March 15, 2012

Throwing Prophecy under the Agabus

by Nathan Busenitz

Two weeks ago, I posted an article discussing some of the dangers of defining New Testament prophecy as being fallible and non-authoritative. Today I’d like to continue that discussion by focusing on Agabus—a New Testament prophet at the center of the continuationist-cessationist controversy.

Did Agabus get the details of his prophecy in Acts 21:11 wrong?

Continuationist scholars (such as D. A. Carson and Wayne Grudem) claim that he did. Cessationists (like Richard Gaffin and Thomas Edgar) are not convinced.

But why is this issue so important to the continuationist-cessationist discussion?

Because without Agabus, continuationists do not have any examples of fallible prophecy in the New Testament. In terms of finding biblical illustrations to support their views on prophecy, the continuationist perspective stands or falls with Agabus.

In Acts 11:28, Agabus is affirmed as a true prophet, who accurately foretold the coming of a severe famine. But controversy surrounds Acts 21:10–11, when Agabus warns Paul of the coming persecution he will face if he returns to Jerusalem. Luke writes:

As we were staying there [in Caesarea Philippi] for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”

According to continuationists, the overall gist of Agabus’s prophecy is accurate, but the details are wrong.

In particular, Agabus erred when he stated (1) that the Jews would bind Paul and (2) that the Jews would deliver Paul into the hands of the Romans. As Wayne Grudem explains, this is “a prophecy whose two elements—‘binding’ and ‘giving over’ by the Jews—are explicitly falsified by the subsequent narrative” (The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 80). Elsewhere, Grudem adds that, for Agabus, “the prediction was not far off, but it had inaccuracies in detail that would have called into question the validity of any Old Testament prophet” (Bible Doctrine, 411).

So, how are we to think about Agabus? Are the details of his prophecy explicitly falsified by the biblical text? Did he err when he predicted that the Jews would bind Paul and hand him over to the Romans?

I certainly don’t think so. Rather, I believe Agabus got the details exactly right. Here are five reasons why:

1. Nothing in the text states that Agabus got his prophecy wrong. Neither Luke, nor Paul, nor anyone else in Scripture criticizes the accuracy of Agabus’s prediction or says that he erred. Thus, at best, the continuationist approach to Agabus is based on an argument from silence.

2. Luke’s description of what happened to Paul in Jerusalem implies that the Jews “bound” him in some way. Later in Acts 21, Luke explains what happened to the apostle shortly after he arrived in Jerusalem. The Jews “laid hands on” Paul (v. 27), “seized” him (v. 30), “dragged” him out of the temple (v. 30), “sought to kill” him (v. 31), and “were beating” him when the Roman soldiers finally arrived (v. 32). In Acts 26:21, Paul reiterates (before Agrippa) that the Jews “seized” him in the temple and “tried to kill” him. Since Paul did not willingly go with the Jewish mob (a point implied by verbs like “seized” and “dragged”), they would have had to restrain him in some way as they forcibly removed him from the temple—using whatever was immediately available to bind him. Luke did not need to repeat that detail, since Agabus had already told us that Paul would be bound with something like a belt. (The Greek verb deo [“to bind”] can mean to arrest or imprison, but it can also mean to tie up with ropes [Luke 19:30] or to wrap with rags [John 11:44].)

Not only does the text not state that Agabus’s prophecy was wrong, it gives us good reason to believe that his prediction that Paul would be “bound” by the Jews was exactly right. As Thomas Edgar explains:

There is no logical reason to assume that because the Romans bound Paul [in v. 33] this somehow means that the Jews could not have bound him previously. Certainly Paul did not voluntarily go along with the Jewish mob; he must have been bound in some sense. Since the Greek word deo, “bind,” can have several broader meanings, including the meaning “to take captive,” which the Jews obviously did to Paul, it is illogical to state that the Jews did not “bind” Paul as Agabus said. However, there is no reason to assume that the Jews did not actually bind Paul with some physical restraints. (Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit, 81-82)

3. Paul’s later testimony confirms that the Jews “delivered him over” to the Romans. Continuationists claim that Agabus also erred when he predicted that the Jews would give Paul over to the Romans. But is such an error demanded by the text? In Acts 21:32, Paul is being beaten when the Roman cohort arrives. The Jews, upon seeing the soldiers, stop assaulting Paul (v. 32). The bloodied apostle is then arrested by the Romans (v. 33). The implication of the text is that the Jews backed away and willingly relinquished Paul into the hands of the Romans once the soldiers arrived. Such accords perfectly with Agabus’s prediction.

The accuracy of Agabus’s statement is further strengthened by the testimony of Paul himself. Acts 28:16–17, describing Paul’s arrival in Rome, says this:

When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him. After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.” (emphasis added)

Significantly, Paul uses the same word for “delivered” that Agabus used in Acts 21:11 (paradidomi). Commenting on this verse, Thomas Edgar explains:

Paul describes this event in the same way as Agabus, and Paul, more than anyone else, should know what happened and be able to state it correctly and accurately. Therefore, Agabus made no errors. Rather the errors are being made by those accusing Agabus of mistakes. (Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit, 83)

4. Agabus is quoting the Holy Spirit. In Acts 21:11, Agabus begins his prophecy by stating, “Thus says the Holy Spirit,” and nothing in the text indicates that he was wrong to do so. (In fact, the Holy Spirit Himself inspired Luke to record Agabus’s prophecy in just that way, with no qualifications or caveats.) Those who wish to accuse Agabus of error ought to be very careful, since Agabus himself is quoting the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, by claiming to speak the very words of the Holy Spirit, Agabus was aligning himself with other biblical prophets. As David Farnell explains:

He introduced his prophecy with the formula, “This is what the Holy Spirit says” (Acts 21:11), which closely parallels the Old Testament prophetic formula of “thus says the Lord” so frequently proclaimed by Old Testament prophets (e.g., Isa. 7:7; Ezek. 5:5; Amos 1:3, 6, 11, 13; Obad. 1; Mic. 2:3; Nah. 1:12; Zech. 1:3-4). This same introductory phrase introduces the words of the Lord Jesus to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation (cf. Rev. 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). (“Is the Gift of Prophecy for Today?” Online Source)

Based on such parallels, in which God was the direct Source of the message proclaimed, extreme caution ought to be exercised before alleging that Agabus erred in his prophecy.

5. No one in church history accused Agabus of errant prophecy until modern times. The church fathers don’t talk about Agabus much. But when they do, they equate him (in accuracy and authority) with the Old Testament prophets. There is no hint of “fallible prophecy” in their description of Agabus or his prediction in Acts 21:11. By way of illustration, here are five patristic passages that mention Agabus:

(A) John Chrysostom compares Agabus to the OT prophet Ezekiel, and assumes the accuracy of his prediction:

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Acts, Homily 65: He [Agabus] who formerly had declared about the famine [in Acts 11:28], the same says, This “man, who owns this girdle, thus shall they bind.” The same that the prophets used to do, representing events to the sight, when they spoke about the captivity—as did Ezekiel—the same did this (Agabus). “And,” what is the grievous part of the business, “deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.” (v. 12.)

(B) Cyril argues that OT prophets (like Isaiah) were taken away from the Jews and given to the church. These NT prophets (like Agabus) are thus parallel to their OT counterparts.

Cyril, Catechetical Lectures, 13.29: Rightly did the Prophet Isaiah aforetime bewail you, saying, My well-beloved had a vineyard in a hill in a fruitful place; and (not to recite the whole) I waited, he says, that it should bring forth grapes; I thirsted that it should give wine; but it brought forth thorns; for thou seest the crown, wherewith I am adorned. What then shall I now decree? I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it . For the clouds which are the Prophets were removed from them, and are for the future in the Church; as Paul says, Let the Prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge; and again, God gave in the Church, some, Apostles, and some, Prophets. Agabus, who bound his own feet and hands, was a prophet.

(C) Ambrose, in an effort to defend the full deity and equality of the Holy Spirit, argues that in the same way the Father spoke through the Old Testament prophets, so the Holy Spirit spoke through Agabus:

Ambrose, On the Holy Spirit, 2.13.145: For as Paul heard the voice saying to him, “I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting,” so, too, the Spirit forbade Paul and Silas to go into Bithynia. And as the Father spoke through the prophets, so, too, Agabus says concerning the Spirit: “Thus says the Holy Spirit, Thus shall the Jews in Jerusalem bind the man, whose is this girdle.”

(D) John Cassian (in a section suggesting that monks ought to wear belts, just like Paul did) implies that Agabus’s prophecy was accurate:

John Cassian, Twelve Books on the Institutes of the Coenobia, 1.1: Paul also, going up to Jerusalem and soon to be put in chains by the Jews, was met at Caesarea by the prophet Agabus, who took his girdle and bound his hands and feet to show by his bodily actions the injuries which he was to suffer, and said: “So shall the Jews in Jerusalem bind the man whose girdle this is, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” And surely the prophet would never have brought this forward, or have said “the man whose girdle this is,” unless Paul had always been accustomed to fasten it round his loins.

(E) Augustine, commenting on the reaction of Paul’s companions (who tried to convince the apostle not to go to Jerusalem in Acts 21:12), never suggests any doubt as to the accuracy of Agabus’s prediction:

Augustine, The Enchiridion, 101: How good seemed the intentions of the pious believers who were unwilling that Paul should go up to Jerusalem lest the evils which Agabus had foretold should there befall him! And yet it was God’s purpose that he should suffer these evils for preaching the faith of Christ, and thereby become a witness for Christ.

Conclusion

To play off of my title, I think it’s time to stop throwing Agabus and his prophecy under the bus.

The reality is that there is no inductive reason (either from the text or from church history) to accuse Agabus of fallible prophecy. His supposed errors are being forced upon the text by those seeking to defend a continuationist position. When such presuppositions are set aside, an honest reading of the text (as exhibited by the church fathers) finds no fault with the details of his prediction in Acts 21:11.

And that brings our discussion full circle, because if Agabus did not err in his prophecy, then there are no examples of fallible prophecy in the New Testament.

Nathan Busenitz

Posts Twitter

Nathan serves on the pastoral staff of Grace Church and teaches theology at The Master's Seminary in Los Angeles.
  • Blake

    As a continuationist, I agree! Thanks for the write-up. I think something very interesting to consider is the wealth of texts in the NT that speak of Christ returning very soon–soon enough that for us to be 2000 years into things, their words “seem” mistaken. Maybe keep that on your radar as you read through the NT and consider it in light of fallible prophecy.

    • Ted Bigelow

      Blake, couple thoughts, brother.

      First, the word for “soon” is better understood as “quickly” (tachus) – almost sounds like “tacos.” It is an adverb actually and describes the manner of coming –> when the Lord comes back, He does so “quickly”. This is how the word is translated in Mat. 5:25, for instance. In Luke 17:24 Jesus says, “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.” When Jesus returns, it will be quick, quick as lightning. It won’t be this long dragged out affair. Think immediacy and you’ve captured the meaning of “soon.”

      Second, you tread on the verge of actual heresy to suggest that the prophecies concerning Christ’s return as “soon” are fallible. This isn’t one of those “agree to disagree” areas. In Rev. 2:16 and 3:11 Jesus claims a “soon” coming for Himself. Read also Rev. 22:7, 12, 20. Are we to believe He is fallible (“keep that on your radar as you read through the NT and consider it in light of fallible prophecy”)?

  • Paul Lamey

    Solid article Nate! I pray many will ponder your fourth point more carefully than some scholars have in essays and talks.

    Expanding on your fifth point a bit; do you know of any evangelical who espouses “NT fallible prophecy” before Grudem published his work in 1988? I have not read H. A. Guy’s work and wondered if this was the source of Grudem’s novel approach. It appears that this is the only way that Grudem can hold to a closed canon and yet view prophetic revelation as continuing today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benblakey Ben Blakey

    Now you’ve got me wondering if the mob that seized Paul bound him with his own belt!

    Great blog.

  • Brett Schlee

    Nate, you have a great article here… as a continuationist, I must say I’ve never read any church fathers on Agabus! But if we say that all N.T. prophecy is infallible, how do we explain Paul’s rejection of authoritative, binding instruction from the Holy Spirit not to go to Jerusalem? (Acts 21:4) Gross disobedience hardly befits the apostle.

    • http://www.gracechurchministry.org/ Ted Bigelow

      It isn’t enough to throw prophecy under the bus, but now we have to throw Paul under it too?

      • Brett Schlee

        I’m not throwing Paul under the bus… I’m using the ridiculousness of such “gross sin” by Paul as an argument to show he didn’t think the disciples’ prophetic speech was infallible.

    • Noah Hartmetz

      Brett,
      I’m sure Nate will have a response, but I figured I would throw in my hat:

      “But if we say that all N.T. prophecy is infallible, how do we explain Paul’s rejection of authoritative, binding instruction from the Holy Spirit not to go to Jerusalem? (Acts 21:4)”

      We explain it by reading that Paul says he is “bound” by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem in Acts 20:22 and by the response in 21:14 of the people to not being able to persuade Paul, saying, “The will of the Lord be done!”

      We know that the Holy Spirit does not give conflicting utterances (if he did we would be in big trouble!) so 21:4 should probably be looked as more warning than “authoritative, binding instruction from the Holy Spirit.”

      • Brett Schlee

        Noah,
        Okay, Paul is bound by the Spirit, and the others speak exactly opposite “through the Spirit”. Does the Spirit contradict Himself? Of course not… Paul saw trial and arrest waiting for him and was emboldened, and the disciples saw trial and arrest, and “through the Spirit” told Paul not to go. To paraphrase Grudem, the Spirit’s “revelation” (for lack of a better word… not to be equated with Scripture!) is perfect, but our comprehension is flawed; thus conflicting interpretations.

        • Noah Hartmetz

          Brett,
          Here’s the problem with this redefinition of prophecy, not only is it not supported in the text (hence Nathan’s calling out the pressing the interpretation onto the text), but it essentially says that the Holy Spirit is unable to overcome our inability to comprehend his words. He didn’t have a problem in the OT, but now, after Jesus has gone back to the Father (after saying it would be better if he did go back precisely because the Spirit would be sent)…well, the third Person of the Trinity just can’t seem to get the job done anymore.

          That’s a problem.

    • Gabriel Poell

      Where does the Holy Spirit tell Paul not to go? It is Paul’s friends, not the Holy Spirit, who urge Paul not to go.

      • Brett Schlee

        Paul’s friends urge him “through the Spirit”… that’s not just me warning you not to go to Rob Bell’s church (not that you ever would!): that’s prophetic speech that must be considered as an example of N.T. prophecy that Paul felt free to respectfully disregard. So if he could disregard it, it must not be “infallible”.

        • Jonathan Anderson

          Brett, it will be helpful to remember verse 14. After those who had heard Agabus’ prophecy, which was given through the Holy Spirit, they were exhorting him not to go. When Paul resolutely disregarded their encouragements, they remarked, “The will of the Lord be done!” If the exhortation to not go to Jerusalem was given through the Spirit of the Lord, then these Judean believers in Caesarea believed that God the Spirit (“Don’t go!”) contradicted God the Father (“The will of the Lord be done [by Paul's going]!”). This, we would all agree is a massive problem.

          Now, in the previous narrative you mentioned, the same thing seems to be happening. In the Greek of Acts 21:4, they are speaking through the Spirit. The phrase “to not set foot in Jerusalem” isn’t a direct quote of the Spirit. It is actually an infinitive! If, in fact, Luke was quoting the Holy Spirit here, you would expect a ‘hoti’ (‘that’ or ‘because'; left untranslated in direct discourse, roughly equivalent to our quotation marks). At least you would find a finite verb so that the actual content of the quote made sense. The significance of the infinitive is to show that this is the purpose of their speaking through the Spirit–to dissuade Paul from going. So, just as in the Caesarea narrative, in Tyre, these disciples are telling Paul of what the Spirit has prophecied “in order that he might not set foot in Jerusalem.”

    • Nate_Busenitz

      Hi Brett,

      I apologize for not responding sooner. I’ve been busy teaching today. But thank you for your question. It is an important one.

      Though continuationists sometimes argue for fallible and non-authoritative prophecy in the 21:4, I believe it is unreasonable to do so, for a couple reasons. First, the exact content of the prophecy is not given by Luke. That makes it impossible to establish error in the prophetic message itself, because we don’t know its exact contents. Second, whatever its specific contents were, the message is directly credited by Luke to the Holy Spirit. Since the Spirit cannot contradict Himself (cf. Acts 20:22), we should be very careful before we assume fallible prophecy in that verse.

      Based on the context, I believe it is better to understand Acts 21:4 as a summary statement (by Luke) of the very same thing that happened in Acts 21:7-14. As had been occurring in every city (Acts 20:23), the prophetic message from the Holy Spirit warned Paul of the tribulation that awaited him in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 21:11). The response of the believers was one of sadness, entreating Paul not to go (cf. Acts 20:38; 21:12). Thus, there are two elements in play: (1) the revelation of the Spirit (which was both accurate and authoritative, and which revealed the tribulations that awaited Paul in Jerusalem); and (2) the reaction of Paul’s friends (which was heartfelt and well-intentioned, but not-authoritative).

      Paul rightly understands that the word of prophecy is intended as a warning and not a prohibition. Paul is not disobeying a word of prophecy when he continues on his journey. Rather, he is obeying exactly what the Holy Spirit had compelled him to do (Acts 20:22).

      This, by the way, is the understanding of historical commentators like John Chrysostom. In his commentary on this passage, he clearly separates the Spirit’s revelation (which was accurate and authoritative) from the urging of Paul’s friends (which was heartfelt but non-authoritative). I’d be happy to provide specific citations if you are interested.

      To quote again from Thomas Edgar:

      “We do not have the exact words of the prophecy in Acts 21:4, which concerns the same subject as that of Agabus’s prophecy. Therefore, it is inappropriate to claim with Carson and Grudem that Paul disregarded this prophecy, thereby showing that he did not regard it as authoritative. This is particularly true since there is a direct correspondence to this situation in the same passage. When Agabus gave his prophecy, warning Paul what would happen to him in Jerusalem, the disciples, including Luke, interpreted the warning to mean that Paul should not go to Jerusalem even though Agabus did not specifically say that Paul should stay away from Jerusalem (Acts 21:12–13). The most logical way to interpret Acts 21:4 is that the prophecy was much the same as Agabus’s—a warning rather than a prohibition against going to Jerusalem. Like Agabus’s prophecy, this passage was interpreted as a warning. This warning was then understood by most of those present as a prohibition, just as the similar warning was incorrectly taken as a prohibition in Acts 21:12–13. On the other hand, it was correctly understood by Paul to be only a warning” (Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit, 84).

      Again, thanks for your question. I hope this is helpful to you.

      God bless,
      Nathan

      • David Ellingson

        Brett, I believe Acts 20:22-24 answers your question, where Paul says “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

        So the Holy Spirt constrained Paul to go to Jerusalem, despite the afflictions that awaited him. Additionally, Paul’s mission to Jerusalem had been given him by the Lord Jesus (20:24); which is why (despite awaiting afflictions) did not account his life of any value nor as precious to himself.

        So when the believers were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem, it was not a command from the Spirit. Rather, the Spirit had revealed to the believers that Paul would face suffering in Jerusalem.

        I hope that clarifies this. God Bless.

      • Brett Schlee

        Nate, thanks for your reply… I know you’re a busy guy. I will be the first to concede there is a lack of specificity to Acts 21:4, and we can’t know exactly what they (the disciples) said or how they said it. But you have to acknowledge that this fuzziness negates your concluding statement (“no examples of fallible prophecy in the N.T.”)… without more info, this could be the supposedly non-existent fallible prophecy. Thanks again.

        • Nate_Busenitz

          Hi Brett,

          Thanks for your comment. I think most Bible commentators (whether continuationist or cessationist) would agree that what happened in Acts 21:4 is parallel to what happened in Acts 21:10-12. Because verses 10-12 include specific details, those verses help us understand what is left unstated and ambiguous in verse 4. (From a hermeneutical standpoint, this is simply allowing the clearer passage to help us interpret the less clear passage.)

          Thus, if vv. 10-12 give us an example of fallible prophecy, then the continuationist understanding of v. 4 is greatly strengthened.

          But, if vv. 10-12 do not illustrate fallible prophecy, then the continuationist understanding of v. 4 becomes exceedingly difficult to maintain.

          That’s why I stated in the article: “In terms of finding biblical illustrations to support their views on prophecy, the continuationist perspective stands or falls with Agabus.”

          I still believe that statement to be true.

          Thanks again for your comment. It is a joy to discuss these things for the honor of Christ.

          Nathan

  • Richard

    I have enjoyed and been encouraged by both of your articles (concerning prophecy) thank you for your efforts in writing them. I am curious and hopeful; will you be writing an article on what New Testament prophecy is versus the arguments against what it isn’t?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “And that brings our discussion full circle, because if Agabus did not err in his prophecy, then there are no examples of fallible prophecy in the New Testament.”

    Point, game, set, match, tournament championship.

    Continuationists championing fallible prophecy in the New Testament will now do a polite clap for Pastor Nathan Busenitz.

  • Noah Hartmetz

    This is great stuff! Appreciate your clarity in this and everything else you’ve written on the subject.

  • Uriah Jackson

    I really don’t get it. How can anyone believe that Scripture is infallible, God breathed, and that God, not being human cannot lie or err, yet believe that any part of Scripture is fallible? It is either The Word of God or it isn’t. There are many prophecies spoken about in Acts that never made it to page (Acts 21:9,19:6), yet we believe them to be true. But as for this particular prophecy actually is in Scripture, even the one who said it! Look, If this prophecy was false, it wouldn’t be in the Bible.

  • Pingback: Throwing Prophecy under the Agabus | KevStar.us

  • Kevin P.

    thank you thank you thank you!!!!
    i’ve been wondering about this since all the wacky-charismatics use this text to to prove they are getting new revelations from God.
    And since I don’t know Greek, I’m glad others do.
    Thank You!

  • Bereannmg

    Very clear and helpful. It seems that in order to argue Agabus’ prophersy conflicts with the historical account based on the absence of details (binding) is a simular hermeneutic used to argue for conflicting Gospels.

  • Brian Lund

    Great article Pastor Busenitz. I would add two things for consideration.

    1. Regarding Paul ignoring the pleas of His friends in Acts 21.4, 12; perhaps a wider lens or perspective could be considered. Dennis Johnson and others have argued for a sort of parallelism between the Gospel of Luke and Acts, where what happens to Jesus is mirrored in Paul. So Jesus is led by the Spirit, goes to Jerusalem, is struck by the High Priest, etc etc, and the same things happen to Paul as led by the same Spirit. Paul’s shipwreck is the death/resurrection parallel, where God has promised him a “particular atonement” (Acts 27:24, cf. 44). Now you may make what you like of that argument, but I think the point here is that even as Jesus “set his face” to go to Jerusalem, so too Paul, despite the (accurate!) warnings. Acts 21.4, 12 should be seen in the larger canonical context of Luke’s Gospel.

    2. Despite my great admiration for both Drs. Carson and Grudem, another example of why I think Agabus fails to provide the evidence they need is his introductory “Thus says the Holy Spirit.” You’ve already pointed out that this is exactly how the OT prophets introduced their prophecies. But it should be further noted that _if_ Grudem is right about Agabus’ prophecy being fallible, by Grudem’s own admission he should not have introduced the prophecy with the authoritative statement “Thus says the Holy Spirit.” So he’s either an infallible prophet using the _tade legei_ statement properly, or Agabus is a fallible prophet using the phrase improperly. Admittedly, Grudem interacts with this argument in _Gift of Prophecy_ p. 319, but I think there are better ways to handle his appeal to the early Church Fathers’ use of _tade legei_.

    Just some further things to consider. Thanks again!

    • Nate_Busenitz

      Thanks Brian. These are helpful additional thoughts.

  • Pingback: Comment: Throwing Prophecy Under the Agabus | Brian J. Lund

  • Pingback: “Throwing Prophecy under the Agabus” by Nathan Busenitz | Reformed Bibliophile

  • Pingback: Spurgeon, Impressions, and Prophecy | the Cripplegate

  • Pingback: Testing the Spirits - Page 2 - Christian Forums

  • Pingback: Spurgeon, Impressions, and Prophecy (Reprise) | the Cripplegate

  • Pingback: Understanding the Times and Knowing What the Church Should Do | the Cripplegate