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The Duration of Prophecy: How Long Will Prophecy Be Used in the Church? (Part 3) by Wayne A. Grudem

Donald Gee:

[There are] grave problems raised by the habit of giving and receiving personal “messages” of guidance through the gifts of the Spirit. . . . The Bible gives a place for such direction from the Holy Spirit. . . . But it must be kept in proportion. An examination of the Scriptures will show us that as a matter of fact the early Christians did not continually receive such voices from heaven. In most cases they made their decisions by the use of what we often call “sanctified common-sense” and lived quite normal lives. Many of our efforts where spiritual gifts are concerned arise when we want the extraordinary and exceptional to be made the frequent and habitual. Let all who develop excessive desire for “messages” through the gifts take warning from the wreckage of past generations as well as of contemporaries. . . . The Holy Scriptures are a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.19

Donald Bridge:

“Illuminism” is a centuries-old phrase to describe something which is not at all new. . . . It is the claim to direct personal revelations from God which transcend the “ordinary” experiences of disciplined prayer and Bible-study. . . . The illuminist constantly finds that “God tells him” to do things. . . . Illuminists are often very sincere, very dedicated, and possessed of a commitment to obey God that shames more cautious Christians. Nevertheless they are treading a dangerous path. Their ancestors have trodden it before, and always with disastrous results in the long run. Inner feelings and special promptings are by their very nature subjective. The Bible provides our objective guide.20

Donald Bridge and David Phypers:

Any attempt to give highly specific instructions to the group, or to individuals in it, under the guise of prophecy should be strenuously discouraged by the leaders of the meeting because of problems which will almost invariably arise as a result. . . . In our experience, while prophecies have sometimes spoken very directly to individuals’ needs, the Christians giving the prophecies have always been personally unaware of those needs, and each prophecy has always been couched in general terms perfectly acceptable to the whole gathering. Only later has the specific usefulness of the prophecy been realized when the Christian particularly spoken to has testified to its helpfulness.21

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Category: Fall 2001, Pneuma Review, Spirit

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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