• Strange Fire

  • The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship
  • By: John MacArthur
  • Narrated by: Maurice England
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (677 ratings)

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Strange Fire

By: John MacArthur
Narrated by: Maurice England
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Publisher's Summary

In Strange Fire, best-selling author and pastor John MacArthur chronicles the unsavory history behind the modern Charismatic movement.

What would God say about those who blatantly misrepresent His Holy Spirit; who exchange true worship for chaotic fits of mindless ecstasy; who replace the biblical gospel with vain illusions of health and wealth; who claim to prophesy in His name yet speak errors; and who sell false hope to desperate people for millions of dollars? The Charismatic movement has always been a breeding-ground for scandal, greed, bad doctrine, and all kinds of spiritual chicanery. As a movement, it is clearly headed the wrong direction. And it is growing at an unprecedented rate. 

From the Word of Faith to the New Apostolic Reformation, the Charismatic movement is being consumed by the empty promises of the prosperity gospel. Too many Charismatic celebrities promote a “Christianity” without Christ, a Holy Spirit without holiness. And their teaching is having a disastrous influence on a grand scale, as large television networks broadcast their heresies to every part of the world. 

In Strange Fire, best-selling author and pastor John MacArthur chronicles the unsavory history behind the modern Charismatic movement. He lays out a chilling case for rejecting its false prophets, speaking out against their errors, showing true reverence to the Holy Spirit, and above all clinging to the Bible as the inerrant, authoritative Word of God and the one true standard by which all truth claims must be tested.

©2013 Thomas Nelson (P)2013 Thomas Nelson

What listeners say about Strange Fire

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    2 out of 5 stars
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My spirit hurt listening to some of this

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The healing of the author from many spurious prophesies he has been given.

What was most disappointing about John MacArthur’s story?

He does speak some truth in that, the Catholic Church is dead, it is religious (which God is not) and it is not of God. He also calls to account the many sins found in the Charismatic movement. There is no doubt that this is true. However this has SO wounded the author (and it can do that for sure and the Charismatic movement has deeply wounded many of God's children) that he no longer believes in a living God who can actually interact with his children, who can have a two-way relationship with God. THAT hurt my spirit and it is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The only reason God's speaks through another person is when the person spoken to, is not listening, too wounded to hear, too deeply in sin or whatever. The greatest sin of the charismatic church is that it FORCES people to prove that they are filled with the spirit by operating in gifts they simply do not have. It's not that you cannot have these gifts but being filled with the holy spirit requires one thing and one thing only - total and complete and genuine submission to God. MOST people do not want to do this but they still want to be accepted into a church. They are told that they DO have a gift and that they must find it and start operating in it. Preachers actually stand in front of their congregation and pretend to speak in tongues saying 'bub bub bub bub bub bub bub bub' and that's all they ever say. Utter absolute rubbish and they KNOW it's utter absolute rubbish but they stand as an 'example'. No wonder so many are damaged by the Charismatic church. However there IS a real relationship to be had with God and it IS with a LIVING GOD not a dead God who only spoke to and worked through people centuries ago. People must be allowed to have the amount of faith that they want, must be accepted to submitting to God the amount they want - and stop being forced by charismatic leaders (who are themselves deceived) to operate in gifts THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE. It's rife in the Charismatic movement.However this author has been damaged by them and has closed himself off to a relationship with a LIVING God who CAN and WILL be a real presence in your life if you will only let him. Is caution required in pursuit of this relationship? Absolutely 100%. But it exists and should be pursued.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Strange Fire?

The parts that intimate that God cannot and does not communicate with people today, that there is no living God, that there is only scripture. The parts that say all communication from God today is rubbish and that HE WILL NOT LISTEN TO ANY OF IT. Does discernment have to be engaged when listening to God - absolutely 100%. But this author is so damaged and he doesn't know it. Much of what he says is true but he is also killing the belief in a God that actually exists. God cannot be dead to humans other than through scripture - and yet still be alive. HE IS ALIVE. HE IS A LIVING GOD! RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! It cannot be otherwise.

22 people found this helpful

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Narration is terrible! Buy the e-book or book.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No because of the narration. I would recommend they buy the book and just read it.

Here's the thing: I bought the book and the audiobook. I knew I would like the book because I watched and downloaded the Strange Fire Conference, hosted at Grace Community Church where John MacArthur (the author of the book) is pastor-teacher, and I both enjoyed the conference messages delivered by all of the speakers (including those two by MacArthur), and because I'm in the camp of Reformed Christian Theology and Calvinism. I also believe in cessationism. So, I was predisposed to liking the book, since I enjoyed the conference, agreed with the speakers at it, and am in the same theological "camp." I love the book.

I hate the narration. It's so bad that it's distracting, and I find myself going to the book to read sections of it that I just listened to via audio. I've had to do this so often, I've turned an 11+ hour book into one that is almost 14, and I'm just over halfway through with the audio. I don't know how else to say it, but this guy is not a good narrator: he doesn't read well, he confused several words that dramatically altered the meaning of the sentence ("compromised" in place of "comprised", e.g.), gives accentuation to words in strange places, and at other times is just dry. His narration does not engage me at all, and I think that is telling, because I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

I really wish John MacArthur, who narrated the unabridged version of his own book "Slave," would have read this book. If I wasn't on-the-go so often, I would have given up on the audio version and just read the rest of the book. But I don't have the time, so I'm slugging through the audio version. And this is really too bad, because I love the organized, very thorough, logical way MacArthur presents his arguments.

What other book might you compare Strange Fire to and why?

"Charismatic Chaos," also by John MacArthur.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

See above paragraph for "Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend?".

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

N/A

Any additional comments?

Great book, horrible narration. Skip the narration and buy the Kindle or hardcopy of this book and read it. You'll be glad you saved yourself an Audible credit, and you'll get 100% more out of the book/e-book than the narration.

16 people found this helpful

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Dowsing Strange Fire with Living Water

Very informative! MacArthur gives the historical basis for the Charismatic Movement i.e. where all these things come from. It’s so clear now that these aberrations are straight from the pit of hell.

The main point that I took away from this is that all these alleged signs and wonders do nothing except detract from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they don’t promote it. To most of these charismatic leaders the gospel is a footnote to appease their critics but what they’re really there to do is to put on a show and a circus for money. Likewise, most people come to see them to see a show and a circus and not to hear the Gospel that they might live.

It’s high time we as Christians take a stand against this blasphemy and wickedness that has infiltrated our churches. It’s everywhere just look anywhere online or on social media. It’s time to earnestly contend for the faith and fight these charlatans and false teachers so people may know the truth!

15 people found this helpful

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edifyed!

The Canon of scripture is closed!
no new revelation.. just illumination!
Sola Sciptura!
thank you Jesus for your Word

14 people found this helpful

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Cessationist view of the Gift' of the Holy Spirit

What I expected from John MacArthur. I respect John MacArthur, and his teachings. I own several of his books, and his commentary series. However his bias creates a lack of objectivity in his presentation. I agree with the premises that most Charismatic and Pentecostal churches are filled with problems. I agree that none, that I have seen, follow Paul's instructions for the exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. However there is absolutely no biblical evidence for the cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Mr. MacArthur builds his case based on the charismatic churches flaws and then leaps to the conclusion that the gifts have ceased.

At least scripture wasn't pulled out of context to support his point. God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, and I have yet to find biblical support that they ceased after the apostolic age. As is pointed out in this book those gift's where given to point people to the Gospel and not for personal experience; with that I can agree.

13 people found this helpful

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Christian must read.

Where does Strange Fire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Second best only to the Bible.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Strange Fire?

Hearing the origins and founders of the Charismatic movement.

Which scene was your favorite?

Hearing what the true work of the Holy spirit is.

Any additional comments?

This book is a must read for every Christian.

9 people found this helpful

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Illuminating but unbalanced

Continuationists are harmfully and often inaccurately caricaturised. Unbalanced overly harsh and highly opinionated. If you read it, seek out a balanced counter view.

7 people found this helpful

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It's informative.

I have many friends that have fallen under this devastating deception. I would recommend this book to anyone willing to read it. People need to know how subtly dangerous this deception is. Like the birds in the church it has crept it's way in...deceiving even the elect. I even fell into this deception for a brief time but I asked questions, did my research & God's word lit the way. Always give a reason for the faith that you have. This book contains helpful information about Satan's deception in the church. God's word never fails. God's word never turns up void. This movement discredits many claims in the bible then shrugs it off because of spiritual emotion. It's tragic.

7 people found this helpful

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Great points run to great extremes

There are so many points in this book that I agree with. However John throws the baby out with the bathwater by going to far in his condemnation. To say that praying for healing is the same as Benny hen is as ridiculous as Benny hen claiming to be a healer. The point alone brings into question if we should still take our sick to the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint their heads with oil… Or did that practice also end with the canon of Scripture?
Our church is currently struggling with these things… I was hoping that reading this would help understand the line between legitimate and illegitimate “charismatic”... instead John basically takes the approach of when in doubt throw it out.
I am open to the gift of tongues as literally described in the Bible… That does not mean I condone random ramblings as tongues.
So as I titled this review... great point run to great extremes.

6 people found this helpful

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Go Deep into Your Understanding of the Spirit

What did you love best about Strange Fire?

A fresh look at the role of the Holy Spirit and our relationship with Him.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I would have rather had the story told by the author himself.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Only IF i could find the time.

Any additional comments?

Will have to read it in hard copy to make notes and study the text.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Hothenzy
  • 01-22-21

very judgemental

I found listening to this book very annoying. The author is very critical and judgemental about the pentecostal movement. Just because there are pastors who walk in the flesh doesn't mean the whole pentecostal movement is a sham. This move came from Acts 1 and its clear that the author does not believe in speaking in tongues or the gifts of the spirit which he clearly made fun of by comparing it to what a voodoo priest might say.

4 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 02-12-14

Excellent exposé of an abhorrent movement

What made the experience of listening to Strange Fire the most enjoyable?

I liked Strange Fire because John MacArthur is so clear in his views. They are backed up by scripture references. Personally I feel he makes a mockery of any doctrinal claims of the Prosperity/Word of Faith movement. This is key reading for anybody caught up in these movements or trying to come out of them.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My emotional reaction was sadness that these movements are able to flourish. They dishonour the Holy Spirit, prey on vulnerable people and put off non-Christians to the faith.

Any additional comments?

I would have liked more comment on the area of 'spiritual abuse' in churches.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kenny S
  • 12-14-20

Wonderful book for any serious minded Christian

This book takes you back to God's word. Well worth it. God bless John MacArthur.

1 person found this helpful

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  • laura
  • 10-09-20

Loved this!

Clear teaching, well delivered! Being delivered from the NAR. This has set me straight in many areas of my Christian walk. All glory be to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I hope you will listen too and learn the truth from this

1 person found this helpful

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  • Magnus "Classical MG" Gautestad
  • 06-15-20

The most important movement of our time

The Truth in this book will lead all true converts to action in the Lord’s time. Exceptional biblical and inspiring. This gave clear arguments to what we all know to be right, and can now use in the collective mission. You must read this, and prepare in Love.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Birgitta Kigongo
  • 04-23-17

Genuine desire to know the truth.

A book that will stir up a genuine desire to know the truth. It forces recherch. Not taking the Bible and the teaching of it lightly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonathan Thompson
  • 03-03-22

Faith building and helps with discernment

Initially I struggled with the authors voice and clarity but I pushed on and got used to it pretty fast.

Content was great and has helped me tremendously on my journey for answers based on sola scriptura.

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  • Hank
  • 12-03-21

Lots of generalisations ...

Lots of generalisations that label Pentecostals and Charismatics as false prophet deceived crazies going to hell. If you haven’t had anything to do with Pentecostals and Charismatics that’s probably what you’ll come out thinking. As someone who came to Christ through an evangelical church I used to believe in the cessation of the gifts and also believed that Pentecostals were going to hell. Not any more since going to a Charismatic church. The author makes a lot of general statements that need to be unpacked because the devil is in the detail with many of those statements. Particularly when it come to studying the scriptures quoted by the author. Before reading this book I would encourage you to read Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12 and 13 yourself before hearing the authors interpretation. These passages seem to be amongst the key ones that the author focusses on. Just be mindful that the author at times can get a bit self-righteous in his beliefs.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-23-20

Truth be told.

It is so good to hear the truth of the Gospel, it makes a vast difference to our salvation listening to and following the holy spirit to change us into a child for Christ, such a different message than that of the new age evangelical who's word is all about blessings for themselves and not centred on our Lord .
Thanks John for your wisdom knowledge and love for the Lord.

Jim Cooke

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-27-20

The offensive book to the Bible

This book try to tell you that Holy Spirit has dead in new ages and there is no way to knowing the Spirit of God. The reasoning is included the wrong actions of believers in Holy Spirit. It’s offensive and disgusting words come out of hate and anger against Pentecostalism and Evangelism. The author suffers from lack of knowledge, he probably speaks more and studied less.