Sola Scriptura v Mysicism (signs and wonders)

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
As you know I am fascinated by classical Greece and their successors the Romans. Reading Victor Davis Hanson and his book "Who Killed Homer" I came across a reference to E R Dodds. He explained that "the Greeks were rational not because they were ignorant of the irrational but more often they were rational and empirical because they knew the inexplicable so well." (p268)



When discussing the modern day "signs and wonders" movement I hear that there are amazing things happening "on the mission field" and that we in the West have become "too rational" in our thinking to expect such things. The logic of this (Oh the irony) is that, were we less rational and embraced the mystical we would experience more. The premise is correct, by embracing experience and holding reason at arms length we would indeed enter the world of the metaphysical. That however is to descend into the realm of mysticism.



When the Reformers insist that scripture is the final revelation of God (sola scriptura) they do so, not because they are unaware of the mystical but precisely because they are aware of it.



Luther had to contend with the Roman Catholic "signs and wonders" and the mysticism of the Anabaptists, when the Westminster Confession/London Confession were being written it was against the backdrop of the Quaker "inner light" theology. To suggest that the Western Church has become "too rational" to expect the inexplicable is to misunderstand the origins of reformed theology. It was the very experience of mysticism and the inexplicable in the Roman Catholics, Anabaptists and Quakers to name but a few which drove the reformers to exalt the canon of scripture over subjective experience.



When Dale Ralph Davis is expounding Luke five where Christ instructs Simon Peter to let down his nets in daylight against reason and experience, he feels it necessary to add that God does not always work against reason and experience. Thus when a man says God has called him to be a missionary in Paraguay, quits his job, uproots his family, to start a faith mission and tells you he would covet your prayers and financial contributions - No it is probably not Jesus telling him that, it is more likely to be his ego telling him that. [https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=42218193170]


To embrace the irrational and inexplicable of today and call it "signs and wonders" of necessity requires us to reject reason and the sober light of scripture. That was never necessary in the age of the Apostles. God was more than capable of overriding reason when required - He still is! What modern day charismatics want is the miraculous to be every-day. To achieve that objective they are more than willing to "lower the bar" and embrace mysticism; the mysticism of the Roman Catholics, the Anabaptists and the Quakers. It is an achievable objective - but at the cost of sola scriptura!
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
This is an on-going discussion in my fellowship. Somewhere I read that when the LBC confession was being written that it was redrafted specifically to counter the Quaker inner light doctrine/experience. Can anyone tell me where I read this?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
To embrace the irrational and inexplicable of today and call it "signs and wonders" of necessity requires us to reject reason and the sober light of scripture.

Can one believe that miracles happen without being irrational? It seems one can. You poison the well by a priori identifying miracles with irrational. Further, there is no reason why the inexplicable must be irrational. You just state that.

As for the "logic" of it, the last time this came up people accused me of being too logical, so there's that.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
As to rational discussions on miracles, Steve Hays believed in miracles and he was far more rational than any of us.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Is JP Moreland irrational?
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
To embrace the irrational and inexplicable of today and call it "signs and wonders" of necessity requires us to reject reason and the sober light of scripture. That was never necessary in the age of the Apostles

I know you were talking about highly irrational Christian's so-called. But are you also saying that rational thinking is somewhat less fallen than our emotions and feelings?

I just finished reading about Peter at Cornelius' house in the book of Acts chapter 11. It took a miracle to convince Peter to go to Cornelius's house at all. Once there, it was another miracle, the Gentiles receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues, that convinced Peter that God had, in fact, Branford salvation to the Gentiles. He uses this as an argument later on in the church Council.

More than once, I felt something was wrong and only afterward logically concluded it was wrong. Rationality and logic sometimes are first in line. But sometimes, our emotions, feelings, and conscience are ahead of our rationality.

Please pardon the typos; I dictated this to my tablet.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Another problem with that line of thinking. Let's say claims to miracles are inexplicable, and hence irrational. If that is the case, then you can't use the cessationist line that miracles existed to confirm the gospel. Do you see the problem? If miracles are irrational, then they can't, by definition, confirm the gospel message. And even if you say the Gospel is the power of God and is self-authenticating, then in that case you wouldn't need miracles.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
As for the "logic" of it, the last time this came up people accused me of being too logical, so there's that.
You've said this before, but if you have in mind the exchange I think you do, I should like to say that the problem was not with your being "too logical". Rather it was unwarranted labelling of certain thoughts as "fallacious", as well as your dismissive tone towards a brother dealing with a real-life issue. If that is the situation you're referring to, you might do better to represent it fairly.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
I know you were talking about highly irrational Christian's so-called. But are you also saying that rational thinking is somewhat less fallen than our emotions and feelings?


Eh No. When the Reformers had to deal with claims to the supernatural they had to raise the bar. Today charismatics are challenging us with someone's leg growing an inch. As one pastor put it my chiropractor can do that. When I hear of charismatics claiming healing headaches - I think why not a paracetamol? When id , ego and confirmation bias collude we can easily convince ourselves that what is normal to man is a supernatural experience. Speaking in tongues as experienced by modern charismatics is a genuine phenomenon shared with scat singers it is not a spiritual phenomenon.

My point is that the Reformers has to contend with all sorts of mysticism and needed to put clear water between them and the mundane stuff modern charismatics try to pass off as signs and wonders. There have always been shamans and faith healers in the Greek era, the Roman era, Medieval times and the 21st Century.

The Roman Catholic church I believe has a faith in reason that is not shared by the reformers. Human reason is fallen and as such cannot arrive at a knowledge of God without special revelation. On the other hand for the believer the perspicuity of scripture does rather support the reformers stance of sola scriptura.

For those of us who were charismatics and are trying to warn others of the danger we are not especially concerned about the arid nature of secular logic. My focus is the wealth of human experience that can lead someone to say God told them who to marry, who to divorce or where to live. I am in a small community more than a hundred miles from the nearest university but I do have charismatics on the doorstep.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
When my own minister says we might be "too rational" to embrace the sign gifts "so evident on the mission field" it makes me think.

It is precisely because of familiarity with deceivers and the self-deceived that we have the WC and LBC.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
The standard academic work is Craig Keener's Miracles. You are just giving straw men and you aren't interacting with the best scholarship on the matmter.
For those of us who have not read the book, could you explain what differentiates Keener's work from, for instance, Sid Roth's TV programme?

And, by the way, to critique the more absurd or easily disproved claims is not to employ straw men. When there are as many claims of miracles as there are, some are going to be more serious than others, and some are going to be stupid.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
For those of us who have not read the book, could you explain what differentiates Keener's work from, for instance, Sid Roth's TV programme?

And, by the way, to critique the more absurd or easily disproved claims is not to employ straw men. When there are as many claims of miracles as there are, some are going to be more serious than others, and some are going to be stupid.

Keener is a world-class New Testament scholar who has done PhD work at the highest academic level. Keener interacts with Hume, for instance. I'm fairly certain Roth does not; this evidences a certain amount of philosophical sophistication.
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I understand that some charlatans say they can grow a leg. My point is that people on PB routinely go after low-hanging fruit and never interact with the leading analysis on a topic.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
E R Dodds book The Greeks and the Irrational is available as a PDF online for freeeeee.

Read the first few pages and you will get some idea of what I am talking about. When a hero is battle weary and suddenly revives with new vigour a Greek would describe him as being strengthened by Aries. The Greek is drawing on a lexicon of terms to describe a phenomenon. It is a recognisable phenomenon that occurs and prompts the Greek to use these terms.

To a 21st century athlete it is instantly recognisable as "second wind" - the release of endorphins by the body. I experienced it once when training many years ago and it was a glorious experience. Knowing that it was endorphins only alters how I interpret the experience. Had I experienced the same exhilarating renewal of strength in the pharynx during the Peloponnesian Wars I would say that Ares strengthened me - and every Greek companion would know the phenomenon to which I referred - whether or not they believed in the gods.

To demonstrate the miraculous today it is necessary to stoop to the level of pharaohs magicians who could in some measure copy Moses. The true God of the old testament is quite happy to have water drench the firewood before burning it with fire from heaven and let's Lazarus lie three days in the tomb before raising him. The miraculous today is a debased coinage. We need to go back to the gold standard of Scripture! That is what I am saying.

Watch the history channel documentary which replicates the mechanisms of Heron of Alexandria for the pagan temples then read a chapter of Faith Healers where Randi uses frequency scanners to expose the tech behind "words of knowledge".

Some deliberately deceive and others ascribe a supernatural explanation to experiences still to be explained by science. Read Paul's description of pagan temples in 1 Corinthians and you might come away with the impression that he is primarily occupied with perception and deception. Then watch the Heron of Alexandria video again.

When a woman describes a man as a silver tongued devil she is describing something most people will recognise as verbal manipulation. She does not (in every case) intend to mean he is The Devil. ...and yet in using that lexicon in which devil is shorthand for verbal manipulation...
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
E R Dodds book The Greeks and the Irrational is available as a PDF online for freeeeee.

Read the first few pages and you will get some idea of what I am talking about. When a hero is battle weary and suddenly revives with new vigour a Greek would describe him as being strengthened by Aries. The Greek is drawing on a lexicon of terms to describe a phenomenon. It is a recognisable phenomenon that occurs and prompts the Greek to use these terms.

To a 21st century athlete it is instantly recognisable as "second wind" - the release of endorphins by the body. I experienced it once when training many years ago and it was a glorious experience. Knowing that it was endorphins only alters how I interpret the experience. Had I experienced the same exhilarating renewal of strength in the pharynx during the Peloponnesian Wars I would say that Ares strengthened me - and every Greek companion would know the phenomenon to which I referred - whether or not they believed in the gods.

To demonstrate the miraculous today it is necessary to stoop to the level of pharaohs magicians who could in some measure copy Moses. The true God of the old testament is quite happy to have water drench the firewood before burning it with fire from heaven and let's Lazarus lie three days in the tomb before raising him. The miraculous today is a debased coinage. We need to go back to the gold standard of Scripture! That is what I am saying.

Watch the history channel documentary which replicates the mechanisms of Heron of Alexandria for the pagan temples then read a chapter of Faith Healers where Randi uses frequency scanners to expose the tech behind "words of knowledge".

Some deliberately deceive and others ascribe a supernatural explanation to experiences still to be explained by science. Read Paul's description of pagan temples in 1 Corinthians and you might come away with the impression that he is primarily occupied with perception and deception. Then watch the Heron of Alexandria video again.

When a woman describes a man as a silver tongued devil she is describing something most people will recognise as verbal manipulation. She does not (in every case) intend to mean he is The Devil. ...and yet in using that lexicon in which devil is shorthand for verbal manipulation...
Again, you aren't even interacting with what I am saying. You keep asserting the miraculous today is debased coinage, but you give no argumentation for that. I offered a logical formulation above, reference to leading academic sources.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
What is a leading academic source? I am currently reading VDH's Who Killed Homer, his assessment of major university contributions is devastating. Chapter 3 in particular is a devastating insight into academia and it's subversion. Sir Neil Ferguson is both a revered academic (and a failed prophet of doom) and an adulterer (?) who was caught breaking his own lockdown rules. I do not reverence academics because they are academics which seems to be the opinion of some. As I understand it academics base their work on observations and experience but approach it in a more systematic fashion than anecdote. I make no claim to speak ex cathedra and everything I say is subject to qualification, clarification and correction.

What follows is subject to just that (qualification, clarification and correction) it is a summary of my thoughts today which may be differ tomorrow.


The psychology that drives us to the shaman

There is something in the heart of man that is both rational and rationalising. When disaster strikes we ask many questions but one fundamental one is why? As we look ahead to a future of uncertainty which dwarfs our optimism and hope we are inclined to seek out the soothsayer and have our cards read.

France has historically embraced humanism and atheism yet still remains a catholic country. That however is on the surface, the angst of human existence with all it's insecurities persists and so the fortune tellers outnumber parish priests 3:1. The realpolitik is that France turns to fortune tellers just as easily as it's priests

We may profess ourselves Christians and adhere to the reformed understanding of the completed canon and the cessation of signs & wonders of the apostolic era, but have we treated the underlying angst of uncertainty?

In ancient Egypt it was not uncommon for the young and single to consult on matters of the heart. In Greece the sick could choose between the conventional doctor the disciple of Hippocrates or place their hopes in the less conventional lap of the gods at an Asclepieon. The modern parallel would be the hospital or Lourdes. To suggest that modern man is beyond the irrational would be a false assertion, astrology is alive and well in the 21st century along with psychic fairs.
I recall some charismatics from Glasgow offering prophetic insights in their booth at a psychic fair and were surprised that "they got away with it" and nobody detected they were christians. (That prompts me to recall Rabbie Burns - Oh would that God the gift would gie us, To see oursels as others see us)

I believe there is a degree to which our professed beliefs are in conflict with our insecurities and curiosity. We want to know the future but cannot openly visit the astrologer or have our tarot cards read. We can however baptise the "second sight" and call it christian, we can revert to pagan dream interpretation and call it a return of primitive christianity or the Old Testament. The only correct assertion in that is the "return of primitive" part.

It is I believe the job of the Christian pastor to address those underlying anxieties with faith, confidence and certainty in Christ. We need to be distinctive not in our patronage of "christian psychic fairs" (charismatics churches?) but in active faith and trust in God.

We need to reject the health and wealth gospel in our heads and our hearts!

The New Testament "signs and wonders" are distinctive in nature and kind from anything the charismatic movement can bring forward. I think we do well to remember that.

I apologise in advance for comparing a charismatic service to a psychic fair there are differences, however it is the similarities that I wish to draw attention to.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
the miraculous today is debased coinage, but you give no argumentation for that
I would have thought that the position of the WCF and LBC were pretty strong arguments that the "signs and wonders" of the apostolic era have passed. That is the view of B B Warfield (Counterfeit Miracles) and James Randi (Faith Healers) albeit coming from a theological and pagan perspective respectively. If there is a better explanation of the phenomenon at Toronto (blessing?), Florida (revival) and Lourdes I am all ears. What I find interesting is that Warfield gives both a historical perspective and analysis of phenomenon and Randi gives a psychological perspective and then an expose of the phenomenon.

Human nature has not changed and the same anxieties that led to the Delphic Oracle are alive and well on the supermarket shelves with all sorts of mystic and new age titles. (must make a list the next time I am in Tesco)
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I would have thought that the position of the WCF and LBC were pretty strong arguments that the "signs and wonders" of the apostolic era have passed. That is the view of B B Warfield (Counterfeit Miracles) and James Randi (Faith Healers) albeit coming from a theological and pagan perspective respectively. If there is a better explanation of the phenomenon at Toronto (blessing?), Florida (revival) and Lourdes I am all ears. What I find interesting is that Warfield gives both a historical perspective and analysis of phenomenon and Randi gives a psychological perspective and then an expose of the phenomenon.

Human nature has not changed and the same anxieties that led to the Delphic Oracle are alive and well on the supermarket shelves with all sorts of mystic and new age titles. (must make a list the next time I am in Tesco)

Apostolic signs and wonders may have passed. It's not clear, however, that the healing language in the "gifts" passages (or in James) is tied with apostolic signs and wonders. The text doesn't suggest that.

As to Toronto et al, I do what the Apostle Paul commanded us to do: test the prophecies (and by implication, healings).

Warfield had two targets: Pentecostal goofiness and Anglo-Catholic claims. I am neither.

As to psychological reasons, I completely dismiss any psychological analysis as irrelevant to the facts and logic. Indeed, as I have pointed out about a half dozen times, my original syllogisms haven't been dealt with. You refuse to engage them and rather return to "shock" examples.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
What is a leading academic source?

Craig Keener, as I have linked numerous times in these discussions.

Analytic philosopher JP Moreland gives a summary in Kingdom Triangle.

Hanson is a good guy, but he is neither a New Testament scholar, theologian, or philosopher. His focus is ancient Greece, not the Biblical world. He doesn't add anything to the discussion.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
Can one believe that miracles happen without being irrational? It seems one can. You poison the well by a priori identifying miracles with irrational. Further, there is no reason why the inexplicable must be irrational. You just state that.
I borrow the term "irrational" from the title of Dodds book "The Greeks and the Irrational". Dejavouz is a genuine experience for example with a multiplicity of interpretations. Dreams likewise are a genuine phenomenon but their interpretation tends to vary widely. Aristotle seems to have taken a very rational approach to dreams unlike the Egyptians of Josephs era.

I recall a very insightful chapter in a book (Language - the loaded gun) where two opposing legal teams started their arguments over language. To one legal team the baby was left to die, to the opposing team (defence as I recall) it was the legal termination of a foetus. Dodds uses the term to cover what was to a rhetorically trained Greek looking for empirical evidence, well unconventional and uncomfortable.

It is not my intention to poison the well or "frame" the debate.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I borrow the term "irrational" from the title of Dodds book "The Greeks and the Irrational". Dejavouz is a genuine experience for example with a multiplicity of interpretations. Dreams likewise are a genuine phenomenon but their interpretation tends to vary widely. Aristotle seems to have taken a very rational approach to dreams unlike the Egyptians of Josephs era.

I recall a very insightful chapter in a book (Language - the loaded gun) where two opposing legal teams started their arguments over language. To one legal team the baby was left to die, to the opposing team (defence as I recall) it was the legal termination of a foetus. Dodds uses the term to cover what was to a rhetorically trained Greek looking for empirical evidence, well unconventional and uncomfortable.

It is not my intention to poison the well or "frame" the debate.

That might be interesting from a historical point of view, but it has nothing to do with any of the issues/syllogisms I brought up.

I'll repeat my earlier argument:

Another problem with that line of thinking. Let's say claims to miracles are inexplicable, and hence irrational. If that is the case, then you can't use the cessationist line that miracles existed to confirm the gospel. Do you see the problem? If miracles are irrational, then they can't, by definition, confirm the gospel message. And even if you say the Gospel is the power of God and is self-authenticating, then in that case you wouldn't need miracles.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
Miracles of the B-type are Biblical and stand up to scrutiny. So called miracles of the C-type are contemporary phenomenon such as the miracle of Gulshan Esther which is explicable as neuroplasticity and the brain by-passing the affected nerves. This is consistent with the observed residual weakness. Miracles of the C-type are perhaps more accurately referred to as extra-ordinary/extraordinary providence.

Conflating type-B with type-C is a common mistake which I am all too familiar with in Biology. Evolutionists confidently demonstrate natural selection and then expect you to accept this as proof that random mutations are capable of "writing" our entire genome. You cannot compare apples with oranges.

I do not know much about syllogisms but speaking as a scientist, science is often about distinctions. Natural selection reduces the gene pool, it does not create it.

Miracles of the B-type should not be confused with the debased coinage of the C-type.

I struggled to understand why the noted scholar F F Bruce strenuously denied the coin in the fishes mouth was a miracle and just as strenuously asserted it was an example of extra-ordinary/extraordinary providence. (Matthew 17:24-27)

Now I do, he was maintaining a distinction we all too often conflate.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Miracles of the B-type are Biblical and stand up to scrutiny. So called miracles of the C-type are contemporary phenomenon such as the miracle of Gulshan Esther which is explicable as neuroplasticity and the brain by-passing the affected nerves. This is consistent with the observed residual weakness. Miracles of the C-type are perhaps more accurately referred to as extra-ordinary/extraordinary providence

I don't understand what the difference between the different types.
Miracles of the B-type should not be confused with the debased coinage of the C-type.

Again, this is circular reasoning. You assert that x is the debased coinage, but we have no epistemic reason for believing so.
I do not know much about syllogisms but speaking as a scientist, science is often about distinctions.

I have done little in these threads but make distinctions. A syllogism is a good argument. Everyone has to use good arguments, scientist or not.
Natural selection reduces the gene pool, it does not create it.

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
If I can ask you

BayouHuguenot

what differences do YOU see between the Florida Revival, the Toronto Blessing & Lourdes on the one hand and the New Testament Apostolic era "signs and wonders" on the other? I have laid out my stall plainly, what are your own independent thoughts on the matter?

Deploy your syllogisms and advance your own analysis

It's not clear, however, that the healing language in the "gifts" passages (or in James) is tied with apostolic signs and wonders.

Do supernatural gifts of healing continue today in your opinion? Have you experienced these or advocated prayer for supernatural healing?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
If I can ask you

BayouHuguenot

what differences do YOU see between the Florida Revival, the Toronto Blessing & Lourdes on the one hand and the New Testament Apostolic era "signs and wonders" on the other? I have laid out my stall plainly, what are your own independent thoughts on the matter?

Deploy your syllogisms and advance your own analysis



Do supernatural gifts of healing continue today in your opinion? Have you experienced these or advocated prayer for supernatural healing?

Since Lourdes is a Mary Cult, we can dismiss them from the discussion. Per the other two, I don't see it as either/or. Much of what went on at those places was silly, but that doesn't mean it is ruled out. One doesn't follow from the other.

Yes, healing continues today. The evidence from the mission field is ovewhelming. Keener documents it. Whether I have experienced it personally or not is irrelevant, since I don't base my theology one experience.

That does not mean I endorse "faith healers."
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I don't dispute there are frauds. My larger point is that you haven't produced a sufficient defeater for my belief that miracles continue today. It's as simple as that. Further, I understand that Keener's two volume set might be kind of pricey. Here is the video version.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
Firstly thank you for providing the link, it allows me to fully engage with your position.

If I understand him he is refuting the claim that "people don't claim miracles". Of course they do! For me that is a straw man. The question is whether they are genuine and here I would cast the net wide to include spontaneous remission, unexplained recovery and genuine works of God from the New Testament - raising the dead! "Miracles" are a mixed bag of providence, spontaneous recovery, the importance of mind over matter and genuine NT miracles.

1min 40s The first "miracle"- Lisa Larios was from a nominally Roman Catholic ministry and experienced her "healing" at a Kathryn Kuhlman healing crusade.

16mins I am listening to this video and it seems to be indiscriminately documenting "claims", 200 million people claim to have witnessed divine healing
I go back to FF Bruce and the coin in the Fishes mouth - remarkable providence NOT a miracle. Of those 200 million how many could give a biblical definition of a miracle? My wife conceived against medical prognosis - twice! Is that a miracle?

18min 20s The China experience of 50-90% of new converts becoming christians because of witnessing healings. Why China? Is it because of lack of access to modern medicine? Is this an example of God "levelling up"? What is the purpose of the healings? Is it only evangelism or is it actually a substitute for health care? Would it be wrong to document the growth in church numbers amongst the "health and wealth" churches? Wouldn't that be a peculiarly western version of "rice bowl christianity"?

20min 58s Healing works in India not the US. You want healing you need to go to India?

36mins 40s Beginning to warm to the idea that God still acts re woman recovering from MS with no other explanation - until I googled "spontaneous recovery from multiple sclerosis". With FF Bruce I would reclassify this "miracle" as extra-ordinary providence. It is a process whereby the body can occasionally heal itself, follow this link if interested [remyelination]

51mins 50s John Wesley raises the dead? [spontaneous recovery from cardiac arrest]

1hr 3mins Snake venom - recovery after "snake death". [spontaneous recovery from envenomation]


Conclusion

The search term is "spontaneous recovery of..." is an easy way to access medical journals which deal with the extra ordinary and insights into how that recovery occurs. I should add, just to be clear, that God uses medicine and providence to heal. It is the same God who healed through Peter and Paul who today heals through western medicine and surgery. To accept the premise that God is today engaged in "power evangelism" with "signs and wonders" on the mission field would require me to abandon the LBCF - I am not prepared to go that far. To assert that there is "no other explanation" for the examples of miracles given is I think misleading. When researching the phenomenon "runners high" for example it was encouraging to note that research into metabolic disorders is finding this fertile ground. Neuroplasticity is also a developing field of science which is seeing huge advances in physiotherapy that were unthinkable a generation ago. Only by investigating these phenomenon have significant advances in medicine been made. The surgeon who first suggested removing half a girls brain to save her would have been ridiculed and driven out of medicine a generation ago? One girl here in the UK had half her brain removed - a whole hemisphere! She recovered and you can view this here [girl with half a brain]

Finally if God is authenticating the messengers with "signs and wonders" does this mean I have to revise my opinion of Kathryn Kuhlman? Sorry Bayou Huguenot but while you have given me much to think about I am, for now, still cessationist. I believe that God does sometimes answer prayer for healing but it is nothing I could build a ministry on. The letter of James, which I believe you alluded to, says God will heal. If that is your practice how is that working out for you?

Other (secular) links

Spontaneous recovery of hearing

Recovery from paralysis

Neuroplasticity's role in polio recovery
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I believe that God does sometimes answer prayer for healing but it is nothing I could build a ministry on.

My position never was we should build a ministry on. I have always rejected faith healing (since it operates on the same position that cessationism does--if miracles are true, then God is obligated to heal).
The letter of James, which I believe you alluded to, says God will heal. If that is your practice how is that working out for you?

It worked. In any case, James is New Testament wisdom literature. It operates on general principle, much like the book of Proverbs. It isn't a 1:1 cause/effect. That's magic.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I have a take on these things. It is that the Lord is free to do whatsoever he has predestined to do in these post-apostolic days by way of extraordinary healing or providence, but we’re not morally bound to believe just anything merely claimed or reported. We’re not morally bound to refute such claims either, in most cases, unless the report contains something unbiblical, that we know is against the character of God, for instance. It’s certainly ok to be skeptical of any claim; if a report of an extraordinary healing came from a known, trusted, and godly source, it of course would bear weight. It’s ok, even wise, to maintain some or a good bit of skepticism otherwise. There are theological reasons to be careful about the language used and reserved about claims and reports from those we don’t know.

But...railing against reports from sources like Keener’s isn’t wise for many of us laymen to do, either, because it’s easy to go too far or amiss in what we say. Leave that to the wise and godly men God has given to the church to shepherd and teach. Pray that the Lord would uncover all false claims in his own time, but still realize that He is free to work as he will, and I do believe the Lord helps his people in all kinds of ways and often they are remarkable ways. We just need to be circumspect in what we say.

Quoting from a review of Keener’s book found online: “Keener concludes that, because of the ex-
traordinary preponderance of evidence of these kinds of post-biblical miracle claims, it is hard to reject or even dispute such phenomena, if we are truly to remain open-minded people (p. 599)” I think he posits a false dilemma here. Open-minded Christians are never to be convinced by anything, and are not to interpret any events, but by the word of God. A preponderance of any sort of claims is not binding on us. In fact a book like this that tries to force and manipulate words to bind a Christian’s conscience is, in my opinion, “evidence” to reject out of hand.
 
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