Should we expect miracles?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Alcott, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Alcott

    Alcott
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    This writeup is posted in this forum just so it is not limited to Baptists to respond. Those who have read anything I've posted before about this know I am not "on the fence," or haven't come to any conclusions. But I am trying to consider this question from both angles.

    There have been some discussions about neo-pentecostalism on the board recently, and as expected, they usually come down to 2 chief dilemmas-- glossalia [tongues] and miraculous healings. The emphasis here will be on the latter. For shortness, the word disease will be used to encompass all types of physical ailments, temporary and permanent injuries, and deformities. And, like most threads on this board, it will be assumed the reader has a basic grasp of the scriptures, so there will not be citations for every point.

    First, a summary of why some Christians think miracles of healings are to be expected today:
    -- Because disease, by way of sin, is the work of Satan, and the purpose of Jesus' victory over sin is to destroy the work of Satan.
    --Because Jesus did heal people of their diseases when he was here on earth, and scripture says he is "the same yesterday, today, forever."
    --Because Jesus said that whatever we ask in his name he will do for us.
    --Because miracles affirm the presence and moving of God, and he is praised when people see him work.

    Next, a summary of why some Christians think miracles of healings are for God to choose, but not for us necessarily to expect today:
    --Because miracles were rare even in times of recorded scripture; mostly limited to the Exodus, the days of Elijah and Elisha, and to the earthly ministry of Jesus and the apostles.
    --Because diseases are just one consequence, among many, for man's sins, and since others are still with us-- e.g., thorns & thistles, natural disasters, physical death--why expect diseases to be so punctually taken away?
    --Because all things work together for God's purposes; including for the ultimate, if not the immediate, good of his people.
    --Because we should not expect to share in Christ's glory and not share in suffering for him, as scripture says we are privileged to do.

    Are there points of agreement between these 2 "camps?" Yes, I think so => God is to be glorified...God has the power to miraculously heal...the present world is not a paradise...we long to be free from the presence of all the consequences of sin.

    What's the problem, then? Why so much contention between 2 routes to the same goal? Perhaps the pride of seeing what we've been taught affirmed by proof-- or perhaps by lack of proof. Either position can color the lenses through which we see 'action.' Just recently, a woman I know had a son who had a motorcycle wreck that broke his tibia-- that is what happened to me almost 4 decades ago, and does play a part in my views of this, but that's not the point here and now. She told about his distress, having just moved away from her home and starting an adult life, and suddenly there are medical bills totaling $115,000. A couple weeks later, she had a "praise" that his insurance and associated discounts brought those down to $5000 that he owes, and he is 'ahead' in his recovery. Miracles(s) or not? I think she thought so, and that's what she meant by "praise" for what good news there is. In my view, it's hard to see it as anything like a miracle-- nothing unusual for similar situations today, and a miracle should be taking care of all the pain and debilitation of the leg.

    This should be enough to start with, but I'm a bit weary and need to knock off at this point tonight.
     
  2. awaken

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    Did I miss it in your post...what is your definition of a miracle?
     
  3. plain_n_simple

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    "Should we expect miracles?"

    Yes
     
  4. Alcott

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    [FONT=VERDANA,HELVETICA,ARIAL] [/FONT]
    A quick lookup says a miracle is "[FONT=VERDANA,HELVETICA,ARIAL]a marvellous event manifesting a supernatural act of God[/FONT]."

    As you might ask, to me it is not an unlikely recovery or anything that simple that some people try to shove the word into.
     
  5. ktn4eg

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    I experienced a miracle the evening I received Christ as my Savior! :thumbsup:
     
  6. DHK

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    I believe God is able, and does, on occasion miracles in this generation.
    I do not believe that anyone in this generation has "the gift of miracles," or "healing" as demonstrated by Peter in Acts 5:16.

    He healed ALL that came to him, en masse, no one excepted.

    Acts 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

    This just does not happen today, and no one has provided evidence that it does.
     
  7. awaken

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    I see a miracle more of a supernatural act too! More like a supernatural intervention in the ordinary course of nature, a tempoary suspension of the accustom order, of an intrruption in the system of nature as we know it, operated by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    So for us to say the sunrise is a miracle...generally speaking it is! But the sun is doing exactly what it ought to do according to the laws of nature. So is this a miracle? Specifically, I would say, no! Because a miracle is a supernatural intervention in the ordinary course of nature.
     
  8. annsni

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    I know our pastor has defined a miracle as "a natural or supernatural act that is uniquely timed to bring glory to God alone." I like that.

    Should we expect them? Yes. Should we expect them regularly? I don't think so but there is no question in my mind that they happen. Two years ago, we absolutely without question experienced a supernatural miraculous healing of my daughter. Even her surgeon, one of the best in the country, said that he had no idea why she was better. We knew why! :)
     
  9. Alcott

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    Alright, getting back.
    I grouped each 'camp's' reasoning into 4 topics, which I think covers it all. These are, however, reasons-- not means, not results, and not even persuasions in themselves. The argument of persuasion always comes down to faith. Then comes means and results; mayb,e but maybe not, in that order. The pro-miracle folks say if you have faith you will be healed... which means if you are not healed, you don't have faith. So then you might try to muster all the faith you can, and if you're still not healed, you can keep going in circles like that, and if it keeps on, eventually you concede there is something wrong, either in your means or approach, or else in your expectations. And if the pro-miracles keep accusing you of having no faith, you are not going to stay with them that long. You either change your position, which may mean changing your church or your "faith group," or possibly leaving the Christian faith altogether.

    But as I said-- or 'warned;' take it as you wish-- I'm not straddling the fence here. I must reject involvement in the scenario described above. It is very defeating to make your beliefs contingent upon seeing miracles happen because you long for them, believe they are there for the asking, and above all, because you assume that God does not even have a choice in it. If you are 'pro-miracles,' I can easily surmise your argument here as saying you are just "taking God at his word," that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, he came to destroy Satan's work and the consequences thereof, and asking in His name He will do what you ask and be praised... all this because he said so. So if I disagree, I need to give a convincing argument why... Has it taken this long to get the gist of this thread? Apparently.

    So, for the first reason-- that Jesus came to destroy Satan's work and he was victorious on Calvary-- that is already answered by one of the reasons for 'no-expectation' camp...namely that disease is just one of many consequences of sin, and since the others are still with us, why expect disease to be so punctually removed? Nature's relation to man-- which ranges from apparent indifference to apparent hostility-- was another type of miracle Jesus did by calming the storm when his disciples in the boat were sure they were going to die. As with healing diseases, this verified the power, and thus the position, of Jesus. But have you made a storm calm down by saying "Peace-- be still!"? If not, why not? [and if you have, what do you have to show that?] And does your garden or lawn still grow thistles or weeds? Do you sweat when you're working it? If you're a woman who has given birth, did you have any pain in that process? The consequences of sin are these all. So I don't think it's hard at all to answer this one, that Jesus' victory over Satan destroyed Satan's work for now... it's obvious his work and its consequences are still with us, and very rarely, if ever, are they not left to follow expected natural steps.

    As for Jesus Christ being "the same yesterday, today, and forever," I think that's just as easily answered. If he was a baby in a manger once, does that mean he is a baby in a manger now and for all time? Is he in Mary's womb now? Does the torture of the beatings and the cross go on forever? No, clearly scripture tells us he finished his sacrificial work and sat down at the right hand of the Father. So it is undisputably not his actions that never change. So what is it? It's him-- it's who he is, and not what he does. A classical illustration is standing on the North Pole-- if you're standing there right on that point, you are as far north as you can get. Move any direction, and you're south of the North Pole. If God changed any at all from his position of perfection, he would be less than perfect. But he is not currently a baby in a manger, nor a beaten body on the cross, nor a man of flesh and blood who emptied himself and taught and healed on earth who said "...talk is cheap, so I'll prove what I said by healing this man." And the very consideration of what it is about him that does not change-- his sovereignty and his perfection-- precludes that we can determine what his unchangeability has to mean to his actions to and for us.

    And if we ask in his name, he will do whatever we ask? Well, that one can be tested. Wouldn't it be absolutely great if everyone in the world were a believer in Christ? If you think so, then ask him, in his name, to make everyone a believer this minute! Then go walking down the street telling everyone you see "Greetings, fellow believer in Jesus Christ!" Will there be no one who disputes that with you? No exceptions? Well, I will assume that will not be the case-- if you say otherwise, then carry out this test. But if it is indeed otherwise, then how could it not be granted what you asked in his name? I would hope you agree it is because it is not a matter of "magic words" as that would make it out to be. So what, then, does it mean to ask in his name and expect to get what you ask for? Until now I have avoided mention of the other chief condition, which is that we ask "according to His will." To that, the pro-miracle person often says something like, "If you ask God for something and add 'if it be your will,' that shows a lack of faith, so for that reason you won't get it." But again, that's trying to hold God to our definition of what he tells us, and thinking we can force his hand by his own words. We know some of his will for us, but far from all of it. If not, we never have any decisions to make or anything to ask for anything anyway-- we would always get it without asking, whether in his name or not. We do have to seek, search, and sometimes try without knowing for certain what his will is, as Paul's mission efforts in Asia proved to be different from his notions, then he got the word to go to Europe instead. But even more to the point, in his name is not just a phrase that lines everything up to receive a blessing, miraculous or not. It means we are acting, to the best we know, by his direction and for his glory. In older times, a palace guard might tell someone, "Stop-- in the name of the king!" to show he is not acting for himself, but for his king. But if he tells his fellow guard sleeping closer to the fire, "Let me have your spot in the name of the king!" If that tactic would work, it could also be used against him-- while the king likely doesn't care which of them sleeps in the warm spot and would be offended at the misuse of the claims of acting for him. To sum this up, we don't know his will, certainly not his entire will and how it will affect his will for everybody, so we can't just throw his name around thinking that will get us what we want. Seek his will first, then ask in his name, but submit as he himself did, "... yet not my will, but yours be done."

    So that brings us to "miracles affirm the presence and moving of God, and he is praised when people see him work." The fact is, some praise him and some don't. How could the mob that arrested him in the garden have still done that if they saw him restore the ear of the servant which Peter had slashed off? And how could the Pharisees and scribes have seen him heal a paralytic, then insist his power could not be of God because he then told the man to carry his pallet, and this on the sabbath? No, if people have made their minds up, there will always be a reason to not give God the glory, even in the witness of miracles. He was even accused of having an "unclean spirit" when it was obvious he was casting out demons by some power, and they could not accept it was by the Spirit of God, or they would be wrong about what they believed. That goes back to pride in ourselves and in our unchangeability, not glory to an unchanging God who has changed us and may do so many more times. And Jesus told them their charge against him, that he had an unclean spirit, was the sin which can not be forgiven in this world or in the next. Does this mean this ongoing conflict about miracles happening might lead to praise, or might lead to someone today sinning that sin? I don't know-- but again, with the "same yesterday, today, and forever" reason, if you believe it, should mean that is certainly possible. But the point is, even true miracles-- supernatural happenings-- did not always result in praise, and in some cases resulted in the farthest thing from praise.

    Okay, this is a bit exhausting, so I'll knock off again for now.
     
  10. awaken

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    Is this about working of Miracles or the gifts of healing?
     
  11. Alcott

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    It's about the working of miracles.
     
  12. awaken

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    As listed in 1 Cor. 12?
    Because everyone of the gifts of the Spirit is miraculous; they are all supernatural. In the general use of the word "miracle," all gifts of the Spirit are miracles, not just the gift of working of miracles.

    In the area of healing, many times miracles are received, but this is not necessarily the working of miracles; they are simply called healing miracles. Everything tht God does is miraculous in a sense, but receiving healing by supernatural means is not a miracle in the same sense that turning common dust is not insects just by a gesture is a miracle.

    Water into wine by the aging process, or process of nature, is a natural phenomenon. But water turned into wine just by speaking a word, as Jesus did is a miracle according to the definition I shared.
     
  13. Yeshua1

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    Should we believe that God can do whatever he chooses to do? yes

    can we presume to know what God will choose to do? NO

    is healing and miracles required to have God be at work? NO

    Does God heal today, still do miracles, yes, BUT not expected, as he can do as he chooses to, and ,ost of the time he chooses to not intervenein a supernatural way!
     
  14. Yeshua1

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    the basic problem is that the Charasmatics have misinterpretated the bible to see healing was provoded for in the atonement, that we ares till in the Age of Acts, that we can expect to see all thsoe signs/wonders/healings today, and if one does not, either lack of faith, half gospel, deluded by satan etc!
     
  15. Thomas Helwys

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    Yes, and just think, all those great evangelists and faithful Christians who spread the Gospel and built the church for 1900 years did so only having and practicing a partial Gospel!
     
  16. Yeshua1

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    A person with gift of miracles or healing healed ALl that came unto them, as it was god working thru them to do the miracle!

    We hold that god can stil choose to do such today, just is NOT the norm, do you think that they should be normal and expected?
     
  17. Yeshua1

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    Guess Wesley/moody/Whitefield/Luther etc were all missing the boat, just think what they could have done with a Full gospel!
     
  18. awaken

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    Is AlI a real person???:laugh:
     
  19. Melanie

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    I experience a miracle every day.....I wake up!!!:sleeping_2:
     
  20. Alcott

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    I didn't intend for this thread to come to nothing but quips, or even to a debate about having the "gift of miracles" as opposed to miracles happening at all.

    Is there no one who wishes to take exception to the points I made as to why we should not expect miracles in spite of:
    1) Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan;
    2) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever;
    3) He said He will do what we ask in His name;
    4) God will be praised when people see him work supernaturally?
     

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