We have been going through a series on the Holy Spirit. It was generated by my own heart concern for the terrible ways that the Holy Spirit is dishonored in the name of evangelicalism today. The Charismatic Movement sort of leads the parade on abusing the Holy Spirit, grieving the Holy Spirit, insulting the Holy Spirit, even blaspheming the Holy Spirit. And it just seems to be unbridled relentless abuse that is heaped upon the Holy Spirit. As I said very early on in the series, the unpardonable sin that Jesus addressed in the gospel of Matthew was attributing to Satan the works of the Holy Spirit. And I think there is a reverse of that sin today, and that is attributing to the Holy Spirit the works of Satan. This is rampant in our world and the abuses are obvious for all of us to see.
It’s very popular today to say anything you want to say about the Holy Spirit to assign to the Holy Spirit anything you wish to assign to Him to gain power over people. Dishonoring the Holy Spirit is a kind of an open sport now. There are attacks on God the Father, open Theism, that’s a theological attack that basically says God is not omniscient, He doesn’t know everything, doesn’t know the future. That’s a theological attack.
There are attacks on God the Son. One called a Pauline perspective denies the actual atoning death of Christ on the cross. It assaults the nature of God, open theism does. It assaults the nature of the work of Christ, the Pauline perspective, and an assault on the doctrine of atonement, imputation, justification. There have always been those attacks of a theological nature coming from within the church on the Father and the Son. The attacks on the Holy Spirit while they are doctrinal don’t come across as doctrinal. They’re not identifiable as doctrinal. They’re just relentless things that are blamed on the Holy Spirit of an experiential nature. They’re tragically attacking God, the glorious God who is three in one. The Charismatic Movement has, in essence, rejected the true identity of the Holy Spirit, rejected the true, glorious work of the Holy Spirit and substituted a false God. There is a false God identified as the Holy Spirit who is not the Holy Spirit, it’s a God of the making of people in the church today. It’s a golden calf, it’s a misrepresentation of God the Spirit.
And the Movement freely ignores the truth about the Holy Spirit and with reckless license puts up an idol spirit in the house of God, blaspheming the Holy Spirit in His own name. There are so many illustrations of this that one can barely keep up with them. There is a new book that is the current best seller on top of the New York Times list, it is a book that comes out of the Christian world called Heaven is For Real. It is a book that chronicles, supposedly, the trip of a four-year-old during an appendectomy to heaven. He went to heaven, came back. You would think that a book like that couldn’t fall off a shelf, let alone have somebody take it off a shelf and buy it. But five million were sold in the first nine months…five million books in which a four-year-old describes what he saw in heaven while he visited there during his appendectomy.
He saw the Father, he says, who has wings like Gabriel. He saw Jesus who has blue eyes and is only half as tall as Michael and shorter than Gabriel. But though He’s really short, He’s more powerful than the rest of them and He rides a rainbow horse that only He can ride. And he saw the Holy Spirit, too. And the Holy Spirit is a blue transparent fog floating around up there who shoots out power toward the earth. Five million of those in nine months? This is where we get our view of the Holy Spirit and God the Son and God the Father and heaven? From a hoax, fraud, four-year-old whose imagination is prompted and expanded by his parents, no doubt?...
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Grace to You
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry... gty.org