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Introduction

As we are all aware, the Bible is filled with miraculous events – e.g. the parting of the Red Sea, giant hailstones falling from the sky, the flood, people being raised from the dead, etc.

Up until a few years ago, I was under the impression that miracles are completely based on God’s decisions. In other words, I used to think that the only reason why a miracle occurs is because God (or Jesus) decides to perform the miracle. As a result, I assumed that human beings have no effect whatsoever on whether a miracle occurs or not.

However, is that belief actually true? Is it really true that people have absolutely nothing to do, with any miracles occurring? Let’s see if we can find out, from some examples of miracles in Scripture.

Peter walking on water

Matthew chapter 14 contains the account of Peter walking on water. When the disciples see Jesus walking on water, they are afraid, because they think that they’ve seen a ghost. Jesus tells them not to be afraid; because it is he himself. Let’s pick up the account there:

Matthew 14:28-32 (ESV):

28And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

From the above account, I understand the following: First, Jesus empowered Peter to walk on water. Then, Peter initially had faith in Jesus – and therefore, Peter was able to walk on water for some distance. However, when the wind picked up, Peter became afraid – and his faith wavered. That, in turn, caused Peter to lose the ability to walk on water – and he began to sink.

In other words, Jesus initially empowered Peter to walk on water – but Peter, himself, needed to maintain his faith, in order for that miracle to occur.

The centurion’s servant

In almost every case when Jesus healed someone, Jesus was right next to the person being healed. However, there are a few cases in which Jesus healed people who were far away from him. Here is one such example:

Matthew 8:5-10,13 (ESV):

5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

13And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

My understanding of the above account is as follows: In most cases, Jesus needed to be in the physical presence of a suffering person, in order for that person to be healed. However, in this case, Jesus was able to heal the person, even though the person was far away. The reason why Jesus could do this is because the centurion had great faith.

In other words, the faith of the centurion allowed Jesus to perform this “long distance healing” miracle.

The woman with the flow of blood

Mark chapter 5 contains the account of the woman with the discharge of blood. Here is the entire account:

Mark 5:25-34 (ESV):

25And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?'” 32And he looked around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

As mentioned in the introduction, I used to believe that miracles only occur when God or Jesus decide to perform them. Well, did Jesus decide to heal the woman in this case? No! Jesus did not even know that she was there, until after she had been healed! Also, notice what Jesus tells the woman: “Daughter, your faith has made you well“.

So, this account seems to be saying the following: In some cases, people can be healed by the power of God, through faith in Jesus – even if Jesus does not initiate the healing!

Miracles in Nazareth

Matthew chapter 13 and Mark chapter 6 contain accounts of the lack of faith, of the people of Nazareth. Basically, most of the people of Nazareth did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, primarily because Jesus had grown up among them. The people’s lack of faith had a dramatic effect on the miracles that Jesus performed in Nazareth:

Matthew 13:58 (NIV):

58And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Mark 6:5 (NIV):

5He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.

In most cases, Jesus performed lots of miracles, in any city that he came to. However, in Nazareth – his hometown – he did not perform many miracles, because of the people’s lack of faith.

The verse in Matthew states that Jesus “did not” do many miracles in Nazareth. With that wording, one might assume that Jesus simply decided not to do many miracles there. However, the verse in Mark states that Jesus “could not” perform many miracles in Nazareth. That tells me that it was not possible for Jesus to do many miracles in Nazareth – because the people lacked faith!

So, the above passages seem to be stating the following: In some cases, miracles can not occur, unless people have faith!

The “reciprocal” nature of some miracles

From all of the above information, it appears to me that many miracles require “cooperation” between God and people, in order for the miracles to occur.  In other words, it appears that in many cases, God uses a reciprocal relationship between Himself and people, in the operation of miracles. Basically, God (or Jesus) “initiates” the miracle; but then people need to “reciprocate”, in order for the miracle to be effective.

The account of Peter walking on water is one example of this “reciprocal” relationship. Jesus initiated the miracle, by empowering Peter to walk on water. However, Peter then needed to reciprocate, in order to make the miracle effective. Basically, Peter needed to actually start walking on the water – and to maintain his faith – in order for the miracle to occur.

An even more explicit example of this “reciprocal relationship” in miracles is the parting of the Red Sea. The background of that miracle is that Pharaoh and his army were pursuing the Israelites – so that they were trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea. Needless to say, the Israelites were extremely frightened when they saw this. The account continues as follows:

Exodus 14:13-16,21-22 (NIV):

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

This account is very explicit – God gave Moses the power to part the Red Sea; but then Moses, himself, needed to use that power, in order for the miracle to take effect. In other words, God initiated the miracle – but then Moses needed to reciprocate, in order for the miracle to take effect.

Of course, not all miracles use this reciprocal relationship – i.e., in some cases, God performs miracles without any cooperation from people. For example, God caused the flood to occur, without any human cooperation. Similarly, God will send Jesus back to the earth in the future, no matter what any human does.

Nevertheless, in a remarkable number of cases, it appears that miracles do use this reciprocal relationship. In particular, quite a few miracles evidently require people to have faith, in order for a miracle to take effect.

Conclusion

Overall, this “reciprocal relationship” of miracles can be expressed by the following “formula”:

God initiates a miracle + We have faith in God = The miracle takes effect

Note: in some cases, the order of the operands is reversed – i.e., in some cases, we have faith in God first, and then God initiates the miracle. (The woman with the flow of blood appears to be in that category.)

Either way, though, both God initiating the miracle, and us having faith in God, are required, in order for a miracle to take effect.

If the above understanding is true, then that may provide an explanation for some rather cryptic verses. For example, the following verses make sense to me, if the above assertion is true:

Luke 17:6 (NIV):

6He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

John 14:12 (NIV):

12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

With this reciprocal relationship understanding, Luke 17:6 could be expressed this way:

If God gives you the power to uproot a mulberry tree, and if you have faith in God, then you will be able to perform the miracle of uprooting the mulberry tree.”

Of course, that is just my understanding!

42 Responses to “How Important is Faith, in the Operation of Miracles?”

  1. on 10 Oct 2010 at 1:59 pmAngela

    Great article, Brian! You write, “Either way, though, both God initiating the miracle, and us having faith in God, are required, in order for a miracle to take effect.”

    Personally, I’d like to see more expectation of miracles from God, by the Body of Christ, in our modern times! Bible study teacher & author states, “The Church has little, because we expect so little.” I think we make a grave mistake and miss out on the awesomeness of our most powerful and Almighty Adonai Yahweh, when we expect so little of Him to work in our personal lives and corporately as a Church Body. We need to live what we believe; walk by faith, not by sight; and stand back and see the power of God do amazing things through His Son, Jesus, working through His obedient, willing and believing children. “Increase my faith, and help my unbelief!”

    “I do believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24.

  2. on 10 Oct 2010 at 6:03 pmJimS

    Jesus said to his disciples after they tried and failed to cast out a demon the reason was their “unbelief” Math 17:18.
    Jesus said
    “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
    The next verse:
    [Mat 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (I’ve heard doesn’t exist in any greek text)]
    Also looking closely at the type of faith required a “mustard seed” is given in contrast to the mountain. It occurs to me that, though small, the little seed contains ALL the elements neccessary to produce a plant.
    So then how does one gain faith to do these things?…
    Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    Seems one must be infused with the word of God throughly and completely in order to have faith and therfore do miraculous things!
    I have felt weak in faith to actually do any miracles because of our modern technology supposedly giving us the help we need. Perhaps that is a downfall of many of us?

  3. on 11 Oct 2010 at 2:20 pmDoubting Thomas

    Jim S.
    You said, “I have felt weak in faith to actually do any miracles because of our modern technology supposedly giving us the help we need. Perhaps that is a downfall of many of us?”

    I sometimes feel weak in my faith at times. I find the best way to overcome this is to talk with other Christians. I find if I just come on to this site regularly and read the articles, that it helps me a lot. I find Angela’s articles especially inspiring. She has such a strong faith that it is almost contagious.

    I also love Brian’s articles as well. He seems to me to be one of the most knowledgeable people on this site and yet he is very humble when he’s writing. He very often ends his articles with statements like, “Of course, that is just my understanding!” or “This is just my opinion.”

    I appreciate his humbleness and his humility. I find it very refreshing…

  4. on 11 Oct 2010 at 11:43 pmBrian Keating

    Thanks for the kind words, DT!

  5. on 18 Oct 2010 at 1:33 pmAngela

    Yes, thank you Thomas, for those encouraging words.

    I would also like to add that sometimes we Christians, in our modern world, have a much easier time praying and believing for non-physical things, than for an actual physical healing. Perhaps, it is because we hear so little of any true healings occurring? Let’s face it — we pray for someone when they’re sick, but do we really believe that God will heal them? We believe He CAN, but we struggle with major doubts about whether He WILL. Is that truly faith?

    I love Hebrews 11:6 because Paul points out that not only do we need to believe God exists, but we also need to believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Is this reward ONLY a future one in the age to come, or does it also apply to our lives today, such as Psalm 27:13, “Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.”

    You can probably guess that I believe that God can heal, in the Name of Jesus, right now, in the land of the living. I have shared with many who have been praying for our son’s healing of seizures. Just a few weeks ago, he had his 4th EEG in 2 1/2 months, and this time, it came back completely normal. Our family physician said that he’s never seen anything clear up as quickly as that, and the only explanation would be that it was a miracle. Our neurologist reported that it was “very good!” and they have begun to decrease my son’s medication.

    Was it a miracle? I believe it was. Has he been healed? I believe he has been. Only time will tell if he received a complete healing that will last the rest of his life…(I pray that it is so!) but, I choose to believe that when we ask and we believe, we take a risk of being disappointed in the answer being no. But, the risk of the answer being yes? Well worth it! As James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” I am certainly going to ask & believe, with the hope that I will receive it, because I ask and believe in the Name of Yeshua, our Lord Messiah. There is POWER in that name.

  6. on 18 Oct 2010 at 10:32 pmDoubting Thomas

    Angela,
    You said, “Let’s face it – we pray for someone when they’re sick, but do we really believe that God will heal them? We believe He CAN, but we struggle with major doubt about whether HE WILL. Is that truly faith?”

    I must admit that I fall into this category. I will pray for things, but I usually always add “but, let your will be done, not mine.” My faith isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be. I find talking with people here on this site helps me a lot in strengthening my faith.

    You also quoted James 4:2, “You do not have because you do not ask.”

    I usually don’t ask for material things or worldly things. I usually ask for things like wisdom, guidance, patience, tolerance, and most of all for the peace of God in my life…

  7. on 18 Oct 2010 at 10:34 pmDoubting Thomas

    Angela,
    I forgot to say how happy I am to hear about your son….

  8. on 19 Oct 2010 at 2:36 amBrian Keating

    Hi Angela,

    It’s interesting that you mentioned Hebrews 11:6 – because I initially intended to add that very verse to this post. The main reason why I did not is because, like DT, I have a hard time “expecting” God to perform miracles for me. I definitely believe that God can do them, but I feel rather presumptuous about expecting God to do them for me.

    On another note, one of the members of my home fellowship made an interesting statement about miracles a few days ago. Basically, he stated that one possible reason why miracles are not occurring very often now, is because most Christian churches are teaching doctrines that are much different than what is taught in Scripture. So, if the leaders of those churches were given the power to perform miracles, then that would seem to “validate” those incorrect doctrines. What do you all think of that possibility?

    In any case, I am also very glad to hear about your son. I am certainly praying that his recovery is permanent!

    Brian

  9. on 19 Oct 2010 at 3:23 amRandy

    That is a a very good observation, Brian, very profound. Why would God allow those who are preaching doctrines contrary to His teachings be able to perform miracles? The other side of that is, it gives Satan the very opportunity he needs to further deceive and draw away from the truth those who don’t have “ears to hear.”

  10. on 19 Oct 2010 at 4:09 amFiona

    hi all
    I may be changing the subject a bit here, but here’s my perspective, as a person with MS. Does God give/allow us to be ill in order for us to find Him? No, I don’t believe that at all, He loves us far too much for that. I do think, though, that the illness itself makes the person look for God, often when they wouldn’t have done so otherwise. So, where does this leave the faithful person, who has prayed fervently, and with strong faith, for healing, and then not received it? It’s easy to go down the route of: “God is not healing me, as my faith is not enough”, and become disheartened. One scripture that makes me steadfast is 2 Cor 12:9 “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness”
    (Read the whole chapter for a better feel). So, I may be physically weak, but I have power though His grace!

  11. on 19 Oct 2010 at 12:02 pmBrian Keating

    Hi Fiona,

    Actually, I think your point is right on topic. My theory of a “reciprocal relationship” in miracles is that both we need to have faith, and God needs to initiate a miracle, in order for a miracle to occur. So, just because we have faith, that does not necessarily mean that a miracle will occur – because God might not initiate the miracle.

    The example that you provided – of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Cor 12:7-9 – is a perfect example of this. Paul certainly had immense faith – and he explicitly prayed for God to take that “thorn” away. However, his request was not granted – God did not perform that miracle for him; despite the fact that Paul had great faith.

    Of course, the question of “why doesn’t God perform miracles for everyone who has faith” has been a question throughout history. In other words, the question is, why does God perform miracles in some cases, but not others? For example, God saved Daniel in the lion’s den – but He did not save Stephen from being stoned to death. Also, God rescued Peter from prison – but He did not rescue John the Baptist from prison.

    So, for me it is quite difficult to understand why God only performs miracles in certain circumstances. Some people say that God only performs miracles when His plans will be advanced – but that idea gives me the picture of a very “impersonal” God. God does not seem impersonal to me – on the contrary, it seems that God loves us. In fact, He loves us so much that He allowed his beloved Son to die for us – even while we were still sinners! As a result, I think that we can trust Him – even when circumstances are difficult to understand. Does this make sense?

    Brian

  12. on 19 Oct 2010 at 2:38 pmAngela

    Brian – you wrote, “So, if the leaders of those churches were given the power to perform miracles, then that would seem to “validate” those incorrect doctrines. What do you all think of that possibility?” Isn’t there Scripture telling of the Anti-Christ performing miracles & signs in the last days? Tony & I were discussing this very thing this morning, about whether we will see an increase of miraculous signs & wonders in the last days, both by the Spirit of God, and by the coming Anti-Christ. What do you think of this? Here’s a couple of verses that I’m thinking of:

    Anti-Christ ~ “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2:Thess.2:9).

    Holy Spirit ~ “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28

    And the last subject that Fiona & you were discussing ~ my thoughts are that yes, we have to be extremely careful that we don’t go to the extremist camp of saying, “Everyone would be healed if they just had enough faith.” I don’t think that is Scriptural. Our beliefs should be more in line with Daniel 3:17-18, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is ABLE to deliver us from the furnace of the blazing fire; and He WILL deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if HE DOESN’T, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods.”

    We should take the stance of knowing that our God is able and expect Him to heal us (or answer whatever prayer we are asking), but even if God does NOT deliver us, it should not shake our faith in Him, knowing He is the one true God, who we will glorify and worship, no matter His ultimate answer.

    My take on it is this, though: The Church as a whole, especially some denominations more than others, really don’t go out on a limb and expect God to really heal physically. Maybe mentally transform someone or help them through a tough time or open a door to a new job…but physically? It’s much more difficult to really believe & expect. I still struggle with this myself, and each day, take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. I think as Brian points out in the article, that as a whole, the Body of Christ’s faith is weakened and is little and sometimes, when we get caught up in the Theology and growing in knowledge and understanding of the Scripture with our minds, we leave out a very integral part of our Christianity: our faith and our power as believers, because of the Spirit of God, which is our down payment of things even better, to come. I’m guessing we are operating in our daily lives in about 10% capacity of what is really available to us, as His most gracious heavenly gifts. Of course, I came up w/that number out of my head, but what does anyone think of that? Do you think we’re big on brains and short on Spirit/Power? I know personally, I want MORE. I want as much as God will give me today. I want Him to lay it on, with a double portion!

  13. on 19 Oct 2010 at 3:13 pmBrian Keating

    Hi Angela,

    Yes, I certainly believe that in the last days, many false prophets will perform miracles (see Matt 24) – and of course, given that they are false prophets, they will certainly teach incorrect doctrines.

    However, I was not speaking about the last days – I was speaking about why there have been so few reports of miracles occurring, for the past 1,800 years or so. One possible reason for that is because the church rapidly fell away from Scriptural doctrines, after the death of the apostles.

    Brian

  14. on 19 Oct 2010 at 5:43 pmMark C.

    Regarding physical healing, whether it’s miraculous or the body healing naturally, it’s all temporary at best. Unless the Lord returns, we will die at some point. In the coming Kingdom we will be perfectly whole, and that is the ultimate goal. In the meantime, God may choose to heal miraculously, or He may have some purpose for a person going through that illness. Perhaps as a test, or perhaps as an example to others of maintaining faith in God in the midst of negative circumstances. But our hope sustains us, knowing that eventually God WILL heal us, if not in this life then in the next.

  15. on 19 Oct 2010 at 6:28 pmrobert

    “Unless the Lord returns, we will die at some point.”

    Mark
    As I pointed out to Ray it is appointed for all men to DIE at least once. Those living at the time when the Jesus comes must have already died and been resurrected.
    This is one of the major flaws in that claim.

    Hebrews 9:27
    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

  16. on 19 Oct 2010 at 9:46 pmRandy

    I don’t see a flaw there. Paul wrote that when Christ comes, those in the grave will rise, those still living will meet Him in the air. True, it is appointed for men to die once, but the return Christ will preclude that for some/many. But they will all be changed, the corruptible will put on incorruptible whether alive or dead. No, there is no flaw there.

  17. on 19 Oct 2010 at 10:06 pmrobert

    Randy
    That is a long stretch to explain away something so clear.
    In 1&2Thessalonians if you take the time to see neither one is written to gentiles because in both gentiles are being discussed.
    and in verses 13-17 Paul states clearly that He will BE ALIVE when this happens and refers to the dead as THEM not US.
    These are hebrews and possibly some joined to Israel being addressed who the promise of the Sabbath rest belongs to ,that have taken hold of that covenant.
    I am sure that i will have to wait till after this promise is fulfilled, why must you and others try to press your way into it without taking hold of covenant that promises it.

    13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [4] them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort [5] one another with these words.

  18. on 19 Oct 2010 at 10:42 pmMark C.

    Before you get too far off topic on this argument, please remember that the point was regarding physical healing. In this life it’s temporary at best, as we will all die….

    When the dead will be raised relative to the return of Jesus is beside the point. When the Kingdom is established all will be made whole, so we can be assured that God will heal, at least in the next life, if not in this one.

  19. on 19 Oct 2010 at 10:52 pmDoubting Thomas

    Brian,
    In msg. #11 you said, “God does not seem impersonal to me – on the contrary, it seems that God loves us. In fact, He loves us so much that he allowed his beloved son to die for us – even when we will still sinners! As a result I think that we can trust Him – even when circumstances are difficult to understand. Does this make sense?”

    I think it makes perfect sense. I trust God to always do what is good. We humans because of limited perceptions, preconceptions, and just plain ignorance, can’t always understand why God does certain things. For instance, from what I understand Paul was stoned to death about 3 different times, and yet he always survived.

    Stephen on the other hand was stoned to death just once, and he did not survive. I don’t think that during this lifetime we will ever be able to understand the mysterious behavior of our Father, Almighty God, but one day I’m sure we will have all our questions answered. I have many questions, and am looking forward to the day when God will reveal all his mysteries to us.

    Mathew 10:26 says, “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”

    Luke 8:17 says, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

    We just have to patient and God WILL one day answer all our questions. At least that’s the way I see it anywaze…

  20. on 20 Oct 2010 at 1:37 amWolfgang

    Brian,

    you wrote above

    However, I was not speaking about the last days – I was speaking about why there have been so few reports of miracles occurring, for the past 1,800 years or so. One possible reason for that is because the church rapidly fell away from Scriptural doctrines, after the death of the apostles.

    indeed, this is a reason that is rather often given, in particular by those groups/churches/individuals who believe that all or some Christian believers are “spirit filled” / “gifted” / => “pentecostal” to some degree.

    What other possible reasons are there for the situation you describe with the church over the last 1800-1900 years with only few reports or claims of miracles and few other spirit manifestation?

    For example, how would a statement such as Paul’s in 2Co 12:12 perhaps shed light on this

    2Co 12:12 (KJV)
    Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

    Does Paul link those “signs, and wonders and miracles (mighty deeds)” specifically to apostles?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  21. on 20 Oct 2010 at 7:23 pmBrian Keating

    Hi Wolfgang,

    Well, the main doctrine that I know about, regarding miracles performed by the apostles, is basically as follows:

    “Only the apostles – and people that the apostles personally laid hands on – had the ability to initiate miracles. No one else was given the ability to initiate miracles – and as a result, only God and Jesus can initiate miracles now.”

    If the above doctrine is true, then that could certainly be another reason why miracles have not been very prevalent over the past 1,800 years.

    Of course, even if that doctrine is true, everyone can still pray for God to initiate miracles. In other words, the only thing that the above doctrine explicitly states is that no human beings can “control” miracles any more.

    Brian

  22. […] In other words, speaking and interpreting tongues use a “reciprocal relationship”, between God and people – just like all of the other miracles that were performed by people in Scripture. For more information on this “reciprocal relationship”, see this post. […]

  23. on 31 Dec 2011 at 9:47 amMark

    Brian. Great article, but can we definitively say that faith is required in all miracles? For example, what about Lazarus who was dead but was raised to life again? Surely he had no faith. Or how about Balaam’s donkey who performed the miracle of talking… did the donkey have faith? I worry that if we teach that faith is a pre-requisite for miracles that we will begin to believe that we have the power to “speak things into existence” such as our own healing. There are times when it is not God’s will to heal us. Many have prayed and believed that healing would come and it never did, and that person died of cancer. Does that then mean that the person asking for healing did not have enough faith? Or does it mean that God had a different plan for this persons life, and death? Would love to hear your perspective here. Thanks!

  24. on 02 Jan 2012 at 12:20 ambrando

    I don’t know about faith regarding miracles but what I do know is that there is a real dnager from Islamic fanaticism.What is the view of you guys on that negative religion?

    I think we should really fight for the human-rights of non-Muslims in Muslim countries?We would all be second-class citizens there.

    Guys,didyou know Mohammed in the KORAN 9 TIMES can NOT do MIRACLES,so much for the force of his faith.

    Funny thing,the SAME KORAN says JESUS does do MIRACLES,hmmm,very interesting contradiction

    Read:

    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/01/29/in-the-koran-muhammad-can-not-do-miracles-but-jesus-can/

  25. on 02 Jan 2012 at 12:27 amBrian Keating

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your comment. My basic premise in this post is that in order for a human being to perform a miracle, two separate items need to take place:

    – God needs to empower the person to perform the miracle;

    – The person, himself, needs to have faith in God.

    So, if either of those items is not present, then the person will not be able to perform a miracle. That is, if God does not empower the person – or if the person does not have faith – then the miracle will not take effect.

    In the case of the resurrection of Lazarus, the person who performed the miracle was Jesus. Jesus certainly had faith in God – and God certainly empowered him to perform the miracle. (This same scenario applies with the resurrections that Elijah and Paul performed.)

    In the case of Balaam’s donkey, it was not a human being that performed the miracle – instead, it was a donkey. 🙂

    I certainly agree with you that there are some cases in which it is not God’s will for us to have miraculous healing (or any other type of miracle). In fact, that is exactly why I mentioned the two items, above, in the original post. The way I expressed them in the post is with the following “formula”:

    God initiates a miracle + We have faith in God = The miracle takes effect

    Of course, the above information brings up an obvious follow-up question: Why does God sometimes not want us to have miraculous healing? Unfortunately, I don’t have a definitive answer for that – and I probably won’t have that answer until after Jesus returns… However, the post listed below contains my best attempt to answer that type of question:

    Christian Suffering in this Age

    Brian

  26. on 02 Jan 2012 at 1:17 amtimothy

    Brian Keating
    perhaps GOD will tell us when to perform miracles for:
    john 4:
    48Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.

  27. on 02 Jan 2012 at 2:21 pmDoubting Thomas

    brando,
    You asked, “What is the view of you guys on that negative religion?”

    I don’t believe that Mohamed was a prophet of God. Not only was he incapable of performing miracles, he also stated many times that he did not know what was going to happen in the future. The O.T. says that if a person is a “true” prophet of God, then what ever they say will come to pass. Mohamed didn’t even know anything about the turmoil that would erupt after his death.

    He was not just a religious leader, but he was also a political leader. He left no clear instructions on who was to take his place as the new political/religious leader after he was gone. The result was that when he died a huge power struggle arose and thousands of people were killed. Some people believed that a descendant of Mohamed should take over as the new political/religious leader. These people were known as Shiites.

    Others believed that one of the religious leaders should take over the political leadership position. These people were know as Sunnis. The Sunnis saw the descendants of Mohamed as a threat to their political power. The result was that almost all of Mohamed’s grandchildren were killed within a few decades of Mohamed’s death.

    If Mohamed was truly a prophet he would have known about the Chaos that would result simply because he didn’t make it clear who was going to take over after he was gone.

    BTW – I am not an expert and this is all just my own understanding from what I have read…

  28. on 02 Jan 2012 at 3:31 pmtimothy

    dt,,,,happy new year. the shiites and sunnis are still fighting each other.
    saudi aribia=sunnis…iraq=sunnis…iran=shiites. they all claim to be descendants of Abraham through Ishmael and christians are their religions enemies. many in afghanistan/pakistan have become christians. these saints need our fervent prayer for their protection. maybe SEAN
    will give “link” about what happened to one of our fellowships in pakistan. according to their “folk lore” mohamond ascended into heaven from the same rock where Abraham was going to sacrifice Izaak. YHWH is love and wants his children by their freedom of will. islam spread by the sword….convert or die. what a joy that we have YHWHs word to hide in our hearts. acts 4:10-12.

  29. on 02 Jan 2012 at 3:43 pmtimothy

    james 2:
    17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

    19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

    20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

  30. on 02 Jan 2012 at 3:44 pmbrando

    Hello Douting Thomas,

    Thanks for the feedback.I know a bit more about it all from seeing the Muslim-Christian debates.I agree Mohammed was no prophet of God but,this is flabbergasting:

    Father Joseph Girzone,creator of the “Joshua/Jesus/Yeshua” novels

    Hans Kung:the world’s best Catholic theologian

    peter Kreeft:the best Catholic apologist

    All of them distinguished Catholic intellectuals,have said that for them Moh. was a prophet of God!!??.

    Sometimes people are so smart the become foolish-like.If you don’t believe me read this article in French,which you can translate by copying and pasting into Google Translate.

    http://translate.google.com/

    http://www.avraidire.com/2010/11/la-position-contradictoire-de-quelques-intellectuels-catholiques-sur-le-statut-de-mahomet-comme-un-prophete/

  31. on 02 Jan 2012 at 5:55 pmDoubting Thomas

    brando,
    Thanks for the links. That is amazing. I find it hard to believe that these people can actually think that Mohamed was a “true” prophet of God. And I also agree with what timothy said about us praying for people being persecuted in Muslim countries…

  32. on 02 Jan 2012 at 9:42 pmbrando

    Hello Thomas,

    I have learned in life that almost anything is possible.

  33. on 02 Jan 2012 at 10:02 pmDoubting Thomas

    Brando,
    I agree almost anything is possible. Although I’d like to see someone try to slam a revolving door… 🙂

  34. on 03 Jan 2012 at 11:47 amtimothy

    believing and faith are both translated from the same greek word pistis.
    so doing a complete word study will reveal a better understanding of the topic about faith. i am still working on my study.

    “almost anything is possible”
    mark 10:
    24And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

    25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.(lamsa eastern text=rope and camel are the same aramaic word gamila)

    26And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

    27And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

  35. on 03 Jan 2012 at 2:14 pmtimothy

    camel or rope ? http://tmcdaniel.palmerseminary.edu/camel-hawser.pdf

  36. on 03 Jan 2012 at 5:26 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hello timothy,
    Thanks for the link. I also think that ship’s cable (or rope) would seem to make more sense. Especially since the disciples were fishermen and would have easily been able to identify with a ship’s hawser (or rope)…

  37. on 03 Jan 2012 at 7:32 pmtimothy

    mark 11:
    24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
    perhaps when praying to heal someone your faith and believing have something to do with person being healed. gifts of healing is one of the nine manifestations of holy spirit (1cor 12-14). maybe a chain of manifestations are operated by you. word of knowledge (GOD reveals that person needs healing), word of wisdom (GOD tells you what to pray for), faith, gifts of healing which is a miracle. this is all done in the name of Jesus Christ.
    Jesus often used things around him for teaching. mustard seed/tree and lilies of the field and birds. the fishermen kept their sails in repair and all knew what a needle was and as you pointed out they had plenty of twine and rope. so he probably held up a needle and rope and started his teaching. isn’t wonderful to have the eastern text of GODs word.
    thanks DT.

  38. on 03 Jan 2012 at 10:41 pmDoubting Thomas

    timothy & brando,
    I recently read this post entitled “Words to Grow by” and it was so good that I thought I would copy it here for you guys to read.

    1. We will treat each other with dignity and respect.

    2. We will praise the accomplishments of each other.

    3. We will speak kind words to each other.

    4. We will be encouragers.

    5. Will will seek and speak the truth.

    6. We will focus on what’s right and not worry about who’s right.

    7. We will listen to learn.

    8. We will smile and have a healthy sense of humor.

    9. We will not gossip.

    10. We will expect excellence in all thoughts, words, and actions.

    It seems to me that these 10 simple rules are good words to live by (so we can grow together)…

  39. on 04 Jan 2012 at 12:03 amtimothy

    DT
    that is really a loving list of loving behavior for us to follow when loving one another. thanks tom !

    john 13:
    34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

    35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

    1 corinthians 13:1-13 agape love=the love of YHWH(GOD)

  40. on 04 Jan 2012 at 12:15 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Thanks for the list DT. We are in the process for foster/adoption and a recommendation is to have a list of rules posted so that the child understands what is expected. I’m thinking this is a great list to post (would change the wording in #10 from ‘expect’ to ‘strive for’).

  41. on 04 Jan 2012 at 12:26 pmSarah

    DT, that list is fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing.

  42. on 04 Jan 2012 at 4:19 pmDoubting Thomas

    Tim (aka Antioch),
    Congratulations on being accepted as foster parents. I’m glad that you and everyone else liked the list. I agree that it would be better if #10 read;

    10. We will “strive for” excellence in all thoughts, words, and actions.

    I will pray that everything works out for you and your wife… 🙂

  

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