Talbot Seminary professor J.P. Moreland shook up the recent Evangelical Theological Society conference in San Diego by telling attendees that evangelicals were ‘over-committed’ to the Bible and disregarded other ‘extra-Biblical’ forms of guidance from God. During his address, Dr. Moreland pointed out that evangelical scholars and the movement, as a whole, many times reject:
…guidance, revelation, and so forth from God through impressions, dreams, visions, prophetic words, words of knowledge and wisdom. …
We shut that down because of charismatic excesses, because of abuses, we fear teaching people how to use it. We think its all going to be Benny Hinn or something like that.
Comments: As you can well imagine, his address sparked considerable controversy and response from those who were there and hundreds of comments on the Internet.
What is really shocking, this comes from a major professor from Biola University’s Talbot Seminary. A school which started out and remains squarely in the dispensational camp. Many of its ‘big guns’ in the past have been especially critical of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.
I have read a number of articles and books by J. P. Moreland in the past and have always found his works to be particularly good in the area of apologetics. We should not look for him to become a Charismatic or a Pentecostal anytime soon, but neither is he a card carrying cessasionalist. He seems to be far more open to the ‘gifts’ than I had ever supposed.
J.P Moreland is a very careful Biblical apologist and philosopher. What’s important here, while his address was about how evangelicals treat the Bible, it is tantamount to admitting that there is really no Biblical basis for the cessasionalist tendencies that have dominated so much of the American evangelical community.
Now what we need is a Charismatic or Pentecostal leader of similar influence reminding Charismatics and Pentecostals to balance out our spiritual gift with balanced Bible study.
I believe we will see a balance when revival comes.