Miracles in the Bible Are NOT Normative

Ever since I posted my complaint over Jason Westerfield’s little book God Come to Me his fans have let me have it.

One of the dominant accusations looks like this:

“Damien [sic] does not believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit or miracles for today; that is a damnable heresy…”

There are three things wrong with that statement.

1. I do believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It’s that our definitions probably differ wildly. [See my post The Trick to Finding Your Spiritual Gifts.]

2. I do believe in miracles today. I just don’t believe they are normative. At all. Otherwise they wouldn’t be miracles, would they? More on this in a minute.

3. Even if I didn’t believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit or miracles, it would NOT be a damnable heresy. Since when was salvation dependent on anything outside of Christ?

What most intrigues me about Westerfield and Co. is this presumption that miracles were normative throughout the Bible. Jason said it best: “After reading about Abraham and others in the Bible, I came to the conclusion that if all of this was happening to them, then it should be happening to me.”

Okay. But why? Why should they be a normal part of Jason’s and every Christian’s life?

Pagan Miracles v. Biblical Miracles

Yes, miracles occurred pretty frequently during Jesus’ ministry, but only for 3 years, mind you…not the entire 33.

And true, the early church was a hotbed for miracles. But there was a reason for that.

However, from front to back, the biblical narratives do not portray a world saturated with miracles…the kind of world Jason Westerfield, John Crowder and the  would have you believe we should live in.

Unlike the pagan mythologies of ancient history where gods constantly disrupt ordinary human affairs, the Bible inserts miracles on a very limited basis.

That’s why the supernaturalism found in the Bible stands out–because its miracles are NOT commonplace.

In fact, the relative infrequency of biblical miracles may be seen in the fact that they constitute a small, albeit important, part of the narratives spanning over two thousand years from Abraham to the apostolic era.

Miracles in the Book of Joshua

Furthermore, certain biblical periods are marked by an increase in spiritual warfare and miracles. Moses and the Exodus are an obvious Old Testament example. The life and work of Jesus is the New Testament equivalent.

Israel’s conquest of Canaan is another.

The book of Joshua records three such miracles: the drying up of the Jordan river, the collapse of Jericho and the stalling of the sun.

Nothing normative about these extraordinary events that occurred over a six year period.

Instead they hammer home this point: Israel’s conquest of Canaan was God’s sovereign work…and God’s sovereign work alone. What we don’t see is any suggestion that these miracles should be happening to us. Today.

Do I Believe Miracles Occur Today?

Here’s what I’m not saying: Miracles don’t occur. I think they can. I believe in a supernatural God who created the universe. That’s a miracle. But you’re going to have to do better than straightening a spine to convince me miracles occur today.

You’re going to have to stop a storm in it’s tracks. Raise a man dead for four days back to life. Cure a life-time cripple. Cast out 2,000 demons.

If you can substantiate such a claim, then you’ll have my attention.

But remember, biblical miracles had a singular purpose: unmistakably declare the sovereignty and character of God…rather than provide humans with a thrill that can lead one to a dangerous distraction.

3 thoughts on “Miracles in the Bible Are NOT Normative

  1. Anonymous

    I used to think just like you man I was sure that the God of the bible was not the same today but I did something I would suggest you do I asked God a question “Lord if this is real I want you to prove it to me Man is not my teacher You are please show me if this is real?” Here I am 6 years later and I’m telling you with out question God still raises people from the dead regularly He still heals the sick every week in my life, He Brings cripples out of wheel chairs and not in some church I found but in a church that my family started because of what God himself showed us we came out of the Nazarene church and became a family that SEES God Himself do things that only He could possibly do not because we are special no the opposite is true because HE is God and He loves to show Himself if only we will ask Him. And to answer the question about reading the bible more I now have been challenged by God to read the bible about 1 time a month and yes It makes a huge difference in what you see through wisdom and revelation when you are in it so much that it is coming out of you. So please I’m asking you before you call out someone out. Ask God to show you if its real then sit back for a while like I did and let Him show you Cause he did me inside of the first three months after the question still and ordained minister in the Nazarene church I had three angel visitations saw 20$ appear about 5 feet above my bed and fall to my pillow when I need exactly 20$ Saw a mans leg that was cut off about at the mid thigh grow out to the ground along with other amazing healing and I have a diamond in a glass cup on my mantel that I watch appear in front of me and fall to the ground beautifully cut it is awesome needless to say I surrendered my ordination with the Nazarene church and am no longer a part of that movement thought God LOVES THEM TOO and wants all his bride to wake up and start doing what He said right before He ascended into heaven. “the very things you have seen me do you will do even greater” “ask anything in my name and I will give it to you” I came that all would be made well” “by my strips you WERE healed” God loves his Bride so very much He wants us to be like Him more than we want to be! and He is willing to do anything to show us who HE is. “I will prove my word true”

    If nothing else I have written rings true remember this one verse. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20


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