The Charismatics and the Word of God

by Victor Budgen

The Charismatics and the Word of God, by Victor Budgen

Publisher: Evangelical Press

Available here.

The first edition of this book was published in 1985. This book here is the revised second edition, published in 1989 and reprinted in 2001. It contains an appendix entitled Prophecy in the New Testament which analyses the “Reformed Charismatic” thesis of Wayne Grudem.

Preface by Victor Budgen

Yes, this us yet another book on the charismatic issue. As far as I know, one way in which it differs from other contemporary books is that it deals fairly extensively with various charismatic movements that have appeared in other centuries [i.e., before the 20th century]. Other books have casual allusions to them but, apart from recent treatments of Irving, little has been said about charismatic movements in the early church, in Luthor’s day and in that of the Wesleys, Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards. This book seeks to fill that gap.

But what matters supremely is how we interpret Scripture. Therefore the book begins by grappling with what the Bible says in certain key areas. What is prophecy? What is tongue-speaking? What does Paul teach about the cessation of the gifts? What are the marks of an apostle? It is hard to look simply at what Scripture says. There are so many modern claimants and contemporary testimonies. Before we realize what has happened, we have interpreted Scripture in the light of them. It has not in fact been Scripture alone which has determined the issue.

I can say that I have reached on Scriptural grounds conclusions on these matters which now agitate much of the church. Yet, for the most part, I felt myself to be in a very solitary position.For example, my view on prophecy, tongue-speaking and apostleship seemed to be held by few. Yet as I continued to read and study I found that I had countless companions from among the evangelical stalwarts of the past. Moreover, as they supported my own form conclusion that this is a matter which is vital for the well-being of Christ’s church,a matter on which it is wrong to be neutral, they seemed to be God’s spokesmen of the past urging me to put this into print. Yet it must candidly be admitted that chapters 7 to 11, which deal with the historical material,, may appear harder reading than the earlier and later chapters, especially if the reader is unfamiliar with the historical background. He can if he wishes omit these chapters on first reading or perhaps read just the last one (chapter 11) which deals with the Irvingite movement and the beginnings of Pentecostalism at the turn of the [20th] century. It is hoped that those readers who do omit these chapters will go back to them, for it is rightly said that those who do not know their history are so often desitned to repeat it. This is certainly happening today.

In this book most of the living authors quoted are not named in the main text. In this way it is hoped that the reader will be able to concentrate on the scriptural argument and not be side-tracked by personalities. The notes do provide the identity of the various spokesmen for those who wish to check. I have tried to draw on testimony from spokesmen from a wide variety of backgrounds and hope that I have not misquoted any of these or quoted them out of context. If I have done so, I apologize in advance. It has not been intentional. I have tried to play fair with all my sources.

New books have continued to appear since this book was first published.Much of the debate has centered on the second prophece of Agabus and the correct interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:29 and 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. These passages are discussed more fully in an appendix. In the appendix I have departed from my practice of not naming people in the text. The substance of the appendix first appeared in the magazine Reformation Today (Issues 101 and 102) and is used by kind permission of the editor.

As always, I am grateful for the help of my wife, Pauline, who has typed for hours so that the book may be completed. I am also grateful to others who have helped in checking the manuscript andespecially to my daughter, Elizabeth, who did the major part of this. Once again I must also express gratitude to the fellowship of Milnrow Evangelical Church, where most of the biblical material was originally given as a long series of studies. I am also grateful to Errol Hulse for encouraging me to make the writing of this book a priority. I also wish to acknowledge indebtedness to Ian Bradley for providing helpful information forthe material in the appendix.

My prayer is that all who read these pages may be increasingly motivated by the spirit of the prophet Isaiah: ‘To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn’ (Isa. 8:20). And since it is from the Scripture alone that pure, unsullied light proceeds, it is with scriptural testimony that we will begin.

April 1989


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