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

And 2 Corinthians 12:12 affirms clearly that Paul did work “signs and wonders and mighty works” among them.

So 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 cannot mean that Paul was denying the validity of wisdom or the validity of signs, for through Christ he worked signs and he taught wisdom. Rather, here he is saying that signs and wisdom do not themselves save people, but the gospel saves people. Signs and the wisdom Jews and Greeks were seeking were not the signs and wisdom of Christ, but simply signs to entertain or to fuel their hostility and skepticism, and wisdom that was the wisdom of the world rather than the wisdom of God.

10. When Paul talks about “power,” doesn’t he mean the power of the gospel to change lives? In fact, he says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith” (Romans 1:16). Doesn’t this mean it is wrong to use the term “power evangelism” to refer to God’s power to work miracles in connection with evangelism?

Examining just the Greek and dunamis “power, miracle,” the term Paul most frequently uses for “power,” we find a number of passages that speak of miracles. He says that his entire ministry has been characterized by the “power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:19). This is an important verse because it gives a description of his entire gospel ministry up to that point. In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about “the working of miracles” (1 Corinthians 12:10), and says that God has put in the Church “workers of miracles” (1 Corinthians 12:28), in both cases using dunamis.

Paul uses the same term to speak of the “signs and wonders and mighty works” (2 Corinthians 12:12), which he did at Corinth. And he similarly uses dunamis “power” to speak of the fact that God “works miracles” among the Galatian churches (Galatians 3:5). These passages are all examples of Paul tying together the idea of power with evangelism and miracles. Of course, other passages show how “power” is connected with God’s power to change lives at conversion, or power to endure suffering and so on, but to say Paul only uses “power” to refer to God’s power to change lives is certainly not true.

This is also clear in Acts, where the key verse to the whole book is Acts 1:8:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar’ia and to the end of the earth.

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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). WayneGrudem.com

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