The Staunch Calvinist

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

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Review of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology

...at he made with with more and less pure churches. He admits that in the present time there will not be a church which is perfect in doctrine, but there will be churches which are more or less pure churches. There are no perfect churches.

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.”[3] 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:

  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 ...


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.