The Staunch Calvinist

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

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints - Commentary

...ity and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” In Mark 10:30, the age to come is connected with eternal life (cf. Luke 18:30). Based on that I believe that this verse means that these apostates experienced some things from the new world, like healing and miracles. When God heals, He displays His graciousness and care and He gives a foretaste of the eternal state where all sin and sickness will be removed. These apostates had some experience with the powerful working of the Spirit in the church as Hebrews 2:4 says, “while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by Gifts Of The Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” These things are the effects of the Spirits work in the world and the effect of Christ’s Kingdom. God has given us a taste of this even now. In a sense, the age to come has partially arrived, though not fully, just like God’s Kingdom which is among us (e.g. Luke 18:21), yet we still pray “Thy kingdom come!” (Matt. 6:10). These apostates had some taste and experience of the Holy Spirit’s work, yet it was not evidence that they were truly regenerate believers. They merely tasted the Spirit’s work, but we’re not being filled or indwelt by the Spirit

6. Putting the descriptions together

These apostates had (1) received instruction in the word of truth and have been made familiar with the way of truth. (2) They’ve had an experience with the Holy Spirit and His Work. (3) They had participated in the Gifts Of The Holy Spirit. (4) They had seen the truth of the Gospel from the Word of God, the fulfillment of the long-awaited Messiah in the Lord Jesus. (5) Finally, they had seen and themselves were recipients of God’s powerful working in the church by the Holy Spirit. After experiencing all these things, which would have naturally led to their true conversion (as the land analogy in vv. 7-8 shows), they still remained unfruitful and in their unregenerate state. They had a form of godliness, but it was not true godliness of the regenerate believer. These apostates were like Judas as we described above. Sam Storms observes the following about the apostates:

Those in Matthew 7:22-23 preached, prophesied, performed miracles, and cast out demons in Christ’s name . . . but were not saved. Jesus said to them: “I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers” (v. 23). These, then, “have tasted” the power and blessings of the new covenant, but they have not personally prized, cherished, embraced, loved, trusted, treasured, or savored the atoning death of Jesus as their only hope for eternal life.[22]

Dr. Grudem observes the following on these apostates:

What has happened to these people? They are at least people who have been affiliated closely with the fellowship of the church. They have had some sorrow for sin and a decision to forsake their sin (repentance). They have clearly understood the gospel and given some assent to it (they have been enlightened). They have come to appreciate the attractiveness of the Christian life and the change that comes about in people’s lives because of becoming a Christian, and they have probably had answers to prayers in their own lives and felt the power of the Holy Spirit at work, perhaps even using some spiritual gifts (they have become ‘associated with’ the work of the Holy Spirit or have become partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the heavenly gift and the powers of t...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

...4:1, 6; 2Tim. 4:7; Titus 3:15). Christians are spoken of as "those who are of the household of the faith [τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως, tous oikeious tes pisteos]" (Gal. 6:10).

Finally, pistis "can also denote a conviction or certainty of belief."[7] So, the Lord Jesus speaks of faith which is able to move mountains (Matt. 17:20; Mark 11:23; cf. 1Cor. 13:2). One of the Gifts Of The Holy Spirit is faith, which cannot be that which is common to all believers because not all have the same gifts (1Cor. 12:9; 13:2).

Pisteuo

We see that the noun pistis can be used to designate faith in God, in Christ; or the set of doctrine; the certainty of belief. Now we move to the verb πιστεύω (pisteuo, G4100), which comes from pistis and Thayer defines as "to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in" and "to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity"[3]. According to my Bible software, it is used 217x in the NA28. Mounce observes that

pisteuo generally means "to believe, be convinced of something," and in a more specific way "to have faith" in God or Christ. It can also mean to "entrust something to someone."[8]

So faith and believing (as this is the verb) has to do with having trust and confidence in something or someone. So James Boyce observes about the word faith:

It corresponds with our words, belief and trust,—with belief so far as it refers to the acceptance of facts and statements, or of the veracity of a person,—with trust so far as a person or object is made the foundation of reliance. We believe a fact, a statement, a person; we trust or rely upon that fact, statement or person as something upon which we build. In the one case we have faith in, in the other we put faith in.[9]

Now let us survey the uses of the verb pisteuo in the New Testament. First of all, pisteuo can mean to believe or be convinced. So, the Lord Jesus often said to those who wanted to be healed to believe. So in Matthew 9:28, the Lord asks the blind men "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" and they answer with "Yes, Lord." They are fully convinced that He is able to heal their blindness. In Matthew 8, the centurion, in full faith, says that Christ has only to say the word and his servant will be healed. Christ remarks that "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith [πίστιν, pistin]" (Matt. 8:10). Then He says to him, "Go; let it be done for you as you have believed [ἐπίστευσας, episteusas]" (Matt. 8:13). The centurion had the firm conviction of Christ's powers and abilities. In John 9:18, the Jewish leaders did not believe the man born blind until they questioned his parents. In John 11:27, Martha is convinced of Christ's identity as the Son of God and says "Yes, Lord; I believe that [πεπίστευκα ὅτι, pepisteuka hoti] you are the Christ". So also the disciples know Who Jesus is in John 16:27, 30; 17:8. Pisteuo is also used to express faith in most cardinal matters of Christianity as in the death and resurrection of our Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 says that "we believe that [πιστεύομεν ὅτι, pisteuomen hoti] Jesus died and rose again".

In a lot of places, pisteuo 'is used to mean "to be convinced of what is spoken or written" (Mt. 24:23, 26; Mk. 16:14; Jn. 4:21; 4:53; 8:46; Acts 24:14; 1 Cor. 15:11)'[10]. Blessed is Mary because she "believed [πιστεύσασα, pisteusasa] that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45). The Word of God is also the object of this faith...


Hebrews 6:4-6, Apostasy and Calvinism

... power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” In Mark 10:30 the age to come is connected with eternal life (c.f. Luke 18:30).

Based on that I believe that this verse means that these apostates experienced some things from the new world, like healing and miracles. When God heals He displays His graciousness and care and He gives a foretaste about the eternal state where all sin and sickness will be removed. These apostates had some experience with the powerful working of the Spirit in the church as Hebrews 2:4 says, “while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by Gifts Of The Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” These things are the effects of the Spirits work in the world and the effect of Christ’s Kingdom. God has given us a taste of this even now. In a sense, the age to come has partially arrived, though not fully, just like God’s Kingdom which is among us (e.g. Luke 18:21), yet we still pray “Thy kingdom come!” (Matt 6:10)

These apostates had some taste and experience of the Holy Spirit’s work, yet it was not evidence that they were truly regenerate believers. They merely tasted the Spirit’s work, but we’re not being filled or indwelt by the Spirit

Putting the descriptions together

These apostates had (1) received instruction in the word of truth and have been made familiar with the way of truth. (2) They’ve had an experience with the Holy Spirit and His Work. (3) They had participated in the Gifts Of The Holy Spirit. (4) They had seen the truth of the Gospel from the Word of God, the fulfillment of the long awaited Messiah in the Lord Jesus. (5) Finally, they had seen and themselves were recipients of God’s powerful working in the church by the Holy Spirit. After experiencing all these things, which would have naturally led to their true conversion (as the land analogy in vv. 7-8 shows), they still remained unfruitful and in their unregenerate state. They had a form of godliness, but it was not true godliness of the regenerate believer. These apostates were like Judas as we described above. Sam Storms observes the following about the apostates:

These, then, “have tasted” the power and blessings of the new covenant, but they have not personally prized, cherished, embraced, loved, trusted, treasured, or savored the atoning death of Jesus as their only hope for eternal life.

Those in Matthew 7:22-23 preached, prophesied, performed miracles, and cast out demons in Christ’s name . . . but were not saved. Jesus said to them: “I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers” (v. 23). These, then, “have tasted” the power and blessings of the new covenant, but they have not personally prized, cherished, embraced, loved, trusted, treasured, or savored the atoning death of Jesus as their only hope for eternal life.[12]

Dr. Grudem observes the following on these apostates:

What has happened to these people? They are at least people who have been affiliated closely with the fellowship of the church. They have had some sorrow for sin and a decision to forsake their sin (repentance). They have clearly understood the gospel and given some assent to it (they have been enlightened). They have come to appreciate the attractiveness of the Christian life and the change that comes about in people’s lives because of becoming a Christian, and they have probably had answers to prayers in their own lives and felt the powe...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

...; cf. Matt. 12:28), yet He taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come” (Matt. 6:10 KJV). The Kingdom of God is already a present reality with the coming of its King, nonetheless, there is a future aspect of it which we still expect even if the Kingdom is already here. This is the tension of the Already-Not-Yet. The Kingdom of God is here, but it not yet fully here, i.e., not consummated. Eternal life is said to be a present reality (John 3:16), yet that is also an aspect of the Age to Come when the believer will be immortal in body and soul (Luke 18:30). The apostates in Hebrews 6:5 are said to have tasted the powers of the age to come, which most likely refer to the spiritual Gifts Of The Holy Spirit and miracles. These are things which are identified with the Age to Come, perhaps because they are means which God has given to the Church to bless her and conform her to the image which He has in mind, which will fully be realized in the Age to Come. The Christian believer finds himself in the time when the Age to Come, through the death and resurrection of Christ and through the outpouring of the Spirit, has already infiltrated this world, and the believer shares in its blessings. The following is a helpful diagram of the Two Age model and the Already-Not-Yet tension by Kim Riddlebarger:

The Two Staged Kingdom

The New Testament teaches that the Kingdom of God has come with the first coming of its King, yet, there is clearly a future aspect of the Kingdom of God. Amillennialists speak of the two stages of God’s Kingdom, 1) the Kingdom of the Son, and 2) the Kingdom of the Father. As with the general New Testament eschatology of the Two Ages, so in the same way is the revelation of the Kingdom of God in two stages and ages. This is part of the Already-Not-Yet tension of the New Testament. We know that the Bible teaches that the Kingdom of God is already here (Luke 17:21; Matt. 12:28; Rom. 14:17), yet we still expect the kingdom in the future (Matt. 6:10). We believe that the Kingdom is revealed in two stages. The first is what we call the Kingdom of the Son, which has infiltrated this Present Age through the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 13:36-43

Matt. 13:36-43 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. 

In Matthew 13:36-43 the Lord Jesus explains the Parable of the Weeds and from here we get a glance at the two-fold coming of the Kingdom of God. In v. 38, the Lord Jesus explains that the good seeds are the sons of the Kingdom, these are the believers who receive the Gospel and produce its fruits. This means that there is in the present a kingdom of which the...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 16: Of Good Works - Commentary

...rothers and sisters in Christ. They help them in need and they move them to glorify our common Lord and Savior for the fruits He brings in the lives of His people. We look back at Matthew 5:16 which we wrote about earlier. There we read about people who will glorify our God because of our works. Certainly, some of those will be the believers. But also in verse 15 when the Lord speaks about the lamp which signifies our good works, there at the end of the verse He says that the lamp “gives light to all in the house.” That means that more people are affected by our good works, than us alone. We affect also our environment.

In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul speaks about the Gifts Of The Holy Spirit given to each individual Christian and notes that the goal of all the gifts is to build and edify the body of Christ (1Cor. 14:3, 5, 6, 12, 26). Therefore, everything that is done in the Church should be done with the goal to build and not tear down.

I believe one important example of works helping and edifying the brethren are Philemon's works described by Paul:

Phlm. 1:4-7 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. 

God is rightly to be thanked for every good thing He works in us, because “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (Jas. 1:17). Paul thanks God above all for His work in Philemon because His love for the Lord and for the saints is manifest to everyone who knows him. His faith is a living faith working in love. Paul prays that His faith may increase and may become more manifest and effective to more people. Paul himself has seen and been affected by his love, but also that the saints “have been refreshed through you.” The saints have been at rest, their hearts refreshed and edified because of Philemon's good works done in faith. This is why good works are crucial for the believer, for through our good works God ministers to others. Everyone who names the name of the Lord should know that God's purpose was “to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).

They Adorn The Profession Of The Gospel

Good reputation and good works furthermore strengthen the proclamation of the Gospel. People see God in us and see that we have been greatly touched by Him. They do not see us merely talking the talk but also walking the walk which definitely gives them a better picture of Christianity. The sad fact is that Christianity generally has a bad picture in Western culture because a lot of people who profess to be Christians, do not walk in the footsteps of Christ, therefore, "...The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles...” (Rom 2:24) because of them. That is a deeply sad thing.

It is an obvious thing that good works adorn and confirm the proclamation of the Gospel. Imagine a person who proclaims to the unbeliever that we should not lie, we should not take the Lord's name in vain, that we should not steal and that we should not lust, but does all...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience - Commentary

...[6]

It was necessary for the Son to go back to Heaven for the Spirit to descend upon the disciples (John 16:7). Sam Waldron writes:

The language used of the new presence of the Spirit—baptism, outpouring, river—all speaks of increase. This seems logical, because really to know the increased truth of the New Covenant requires increased measures of the Spirit.[7]

Moreover, the Gifts Of The Holy Spirit are, unlike under the Old Testament, distributed according to God’s will to all believers (1Cor. 12-14; Rom. 12:3-8). This was not the case under the Old Testament. Back then some of God’s people would have the gifts of the Spirit, but now all of them do. In the New Covenant, not only all covenant members have the Spirit (under the OT all true believers did have the indwelling Spirit), but also all have some gift(s) of the Holy Spirit:

1Cor .12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Oh, beloved brothers and sisters, how great are the liberties which God has blessed us with! Praise God from Whom all blessings and liberties flow!


§2 Liberty Of Conscience

  1. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also. 4
    1. James 4:12; Rom. 14:4; Gal. 5:1
    2. Acts 4:19; 5:29; 1 Cor. 7:23; Matt. 15:9
    3. Col. 2:20, 22-23; Gal. 1:10; 2:3-5; 5:1
    4. Rom. 10:17; 14:23; Acts 17:11; John 4:22; 1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 1:24

God alone is Lord of the conscience (Jas. 4:12; Rom. 14:4), which means that God alone can dictate to us what we ought or ought not to do or believe. Therefore, since He is Lord of the conscience, He has left the consciences of men free from the doctrines and comments of men which are contrary to His word, or not contained in it (Matt. 15:9; Acts 4:19; 5:29; 1 Cor. 7:23). God has not left the conscience free and that's it. He has left it free in a specific place, namely, when it comes to the doctrines and comments of men which are against His word, or not contained in it. Therefore, when a church or a person pushes upon others the following and obeying such commandments and doctrines, it is a betrayal to true liberty of conscience and it requires an absolute and blind obedience because that which is to be believed and followed does not come from God.


As God is the Lawgiver, so likewise He is the only One who has the authority to bind or loose the consciences of His moral creatures (Isa. 33:22; Jas. 4:12). He is the One who gives the “you shall” and “you shall not’s.” Therefore, He alone has authority over our conscience concerning obedience and how we should conduct ourselves and what we should believe. This paragraph was written without a doubt with the Roman Catholic Church in mind, which binds the consciences of its members to a host of unbiblical doctrines concerning Mary, Purgatory, the Mass and so on. These doctrines are based upon the traditions of men and they have no basis in the Holy Scriptures, but springforth either from misinterpretations of Scripture or plainly from outside the Bible. You can search all you want concerning prayer to the dead or a prayer addressed to anyone other than Go...


Preservation of the Saints - Scripture List

... box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Heb 2:1-4 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by Gifts Of The Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Heb 10:26-31 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Heb 13:15-21 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. 18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. 20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

1Jn 5:18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

2Jn 9 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

Rev 14:12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.


This content is taken from this document

[1] I have used Preservation instead of Perseverance as the first title because of the doctrine teaches that God is the one who works in us and also that it does not destroy the TULIP acrostic.  For the Perseverance of the Saints see “Perseverance of the Saints.”

[2] James White, The Potter’s Freedom (New Revised Edition 2009) p. 40

[3] “The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented” Ed. 2, pp. 7-8.

[4] This section shows us that the believers are also active in their perseverance, but we’ve already seen that God is the one who preser...


Review of Sam Waldron's To Be Continued?

...Are The 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 practically looks, but I just want to un...


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

Signs of the Apostles

Observations On Pentecostalism Old And New[1]

My feelings are mixed concerning this small volume. I believe that his case for cessationism did not stand. I believe that he misused some passages to make his case. Here are a few things that raised my eyebrows.

First, he argues that miracles were given for attestation from the narrative of Moses (Ex 4:5) and NT. No one disagrees, but he makes attestation the primary purpose of miracles. And not simple attestation, rather attestation for prophetic ministry. Miracles were connected with the prophets as he tries to argue from Ex 4:5 and Deut 34:10-11 (later from Elijah's example in 1Kings 18:36). But then he raises the anticipated objection about the miracles of Samson or the other prophets, his answer is not satisfying. He basically says that the "history is incomplete" (p. 11), i.e. we do not have everything that they did, therefore, they must have done some prophetic stuff as leaders of God's people. That is unsatisfactory.

Second, he uses Psalm 74:9 to say that "This is a striking endorsement of the principle that only prophets work miracles. Where miracles are performed we should expect to hear the inspired Word of God spoken. When there is no prophet, there are no signs." (p. 12)

Here pastor Chantry understands the signs to refer to the miracles of the prophets. But I believe what is a more proper sense of the verse is to speak of the Temple. The enemies of Israel as they are described in verse 4 "have roared in the midst of your [God's] meeting place; they set up their own signs for signs." The enemies of Israel have set up their own things in the Temple of God as signs. But now destitute of the Temple (in the time of the exile), the Israelites do not have their signs, i.e. the ark, the sacrifices, the temple which pictured to the people the presence of God among them.

Whatever the sense of the text, this does not have bearing upon the miracles when we come to the NT as on Pentecost when they were to be poured out on all people (Acts 2:17ff).

Third, he uses Galatians 3:5 to say "Paul appealed to his miracle-working power as evidence that he, rather than the Judaizers, ought to be believed." (p. 15) Where does Paul fit into the text? The text reads "Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— ". Can it be that this is based upon the assumption that only the apostles can work miracles while the verse doesn't say a word about such a thing?

Fourth, he limits the scope of Hebrews 2:3-4 to the apostles though he does not explicitly say that (pp. 15-16). But the text does not reject the present work of God among the Hebrews, it simply highlights God's work among the Apostles.

Fifth, he anticipates the objection of non-apostles doing miracles and he raises the case of Philip in Acts 8:4-15. Then there's some weird comment about the people to whom Philip had preached that "[c]ertainly the true converts among them already had God's Spirit in their hearts, for [citation of Rom 8:9]" (p. 17). This was a first time for me, usually people explain it in terms of the foundational period of Acts and the primacy of Apostles that the believers did not receive the Spirit.

He accepts that Philip did actually perform miraculous deeds as the Bible obviously says (Acts 8:6-7), but then objects that it was the Apostles and not Philip who had the prerogative of ministering the mira...