Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 56:2 (Fall 1994)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

O. Palmer Robertson: The Final Word: A Biblical Response to the Case for Tongues and Prophecy Today. Edinburgh/Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1993. 150. n.p.

As readers of this journal surely know by now, Wayne Grudem (The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today [Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1988]) and others associated with the Vineyard movement (notably, Jack Deere, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993]) have given renewed vigor to the teaching that God continues to give prophecy, tongues, and revelation to the church today. To the extent that the evangelical church and her teachers are heirs of the Protestant Reformation and its sola Scriptura motto, how should they respond to the position advocated by Grudem and others? In The Final Word O. Palmer Robertson, pastor and seminary professor (now teaching at the Africa Bible College, Malawi), gives his answer: they should categorically reject this teaching as contrary to God’s final word in Christ and the revelations associated with his coming. Robertson presents his case in five chapters as follows.

Chaps. 1–3 provide the argumentation preparatory to Robertson’s assessment of Grudem’s position in chaps. 4–5. In succession he treats the biblical material on prophecy, tongues, and revelation, closing each discussion with reflections on contemporary claims that these phenomena are to be a part of the church’s life today. Chap. 1 covers the OT teaching on the origin of prophecy, foundational OT passages on prophecy, OT prophecy about prophecy, and the testimony of Peter and Paul concerning prophecy. In chap. 2 Robertson examines the subject of NT tongues and offers four findings: NT tongues were (1) revelational; (2) foreign languages; (3) for public consumption (as opposed to private use); and (4) a sign of radical change in the direction of redemptive history. Robertson then turns in chap. 3 to provide an exposition of the concept that revelation has ceased, defining the concept, reviewing its biblical history, and anticipating objections to it.

Though Robertson offers some contemporary applications of his considerations in the conclusions to chaps. 1–3, the real payoff comes in chaps. 4–5, where he responds specifically to Grudem’s advocacy of the view that revelation continues to be given through the NT gift of prophecy. He seeks to show that Grudem’s case (1) hangs on an exegetical string; (2) brings the venerable institution of prophetism with its impeccable history into disrepute; (3) introduces a factor of uncertainty into the church’s worship; and (4) has the potential to call into question the authority of previous revelations from God. Robertson concludes his discussion by devoting a chapter to a consideratio...

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