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Section 8B ... Controversial Issues/
Cessationism

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Cessationism Part II - Continuationism

Are Miraculous Gifts Of The Spirit For Today?

Carol Brooks

Continuationism, the opposite of Cessationism is the belief  that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are still in use and still needed in the church. The problem being that the gifts mentioned in the New Testament bear little or no resemblance to what is seen in Evangelical/Charismatic meetings all over the world.

Introduction -  Two Points of View

 Cessationism (Part 1)

 
ON THIS PAGE- 
The Down Side of Miracles and Healing

  A Devastating Decline
Occult Manifestations Touted As Gifts Of The Spirit.
Tongues, Slain in the Spirit, Direct Revelation, and Word of Knowledge

Prophecy

Physical Healing Then and Now

Greater Works
What Did Christ Mean?

Miracles in The World Today? Certainly BUT
Not All Miracles Are From God

Conclusion


The Down Side of Miracles and Healing
Inspiration for this section came from Gregory Koukl's article, Signs & Wonders & Evangelism: The Down Side

While it is true that many, if not most, of Jesus' miracles were performed to authenticate His person and mission, not all of them were. Because Jesus was and is a "reflection" of the Father (when people look at Jesus they see the Father), He also healed to acquaint people with the nature of God... not just His power but His compassion.

This need still exists. There are still sick people.... there are still people who are hurting. And God still has compassion for these people.

However, sadly a miracle does not always have the desired effect. The problem being that there is always the danger of the physical, worldly gift upstaging the spiritual one. 

John 6 tells us that when Jesus went to the other side of the sea of Galilee, a great multitude followed him, because they had seen Him heal the sick. Jesus then fed five thousand people with five loaves, and two fishes (5-13), which the people took as evidence of His divine mission, acknowledging Him to be the prophet that had come into the world (6:14) which had been promised by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15. Jesus and the disciples later went to Capernaum and were followed by the people who crossed the sea in boats to Capernaum seeking Jesus.(6:16-24). When they got to the other side, they asked Jesus why He had come to Capernaum, He replied

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. (John 6:26)

In other words, the miracle took a back seat to the prospect of another free meal.

This seeking of the gifts instead of the Giver can have tragic consequences. People who are healed may not always turn to Jesus as the Messiah.

Remember Jesus' words when He warned the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida that in the day of judgment, their fate would be far worse than that of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom, in spite of the fact that the latter cities were very immoral. The reason? Unlike the other three, Chorazin and Bethsaida had seen incredible displays of His "mighty works" but had still not believed.

    "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. "Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. "Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you." (Matthew 11:21-24 NASB)

A miracle can actually become testimony against an individual, if the person concerned does not turn to the Lord after experiencing one.


A Devastating Decline
Occult Manifestations Touted As Gifts Of The Spirit.

Although a great deal of error had crept into the church even during the Apostolic period, there was some control over what was being taught as long as they were alive. However, with their deaths the situation deteriorated pretty quickly.

It is very clear that the gifts of tongues, prophecy, and healing etc. are, for the most part, different from what we read in the New Testament. Not only are we refusing to take seriously the Bible's warning that the period of time close to the end of the age would see

    A rise in false prophets who perform miracles, prophesy, and cast out demons in Jesus' name (Matthew 7:22-23; 24:11-13, 24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

    Evil men and impostors going from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  (2 Timothy 3:13 NASB)

    False leaders who "fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

    Teachers who would turn the faithful away from the truth to fables. This done with the willing compliance of people who only wish to satisfy their own lusts. (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

But thanks to the lack of any discernment whatsoever occult manifestations are being touted as gifts of the Spirit. The rise of false prophets, fake healings, demonic manifestations masquerading as receiving the Holy Spirit, are all signs of the end of days.

Moreover, in their quest for "spirituality" an alarmingly large number of believers in the modern world are indulging in practices like Contemplative Prayer and walking Labyrinths and in doing so have crossed an invisible boundary into the world of the occult. In fact, we are so busy congratulating ourselves on how "spiritual" we have become, that we little suspect that we have actually lost all rights to call ourselves "Christians".

As Einstein once said "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."


Tongues Then and Now
Although unknown to the speaker the Biblical gift of tongues was a known human language. In the modern world, with few exceptions tongues are gibberish that can neither be translated nor interpreted.

See Tongues and The "Second Blessing"
What few believers seem to realize is that tongues and the related phenomena have been seen throughout history in both pagan and heretical Christian movements without apparently ANY difference. Even worse is that if you watch certain videos in chapter 5 of the linked article, you will see that the jerking, the screaming, and the collapse, are exactly the same in voodoo rituals, people who have a 'Kundalini awakening' (as taught in Hinduism), and Pentecostals all over the world.

Which brings up the multi million dollar question of where the unintelligible gibberish and crazy movements come from? Can any Christian believe for one moment that God has bestowed the gift of the Holy Spirit on Christians, non-Christians, cults, and pagans without any discrimination whatsoever. It is a tragedy that most Christians have read the verse that tells us that not every spirit is of God (1 John 4:1 but few seem to take it as a warning or even consider it seriously.

Slain in the Spirit, falling under the power, overcome by the Spirit, and resting in the Spirit are all terms used by Pentecostal and charismatic Christians to describe an individual falling to the floor in some sort of religious ecstasy which can include uncontrollable laughter, animal noises, and something suspiciously resembling convulsions.

Believers attribute this behavior to the power of the Holy Spirit yet all this phenomena is unheard of in the Bible but very familiar to the occult world.

Besides which the laying on of hands often used to "transmit" the Holy Spirit bears an uncanny resemblance to the transference of  spiritual "power" or awakening from a Hindu Guru to a disciple. In fact, the requirements for receiving are the same, the methods of transmissions are the same and the physical manifestations are the same.

See Slain? ... Slain By What Spirit?
Part IV  is a comparison between Kundalini And The Slain in The Spirit Phenomena

Direct Revelation (A 'hot line to God'?)
Many orthodox Christians reject any form of communication between the Father and ordinary man (I have NO idea why). On the other hand many Evangelicals and Charismatics convey the impression that they have lengthy conversations with the Father on a regular basis - a privilege that wasn't granted to a single person in the Bible except the Son of man.

It is exceedingly common to hear "Jesus told me to" do this or that, and "The Holy Spirit led me to...". Unfortunately deceptions have occurred as many people have been 'led' to do something that is totally unbiblical such as leave their wives for someone else. The leading of the Holy Spirit can never contradict clear Bible principles and any one who believes that their circumstances are 'special' is doing nothing but fooling themselves.

Are we to believe that the Lord walks into a room and says "Hey! Jesse! (according to Jesse Duplantis), yet the prophet Isaiah said "Woe is me for I have seen the Lord" and Daniel, a man greatly beloved, fell on his face at the sight of an angel. Or does it make more sense to believe that Jesse Duplantis is a vastly deluded man.

It is well to remember that the Lord only spoke directly to a very few select people and that only for a very specific purpose. However, speak He did, and speak He still does.

Word of Knowledge
Many 'faith-healers' use what they call a word of knowledge. From a stage in front of a often large audience they proclaim that there is someone in the back of the auditorium who has 'breathing problems'. When someone acknowledges the ailment, the 'healer' will then tell the person to come forward and "receive" their miracle. There are two main problems with this 'technique'.

    1) This word of knowledge is very non-specific. What are the odds that in an auditorium that holds hundreds of people there will not be at least one who has breathing, back 'problems', or some other all too common physical ailment?

    2) There is not a shred of evidence to show that any of the miracles that took place in the Bible were based on a word of knowledge.


Prophecy
Any and all genuine prophecy is a supernatural revelation from God. No person, regardless of how inspiring their message nor how persuasive the manner in which they deliver it, can be considered a prophet unless their message comes directly from God - A genuine prophet does not repeat what may have been instilled in him by tradition, what he has thought up himself, nor what he imagines to be true.

Thus the prophet has to be held to the highest standards of accountability. When he (or she) says, "Thus saith the Lord," the person or persons to whom the message is directed has to be able to take it to the bank. The test of a prophet is not whether he is sometimes right but whether he is ever wrong. See Testing The Prophets

Although prophecy in the form of 'forth telling' (when someone conveys a message from the Lord as opposed to foretelling the future) most definitely exists today, virtually all the so called prophecy today made in very public forums is nothing but an endless torrent of mind numbing drivel.

In fact, false prophets are cheaper by the dozen in the modern church.

Well-advertised and well-known self-proclaimed 'prophets' constantly make very public specific prophecies (even on national television) that are never assessed. Their highly exaggerated and delusional concept of their own importance has led them to portray themselves as hand-picked men and women of God. They constantly blurt out non-specific prophecies that cannot be tested objectively and could be made up on the spot by any Christian with half an imagination.

Their so called prophecies are not only extravagant but usually couched in pretentious and grandiose language. Few, if any of them actually come to pass.

Spoken today - forgotten tomorrow.

Even worse, most of the bilge they spew out FLATLY CONTRADICTS the Scriptures with messages of hope, great "breakthroughs", "rivers of revival" flowing across the earth, and "major reconciliations between denominations, nations, and peoples". Peacemakers will especially empowered by God "to be a voice for unity between factions and help heal the breaches" -  "long standing breaches between siblings and between parents and their children will be healed ... "working of miracles that are creative in nature will be seen in hundreds of churches across the world."

It is a sad reflection on the church when Christians have become so used to hearing these people's 'thus saith the Lord', that by the time the next service rolls around everyone has totally forgotten what was said the week - or even the day before. Both they and their followers have lost sight of the role and importance of Biblical prophets.

See Prophets Or Deluded Charlatans
 (Charlatan - A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge)
 
The Bible tells us that that false prophets are ferocious wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15) and if a prophet presumes to speak a word in God's name that God has not commanded him to speak, that prophet shall die.  Yet false prophets abound and thrive in the Christian world. When someone "senses" something is God's will or has words form in their heads, they may sincerely believe they have a prophetic gift. However, it is entirely possible that what they believe to be from the Father has actually originated in their own imagination. Therefore any prophet that says "Thus saith the Lord", has to be willing to be put to death if it doesn't come to pass.

Also See Apostles Or Deluded Impostors
Although not a single soul alive today meets ANY of the Biblical qualifications of a true apostle yet, an astonishing number of men not only claim the title of "apostle", but believe they get their authority directly from God. Many of them they hold that they are equal or even superior to the New Testament Apostles. What is truly reprehensible is that because deep down these faux apostles have to ve aware that no one today makes the grade, they have attempted to alter the criteria. The tragedy is they have succeeded in fooling vast numbers of people who also seem to ignore the Biblical warnings about "false apostles". It will not go well for either group whose end will be according to their deeds (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

These false prophets not only do untold harm to God's people but also make the church look very foolish in the eyes of unbelievers. They are an abomination to the Lord - a blot on His name and, in spite of all the warnings in the Scriptures, apparently haven't given much thought to what their end will be in the hands of an exceedingly angry God. (See The Wrath of God

To believe that these supposed men or women of God are saved, redeemed, and born-again, is to carry delusion to the farthest limit.

 The Bible Has Plenty To Say About False Apostles And False Prophets... (All Emphasis Added)

     Thus says the Lord of hosts, "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord . (Jeremiah 23:16 NASB)

    Then the Lord said to me, "The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. (Jeremiah 14:14 NASB)

     Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, 'Listen to the word of the Lord ! 'Thus says the Lord God, "Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. "O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins. "They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, 'The Lord declares,' when the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word. (Ezekiel 13:2-4, 6 NASB)

    Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15 NASB)

    Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many...  For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.  (Matthew 24:11, 24 NASB)

    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1 NASB)

Testing The Prophets
Paul, who knew that even the gifts of the Holy Spirit were subject to abuse and misuse, threw in a word of warning telling the Corinthians that any and all prophetic utterances had to be tested by all those hearing the message. It was the duty of the congregation and elders to deliberate on had been said and determine whether it was in accordance with the truth.

    And let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discern. But if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence. For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted; (1 Corinthians 14:29-31. Emphasis Added)

John also instructed people to "test" all claims to divine inspiration..

    Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

Luckily, when it comes to predictive prophecy it is not particularly difficult to distinguish between prophets who have been sent by the Lord and those who have not. The Old Testament emphasizes not one, but two tests of a true prophet. See Testing The Prophets

The False Prophets Have Been Warned
It is amazing how early on the Lord gave us very definite criteria by which to distinguish the false prophet from the true.  Deuteronomy 18:20-22 tells us that not only does a true prophet speak ONLY what God has commanded him to speak, but false prophets would pay a very severe price.

    'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' "You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NASB)

Yet, in our inane pursuit of the spectacular we ignore God's instructions on how to "test" these spirits forgetting that our fate will not be any better than that of the false prophets.

Those Who Listen to False Prophets Have Been Warned
Especially since the Lord made it extremely simple to distinguish a false prophets from a real one, willing listeners who have given these false prophets credence are under an equally severe judgment as those who done the actual prophesying. The listeners are not excused because false prophets told them lies, for they have given credit to these fabrications. Jeremiah tells us

    "An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it? (Jeremiah 5:30-31 NASB)

And warns

    "Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them - yet they keep saying, 'There will be no sword or famine in this land' - by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end! "The people also to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and there will be no one to bury them - neither them, nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters - for I will pour out their own wickedness on them. (Jeremiah 14:15-16 NASB)


Physical Healing Then and Now
Please note that this section targets the supposed healers like Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn and many others past and present who put on a show disguised as a "healing service"

The healings alleged to be brought about by modern 'faith healers' bear no resemblance to the healing miracles in the Bible. There were no "healing services" and no need for the 'right atmosphere' in the Scriptures.

Christ And The Apostles restored people to health on the street or in public places - in front of unbelievers. Some of those cured were well known to have a particular and usually incurable illness or deformity. For example...

    The healing of the man with the withered hand was done in the synagogue on the Sabbath in full view of the Scribes and Pharisees. (Luke 6: 6-10)

    Jesus publicly healed the man who couldn't walk for thirty-eight years, and who lay daily by the pool of Bethesda hoping for a miracle. (John 5:2-15)

      Note: Although we can be certain of Jesusí part in healing the lame man, there seems to be more to the story of the angel stirring the waters of the pool than meets the eye. The events strongly indicates that God is not the only one that can heal. DETAILS

    When Jesus restored sight to the man who had been born blind it was obviously done on the street in public... "... as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth" (John 9:1).

    When Jesus was arrested on the Mount of Olives one of the people with him drew his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus healed the man in front of the "multitude" including "chief priests, and captains of the temple, and elders", that had come against him (Luke 22:49-52)

Moreover, they...

    were able to heal everyone who believed (ex. Luke 4:40; Acts 5:12-16; 28:9),and at least one that was probably not looking for nor expecting a healing ie. the man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5) .

    healed instantaneously (Matthew 8:13; Mark 5:29; Acts 9:32-35).

    healed totally, not partially (John 9:7; Acts 9:34).

    healed many people with a word or touch (e.g., Matthew 8:6-7; Acts 9:32-35).

Modern Healers do not publicly heal someone that the entire community knows was crippled. They never heal anyone in a mall, a public library, or out on the street. They never walk into a hospital and heal a stranger in full view of the medical staff, nor have they ever openly walked up to a coffin at a funeral and simply spoken words of life to the dead. (There have been stories on Christian television shows of those who supposedly died and then came back to life, but they remain just that  - stories!)

They only work to their own schedules in a controlled environment - carefully setting the stage with much rah-rah to get the level of hype up long before any professed healing can actually take place. And that is not all. For the most part not only is much of their theology anti-Biblical but they believe they are entitled to unbelievably wealth and lavish lifestyles. See Lifestyles of The Tele-Evangelists

The Wrath of God, Sin, Repentance, Salvation and Holiness (without which NO ONE will see God)
 all take a back seat to living your best life now.

The Lord is not in the business of miraculously filling teeth or gas tanks, fixing household appliances, or raising pets from the dead. And anyone who thinks so either needs to get their head examined and/or start a serious study of their Bibles starting from square one.

And since the Spirit of truth does not authenticate heretics, it is impossible that the Lord would grant men such as these real gifts of the Spirit, which leads one to wonder if it is possible that an occasional real 'miracle' (neither imagined nor temporary) happens. Our Lord's words in Matthew 24:24 should remind us that Satan can and does pull off many signs and wonders of his own

    "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.  (Matthew 24:24 NASB) (Also See Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

Why would he do so? Simply because it would serve his purpose very well to dole out the occasional healing just to keep the ball rolling. After all it does 'prove' that the faith healer is 'genuine' and a real 'man of God', therefore any heresy that comes out of his mouth is accepted as gospel truth. An excellent strategy from Satan's point of view.

(See Section Is Physical Healing Included In The Atonement?


Greater Works
In support of their belief many Charismatics will quote John 14:12 in which Jesus said that we would do greater works than He did. Thus everyone we pray for to be healed, should be healed.

    Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works (Gk. ergon) that I do shall he do also; and greater (Gk. KJV - meizon. NASB - megas) works (Gk. ergon) than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)

However there are several inescapable problems with this reasoning. In spite of all the hype no person, group nor period since the apostles has seen any increase in number or quality of miracles. Clearly not every sick person prayed for (even by the leaders of the Health-Wealth gospel) is healed. In fact, it would be accurate to say that regardless of the many claims to the contrary, most people prayed for today are not miraculously healed.

But since we can safely rule out the possibility that Jesus was guilty of false prophesy it stands to reason that our understanding of this promise is flawed. So what we need to do is examine all conceivable explanations.


1.) The Word "Greater" Is Not Being Correctly Understood.
Just as the word 'lesser' means of less size or importance, 'greater' means greater in size, importance, or degree not 'more sensational'. Examples...

    'Better' than: "Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?"  (John 8:53 NASB)

    Bigger: Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."  (John 19:11 NASB)

    More or Most Important:

    But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NASB)

    Superior to: You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4 NASB)

    At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest (Gk. meizon) in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew 18:1 NASB)

    Greater Magnitude: "For then there will be a great (Gk. meizon) tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.  (Matthew 24:21 NASB)

Thus, when Jesus said the disciples would do greater works He could very well have been referring to the sheer number of people who came to salvation by hearing the message preached by the disciples. Although Jesus' did a great many almost spectacular things in His short time on earth, the number of souls who came to God as a direct result of ministry was quite small.

However, He commissioned His disciples to spread the good news of His coming kingdom. And so they did. When Jesus ascended into heaven His followers were few in number. Just forty days later on Pentecost that number jumped to three thousand (Acts 2:41). In fact, there were more people converted after Peter's first sermon than are recorded during Jesus' entire time on earth.

Christ's ministry was confined to a relatively small geographical area, whereas the works of the apostles extended to several nations well beyond the boundaries of Judea. And in a few short years after Pentecost, there was a church in Rome itself.

Jesus set it all in motion but it was up to His followers to take His message to the ends of the earth. In other words, the works of the apostles were not greater in kind than those of Jesus, but greater in the sphere of their influence.

What Was Jesus' Primary Message? (Not Love As Many Think)


2.) The Promise Only Applied To The Disciples
One school of thought is that this is not a general statement that applies to all Christians everywhere and at all times but the Savior was speaking to His chosen disciples.

 And there is certainly a basis for this reasoning.

The verses beginning with John 13:12 through chapter 16 are all part of Jesus' final discourse made to the disciples right after they celebrated the Passover and Jesus had washed their feet and just before He was arrested. Much of what the Savior told them in this section was aimed at encouraging and comforting the distraught disciples who were troubled by the fact that He was soon to leave them. They needed to be prepared for His death and what they would face later.

     "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. (John 15:16 NASB)

    and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 15:27 NASB)

    "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  (John 16:7 NASB)

    "A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me."  (John 16:16 NASB)

    "Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. (John 16:22 NASB)

Although we are not given specifics it seems that quite a few healings and freedom from demon possession are attributed to both Peter and Paul. Acts 5 says  (Emphasis Added)

    At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico... to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. (Acts 5:12, 15-16 NASB)

Acts 19:11-12

    God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. (Acts 19:11-12 NASB)

There are only two recorded instances of an apostle raising a dead person (Peter raised a disciple called Tabitha in Acts 9, and Paul a young man named Eutychus in Acts 20). However, considering that the book of Acts covers about the first 30 -40 years of founding and establishment of the church it does not make any sense to believe that no other miracles took place by the hands of the disciples and apostles other than the few that were actually recorded. Just as the miracles were the physical signs that Christ was the Messiah, the miracles done by the apostles were also signs that they were sent by God and I very much doubt they stopped at the odd one here and there.

Although I cannot state this with certainty, it is entirely possible that the miracles worked by the disciples and apostles were 'greater' or more abundant than Jesus'.

Also Note that the promise that the disciples would do "greater things" was not the only promise Jesus made to them in this section. He also told them,

    "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:14 NASB)

    If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7 NASB)

    You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. (John 15:16 NASB)

    "In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.  (John 16:23 NASB)

None of them give us carte blanche to ask whatever we want of Him.


Miracles in The World Today?
Jesus' statement that he who believes in Him would not only do the works that He did but would do greater works simply cannot be taken to mean that every believer is going to be able to heal the sick or raise the dead. Confirmation for this comes from Paul who clearly taught that the various spiritual gifts are distributed among believers. In a rhetorical question Paul asks (Emphasis Added)

    All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? (1 Corinthians 12:29-30 NASB)

In fact, in the previous verse the gifts are listed according to their importance. Miracles and healing are in fourth and fifth place after apostles, prophets, and teachers

    And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28 NASB)

In other words, not all Christians are given the gift of miracles which are are distributed according to God's will

    For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:8-11 NASB)

However, miracles do happen in today's world (See target="_blank" onClick='alert("ON-site link will open in a new window. To return here, simply close the new browser window.")' My Personal Experience) and a lot more of them may be occurring than we think or believe.

Few today live in small villages where everyone knows almost everyone else and an unusual event - especially a supernatural one - will create a stir among the immediate population. In spite of modern communication the very size of our world could very well be responsible for the fact that many miracles go unnoticed. 

In his 2022 article What Are The "Greater Works" In John 14:12, And Who Performs Them, And When? Sam Storms  Pastor Emeritus of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma refers to a book written by Dr. Craig Keener entitled Miracles Today: The Supernatural Work of God in the Modern World

I quote

    Dr. Craig Keener, whose Ph.D. is from Duke University, is one of the most highly regarded evangelical NT scholars in the world. He is professor of NT at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has written what is widely regarded as the definitive treatment of miracles. It is two volumes, totaling 1,172 pages (Baker Books, 2011)! He spends the first 250 pages or so defending the reliability of the miracle accounts in the Bible and responds at length to the philosophical and theological arguments that some have used to deny the possibility of the miraculous.

    But by far and away the largest portion of these two volumes is devoted to recording and describing miracles of every sort from all around the world during the present church age, with special attention given to the last 150 years or so. He cites documented miracles of healing and deliverance in the Philippines, in Thailand, Viet Nam, in Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Dozens and dozens of documented examples from reliable sources are listed.

    He has several hundred examples from churches in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, South Korea, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and China. The remarkable growth of the church in China is due in large part to the reality of the supernatural as people are confronted with what they simply canít deny: that there is a supernatural God who answers the prayers of his people.

    The cases he cites involve healings of every imaginable sort: cancerous tumors, congenital blindness, deafness, paralysis, heart disease, kidney disease, tuberculosis, and diabetes, just to mention a few. On top of this Keener reports several documented cases of people being raised from the dead....

    People who have argued that when the apostles died, miracles ceased, simply have not looked at the evidence. Keener has, and he describes them in great detail. He chronicles miracles throughout the Middle Ages and even into the time of the Reformation.

    He describes countless miracles in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries among a wide variety of Protestant traditions. And his examples are from virtually every Protestant denomination: Baptist, Presbyterian, Nazarene, Methodist, Pentecostal, as well as from virtually every theological tradition...

    Are all the hundreds and hundreds of miraculous claims cited by Keener authentic? Probably not. And he openly concedes that point. But the utmost care was taken in his research and only the most rigorous standards of medical documentation and eye-witness testimony were utilized. Even if there are many instances that ultimately prove to be false, one simply cannot ignore or deny the hundreds, dare I say thousands of cases that Keener cites. [01]

Although it is beyond question that miracles can and do happen today the reader would do well to remember that ...


Not All Miracles Are From God
Heidi Baker Although I have not yet read the book, the only advice I would offer is to remember that not all miracles are from God. For example, Dr. Keener speaks about the miracles that happened in Heidi Baker's ministry in Mozambique and the Republic of Congo. Here is what Global Awakening says about Heidi and Iris ministries.

      "Heidi Baker founded Iris Global in 1980 with her husband Rolland, and began ministering together in Asia. In 1995 they were called to the poorest country in the world at the time, Mozambique, and faced an extreme test of the Gospel"...  Heidi oversees a "broad holistic ministry that includes Bible schools, medical clinics, church-based orphan care, well drilling, primary schools, evangelistic and healing outreaches in remote villages and a network of thousands of churches". [02]

This would rate the highest level of commendation if it were not for this clear demonstration of demonic activity at one of her meetings. Watch THIS (especially from the 1:30 mark on).

The frenzied movements of the young blond man that Heidi laid hands (around the 1.30 mark) are eerily similar to the Hindu man experiencing a Kundalini awakening in the third video. Unless you believe that God's Spirit is given to pagan and believer without any discrimination whatsoever, the only alternative is that the "gods" Heidi Baker serves are responsible for the bizarre movements in both groups.

Listen to the second video carefully as Heidi uses the word "gods" instead of God several times. On at least one occasion "lords" instead of Lord. 

Although I do not doubt that many the miracles in his book are genuine, I have to assume that Dr. Keener is not aware of the scale of the demonic infiltration into the church.


Conclusion

We have openly invited evil to cross the threshold so it shouldn't at all surprise us that one of these days the doors will be wide enough for them to make their move. (You can take it to the bank that they are coming back. Read Days of Noah when the evil of men and the abominable union of the supernatural with the natural moved God to judge the world... 

Worse, believers have been led astray by the very ones that should have shepherded them to safety.

See Literal Doctrines of Demons in The Modern Church
The church that should have been a bulwark against evil has, with apostate leaders and a Biblically illiterate population, latched on to the coat tails of the world and adopted practices DIRECTLY derived from the Occult. Very many modern believers are being reintroduced to ancient practices such as Centering Prayer and walking Labyrinths as supposed ways to get closer to and communicate with God. However, few have taken the time to find out what is behind these practices and the people that teach them.


End Notes

[01] Sam Storms. What Are The "Greater Works" In John 14:12, And Who Performs Them, And When?
https://www.samstorms.org/enjoying-god-blog/post/what-are-the--greater-works--in-john-1412-and-who-performs-them-and-when#:
~:text=Very%20similar%20to%20this%20is,flow%20from%20only%20one%20person

[02] Global Awakening. Heidi Baker. About Heidi.
https://globalawakening.com/heidi-baker/#:~:text=Heidi%20Baker%20founded%20Iris%20Global,extreme%20test%20of%20the%20Gospel

Cessationism-Back

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