Miracles Are For Today
One thing that unites Christians is knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Unfortunately, doctrinal differences continue to divide us. Some religious folk called cessationists insist the gifts of the Spirit are not in operation today. They believe speaking in tongues, prophecies, and healings passed away when the original apostles died.
A well-known pastor in California named John MacArthur has scheduled a cessationist conference at his church for next October. One of the other speakers is Justin Peters, an outspoken opponent of the so-called “health and wealth gospel.” Yet they are charging $299 for this event. If they are against prosperity, why the high registration fee? Isn’t that being hypocritical?
I can understand how some Christians doubt God doing miracles today if they’ve never seen any. I grew up attending a traditional Lutheran church that didn’t make room for the gifts of the Spirit to operate. There were occasions when the pastor practiced hypnosis on my fellow confirmands during weekend retreats.
1 Corinthians 12 lists these nine gifts of the Spirit:
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
Cessationists will cite 1 Corinthians 13:8 as their proof text these gifts are no longer in effect: “But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” Knowledge hasn’t vanished. If anything, we need divine guidance when making important decisions like where to live and where to work.
I can testify from experience God is doing supernatural things today. Over the years, I’ve seen many healings manifest through the laying on of hands (Mark 16:17-18). A few weeks ago, I spoke at a Christian recovery group. I talked about being healed of a deviated septum and God using me to heal others suffering that ailment. A man in the audience had breathing difficulties and planned to ask me for prayer, but experienced healing before the meeting concluded!
Cessationists claim the Bible is enough to receive spiritual guidance. God also speaks to us through dreams and visions that confirm His word. I have a friend who works full-time as a teacher but occasionally goes out evangelizing. She sees fish in her spirit when it’s time to hit the streets. As Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
I don’t want to demonize cessationists because they are my brothers in Christ. Still, it’s disturbing for them trying to convince Christians to reject God doing supernatural things today. Mental knowledge of the Scriptures isn’t enough to live victoriously. Discernment will help one avoid disastrous situations such as marrying the wrong person. It may even save your life.
In these last days, we need the gifts of the Spirit.
“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 2:4-5