Defending the Worldwide Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement

I’ve just posted a review of John MacArthur’s anti-charismatic book, Strange Fire. The review is written by a pastor I met here in Honolulu a few years ago named Dennis Balcombe. I had first heard of Balcombe in the Darren Wilson film Finger of God that devoted a segment to document the move of the Holy Spirit in the underground church in China. While attending Balcombe’s meetings I was blown away by even more testimony of this man’s life, his commitment to the Gospel, and the amazing things that he has witnessed in China during his 45+ years of ministry from his church in Hong Kong. Since then I have also read his autobiography, One Journey, One Nation, which came out in 2011.

Balcombe pulls no punches and goes after MacArthur’s narrow-minded and anti-biblical cessationist views right from the start. To read what he has to say, and to hear a few stories of how he has seen the Holy Spirit move, go to his review which I have posted here:

After reading the article be sure to take time to watch the brief video biography of Dennis Balcombe that I have embedded at the bottom of the page, and then feel free to post any comments back here on the blog.

“…grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”     -Acts 4:29-30

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Peter Goodgame



9 thoughts on “Defending the Worldwide Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement

  1. John MacArthur is exactly like the Pharisees were in the time of Jesus earthly ministry. He needs our prayers. Like Stephen prayed for and forgave a young Saul so we also need to pray for John. God still does “road to Demascus” experiences today. What an amazing testimony to millions worldwide that would be to see John MacArthur filled with the Holy Spirit. His book Strange Fire and his stout words against the working of the Holy Spirit need to be spoken against but we need to make sure we do it out of a pure heart that is motivated by the love of God.
    I enjoyed reading the article by Dennis Balcombe and I look forward to reading his book China’s Opening Door when it comes out in September. It is great to hear testimonies from other countries.


  2. Excellent post, Peter. John MacArthur is very mistaken about this, and his stubborn and public clinging to his mistakes produces the same self-confident ignorance among his disciples. “Cessationism” is the default view generally in the Reformation Church, sadly, and It is very deadening: it makes me think of the Church of Sardis. Pastor Balcombe is to be thanked and blessed for taking this on. — Robert Heid


  3. John MacArthur’s book “Strange Fire” is based on a tape series he did in the late 70’s (which I purchased not long after I got saved) called “The Charismatic Movement; Something More, or Something Less?” John MacArthur has always exposed the Charismatic ministry as claiming something more, but really having something less.

    I belonged to John MacArthur’s lending library for over 5 years in the early 90’s and listened to every message he had available at that time, including several messages from his good friend Bob Vernon who was LAPD assistant chief under Daryl Gates. Bob Vernon was a member of Grace Community Church, and his enemies accused him of wanting to “Stamp out sin rather than crime.” He was an outstaning police officer.

    I abandoned John MacArthur’s program “Grace To You” after I became educated about the Bible he uses. He has always used a Bible based on the corrupt Westcott and Hort sources for the Bible. I have come to believe that all Bibles other than the King James Bible are based on these corrupt and CHANGED manuscripts and are under the judgment of God. (Revelation 22: 18 & 19) I was always troubled in spirit when I listened to John MacArthur’s radio program because when he read from HIS Bible, it did not sound the same as the Bible I grew up on, and had memorized from. I was taken in by John’s marvelous speaking and preaching ability, but for me, I will no longer listen to anyone who uses a Bible other than the King James Bible, which I believe God has preserved as His own true Word, for English speaking people.

    Unfortunately I cannot agree with you Peter on the direction you have taken your ministry. We have been internet friends for several years now, and I continue to pray for you and your family and ministry. I do believe the sign gifts ended with the apostles. The Bible clearly teaches that. If not, why do we not see someone who grew up speaking English in America, all of a sudden able to speak Canonese without many years of language school? You will say my faith is weak, but the apostle Paul said in

    1 Corinthians 14: 19 (KJV)

    19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

    The filling of the Holy Spirit today does not result in the display of sign gifts. It results in the power to live a Godly life, with victory over personal sin, and the power to witness to the unsaved. The thief on the cross stands in majestic opposition to all claims of works and sign gifts. Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him (Jesus) TODAY in paradise. The thief never spoke in tongues, got baptized, joined any church, healed anyone, gave any money, won anyone to Christ, took communion, or helped little old ladies across the street. Yet Jesus saved him by simple faith.

    Free Grace for Sinners! Amen.


  4. I have a big problem with Balcombe’s defense of the likes of Bob Tilton, Marilyn Hickey, Kenneth Copeland (who is aligning himself with the current false prophet Jesuit pope), etc. I had the misfortune of sitting under the “full gospel” teachings back in the early 80′s. It was nothing but deception (parlor trick lengthening of legs, “slaying in the spirit”…) and “name it and claim it” prosperity doctrine. I thank my Lord for moving me far away from all of that. That said, I can’t dismiss Balcombe’s own experiences, nor that the Holy Spirit is truly working in these Asian countries. Perhaps he is just misinformed when it comes to what is going on the west.


  5. Quite obviously amazing things are happening in China and Hong Kong through Balcombe, and praise God for that. But he does defend people who are doing strange things and I am concerned about his comment about Marilyn Hickey; what Jesus does she preach then? Balcombe says ‘whole nations and society are being blessed and changing for God…..’. Wonderful, but which nations are they ? Again how wonderful, that this is the time of the harvest, and of the greatest revival as he says. Why oh why is the UK not partaking of this, or the US. I live in the UK and I see a society getting more and more corrupt and lost; there has been plenty of talk about revival over the years but in reality the opposite is happening. Although I dont agree with Macarthur I have some sympathy with some of his conclusions as the church in the West and especially here in the UK (with some exceptions) is liberal, compromised, corrupt and verging on the apostate. They are leading the nation to hell for the most part. Probably Balcombe from his place in Asia doesnt have this perspective.


  6. There is no question in my mind that the gifts are in operation today. They are in operation anywhere there is belief. They are revealed by God alone, through willing vessels, who open to Him in active and living faith. If they do not exist in areas, it is due to unbelief. Not salvation robbing unbelief, but power robbing unbelief.

    Prosperity will bring with it independence and unbelief as people perceive less need for dependance upon God. This of course is stifling the gifts in the westernized nations. How wonderful it must be to live and work in the poor nations that are rich in Spirit!


  7. indyusmcdad said …
    “The filling of the Holy Spirit today does not result in the display of sign gifts. It results in the power to live a Godly life, with victory over personal sin, and the power to witness to the unsaved.”
    You must be reading a different King James Bible than me.
    You and me are SINNERS and will always be if it was not for Jesus. Being saved does NOT Mean being sin-free. God sees us through Jesus. We still see ourselves in the mirror and feel guilty.
    By godly life are you suggesting perfect holiness(impossible) or are you suggesting that you throw your freewill thinking brain out the door and let the Holy Spirit think and make decisions for you(impossible).
    This holiness thing is a fallacy – Jesus took our sin.
    The mystery of what Jesus did – ie changed from Old Testament LAW to New Testament Spirituality is hard to grasp.
    You fight a spiritual war with an unseen enemy(devil) who occupies an unseen realm who has power to possess people and create storms and pestilences or mess with your thought processes.
    Or, maybe as you are suggesting, there is NO spiritual Realm and therefore NO Jesus cause that is where he comes from.
    So therefore the Holy Spirit is not needed to help fight the war? Where did the Holy Spirit come from?
    Truly, Jesus changed EVERYTHING.
    From LAW to opening up the spirit world.


  8. I was deeply troubled by the video showing Kenneth Copeland receiving and giving the messages that were exchanged with the pope, and the message of the bishop Tony Palmer, etc. I believe I have the Holy Spirit, and I trust the discernment He has given me, though I do not by any means claim to know or understand all I see or hear. What is this troubling in my heart and mind and soul? Would you please share your thoughts on the events that are transpiring between the evangelical & Pentecostal leaders with the Vatican leader? Thank you.


  9. Regarding Mary’s comment and Balcombe’s endorsement of Tilton, Hicky, Copeland. These con men/woman are evidence of Balcombe’s lack of discernment and a sad commentary on the Charismatic Movement today. I am open to the possibility of the sign gifts however I refuse to accept every silly claim of those in the movement today. Where are those speaking a foreign language, or those that have received new limbs or organs in a healing? Does anyone in the movement not read their Bible and seek the evidence for these signs rather than the claims of healing from con men like Benny Hinn ? The above wolves should be identified as such by those in the movement. If they can’t see the obvious from the actions and words of money grabbers, sorry you have no credibility.


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