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Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible, Part 4, by Wayne A. Grudem

Pneuma Review Fall 2000

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

Wayne A. Grudem22. Doesn’t the Bible teach that the Holy Spirit will never call attention to Himself, but will always direct our attention to Christ? Then how can it be right to place so much emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit today?

This objection is based on trying to force a false alternative, one not supported by Scripture. Of course the Holy Spirit does glorify Jesus (John 16:14) and bear witness to Jesus (John 15:26; Acts 5:32; 1 John 2:3; 4:2). But this does not mean He does not make His own actions and words known. The Bible has hundreds of verses talking about the work of the Holy Spirit, making His work known, and Bible is itself spoken or inspired by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19, “Make disciples …baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” suggests that the Holy Spirit is to be given equal honor with the Father and the Son in the Church.

Moreover, the Holy Spirit frequently made Himself known by some phenomenon or event that indicated His activity, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. This was true when the Holy Spirit came upon the 70 elders with Moses and they prophesied (Numbers 11:25-26), or when the Holy Spirit came upon the judges to enable them to do great works of power (Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14). People could see the effect of the Holy Spirit coming on someone in these cases. This was also true when the Holy Spirit came mightily upon Saul and he prophesied with a band of prophets (1 Samuel 10:6, 10), and it was frequently true when the Holy Spirit empowered the Old Testament prophets to give public prophecies.

The Holy Spirit also made Himself known or evident in a visible way when he descended as a dove on Jesus (John 1:32), or came as a sound of a rushing wind and with visible tongues of fire on the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2:2-3). In addition, when people had the Holy Spirit poured out on them and began to speak in tongues or praise God in a remarkable and spontaneous way (see Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:6), the Holy Spirit certainly made His presence known as well. And Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit within us would be so powerful He would be like a river of living water flowing out from our inmost beings (see John 7:39): Certainly that simile suggests a kind of presence people would be aware of, a presence that would somehow be perceptible.

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Category: Fall 2000, Pneuma Review, Spirit

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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