Signs of an apostle, a logical hypothetical

The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works (2 Cor 12:12).

Does this mean that only apostles can do signs and wonders?  In logical form, the argument is this:

If an apostle, then you will see signs and wonders.

It’s a good modus ponens argument (which are the best of arguments).  It looks like this

P: x is an apostle
q: x does miracles

P –> q
Therefore, q.

Simple enough.  The reverse, however doesn’t hold.  You can’t logically say,

If anyone does signs and wonders, then he must be an apostle.

That is the fallacy of asserting the consequence.  It looks like this:

1. P –> q
2. q
3. Ergo, p
4. You, however, are not p [~3].
5. Ergo, ~q.

Do you see where the fallacy was?  It was in step 2.  The argument in normal prose looks like this:

1. If someone is an apostle, then he will do miracles.
2. Someone does miracles.
3. ergo, he is (or would be) an apostle.
4. You, however, are not an apostle.
5. Therefore, signs and wonders aren’t happening.

You can’t assert “q” in a p –> q argument.

Conclusion: whether signs and wonders happen today, the point is they weren’t limited to the apostles, as is evident in Acts.


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