Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Unknowingly perhaps an author makes his book much more useful than the purpose for which he writes. And that is what makes this book so valuable even if you are not particularly interested in the age old debate about whether God heals miraculously today or not.
I found the book helpful in illustrating the usefulness of Biblical Theology over Systematic Theology, where the bible’s storyline of redemption affects the way we understand how to answer the question of miraculous healing. In a carefully orchestrated way, Blackwell lays out the story of God’s redeeming a people that provides the appropriate context for answering the question. The setting is cosmological rather than the American culture of individualism.
His section on Basic bible boundaries and rules provides a very helpful reminder that he will approach the answer to this question using careful exegisis, hermeneutics and homiletics. He even tells us in plain language what these terms mean.
In a loving way he makes clear the difference between Pentecostal/charismatic and reformed evangelical thought on this issue and addresses the difference.
In answering this much debated question Blackwell is to clear about underlying assumptions, makes clear the context for answering the question, makes clear what bias he has, elaborates on relevant personal experience and makes clear the methodology for arriving at an answer.
Near the end Blackwell says:
“ My hope is that this small book might encourage … those who undergo great personal struggles, and help them recapture and redirect their focus so that they might once again testify that God’s grace is perfectly sufficient and his power made perfect, even through our weakness”
This he has done by reminding us our hope is ultimately on the sovereignty of God and the work on our behalf of Christ on the cross and the certainty of our salvation that will be complete at the last day. The book ends with that great quote from 1 Peter 1:3-9.