FIRE! FIRE! Receive? or Run?

There is a good conversation beginning under the post Slain in Whose Spirit?  It is thought-provoking and worth it’s own place on the blog and so I have given it one.

When others call for Fire! Fire! in sermons and in prayer time what exactly are they calling for? These false revivalists love the word fire. Should we run for cover?  What about Fire Tunnels made of two rows of people joined overhead hand in hand creating a tunnel. Others walk through and “receive” fire, impartation and prophetic words from those lined up creating the tunnel…

Below is the conversation. Feel free to join in!

From Ray:

We had an episode in church about six months ago when a visiting Ugandan preacher took the iniative to address the congregation [ impromtu ] and the next thing i heard was ” fire fire” , i knew immediately what this was , and it wasn’t good, but what astounded me the most was the reckless manner in which so many people fell over themselves [ and others ] just to get to the front to grab a piece of this annointing.I singled out one particular person in order to engage their opinion of the mornings events, and the response was well , less than overwhelming. Apparently it was real because it happened!!.Wow , what discernment, never mind that satan is capable of convincing false signs and wonders and that he appears as an angel of light.All things must be discerned by the word, and not by the experience.

From ruthsongs:

This “fire, fire” thing hit a church I used to attend a few years back. The visiting evangelist yelled “fire, fire” most of the “prayer time” night after night. I wasn’t impressed…more like perplexed.

What do you make of John the Baptist saying Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire?

In the context of people “praying” for fire, I understood them to mean something like passion for the Lord/the lost. But it has become a buzz word now. I can only see other scripture referring to fire as something destructive- as in hell’s fire, or actual, physical fire.

From Diane:

I just left a church that is very into the “fire, fire” prayers. I knew the intention of the prayer was for a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and it sometimes bothered me. One, because it felt like begging God for a “feel good” super-spiritual experience, and also because I’d never read in the bible that we should pray for fire. Now that I’m out of that church, the topic of fire in the bible is one of the many things I’m taking a closer look into. I have to say, I agree with your conclusion “I can only see other scripture referring to fire as something destructive- as in hell’s fire, or actual, physical fire”

Just last week I was reading the words of John the Baptist that you’ve quoted, which don’t seem to fit into the “destructive fire” category. When I kept reading, a subsequent verse caught my eye and led me to do a little research. I will try to explain what I’m thinking.

Matthew 3:11-12 (11) I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Now, I always understood the “and with fire” in verse 11 to be more of the Spirit….like pizza with extra cheese. But what if it’s something different? Maybe Jesus baptizes with two different things, and each person will have one (the Holy Spirit) or eventually the other (fire). That’s what verse 12 seems to suggest. These two verses so close together made me wonder if the ideas go together. So I went to and did my first word study! I learned that the Greek word for fire in both of these verses is the same, pyr, which is a consuming fire of judgment. So, I’m thinking I’m onto something here. I’m still working on how to articulate it, but this fire doesn’t sound like an attribute of the Holy Spirit to me.

What do you think? Does anyone else have any insight?

20 thoughts on “FIRE! FIRE! Receive? or Run?

  1. In the past year I was in plenty of meetings where people were calling for ‘more fire’. It is difinetly the current buzz word. Last month at our once a month house group meeting I couldn’t stand it any longer and had to speak. I asked if people really understood what they are asking for because according to Scripture it’s about burning stuff up…you. Elohim is a ‘consuming fire’, esh okhlah-אש אוכלה in Hebrew. His fire consumes and brings judgment. The Ruach was given to conform us to the image of Yeshua, to do that stuff needs to be judged and burnt up. Instead the Ruach has been turned into our personal gimme gimme Santa claus. I shudder to think how ignorant we stand before the Mighty Holy YHVH and scream FIRE FIRE MORE FIRE. But He is merciful and I pray that there will be a return to the Truth and simplicity of His Word that is a shield for us before the ruse of the enemy. Repentance and loving obedience to His Word is where there is freedom, safety, discernment, wisdom and His Presence.


    • Hadar Good post, Your comment about people returning to the truth and simplicity is commendable, but you will probably find yourself in the minority. In your love and pursuit of truth it will more than likely separate you from many you keep company with now. But the good news is it will not separate you from the Lord. May you continue to grow in the Grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


    • I think we fall into this kind of thing when we leave our brains at the door, and come looking for a one way performance or show. I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking God to purify us… give me clean hands, give me a pure heart, show me places I am disobedient etc. And I think some people associate asking for ‘fire’ with asking for cleansing and/or asking for passion to preach the gospel, etc.

      But in these unnatural church settings the congregation has to assume and fill in the blanks so much. I mean, why pray for ‘fire, fire’ (especially when we have no example of this in scripture unless we are calling down fire in a false prophet showdown)instead of using clear, intelligible language that all can say AMEN to?

      I’ve seen a lot of this in Charismatic circles. It’s like we are using the same words, but the meaning is up for grabs. It becomes acceptable in the performance/show environment. It’s not like anyone raises their hand and says, “Excuse me, what actually do you mean by fire, fire?” The congregation (audience) just sits in silence trying to figure it all out.

      That’s a little off the subject I know, but it seems to me to be part of the bigger picture of how this kind of trend/latest thing/buzzword repeats itself over and over and over. it also allows the mixture we so often see which can be difficult, if not exasperating, to discern.


      • I have to say that the shouting out Fire Fire is nothing but for show for some and for others the demonic impartation. To be purified by the true fire of God is not instantaneous, it is the resolve that it takes living the true Spirit led life and all it entails every moment of every day. It takes time and endurance suffering many afflictions and trials. It is the walk thru day by day that brings the purification. No one can call it out by the simple word “fire!”, no one can impart it so that the receiver becomes instantly changed into Christ-likeness, it cannot come thru impartation through the laying on of hands or the (false) anointing of oil. It certainly does not come thru a walk thru of a fire tunnel.

        People like Rodney Howard Browne, Todd Bentley, Patricia King, Heidi Baker and all the others are nothing but parrots looking for a good show to create their following, creating an air of adoration of man, and a way to line their pockets to fund their next vacation in the tropics. Or, even worse to aide them with passage to a small third world country and infect like minded believers with this Kundalini fire.

        Sorry ruthsongs. I haven’t had much time to look at these scriptures but I certainly plan to. I appreciate your time, effort, and contribution!


        • I agree, M’Kayla. The refining fire of God is something that we should ask Him for. This kind of prayer naturally comes from a place of reverential fear and humility. In my experience, the “fire, fire” prayer sessions were not marked by either of these qualities.

          I’ve never heard of a “fire tunnel” before. Sounds scary.


  2. Mkayla
    After a little research, i discovered that both Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley had spent time in Uganda, hence the presence of this ” fire ” annointing in that country.Both of these men are extreme proponents of this annointing and a cursory examination of their theology lays bare the origins of the spirit surrounding their respective ” ministries”. In fact , Benny Hinn has admitted to having a key to Kathryn Kuhlman’s crypt and spends time there praying over her grave for “power”.


    • Yes, I heard Hinn speak of KK as tho he has some right to whatever it was she possessed. Or maybe it is better said -to whatever possessed her. And we also see this same thing- praying at the grave of another – Cal Pierce from the Healing Rooms praying at the grave of John G. Lake, who prayed at the grave of Dowie. Lately we have seen that nut case John Crowder praying at the grave, or in his own words “sucking the marrow from the bones” of Dowie. Sick and twisted doctrine if we can even call it doctrine. What has a dead man to do with the living God?

      A while back I saw that Bentley had some video on his site from Ugandan trip he made. He was imparting this spirit to the children there. I believe both Hinn and Bentley have the spirit of Kundalini, as many others do, and the power to pass that on to others through their touch. It is not the power of God, but of a very powerful demon.


  3. M’Kayla,
    According to my understanding of SCRIPTURE the fire of God is to burn off the dross and it is to pruify us from sin. “Our God is a consuming fire”. Whenever the fire fell in the OT is was in judgment (ie: Sodom)

    These people who through this term around as a buzz word don’t know what they are really praying for! The kundalini spirit manifests as a physical burning and people are accepting that as the Holy Spirit! (Kundalini is also known as “Serpent Fire”!

    Besides the fact that if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then doesn’t he show up in the meeting when we do? They accept any manifestation as being God and they don’t test the spirits. People are so hungry for something supernatural that they take the devil without question. It’s a sad state of affairs!


    • Yes, I see the fire as purifying and on the other end of that, the wheat from the chaff, the chaff being useless and burned – sin or sinners. The very thought of fire or someone calling fire on them should be enough to make them question what they are taking part in.

      I agree with you about the Kundalini. These people are looking for these days is the power, the feeling, the experience and once they find it that is the end of their search. Who will save them that they have rejected the only One who died for them? There is no one left.


  4. As M’kayla pointed out not all references to fire are negative. There is “tongues of fire” and “refiner’s fire,” but that doesn’t really answer this question of Matt 3.

    In the context it does seem John is referring to some kind of refining because of the analogy of burning up the chaff. One word study I saw mentions that John doesn’t just say ‘fire’ but ‘unquenchable fire’ in this analogy… which sort of leads us to think of eternal judgement versus refining the believer’s life.

    Another word study pointed out that baptism of fire is never mentioned anywhere the apostles were preaching and baptizing, so we have no reason to think it’s some kind of secondary baptism for believers. It also points out that the tongues of fire in Acts 2 is not called baptism in fire, so we can’t assume they are the same thing.

    I haven’t looked at this yet, but as I read through these scriptures in Matt3 some others come to mind like Matt 10, where Jesus says He did not come to bring peace but a sword. His message demands a choice that can be very divisive.

    I have heard persecuted Christians interpret their imprisonment and torture as a baptism of fire. I don’t know if that’s a legit interpretation, but regardless I think Matt 3 speaks to a choosing which has dire consequences, and a separation of evil and righteousness. That we must make a decision with finality and total commitment. A willingness to choose God over the temporal gains of the world – even over our own safety.

    I vote for asking for this resolve and courage in a straightforward manner, preferably in complete sentences, in stead of yelling ‘fire, fire’ and wondering what I am really asking for.


  5. Also, Ray said “…a visiting Ugandan preacher took the initiative to address the congregation…”

    In most of the charismatic circles I’ve been in we thought that ANYTHING from another country is wonderful and great and requires no discernment. Especially if it’s in anyway related to third world missions. Guilty conscience?


  6. 1 Thess 5 does speak directly to a holy spirit fire which is not related to judgement. However, I don’t think it relates to “starting one” rather “putting one out.” I think it relates to “grieve.” Paul makes a clear reference to Fire and the spirit in a indisputable positive manner.

    I have no scriptural or personal problem with asking for the Holy Spirit to come into a situation. However, I am not a cheerleader nor hold any unique power to make it happen. I serve the will of the Father.

    Your probably asking how that fits into a WoF setting, it doesn’t.


    • I’m not academically trained in Greek or anything, but of the most common versions, only NIV uses the word fire in 1 Thess 5:19. That’s why my concordance didn’t list it. NASB, NKJ, KJ, AMP all just say do not quench or subdue the Holy Spirit. My Greek Interlinear is same.

      I’m not trying to argue with you. I just wanted to see how I missed that.


  7. “I think Matt 3 speaks to a choosing which has dire consequences, and a separation of evil and righteousness. That we must make a decision with finality and total commitment. A willingness to choose God over the temporal gains of the world – even over our own safety.”

    Excellently put, Ruthsongs, and I think you and Hadar are both right; Hadar describing the refining fire that God releases upon those who are His,and the judgment He executes upon the unbelieving. You are describing the living sacrifices we willingly make, which God is very pleased to consume with His Holy Fire; and these offerings of ourselves identify us further in the life of His Son. Oswald Chambers was talking about this today, in My Utmost For His Highest:

    “And Abraham built an altar . . and bound Isaac his son.” Genesis 22:9

    This incident is a picture of the blunder we make in thinking that the final thing God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives. Not – I am willing to go to death with Thee, but – I am willing to be identified with Thy death so that I may sacrifice my life to God. We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this blunder, and the same discipline goes on in our lives. God nowhere tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having – viz., life with Himself. It is a question of loosening the bands that hinder the life, and immediately those bands are loosened by identification with the death of Jesus, we enter into a relationship with God whereby we can sacrifice our lives to Him.

    It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a “living sacrifice,” to let Him have all your powers that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus. This is the thing that is acceptable to God.”

    I was thinking about this devotional all day. What an interesting discussion to read, tonight. Thank-you all, for your edifying contributions. Now I am going to go play Rummikub with my daughter.


  8. I am so sorry, should have offset the quote better. It isn’t mine, it’s Chamber’s words, and he can be very murky sometimes, can’t he? Speaks in shorthand. And he may be over-reaching in this passage for what he wants to say. I think what he means by “blunder” is not the act of the sacrifice, but Abraham thinking God wanted the death of his son, when what He wanted was the death of Abraham, the sacrifice of our lives, Romans 12. It isn’t things He wants, its that all our fountains would be in Him, “I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

    I remember as a baby Christian, how I “gave up” so many THINGS I thought were worldly–make-up, wore a head-covering (well, to church, anyway when I thought God would have me pray or prophesy). We kept a Sabbath. The list goes on and on! But my heart was so far from Him! But thank God, I believed, hoped, trusted that God could raise me up out of deadness, like Abraham believed God for his son. Does that make better sense of the word, “blunder?” I’m not sure that would have been the word I would have chosen.

    I hope that helps. And yes, this old lady wears make-up now, happily knowing the house needs painting. And not much praying at prophesying at the Baptists, now, but I just feel more secure with one on, so I wear a fetching cap on my graying locks!


    • Hi Karen.
      I later noticed it was Oswald but I was still interested in what you thought on that. I agree that God is not interested in us giving up things unless those things keep us from Him aka -idols. Abraham showed complete confidence in God in that he was willing to give up the son who was promised to him, symbolizing God’s willingness to give up His! There’s a lot going on in those few verses. 🙂


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