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

61. Horton, Power Religion, p. 101.
62. Ibid.
63. John 2:24 likewise says nothing about their faith being spurious but simply suggests that many who believed were not yet capable of understanding and committing themselves to Jesus’ full messianic mission (John 6:14-15, 60-70). This does not demonstrate that their faith was spurious of false.
64. Carson in Horton, ed., Power Religion, p. 101.
65. Ibid.
66. Ibid.
67. Ibid., pp. 100, 101.
68. Ibid., p. 92.
69. Ibid., p. 93.
70. Ibid., pp. 125-126, emphasis mine.
71. Ibid., p. 93.
72. Norman Geisler, Signs and Wonders.
73. I would define a miracle as follows: A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which He arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to Himself. (See the next question [27] for further discussion of this definition, and other common definitions.)
74. Geisler, Signs and Wonders, p. 150.
75. Geisler also has much difficulty explaining Mark 5:8 (where Jesus more than once commanded some demons to leave) and Mark 6:5 (where the text says that Jesus was not able to do any miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief); see Geisler, Signs and Wonders, pp. 149, 152.
76. See also 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 where Paul gives examples of some gifts developed to the highest imaginable degree, examples he uses to show that even such gifts without love would bring no benefit.
77. The present participle of phero, “bear, carry” gives the sense of continual activity.
78. For further discussion of God’s providence, see Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introductory Course in the Doctrinal Teachings of the Whole Bible (Leicester, England: InterVarsity, and Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), chap. 16.
79. A study of the biblical terminology for miracles frequently points to this idea of God’s power at work to arouse people’s wonder and amazement. Primarily three sets of terms are employed: (1) “sign” (Hebrew ‘ôt, Greek semeion), which means something that points to or indicates something else, especially (with reference to miracles) God’s activity and power; (2) “wonder” (Hebrew môpet, Greek teras), an event that causes people to be amazed or astonished; and (3) “miracle” or “mighty work” (Hebrew gebûrah, Greek dunamis), an act displaying great power, especially (with reference to miracles) divine power.
Often “signs and wonders” is used as a stock expression to refer to miracles (Exodus 7:3; Deuteronomy 6:22; Psalm 135:9; Acts 4:30; 5:12; Romans 15:19, etc.) and sometimes all three terms are combined, “mighty works and signs and wonders” (Acts 2:22) or “signs and wonders and miracles” (2 Corinthians 12:12, Hebrews 2:4).
In addition to the meanings of the terms used for miracles, another reason for supporting our definition is that miracles in Scripture do arouse people’s awe and amazement and indicate that God’s power is at work. The Bible frequently tells us that God Himself is the one who performs “miracles” or “wondrous things.” Psalm 136:4 says that God is the one “who alone does great wonders” (cf. Psalm 72:18). The Song of Moses declares, “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11). Thus, the miraculous signs Moses did when his staff turned into a snake and back again, or when his hand became leprous and then clean again (Exodus 4:2-8) were given in order that Moses might demonstrate to the people of Israel that God had sent him. Similarly, signs God did by the hand of Moses and Aaron through the plagues, far surpassing the false miracles or imitation signs done by the magicians in Pharaoh’s court (Exodus 7:12, 8:18, 8:19; 9:11), showed that the people of Israel were those who worshiped the one true God. When Elijah confronted the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:17-40), the fire from heaven demonstrated that the Lord was the one true God.
80. Others may prefer to be more restrictive in their definition of miracles, reserving the term (for example) for events that absolutely could not have happened by ordinary means, and that are thoroughly witnessed and documented by several impartial observers. In that case, they will see far fewer miracles, especially in a skeptical, antisupernatural society. But such a definition may not encompass all the kinds of things Paul had in mind when he talked about the miracles in the churches of Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 29) and Galatia (Galatians 3:5), and may prevent people from recognizing a gifts of miracles when it is given to Christians today. (Of course, Christians who hold such a restrictive definition will still readily thank God for many answers to prayer that they would not call miracles).
81. The appropriateness of such a definition is not lost simply because the same event might be called a miracle by some people and an ordinary event by others, for people’s evaluation of an event will vary, depending on their nearness to the event, the assumptions of their worldview and whether or not they are Christians.
82. Throughout this series, sections of questions 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 22, 26, and 27 were taken from Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introductory Course in the Doctrinal Teachings of the Whole Bible (Leicester, England: InterVarsity, and Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), and are used by permission. Sections of questions 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21 were taken from Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, and are used by permission.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. ©Copyright 1946, 1952, and 1971 by the Division of Christian Education of National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.
Used by permission.
Quotations from the KJV—King James Version are public domain.

This four-part series is taken from Gary S. Greig and Kevin N. Springer, eds., The Kingdom and the Power: Are Healing and the Spiritual Gifts Used by Jesus and the Early Church Meant for the Church Today? A Biblical Look at How to Bring the Gospel to the World with Power (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993). Used with permission.

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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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