The Holy Spirit: Book Critique

The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

Book Critique

Bibliography Entry

MacArthur, John F. Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013.


            The book by MacArthur is very resourceful to Christians and leaders seeking to be effective in their ministries and in their personal growth in Christ. The book has three chapters, each delving in different topics, addressing the need for Christians to understand the immense power of the Holy Spirit. In the first chapter, the author states how Christians in several parts of the world have been faking their understanding of the working of the Holy Spirit.

Others use their position to swindle and steal from unsuspecting listeners using the language of generosity and faith.[1] He says prosperity is not a gospel but a heresy.[2] The author says that the Holy Spirit is already churning the Church through mighty revivals and it requires Christians to discern the times and workings of the Holy Spirit in their midst.

            In the second chapter, the author states the importance of speaking in tongues as a sign to the Israelites and as a transition to the new covenant from the old.[3] The use of tongues should be orderly and only for edification purposes and not for spiritual ecstasy. The author strongly reinstates the need to have faith in praying for the sick, whose healing should depend on the faith of their intercessors, not theirs.

The author in the third chapter brings several themes into light. First, the author highlights the dangers of counterfeiting the working of the Holy Spirit, stating that it is vital to have a true understanding of the Holy Spirit in worship. The Holy Spirit is God, whose presence in a person should result in a greater spiritual experience.

The Holy Spirit has the ability to secure a person’s salvation, but some charismatic Christians ignore this wonderful ministry of the Holy Spirit. The author states that it is important for believers to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit in order to offer effective worship to God and to be fiery in their ministries.[4]


            The works of MacArthur highlights several problems encountered in the Christian faith worldwide. The author is concerned with the low level of spirituality in the church; and how some ministers have reduced the message of salvation to personal gain. The author’s arguments on the working of the Holy Spirit resonates the need for the church to awaken and rediscover the power of revival, prayer, worship and evangelism.

I agree with the author’s analyses of several theatrics present in the church such as false tongues, false miracles, prosperity gospel, and use of the pulpit for personal gain. It is imperative for the minister to understand their call and adhere to their master’s command, the Holy Spirit, in their daily activities.

            The author has also stated how important it is to speak in tongues; genuine tongue that leads to edification of the person. This is the most abused practice in the church according to the author, and amounts to mockery of the highest order to the Spirit.

The fact that many Christians do not understand the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives in terms of His plans for their salvation also highlights the need for Christians to seek for a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit.  To sustain the great revival and to keep the Spirit fire burning, Christians will have to safeguard themselves from false doctrines and practices and lean to the pure word of God.


            MacArthur reinstates the perpetual need for revival in the body of Christ in his book. Since the beginning of the 19th century, the church has experienced mighty revivals by the Holy Spirit seeking to change the static nature of the church to a vibrant one. The notion of being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in new tongues is a part of Christian experience that the mainstream churches have ignored for a long time.[5]

The Holy Spirit has immense ability to work in the current church in an even mightier state than the ancient church; something that has been plagued by the inability of the church to recognize His power and the need to yield under His authority. The Holy Spirit is a prerequisite for the successful operation of the church, which Jesus promised to send, without which we cannot be effective in ministry.[6]

            George Smeaton in his book The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit reiterates how this third personality of God has been working with humanity since the time of Enoch. The Holy Spirit is the finisher and effecter of the purposes and plans of God. However, the reason why the church has remained dormant for a long time is due to lack of understanding of the Holy Spirit and yielding to the spirit of confusion.

The church is at the edges of societal centrality due to entertainment of ungodly doctrines by ministers and congregation as well. Christians must learn to test the spirits to know which is from God in order to avoid deception.[7] God gave several people in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit in order to do specific tasks, requiring wisdom, courage, extreme strength, and skills.[8] Therefore, the infilling with the Holy Spirit is a requisite for effective spiritual experience in Christianity and realization of greater purpose. The author’s analogy of the works of the Spirit reflects the works of other authors as an imperative entity.

Works Cited

MacArthur, John F. Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013.

Smeaton, George. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.

Synan, Vinson. The century of the Holy Spirit: 100 years of Pentecostal and charismatic renewal, 1901-2001. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2012.

Thiselton, Anthony C. The Holy Spirit–in biblical teaching, through the centuries, and today. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013.

[1] MacArthur. Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013. Pp. 10.

[2] Ibid, pp. 16.

[3] Ibid, pp. 143.

[4] Ibid. pp. 204

[5] Synan. The century of the Holy Spirit. 1901-2001. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2012.pp. 1

[6] Smeaton, George. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.pp. 60

[7] MacArthur. Strange fire. Pp. 38.

[8] Thiselton, Anthony C. The Holy Spirit–in biblical teaching, through the centuries, and today.Pp. 04

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