Sunday, August 28, 2005

Signs And Wonders, I Wonder...

Does God still work miracles today? Some people, Benny Hinn for example - they think that it's good to "help God along" by manufacturing their own miracles and then saying, "Glory be to Gawd!" That drives me nuts. We as Christians are all about the TRUTH! What good is the message we bring if what we bring is a lie? If we say God heals when He didn't, it would be better to say "I don't know why sometimes God doesn't heal" than to lie about it. Jesus said that He healed physical diseases so that people would know that the spiritual healing He brought was real also. But that works both ways: if the physical "healings" that people see in churches and at revivals is fake or exaggerated, why would they think anything different of the spiritual healing, or God Himself?

On the other hand, why would we think that God doesn't work miracles anymore? I don't find anything in the bible saying that there will be miracles in the Old Testament times, and miracles in the New Testament times, but then sometime later the miracles will drop off, and kinda fade away, and then we'll eventually just sing songs about the marvelous things that God used to do. Our pastor (Dave Johnson, Church of the Open Door) recently was talking about how he grew up believing that charismatics preached their experience instead of the Word, with all their talk about healings and tongues and miracles. Then one day it dawned on him that his church was doing the same thing- preaching their experience (no healings, no tongues, no miracles) instead of preaching the Word. Remember when Jesus hit His hometown? He didn't perform many miracles there "Because of their unbelief". It's about faith.

I think the truth, as it so often does, lies somewhere in the middle. When miracles don't happen, some like to pretend they did. When miracles do happen, some like to pretend they didn't. I believe God does still do amazing things, and not all spiritual as some would say. Physical, visible healings and giftings and other miracles still happen. Not as often as some say it does, but more than others say it does. I'm guessing it happens exactly as often as God thinks it should. As much attention as miracles receive, it's important to remember that they are not the goal. They are signs and wonders. Signs that point to God and cause people to wonder about how much more there is than we know.

19 Comments:

Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Derifter,

I agree with at least 50% of what you said, no doubt. Man, I wish you could talk some sense into my family. They have for the most part swallowed the whole Benny Hinn Word Faith thing hook, line, and sinker. (The fish on your site brought that to my mind :)

If you ever like to read, there's a really good book about the Word Faith Get-Yourself-Healed Charismatics. It is called "The Faith Healers" by James Randi. Believe me, it is not a book just out to bash Christians by any means. I was still a Christian when I read this book and left the Word Faith movement.

All this book is about is exposing the lies behind the televangelists. How does the author do it? Not by writing a book of slander (I guess that would be libel, actually?), but by actually GOING to the meetings. Listening to the guys, watching their methods, and observing the crowd. And also interviewing people who were "healed" afterwards. Interviewing people before and after. Digging through the evangelists' trash to see exactly what they did with all the prayer requests, etc. He also goes into all the junk mail pleas for money that evangelists send out, and exactly how they do it.

As a former professional magician, Randi is uniquely qualified to spot trickery at a distance, since he uses the same in his own acts. It is a very good read. Here's a review at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0879755350/qid=1125577520/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-1477598-2122554?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

And he also runs an excellent website debunking superstitions at www.randi.org. Believe me, it's worth checking out. It is Christian-friendly. He is not a Christian but is not out to bash Christians by any means. His whole purpose in writing "The Faith Healers" was not to trash Christianity, but to try to bring down all the scam-artists and charlatans who are abusing weak and hurting people in our society for their own advantage.

Okay, sorry for droning on and on about that. This is YOUR blog! I'm getting off-topic.

Well, I'll keep checking back every once in a while for any more inspirational Christian stuff that you put out, plus any pictures of big fish.

Have a good one,
Clint

September 01, 2005 7:34 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,
Don't people like Benny Hinn kinda make you hope there really IS some kind of higher justice waiting for them? I always thought that *maybe* Copelands and their crowd believe what they preach but I haven't paid much attention to them in years. What they preach always sounded a lot like your "bible study" to me. Benny Hinn is just over the edge. Your family won't listen, huh? That's a drag.

I don't mean to get too personal, but when you talk to them about it do you tell them Benny Hinn is the fake? Or Word of Faith, Christianity as a whole, or God? I don't know you, but I'm curious if it would make a difference to you whether they saw Benny as a fraud and went to a different strain of Christianity. Would you see that as better, or would that just be a sideways move from the fire into the frying pan? An improvement or just a change? If that's too personal to put here, you can either e-mail me, or just ignore it altogether. Whatever you like.

Don't sweat the length of your comment. As you can see, I'm working my out from under a mountain of like, 4 comments in the past month! HA!

September 01, 2005 5:59 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 02, 2005 8:08 PM  
Blogger TE said...

WOW!
Hey you guys, don't start that e-mailing crap or I won't be able make any comments.

Derifter,
I agree with most of what you said. It seems to me that God works through providence. I'm not saying God can't or doesn't heal anymore, (though I have never seen a person healed or seen irrefutable evidence of a healing) but that there is a lot more growth in our own character when God allows us who are healthy, to care for others who are sick or in a tragedy. As tough as life is already, we still seem to focus pretty much on our own selfish desires. Often it takes tragedies and/or the sickness of other people to get the focus off ourselves, so that we are willing to sacrifice ourselves to help others.

It may seem like God did a lot of miracles in the Bible, but they were actually few and far between. What we may read in the Old Covenant in a matter of hours, may have been a hundred years in duration in Jewish history. Usually, when God did do miracles for the Israelites, it wasn't until another generation or two later that he did anymore.

What has happened through history, is that when God wanted to reveal more of himself and his plan of salvation, he used objective miracles to go along with those that spoke for him, so that people would have no doubt whatsoever that it was God who was behind the new revelations being given.

When Christ came to earth, not only did he save us from ourselves, but he was the complete revelation of God in the flesh. He performed many miracles to prove who he was. There's no telling how many lepers he healed in his three and a half year ministry, but when a leper was healed of their grotesque disease and disfigurement, there was no denying the miracle. Not even the Pharisees could deny the miracles.

Clint,
When I became a Christian, I brought the Bible around my family to read,(just to myself, not to them)and it started some really good arguments, mainly with my mom. (My mom is one really tough cookie, she doesn't back down from anyone. Her parents both died when she was 8, so I think that made her tough, because she has fought through life on her own.) That has been really tough going for me and her. What was worse though was when I rejected the faith movement. My wife and her family are all die hard word of faithers. My wife grew up in WoF and our different beliefs have caused incredible stress between us. I have three kids and thankfully they have not bought into the faith movement junk.

So you see Clint, there are a lot of people against me, including family, Christians and non-Christians.

I'll be back,
T.E.

September 07, 2005 9:47 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,
Some of what I said above, I know you already knew. I just wanted to complete the thought.

I'll be back,
T.E.

September 07, 2005 10:04 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Welcome back, TE! Haven't heard from you in a few days, I thought you were mad at me or something! Not really. I think that when I start paying people to visit my blog, I'm only gunna have to write 2 checks, to you and Clint. Unless Google picks up on the words "PAYING PEOPLE TO VISIT MY BLOG".

I'm not sure how you'd define "irrefutable evidence of a healing" but I know what you're saying. A severed limb growing back, the dead raised, that kind of thing. I suppose even those could be explained away somehow. My latest witness of well, I'm not sure if it would be divine healing or answered prayer or if there needs to be a distinction there, but anyway:

Yesterday we got an e-mail from an aquaintence asking for prayer on behalf of his daughter's friend Brian, who was in a coma caused by a bicycle accident, and it didn't look good for him. That's all the details we got so I don't know what if anything else was wrong with him. Today, we got another e-mail from the same elated aquaintence saying that Brian had come out of his coma and although a bit confused, he's able to speak and I suppose the next few days will tell a lot.

Divine healing? I suppose. Answered prayer? Yes! Irrefutable evidence of a healing? Well, maybe. Maybe the kid would have come out of the coma anyway, but how do you know? I see it like this: We asked God to heal him, and now we've seen healing. It's either coincidence or answered prayer and I have no reason to believe it's not answered prayer, so I'm giving thanks!

You're right in saying that we can grow in character through hard times, but it's important to note that we as Christians don't exactly have a monopoly on character. Lots of us treat people like dirt. And lots of non-Christians treat people like gold. Still, I can see how hard times can rattle your cage a bit and cause you to look deeper to see what's there. Some find God, and some realize He's not there.

I'd like to see more miracles myself, and more dramatic ones, because sometimes our words just aren't enough. Don't you ever just want Him to put "I AM GOD!" in the sky so everyone would know He's real? I suppose that if miracles happened every day they would lose their lustre and soon nobody would pay any attention. But if they don't happen enough, we begin to wonder if they've ever happened.

If I make my own (pretend) miracles though, and say "Hey everybody, look what God did!" I turn the truth into a lie. I'd rather keep asking and waiting on the real thing.

Oh and TE. Don't worry about the e-mail thing. If Clint ever e-mails me something that was too personal to put in a comment, I'll just post it in my blog the next day and ask for everyone to pray for him. (Boy, I sure hope you know I'm kidding!)

Thanks again for your insights, TE.

Clint,
Man that's tough, what's going on with you and your family. You (plural) have a tough road ahead. I hope you were just blowing off some steam when you talked of not speaking to them anymore. It sucks that there are such problems but I hope that none of you see the current situation as acceptable. Family is good. Or it's supposed to be. I don't know what other issues are involved besides religion but it seems like there must be a way to get it together, considering that you have Christian friends you get along with, and I assume your family has non-Christian friends or maybe even other family who are not Christians, who they get along with.

Hearing your side of the story, it sounds like they need to swallow some pride and "love the sinner" regardless of what you believe. For your part, you mentioned earlier that you went about it wrong. Keeping in mind that they're not ready to hear what you have to say, can I suggest that you might have to swallow some pride too, and maybe bite your tongue sometimes? I'm not saying screw your position, but in the interest of reconciliation maybe letting Mr Christian make a cameo from time to time might build a bridge. Probably doesn't sound good to you, but there must be a way. If you went about it the wrong way before, maybe it's not too late to go about it the right way, whatever that is. It has to be worth it for all of you to do whatever it takes.

Just a few thoughts, you can take them for what they're worth.

September 08, 2005 2:57 AM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,
The point of view I'm coming from, as far as healing is concerned, is what apologetic value do the modern day healings have. As far as I can see, they have none. These psychosomatic healings we see today take place in many different religions. People involved in "New Thought" pull these healings off all the time.

The healings seen today in Christianity are a total joke. These so called healings make an absolute mockery out of Christianity. The moronic behavior of the Christians I see on TV isn't any better. Many of these people go into a frenzy over false promises. I wonder how in the world, Christians can believe these counterfeit healings are real.
No wonder the public thinks that Christians are just a bunch of weak, gullible fools.

There is no way the average Christian studies the Bible in depth. What most seem to do is look for some kind of proof text that they believe will give them a blessing. The faith of most Christians in North America would be shattered in a country like Sudan, where thousands of Christians have been hacked to death for standing firm in their faith. To most Christians in this country, the Christians in Sudan would an example of a lack of faith, because if they would have had faith, they would be protected, healed and rich.

T.E.

September 08, 2005 7:56 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,
I agree completely. The fake healings we see on TV and in many churches do nothing to build the church, in fact they work against the true church by giving the rest of the world the impression that all Christians are a bunch of buffoons. Sadly, people line up to line the pockets of those who pretend to do God's work. It's also sad that many of the people who fall for that do so because they're so desperate for ______. Whether you fill the blank with love, security, community, healing, or whatever. The Benny Hinns of the world offer these and more, but when it turns out to be a sham, they leave people devastated, thinking these things are not to be had.

But I'm not ready to say that because some people pretend to heal, there must be no such thing as real healing. I don't see that in the bible, any time limit on miracles. If our struggle is with powers and principalities, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (per Ephesians 6) then we need more than a well-thought argument, because my arguments aren't that good! There's nothing wrong with knowing your stuff, I just think we need more. But it has to be real. A few years back in a moment of clarity it occured to me that "Believing something that's false, no matter how much you believe it, doesn't make it true. But believing something that's true brings the benefit of that truth into your reach."

Sudan- Definitely, we're wimps. If American Christians are seen praying before a meal, we're suffering for the Lord. How brave of us to face the possible ridicule of the family sitting next to us at Denny's. And most aren't even grateful for the freedom we have!

Blessings to you, TE.

September 08, 2005 10:26 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 09, 2005 1:19 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,
Your arguments are plenty good. That's one reason I keep coming back. You make me look at things in way I have not thought of sometimes. If people just tell me how right I am all the time, I will never grow or learn anything. That's what I like about Clint, he makes me burn the midnight oil.

God can do a healing or a miracle anytime he wants. Who am I to say when and how he should do one, I'm nothing but a peon.

God has actually answered some of my prayers, by giving me what I wanted. None that were asked out of selfishness though. What I'm saying is that He normally works through providence today.

What I've been trying to say, is that God could heal every person on the planet, of everything you could possibly imagine, here in the next fraction of a second, if he wanted to. Obviously that is not his desire. He doesn't want people coming to him and serving him for what they can get off of him. He wants people, who want a relationship with him for who he is. He demonstrated who he is, when he gave himself for us on the cross. God is all we need, Jesus is enough. No matter how much suffering and pain we go through or our loved ones go through, our relationship with Jesus should be sufficient. Jesus is all I need. Not all I want, because I'm selfish, but he's all I need. His victory over death is good enough for me. I will give an example of Jesus being all I need. If it came down to giving my life, so that a person like Clint could be saved, I would gladly do it, if it was setup by God to happen. No matter what happens to me, I will be with the Lord for eternity. I consider myself to be expendable. Remember what God told Elijah, when Elijah came crying to God about the prophets being killed and that he was the only one left and they were trying to kill him too. God told Elijah that he had a thousand more where he came from. I put myself in that same position. God may use me how ever he wants, even to the death. I consider the things of this life as rubbish when compared to the glory of God.

I hope I'm making sense. Many times I go back over what I wrote and realize why I wasn't understood. While I'm writing my mind jumps around a lot.

It's my prayer that one day, Clint will see that he grew up serving a religion, not the one true and living God. If it means burning the midnight oil to give, (what I hope are) good answers to him, then I'm glad to do it.

I'll be back,

T.E.

September 09, 2005 1:26 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,
I hope I'm not rubbing you the wrong way.
But for the last week I have really been pissed off! My Oklahoma Sooners got their butts kicked by sorry-ass TCU. I have been depressed and angry all week.

Now you are starting to know how shallow I really am.

I'll be back,

T.E.

September 09, 2005 1:58 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Wow, we should talk about things that are less important. That would rock because then, who cares if you're wrong?

Matthew 23:23 says, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

Jesus is cool. He's like my idol. (?)

I hear Him say, "You guys are sooo religious aren't you? But your families are falling apart. You're missing the point!"

If Christians lived their lives like what He said in that verse, would anyone have problems with their families? His message of truth gets so distorted. Love your neighbor as yourself, love your enemies, turn the other cheek, speak the truth in love, be angry but do not sin.

And look at what it's become.

I almost went off on a tangent just now about getting a person like Clint saved. I've sort of painted myself into a corner on that topic, but I'm not going to go into it here.

TE, you're absolutely making sense. If more people had even a sliver of your willingness to sacrifice for others, what a different world this would be!

About the only sport I follow is pro football. A few years back I got so fed up with Culpepper fumbling and throwing interceptions and the nonexistant Vikings defense that I became a Packer fan out of spite.(oooooo!) I'm glad I'm not shallow like you, TE :) Minnesota's expected to take the NFC North this year not because they're so good but because the rest of the division is so weak. We'll see how I'm feeling Sunday. I've been moving back towards the Vikes because they've been more respectable lately. For now I have two teams.

September 09, 2005 2:41 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

TE,

Thank you for your comments about wanting to save me. I know you sincerely mean it, and what else can I say but I appreciate it.


Both of you, please don't feel like you've got to answer all my questions. I am only asking them to see what you think and maybe get you to seriously think about a few things you may or may not have thought about before. I am not trying to drive anybody crazy with the 20-questions game here :)


TE, I really am sorry to hear about your family and you not currently getting along too well because of the Word Faith stuff. I wish I had some good advice to give you, but I am going through similar crap myself and have not reached a solution yet. Your situation may be worse in a way because I at least have my wife to support me. It sounds like you have no one. How about friends? Do you have any to talk to?

September 09, 2005 3:05 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,
Maybe I should follow your example and start following the USC Trojans. I hate them, but oh well, at least they're winners.

Clint,
Did I tell you I can type faster. I can type the word "the" without even thinking about it. Isn't that awesome? He He, Ha Ha, Ho Ho.

I have a good friend at the post office I talk to and play golf with. I talk to my kids too.

T.E.

September 09, 2005 4:10 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Fast typing rocks! If people hear you doing it, they think you are really smart too :)

It's good that you have a friend to talk to. If you don't mind me asking, how old are your kids? If you don't want to say so on the internet, I understand.

Take it easy guys...

September 10, 2005 11:47 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,

When you said,

"He wants people, who want a relationship with him for who he is. He demonstrated who he is, when he gave himself for us on the cross."

I couldn't agree more. It's why I bent MY knee to Him and why I submit to Him in every way. But I have to admit I can see Clint's point, too. We say He demonstrated who He is by the cross, but non-Christians are wondering why we don't say He demonstrated who He is when He was wiping out cities of old.

If I understand what you're getting at, Jesus's death and ressurrection are the demonstration of who He is, so for that reason we don't need miracles anymore today. Is that close, or am I putting words in your mouth? Or are you just saying that it's just not His normal way?

September 10, 2005 12:24 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 11, 2005 4:47 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Derifter,

It's been nice talking to you, but I'm going to take a break from this now. I am taking some of TE's advice, which is after all, why should I care? I don't want to obsess over religion the rest of my life. I want to get on with living.

Thanks for your kind words and nice comments. I may be back to visit every once in a while, but I don't plan to start any arguments. Good luck to you in your Christian walk. I hope you have a happy and successful life no matter what.

Take it easy,
Clint

P.S. I deleted the comments I made about my family here, in the hopes that someday I will be reconciled with them.

September 11, 2005 4:58 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,
Whatever you need to do, buddy. I'm honored that you've spent so much time here and expressed yourself so freely. Thanks for helping to keep me from getting too sloppy in my beliefs! I'll be checking in on your (not blog, but, "site?") too. You're welcome here anytime.

Best to you and your family also.

September 11, 2005 5:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home