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The State of the Miraculous in a World of Unbelief


Excellent post today from Dan at Cerulean Sanctum blog

One of the hallmarks of the final days, as noted by Scripture, is a horrifying level of unbelief.

Jesus said it Himself:

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” —Luke 18:8b ESV

The end of all things depicted in the Book of Revelation shows that even when all of the earth is afflicted by the outcomes of supernatural wrath, mankind refuses to believe:

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. —Revelation 9:20-21 ESV

There are some today who want to cast aspersions on the Kingdom of God and its many miraculous components, and they want to question how the Holy Spirit works in believers. Oddly, many doing so call themselves Christians.

Continued Here

3 comments on “The State of the Miraculous in a World of Unbelief

  1. If salvation was dependent on, or could be exceedingly aided by, the miraculous powers of the faithful, I think that the concern over the so-called “lack” of belief over the miraculous would be justified. In reality, there is not a single person in the world , in any age, who is converted through some outward show, since all is vain unless God has given them “hearts to perceive, ears to hear and eyes to see” them:

    “And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”
    (Deu 29:2-4)

    I think that the concern over miracles itself, at least of the outward and flashy variety, is the false premise which these groups must break free from, since “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). The greater miracle, in fact, is God converting a man through His power, which happens invisibly within the heart, and can never be seen, yet leaves an eternal change much better than, say, recovery from physical blindness. And the best prayers answered are always those which were not begging to be seen to be believed, but which went unseen and yet believed by the elect. When I was among the Charismatics, the overwhelming concern was ALWAYS on spiritual gifts, constantly pushing another brand of works-righteousness, or telling us that through our constant devotion we could gain power from God. It’s the stuff that tickles ears, but it’s not the stuff of grace.

    That said I do not reject even “flashy” miracles, and I would not claim even to be a cessationist. I just can’t take their claims seriously, when they have no sound doctrine. And all their claims, by the way, are also made by the Oneness Pentecostals, who boast all the same phenomena, and yet deny the Trinity and Original sin, as well as teach that baptism is required in the name of Jesus only, and by their ministers, in order to be saved at all.

    Certainly I do believe in the miraculous. Here, as an example, is an interesting anecdote from the book “Scots Worthies,” by John Howie. This particular section is on John Welch:

    “But though John Welch, on account of his holiness, abilities, and success, had acquired among his subdued people a very great respect, yet was he never in such admiration as after the great plague which raged in Scotland in his time. And one cause was this: The magistrates of Ayr, for as much as this town alone was free, and the country around infected, thought fit to guard the ports with sentinels and watchmen. One day two travelling merchants, each with a pack of cloth upon a horse, came to the town desiring entrance, that they might sell their goods, producing a pass from the magistrates of the town from whence they came, which was at that time sound and free. Notwithstanding all this, the sentinels stopped them till the magistrates were called, and when they came they would do nothing without their minister’s advice; so John Welch was called, and his opinion asked. He demurred, and putting off his hat, with his eyes towards heaven for a pretty space, though he uttered no audible words, yet he continued in a praying posture, and after a little space told the magistrates that they would do well to discharge these travellers their town, affirming, with great asseveration, that the plague was in these packs. So the magistrates commanded them to be gone, and they went to Cumnock, a town about twenty miles distant, and there sold their goods, which kindled such an infection in that place, that the living were hardly able to bury their dead. This made the people begin to think of Mr Welch as an oracle. Yet, though he walked with God, and kept close with Him, he forgot not man, for he used frequently to dine abroad with such of his friends as he thought were persons with whom he might maintain the communion of the saints; and once in the year he used to invite all his familiar acquaintances in the town to a treat in his house, where there was a banquet of holiness and sobriety.”

    Let me have a Charismatic whose constant harping is not on worthless tongue-speak, or vague visions, but who teaches sound doctrine, and has actual power of God, and then I will listen to them about their “gifts.”

    • Ricardo, you’re free to believe (or disbelieve) about the gifts of the Spirit as you want to.

      My only response is a few verses from 1 Corinthians 12;

      There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

      Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

      Unity and Diversity in the Body

      Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

      Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

      Just like any “natural” gift, it can be offered but no one forces you to accept it. Amen?

  2. I’m Reformed, so my perspective is, if God intends for you to have it, He’ll prepare your heart for it, and then assist you once He’s given it. In other words, if God intends for you to have it, he’ll bring you to that place where you will beg to have it, and you will have it. But my concern was beyond all this, as I wrote:

    “That said I do not reject even “flashy” miracles, and I would not claim even to be a cessationist. I just can’t take their claims seriously, when they have no sound doctrine. And all their claims, by the way, are also made by the Oneness Pentecostals, who boast all the same phenomena, and yet deny the Trinity and Original sin, as well as teach that baptism is required in the name of Jesus only, and by their ministers, in order to be saved at all.”

    My concern is beyond this debate over miracles, which I think to be quite vain. It’s whether or not that entire movement, or at least a good chunk of it, even has the foundations of Christianity down. From what I recall, when I was among them, (and I do not include you in this sweet sister, as I realize you are a Pentecostal) is that they were more concerned over miracles than in having a coherent theology. Hence you find these same people worrying about whether or not you think their tongues are legitimate, but not when they’re teaching people that they can be sinless, or when they’re teaching people that if they do NOT have these gifts, they must have something wrong with them. or are not having enough faith to accomplish it. Since when is it us who are accomplishing anything? Not only that, but they have little to no discernment over their own practices, so that they are impressed by the most useless things, and march on as if they have nothing lacking. They think themselves rich, but are really poor.

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