Another PB debate on miracles

I don’t know if God gave me a word of knowledge saying “don’t get tangled up in cessationist debates.”  I think he did.  I did post some on Puritanboard pushing back against some pretty bad reasoning.  I’ll let it go, though.  Ye can judge of yourself.  I do think the little bit I did was okay, since it let me access Steve Hays’ stuff on miracles.

There is nothing new in these debates.  Nothing.  Cessationists simply say, “Oh yeah, if he can heal today then why isn’t he?”  That’s it.  That’s the argument.  Zero exegesis.  Zero discussion of why and how (and if) the canon closed. Nothing.

Me, in response to a criticism of John Wimber. Depends on what exactly he is doing. Power Evangelism is pretty broad. And even from a charismatic perspective, not every evangelistic encounter will be a power-encounter.

But to answer your question, any cessationist response to this is basically going to be the standard cessationist response to continuationism.

If he can work miracles, great. Even John Wimber says you can’t “force God” to work a miracle in you in a power encounter. Normally, though, power evangelism seeks to recognize that some people might have “demonic blocks” that prevent them from hearing the gospel. Not always, but sometimes. The early church recognized this (which is why all early church baptisms had exorcism rituals).

Me: Whenever I hear cessationists or charismatics talk about this stuff, I try to get them for the next 10 minutes to define their terms. Most scholarly charismatics don’t believe we got the Holy Ghost on tap and can heal at will (something the apostles couldn’t even do) And most cessationists believe that, yes, God still can do stuff if he wants to.

When I read Wimber I didn’t see Wimber saying every evangelistic encounter will call down lightning from heaven. Quite the opposite. He is noting that there are sometimes “blocks” in conversion that the apologist must remove. We do that all the time in normal apologetics. Wimber’s point is that some of these blocks are demonic. Like a Hollywood actress who sold her soul to Satan and does Eyes Wide Shut type rituals.

You are conflating two different issues. It’s one thing to say that miracles aren’t normative, if you mean that the Christian shouldn’t actively seek them. Fair enough. But to say that they do not happen today (something the Scripture never says, nor does it mention a completed canon of table of contents page of the bible) is simply to go beyond the evidence.

Me: Reformed blogger Steve Hays is the best resource on this. Some of these miracles deal with skeptic claims to the Bible, but others deal with modern miracles.

That’s really cheapening the work of Christ. Let’s say, ex hypothesi, that a miracle were performed. And it was done by a godly saint. He by definition wouldn’t claim the money.

Well I guess that wraps up all the scholarship on cessationism vs. continuationism. Conrad’s phone call.

Why is God obligated to do that? The same Paul who raised the dead couldn’t heal Trophimus.

Fallacy of False Alternative.

I note that no one has dealt with any of Steve Hays’ material. I don’t really expect anyone to. It is a lot easier to simply say strange fire talking points.

I am not saying we should believe early church miracle claims just because. I am saying there is rigorous scholarship that evaluates the nature of epistemological warrant, the epistemology of testimonies (and their defeaters and even the defeaters of defeaters), and the like. I’m not seeing any of that analysis here. I am seeing repeats of talking points, very little exegesis, very little discussion on which Bible verse talks about the closing of the canon (or even the contents of the NT canon).

And Strange Fire really wasn’t a good moment for cessationists. It got a lot of traction because everyone was high fiving each other, but NT scholarship (Carson, Keener, etc) really wasn’t impressed.

Some more analysis of Hays. (this one basically destroys the argument that all legitimate miracles were instantaneous zap juice)


2 thoughts on “Another PB debate on miracles

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