Dr. Michael Brown vs. John MacArthur – Brown Shreds MacArthur


Holyfield vs. Tyson.

Ali vs. Foreman.

Leonard vs. Durán‎.

All examples of two titanic powers going at it with all of their high-voltage prowess.

In Michael Brown’s brand new-hot-off-the-presses book Authentic Fire, Brown goes nose-to-nose with John MacArthur and excoriates his arguments in Strange Fire.

Authentic Fire by Michael Brown is a book that every charismatic, every cessationist, and every continuationist will want to have in their library.

Because I like Brown’s book so much, endorsing it glowingly, I interviewed Michael Brown on his powerful new book.

I was also able to work out a special deal for my readers.

If you get Michael’s book before January 22nd, you’ll receive a 25,000-word collection of some of Brown’s best work.

Just buy the book – Kindle or paperback – and then email  telling them that you bought the book.

Okay, enjoy the interview and get the book.

Michael, Tell us why you felt motivated to write this book.

Dr. Michael Brown: The writing of this book came as quite a surprise to me, but based on what I’m hearing from readers, it has really met a major need.

Back in June 2013, people began asking me about an upcoming conference on “Strange Fire” that would be hosted by Pastor John MacArthur. When I read some of the articles and listened to some of the promotional sound bites, I was absolutely shocked, as the level of attack coming against my charismatic brothers and sisters was troubling.

To be perfectly clear, as a charismatic myself, I’ve addressed charismatic abuses for decades – this is well documented in Authentic Fire – but the charges being raised by Pastor MacArthur were, in my opinion, far more harmful than helpful. And so, feeling prompted by the Lord, I began to write articles on the subject, addressing him respectfully and with appreciation for his many fine labors, but asking for face to face dialog while responding publicly to his public charges.

Some of the articles went viral, including one on the eve of the Strange Fire conference (by that time I had received an advance copy of Pastor MacArthur’s Strange Fire book), to the point that one session at the conference (which was held in October) was devoted largely to responding to concerns I had raised.

Now, the thought had previously occurred to me that I might write a 30-40 page response to the Strange Fire book and release it as an e-book, but nothing more than that. Then, the day the conference started, I was flooded with requests – including one from a publisher – asking me to write a full-length response (and more) to Strange Fire and to produce an e-book as soon as possible.

In my spirit, I knew this was the Lord, and so, after finishing another writing project, I spent three intensive weeks writing, often working until close to 5:00 AM, also getting some great contributions from Craig Keener and Sam Storms and others. Less than one month after that, the e-book was out, and, to my delight, the publisher arranged to have print on demand books made available through my ministry. And so, o the paperback version of the book (about 420 pages) was also on my desk in a matter of weeks. What a wonderful whirlwind it has been!

How is your book different from other books on the same subject?

Dr. Michael Brown: Actually, there are no other books that cover this same ground since: 1) Authentic Fire responds directly and in depth to Pastor MacArthur’s charges, but graciously and with a heart for unity. 2) The book documents how charismatics and Pentecostals have addressed abuses in our movement for years, providing many eye-opening quotes from some prominent leaders. 3) The book contains a lengthy chapter making a case for the ongoing manifestation of the Spirit’s gifts called “Sola Scriptura and Therefore Charismatic.”

Readers have said this part of the book helped them more than anything. 4) Authentic Fire exposes the genetic fallacy of, “An early leader in your movement sinned and held to wrong beliefs, therefore your whole movement is corrupt.”

This chapter is also quite an eye-opener. 5) The book documents how professing believers in the past literally killed each other over doctrinal differences and calls us to learn from their errors. 6) Authentic Fire invites readers to experience God for themselves in a fresh new way, using Scripture and quotes from noted leaders. 7) The book gives a constructive way forward in the midst of our differences. 8) Everything is carefully documented, and the book uses as many online references as possible, meaning that the e-book links instantly to these sources.

So, all in all, having read widely in these areas, I believe the book is unique.

Give us two or three insights from the book that would be helpful to all Christians, both charismatic and non-charismatic.

Dr. Michael Brown: One of the most interesting chapters in the book is called, “Spirit and Truth, Right Brain and Left Brain,” and it explains how charismatics and cessationists often see things through very different eyes. This insight was really helpful to me, enabling me better to understand my non-charismatic colleagues and highlighting our respective strengths and weaknesses.

So, for example, the charismatic believer is more likely to be a person willing to hear God’s voice and step out in faith, but a weak side of this would be gullibility. The non-charismatic believer is more likely to be sober and circumspect in faith, but a weak side of this would be skepticism and cynicism. I list numerous illustrations like this in the chapter, and readers are finding it very helpful.

Another useful insight for all readers is to point out that we often use a double standard, condemning those we differ with for their errors or shortcomings while excusing those we agree with for similar (or worse!) errors or shortcomings. It’s incumbent on us to use equal weights and measures and to mix our zeal for truth with love for the Body.

One more insight for all readers is the depth to which our Father wants us to have real fellowship with us by His Spirit. This is hardly limited to charismatics! Jesus longed to eat His last meal with His disciples, and that expresses God’s desire for our friendship. Sometimes the very thought of that blows me away.

Why should a charismatic Christian read your book?

Dr. Michael Brown: This is a must read for all charismatics for several reasons: 1) It’s a great time for honest introspection, examining the recent charges against us in a constructive way and calling us to step higher where appropriate. 2) It’s important that charismatic Christians have a deeper, biblical basis for their beliefs and practices. 3) Reading the book will greatly edify and encourage them – the appendixes to the book, written by other authors, personally edified and encouraged me – especially when they see what God is doing by His Spirit worldwide. 4) Authentic Fire will actually give them a greater love and appreciation for their non-charismatic brothers and sisters.

Why should a non-charismatic Christian read your book?

Dr. Michael Brown: This is a must read for all non-charismatics for several reasons as well: 1) Many non-charismatics only know of charismatics through the charges of Strange Fire (or through the lens of Christian networks like TBN); this book helps set the record straight. 2) Authentic Fire models how we can have our differences while learning from each other and honoring each other, showing the strengths and weaknesses of each side. 3) Non-charismatics will be very interested to read the “Sola Scriptura” chapter, allowing them to evaluate why they believe what they do. I’ve been hearing from readers and from listeners to my radio show that their views have now changed based on the scriptural evidence presented.

How can people order the book?

Dr. Michael Brown: They can just click HERE to order the e-book (and begin reading in seconds) or the print version (which, at present, is not available through bookstores or other vendors but just through our ministry).

And as a blessing to your blog readers, we put together a special compilation of chapters from my previous books and even relevant poems (yes, my poems!) amounting to more than 25,000 words that we’re sending out to everyone who orders Authentic Fire this week.

Click here to order Dr. Michael Brown’s new book on Kindle or paperback and then email authenticfire@askdrbrown.org to get his FREE bonus eBook.




  1. Matthew says

    I did some searching … and pardon me if the answer is right in front of my face and I am missing it … but is “Authentic Fire” (and “Beyond Evangelical”) only available in electronic format(s)?

  2. GregA says

    I consider myself part of the evangelical tribe. I do not consider myself “Charismatic” but do believe that God can come to a person with power and a filling of the Holy Spirit. If anything, I think the Charismatic understanding of the working of God’s Spirit may be too limited. I’ve developed the conviction over the past couple of years that much of the preaching in the evangelical church is in word only, without power — the exact opposite of how Paul characterizes how the gospel should be ministered. I used to be a solid devotee of John MacArthur’s, but I really think he’s spends much of his time presenting a view of the gospel that is devoid of the supernatural presence of God — a gospel without power. I think this is a weakness within the entire evangelical church, for the most part.

  3. Leslie I T Asaiah-Asher says

    The title of the post grabbed me to read it. Great,very authentic and compelling post to read.

  4. Len Hummel says

    Michael Brown is one of GOD’s leading voices in the wilderness today. He is sound, solid, articulate, and gracious. He is also one who consistently speaks the TRUTH WITH LOVE. – something which, sadly, is often in short supply among ‘spokesmen’ for GOD and for Christ and His Kingdom.
    Great interview, btw. All Christians would benefit by reading more of Dr.Brown’s books and his several websites, including his very popular facebook wall.

    Let us earnestly pray to speak the Truth WITH LOVE more & more in a world (mostly) walking in conflicts and darkness.

  5. John says

    The real people enjoy a good battle. Bring it! The religious boring prudes are folks we don’t want to hang out with anyways.

    This kind of stuff exposes them……the prudes.

    Frankie V. rocks

  6. Jennifer says

    Frank, loved the title and got the book. by the way, I sent this post to my dad and all he had to say is that he didn’t like the word “shred.” He’s an old-timer and sensitive to everything. I read your blog regularly and love your humor and colorful metaphors. Don’t change!

    • says

      Thx. for “getting it” Jen. Yea, some Xtns are offended at everything they see and have swallowed the politically correct charged culture of our times. It’s both silly and sad, straining at gnats while swallowing camels.

      I think Michael did a great job on the interview, and yes, he SHREDDED and EXCORIATED MacArthur’s arguments. And he did it with both grace and style. Ironically, MacArthur’s book is full of *real* vitriole, not simply strong metaphors. 😉

      • George says

        This is what bothers me about some Christians. They are offended by stupid stuff. When I wasn’t a Christian, this is what irked me about them. It still does now after I’m a Christian. I’m glad people who read your blog aren’t like this. Great post! Ordering the book tonight.

        • says

          Thx. George. Yea, the Blog Manager told me that some of the comments were over the top and the people didn’t seem to even read the first paragraph to understand what the post is all about.

  7. Joe and Denise says

    Frank, thanks for this interview. It was awesome. Ordering the book now.

    Oh, and the HEADLINE WAS BRILLIANT. Honestly, I wouldn’t have clicked on the link if it wasn’t so compelling.

    I plan to attend your Buzz seminar in July to learn how to get readers. I’m already learning by watching you! lol.

    • says

      Thanks for “getting it” Joe and Denise. You are right, posts that have lame or boring headings aren’t read. Truth is, Michael did shred MacArthur’s arguments. That’s what the post shows. So glad you’re coming to Buzz … it’s well worth the investment.

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