Being a Reformed Baptist myself, I loved his treatment of Baptism (chapter 49) and his interaction with Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology on Protestant Infant Baptism. I though that his case for Credobaptism was strong and he was gracious toward our Padeobaptist brethren.
An important doctrine which he got me more thinking about was the Gifts of the Spirit. He being a Continuationist and I...kinda undecided, but was practically a cessationist, but couldn't make up my mind from the Scriptures because according to my judgment I didn't see any where in the NT the idea that the spritual gifts would stop.
A few things should be said, Dr. Grudem is an excellent theologian, so he is not like the prosperity preachers and the Benny Hinns. He does not believe that “NT congregational prophecy” is the speaking of the very words of God, but he defines prophecy as “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.” He does not believe that NT congregation prophecy is predicting the future. Further, he believes that in the OT the prophets spoke the very words of God and to disobey a prophet was the same as to disobey God. But this is not the case in the NT. In the NT, the prophets are replaced with the Apostles (which is an office limited to the first century he believes) which are given the authority to write the God-breathed word of God. It is the Apostles, not the prophets in the NT which write and speak the very words of God. At first I found this rather strange and I was committed that the prophets were God's mouthpiece as that is the case in the OT, but Dr Grudem argues that the Apostles replace the prophets in the NT.
As for healing, Dr Grudem believes that God heals through the prayers of people. He does not believe that the reason why people are not healed is caused by lack of faith, as the prosperity heretics do. But that 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:
- Classic Premillennialism
- Dispensational Premillennialsm
While he represents these views he argues against them and for Classic Premillennalism.
I remain an Amillennial.
If you don't have this book in your library, get it now! You will ...