Sunday, January 29, 2012

N.T. Prophets and Prophecies: Wayne Grudem's Exegetical and Theological Collapse Courtesy of Dr. Bruce Compton

Doctrine of the Divine Decree
I am always fascinated by those who believe that the apostolic sign gifts are still operational today in spite of their alleged practice being absent of even the most basic similarities of biblical accounts during the apostolic era of the church (pre-canon some might say). And the arguments for this view flow like sour milk from an abandoned dairy.

But never minding the whole of the matter of apostolic sign gifts (or however you wish to categorize the issue) and considering a singular and prominent part of it, namely prophecy and the assertion its is still operating today along with one of its current celebrated advocates and his arguments, I want to introduce you to Bruce Compton, Professor of Biblical Languages and Exposition at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. This introduction to Bruce Compton, if you have not read his material before, I believe will prove to be a substantial introduction for your personal studies in the future.

Some of you may have a hint of what I am addressing but let me be precise. Wayne Grudem is the author of Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine as well as, The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians and The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today. Initially fully defined in his Systematic Theology work and later, in doubling down on this specific topic with publications devoted especially to considerations of New Testament prophecy, Wayne Grudem (asserted by many to be a conservative Evangelical) introduced to many cessationist conservative Evangelicals, (as well as already convinced non-cessationist of many kinds) a new kind of argument for a new kind of view regarding the exercise of the gift of prophecy in the New Testament.

New arguments have a way of catching some people off guard, particularly those who are lazy exegetes and theologians. And Grudem caught many off guard. By the way, some people are lazy or negligent exegetes and theologians on purpose and their being caught off guard isn’t, to them, treated as a bad thing, rather as a humbling enlightenment. Now their "on purpose" has many reasons, some not so good and some purely from deficient training; still, though, it is lazy and negligent.

And it might be true, that sometimes new enlightenment is humbling, but only if it stems from rigorous exegesis and consistent theology. And this is where the rubber meets the road. Bruce Compton, of DBTS, provides and wonderfully binding rebuttal to Grudem’s  current theological esotericism involving a proprietary understanding of the New Testament parameters and operation of prophecy.

I do not consider Wayne Grudem to be a particularly thorough or exacting Christian thinker. He is bright in some spots but that is far removed from the demands of the disciplined vetting which must go on in one’s thinking and with their conclusions before publishing formulations which challenge orthodox views, or in the least, seeks to modify orthodoxy in some way. And the best example I can think of is his Granville Sharp rule mistake.

I will not go into detail (because Compton presents it in his paper) as to the mistake Grudem somewhat now acknowledges he made with the Greek Granville Sharp rule,  but I will say that it was a mistake that a second year Greek student could have easily identify once he has learned the Granville Sharp rule. Does this mean all of Grudem’s work should be suspect? Not necessarily, but it points to claims (not just by me but by many others) of one of many examples of Grudem’s sloppiness and inconsistency, sincere though he may be. But this is not the sum of Grudem's arguements on the matter, it is one point, and he makes other arguments which, of course, Comptom treats super efficiently.

So if you have not read it and are interested in introducing yourself to the arguments of this issue or simply need a refresher, allow me to recommend, (PDF)  The Continuation of New Testament Prophecy and a Closed Canon: A Critique of Wayne Grudem’s Two Levels of New Testament Prophecy, By Dr. R. Bruce Compton, Professor of Biblical Languages and Exposition, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary (2011). You will be more than satisfied.

1 comment:

val said...

Satan has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9 until a woman delivers the true word to the world Rev 12:5, Rev 12:13 from the wilderness Rev 12:6. The true word proves by the word of God that not one child of God will be put in a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5.