I was a skeptical college student searching for confidence – confidence that the Biblical world view was true. I studied the Bible as well as other religions and philosophy to gain that confidence. (My thinking was that if I did not find that confidence in the Bible, that I would construct a world view formed from the best of the different major religions.)
One thing seemed clear to me. If there were contemporary miracles which could not be explained by natural cause and effect, then that would at least show the supernatural realm to be real. In addition, if such miracles were mostly to be found in contexts of prayer in the name of Jesus, then this would give evidence for the truth of His claims. I was then a student at Wheaton College in Illinois, USA.
I wrote to Kathryn Kuhlman to ask regarding miracles. She replied with a personal letter and recommended a book by a cardiologist, Richard Casdorf. Her letter also referred me to a fellow student at Wheaton who had been healed of a club foot when he was a youngster, in a documented miracle.
My Quest Questioned
Many sought to persuade me that the quest for evidence of contemporary miracles was wrong headed. They were of two opinions.
First – the classic cessationalist position – in which the rationalists thought that philosophical and historical evidence was sufficient. They felt that wanting contemporary miracles as evidence was foolish since miracles were mostly for the first century.
The second opinion pointed to the issue of faith being by the Spirit. For them the quest for evidence and miracles as evidence was itself a perverse orientation. They quoted Yeshua’s rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39, ESV). They misunderstood Yeshua’s teaching about the lack of response to miracles from those with hardened hearts. They had an opposite view to the great apologist from Fuller Seminary in California some 50 years ago. Edward John Carnell argued that, “Faith is trusting in the sufficiency of the evidence.” I now know that we can just have that intuitive grasp of the heart that the Gospel is true. I never was convinced that my quest was wrong. And I did find some great miracles to help me along the way.
The Miraculous or Supernatural Today
However, in the 21st century we seem to be living in a different age. Miracles that can be documented are happening throughout the whole world at levels that have never been seen before. It is as if the pages of the book of Acts are now a worldwide reality. The noted scholar Craig Keener’s two volume book, Miracles, gives wonderful documentation in a reasoned presentation that cannot be refuted by any open minded person. And the miraculous is a major factor in the spread of the Gospel. Recently our congregation in Jerusalem sponsored a seminar teaching people how to hear the Holy Spirit and to bring the miraculous into their presentations of the Good News. It was a wonderful thing to see people come alive and to see miracles happening through them.
The Coming Move of the Spirit in Israel
As I look back on my four years of college skepticism, I now see the evidence of our faith as, almost a tsunami of evidence, an overwhelming flood of evidence (as Josh McDowell says). It is wonderful to see God working in this way, and I do believe we will see a growing level of miracles in witness here in Israel and around the world as part of a great move of the Spirit. Evangelism will again be empowered and supported by the miraculous, just as the Bible records: “God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will” (Hebrews 2:4 ESV).
This article originally appeared in Israel’s Restoration newsletter, June 2018, and reposted with permission.