The Continuation Of New Testament Prophecy And A Closed Canon: Revisiting Wayne Grudem’s Two Levels Of NT Prophecy -- By: Bruce Compton
Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 22:0 (NA 2017)
Article: The Continuation Of New Testament Prophecy And A Closed Canon: Revisiting Wayne Grudem’s Two Levels Of NT Prophecy
Author: Bruce Compton
DBSJ 22 (2017) p. 57
The Continuation Of New Testament Prophecy And A Closed Canon:
Revisiting Wayne Grudem’s Two Levels Of NT Prophecy
A key sticking point that continues to divide evangelicals is the question over the cessation versus the continuation of New Testament prophecy.2 At the heart of the debate are the issues of a closed canon and the New Testament’s role as the final rule for faith and practice. A number of evangelicals posit two levels of prophecy: an apostolic level that is inerrant and divinely authoritative and a non-apostolic level that is neither. These further argue that, since only the non-apostolic level continues beyond the writing of the New Testament, the canon is not
DBSJ 22 (2017) p. 58
threatened and remains the final rule for faith and practice.3
Wayne Grudem’s The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, is commonly recognized as laying the exegetical foundation for two levels of prophecy and for the continuation of the non-apostolic level in harmony with a closed canon.4 In fact, recent publications by proponents of Grudem’s position continue to cite his work on the topic as definitive and assume the validity of his arguments in defending their position.5 For that reason, the case for the continuation of New Testament prophecy coupled with a closed canon can be said to rise or fall on the cogency of Grudem’s arguments.
In light of the ongoing debate and in light of these recent publications, a fresh examination of Grudem’s position is in order. Grudem’s definition of New Testament prophecy serves as the foundation for the discussion and is presented first. After this, Grudem’s exegetical proofs for two levels of New Testament prophecy represent the linchpin of his position and are examined next. This is followed by an assessment of Grudem’s defense for a closed canon. Finally, a conclusion is offered on whether the debate between cessationism and continuationism is a legitimate issue that should divide evangelicals.
Grudem’s Definition Of New Testament Prophecy
Grudem begins his defense by defining New Testament prophecy and distinguishing it from Old Testament prophecy and apostolic prophecy.6 He defines New Testament prophecy or what he calls ordinary or congregational prophecy as someone telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.
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