December 12, 2017

The Eclectic Web – 2014.4.4

Compiled by Don Johnson

Given our interest in John MacArthur’s views on the charismatic movement (see our review of Strange Fire here and our open letter to John MacArthur here), I think it is appropriate that we notice that Dr. MacArthur has clearly spelled out the differences between his views and John Piper’s views. Full links noted below the jump.

Two other stories appeared in the last while that bear Christian observation and interest. The strange story of the World Vision flip-flop is the first one. The story probably isn’t over, as Christians will decide whether WV is still worthy of support depending on moves the organization makes in the days ahead. It is hard to imagine no negative consequences for their actions. The other story is the strange case of Liberty University and Benny Hinn, two names you usually don’t see connected with one another. LU seems to keep that disconnect in place, but LU’s provost appeared with Benny Hinn in a surprising video. This story will develop further as well.

Our last link is an interesting blog from someone using the pen name of Beth Cavete, discussing the sensual invasion that is CCM. It’s worth a look.

MacArthur and Piper

Piper: Piper Addresses Strange Fire and Charismatic Chaos – the Desiring God post we linked to in our open letter.

MacArthur’s responses on the Grace to You blog:

Biblical Prophecy and Modern Confusion (March 10, 2014)

In Scripture, prophecy is always presented as the infallible, authoritative declaration of God’s inerrant revelation. It was not an impression on the mind, whether clear or vague, but a verbal declaration, using words the prophet vocalized audibly or wrote legibly in the presence of others who could hear or read them. Scripture never uses the terminology of prophecy to speak of mystical, intuitive impressions. When continuationists use the biblical terminology of the miraculous gifts to describe something other than the biblical phenomena—when they take a word with a very narrow meaning in Scripture (such as prophecy) and give it a new, broad, unbiblical application—that is, when they redefine the terms—continuationists tacitly concede the central premise of the doctrine of cessationism, namely, that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit as defined and practiced in the New Testament do not occur today.

Prophecy Redefined (March 12, 2014)

To distinguish between (a) testing and rejecting false prophecies and (b) testing and rejecting false prophets is to make a distinction without a difference. Nowhere in Scripture is a prophet divorced from the words he speaks, as Piper proposes. On the contrary, by the very definition of the word, a prophet was one who spoke forth the words of God. A true prophet was judged on the basis of the truth or falsehood of his prophecies. A false prophet was one who uttered false prophecies; and false prophecies are, by definition, the utterances from a false prophet. This distinction without a difference indicates the kind of interpretive overparsing used to arrive at a particular interpretation. That is something so unlike nearly every other aspect of John Piper’s ministry.

Fallibility and Female Prophets (March 17, 2014)

Therefore, if New Testament prophecy is infallible, authoritative, and on par with Scripture, as we claim, then 1 Corinthians 11:4–5 does not contradict Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 2:12. These texts harmonize without having to radically redefine the gift of prophecy.

Prophecy, “the Perfect,” and the End of What? (March 20, 2014)

So, although it is often used as a slam-dunk text to support continuationism, 1 Corinthians 13 teaches nothing directly about when the gifts cease. Paul is once again correcting the Corinthian believers—the knowledge they so highly prized, which came as a result of prophetic gifts, would one day be outshined by the enduring character of love. Rather than trying to show up one another with ostentatious displays of their giftedness, they should focus their energy on loving one another.

Drawing Lines (March 28, 2014)

The abuses that have arisen in the charismatic movement are not merely incidental to their theology; they are organically linked to it. If charismatic and continuationist leaders ignore that direct link, any call to correct errors and abuses will prove to be ineffective—you can’t deal with the fruit if you don’t deal with the root.

These links indicate the position of Dr. MacArthur with respect to somewhat conservative continuationists like John Piper. He clearly marks out the doctrinal differences he has with them, but he wishes to maintain his connection with them. He will be working in ministry with him in a few days at the Together for the Gospel conference. From a fundamentalist perspective, it is hard to imagine how it is productive to be so careful to delineate such egregious errors but at the same time to continue in ministry cooperation. However, I appreciate the clarifications.

World Vision flip-flop

By now this story is almost old news, it happened so long ago in internet years. Nevertheless, it is a significant story in the ongoing cultural battle over homosexuality. The modern world in recent years has suddenly become absolutely intolerant of any deviation on this point. We fear that the pressure on Christians will intensify in days to come.

World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages | Christianity Today (March 24, 2014)

The story started here for me, a shocking headline in the CT news feed.

World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.

Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.

The story made headlines everywhere and drew rebukes from prominent Christians of the more conservativish stripe. Then, two days later, came the dramatic reversal:

World Vision Reverses Decision To Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages | Christianity Today (March 26, 2014)

The initial decision came with heavy backlash from the evangelical community with only some support for the decision. The day after the announcement was made, the Assemblies of God denomination urged its members to consider dropping their support.

So far, about one week later, I haven’t seen any news of any kind of shake-up following this upheaval. One preacher was quoted as thinking “heads will roll” but so far no sign of change. Personally, I think there should be some significant changes, but I’m not holding my breath. Given the current culture, where a man who supported a gay marriage ban was forced out of a secular company today, it seems possible that WV execs and board members could survive because the broader culture may allow it.

Liberty University and Benny Hinn

Well, first came this big announcement:

Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies – Benny Hinn Ministries

For some time now we have been in dialogue with Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies in Lynchburg, Virginia, and we recently agreed that we should join hands to form a powerful, worldwide ministry connection that will touch the world and impact you eternally.

Liberty University quickly responded:

Statement: Liberty not partnering with Hinn | Liberty University

Liberty University is not partnering with Benny Hinn.  Liberty transferred the operations of Liberty Home Bible Institute, a non-accredited biblical studies certificate program, to Mr. Dan Reber a number of years ago.  It is our understanding that LHBI’s new operators are working with Benny Hinn but LHBI is no longer operated by Liberty University.  Mr. Reber was granted certain licensing rights to use Liberty’s name because the Liberty name was deeply imbedded in LHBI course materials.  He was also required to obtain permission from Liberty University for any changes in marketing of the courses and Liberty University is investigating to determine whether this new marketing approach violates the terms of its agreement with Mr. Reber.

All well and good, but there is one more piece to this puzzle that makes observers wonder what really is going on with LU and Benny Hinn:

Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies

Two men appear on this video with Benny Hinn, the above mentioned Dan Reber and Ronald Godwin, currently the Liberty University Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. As of this writing, he still appears on the Leadership page of Liberty University.

“The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is the chief academic officer for the university. He serves as the primary voice on academic matters within the administration, and is the second-highest ranked academic official of the university. In collaboration with the deans, the Faculty Senates, and the General Faculty, he is responsible for developing and implementing the academic vision and values of the university.”

Curiouser and curiouser, to quote Alice. This one bears watching.

Beth Cavete: The Sensual Invasion

The Sensual Invasion | Beth Cavete

This is a blog post written by someone who has come out of the charismatic movement and all its emotion driven content. She is particularly sensitive to what people are doing with CCM in churches. She asks these probing questions:

What if a generation is being trained to feel saved rather than to be saved?

What if rather than preaching a gospel unto repentance, a gospel is preached unto emotionally driven spiritual encounters?

What if Christian spirituality is becoming a degree or two removed from pagan spirituality, in which getting a moment to “center” oneself, to “meditate,” to “be with God,” to “touch the heart of God…” or any number of other phrases, is being taught and embraced at large as if it were what the Bible says?

I’d encourage you to read the whole thing.


Publication of links in The Eclectic Web feature does not imply endorsement of the viewpoint or contents of any of the websites linked. The links are provided as a matter of interest to Christians.

The Eclectic Web is compiled by Don Johnson. Don Johnson is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada.


Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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