Assembly 2.0: Part 11.10: Tongues and Prophecy Today; Testimony

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Conclusions regarding Tongues and Prophecy for Today

I think there’s great wisdom in Martin Luther’s teaching on the subject, as summarized by Foller,

On the one hand, Luther may say that in the present time, miracles are no longer necessary, because the Gospel has already been proclaimed everywhere and the church has been established; on the other hand he holds onto the truth that the same power and impact of Christ is forever in existence in Christendom and miracles may happen whenever they are required (WA 45, 260, 18-264, 19; 45, 261, 27-262, 2). They were necessary when the Gospel first entered the world.

But, from his own time, Luther regarded this as not necessarily required and he viewed miracle signs as warnings of unauthorised action. But in times of extraordinary pressure it might again become necessary. In such cases without exception each Christian would have the power to perform miracles. Especially in missionary situations where the Gospel is first announced, God will provide affirming miracles. The deciding category, in Luther’s view is the question of necessity. According to Luther God tends to show his power through a miracle, where ordinary means of keeping up the oikonomia, the worldly reign and the church are too weak. …

Besides the strong markedness of this general line, which emphasises endurance and persevering in a situation, other statements show that he quite clearly expected healings through prayer. His belief in the omnipotence of God, in the possibility of sovereign intervention and the reality of the power of prayer was strong. So, for example, Luther reports on three miraculous healings when faced with deadly danger. They concerned himself, his wife Käthe and his fellow campaigner Melanchthon, who, in answer to Luther´s urgent supplication, was brought back to life in 1540. …

On the one hand, Luther may say: “This spirit of prophecy still remains within Christendom, yet however not to the same extent as with the apostles”, thus indicating that prophecy is not restricted to biblical times. On the other hand he considers the element of immediacy found in the biblical prophets has receded in post-biblical times. We may prophesy in so far as “we have taken it from them and have it out of their books, however, to a lesser extent” (WA 46, 60, 34-40). …

Here and there Luther mentions the idea of a restriction of the gifts to early Christianity, but he did not make a principle of it. Rather he maintains an openness to present-day occurrence as well. All in all, he is cautious about miracles and future prophecy, but he does not exclude them on principle. However, they are not fundamental and indispensable like interpreting Scriptures. He did not give an exhortation to discover new charismata. The criteria for the judgement of all charismata are faith in Christ and preaching Christ with the emphasis on justification by faith alone.

The Spirit and the Assembly

I wonder whether it would be a good idea to add an element to our assemblies — testimony. When I was young, giving one’s “testimony” was considered wrong because (a) it sounds Baptist and (b) we are not eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. We have not seen his resurrection body — unlike the apostles, who were called to be Jesus’ witnesses.

But while we can’t testify to the resurrection of Jesus based on first-hand, eyewitness knowledge, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things to which we could testify. I mean, if God is alive and active among his people, then surely some of us have seen God’s work and can share what we’ve seen with others.

We don’t hesitate to “go forward” in response to the preacher’s invitation and ask for prayers, but how often do we return to offer testimony and thanks for answers to our prayers?

How often do we act on faith to give money, volunteer time, or otherwise take a chance for the sake of the Kingdom — only to be richly rewarded by God for so doing? When and how do these stories get told? If God went to the trouble to answer my prayer, didn’t he do so in part so that I would tell the story?

If you as a teacher or small group leader create a safe place for your students to share their God-experiences, you’ll hear stories of answered prayers, visions, and even angelic visitations that will astonish you. It’ll be the most encouraging thing you’ve ever done — and it might terrify you to realize how very present and real God is.

But I ask again: If God does these incredible things among us, doesn’t he do so in part so that we will tell the story?

Now, miracles go so against our Western, Enlightenment worldview that we are reluctant to believe in them. In fact, we’re even willing to distort the scriptures and church history just so we can deny that they’re even possible. And yet they happen. God is not bound by our theology or our re-writing of history.

We fear being laughed at, criticized, and ostracized by our brothers and sisters in Christ if we tell what we’ve seen, felt, and experienced. And this is a dreadful, sad thing. And the solution is for the leaders of our congregations to encourage testimony in our classes, in our small groups, and especially in the assembly. I mean, if the First Century church could perform actual miracles in the assembly to demonstrate the power of God, such as by engaging in prophecy that reveals divine knowledge, surely we are authorized to tell others about our experiences.

Would this open us up to false stories told by silly, unstable people? Yes. And so does letting members give communion meditations and lead prayers. But surely the leaders could engage in discernment or testing of the Spirit to be certain that the stories told are appropriate. This is not all that hard. It just requires a change in church culture. A big change, I’ll admit, but a rewarding one.

Do we have a First Century example? Of course. 1 Cor 14 describes prophets prophesying and tongues speakers speaking in tongues in the assembly to demonstrate the power of God — active in the church in the present. Today, we can accomplish the same thing by testimony.

What will this lead to? Well, might God be more willing to answer prayers and grant miracles if his people were willing to see and share them? Oh … and you’ll get letters from sister congregations. File them in the round file.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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84 Responses to Assembly 2.0: Part 11.10: Tongues and Prophecy Today; Testimony

  1. Price Futrell says:

    Jesus said he could do very few miracles in his own home town because of their lack of belief. Not sure much has changed in 2,000 years. But, God is alive and outside the box !! Testimonies are awesome..

    My wife and i once had the opportunity to travel with a group to Peru. We had been told that miracles were happening and that people were being saved and the country was changing. Being raised in NE Arkansas in the most conservative of CoC sects, you might have called me doubtful. But, I had great confidence in the people telling me so we packed our bags and went in search of the NT God.. He showed up. We saw things that I had been told did not happen any longer. Not on TV… right in front of my eyes.. I carry a picture I took of an older lady who got her sight back so that I won’t ever forget her face. Can’t wait to hug her in heaven.

    The great experience was tempered by the fact that I promised the men’s group I was in that I would give a report. Oh, man was I nervous about that. But long story short, word got out about it and I had men and women, mostly older people come up to me and “secretly” tell me about similar experiences that they had been afraid to mention to anyone because of the fear of being ostracized. My guess is that most people would be amazed at the stories and testimonies of people if they were given a safe place to share. Sad indeed that “church” isn’t that place. It should be THE place to share in the wonders of God and His love for us. Great is His love and mercy !

  2. Mark says:

    A simple beginning could be to shorten the song service (which has grown a lot longer over time) and ask for prayer requests from everyone at a point in the service and then pray for the named people specifically. In the past, a prayer request had to be written on a card and given or told to the right person then passed to the man saying the prayer. Some cards never made it all the way.

  3. laymond says:

    “I wonder whether it would be a good idea to add an element to our assemblies — testimony.”

    Knowing humanity, there is always the probability that it would only open an avenue to ” the fisherman’s problem” of stretching the truth, or out right lying, in order to build on the previous testifier. ” the first liar don’t stand a chance” or there could even be those who believe they saw a vision . as Jesus said testimony should be backed by others who saw or heard the same thing.
    A testimony without proof is worthless. as a matter of fact it causes stress, and strife. disagreement.

  4. Ray Downen says:

    I’m not in a position to allow testifying in any congregation. But I’m happy to read of some brothers and sisters who testify to wonderful things that have happened in their lives, and of some churches where testimony is welcome.

  5. Dwight says:

    I think a confirmed or undisputable testimony would be good, but otherwise not. Just not walking isn’t a good case as I have know people to subconsciously stop walking and become invalid without a physical ailment to argue why. Those examples of healings in the scriptures are hard to deny…blindness from birth, leprosy, crippled, etc. Or even a tumor.
    My grandmother believed to the day she died that she had witnessed aliens landing in her backyard…she was convinced, even though no one could verify it. We tried to tell her that the oblong spaceship she saw was really the propane tank in her backyard, but she wouldn’t accept it.
    But we shouldn’t be negative or jaded to the possibilities of miracles either.

  6. Johnny says:

    As a younger man I was in a College/HS youth group that traveled doing backyard bible schools for kids in the day and concerts at night. Trying to share the gospel in ways that would reach those who do not always attend church. Toward the end of the week we were quite exhausted and before we sang that night I prayed saying we were tired and unable to do what we needed to do in our own strength. I ask God to send his ministering angels (Heb 1:14). At the end of the concert the young lady in front of me turned and said to me “thank you for holding me up” I was unsure what she was talking about so I asked her. Her reply was “when my knees buckled you put your hands under my arms and supported me. I had never touched her. I believe to this day that God answered my prayer, that he supernaturally supported her in her weakness. I hesitate to share that story, and honestly I don’t know if I would pray that prayer today. But in my youth and innocence, I took the verse at face value and I asked God to meet our needs as we tried to serve him to the best of our ability.

  7. Hank says:

    In my experience, the ones who have the most (and greatest) “testimonies”, are the ones who know the least about the Bible. I’ve never understood why God always chooses to testify and reveal himself to them, the most…

  8. Mark says:

    “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.…” spoken by Jesus

  9. Dwight says:

    Hank, It might be that we are somewhat over educated in the Bible or try to think about it too much logically and thus using logic and our better knowledge jip ourselves out of a truer faith. Many of the those who came up to Jesus to be healed were healed according to their faith in Jesus and not their level of knowledge of the scriptures.

  10. Chris says:

    I grew up in a denomination that emphasized tongues and miracles. Unfortunately, there was an attitude of superiority compared to other churches who didn’t practice the same. Lack of discernment, along with the lack of a careful examination of scripture, led to a rise in the abundance in Charlatans.
    However, I still believe in true miracles and the gift of tongues (surprisingly experienced in a COC church by a pastor and a member in two separate churches). It’s ashame that we in the COC often fail to edify others with the testimony of how God is working in our lives, especially when there are those who are seeking truth in the wrong places.

  11. Price Futrell says:

    Wow..Christ….Amen Brother !!

  12. Royce says:

    The last several Sundays we have seen a video testimony by one of our members who has been changed by God. This past week it was a woman who works for our World Radio outreach talking about prayer. One young man spoke about being delivered from drugs, another from some other sinful behavior.

    We have had testimonies from older people, from a 10 year old girl, and all in between. Sometimes from the pulpit on Sunday morning. It’s family members sharing their hearts and experiences with God and together honoring Jesus Christ.

    God is not limited by our limited understanding of who he is and what he does. He is not limited by our traditions, desires, or by what we prohibit. He is God and we are not.

  13. Dwight says:

    I agree Royce the biggest thing that stands in our way is ourselves.

  14. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Price,

    Thanks for your testimony! Very encouraging to me.

    The rabbis taught that only God could heal the blind. Many rabbis were credited with the power to heal lesser diseases (and the Gospels report that others healed besides Jesus’ disciples). And so, when Jesus healed the blind, his healing was seen as something unheard of — beyond the gifting God had given anyone else in human history. Perhaps even showing him to be God incarnate.

    God continues to heal the blind. It is, of course, not the missionary who heals. It is God. And so we evidently enjoy a form of the Spirit more powerful than Judaism ever saw before Jesus. The powers of the next age are bursting out in this age.

    (You might call it inaugurated eschatology. The end times aren’t here yet, but the first fruits are. The gift of the Spirit is a down payment.)

    We just need to share the working of God among us.

  15. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Johnny,

    Thanks. I know people who’ve seen guardian angels, including Coach Gene Stallings. So why not?

  16. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Hank,

    Maybe because we’ve been educated not to believe — and if we do experience something, not to share for fear of criticism.

  17. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Royce,

    Kudos to your congregation’s leadership. It’s a lot of work to put these things together, but they can be incredibly powerful.

  18. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    All,

    I can’t recall whether I’ve shared this here or not. I’ve shared it with a couple of Bible classes I’ve taught. And this isn’t a miracle on the level with healing the blind or a tumor. But here’s my story.

    Two years ago I nearly died from sepsis (blood poisoning). I had a bacterial infection in a kidney that spread into the blood and began shutting down every organ in my body. I was minutes from death when they got me to the emergency room. I developed double pneumonia in about 6 hours from receiving two antibiotic shots that morning and a chest X-ray. It was an incredibly aggressive bacterial infection. My BP was so low I likely would have died on the way to the hospital if my wife hadn’t made me walk to the car.

    I remember hearing the doctors and nurses around me, one saying they had to get an IV in me in a few minutes or I’d die.

    At this point, I heard a voice say, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of your family. They’ll be fine.” And I felt an incredible peace. I utterly believed it.

    But I guess I’m an attorney to the very end, you know. And I thought, “God, I think I have more service to you left in me if you’ll let me live.”

    That’s my last memory before waking up the next morning to find myself strapped to a bag of Vancomycin — the antibiotic of last resort. If it doesn’t work, you die. But I knew I was going to live because my time to die was past and God had given me more time to serve him.

    So as I said to my classes and here, I don’t know what God has in mind for me. Maybe it’s just blogging. Maybe something else. But I know that the story should be shared because Christians need to know how very real and present God is.

  19. Monty says:

    Thanks all for sharing your stories. That’s what I was pushing for the other day when I said, let’s get out of the classroom and analyzing the scriptures and hear some first hand stories. I want to hear from those in the CofC who have giftedness and know what it is and when they received it and how their giftedness has built up their congregation and I’m not talking about going to University or just having the gift of gab. I’m talking 1 Corinthians 14 kind of stuff.

  20. Price Futrell says:

    Jay, if you don’t mind allow me one more.. I think it’s valuable to the discussion.. One Thanksgiving several years ago I was cleaning out my hunting apparel and ran across an old snowsuit that I hadn’t worn but a few times.. And, this “thought” came to me that I needed to take it and give it to a local homeless mission that I’m familiar with. I looked at it..it was in great shape, and immediately said, Nah ! Well for the next 36 or so hours the impression to give that away to this ministry became increasingly intense to the point I grabbed the thing and headed out of the house to give it away just to get some relief ! Pastor 7, as he is called, was a little surprised by the donation but accepted it graciously. The following Tuesday I get a call from a friend of mine who is a coach and teacher at Greater Atlanta Christian where I went to high school. It may be the first CoC sponsored private school in the Southeast. He asks me if perhaps it was me that gave away a snowsuit to Pastor 7… Being taken back a bit I admitted that yes it was me.. He said boy do I have a story to tell you.

    About 15 of the juniors and seniors from GACS had decided to do a local “mission trip” over their Thanksgiving holidays and volunteered to assist Pastor 7 in handing out water and sandwiches to folks that literally live under the interstate overpasses in Atlanta. As they were chatting with the people one man said that he was trying to get home to some family that said he could come live with them but was going to have to hitchhike to Philadelphia and wanted to know if they had a snowsuit to give him. Well, all they had was water and sandwiches. One of the kids went over to Pastor 7 and said that one of the men had asked for a snowsuit and was there any possibility that he might have something like that. You can imagine the look on his face.. He left and came back with the snowsuit and the kids gave this man what he had asked for. It was a huge thrill for the kids. Long story short, they invited me to come tell my side of the experience in chapel at school where the kids were doing a report and powerpoint presentation including pictures of their experience. I hadn’t ever spoken in chapel like that before, except maybe once when I had to apologize for some unsavory behavior, but I digress…

    My message that day was first and foremost it wasn’t about me giving away this snowsuit, which they had labeled the “miracle snowsuit” in their presentation. God had bugged me to death about it before I gave it away. And, as much as I appreciated them volunteering their holiday time to help homeless folks, the real story wasn’t about what they had done either.. The real “take away” from this experience was that God had used different generations of GACS alumni, unbeknownst to the other to answer the plea of a homeless man, BEFORE he even asked. How great the Father’s love for us……

  21. laymond says:

    Jay said; “We just need to share the working of God among us.”

    Jay , I think that is what we are doing when we preach the gospel, and when we come forward to be baptized, we have story after story written about our fellow brothers, and sisters , stories told in the message brought by God’s messenger Jesus. Has the effect of those stories worn so thin that we need boosters to restore our belief? I don’t recall where any of those stories were told in the first person/autobiographic. I am afraid if they were they to may have been exaggerated, but they were told by witnesses of the miracles instead of the precipitant of said miracle .
    They should be akin to the one told by the brother, who witnessed the miracle of the cancer disappearing from the sisters neck. many witnessed this according to the story, hard to argue with many witnesses.

  22. Price Futrell says:

    Jay…thanks for sharing your personal story… It’s hard to describe how you knew that “voice” wasn’t your own, but I’m guessing you had no doubt that it wasn’t… Powerful !!!

  23. Laymond seems to have a very low opinion of the people with whom he goes to church. He considers them to be narcissistic liars who will show their stripes if allowed in front of the congregation. Laymond not only does not want to hear views that are not his own, he does not want to hear from people not himself. He has not yet heard their testimony and has already rejected it as lies and exaggerations. No surprise there.

  24. Dwight says:

    It is good to hear many voices…that is what we do when we sing…right. Unfortunately we shy away from this in terms of expression of God’s effect on us and what we know. The voice we hear is the voice we pay to hear…the preachers. The preacher is one of us who has taken a position of teaching, but they may or may not be any more qualified than any of us. There are no list of qualities like there are for the elders and even the deacons. Testimony is people speaking about how God has affected them and does what we are supposed to do in the assembly…edify each other. We are to share our troubles with others-personally, but we share our faith with others- openly.

  25. laymond says:

    Charles , you may have missed it but we have already heard a story on this blog, where giving away clothes you don’t need or want, is considered a miracle of God when someone far worse off than the giver received those used clothes. In my opinion that is not where God steps up with a miracle. If that “miraculous act” is testified to , while there is a young couple sitting in the pew, who has just lost a child to cancer, with many prayers, not answered, what are they supposed to think, what are they supposed to do, when a homeless man who is more than likely homeless because of his own actions,( not that I don’t feel for the homeless I do, and we give to goodwill ) receives a “miracle from God” in the form of a used suit, and the young couple loose a child, through no fault of their own, is told no miracle for you. seems something is wrong here. I know I do not decide when and where God does what he does, but I don’t believe, my God acts in that way.

    We need to define just what a miracle is. when we give our old clothes to goodwill, that is a good deed, not a miracle.

  26. I appreciate the testimonies shared here by Price and Jay. Dwight’s skepticism does not seem mean-spirited, just a reflection of our tradition of desperately trying to avoid error or deception. I would note that having heard preachers interpret scripture incorrectly does not make us skeptical of Bible study and preaching, so we have no reason to apply a different standard to personal testimony. I have had two of my children miraculously healed, and have seen the ultrasounds and CT scans that document it. At this point in my story, the believer will reveal at least part of his heart. One believer will give glory to God, even at the risk of believing a story which just might not be true. The other believer will doubt my testimony and immediately ask to see the “evidence”, even if he has not the medical expertise to interpret it. He will not gladly embrace that the healings happened, and will not give glory to God, except perhaps through a grudging disclaimer such as, “Well, God can do anything he wants to.”

    I have seen this process played out many times. While it seems harsh to suggest that the second believer would rather have his opinions confirmed than praise God for a miraculous healing, the evidence points that way in so many of my experiences. When a believer shows a real preference for a natural explanation over a supernatural explanation which brings glory to God, something is very wrong. When someone testifies to a miracle and our first reaction is discomfort rather than joy, something is very wrong. Yet I believe this reality is at the base of our discomfort with testimony.

    I said I appreciate Price’s and Jay’s testimonies. I delight in giving glory to God for his mighty works of love, which is the result of those testimonies! To the skeptic, who prefers hearing from the Bible to hearing testimony, I would encourage him to study John 9, which comes to mind when I hear those two brothers testify. Jay and Price sound like the once-blind man. Not insisting on understanding all the facets of the healing, they yet will not hedge on sharing their experience with God. It also appears to me that they join the no-longer-blind man in drawing reasonable conclusions about God’s involvement in their experiences.

  27. laymond says:

    By the way Charles, If I had the gifts you claim you do, I would not be worrying with what someone says on a blog’s comments. I would be wearing out the soles of my shoes going from hospital, to hospital healing, and raising the dead.

  28. JES says:

    Like Jay, I have experienced several situations that only can be explained by the “intervention” of God. So, early on I did not buy the “it doesn’t work that way now” argument from the coC; yes it does!!! If God wants it to happen, it will, & not because someone “wants it” to happen; or doesn’t.

    Charlatans, God knows & will deal with you. We need to stop quenching the Spirit God sent to equip, comfort & guide us for the betterment of the Kingdom.

  29. SteveA says:

    I’m glad to learn about these amazing stories. What is especially meaningful to me is we share the same heritage. That adds to the authenticity and credibility. It is easier to trust the sincerity and veracity of the accounts since I know of our shared religious education and experience. Price, I grew up for the most part just 15 miles up the road in Pocahontas.

  30. JES says:

    Jay:

    Don’t know what God has in His plans for you or me, but make sure He does. If it is this blog, He has made a good choice in using you. As I have said before, I pray daily for more elders that are as Berean as you.

  31. Dwight says:

    Charles, I am not skeptical, but rather careful, but I used to be skeptical as I was taught to be so. We do need to hear more people speak about things, miracles included, but ,when we base our salvation or our faith on miracles, then it can get out of hand. Miracles shouldn’t be the base for faith, but a result of faith and it should be realized that God is in control and if a miracle doesn’t happen, then there is more than we don’t see going on.
    I work in the medical and I see many things that people attribute to God as a miracle, that probably wasn’t, but I am glad they put the glory to God none-the-less. I might be doubtful, but I am not going to second guess them either.

  32. Laymond, if the explanation for your ongoing skepticism is that someone called something supernatural that you do not consider supernatural, that is an awfully thin reed. I have heard preachers claim that “the bible says” things which it clearly does not say. This has no bearing on my willingness to receive the Bible as true. Defining a miracle is not, in my view, of any real import to you. It is merely another attempt to justify your intractable skepticism. What is troubling to me is your clear desire to debunk the testimony of others which gives glory to God. I cannot say that I really understand what motivates a position such as this. In essence, I hear from you, “Don’t be so quick to give praise and glory to God for this event, it may not really be warranted.” I just don’t get that mindset in the mind of a believer. It sounds like what the Enemy would say.

  33. Dwight, I take you at your word. And I truly don’t pick up in your words any bad intent at all. But I would like to understand you better, as I suspect you may represent the thinking of many other believers. In your mind, what distinguishes “skeptical” from “careful”? And why are you being “careful”? In most cases, we are “careful” because we want to protect ourselves or others from something negative or harmful. Is there some specific harm which you are hoping to avoid? Thanks for your input.

  34. Price Futrell says:

    @ Steven.. I still have family there.. You probably ventured into the Western Auto or the Pharmacy in Pocohontas.. Owned by my uncles… You obviously are good people 🙂 and also understand the conservative religious environment we grew up in !! Friend me on Facebook.. Price Futrell

  35. Dwight says:

    Charles, I don’t think miracles were main stream in the NT, although they were present. While gifts were present in the general populace…healings were not on the same level. When Simon the sorcerer was converted he noticed that people were being healed by the laying on of hands, but he wasn’t able to. He also noted that to have the gift he would need to have one of the apostles lay their hands on him. Healings were extraordinary.
    Now while we are talking about people being healed through prayer, we could also include in this those people that heal others, etc.
    My careful is not in the accepting of healing, but in how it can be pushed. We can create an environment where we push for it and it becomes a tenant of our faith and even our salvation as it does in some other groups.
    In some peoples mind it is a miracle if they pray for a parking space and one opens up. We ought to have clear expectations of what miracles were and what they did and not apply them to everything, even though all good things come from God and we should give Him the glory. Miracles aren’t harmful, but we can be.

  36. laymond says:

    Charles , everything God does is a miracle as far as man in concerned, can you explain how a great oak grows from an acorn, or a man grows from a small egg fertilized by a sperm, or the sun and earth seem to work in unison to sustain all life, or the effect the moon has on the oceans tides.
    figure how God does all this and much more, then come back and tell us how God works much smaller miracles. I know how, because he is the God he says he is. I just don’t know why.

  37. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    It’s good to hear this testimony from other believers (i.e. not televangelists who make a living by asking for money à la the old song by Poison). I am generally a skeptic, mainly because I have never witnessed anything remotely similar to an actual miracle. Perhaps that’s due to my unbelief, I don’t know. Quite often, I feel like the father in Mark 9:21-24:

    Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. ut if you are able to do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Then Jesus said to him, “‘If you are able? All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

    I pray that prayer often: “I believe; help my unbelief!”

    Being in the Marine Corps and working a lot in the Middle East, I hear a lot of stories about Muslims. Some have been publicized in the States. A number of Muslims claim that Jesus has visited them in their dreams. Miracle? Certainly, if true. Whether it is real or just mere coincidence, I cannot say, but I sure do HOPE.

    Check it out:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2015/05/13/jesus-appearing-to-muslims-in-their-dreams-jonathan-storment/

    http://www.wnd.com/2014/11/rising-number-of-muslims-reporting-dreams-about-jesus/

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/report-isis-fighter-who-enjoyed-killing-christians-wants-to-follow-jesus-after-dreaming-of-man-in-white-who-told-him-you-are-killing-my-people-139880/

    http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/06/15/report-isis-jihadist-converts-to-christianity-after-seeing-jesus-in-his-dreams/

  38. SteveA says:

    Price, Yes, I worked at the soda fountain at Phil Futrell’s Pharmacy as a teenager, 1965-1966. I sent you a friend request.

  39. Monty says:

    Some(not all) of our “careful” approach to miraculous healings is in due large part not to a lack of faith perhaps but to seeing only TV charlatans take advantage of the masses for monetary gain. We’ve all heard the stories of folks who claim to have the “power” but ignore those in wheel chairs with cerebral palsy or worse, only to turn their attentions to those with lesser ailments that supposedly get healed but certainly aren’t conclusive based on using our sight. Folks in the CofC and other denominations are generally skeptical because they have never experienced seeing anything that would challenge their CofC (or Baptist) upbringing(teaching miracles have ceased). Maybe they’re from Missouri. It’s one thing to share stories and encourage others that miraculous things are still happening, and I appreciate greatly the story about the lady with the tumor, however, I think it’s wrong to chide people who have never seen something they would consider miraculous as having a “lack of faith.” It’s a lack of faith if they are exposed to a miracle and refuse to accept it. Sometimes seeing is believing. Sometimes it takes a miracle to get people to believe in the miraculous. Jesus and the Apostles didn’t have any qualms about doing miracles to increase the faith of the masses, to be compassionate, and to confirm the preaching of the gospel. To hear some speak it’s the reverse of the first century phenomenon, their mantra is if you believe in miracles they can happen, if you don’t believe then they won’t. However, In the 1st century it was “here’s a miracle”, now will you accept it and believe in God. It’s the doctor that didn’t know God who was supposed to operate that morning on the lady with the tumor being confronted with something he couldn’t deny. A miracle! Now what do you do with it?

  40. laymond says:

    Monty, you say many things that I completely agree with.

  41. Dwight says:

    Monty and Kevin, growing up in the coC does seem to lean one towards skepticism, which I fight against. I tend to be hopeful of the possibility and probability, even though I can’t say I have ever seen what I would call a true miracle where one person was completely healed from a well established sickness. In the past the denial of miracles was more prevalent than it is now. Now while I might not believe in prophecies any more, due to I Cor.13 and the fact we have enough scripture to save, miracles I do. I just hope that if one came along that I was in the presence of that I would recognize it if I saw it and just didn’t think miracles was something that happened to other people.
    I also think that there is a difference between what we would call being healed by faith and prayer as opposed to being healed by another. It appears in the NT that people could heal others only if they had been granted that by the laying on of hands by an apostle. I am truly skeptical of faith healers.

  42. laymond says:

    Jay maybe you should give thanks for the hard work of Eli Lilly. for not giving up on compound 05865, or “Mississippi mud” as it was dubbed , because of its brown color. strange how a sample of dirt from Borneo led to a medicine which saved your life. (vancomycin)

  43. laymond says:

    Jay, maybe you are supposed to travel to Borneo as a missionary. 🙂

  44. juliepower says:

    Jay, your story touched me deeply, brother. I thank God for sparing you. You have no idea the impact your blog has made to me personally.

    I was raised in farthest right wing known in c of C….no classes, no located preacher or pants for women at church services. Over 20 years our gracious Lord called me out little by little.

    About 3 yrs ago my preaching husband was fired for his beliefs about grace and we made a move to his home state of WA….where the c of C is for all intents and purposes, dead as the proverbial doornail. We prayed so hard and agonized then the Lord responded in leading us to a non denominational church…(who btw, has elders, deacons, weekly communion…but most importantly passion for the true Gospel and vibrant, loving community).

    Life is now outside the walls…but your blog has helped carry me through that transition….thank you, brother, from the bottom of my heart. You just have no idea the impact you are making. Blessings to you….

    Juliet Power

  45. Dwight, I think you continue to speak for many believers with whom I have spoken over the years, who appear caught between faith and a human concern brought about by some negative experiences. You noted: “I also think that there is a difference between what we would call being healed by faith and prayer as opposed to being healed by another.” Here you offer a popular differentiation, which does not reveal any biblical foundation or any experiential basis. It is just a semi-comfortable place to land between faith in God and concern about being associated with some charlatan. Perhaps we could review that popular position with some insistence upon biblical foundation.

    Another quote: “It appears in the NT that people could heal others only if they had been granted that by the laying on of hands by an apostle.” The only basis for this idea is an interpretation of the testimony of Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8. But his words must be kept within the context of the event Simon is observing. By “the apostles”, we should note that it means Peter and John, and that there is no contextual reference to other apostles. So the only doctrinal conclusion would be “by the laying on of hands by Peter or John.” We may also want to consider that not even Simon could conclude that the laying on of Peter and John’s hands would have to be the ONLY way by which God could give the gift of healing to a person. He did not see enough to come to such a conclusion. We have taken one observation in one verse by one man and both expanded its references to include all apostles and at the same used it to exclude everyone else. That is a lot of liberties to be taken with one scripture, and a big error to base upon those liberties.

    The reason this is worthy of discussion and explication is that these views are widely held by lots of reasonable folks, and at the same time do not bear up under even simple scrutiny.

  46. Dwight says:

    In regards to Simon, it seems clear that Simon understood that the only way, at least there at that moment, to get the gifts to where he could heal others was from Peter and John. Acts 8:18 “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money.” The apostles didn’t seem to contradict Simon in his thinking, except in his belief that they could be bribed. It seems reasonable that those who were directly filled with the HS in the way they were able to dispense it out as well. They seemed to do a lot of thing by the laying on of hands n regards to passing things along…even blessings.
    Granted there might have been other ways in which the HS was dispensed to man in order to heal others, but we aren’t told an alternative. It is possible that reciting the Lord’s Prayer was able to do this, but that is conjecture. I don’t think Cornelius and his household had these powers, but I could be wrong.

    Now having said that it doesn’t mean that people weren’t able to influence the HS to act on the behalf of others in healing. James 5 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”
    This offers an alternative method for healing the sick that was different from what Peter and James did, but would be effective. Now I know many that will argue that this “sickness” was a spiritual problem due to “And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” but the sickness and sins seem to be different.
    It is a hard thing to let yourself go to one side when you have been on the other side for so long, but sometimes the middle is where the truth is. I think there are miracles and probably more than I would know how to recognize, but I also think that there is some credence to what gifts would be carried forward and what wouldn’t according to 1 Cor.13.
    Perhaps in time I will be able to see more than I do now, but I am past the point of where I used to deny all.

  47. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Juliet,

    Thanks so much for your note. 🙂 It’s true that I have no idea what impact this stuff has. There’s no way to measure. I have a sense of the immediate audience size, but no idea how many articles get printed or emailed and passed around — or whether anyone finds that helpful.

    I have learned that I’m just terrible at predicting what will trigger a lot of hits or comments. I’m nearly always surprised when a post takes off (or doesn’t). So I greatly appreciate the encouragement. And I pray that God continues to bless you as you transition to a deeper, truer relationship with him.

  48. Dwight, I know the power of an oft-repeated assumption, and how difficult it can be to recognize that assumption is all that it is. I remember when I thought that all apostles were long dead. I knew this because I read the names of 14 apostles whom I knew to be dead. It never occurred to me that this did not say that apostles had ceased to exist, nor did it say that no more apostles would be called after the ones I read about. I really did think what I read in scripture and what I concluded from my reading were the same thing. It took a real paradigm shift in me to realize that it was not so much that I was misunderstanding the scripture, but that some of the understanding I had was not in scripture at all. When I began to see where I had conflated scripture and the conclusions others had drawn from scripture, I had to take a second look at a number of things. I am sure that this process needs to continue.

  49. BTW, Dwight, I agree that I Cor 13 identifies three gifts which, at the point of our spiritual completeness, will not longer be needed. Paul even identifies what we will look like at that point. The problem does not really arrive until a number of assumptions and conclusions are added to Paul’s teaching here, and we start making doctrine from those.

  50. Larry Cheek says:

    Charles McLean,
    To me you have left us just a little short changed. I see where you speak of 14 Apostles, and thought they were all dead. Evidently, you must a have previously believed that there were no more than the 14 Apostles called, and now believe that there are. Do you believe that there are other Apostles today? If so, what qualifications were met to receive that title?

  51. Dwight says:

    I kind thought there was a difference between disciple and apostles. A disciple being one that followed Jesus, who anyone could qualify as vs an apostle who was directly taught by or in the presence of Jesus. This would be the twelve apostles, minus Judas, plus Matthias, plus Paul.
    There were many disciples, but only a portion called apostles.
    I think there are many disciples today, but not apostles if I understand the concepts of the two.

  52. laymond says:

    Dwight, and Charles

    An apostle, from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος (apóstolos), meaning “one who is sent away”, is a messenger and ambassador. The purpose of such “sending away” is to convey messages, and thus “messenger” is a common alternative translation.

    Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

    Jhn 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
    Jhn 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
    Jhn 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

    Act 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles

    Questions:
    Did Thomas recieve the Holy Ghost, since he was absent when Jesus gave it to his apostles ?
    Was Judas, who was never sent by Jesus to preach the gospel an apostle, or just an unfaithful desciple?
    Was Matthias, an apostle sent by Jesus, or a true desciple chosen by the eleven “Apostles of Jesus” ?
    Is there any written scripture where either, Thomas, Judas, or Matthias, performed any miracles?

  53. Dwight says:

    Laymond, The going overall thought is that the apostles were part of Jesus missionary and those chosen by Jesus, as it was a select group. Not everyone was called an apostle. Thomas, was indeed with the other 11 when they received the HS in Acts 1, in which they were to pick another to make it 12…Matthias.
    Now in John, Thomas wasn’t with the other apostles when Jesus came, but Jesus did visit Thomas later in vs.26 (after 8 days). It was almost like a special visitation.
    Judas was an apostle in that he was one of the twelve. Judas, for all of his evil doings, was with Jesus and did go with Jesus from place to place spreading the gospel. He ultimately turned his back on Jesus over money. But Peter recognized Judas contribution in Acts 1:7 “Judas…obtained a part in this ministry.”
    Matthias must have been with Jesus at some time as it appears many others were, but even so until Judas died, there was a limited number of twelve.
    What was a qualifier for choosing Matthias “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” There was Joseph (Barsabas) or Matthias. Matthias was chosen.
    The question is did Thomas, Judas or Matthias perform miracles? Maybe before the day of Pentecost, but at least Thomas and Matthias were there on the day of Pentecost to receive the HS. We could also ask did James or Simon or Judas the son of James perform miracles as we don’t really hear of them much in Acts or the letters? We are not told, but they were there when HS was outpoured on the day of Pentecost.

  54. John F says:

    Experience can be a great / terrible teacher. My uncle was a cofC preacher, who became convinced of charismatic powers he was able to perform. For years I kept a cassette tape of his “enlightenment.” I found it interesting that he “shielded” his new understanding from his own father (an elder in cofC) and from others until after his father passed on. The story I found unconvincing (a woman in a hospital whose leg “lengthened a full inch” and some similar items. (I wish now I had kept the tape). The “fruit” of the spirit here was a vibrant congregation torn apart
    and its’ effectiveness shattered.

    The third time my uncle had been ‘miraculously cured” from the need of dialysis, he died! The funeral was a exercise in equivocation where my aunt said, “We heard, ‘You are healed, and what God was saying, My grace is sufficient.'”

    We will all die, unless Christ comes first (today would be good). In a broken world, God has chosen not to “cure” all results of the human condition.

    There is reason for skepticism, as the comments above indicate. God will do as He wills, and we should not be blind to His action. What is normative? What is exceptional?

    The criteria of an apostle in the 1st century were clear.

    Acts 1:21-26
    Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us — 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us — one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
    NASU

    I don’t think we have anyone today that qualifies . . . . .

    Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, McPherson, and a host of others claim to be apostles, bringing an authoritative “new teaching”, even claiming “another gospel of Jesus Christ.” Paul in Galatians clearly condemns such.

    Gal 1:6-9 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
    NASU

  55. John F says:

    Oh, BTW, I am a Washington and Oregon guy (now an “expat” from the NW); Juliet’s comment is largely true; I’ve seen 5 churches of Christ close their doors in the last 18 years (just in Portland, OR), including some that had determined to be more “progressive”.

  56. laymond says:

    John F said; “We will all die, unless Christ comes first (today would be good).”

    I don’t know that it is good for us to decide when the judgment day should be.

  57. Dwight says:

    Yes, and strangely I have heard many who argue for “speaking with apostolic authority” and in particular coC preachers. The imagined lineage that exist for the coC also exist for those who preach for the coC in regards to truth. Reading the scriptures is reading truth, but relaying our interpretation of the scriptures may or may not result in the relaying of truth. I used to position everything that I thought with the word truth, but have since grown more humble in my own opinion of myself. I tend to veer from anything that purports of itself as the truth or purveyor of the truth…”Guardian of the Truth”, “Truth Magazine”, etc. Even the apostles who spoke the truth by the HS, were fallible to human problems and could tune the HS out.

  58. Dwight says:

    I don’t think John F was deciding when judgment would come. It would be worse to say, “today would be bad”, for any day that the Lord comes will be good. Depending on how secure you are in your faith, today might be good or bad. But hopefully good.
    I heard this the other day, “Carpe Diem Cras…Seize the day tomorrow.” or Why do today what we can put off or tomorrow? Today is really all we have and even the rest of today is not guaranteed. Things could all of a sudden come to a sudden st

  59. Monty says:

    I think the early Christians used to say , Lord come quickly. I think Laymond probably sings a song that says, “and Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight.” Guess he didn’t know he was deciding when judgment days would be. 🙂

  60. laymond says:

    Dwight, why spend time on things we have absolutely no control over, I don’t worry over things to come or things that have past.

  61. Dwight says:

    Laymond, I don’t think anybody here is worrying over this. Now if you read the scriptures there is a constant sense of urgency to the voices of the apostles as if Jesus was going to come the following day. It is possible that we knowing that it has been thousands of years has made us lazy and non-committal and lost this sense of today might be the last so let’s not wait or take our time. This shouldn’t make us worry, but it should spur us to act.

  62. laymond says:

    Dwight, I am seventy-five I don’t worry about time. 🙂

  63. John F., I would observe that under your view, Paul did not meet the Acts 1 criteria for an apostle. Our calling him an “exception” does not resolve this. Paul does not declare himself an exception to Acts 1. Besides, there are a number of apostles identified beyond the Thirteen plus Paul: Barnabas, Timothy, Silas, James (Jesus’ brother), Andronicus and Junias, and Apollos. I wonder if they all met the Acts 1 criteria.

    As to the supernatural, I would note that mere skepticism is not a very convincing argument. Everybody who Jesus ever healed DIED. Such is the fragility of man. Has nothing to do with whether or not God is still working supernaturally among us.

  64. Larry, sorry for not explaining the thing about apostles further. To keep it brief, I grew up with the traditional belief in 13+1 apostles. Then someone encouraged me to read the Bible further, something you don’t really do when everything is “settled”. I found several other apostles identified in scripture and then found what their job is in Ephesians 4:11-15.. I noticed that the job as Paul describes it is not finished, at least not among the believers I know. So, since we have not yet arrived at the point of maturity which Paul describes, I have no reason whatsoever to think that Jesus has withdrawn two of the five gifts he gave the church, while keeping the other three. Nothing in scripture even remotely suggests that. So, yes, I believe the scripture and do not strip out the work of apostles and prophets. As to what “qualifications” must be met, the only one I know of is that one is called by Jesus to that work. And Jesus is alive and well. And he has not abandoned the plans for the church that he set forth in the first century.

  65. Dwight says:

    Paul states that he did spend time with Jesus. I Cor.9 “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?”, which he did in the wilderness for 3 1/2 years (Gal.1) and was even specifically sent by Jesus in Acts 9 “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” I Cor.15 he says of his apostleship that he “was one born out of due season”.
    In Acts 14:14 Barnabas is indeed named among Paul as an apostle, but the others (Andronicus, Junias, Timothy, Silas, Apollos) are not so directly named, even though they are named among Paul and the other apostles.
    While I do concede that apostles might have been used in a general term such as Barnabas and even Titus (II Cor.8 “messenger”), which is what apostle meant “messenger”.
    So it was applied specifically to a certain group who were in the presence of Jesus and also sometimes to those who weren’t, but sparingly. Even in Rev.21:14 “names if the twelve apostles of the Lamb” as to specifically mark those twelve whom everyone knew about as the twelve apostles.

    Are there apostles today? Maybe in one sense, yes, but not in the sense that they were in the actual presence of Jesus and directly taught by Him. If we to go a certain length all people who are Christians are apostles, because they in Christ and from Christ and are to teach others of Christ.

  66. laymond says:

    Charles, just because a person is assigned the position of messenger/apostle does not mean that person has the ability to perform miracles. The original apostles were more than messengers, they were delegates , they were sent forth by Jesus as Jesus was sent by God, they had powers of the holy spirit bestowed upon them by Jesus Christ. Both are described in scripture . How, when, and if Paul acquired those powers is still a mystery. Does Paul ever really claim miraculous powers?

  67. Dwight says:

    Kind of a good point Laymond. There appears to be a difference between an apostle, in a broad sense, and an apostle in a limited sense. Paul does claim to have time spent with Jesus (did not confer with flesh and blood) and he definitely was personally sent by Jesus in Acts. Is there a record of Paul ever doing miracles? I don’t think there is. He wasn’t there at the day of Pentecost and wasn’t baptized by the HS, but he does claim guidance from the HS in every thing he says and in where he is directed to go.

  68. Monty says:

    Whatever Paul is referring to in Ephesians ch. 4 as to those endowed with and pertaining to the speaking gifts and their purpose(build up the church) he believes it is doable and able to be attained–that is perfection(if not, then they’re inadequate). The bigger picture isn’t that every individual Christian would be perfect and sinless, but that they no longer be carried away by every wind of teaching and could defend themselves against the schemes of deceivers. When every member used their gifted ability(in whatever “measure” they were gifted with), then the body-church(wherever location it was at) would be strengthened and would mature(be more complete-grow) into the cohesive unit it was designed to function as, in love. Without love, the giftedness would be wasted, see the church in Corinth and their troubles. But these three remain, faith, hope, and love. When that which is perfect is come,(not the N.T.) but the revelation being dispersed to a locale church through the in-part(piece-by-piece revelation) until it becomes a collective body of teaching, then the need for individual giftedness decreases(fades away). It makes no sense to say tongues will cease when Jesus returns(well duh).

    Every congregation didn’t need the book of Revelation, or say Hebrews(just for example) but when over time the gospel, and all that goes along with it was revealed to a locale church the need for those specially endowed gifts(prophecy, tongues, knowledge) diminished. It’s why we don’t look for a Moses, or a Paul, or a Pope, or a Joseph Smith, David Koresh, or someone with the “power” (any charismatic figure), today to listen to. If prophecies, tongues, or knowledge exist in a congregation today it would be a sign of an immature group(spiritually speaking). “But when I became a man I put away I put away childish things.” Paul’s words, not mine.’ Bear in mind Paul is not disparaging the gifts per say,(I’m not trying to either) but that they are only a bridge to completeness(maturity)through revelation, concerning teaching of the gospel and where there is insufficient knowledge of it, not the application of it. When you cross the bridge there is no longer any need for it , unless of course, you wish to go back to where you were before you crossed over. Just my opinion, but that’s what we do on here.

    Disclaimer: God is God and he can certainly do whatever he desires in any day and age. If there are true(specially endowed) gifts being made available to men today in certain congregations then they are there as God perceives they need them. However, for most groups(99% don’t claim they exist in their groups) they aren’t there and it’s a false premise to say that if it’s that way it is because those groups refuse to believe in the “power.” IF they aren’t there then 1. those groups aren’t really Christians(I reject that), 2. there isn’t a need as seen by God for them to be there( nowhere are we told to believe in tongues or prophecies in order to make them manifest in our group) God determines what we need and gives appropriately. 3 it was a special endowment by God for a baby(infant), immature(spiritually),church. I think if anything, history has proven what Paul said about faith, hope, and love remaining.

  69. laymond says:

    Jay, Dwight, Monty,“Et al.”
    Do we have positive affirmation , that all, part, or any of the letters written by Paul were delivered to the churches they were written about. Were those letters even written to the churches, or were the letters just written about the churches, and never intended to be delivered.

  70. Dwight says:

    At least a couple of letters were intended for others cities as well as the cities they were being written to. But no. But there is a pretty good indication that the letters were passed along. Take Revelations…which was addressed to not individual assemblies in homes, but to the saints in cities in Asia. Even Corinthians wasn’t written to a single assembly, but to the saints in Corinth. The letters were specific, but general as well.
    Monty, “but the revelation being dispersed to a locale church”, but they didn’t have local churches like we think of them. The letters were addressed to the saints in a city or region and this would have at the same time been applied to those who met in their homes, because those people made up the city. I do agree that the word was dispersed to the people and they dispersed it more, so that the word was everywhere in some form, whether written or oral. They had what they needed to be complete in Christ.

  71. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    Paul clearly had the power to do miracles:

    (Acts 19:11-15 ESV) 11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”

  72. laymond says:

    “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them”

    Jay I cannot say this did not happen (I was not there) what I do not understand is, how did this happen, ? by belief in Paul’s ability to heal,? as in the woman touching the hem of Jesus garment, is this saying that the healing power of Paul was greater than that of Jesus,? at least Jesus was in the garment. “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul” Is this comparing
    Paul’s miracles to “ordinary miracles” that Jesus did, and the apostles of Jesus did after him. I don’t recall that an item Jesus touched ever healing anyone. or Jesus ever indirectly healing people.
    Was Luke in the presents of such miracles ? or was he giving evidence of things he had heard ?
    This statement by Luke raises many more questions than it answers.
    Jesus had the wittnesses required for valadation of said miracles.
    If we do the same today that Luke did, then we accept the fact that Charles McClean is the modern day Paul, no questians asked. I know the church of christ places as much if not more trust in Paul’s writings as they do the writings of the chosen apostles.
    As I believe Paul himself said he was just a sinner, and he himself did things that he warned others about, such as bragging on his own accomplishments (2 Cor.12) and admitting he sinned because he could not control his body. Paul is not Jesus Christ, not close.
    And I believe it was Paul that said check all things by scripture , Paul was not talking about New Testament scripture, since there was none at the time he spoke. I accept Paul for who he was, a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ, a preacher of truth as he knew it. I don’t believe Paul came right out and claimed he was a healer of the broken, and a raiser of the dead.

  73. Dwight says:

    From my understanding people were healed primarily by faith and Jesus states this over and over again. If these people had faith in Jesus, then whether they touched or didn’t touch a cloth that Paul had touched, may not have mattered in their healings if their was faith and prayer involved. Paul, though was probably so charged with the HS, that this overflowed into his clothing as well. The fact is that Jesus could heal without touch and over long distances. Jesus could drive out demons that other, even the apostles, were having trouble with.
    Paul as you noted didn’t seem to parade his abilities to heal around, but then again neither did Jesus. Jesus simply healed and this got spread to others and this fact grew and more people came.
    The fact is that there are more writings from Paul than all of the other apostles, but I don’t know of anyone that compares the apostles against one another in any coC.

  74. laymond says:

    Dwight, what was claimed to be extraordinary, in the miracles attributed to Paul, over all others.?

  75. Dwight says:

    Laymond, from your earlier posting and this one, it appears you are again baiting the question of Jesus deity in arguing that Paul could be doing more powerful miracles than Jesus did. If not then I am sorry, but this seems to be where you are heading.
    Within the text of Acts 19 it argues that Paul was doing great and wonderful miracles, but nowhere does it pit his miracles against those of the other apostles and especially not Jesus. The scriptures never argue for miracles as a way to suggest the character of the person aside from the faith in most cases, but not the holiness of them.
    It wasn’t until Jesus came that miracles that couldn’t have been done by men, but rather by God were seen, and this was followed through after Jesus death, but done in the name of Jesus and even in Acts 19, the demon says, “Jesus I know and Paul I recognize” to indicate that the demon knew well of Jesus, but only recognized Paul, after all Paul healed in the name of Jesus.

  76. laymond says:

    No , not questioning Jesus, jus wondering what was so different here.

    “It wasn’t until Jesus came that miracles that couldn’t have been done by men, but rather by God were seen,”
    You are not forgetting Moses, are you Dwight.?

  77. Dwight says:

    No, not really. God directly told Moses what miracle to do and the other prophets fall into this line as well. This wasn’t true of Jesus and all those following Him who did it in His name. It is recorded of Stephen, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”
    Stephen did GREAT wonders and signs. Is this better than extraordinary? I don’t think this was meant to compare the gifts among people, but just relay what was being done in God’s name. I mean Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead after three days dead has got to be on the top of all miracles.

  78. laymond says:

    Dwight you said I was trying to bring into the discussion of Jesus diety I wasn’t but I will. The bible places great value on a person’s name, there were only six beings in the beginning that were mentioned by name. Jahovah and five angels named in the Bible: Gabriel, Michael, Abaddon, Beelzebul and Satan. Three are fallen angels and two serve God.
    Don’t you think that if God’s son sat by his side at creation he would have been mentioned by name, somewhere? Maybe he was. Since there were only five angels mentioned by name could the being later to be called Jesus, Son of God have been one of them? Since three were fallen angels, I figure we can eliminate them. that leaves two angels who served God that were called by name. Which is important to God. He renamed Abraham, he named John the baptist, he named Jesus. since Gabriel was the messenger who brought the message to Mary, and Joseph , that leaves only one who could have handeled the Job, given to Jesus by God. IMO.

    If this is not the case, then IMO there is only one option left open, Jesus was a new creation at birth. I don’t believe the following statement would have been made about diety.

    Heb 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

    God never changes, it seems that Jesus did, if you are God you cannot be made better.

    Look up what the name Michael, and Jesus mean.
    1.Michael = “who is like God”
    1.Jesus = “Jehovah is salvation”

  79. Dwight says:

    In the Jewish world names had meanings and were meant largely to convey those meanings…to man. When Moses asked God who it was that he was going to tell the Pharaoh who sent him, God said, YHWH, which meant “I AM.” God didn’t make up some fancy name for himself, but declared who he was by a rather vague, but accurate description. And you are asking why Jesus isn’t named in the OT? Ironically, Jesus, Joshua, and other names all have a similar meanings and even during the NT Jesus wasn’t all together unique.
    But “Jesus Christ (Anointed Savior)” and being called the Messiah (God is with us) was entirely unique to one person who qualified.
    Your suppositions are just that, but they detract from Jesus and ultimately God.
    Heb.1:5 “For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?”
    vs.13 “But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?”
    None. Jesus was not an angel. He was the Son of God.
    In Col.2:18 the worshipping of angels was condemned, because only God and Jesus was worthy.
    vs.8-10 “…and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”

  80. Johnny says:

    He sucked you in again Dwight

  81. laymond says:

    Dwight, this was supposed to be a sigh of confirmation to Ahaz.
    Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
    so do you think when Jesus was born 700+ years later that it convinced Ahaz that he would not be invaded.

    Isa 7:1 When Ahaz, son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria [fn] and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, set out to attack Jerusalem. However, they were unable to carry out their plan.
    Isa 7:2 The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel [fn] against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm.

    Edwin R. Thiele concluded that Ahaz was coregent with Jotham from 736/735 BC, and that his sole reign began in 732/731 and ended in 716/715 BC.[2] William F. Albright has dated his reign to 744 – 728 BC.

  82. Dwight says:

    Laymond, you ignore the obvious and make excuses for what is clearly written and then jump to something else not relevant to the point of discussion. Yes, Johnny, I know. Moving on.

  83. laymond says:

    Dwight, what did I reference that was irrelevant? you said “But “Jesus Christ (Anointed Savior)” and being called the Messiah (God is with us) was entirely unique to one person who qualified.”
    You indicated that the name “Jesus” meant “God with us” when no where in scripture does it say that. Like I said the name .Jesus = “Jehovah is salvation”. Emanuel translates to “God with us” and this comes from Isaiah 7 , and as far as I can discern has nothing to do with Jesus, I don’t recall Jesus ever being referred to as ” Emanuel” . So maybe you did not understand where I was coming from, but what I said was straight to the point that you brought up.

    Maybe I expect people to know more about scripture than they do. sorry I lost you.

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