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Book Reviews — Page 2

Reading is good for you!

How to run a church bookstallReading is good for you… and I don’t just mean reading blogs! But if you’re concerned about the spiritual well-being of other Christians, it’s important for you not just to read books, but to encourage other Christians to do the same. And one of the best ways of doing this is ensuring you have a bookstall at your church.

I believe every church should have a well-stocked bookstall for at least two reasons. The first is that God uses good books to change lives. Thousands of Christians can testify to that. Perhaps you’re one of them. The second reason is that the church is full of busy people. Too busy, sometimes, to drive into town and spend thirty minutes browsing through the hundreds of books in their local Christian bookshop, trying to find a book they hope will be helpful. Too busy for that – but no so busy they can’t spend five minutes after the morning service glancing through the thirty or so carefully selected books on their church bookstall.

Do you want to run a church bookstall? Here’s how you can do it.
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Response to “To be continued?” #3

This is my third post in a response to Sam Waldron’s new book on cessationism called “To be continued?” (see part 1, part 2). The earlier posts dealt with my difficulties with Waldron’s basic premise, and particularly with his assertion that apostleship was a spiritual gift.

Waldron’s next section deals with prophets (over three chapters), and there are shorter sections on toungue-speakers and miracle-workers. I’ll deal with Waldron’s first chapter on Old Testament prophets here, and leave his thoughts on their continuation or cessation until a later time.

Old Testament Prophets

In dealing with the New Testament gift of prophecy, Waldron rightly emphasises that we must start with a proper understanding of prophecy in the Old Testament, and he suspects that most continuationists have a “superficial view of prophecy” (pp 48-9).

In defining Old Testament prophecy he looks to Exodus 4:10-17 and 7:1-2, and “together these passages teach us that a prophet was the mouth of spokesman of God”. He says from Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:15-22 that there were two tests of a prophet. 1) whether “he led the people away from the revelation of the true God that had been given to them by Moses” (ie orthodoxy). 2) “if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken.” Waldron is clear that the latter two must be applied, though he seems to be less sure what we should do with the “signs and wonders” test from Deuteronomy 13. I found this particularly surprising given his insistence that New Testament miraculous gifts were signs affirming apostles, but I guess his difficulty stems from the fact that false prophets could pass this test.
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Articles in this series:

  1. Response to “To be continued?” #1
  2. Response to “To be continued?” #2
  3. Response to “To be continued?” #3 <-- This article

Response to “To be continued?” #2

In an earlier post, I looked at the opening chapter of Sam Waldon’s To Be Continued?. Waldron is arguing for the cessation of the miraculous gifts with what he calls the ‘cascade argument’. He first seeks to demonstrate that the gift of apostleship has ceased, and then cascades that argument down to the the gift of prophecy, tongue-speaking, and finally miracle-working.

In my earlier post I argued that this line of reasoning was not valid for two key reasons. First, Waldon does not demonstrate that apostleship is a spiritual gift. Second, even if we accept that apostleship is a spiritual gift that has ceased, that would not of itself preclude other spiritual gifts continuing. After all, Waldron only believes that miraculous gifts have ceased, rather than all spiritual gifts. A continuationist could use just the same logic as Waldron to argue that all the foundational gifts have ceased, rather than all the miraculous ones.

So then, to the next chapters of Waldron’s book:
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Articles in this series:

  1. Response to “To be continued?” #1
  2. Response to “To be continued?” #2 <-- This article
  3. Response to “To be continued?” #3

Response to “To be continued?” #1

I’ve finally taken delivery of Sam Waldon’s To Be Continued?. My first thoughts about the book (in this order) were:

  • It’s expensive! £9.95 for 116 pages
  • It’s well written: To be fair, Waldron has condensed a lot into the book. It’s very well structured, and exceptionally clear. A few diagrams help, but even without them, the text is very readable and easily understood.

Rather than post one long response, I’ll post some initial thoughts now, and probably have two more posts later. In this post I want to concentrate solely on the Introduction to the book where Waldron states his case in outline, before going on to give us the detail.

Waldron’s basic premise is that 1) The gift of apostleship was foundational and has ceased, 2) NT Prophecy is like OT prophecy, and therefore that has ceased, 3) Tongue-speaking is equivalent to prophecy, so that has ceased, 4) Miracle-working was to validate apostles and prophets, so that has ceased too.
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Articles in this series:

  1. Response to “To be continued?” #1 <-- This article
  2. Response to “To be continued?” #2
  3. Response to “To be continued?” #3

Cataloguing your growing library

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have shelves and shelves of books (all of them read, of course ;-)). I must confess, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to books, so all of mine are fully catalogued, and classified according to the Dewey decimal system.

If you’re not quite so organised, you may be interested in LibraryThing. Just feed it a list of ISBN numbers, and it will generate your own personal catalogue, scouring the web to find book titles, publishers, authors, even book cover images to match up to the ISBN. It’s free to add up to 200 books, so you can easily give it a whirl. There’s nice widgets (I use one to power the ‘currently reading’ bar on the right), but the very best feature has to be the ‘similar libraries’ section.

I know (for example) that a pastor in Illinois called Steve McCoy has 153 books that I also own. I even know what they are! I can see that across the site, there are 54 of us who own Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, way ahead of Chafer with 4, Reymond (17), Dabney (13), but all trailing behind Grudem (83).
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