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Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible, Part 3, by Wayne A. Grudem

God does not make mistakes, and He does not give us erroneous revelations. But we can make mistakes in several ways: (1) We may not perfectly distinguish what is from God and what are our own thoughts. (2) We may misunderstand what is from God. (3) We may not report it with complete accuracy—some of our own ideas and interpretations may be mixed in.38

That is why I think some charismatics make a mistake when they begin a prophecy with, “Thus says the Lord …,” as if they never made a mistake and their prophecies were like the Bible—100 percent God’s words with not the tiniest bit of impurity or imperfection. It would be much better to preface a prophecy with, “I think the Lord is telling me …,” or, “I think God is putting on my heart that …” This will not hurt the effectiveness of anything that is really from the Lord; because if it is from Him, He will bring it home to the heart of the person for whom it is intended.39

The reason people sometimes preface their prophecies with “Thus says the Lord” is that they read the phrase over and over in the Old Testament prophets. But we must realize that the gift of prophecy today is different from the Old Testament prophecies we read in the Bible. Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah had an amazing responsibility—they were able to speak and write words that had absolute divine authority. This was because God not only revealed things to them, He also guaranteed that their report of that revelation was in the very words He wanted—what the Bible later calls “God-breathed” words (2 Timothy 3:16).

Thus the Old Testament prophets could say, “Thus says the Lord,” and the words that followed were the very words of God. The Old Testament prophets wrote their words as God’s words in Scripture for all time (Deuteronomy 18:19; 1 Samuel 8:7; 1 Kings 20:36, etc.).

In the New Testament, people speak and write God’s very words and have them recorded in Scripture. We are surprised, however, to find that Jesus no longer calls them “prophets” but uses a new term, “apostles.” The apostles are the New Testament counterpart to the Old Testament prophets (see Galatians 1:8-9, 11-12; 1 Corinthians 2:13, 14:37; 2 Corinthians 13:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 4:8, 15; 2 Peter 3:2, etc.). The apostles and a few others authorized by them (such as Mark, Luke, and the author of Hebrews), had authority to write the words of New Testament Scripture—but not the thousands of ordinary Christians who had prophetic gifts in the Early churches (Acts 2:17-18; 21:4, 9-11; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 14:29-38; Ephesians 4:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:20; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 John 4:1-3).

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Category: Pneuma Review, Spirit, Summer 2000

About the Author: Wayne A. Grudem is Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. He has authored over twenty books, including Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (1994), Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (2010), The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution (2013), The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, and "Free Grace" Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel (2016). He was also the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Book of the Year, 2009).

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