When I was younger I was very much persuaded by Wayne Grudem's thesis (based on his PhD work) that the NT apostle and not the NT prophet was the successor to the OT prophet. He sought to draw a clear distinction between OT and NT prophets. The former were inerrant whilst the latter could make mistakes in the details whilst still remaining prophets.
I have become increasingly suspicious of the thesis over the years (suspecting that it was driven by systematic theological concerns rather than exegetical ones) but have never really given it any sustained reflection.
Whilst at SBL I was chatting with some Pentecostal scholars and one random thought came to me (which I am sure that countless people have pointed out before):
A key part of Grudem's case that NT prophets were not inerrant (and were thus different from OT prophets) is the case of Agabus in the book of Acts. A hair-splitting analysis of the Greek text of Agabus' prophecy opens up a gap between the details of what was foretold and what came to pass. This proves that he was not inspired in the same way as OT prophets. Or does it?
My simple thought was this: if one applied Grudem's super-high standards for what counts as accurate fulfillment to OT prophets then Agabus was in the same boat as them. Indeed, he was a darn sight more "accurate" in the Grudem sense than, say, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Daniel.
Far from driving a wedge between OT and NT prophets the case of Agabus may suggest that they were cut from the same cloth.
- Robin Parry
- Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).