The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards

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Review of Sam Waldron's To Be Continued?

...ine-height: 57.6px; text-align: -webkit-center;"Miraculous Gifts For Today?

Dr. Waldron is a respectful and good Christian scholar, but this work was not written for the big scholars, but was written for the lay Christian who is interested in topic of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I liked the book and I thought that it was a pretty good case for Cessationism. He tried to interact for example with Grudem on some points.

The Argument

The argument is basically:

1. There are no apostles
2. Therefore there are no prophets
3. Therefore there are no tongue-speaks
4. Therefore there are no miracle-workers

1. Apostles

First of all, by the use of Ephesians 4:9-11 he spends a paragraph or two to say that the apostolate was a gift. The word for gift in verse 9 is not the usual χάρισμα (charisma). He does not interact with those who do not accept that the apostolate was a (spiritual) gift, but rather a ministry or an office. This in my opinion is the biggest flaw in his argument. 

The Cascade Argument is built around and based upon the point that the greatest "gift" – the apostolate has ceased in the first century. He in fact makes a good case on the cessation of the apostolate, but does not make a convincing case that it was a spiritual gift like those mentioned in 1Cor 12:7-10 for example. Therefore, his Cascading Argument becomes weak. This is a point that Matt Slick also brought in the back-and-forth in their debate.

The argument basically starts with, if the greatest gift has ceased, it is therefore possible that the other "miraculous" gifts have also ceased. I don't believe that the NT makes such a distinction between the gifts as the “ordinary” and “extraordinary”, or “non-miraculous” and “miraculous.” I have not been able to find this distinction yet in the text of Scripture. 

2. Prophets

He demonstrates from the OT that a prophet was simply the mouth of God to the people (Ex 4:10-17; 7:1-2).  Also, what the prophets said had to be 100% accurate according to the regulations of Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:15-22. Therefore he proceeds to the New Testament with the same definition of prophecy and this is understandable.

He first considers few passages used in support of continuationism including Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Cor 13:8-13 and the case of Agabus (Acts 21:10-11).

On Ephesians 4 he says that if we maintain that everything in verse 11 is needed for our maturity and unity in the faith then we are proving too much. If we follow that, then we must also say that the apostolate must continue, but we have proven that it in fact did not continue. Therefore, he says that the apostles must refer to the writings and teaching of the apostles that we have in the New Testament and prophets or prophecy refers to the book of Revelation. He does not dispute if we have prophecy (i.e. the book of Revelation), rather if we have ongoing or new prophecy.

I don't think that the putting of Revelation under the category of "prophets" is right. John was not writing as a prophet, but was writing with the authority of an Apostle, that is the case for every NT book. It was either written by an apostle or an associate. I know of no NT book whose author was an prophet. 

Therefore, I do indeed agree that we have the Apostles in their writings, but I know of nothing that we have from prophets, therefore, it would seem that they would be necessary for the building up and achieving the unity of faith. (I don't know how this ...


Review of Walter J. Chantry's Signs Of the Apostles

...span> pp. 194-195
  • ^ Ed. Wayne Grudem. (1996) Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? Zondervan. p. 55, footnote 81.
  • ...

    Review of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology

    ...t it is the sovereign and free will of God which grants healing.

    I found it strange that Dr. Grudem believes that tongues can in fact be a nonexistent language, but in the words of John MacArthur “gibberish.” I have not studied this very deeply, but I cannot say that I agree. Dr Grudem argues that just because in Acts 2 tongues were actual languages, does not mean that that will always be the case because he believes that 1 Corinthians14 supports the idea of tongues not actually being a language sometimes.

    I cannot say that now I'm fully a continuationist, but I can say that I see now more support for continuationism and weakness for Cessationism.

    The Doctrine of the Future

    Part 7 of this Systematic Theology deals with the study of the last things, Eschatology.

    Dr Grudem shows convincingly for me the support for the coming of Christ, the Final Judgment and Hell, the New Heavens and New Earth. With all these I agreed on most points, except the Millennium.

    Dr. Grudem is a Classic Premillennial. He fairly represents the four major views today:

    1. Amillennialism
    2. Postmillennialism
    3. Classic Premillennialism
    4. Dispensational Premillennialsm

    While he represents these views he argues against them and for Classic Premillennalism.

    I remain an Amillennial.

    Conclusion

    If you don't have this book in your library, get it now! You will not be disappointed. I will go back to it.

    I'm thankful for God's grace upon Dr Grudem's work and life and that he has produced such an excellent treatment of Christian doctrine faithful to the Holy Scriptures.

    He has become an example for me and a hero of how I should handle the Holy Scriptures.

    Footnotes

    1. ^ RC rightly says that everyone's a theologian ;)
    2. ^ Page 315.
    3. ^ Page 1050.
    ...

    The Purpose For Writing The Commentary On The 1689

    About a year ago or more,[1] I started diving into the 1689 Baptist Confession of faith to study it. My main purpose was not to study the Confession per sé, but to study the doctrines asserted by the Confession and to see if they were biblical. My main focus was to teach myself to make a biblical case for cardinal doctrines which Reformed folk believe, and I believe that I have been able to make a biblical case for every (or almost all?) doctrine which is espoused by the Confession to my satisfaction. If you want a study which focuses on the words of the Confession[2], this is not what you're looking for. If you're looking for a study which intends to make a case for the doctrines asserted, you may be blessed by this study. Basically, the purpose was to teach myself systematic theology and teach myself to defend Reformed doctrine biblically.

    I cannot say that I disagree with any doctrine in the Confession, but there may be some who may question whether I hold to the Confession, especially chapter 1, because I consider myself a theological continuationist. I stress theological, because I do not practice “prophecy” or “speaking in tongues.” Practically, I'm a cessationist with a very high view of Holy Writ and critical of charismania and those weird things which you see on the Net of charismatics. The study on the gifts is one which I started, but have not finished yet (I have not read all the books which I have purchased from both sides). But I must honestly say that I'm not convinced of Cessationism because I don't believe the Bible teaches it. The statement in 1:1 which says “those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased” may be the only one which I would interpret differently.

    I'm not big on names, it doesn't matter to me if one considers me a Reformed Baptist or not, I will not pride myself in that, either way it is not essential to me what title I have besides Δοῦλος Χριστοῦ.

    Footnotes

    1. ^ The dates of publication which every post has for the Confession, do not mean that I finished the commentary on that day. At the beginning I commented very briefly (few lines) on the whole Confession, just because I was simply willing to know what it taught. Sometime after, I'm not sure when, maybe a year ago, I started enlarging the chapters and adding more of my thoughts and comments. The first longest chapter was chapter 7 on God's Covenants, which makes a case for 1689 Federalism.
    2. ^ https://1689commentary.org/ is such a study.