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Evangelicalism is in Such a Sad State that we have to Add Caveats to Talk about Miracles

[3]. Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in Your Life (Waco, Texas: Word Publishing, 1978), 166-167.

[4]. Ibid., 215.

[5]. Robert Bruce Mullin, Miracles and the Modern Religious Imagination (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1997), 83.

[6] A number of articles in Christianity Today conveyed a measure of openness to Spiritual gifts. Some include: Rodney Clapp, “Faith Healing: A Look at What’s Happening,” Christianity Today (December 16, 1983): 12-17. This is a cautious, but open, article on faith healing. Tim Stafford, “Testing The Wine from John Wimber’s Vineyard: California’s Latest Boom Church: Signs and Wonders Movement,” Christianity Today 11 (August 8, 1986): 17-22. Stafford objectively analyzes John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Various. “The Holy Spirit: God at Work,” Christianity Today 34:5 (March 19, 1990): 27-35. This is an extended interview with Charles Ryrie, J.I. Packer, Stuart Briscoe, Russell Spittler, and John Wimber on their understanding of healing and the gifts of the Spirit. Timothy Smith, “The Spirit’s Gifts: Then and Now,” Christianity Today 34:5 (March 19, 1990): 25-26. Smith, a history professor at John Hopkins University, explores gifts of the Spirit through the five-hundred-year span of the Protestant tradition. Tim Stafford, “Miracles in Mozambique: How Mama Heidi Reaches the Abandoned,” Christianity Today 56:5 (May 2012): 18-26. This was a feature article on Heidi and Roland Baker and their signs and wonders ministry in Mozambique, Africa. Andrew Wilson, “God Always Heals: Good News for Our Bodies – In This Life and The Next,” Christianity Today 58:9 (November 2014): 34. This article affirms the value of healing; suggesting that even if healing doesn’t occur at this time, it will be ultimately realized in the resurrection. Martyn Wendell Jones, “Kingdom Come In California?,” Christianity Today (May 2016): 30-37. Jones, the Presbyterian grandson of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, wrote a detailed reflection on the signs and wonders ministry at Bethel Church in Redding, California [Editor’s note: Read Larry Russi’s review].

[7] Wilson draws from Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyon, Tertullian of Carthage, Basil the Great, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Augustine of Hippo.

[8] Perhaps Wilson is unwilling to extend his historical range because he is cognizant of an ethos that “troubled many of our Reformation ancestors.” Not going further helps him avoid a prophetic modality that sounds “like the Roman Catholic view of the papacy.” Also, notions of divine healing could avoid being “associated with practices like venerating the relics of saints.” Nevertheless, it is difficult to selectively drink from the well of Ante-Nicene Christianity and ignore everything else.

[9] It would be wrong to assert that there is now general agreement about the cessation of the Charismata. Viable works arguing for continuationism include: Jon Mark Ruthven, On the Cessation of the Charismata: The Protestant Polemic on Post-biblical Miracles (Tulsa: Spirit & Word Press, 2012) [Editor’s note: Read the review by William De Arteaga]. Craig Keener, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011) [Editor’s note: coverage of Miracles includes a review, an interview, extensive excerpts, and other features]. Stanley M. Burgess, The Holy Spirit: Ancient Christian Traditions (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishing, 1984). Stanley M. Burgess, The Holy Spirit: Eastern Christian Traditions (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishing, 1989). Stanley M. Burgess, The Holy Spirit: Medieval Roman Catholic and Reformation Traditions (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishing, 1997). Jeff Oliver, Pentecost To The Present: Book One: Early Prophetic and Spiritual Gifts Movements (Newberry, Florida: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 2017). I also address this subject is my three-volume work.  J.D. King, Regeneration: A Complete History of Healing in the Christian Church (Lees Summit: Christos, 2017).

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2018

About the Author: J.D. King was a supporting leader in the Smithton Outpouring in the late 1990’s and has served as an itinerate speaker, author, and college instructor. In addition to contributing to Charisma Media and Pneuma Review, King wrote Regeneration: A Complete History of Healing in the Christian Church. He is not only pursuing the Kingdom of God but also has a burden to share its wonder with everyone that he meets.

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