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On the strength of the testimonial evidence for modern miracles

Discussion in 'Spirit-Filled / Charismatic' started by TruthSeek3r, Nov 29, 2021.

  1. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    Short version: is the testimonial evidence for modern miracles compelling?

    Longer version:

    In post #86 of another thread I said the following:

    Talking about Swordsman1, I just revived an old thread where I had an intense back-and-forth exchange of arguments with him on continuationism vs cessationism. You can read my latest post here.

    Instead of debating exegesis of passages, you will notice that I intentionally narrowed the discussion to epistemology. My impression is that Cessationists tend to have a very inconsistent way of processing and interpreting testimonial evidence. When you present modern accounts of miracles to them, their response is pretty much indistinguishable from that of an atheist. Yet when you point to the miracle accounts in the Bible, they immediately take off their atheist hat and put on their believer hat. That's inconsistency at its finest. At least atheists are consistent and remain skeptical in front of all miracles without making exceptions or special pleadings.
    To which @lismore responded with some good points in post #95. Quote:

    There's a principle in the bible:

    "by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15)
    “that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16)
    2 Corinthians 13:1 "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses."

    In my experience much of what is presented as 'testimonial evidence' of many things in Charismatic/ Pentecostal circles does not meet this standard. Sometimes it is vague, ambiguous or contradictory, unverifiable, lacking detail, presented by un-accountable, self promoting persons. Salesmen presenting rumours as fact.

    The corporate reaction too is often suspect, material of ambiguous authenticity is not weighed or tested, it's promoted, even sold. Those revealed, even jailed, as con-men can continue, no questions asked.


    [...]

    Comparing this to the biblical standard:

    1 Corinthians 15 The Resurrection of Christ
    1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

    3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

    There were many appearances of the risen Lord, one to over 500 witnesses and all involving persons who could be contacted and asked.
    In other words, lismore seems to suggest that the testimonial evidence for modern miracles is weak, whereas the testimonial evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is strong. Do you agree?

    Is it rational to believe in Biblical miracles on the basis of 1st century testimonies?
    Is it rational to believe in modern miracles on the basis of modern testimonies?
     
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  2. lismore

    lismore Maranatha

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    Hi Truth. Much of what is presented as testimonial evidence in the movement weak, much but perhaps not all.
    God Bless :)
     
  3. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    In modern times - what would you consider 'strong'
     
  4. lismore

    lismore Maranatha

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    One example I would give is this:

    When the risen Christ appeared to the disciples in the house Thomas was able to touch the wounds on the hands and side of the risen Lord. Everyone in the room was able to see and touch Jesus.

    The risen Lord appeared to 500 witnesses that Paul could quote as witnesses. All 500 of these people could see and hear Jesus.

    When the risen Lord allegedy appears to Charismatic 'apostles' for example Benny Hinn only Benny Hinn can see him:



    See the difference in authenticity? No-one could testify to anything substantial at the meeting above.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2021
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  5. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The best testimonial evidence of a miracle is when one is observed by a total atheist who can only acknowledge that God is real, that Jesus Christ was a real person who rose from the dead and is alive today, and as a result repents of his atheism and turns to Christ and becomes a long-term committed Christian.

    So, the best testimonial account of a miracle would come from a total pagan, occult practitioner or atheist who has turned to Christ as the result of the miracle. This is because the miracle was so real to him that he was totally convinced that the Gospel of Christ is absolutely true. For a person like that to totally change his direction, a miracle would have to be true and real.

    But a Christian testifying of a miracle where someone with a backache or headache was healed but no one's life was changed as a result, would not be too convincing. But a Christian being healed of a terminal cancer results in his doctor and all his unsaved family and friends turning to Christ and getting saved, well then, that would be a real miracle!
     
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  6. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    And when Saul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus no one else saw Jesus either, hmmm. What was substantial that came out of that meeting wasn't seeing Jesus or not, it was the transformation in Saul's life that was the real "evidence". So should it be with the all of us, WE should be greatest evidence, WE should be the miracle.
     
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  7. spiritfilledjm

    spiritfilledjm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    1. Yes, because there were multiple people, as recorded in scripture, that saw the miracle of the risen Lord.

    2. Biblically speaking, as stated in the verses you previously pointed out, there should be either multiple witnesses to the miracle or records that indicate that there was a situation and that it no longer exists. Case in point, a former baby sitter of mine had cancer, we know she did because she had the diagnosis, she even had x-rays showing how it had started spreading and the tumor itself. Later she went in to get the tumor removed and as much of the cancer removed as possible. However, when they did the x-rays the day of the surgery, the cancer and tumor was gone. She is still living and cancer free to this day.

    Sometimes though, there are no witnesses and we can only go off the word of the one who received the miracle. Should we outright accuse them of lying because they can't prove it? Not at all. God can still use the testimony of this one person to bring people to Himself. Even Paul used the testimony of one man's miraculous trip or vision to heaven (he did not know, God knew) in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. Based on the language used, Paul was just going off the word that this man said, of course, since it appears in scripture it must be true ultimately but still, the precedent is set that we can use a miraculous testimony that is provable by nothing more than the person's word.
     
  8. Francis Drake

    Francis Drake Returning adventurer.

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    Looks like yet another thread designed to celebrate unbelief.
     
  9. NBB

    NBB Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The best miracle it can happen is to meet God, and know he can be close to people, i barely believed in God, i thought he was a judge far away in the sky, it was amazing when the Holy spirit touched me, because God can be close to us!. I never thought of leaving Jesus or the gospel or stopping believing, even when i was with some sins i couldn't stop doing, and not going to church for a time.

    I knew for certain God existed and interacted close with people after those experiences. So whats so hard in him doing a healing also.
     
  10. perpendicular_bisector

    perpendicular_bisector Member

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    costi hinn's testimony would be worth checking out- an insider view into his uncle's ministry
     
  11. Collum Cille of Iona

    Collum Cille of Iona Member

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    I knew an alcoholic who was 'transformed' through teachings of the Bhudda. This does not mean Bhudda was speaking truth.
     
  12. lismore

    lismore Maranatha

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    The people with Saul on the Damascus Road saw the light and heard a voice (Acts 9, Acts 22).

    The people with Benny Hinn in the stadium saw and heard nothing apart from Benny Hinn.

    The evidentiary standard has dropped to nil.
     
  13. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    That's conforming, not transforming. Only God transforms.
     
  14. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    No, it means that the demonic is capable of a lot more than we might think.
     
  15. Collum Cille of Iona

    Collum Cille of Iona Member

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    Do you think our Lord appeared on the stage above?
     
  16. Joan Lamb

    Joan Lamb New Member

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    How do we know if 'Benny Hinn' was transformed by God appearing on stage if that is the only evidence? It seems hard to quantify.
     
  17. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    Transformation is evidenced by fruit and consistency, ie character and integrity. It takes time.
     
  18. Joan Lamb

    Joan Lamb New Member

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    I have attended Benny Hinn's meetings in London. I am not sure about his character and integrity. If we only have Benny Hinn's word that the Lord Jesus was on the stage with him then I am not sure of it. Is it possible Benny Hinn was not telling the truth?
     
  19. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    I'm not taking a stand on Hinn one way or another. I'm pointing out the measuring stick Jesus gave us.
     
  20. Joan Lamb

    Joan Lamb New Member

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    Thank you. I am curious though. If you cannot measure Hinn according to the stick Jesus gave us how would you expect anyone else to be able to?
     
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