So it is with some trepidation that I decided to review Strange Fire. Because I have valued what MacArthur preaches and writes since I was a boy, I wanted to believe that his book would be of value. I had hoped that he would tone down the rhetoric and focus on the necessity. I was both right and wrong.
He did not tone down the attacks one bit. If anything, some of them are more powerful in the book than from the conference. However, what he did do, that I really appreciated, was focus his attacks on those behind the Charismatic movement, not the individual believers. This set me slightly more at ease. The vast number of referenced remarks set me even further at ease.
One of the things I latched on to more than anything else was the issue of tongues. I have worked with a Pentecostal before, early in my ministry. We often preached together and prayed for our ship as a prayer team. One night, while praying, he started speaking in what I can only assume was some sort of prayer language. It unnerved me a great deal. Honestly it freaked me out. I grew up essentially baptist, so hearing what I thought was mere gibberish in a very spiritual sensitive moment was very scary. I asked my friend about it and, after he had explained it to me, I asked him not to do it again. He obliged and it never came back up.
I wish now that I had pursued the matter further. I don't think my friend is really a charismatic anymore, but I suppose he still believes in the gifts. I think, by the way, that MacArthur's book does a masterful job of explaining the issue of tongues.
Strange Fire is one of MacArthur's best books yet, and I've read many. Get a copy and learn about the charismatic movement for yourself. It will open your eyes!