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Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible, Part 2, by Wayne A. Grudem

Pneuma Review Spring 2000

The Power of the Cross: The Biblical Place of Healing and Gift-Based Ministry in Proclaiming the Gospel

Wayne A. Grudem8. Doesn’t Hebrews 2:3 tell us that miracles were restricted to the apostles, “those who heard him”?

In Hebrews 2:3-4, the author says about the message of salvation,

It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God also bore witness23  by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will.

The miracles here are said to come through those who heard the Lord firsthand (“those who heard him”), so it is argued that we should not expect them to be done through others who were not firsthand witnesses to the Lord’s teaching and ministry.24

But this argument attempts to draw more from the passage than is there. First, the phrase “those who heard him” (Hebrews 2:3) is certainly not limited to the apostles, for many others heard Jesus as well (Luke 10:1 ff.; John 6:60-70; 1 Corinthians 15:6). But more importantly, this position is claiming something the text simply does not say: That the gospel message was confirmed by miracles when it was preached by those who heard Jesus says nothing at all about whether it would be confirmed by miracles when preached by others who did not hear Jesus.

Finally, this passage says the message was confirmed not only by “signs and wonders and various miracles” but also by “gifts of the Holy Spirit.” If someone argues that this passage limits miracles to the apostles and their companions, then he or she must also argue that gifts of the Holy Spirit are likewise limited to the first-century Church. But few would argue that there are no gifts of the Holy Spirit today.

9. When Paul says, “Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23), doesn’t he warn us against seeking signs and say that we should just preach the gospel of Christ?

Here Paul cannot be denying that he performed miracles in connection with proclaiming the gospel. In Romans 15:18-19, a passage Paul wrote while in Corinth, he said,

For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyr’icum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

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Category: Pneuma Review, Spirit, Spring 2000

About the Author: Wayne A. Grudem is Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. He has authored over twenty books, including Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (1994), Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (2010), The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution (2013), The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, and "Free Grace" Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel (2016). He was also the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Book of the Year, 2009).

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