Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sam Storms on Fallible Prophecy: Point 8

Eighth, in conjunction with the previous point, I should also mention that the prophetic warning of Agabus, though correct in speaking of the persecution Paul would endure should he go to Jerusalem, was wrong on two points: (a) it was the Romans who bound Paul, not the Jews (Acts 21:33; 22:29); and (b) far from the Jews delivering Paul into the hands of the Gentiles, he had to be forcibly rescued from them (Acts 21:31-36). Those who insist that the NT gift is no less infallible than its OT counterpart are faced with accounting for this mixture of truth and error. To this point I have only heard that we continuationsts are being "overly pedantic" or are guilty of "precisionism." Yet it appears that the strict standards applied under the OT are now conveniently stretched in the NT under the pressure of a passage that doesn't fit the cessationist theory. Might it not rather be that NT prophecy is occasionally fallible, and therefore to be carefully judged (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:19-22)? Some have objected to this reading and insist that Paul’s report in Acts 28:17 of what took place in Acts 21 is essentially the same as prophesied by Agabus. But Paul’s point in 28:17 is simply that he was transferred from Roman custody in Jerusalem into Roman custody in Caesarea. In other words, Acts 28:17 is his description of his transfer “out of” Jerusalem into the Roman judicial system at Caesarea (as found in Acts 23:12-35), and is not a description of the events associated with the mob scene in Acts 21:27-36. Agabus cannot so easily let off the hook.

Was Agabus wrong in his prophecy? Did the Jews bind Paul in Jerusalem? Acts 21:30 says the Jews grabbed hold of Paul and dragged him out of the Temple. Then in Acts 22:30, the commander who stopped the Jews from killing Paul brought him before the Sanhedrin. As Roman citizen, the only recourse the Jews would have, would be to hand Paul over to the Roman courts. After Paul’s appearance before the Sanhedrin, about 40 Jews took an oath to eat nothing until they had killed Paul. Their plot was foiled and Paul’s long journey to Rome was underway.

There are prophecies from OT Scripture that were fulfilled in stages and some still are. One has to look no further than Joel 2 and Acts 2 to recognize that prophecy is fulfilled according to God’s timetable and that there may be gaps and means by which God accomplishes His work. Storms costs himself tremendous credibility on this point. When Storms says that Paul’s words in Acts 28:17 are not linked to Agabus’ prophecy in 21:11, it is an obvious case of special pleading. Storms wants unwarranted precision in the supposedly failed prophecy scenario and tremendous generality in this instance. Paul says that he was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. This is exceptionally close to Agabus’ prophecy. It is unlikely Paul was giving a detailed historical accounting of how he got to Rome. Rather, he was recounting the inception of what brought him there their city. It is simply amazing the lengths to which these men will go in order to support a view that is simply unsupportable.

This was a short reply because point 10 looks to be more complex at least in the sense that it raises some additional sub-points that will make it a longer reply. I thought it best not to attempt to join the two. In case you do not see me around on FB, I have left the farm. My FB days are over. In the end, it seems that it is one huge waste of my time. You can always request my email address and I am happy to correspond where time permits.

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