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Charismatic Chaos

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,015 ratings  ·  75 reviews
The charismatic movement of the past quarter-century has made an impact on the church unparalleled in history. But one legacy of the movement is confusion and mushy thinking. In Charismatic Chaos, John F. MacArthur calls for biblical evaluation and analyzes the doctrinal differences between charismatics and non-charismatics in the light of Scripture. "My principal concern, ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 10th 1993 by Zondervan Academic (first published 1992)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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David S. T.
Oct 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Another reviewer summed it up pretty well, this book is biased (but what do you expect from the title). The purpose of this book is to prove that charismatics are wrong and he takes the most extreme examples to prove his points. This does make for an entertaining read, but as someone who was raised in these types of churches, from my experience the majority of what he says never happens or were pretty rare events. He makes it seem that most Pentecostals rely solely on spirit revelations but from ...more
William Dicks
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent warning against the abuses of Scripture and experiences within the charismatic movement, but I do think that MacArthur pushes the envelope a bit too far. He should differentiate between continuationist Christians (thoughtful, Scripture bound charismatics) and what I would call charismaticism (the abusive branch among charismatics). Not all charismatics are fringe lunatics, and MacArthur seems to paint over all charismatics with the same cynical brush.
Brent McCulley
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, theology
MacArthur's systematic treatment of Pentecostalism, the Third Wave Charismatic Movement, and the Word of Faith movement, in Charismatic Chaos, is written forthrightly and ominously--published in 1992, one could only expect the movement to grow as fantastically as it has done in a mere two decades, thereby prompting MacArthur to respond once more twenty-one years later with his Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship.

Interestingly enough, Charismatic Chaos i
Fred Cheock
Mar 13, 2013 marked it as to-read
I had read this book. The author was confused between the true manifestation of the Spirit, the crazy and the ignorant, the emotional and the demonic manifestation. The reason is he personally have not experience the presence of the Spirit of God and His power.

Personally, I recommend he goes deeper.
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love John MacArthur's body of work. Some of the greatest sermons and best Bible exposition I've ever heard have come from his pulpit. And even though I disagree with him in part, I absolutely adore my MacArthur Study Bible for the deep insight and into the biblical text that it contains - it is my "go to" commentary. John MacArthur is not only not my enemy but I consider him a valued ally in preaching the gospel, proclaiming truth, and bringing glory to God alone.

Yet despite my respect and adm
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: theology
John MacArthur is the teacher know made me discover the doctrines of grace and the true biblical teaching about signs and wonders. I read this book because I wanted to confirm what was teached in it in order to be able to share a copy with someone. Some chapters are not too much actual and talk mostly about American auto-declared prophets. Those chapters will seem to come out of another planet for most Quebecois. However, chapter on Tongues and True Spirituality have less American examples and a ...more
Moe  Shinola
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was an enormous help to me. It showed me that I didn't have to worry all the time that I was letting my standing with God slip somehow, just because the emotional displays I saw in the charismatic church were not a reality for me. I'm really a pretty staid individual, and that's alright. The exposure of the doctrinal problems the movement suffered from was a real eye-opener, too, especially the link between Kenneth Hagin and E.W. Kenyon, the New Thought trancendentalist. Highly recomme ...more
Melissa C
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book challenged me to look beyond the warm fuzzy charismatic movement I was in and to seriously reconsider what I have been taught is "normal". We have a walk with God that needs to be real, uncompromising and without all the superficial embellishments. I am thankful for my spiritual upbringing but in the end there should only be a singular focus: God and his grace that bought us at a price.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I wish every single within the charismatic movement would read this book!
Travis Rogers
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A spring of clarity in times of flooded confusion.

The Charismatic Movement has been growing in popularity in recent years faster than one can keep track. Is there something to it or is it nothing more than a delusion on a massive scale? MacArthur puts forth his all to help clarify what is going on and which side of the fence actually aligns with Scripture. Does the Bible teach that tongues, healing, and prophecy still exist today? Is there such a thing as being zapped in the SPirit? Is experienc
Percival Buncab
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
As one of the most prominent theologians of our time, Dr. John MacArthur has done a scholarly work exposing the charismatic heresies (re: tongues, prophecy, healing, apostleship, prosperity etc.) by presenting exegetical arguments as his ultimate basis (as cessationists believe in the sufficiency of the Scriptures), backed up with historical and medical research (from both Christian and secular sources).

Most of the book's citations are from charismatics, themselves. Dr. MacArthur fairly assesse
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
There is a clear bias towards the reformed tradition but that shouldn't come as a surprise when you consider the author and title of the book!

John MacArthur sets out his position in a coherent manner using both scriptural , historical and anecdotal evidence throughout the text. For anyone seeking to understand the reformed view on the chakras matrix church this would be a good starting point.

The only criticism is that it needs updating because mention some of the personalities by name and there
John Brackbill
A good read. It is a bit dated with the examples and MacArthur paints with an extreme brush with his examples, but the point stands-charismatic theology is a magnet for doctrinal error. The best parts of the book are when MacArthur is dealing with Scriptural argumentation on the issues. I could have done without the overload of examples and quotes. I plan on reading "Strange Fire" this year so thought it was important to read his first book in this controversy.
Mar 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My reading of this book was more of a thorough skimming, but I got the points MacArthur was making. Some were well made others less so. He does well showing the dangers of placing "experience," over the Bible. The gifts of the spirit should indeed be used judiciously. However, I don't think he proved that those gifts ended with the apostolic age.
If I had more time, I might actually read the entire book.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really good, in-depth work on why the Word of Faith movement, along with some other crazy trends, is more than just a good idea gone to excess. It's actually quite dangerous, and attempts to replace God's Word with man's word, relying on various texts either taken out of their setting or whose meaning is turned on its head. What really flabbergasted me was the very popular teaching that man is a 'little god', or really only different from God in scope, power, and invisibility.
Dylan Jones
Sep 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't agree with a lot of this book, but John MacArthur is correct in addressing the excess and abuse that can occur in the movement. I think we as charismatics need to be vigilant and discerning while still expecting to see the miraculous.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: religious
An unbiblical and unconvincing argument. Does God really want us to sit around going mouldy before the return of Christ?
Pastor Greg
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had only become a born again Christian recently when several pentecostals and charismatics informed me that I was still missing something and that I needed another experience with the Holy Spirit that would cause me to speak with other tongues. I began attending a little Apostolic Pentecostal church with a friend that had less than 20 people in attendance and there was an indirect attempt to pull me into this experience (as well as a full on, hostile rejection of the Trinity, eternal security, ...more
Bro. Austin McCormick
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Corey Walker
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very thorough and extensive critique on the Charismatic movement that was popularized in the late 60s and grew exponentially in the coming decades leading up to the publication of this book in 1992. Having come out of the Charismatic movement myself, it was alarming to read about the teachings, practices, and behaviors of the individuals during this time period due to how closely they resemble the same experiences of today. While I thought the book was informative and flowed well, it could've ...more
Dylan Hutchens
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
John MacArthur offers a critique of what he observes to be some of the more alarming parts of the charismatic movement. In addition to this, he offers this critique from the vantage point as a friend of Pentecostal/charismatic brethren. Lastly, what makes this book good is that he offers simple advice on studying the Bible from within its context. In contrast to the book released after the strange-fire conference this early book by MacArthur has a warmer approach responding to brothers and siste ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Eye opening to the questions that should be arising and addressed by the use of tongues and seeking of the other spiritual gifts spoken of in Corinthians. While this is a bit older, the concerns that were prevalent in the 90s are still pertinent for today’s church as the emotion driven churches (as opposed to Word based) that are appealing to so many millennials (esp built around popular music styles etc) may be ultimately pulling away from the gospel and distorting it in ways that may be not wh ...more
Jason Harris
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
It's a good book. He doesn't paint all Charismatics with the same brush. He leaves enormous room for differences. But at the same time holds key teachings and ideas up to ruthless scrutiny. Anyone who is Charismatic and wants to defend Charismaticism ought to, in my opinion, read this book first. Not that it will stop you from trying to defend Charismaticism. But that any defense must address the ideas addressed in this book to be credible.
Tally, The Chatty Introvert
I'm not rating this one because I've read stuff so similar to this one I was falling asleep every 5 pages. I despise the "charismatic" movement, but these older examples aren't helpful. I'd rather read about newer ones.

This book has been around a long time, and very likely it's been research fodder for those who want to examine charismatic Christianity, healing through faith, prosperity, miracles, etc. Whether to support or debunk, I'm sure this book has been used to help a hundred other authors
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Though I largely agree with MacArthur’s theology, I struggle with his tone and attitude. He often states his interpretations of truth as fact, and uses sarcasm where it is hardly appropriate. I would only recommend this book to a very mature, level-headed, loving Christian who is dedicated to unity.
Andrew Gupta
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
More than two decades after, MacArthur's assessment of the charismatic movement holds true and his concerns are even more warranted. If the names and current events are taken out, everything else about this book would suggest that it was written recently.

John Rimmer
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
MacArthur is ruthless, sparing no corner of the abuses associated with Charismatic excess. Goes a little too far in some places in his exegetical fervor, but overall is a fair and bold treatment of the subject.
Dan Oosthuizen
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book, more than any other, opened my eyes to the waywardness of the Charismatic Movement in which I myself was mired. Reading this book was like holding up a mirror to my own experiences and having the light of the Word obliterate its darkness.
Rod Innis
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great book that I truly enjoyed.
Though somewhat dated in its references, this title endures in its principles.
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John F. MacArthur, Jr. is a United States Calvinistic evangelical writer and minister, noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You and as the editor of the Gold Medallion Book Award winning MacArthur Study Bible. MacArthur is a fifth-generation pastor, a popular author and conference speaker and has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969, and ...more

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