or without’, the promised buildup unto the “day of the Lord”, of the Universal Harlot Church, WILL HAVE SUDDENLY “come like a thief” taking both the attempted ‘Reformers’ and those whom they falsely believe can be ‘reformed’ here from Harlotry on this tiny ‘footstool’, instead for to AWAIT their own ‘order’ of ‘resurrection’ IN THE FLESH, far from this once a ‘Paradise’ example for first Adam, but no longer, for it cries out from this entire dust for ‘vengence’ of His ‘shed blood’, in, of, His promised ‘parousia’ sudden coming ).

  13. ‘Reformers’ insist somehow ‘quite mysteriously’ Jesus became ‘sin for us’ Who ‘knew no sin’ upon His OWN cross (rather than come out from the false Universal ‘gospel’ which is not a Biblical gospel ‘at all’). Paul wrote Jesus was ‘born’ in very same likeness of our very same sinful flesh, as a ‘partaker’ as we, of first Adam’s fall IN HIS ‘EARTHINESS’, from His own BIRTH to His OWN cross. No ‘mystery’ except for those who desire to become saved by attempting to ‘take up HIS cross’ by attempting to have Him ‘substituted’ for ‘their own sin’ (making Him the ‘sinner’, they claiming receiving ‘right standing’ with G-d His F-ther for allowing His Son to become ‘their sinner’ in their place, in ‘taking up His cross’ ? RATHER THAN faith coming ONLY by hearing a Rhema Word from G-d UNTO THEIR OWN SALVATION by Grace THRU FAITH, and once ‘born again’ TO THEN TAKE UP “one’s OWN cross”, and not His, in which only He could sweat great drops of blood unto His OWN command from His F-ther in obedience required UNTO ‘ENTIRE’ sanctification from this World of His, in which He voluntarily was ‘born’ in very same likeness of our very same SINFUL FLESH as we)

  14. from first hand knowledge back in the early 70’s, it’s the same ‘seemingly broad brush’ coming against the fear of continuing loss of parishioners over to ‘Word of Faith’ (then given most of TBN time reaching out to the ‘catholic world’ INCLUDING that of the catholic ‘Reformers’ attempting still to ‘reform’ the Harlot Church, which of course neither TBN nor ‘Grace to You’ can even ‘reform’ themselves, yet alone the public displays of ‘SPIRITUAL harlotry’ promised last days buildup UNTO these heavens on real ALL human soul life ending FIRE (of which ‘Strange fire’ Conferences, under different name in the 70’s was ALL about the ‘money’ being diverted from non-Charismatic, to the fast growing Charismatic/Pentecostal TV from Radio time, & same desire to live in large homes, parsonages, have the salaries they believe is fitting to their ‘study’ and ‘time’ spent in their schools attempting ‘Reform’ OF WHAT CANNTO BE ‘reformed’, not even of ‘baptism in REAL fire’ ending of soul life unto awaiting the next life IN THE FLESH resurrection FROM here). Jacob’s letter in New Testament was preached on both sides that they were not the ‘rich’ whom he was calling out as to last days leading up to ‘sudden destruction’ WEEPING AND HOWLING for the ‘miseries’ coming upon THEM (for both the non- and the taken over of Pentecostals called Charismatic ‘movement’ of these last days WERE, still are, steeped in ‘eschatology’ matching the ‘catholic Universal Nicolaitan Church OF HARLOTRY claims of being married to G-d’s UNIQELY sent Son to this tiny ‘footstool’ of HIS, BUT WHO WAS ‘LAST’ Adam, and HIMSELF ‘overcame’ this EARTHINESS we all have inherited from FALLEN ‘first Adam’, Eve & mother of ALL natural living soul ‘BODIES’ hidden within our very temporal ONLY outer ‘tent’). And as to ‘Jacob’s letter’, it was THROUGHOUT written to professing ‘believers’ and not to Donald Trumps of this world who are not seen by G-d to be holding back proper wages for TODAY’S 501C3 tax excempt ‘church’ statis which allows for ‘signers’ NOT bringing in “ALL” tithes AND OFFERINGS into the ‘storehouse’, and where volunteers receive only ‘promises’ of rewards in a ‘world BEYOND’ (which the leaderships themselves obviously have not stored up their hearts treasures in their ‘rivalries’ unto attempting ‘reform’ of WHAT CANNOT BE REFORMED) !

  15. Dr Brown, thank you for your extremely gracious stand for the truth.
    I admit I’m not as patient with divisive leaders such as Johnson & MacArthur.
    But you carefully and gently expose their errors thoroughly, all the while displaying your love for them.
    Yet you still have people calling YOU divisive!
    Obviously the Word of God clearly says nothing about gifts ceasing while the Church is on Earth.
    Only when we see him “face to face” will we no longer need these incomplete gifts, because we’ll have complete knowledge. We will know as we are known, as the Word says.
    A careful, unbiased reading of 1 Cor. 13 (and the rest of the Bible) reveals this.
    Anyway, thank you for your patience & grace as the arrows fly toward you.

Comments are closed.