Book Review: Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? by Wayne Grudem

In the Book: “Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?”  Wayne Grudem compiles four views of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as viewed according to the 1) Cessationist view; 2) Open but Cautious view; 3) Third Wave view; and 4) Pentacostal/Charismatic view.  I appreciate the men who wrote each of the papers and the responses given to them.  They are scholarly and all write well above most Christians.  Hence their views will likely not be fully understood, but will be received with esoteric respect.  They are fairly objective and gave me additional things to consider regarding my personal view.  Unfortunately, Grudem chose Dr. Gaffin to write the Cessationist view and he did not give a big picture of how the Gifts of the Spirit fit into the big picture of Scripture.  As a proponent of Covenant Theology with an Amillennial view, he falls short of giving a dispensational approach to the Gifts of the Spirit.  He deals with many minor details that do not explain the Cessationist view well.  Nonetheless, I’m grateful for his stand and must consider several aspects of his argument to examine and reassess my own position. Dr. Saucy takes the Open but Cautious view and objectively considers that God may use the gifts, but requires the gifts to conform to Scripture as in 1 Cor. 14. He also considers the apostolic age as unique. Drs. Storms andOsstake an experiential view and interpret 1 Cor. 14 according to their own presuppositions rather than simply asking, “What does the text say?”  They do not consider that Paul is being sarcastic to carnal believers in Corinth who make a big deal of showy gifts.  Paul is not describing what Christians should do regarding tongues in 1 Cor. 14, but sarcastically chides the Corinthians for feeling-centered experientialism rather than seeing the big picture.  Unfortunately, the authors do not deal with the purpose stated in 1 Cor.14:21, nor the meaning of the quotation of Isaiah 28. They approach Scripture based on experience rather than explain their experiences according to Scripture.  Do not let the scholarly writing distract your thinking.  Certainly, read the book, but recognize you may have to read the book a second time to gain a clear understanding of the four positions.

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