Monday, 11 January 2016

Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, chapter 53

Gifts of the Holy Spirit, part 2

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*


This chapter focuses more on the gifts that are not so well understood or controversial. 


1.  Prophecy:  not "predicting the future," or "proclaiming a word from the Lord," or "powerful preaching," but rather  as "telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind." 


The New Testament Apostles and the Old Testament prophets spoke with absolute divine authority. 

We see places in the New Testament where believers prophecied (Acts 21) and Paul disobeyed.  If it was God's divine word, then he should not have disobeyed.  Also when Agabus prophecied Pauls death, the details were off.  This is distinctly different from the words of the canon of the Bible.   

Why would Paul encourage people to "not despise prophecy but test everything and hold to what is good," if all prophecy was perfect, OR God would cease to speak through prophecy to his people? (1 Thess 5)

Paul also says, "let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said," (1 Cor 14).  Never would we dare to "weigh what is said," to the words of the Bible, so this shows a difference between those who spoke with absolute divine authority and the later view of prophecy among believers. 

HOWEVER,  Paul focuses firstly and mainly on the power of the scripture, and to prophecy as secondary and that it must be in submission to God's word. 

Prophecy today should be considered mere human words, and not equal to God's words in authority.   (This is where Charismatic practices are sometimes out of sync with the Bible). 

Prophecy can serve as a sign for believers (1 Cor 14.22), a clear demonstration that God is definitely at work in their midst.  This gift is even to be used when unbelievers or outsiders enter. 

Grudem points out that many who see prophecy as too "subjective," are often those who are quite Biblically focused and often in need of a subjective process in their own Christian lives!   To wait on the Lord, listening for him, hearing his promptings in our hearts, that is a gift.   Could this balance out a dangerous inbalance in church life, when we are too exclusively intellectual, objective, and narrowly doctrinal?

Paul says that he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.  That is quite valuable. 

Paul encouraged in 1 Cor 14, to, "Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophecy." 

The early church was troubled by immaturity, selfishness, division and other problems and yet in spite of that they were encouraged to seek prophetic gifting.  

1.       Teaching: Explaining scripture and applying it to people’s lives.  Repeating, explaining and applying Scripture.
2.       Miracles: This may include deliverance from danger/injury, God’s judgement on enemies of the gospel, etc.   Essentially God’s power at work and visible.
3.       Healing: We must realize that sickness and disease are a result of the fall, and yet Christ “took our infirmities, and by his wounds we are healed.  Healing has many purposes, such as authenticate the gospel message, comfort those who are ill, equip people for ministry, and finally for GOD to be glorified.
a.       Often in the New Testament, there was a laying on of hands, anointing with oil, and faith in prayer for the sick.
b.       Jesus did not turn the sick away.  He healed them out of love and compassion.  He even said, “You do not have because you do not ask.”  We should do likewise and at the same time pray that God will be glorified whether or not someone is healed.   At the same time, when we say that healing WILL occur, and then nothing happens, it can bring much disappointment with the church and even anger at God may result.
4.       Tongues and interpretation:  this means prayer or praise in syllables not understood by the speaker.  The New Testament speaks of this both as speaking another language, and speaking a mysterious spiritual language.  The New Testament is clear about orderliness, self control, and translation in this area.
5.       Word of wisdom, word of knowledge

6.       Distinguishing between spirits




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