Strange Fire Q & A: Jesus Calling

One hundred years ago, the modern Pentecostal movement was born. By October 2013 the Pentecostal movement had morphed into the Charismatic movement with its particular brand of false doctrine and had infected much of western Christianity and polluted quite a bit of Christianity at home and abroad. The excesses of the movement include faith healing, reports of raising the dead, babbling tongues, alleged prophecies and direct revelation, disorderly church services and worse. The movement assaulted the sufficiency of scripture, the inerrancy of scripture, besmirched the name of Jesus Christ and damaged the faith of many.

John MacArthur and his team at Grace To You took a stand against this movement and sought to bring clarity to why its doctrines needed comparison to the Bible and thus correction. To that end, they organized the Strange Fire Conference, held in the fall of 2013. One of the main purposes of the conference was to initiate a substantive discussion about these issues. It achieved its purpose. Every sermon preached at the conference rebuked the movement simply by preaching the truth, and brought correct biblical doctrine regarding the sign gifts of the Spirit to the fore. Given the outcry, it seems that the effect was immediate.

There were many good questions asked at the various seminars and Q & A sessions held during the conference period, but not all of them could be immediately answered. After the conference concluded, ministers and theologians at Grace Community Church and The Master's Seminary wrote out answers to these unanswered questions, compiled them, and put them on one web page.

The page is a treasure trove of good, solid rebuttals to and practical helps about what to do if encountering Charismatic doctrines in your church, in your family, or in yourself.


Epidemic in the Charismatic movement is the acceptance of personal revelations. Everybody and their brother it seemed was hearing from Jesus and were eager to share "a word from the Lord". Such practices assault the sufficiency of scripture, of course, and must be corrected. However, one book is doing its level best to continually to attack the sufficiency of God's word-  and that book is "Jesus Calling". Jesus Calling was published in 2004, 16 years ago now, but is still on the bestseller lists. The book has spawned a cottage industry of studies, devotionals, children's books, and other material that has never stopped polluting the faith. Indeed, it seems to be increasing in its staying power and corrupt work.

Here is just one of the Questions and Answers in the Strange Fire Q&A page.
Last year a friend gave me the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  How do I approach my many friends who love this and similar books? 
Scripture has true spiritual power to save and sanctify those who listen and obey it, but human writings masquerading as divine prophecy—such as Jesus Calling—have no such power.  Nevertheless, many people today are enticed by the idea that God is speaking supernaturally through these frauds.  
In order to help your friends, you should gently point out the superior authority of Scripture and refer them to passages such as 2 Peter 1:16–21, 2 Timothy 3:16, Jude 3, and Psalm 19:7–11.  Another good resource is John MacArthur’s two-part series, The Sufficiency of Scripture.


  1. Amazing the influence that conference still has today and hopefully the emerging church movement will prove to be yet another "fad" whose life span is coming to an end.


    interesting and insightful article

    1. Linda thank you so much for this article. It is insightful, well written, and packed with historical examples of the early church's rejection of non-apostolic direct revelation. Thanks! Readers, please check it out.

  3. I am very disturbed that several Bible believing churches that I have attended, one especially which is led by a pastor who has a MA degree in Apologetics from SES in Charlotte, NC, and is a strong defender of the need for Apologetics training in churches, allows the book, Jesus Calling to be promoted by women's Bible study teachers and leaders of women's ministry in his church. I do not understand this, and I have found
    that even in churches that espouse sola scriptura and sound doctrine seem to cave
    when it comes to taking a stand on this issue, especially with this book. I don't get it. Is it because pastors do not want to lose those who are part of their "inner circle" who are the big tithers/leaders in the church and those who will remain loyal to them without keeping them accountable?? I was once looked at as if I was trying to discredit someone's character just because I brought to the fore that one of the leaders of a Life Group I was attending was relaying to the group that he was having Jehovah's Witnesses into his home and that their beliefs were actually very similar to ours and who is to say that they aren't saved?!! He also said that he was trying to find out what he believed about his own faith by being involved in these dialogues with the Watchtower!!! When I said that's not the best way to find out what you believe -- you need to do that before engaging with a cult like the Watchtower, as they are very trained in their erroneous beliefs, and if you are not schooled enough in the basics of the Christian faith/doctrine, they can easily sway you. This seemed to be what was actually going on as this person was trying to convince me that the JWs
    could possibly believe in the same Jesus of the Bible as a saved person?? I told this leader to discuss this issue with the pastor, as I know the pastor would clearly show him that the JWs are a cult and they are not saved. I also spoke to the pastor to alert him of this leader's error as he was dialoging with this cult, and although he totally agreed with me, he made me feel like I needed to realize that this leader was a great guy and a good Christian man, etc. etc. I never denounced this leader or spoke of him as a non-Christian, I was merely trying to help him see that the JWs were a cult and also that he needed to study the Scriptures to see what the Word says about the trinity and why the Watchtower is way off. I am so weary of trying to be a watchman on the wall, even in churches that supposedly subscribe to sound doctrine, yet being treated as if I am the one who is outside the camp, so to speak! I don't get it???

    1. It is wearying, I agree. And sometimes it feels like we are outside the camp even though some are in a Bible believing church. This is because of Matthew 13:25, and these tares are sown IN the church, not the world.

      but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.

      Matthew Henry's Commentary says,

      This parable represents the present and future state of the gospel church; Christ's care of it, the devil's enmity against it, the mixture there is in it of good and bad in this world, and the separation between them in the other world. So prone is fallen man to sin, that if the enemy sow the tares, he may go his way, they will spring up, and do hurt; whereas, when good seed is sown, it must be tended, watered, and fenced. The servants complained to their master; Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? No doubt he did; whatever is amiss in the church, we are sure it is not from Christ. Though gross transgressors, and such as openly oppose the gospel, ought to be separated from the society of the faithful, yet no human skill can make an exact separation. Those who oppose must not be cut off, but instructed, and that with meekness.

      The problem is the "sleeping." Many do not practice discernment, or are entranced with programs, or are simply coasting on tradition. They are sleeping.

      Secondly, the word "fenced". Too many pastors accept gross transgressors as members or those members who grossly transgress aren't dealt with. Unbiblically divorced people are made leaders, pastors who plagiarize are given second and third chances, sexual immorality is tolerated. And so on. Church discipline is not taken seriously. Also, the Gospel is compromised, another fence broken. "Fences" are broken down in many spots, leaving wide open spaces for the wolves to come in.

      Finally, many leaders are tired too. People in churches don't behave biblically if they ever did for any consistent period of time. They're tired of guarding the pulpit, dealing with inane complaints, shallow study and lack of interest. When someone comes along like you who urges to keep up vigilance, they're resentful. Why? They are tired too and want to simply let down their sword and rest. It's easier to deal with the pointer-outer than it is to deal with satan's tentacles in the church, so you get the brunt.

      Keep up the good fight. Jesus will say "Well done good and faithful servant" while others will have to account for themselves. It's tiring, I know. Maybe Jesus will come tomorrow ;)

    2. Elizabeth, Thanks for your response. I have thought about the Mat.13:25 scripture regarding these issues, but I guess I didn't really want to believe that so many people that are put in leadership positions fit this description. Thanks for your encouragement, and I guess I need to remember who I ultimately answer to. Yes, I pray Jesus will come soon!!!

  4. I was deeply involved in the chaos for over 20 plus years. From the music to the prophecies to the dances and everything in between. We would add and take away from God's word all the time. I did not know anything else and was saved in a pentecostal church. It was through a tragic loss and much tears that God brought me out.I had so many questions and it was through loss and grief that the Lord opened my eyes to things I never saw before. And it was always right there in the scriptures. But I was blind and deaf. I am beyond grateful and continually humbled by God's love and grace.
    Loving Jesus Christ and following after Him is never part time or given in scripture as an option. It is a must. There will always be the "few" as scripture teaches as opposed to the "many" Matthew 7:14 20:16.
    This is what Lord says about His choosing. "For you see your calling, brethern,how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty,not many noble,are called: But GOD HAS CHOSEN the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;And base things of the world which are despised, hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:that no flesh should glory in his presence"1Cor1:26-29

    There is nothing easy about following after Christ. The Jesus being preached at these churches is another Jesus. The appetite for signs and wonders just baffles common sense. The need for adulation is remarkable indeed. Our youth are in deep trouble as they are the main target for these false ministries.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for your moving testimony. I'm sorry you had to endure such tragic loss along the way. What a wonderful thing it is to read your praises, though. :)

    2. I wanted to also thank-you Elizabeth. Thank-you for understanding. My loss was a necessity. The pain too. God is our Potter and He knows what to do to break us when and how he chooses. But being broken is a continual process that the Lord does. Pruning for Himself. I know of no virtue that comes without pain and suffering. This article you shared is necessary I think.
      Open dialogue and asking questions are the one thing the false church does not want or endorse. I feel as if they are keeping the youth entertained through flattery and a sense of false confidence in themselves. "Let me not I pray you accept any mans person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man" Job 32:21 You hear things like "You are called to be a prophet to the nations or you are as Paul was an anointed apostle sent forth" "God saw your tears and He is so pleased with you"or like what was said to me. "You are a woman of divine wisdom and a conduit for God's kingdom, people will come from the 4 corners of the earth to hear your wisdom""You will carry a heavy anointing that will set the captives free" It is all the edifying of self. It is the self that becomes special and the self that is highly anointed etc.. Christ is no longer exalted but self is.

      But it is a house built on sand, on lies of the enemy. Now I understand more then ever what Christ meant when he said " Come out of her my people"


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