Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 157:628 (Oct 2000)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

By The Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary

Matthew S. DeMoss, Editor

Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Four Views. Edited by Wayne Grudem. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996. 256 pp. $16.99.

In this book in Zondervan’s Counterpoint series, Wayne Grudem has presented diverse approaches to the critical issue of how the Holy Spirit works in churches today. Because of Grudem’s careful summary of the positions, guidelines for the responses, and a follow-up conference of the authors, this book is a model for how a project like this should be conducted.

The book addresses controversial questions that lack consensus among evangelicals, including these: What does the “baptism of the Spirit” mean, and which postconversion experiences can all believers expect to experience? Have some or all spiritual gifts ceased? What is the meaning and significance of the gifts of prophecy, healing, and tongues? What are the implications of spiritual gifts for church life? What are the weaknesses and strengths of each position? An important underlying tension in the book concerns the degree to which the “New Testament church” provides a pattern for church life today. The authors culminated their work at an authors’ conference, in which they spent seventeen hours of intense discussion, as they mutually assessed their work.

Four positions are discussed with insight and expertise. Richard Gaffin (Westminster Seminary) represents the cessationist position and maintains that no miraculous gifts of the Spirit exist today. Robert Saucy (Talbot School of Theology) represents the “open but cautious” middle ground. The pentecostal and charismatic positions are combined and represented by Douglas Oss (Central Bible College, Assemblies of God). And Samuel Storms (Grace Training Center, Kansas City) defends the “third wave” movement, also known as the Vineyard movement. Grudem is an affiliate of the Vineyard movement and professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

The editors and the four authors share a commitment to the Scriptures as the Word of God, an awareness of their brotherhood in Christ, a sense of the importance of experiencing a personal relationship with God, and a broad agreement on the validity of miracles and the necessity of the Spirit’s work in believers’ lives. Differences of viewpoint pertain to contemporary expectations of the Spirit’s work in believers’ lives, distinctions between spiritual gifts and miraculous

works of God, the purpose of miracles, and the leadership style of the participants.

At the authors’ conference points of misunder...

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