|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
One direct source of unbelief is the false promotion of Christianity (cf. Job 13:7). It is surely a great tragedy that many people have rejected the Christian religion as the true portrait of reality on the basis of the misconduct that so many who claim to be Christians have displayed. In fact, some who purport to be faithful Christians are nothing more than crackpots and religious wackos.
It is especially intriguing to take note of the so-called “miracle workers,” “tongue-speakers,” and “faith healers” moving about the religious world today. Where fifty to one hundred years ago, to witness their theatrical presentations, one would have to go to the “revival tent” set up outside of town, now one can see these pseudo-wonder workers on several television channels. Willing participants, whose emotional state has been carefully manipulated, swoon at the mere touch of the “healer’s” hand on their forehead or cheek. Prominent religious leaders—who have built financial empires on the funds they have methodically extracted from misguided followers through threats, pleadings, and cajoling—continue to have a heyday, supposing “godliness is a means of financial gain” (1 Timothy 6:5).
But notice that the “miracles” performed involve highly questionable diseases and illnesses—nebulous aches and pains—that defy medical substantiation. Even the professed “tongue-speaking” is highly subjective, and in no way parallels the New Testament practice of speaking known human languages without prior learning (see Miller, 2003).
Scripture presents a very different picture. Jesus went about “healing every sickness andevery disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35, emp. added). He gave the apostles these same powers “to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matthew 10:1, emp. added). Included right along with these powers was the ability to “raise the dead” (Matthew 10:8; 11:5), restore shriveled or missing body parts (Luke 6:6-10; 22:49-51), and even give sight to a person born blind (John 9:1-7)! When was the last time one of these “faith healers” raised a dead person? Does God now place a limit on certain powers? Why will the tongue-speaker not come out in the open and convince unbelievers that their action conforms to the genuine New Testament gift—especially in light of the fact that tongue-speaking was for the purpose of convincing unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22)?
But then, if John knew what he was talking about, no need for miracles exists today (John 20:30-31). The Bible declares itself to be all sufficient and capable of providing man with every spiritual need (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The divine purpose for which miracles existed (i.e., to authenticate the divine origin of the spoken Word—Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4) has long since been served. All of which leads to this conclusion: the “wonders” being offered today are nothing more than “lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, emp. added), i.e., counterfeit, false, and deceptive (pseudous—Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 900).
[NOTE: To listen to an audio sermon on this topic, click here.]
Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation (Extended Version),” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2569.