Prophecy Rediscovered? A Review of “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today” -- By: Robert L. Thomas

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 149:593 (Jan 1992)
Article: Prophecy Rediscovered? A Review of “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today”
Author: Robert L. Thomas


Prophecy Rediscovered? A Review of “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today”

Robert L. Thomas

Professor of New Testament
The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, California

Notoriety has suddenly come to Wayne A. Grudem’s book, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today.1 No doubt this is because the Kansas City Fellowship with its Kansas City “prophets” and John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Church Fellowship and leader of the Signs and Wonders movement, have used arguments from this book to support their “prophetic” practices.2 Grudem, a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an attender of a Vineyard-affiliated church,3 has based the book largely on his 1978 doctoral dissertation for Cambridge University.4

Undertaking a review of this book entails a degree of apprehension because of this reviewer’s high esteem for its author both as a scholar and as a friend and because of the prestigious credentials afforded the work through its acceptance by the Cambridge University faculty.5 Yet that apprehension is outweighed by concern to promote the well-being of the body of Christ through suggesting affirmations

of and needed modifications to features the book represents as belonging to the New Testament gift of prophecy.

Merits of Grudem’s Book

In his well-written and persuasive work, Grudem sees certain characteristics of spiritual gifts in proper perspective. For instance, once a person has become a member of the body of Christ, his gifts will remain the same, since members of the spiritual body of Christ are analogous to the parts of a human body (1 Cor 12:12–26).6 Another point well taken is the potential for developing and sharpening one’s spiritual gifts as advocated in the New Testament.7

In contradicting recent critical theories, Grudem also is to be commended for showing the appointment of local-church elders and deacons to have occurred during and not after Paul’s missionary labors.8 Further, Grudem is correct in holding that no postascension prophecies from Jesus have been read back into the Gospel accounts, as though Christ had spoken them before His ascension.9

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