Church of Christ Deism: Background, Part 2

i_dont_believe_in_miracles_i_rely_on_them_tshirt-p235921785579041865yk07_400Now, I urgently state that not all conservatives take these views, although many do. And some deny taking these views while stating a position that requires these results. For example, in Hawley’s correspondence course lesson, he writes,

If healing is gradual, it is not a miracle since a miracle necessitates restraining the laws of nature which does not happen in gradual recovery. True, a gradual recovery may be in answer to prayer.

If you think about it, that makes no sense at all. If my friend is healed as a consequence of my prayer, then God did something. If God didn’t violate the laws of nature, what did he do?

One answer is that he healed indirectly, through the agency of the doctors and nurses. He influenced their decision making but not the effect of their medicines. The human mind, having a supernatural component, may be influenced without violating the laws of nature. But if this is so, then why does the Spirit’s work on the human mind — a so-called direct operation — somehow trigger a miracle?

For example, in another lesson in the same correspondence course, the “fruit of the Spirit” evidently comes about without any action by the Spirit!

Each of the figures we have noticed presents the same thought — the Christian life is one of progressive spiritual development accomplished by the constant effort of the child of God to be a better Christian.’

Combining these two passages, consider the fruit which the Christian should bear.

We must strive to have that childlike faith in our Father that will cause us to trust him implicitly and that will wipe away the doubts and fears which force their way into our lives.

If we develop the other fruits of the Spirit, we will be happy serving Christ.

The thought in both expressions is that of diligent application of one’s efforts to gain a greater understanding of the divine will.

Over and over again, the “fruit of the Spirit” is described as the results of the Christian’s work — and no credit is given to the Spirit at all. Indeed, Hawley says the Christian “should bear” the fruit, whereas the scripture quite plainly says that it’s speaking of the Spirit’s fruit.

I would not for a moment deny that the Christian is involved in the bearing of this fruit. I just think it’s obviously wrong to speak as though the Spirit were not also involved in the bearing of its own fruit.

Similarly, Roger D. Campbell writes,

The Bible teaches that in His work to convert sinners and keep Christians sanctified or holy, the Spirit does His work through the word of God. When we uphold this truth, some Christians think that we are doubting the Spirit’s work. Such could not be further from the truth. The Spirit acts, He moves people, He draws people, He convicts people’s hearts to do God’s will. The question is: “How does He do that?” The correct answer is that He does so through the word, His instrument or sword (Ephesians 6:17).

“Then, you believe that the Bible is the Holy Spirit, right?” No, we don’t. Why don’t we? The Bible is not the Holy Spirit, but rather it is the word that He gave us. … Rather the Spirit does His work of convicting men’s hearts through that word.

… People may misunderstand you if you tell them that you do not believe in modern-day miracles or a direct operation of the Spirit to move the hearts of men. They may think that you are saying that you do not believe in the Holy Spirit at all. Politely correct their misunderstanding and use the Scriptures to show them God’s truth on the matter.

And so we find that the Spirit “acts,” “moves,” “draws,” and “convicts” — but only through the word. There is no “direct operation of the Spirit to move the hearts of men.” You see, this would be a miracle, and miracles stopped nearly 2,000 years ago.

But if the Spirit cannot operate directly on the hearts of men, can God? How can God guide the hands of the surgeons but not the words of the Bible class teacher?

There’s a huge, logical inconsistency in saying the Spirit is trapped in the pages of the Bible but God is not. It’s a miracle whether done by God the Father or God the Holy Spirit!

And as a result of such teaching — and it’s painfully common among the Churches of Christ — we are beginning to doubt the power of prayer to make a difference in our lives.

This form of religion is not technically Deism — but it’s Deism’s fraternal twin. Deism, of course, teaches that God created the heavens and earth and then stepped back and watched to see what would happen — with no interference or self-revelation other than the Creation.

This Church of Christ Deism holds that God was powerfully active in the world up through the time of the apostles, and then he quit. Having inspired the perfect book — the New Testament — God could kick back and relax because the book is entirely sufficient on its own.  The Spirit inspired the book, and the book acts, moves, draws, and convicts with no further divine activity.

Indeed, it’s not entirely unfair to characterize this view as replacing the work of God and his Spirit with a book — very nearly making the Bible the object of our faith. It is, I think, a very unhealthy teaching.

[to be continued]

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42 Responses

  1. Jay,

    In this I think you are stretching the point and netiehr understanding the opinions against miracles today, not understanding prayer and God’s answers.

    First, look at what the people in the Biblical times understood as miracles, and ask if these events occur today. With mass media saturating the earth, the answer seems to be NO – what people in the Biblical times understood as miracles just are not happening today as they did back then.

    Does that mean that there has beebn some plan to cease miracles? I really can’t say beccause (and this is where I disagree with my more traditional brothers), the scriptures do not say. I can just say that evenyt slike what occurred in the scriptures are not repeating themselves today. I have heard stories of events occurring in far off places with ony word-of-mouth passing on the story, so if God is doing these things tghe stories decribe, then praise God. But I also hear stories about huge serpents in Burma rivers. Are these stories true, too?

    With prayer, you seem to be mixing in two areas – miracles and prayer – that do not have to be combined. God certainly does answer prayers, and certainly from Biblical example, has doe so within the laws of nature – He write those laws so why shouldn’t he use them for his will!

    When Elijah prayed for no rain and then prayed for rain, and the result was drought and later rain – was that a miracle? Neither Kings nor James seems to think so. Both attribute the events to the prayers of a righteous man. Did God suspend the weather patterns to bring drought, and then suspend them again to bring rain? Or did he naturally adjust the weather patterns with a natural result of no rain or rain? Just because God uses the natural laws to accomplish his pusporse does not mean he is not answereing prayers, and just because he answers prayers does not mean it takes a miracle to answer them. It is silly and illogical and non-scriptural to claim such.

    God IS involved in the events of the world today. I KNOW he is involved through his response tp prayers and through his accomplishing his will.

    And to compare the belief that miracles have ceased to a belief in Deism is absolutely the poorest comparison you couild make. I have seen those who hold views similar to what you seem to promote make absolutely wild suupossitions because that believe EVERY answered prayer must be a miracle that they end up looking stupid. One good friend at church suffered from an energy draining malady that the doctors could not explain. One of the possible explanations (among many suggested) was cancer. Exploratory surgery was scheduled, and the result was no cancer found (thus eliminating that as a possibility). The wife of one our elders, who holds a voew similar to what you seem to be promoting, boldly declared that the woman DID have cancer but God took it away before the surgery. The fact remains that God did answer our prayers that the woman not have cancer, but cancer was never diagnosed and never a certainty to begin with – nonly a possibility that we prayed for not to happen.

    Answers to prayer do happen that defy my understanding, and have happened to me. Were they a suspension opf natural laws, or were God using natural laws in a way that I can not understand. Either way, orayers were answered, and miracces were not necessarily involved, certainly not in the way people in the Biblical times understood what was a miracle. Back then, there was no doubt. People might attribute the miracle to the devil, or might still not believe, but the fact that a miracle occurred was never open to question.

    Miracles can happen. Prayers are answered. But to teach that both require the other in non-biblical and illogical.

    God bless

  2. Miracles don’t have to be the same exact miracles as other miracles, God is allowed to do miracles as He wants.

  3. Does God cause a person to do something that person would not do, if not for the intervention of God?

    If no, then the work of the Spirit is manifest when a person seeks to confirm his will to the will of God and acts accordingly.

    If yes, then does that mean God has taken away a person’s free will?

  4. “Does God cause a person to do something that person would not do, if not for the intervention of God?”

    Yes. The most visible and recorded example is Pharaoh. Will I have heard it argued that God just used Pharaoh as he was (mean, etc.), God makes it clear that He was the one that hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and the narrative shows the back and forth – Pharaoh says he will let the people go, then God hardens his heart, and he changes his mind. God specifically says he (God) did this to Pharaoh on purpose to get more glory for himself. (Exodus 7-10, Romans 9) “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

    Free will is a very long subject that would probably require a whole other blogsite, just to contain all the comments! That said, God is the perfect Father. If you would not let your child run out into the street, God would do better and perfectly. If you would not let your child lay his hand on a hot stove, God would do better and perfectly. In short, we are free to think of and attempt whatever we want. Execution of any idea is up to God. Think Babel. They had the freedom to attempt their monument to the skies. God directly thwarted their plans.

  5. David,
    The question is not whether God “makes” someone do something he didn’t want to do, but if the Spirit “helps” some do something.

    All prayers are asking for God to do something that would not have happened if the prayer was not offered. It’s like the story of the church group who prayed that a notorious night club in their community be burned to the ground. When lightened struck the building, the owner sued the church. They denied the power of thier prayer, while he affirmed them.

  6. Alan,

    What’s the difference between God stopping and starting the rain for Elijah (which you say was not a miracle) and Jesus stopping the storm?

    One of my good friends tells me lots of interesting stuff about meteorology — we watch storms together and he tells me what’s actually going on — and we’ve seen storms clobber Louisville, Simpsonville, Middletown, and then just vanish off the radar completely right before they get to Frankfort.

    If the laws of nature can naturally make storms stop, then clearly what Jesus did was not miraculous — according to your definition of miracle

    Since what Jesus did was clearly miraculous, your definition must be mistaken.

  7. By Jeremy Henderson | A-J RELIGION REPORTER
    Saturday, December 27, 2008
    Story last updated at 12/27/2008 – 3:41 am

    “Once a month, leaders of Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal and nondenominational churches try to harmonize their souls, their tears, their sacred occupations into a single, holy appeal.”

    Read story here
    http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/122708/liv_371455504.shtml

  8. I wish that would really happen! What a great chance to be witnesses for Christ! Let the church have its day in court — get as much press there as possible — and then let the church give God the glory and credit, and promise to pay whatever money the court decides. Overwhelm the night club owner and their family with love — help all the employees find new jobs — just totally go the second mile.

    I think most congregations would fight tooth and nail against such a lawsuit — I think Paul would use it the exact same way he used his own court case — as an opportunity to display the power-under mind of Christ.

  9. I see the Exodus account much like I see Judgment. When “every knee bows and every tongue confesses,” not all of them will do so willingly. Some will do so because they finally see where their decisions have led them — and though they might decide suddenly to be on God’s side, God will allow their prior choices to run their course.

    Likewise with Pharaoh, God let his prior choices run their course. Pharoah never repented — he still believed himself the Son of God, the God of Egypt. It was not out of submission to the Lord that Pharoah let the Hebrews go — look at Ex 14:5-7. He is already making preparations to pursue and recapture the Hebrews before God hardens his heart again.

  10. “When Elijah prayed for no rain and then prayed for rain, and the result was drought and later rain – was that a miracle? Neither Kings nor James seems to think so. Both attribute the events to the prayers of a righteous man.”

    So if the power in the prayer of a righteous man does not lie with God, the power is in man? That’s going to be difficult to support with scripture. Contrarily, a righteous man is one who walks with and is in tune with God/Jesus/Spirit. God teaches His children to pray His will, but this does not negate His ability to use miracles to accomplish it.

    “Did God suspend the weather patterns to bring drought, and then suspend them again to bring rain? Or did he naturally adjust the weather patterns with a natural result of no rain or rain?”

    You’re saying the same thing in two different ways. If God “naturally adjusts” anything, that means without His adjustment, something different would’ve happened! This is God’s direct work. Why is it so hard to call it what it is? Why not give glory where it is due? What happens if we call that a miracle, and it wasn’t? Is God angry? I was raised to think so, but I know better now. Let’s err on the side of giving God praise for being in power over everything.

    “Miracles can happen. Prayers are answered. But to teach that both require the other in non-biblical and illogical.”

    This is similar to the CofC’s general habit of trying to determine the exact moment of a person’s salvation. Why? So WE can be the judge of who is saved and not saved. This is the same temptation that brought the fall – “Who wants to be God?!”

    When we get busy trying to tell God when He acts and compartmentalize what He does, we get into the role of playing God. Why is it so important to pick these things apart? Why not give God glory and praise for both setting things in a natural motion AND miraculous intervention? Usually this is argued so soemone can preach their version of 1 Corinthians (“things will pass away”) without fear of going to Hell.

    I only ask someone for something when I believe that they have it to give. If God’s not going to intervene, why ask? If you believe He is, why determine what type of intervention fits the theology? Shouldn’t our theology rise up to encompass whatever type of intervention God uses? And shouldn’t we be thankful for whatever it is?

    The discussion itself seems to be non-biblical and illogical when placed before Scripture, and in the Throne Room of God.

  11. God sometimes let’s choices run their course. No doubt Pharaoh did not believe Moses when the plagues started.

    But the one Exodus verse simply points to how Pharaoh was unable to process the consequences of letting the people go, because he was not allowed to. Surely the leader of the greatest kingdom on the Earth at the time was used to thinking long term about his decisions!

    But in this case “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21). Whether hardened or letting the people go, God was in charge. Only after the divine influence was gone was Pharaoh allowed to return to his usual programming of believing he was a deity, and want his slave labor back.

    The reason why Paul is so clear about this in Romans 9 is for the very purpose of refuting the idea that God was less than direct with Pharaoh.

    As for judgment, note the involuntary nature when in confrontation with God’s power in John 18:5. Soldiers aren’t known for falling down on the job! But when confronted with the power of the very words that came out of the mouth of Jesus, things changed. It’s no different right now, or in judgment.

    And I still want to know why judgment doesn’t have an “e” after the “g”. Argh!

  12. “The question is not whether God ‘makes’ someone do something he didn’t want to do, but if the Spirit “helps” some do something.”

    These are not mutually exclusive. Both happen, as Scripture says.

  13. How do we know that “hardening his heart” means “making him unable to process the consequences”?

    Typically, hardening of the heart seems to make people not care about the consequences. I don’t think heart-hardening turns a person into an automaton. Look at how Paul effortlessly goes from the Pharoah reference to the potter-and-clay metaphor. Hardening of the heart doesn’t make something be different than it was before. Rather, hardening makes the old ways inescapable without shattering.

    God made sure that Pharoah wasn’t going to squeak out of being judged — sort of like how frustrated we get when some heinous criminal plea-bargains down to some petty wrist-slap.

    And political leaders constantly make decisions that destroy their empires. Look at the Soviet Union. Look at Hitler’s Germany. Look at Alexander’s realm! Pharoah’s error was not in not thinking long-term; God didn’t prevent that. Pharoah’s heart was long set in believing himself invincible — and never once in the Exodus narrative does Pharoah ever show himself open to repentance. So God the Potter hardened the clay of Pharoah’s heart into the spoiled shape that Pharoah himself had made.

    If Pharoah was not defeated so grandly, he could still have convinced the Egyptians that he was god. Therein lies the glory YHWH garnered — he proved himself Lord of all Creation.

    I agree with almost everything you’ve written, Brad — I just don’t agree with the idea that hardening = inability to process consequences. That’s not how Jesus uses the phrase in Mark 8.

    And yes, English has some bizarre rules!

  14. Usually this is argued so soemone can preach their version of 1 Corinthians (”things will pass away”) without fear of going to Hell.

    Wow, Brad. That’s GOOD!

  15. Amen to everything you said Brad!

  16. It is interesting to me that we grant the Devil powers that we deny the Holy Spirit.

    In temptation, does the Devil not operate directly on our intellect, will, and/or emotions? Why do we say that the Holy Spirit can operate only through the written Word of God?

    This is not to say that whatever the Spirit does directly is contrary to the written Word of God. It will be still to the glory of God through Christ. But to say the Spirit is limited to working through the Word is to go beyond Scripture and try to restrict the power of God.

  17. Brother Starling, that is one of those points that makes me smack my forehead and feel painfully dumb. Thank you for helping me see that idea — so simple and obvious and I’ve totally missed it!

  18. Nick,
    It has only recently occurred to me as well.

  19. Does anyone here believe they have (or know someone who has) been given the power to perform miracles as the apostles and whom they chose to have such powers in the New Testament?

    Sorry, I meant to post this under Part 2.

  20. Nick – I never gave my definition of a miracle. I asked that we look at what the peoplke in Bible times considered a miracle, and asked that our definition should align with what the Bible called a miracle. I think what most called a miracle today would have never been called a miracle in Bible times. You do have a good point on weather changes, but I see a difference between what happened when Elijah prayed and when Jesus spoke. The problem is when we use our own definition of a miracle rather than using the biblical defintion as a baseline. The results would be similar to a person in the 17th century witnessing an airplane flight – it would be a miracle to him, but to us it is part of the course of natural science. That is what happens when we use subjective, non-Biblical standards.

    Brad, ytour coments are so far from what I actually said that I find it hard to believe you actually tried to understand what I said. It seem to me your post was merely a knee-jerk reaction to something you disagreed with. In the mean time, read James 5 – “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. ”

    Would God have stopped the rain and started it again without Elijah’s prayer? The scriptures do not say. What they DO say is that God answered Elijah’s prayer. They do NOT call it a miracle.

    My point is that the scriptures NEVER teach that God answering a prayer is a miracle. That is Jay and those who have accepted his opinion who are saying that. It is they who are saying something that the scriptures do not say.

    Why not just call answered prayers, answered prayer? Why not just call miracles what the scriptures call miracles?

    Why demand that an answered orayer is a miracle when the scriptures NEVER call all answered prayers miracles?

    I NEVER said that miracles have ceased. I DID say that to confuse answered prayers with miracles is going beyond what God has told us.

    To all – READ and TRY to understand before reacting!!!

  21. Alan, do me a favor — search the Bible for the word miracle (not sign, not power, MIRACLE) and tell me where you find it and how the Bible defines it.

    By your description (sorry, I missed the fact that you didn’t use the word definition to describe your ideas — you expected us to assume that whatever you said was the Biblical definition), the only thing that anyone can ever call a miracle is when someone throws a stick on the ground and it becomes a snake.

    Good luck with that.

  22. Do people not know that the Bible shows people asking Jesus for healing and miracles happened. How is it we are to ask Jesus for healing, I would say through prayer. And God answers prayers and performs miracles how He wants.

  23. Somehow in our tech savvy world we have the view of Gods providence is locked in the sacred pages. We make fun of preacher that asked us to touch the TV. Now we are amazed at the power of such a touch as it has brought unimaginable change to our lives in commerce, communication, entertainment, and faith.

    What would Apostle Paul think of paramedics that can bring people back to life?
    What would Peter think about cadaver body parts that can be put on living people?
    How would the first century church respond to a cell phone, TV, or computer?

    It’s a miracle!

    The stories in the Bible of miracles (natural or supernatural) occurrence is hard to image. The primitive people of the Bible responded in odd ways. Yes they were superstitious, ignorant, easily tricked. Yes it’s possible the Bible was hijacked by copyist who embellished a few parts. Sure there can be medical explanation for madness, epilepsy. Yes we can spiritualize our way out tough passages and create wonderful dispensational stories of that then this now theology.

    But we can’t explain the times in our life when in crisis or overwhelming blessing we felt God and witness his power in our life. It is one thing to be saved in the end but it is something else to be saved in the beginning which makes our salvation the greatest miracle of all.

  24. And the congregation said, “Amen!”

  25. Mark,

    You have made a very valid point. Many things we call normal today would have been called “miracles” had they occured only 100 years ago or so.

    That is why I have such difficulty with modern day definitions (or descriptions) of what people want to call a miracle. It is a movable standard which is no standard at all.

    Some of this discussion on miracles and answered prayers reminds me of the hurricane that threatened Norfolk VA several years ago. Pat Robertson claimed credit for organizing the prayers efforts that steered the hurricane away from his home base. I dare say that the Christians in Long Island (where the storm hit and who also were praying for God to divert the hurricane, albeit without TV coverage) would agree with Pat. Were they less righteous than Pat? Was Pascagoula, Biloxi and New Orleans less righteous and less prayerful than Pensacola and western Louisana when Katrina struck? Was Port Arthur less righteous and less prayerful than Houston and Galveston when Rita struck? Was Houston and Galveston less righteous and less prayerful than Corpus Christi or New Orleans when Ike struck?

    God bless,

  26. Just to clarify, I did not intend to say that hardening = unable to process consequences. I think there was a two-fold “blinding” of Pharaoh:

    1. Whenever he decided himself to let the people go, God would blind him to that choice, and harden his heart so that he did not let them go.
    2. When he actually wanted to keep the slave labor + God was finished and wanted the Hebrews to depart, God blinded him in the opposite way, so that he did let them go.

    Granted, #2 only happened once. But that was the original thought – God was controlling Pharaoh start to finish, a la Proverbs 21. It was only when God’s work with the plagues was done that Pharaoh was allowed to return to his own thinking, which was obviously his thinking: “What happened to all my slave labor?!?”

  27. A great book on Prayer is Philip Yancey’s book,

    http://www.amazon.com/Prayer-Does-Make-Any-Difference/dp/0310271053

    God bless

  28. Alan S.,

    Do you believe miracles happen or not? If so is there any miracle God cannot do?

  29. Nick, I count 41 refernces to Miracles in the scripures. Now some refer to the same event(s), and one refers to counterfeit miracles by Satan. But enough refernces where we can use the Bible as our standard, and variable human definitions.

    God bless

  30. Miracles are supernatural they don’t always have to happen the exact same way as other miracles. God is allowed to do miracles as He wants to.

  31. Anonymous, whoever you are, I have already answered. Miracles can happen. Prayers are answered. But not believing in miracles today does not mean one is a Deist as Jay wrongly proclaims.

  32. Alan S.,

    Is there any miracle God cannot do?

  33. To say that no miracles happen today make Jesus a liar: He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

    To say that no miracles happen today makes one a rationalist and a Deist like many of the founders of the 18th century restoration movement, and definitely like the unbelieving pagans of the 20th century restoration movement.

  34. Gary, yes Jesus is the same, but that is not relevant to this discussion. Look at the context of that scripture and show where it applies to his working of miracles.

    And no! Our brothers who say that they believe miracles no longer exists are NOT Deists unless they believe that God does NOTHING in the world today.

    The problem is that arguments such as yours and Jay’s is that they are based not on the scriptures, but based on emotional interpretations and proof-texting. IOW, you and Jay are using the same tactics to accuse your brothers as they often use against us.

    I also believe miracles happen. But unlike you and Jay, I let God tell me what a miracle is through the scriptures instead of telling God what I think a miracle should be.

    God bless.

  35. Anon,

    When we use the terminology found in the Bible in a different way (different meaning) we cause more damage in miscommunication than is necessary.

  36. If I run in front and am hit by an 18 wheeler going 75 mph and walk away without any injuries, I call that a miracle. On the other hand if I suffer severe injuries and my family is told that I will not survive and my family and friends start praying for me and I recover completely I call that an answer to prayer . I know that is a simplestic answer and no I do not know of anyone that has happened to. But that is just the way I look at miracles and answers to prayer. I would not like to not believe in miracles and God answering prayers. Would’t that be a sad way to live. God Bless You

  37. It seems many get stuck on endlessly defining words… My God is still alive; Father, Son, AND Holy Spirit !!! As the Holy Spirit is God, He can do anything He pleases. No man can, nor should, tell God what He can or can’t do- those that do so elevate themselves to be equal with God. That is the sin of Satan, and is quite deadly. Read the last chapters of Job, and Ezekiel 28… Yes, I believe in miracles (God literally saved my life from instant certain physical death with one, and yes there were witnesses, and yes it absolutely defied the law of physics, and the police knew that, so as it necessary to preserve their credibility [as they didn’t want to seem ‘nuts’] they fabricated a story for the police report.) and I know from experience that He answers prayers from those who truly believe in Him. You may dismiss me, discredit me, and skeptically ‘roll your eyes’, but The Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and Angelic Host still are living and active today. God hasn’t died, just man’s faith in the Living God.

  38. So you saying miracles done by God’s Spirit is no more than what a natural man can do, or are miracles beyond the natural that man can do?

    I would say God’s Spirit does what is beyond what the natural man can do.

  39. Anon,

    I’m not sure I understand your point.

    As far as I can tell, all positive miracles in the New Testament were God’s power being transmitted through a human to instantly heal people, transform matter from one form to another, control the weather or defy gravity, etc.

    As you saying these Biblical miracles occur today? If so, do you know the people whom God has given this power?

  40. First, I recommend that everyone read the comments to part 1 as well as 2. I make two points of logic. First, miracle is in the eye of the beholder. I have had quick, highly unlikely help from God, but no one else heard the prayer, and to them it just happened. Even the plagues were only miracles if you were at the court and heard that they would happen, and then witnessed the result. The Egyptian working his farm, saw only very curious amount of flies, frogs, etc. but probably not a miracle.
    Second, what is natural or supernatural? How much of what we take for granted, sun, rain, day, night, seasons change require the intervention of God? When we praise God should we only praise the unusual? Why give thanks for daily bread, after all my grocery store always has some, and unrepentant folks buy at the same price as me.
    The older I get, the more sure I am that there are many ways to die, and life is a gift, and everything deserves praise to God. Pure Deism thinks God wound the clock, and everything is just winding down. I probably will not join the miracle a day club, but for all I know, while I slept, He deflected a major asteroid, a long ways away aimed at my bedroom! Maybe that’s why Jesus, who Satan said could turn stones into bread, still regulary gave thanks for it.
    Lastly, I saying that 1 Cor 13 proves that God can now only work though our printed Bible is worst than Garner Ted Armstrong’s OT prophesy s predicting current politics.
    God can put limits on Himself, for example after the Noah era flood, He promised not to do it again. But nowhere OT or NT did He promise to retire from activity in our world. Jesus said He was leaving but the Advocate was coming (not the KJV).
    Now for my Pentecostal friends, God may have quiet centuries, with very few miracles. Don’t get like Herod, who really wanted to see a miracle, instead be like Simeon (Lk 2:25+) or Anna (Lk 2:36+) who waited for the Lord.

  41. A person doesn’t have to meet a polar bear to believe they exist. God does things that people cannot without His intervention. And I don’t believe God ever said His miracles have to all happen the same. If God no longer is active among people then how is it you can say you are saved?

  42. I tend to agree that God’s working today should be considered supernatural. However, I still prefer to use the word ‘providence’ to describe His work rather than ‘miracle’. Using the word miracle creates significant confusion and opens to many unnecessary tangents as demonstrated by many of the comments here.

    The ‘Holy Spirit only giving us the Word’ thing is a dying thought process that I never believed to be correct.

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