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Jon Ruthven: What’s Wrong with Protestant Theology?


An early text of this manuscript was presented and critiqued at the Charismatic Leaders Fellowship meeting in January of 2013, which included many of the luminaries of the Charismatic renewal, such as Dr. Vinson Synan (historian) and Pastor Larry Christensen (leader of the Lutheran renewal). It was greeted with general approval and agreement, save a critique by the Catholic Renewal leader Kevin Reganahan. He objected to Ruthven’s barbed critiques of Catholic theology that were presented as undisputed assumptions (My wife and I read this first manuscript edition, and she mentioned the problem to me––I had not noticed it). Ruthven took note of the critique and has corrected the text, so that the copies the public can now purchase from Amazon, etc. are more carefully worded on this issue.

My only criticism of What’s Wrong With Protestant Theology is that the work is a bit repetitious, and could have been shortened some. On the other hand, due to the radical nature of Ruthven’s thesis, it is perhaps necessary to dig out every scripture that focuses on his argument. In spite of its length, Ruthven writes in a style that makes it accessible to the layman, but has the scholarly documentation in footnotes to satisfy the seminary and university scholar. I believe this work will be a standard for many seminaries and adult education classes for years to come, and will play an important role in transiting the churches from their traditional “cessationist” orthodoxy to a more biblical and Spirit-filled perspective.

Reviewed by William De Arteaga

[1] See my blog posting on this, “Can Church be done as Paul mandated in 1 Cor. 14?” (March 25, 2013).


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Category: In Depth, Spring 2014

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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