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Is the Bible his only foundation? Be careful ...
on 2 January 2016
Clear type - easy-to-read - clear statements. You can see why folk are buying this instead of the previous classic by Berkhof. Most of it is very helpful and accessible. If you read his chapters on Prophecy etc. you will note that he advocates a charismatic view and believes in an ongoing type of 'prophecy' which is to be weighed and sifted - why? - because some of it will be right and some of it will be wrong, because it comes through an imperfect human channel.
This is exactly why many of us have rejected Grudem's type of 'casino' prophecy, that might be right and might not. Pastorally, it is useless or dangerous depending how much you let your congregation 'do it'. Many wise charismatic Christians don't let their congregation 'do' this sort of prophesying freely in their main meetings, because they have seen the harm it so easily does.
What is not so obvious to those who recommend this book to their friends, but who advise caution on Grudem's pro-continuing-revelation stance, is that his stance is evident in the very foundations of this work. It is not all saved for the chapter on 'Prophecy'. The foundation Grudem lays is that of the 'Word of God'. That looks good, and seems at first sight to be the same foundation laid by orthodox writers: how do we know about God & His salvation? He has revealed these things to us in His 'Word'. This is where the similarity ends. The orthodox view is that God's Word, in this context means the Bible. Grudem's view is that the 'Word of God' as understood here takes various forms: the written Word and the incarnate Word.
Here we have the teaching that the Bible is not compete and sufficient. You can hear from the written Word or you can hear 'direct' from the incarnate Word ... how? By listening to 'casino' prophecies.
The book is well bound/presented and easier for modern readers to 'access' that more established systematics, like Berkhof. However, from the very first chapter, you need to read this book with your eyes and mind open. The foundations are being tinkered with. The authoritative Word of God in the Bible is no longer held up as our authority for gaining information & direction from God.
Many thousands of lovely people are seeking their information & direction 'direct from God'. It seems a noble aim, to know more of God, or to seek Him in some way more 'directly'. But over a period of one or two generations this type of 'seeking' of God is the death-knell of serious and systematic Bible reading and interpretation - and hence of strong churches. I believe it is possible to be a charismatic and a Christian. But I also believe that the Spirit of God will lead believers into 'All truth'. Just as many join the ranks of Grudem and myriad others, seeking 'more' and 'more-directly' from God ... there is a counter-march of many more, who are returning to the infallible source and river of Truth. Why? - because God is very kind & wise, and graciously will keep and rescue His own from error, by leading us afresh to his wonderful and thoroughly adequate, sufficient and complete written Word.
May the Lord bless you richly as you study the prince of subjects. May your mind be kept clear & your heart set on fire. Every blessing.