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Acts 5:12–16: Now many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high honor.

And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

The needs of the world today are so great and the present experience of the church is so weak, that we should long for the very thing they longed for. In the face of great opposition the Christians cried to God like this: "Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

They cried for boldness in their witness; they cried for God's hand to be stretched forth in healing; they cried for God to perform signs and wonders. They were not just "open" to signs and wonders. They were desperate for them. They prayed for them to come.

Why Did They Pray for Signs and Wonders? 

And the question I want to get to in a few minutes is this: why did they want so badly for God to show signs and wonders? Why did they want him to stretch forth his hand to heal? This was the generation that had more immediate and more compelling evidence of the truth of the resurrection than any generation since.

Hundreds of eyewitnesses to the risen Lord were in Jerusalem. This was the generation of witnesses whose word was least in need of supernatural authentication of all the generations following. This was the generation whose preaching (apart from signs and wonders) of the mighty, soul-saving Word of God was more anointed than the preaching of any generation following—the preaching of Peter and Stephen and Paul. Why did this generation, with its immediate access to resurrection witnesses and its extraordinary preaching, feel such a passion to see God stretch forth his hand to heal and do signs and wonders among them?

You need to know exactly where I am coming from. This historical question is important because one key objection to our cry for God's healing power and for his signs and wonders shatters on the answer to this question. I will come back to that in a few minutes.

To Help People Come to Saving Faith 

In today's text we see a pretty clear answer to the question of why the church wanted signs and wonders—with all their dangers, with all their abuses—and why they prayed: "Lord, stretch out your hand to heal and do signs and wonders in the name of Jesus." Acts 5:12 says, "Many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico." (I think "they" refers to all the church, because of the sequence of thought in 2:43–44.)

Verses 13 and 14 describe two results of this demonstration of signs and wonders. First, the people of Jerusalem—the outsiders stood in awe of the apostles and the church. Ananias and Sapphira had died, signs and wonders were being done, and verse 13 says, "None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high honor." But that's not all. In the midst of all this fear and amazement and wonder, many were coming to faith in Jesus. Verse 14: "And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women."

So I would say what Luke wants us to see is this connection between the signs and wonders done by the apostles in verse 12 and the multitudes being added to the Lord in verse 14. And I would say, then, that this is why the church prayed so earnestly for signs and wonders to be done. Signs and wonders helped bring people to the Lord. They helped bring people to saving faith.

A Pattern in the Book of Acts 

This is not an isolated instance in the book of Acts. It is a pattern. I count at least 17 times where a miracle helps lead to conversions in the book of Acts. We have seen the miracle of Pentecost lead to 3,000 converts and the miracle of the lame man in Acts 3:6 lead to 2,000 converts (Acts 4:4). Acts 9:34–35 and Acts 9:40, 42 are the clearest examples. Peter heals Aeneas and Luke says, "And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord." Peter raises Tabitha from the dead, and Luke says, "It became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord."

There is no doubt that the working of miracles—signs and wonders—helped bring people to Christ. That is what Luke wants us to see and that is surely why the Christians would pray in Acts 4:30 that God would stretch forth his hand to heal and do signs and wonders. It would help bring people to Christ.

An Objection Against Praying for Signs and Wonders 

Now let me bring in the objection that is sometimes brought up against praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with power in signs and wonders today. Some people say that this compromises the centrality of the Word of God.

It depreciates the value of preaching God's Word. It jeopardizes the sufficiency of the Word of God to save sinners. If signs and wonders are added to preaching, it must be because God's Word is not trusted or esteemed as sufficient to save. That's the sort of thing you hear. Right?

Texts Seeming to Support It

Well, this objection seems to have some crucial texts going for it. Romans 1:16 says, "The gospel is the power of God unto salvation." The gospel, not signs and wonders. In 1 Corinthians 1:22–23 Paul says, "Jews demand signs, Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified ... the power of God ... " And Jesus himself said, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign" (Matthew 12:39; 16:4).

Creates a New Problem

These are the kind of texts that are brought against seeking the Lord today for signs and wonders. But I have not yet heard any of these objectors even ask the question let alone answer it: if praying for signs and wonders belittles the preaching of the gospel, and if only wicked and adulterous people want signs, then why did Peter and John and the disciples pray for them in Acts 4:30? Why does Luke bend over backward to show how valuable they are in winning people to Christ?

Do you see what people are doing? They are giving the impression that seeking signs and wonders today is a problem for reasons that would have also made it a problem in the book of Acts, namely, it compromises the sufficiency of preaching. But they don't address that problem. So let me address it, because it is the really important question. Why was the prayer for signs and wonders in Acts 4:30 not wicked and adulterous, and why did it not jeopardize the sufficiency of preaching as the power of God unto salvation?

Why Is the Prayer of Acts 4:30 Not Wicked?

The answer to the first question is this: seeking signs from God is wicked and adulterous when the demand for more and more evidence comes from a resistant heart and simply covers up an unwillingness to believe.

If we are carrying on a love affair with the world, and our husband, Jesus, after a long separation, comes to us and says, "I love you and I want you back," one of the best ways to protect our adulterous relationship with the world is to say, "You're not really my husband; you don't really love me. Prove it. Give me some sign." If that's the way we demand a sign, then we are a wicked and adulterous generation.

But if you come to God with a heart aching with longing for vindication of his glory and the salvation of sinners, and that's why you long to see him stretch forth his hand to heal and do signs and wonders in the name of Jesus, then you are not wicked and adulterous. You are a faithful wife, only wanting to honor your husband, Jesus.

Why Do Signs and Wonders Not Compromise Preaching?

The answer to the second question—the question why signs and wonders do not have to compromise the power of preaching the gospel—goes like this: Acts 14:3 says that Paul and Barnabas "remained a long time [in Iconium] speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands."

This is utterly crucial. Signs and wonders are God's witness to his Word. They are not in competition with the Word. They are not against the Word. They are not over the Word. They are divine witnesses to the value and truth and necessity and centrality of the Word.

Here is the way I would sum up the relationship between the gospel and signs and wonders: signs and wonders are not the saving Word of grace; they are God's secondary testimony to the Word of his grace. Signs and wonders do not save.

They are not the power of God unto salvation. They do not transform the heart—any more than music or art or drama or magic shows. What changes the heart and saves the soul is the self-authenticating glory of Christ seen in the message of the gospel (2 Corinthians 3:18–4:6).

But even if signs and wonders can't save the soul, they can, if God pleases, shatter the shell of disinterest; they can shatter the shell of cynicism; they can shatter the shell of false religion. Like every other good witness to the Word of grace, they can help the fallen heart to fix its gaze on the gospel where the soul-saving, self-authenticating glory of the Lord shines.

Seeking Signs and Wonders in Prayer Today 

My purpose this morning has not been to defend the validity of signs and wonders for today. I have done that before, and will no doubt do it again. The purpose has been to show what their function was in the book of Acts and how that is no hindrance to our seeking them today, just like they were sought in Acts 4:30—as divine witnesses to the Word of God's grace.

And I do believe God wants us to pray for them today. Nor am I alone in the reformed community that loves the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace. So I close with a challenge from one of our most revered spokesmen, Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

It is perfectly clear that in New Testament times, the gospel was authenticated in this way by signs, wonders and miracles of various characters and descriptions ... Was it only meant to be true of the early church? ... The Scriptures never anywhere say that these things were only temporary—never! There is no such statement anywhere. (The Sovereign Spirit, pp. 31–32)

Lloyd-Jones believed in the steady-state, regular, ordinary ministry of the church. It has its blessing and its glory from the Lord. But I think he became increasingly disillusioned with business as usual toward the end of his 30 years of steady-state ministry at Westminster Chapel in London in 1965.

[We] can produce a number of converts, thank God for that, and that goes on regularly in evangelical churches every Sunday. But the need today is much too great for that. The need today is for an authentication of God, of the supernatural, of the spiritual, of the eternal, and this can only be answered by God graciously hearing our cry and shedding forth again his Spirit upon us and filling us as he kept filling the early church. (Joy Unspeakable, p. 278)

What is needed is some mighty demonstration of the power of God, some enactment of the Almighty, that will compel people to pay attention, and to look, and to listen ... That is why I am urging you to pray for this. When God acts, he can do more in a minute than man with his organizing can do in fifty years. (Revival, pp. 121–122)



John Piper is founder and teacher of DesiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For over 30 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books, and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and an increasing number of grandchildren.

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Talk about it...

Edwin Crozier

commented on Sep 24, 2013

I'm not sure that Martin Lloyd-Jones was correct when he said, "Scriptures never anywhere say that these things were only temporary?never! There is no such statement anywhere." I Corinthians 13:8-10 says, "Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophecy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away." No doubt, we may argue about what the perfect is. Therefore, we may disagree with whether the temporary time for these signs and wonders is over, but the text still says these things are temporary and not eternal. Also, I wonder if the issue here about signs and wonders should be seen in opposition to the sufficiency of preaching as if this is a competition between the power of God and the persuasion of our oratory, or should it be seen in opposition to the sufficiency of the completed revelation and Word of God. As stated in this article, the signs and wonders were testimonies to the Word of God (see Hebrews 2:3-4). God used signs and wonders to show that what the apostles were declaring really was the Word of God and not something they had just made up. But now that the Word of God has been completely revealed and fully confirmed, He doesn't need to testify to its surety anymore. That has been done. Are we not in a similar place with our New Covenant that the dead rich man was regarding that Old Covenant. When Lazarus was not allowed to come and cool the rich man's tongue with a drop of water, he begged that Lazarus be sent back to speak to his brothers. But Abraham said that the man's brothers had the Law and the Prophets. If they wouldn't listen to the revealed and already confirmed Word of God, they wouldn't listen even if they saw the sign and wonder of a man raised from the dead (which, of course, was proved true when they didn't believe after Jesus was raised from the dead). Are we not in that same position with the New Covenant? Since it has been fully revealed and completely confirmed, will God not say to us, "They have My Son and the Apostles, if they will not listen to them, they will not listen even if they see a sign and wonder?"

Davon Huss

commented on Sep 24, 2013

Thanks for this reply. The NT was not complete until the last words of Revelation were penned. From what we know that was somewhere around 90 AD. Until that point signs and wonders and the like were necessary but now that we have the canon of the NT, this is no longer needed. At this point under discussion in the book of Acts a good portion of the NT was not penned. The situation then is different than the situation now. Be joyful always, Davon Huss

Bob Higgins

commented on Sep 24, 2013

This promises to be a lively discussion. As a pastor of a SBC church where we have seen signs and wonders precede conversions on the street, I would have to say that God is still active and in the job of amazing people at who He is and how much He is in love with sinners.

Omobulejo Abiodun

commented on Sep 24, 2013

I enjoyed the article and the comments by Edwin Crozier. A true disciple of Christ does not need signs and wonders to move closer to God. However, the unbelievers need signs and wonders to validate the powers you confess your Jesus possesses. Especially in developing countries like mine, people want to see signs and wonders in your ministry for them to believe you are a true man of God as many go about deceiving the undiscerning in the name of God. Signs and wonders is also still very important in environments where poverty and diseases make a large majority of the people depend greatly on divine interventions and instant miracles. This is why the gospel is expanding greatly in poor countries than in developed nations. Here people depend on God for so many things that government provides freely in developed countries and God can not fail them. That is why many ministry that sign and wonders are not manifest are not growing. However, as grow in the Lord, you must move from what you can get from God to what you can do for God. Omobulejo Abiodun of RCCG, New Jerusalem Assembly, Akute, Lagos

Bob Higgins

commented on Sep 24, 2013

Omobelejo, I was blessed by your comment, which underlines the spiritual realities of the developing world where darkness, witch doctors, and the occult hold sway with their own "signs and wonders' that hold people captive with their power. Signs and wonders demonstrate that our God is God, and that all principalities and powers are subject to Him. God bless!

Charles Wesley

commented on Sep 24, 2013

Good, yes in these days people wants signs to wonders. The amazing thing is still they do not open up their hearts to believe on Him. They are only wants to see. It is our prayers that one day that they come to the feet of Jesus.

Jb Bryant

commented on Sep 24, 2013

@Edwin (and Davon) - For nearly 3 decades I have agreed with your viewpoints and taught them many time. But God has been doing a lot of work in this old guy, showing me ways I may have been suppressing the truth of His Word out of misguided respect for it - ultimately by getting into a defensive posture not toward his Word but toward my pre-established beliefs that I carried from teachings I received when I was but a babe in Christ. Edwin, you wrote "As stated in this article, the signs and wonders were testimonies to the Word of God... God used signs and wonders to show that what the apostles were declaring really was the Word of God and not something they had just made up. But now that the Word of God has been completely revealed and fully confirmed, He doesn't need to testify to its surety anymore." My questions: How has the Word of God been filly confirmed to my neighbor, who wasn't raised in a Christian home and only walked into a chapel once for a funeral? How has the Word of God been confirmed to Sayeed, a devout Muslim I met at a restaurant last week? How has the Word of God been confirmed to the people of Shaikh, Bangladesh who, with a population of 128,734,000 have never been reached with the gospel (http://joshuaproject.net/unreached.php). I don't think we can say that it has been fully confirmed based upon historical acceptance, beliefs, or practices or based upon signs and miracles that are recorded in the very book that is under scrutiny (which is circular reasoning). Until recent decades the American church could pretty well count on the Bible having enough default credibility with the average unbeliever that a friend's testimony was enough to confirm and convict. But that is nowise the case today. There is a large body of challengers, skeptics, outspoken atheists, people of other religions, and even groups who refer to themselves as churches and Christians who disavow the authority of God's Word. They are vocal, they are articulate, and they are persuasive. For them and those they influence, what can you and I as evangelists rely on to "fully confirm" to them the inspiration of these scriptures? Debate? Is that really God's way? I have never been a conduit for God's miracles. I have witnessed miracles that were not particularly spectacular, especially a close friend's Stage 4 Leukemia disappearing and baffling doctors after the elders - who DIDN'T believe in modern miracles(!) - laid hands on him and prayed for his healing at his request. I say that wasn't "spectacular" in that there wasn't any showy thing to watch or see, but it was incredible. Most everything else I've seen has been very small. I say this all as a disclaimer - that I don't live in the realm of miracles, I don't think about them much, I don't "practice" them, etc. But God has opened my mind to realize that when He wants to, He can and will do anything and everything He has done in the past and that my "defense" of His Word needs to not render Him impotent. The arguments I have and you are using are simply inaccurate and, I'm afraid, are becoming innocently harmful.

Edwin Crozier

commented on Sep 24, 2013

Thank you for your perspective on this question. My only response is couldn't the rich man have said the same thing about his brothers that you have said about the world today? And yet the answer was still the same. If they won't believe the Word that has been revealed and confirmed, they won't believe even if they see signs and wonders.

Edwin Crozier

commented on Sep 24, 2013

BTW: To be clear. I also believe God can do anything. I believe God responds to prayers in amazing ways. I have no quarrel with attributing healing to God in response to prayer. I especially have no problem attributing shocking healing to God in response to prayer and request from His children. If that is all we are talking about with signs and wonders, then I have no problem. However, that is not what I think of as signs and wonders. I think of someone touching the hem of my garment and being healed immediately or my saying to a lame man from birth, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." And he does immediately. I believe I Corinthians 13 teaches that God used those miraculous for a specified period of time until His complete/perfect revelation was given. Since I believe all of His revelation for us has been completed, I believe the time for those gifts has ended.

Bill Williams

commented on Sep 24, 2013

Regarding the text in 1 Corinthians 13, I'm curious. I don't see anything in the text that indicates that the term "perfect/complete" is referring specifically to God's revelation. That idea seems to be read into the text. Could you help me to see what perhaps I'm not seeing? Thank you!

Edwin Crozier

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Hi Bill, that is a great question. I think it is interesting to note that whatever we define the "perfect" as is going to be read into it from our perspective. Paul didn't say, "The perfect is..." He expected us to figure out what the perfect is based on context clues. I am happy to explain why I believe the context points to the full and completed revealed and confirmed Word of God. The context highlights what is partial and what is perfect or complete. If I were talking about part of an apple pie, what would the complete be? It would be apple pie. In this context, what is the partial? The partial is the revelation and confirmation of God's Word that was in part at that time. Therefore, the whole and complete thing seems to me to naturally be the whole and complete revelation and confirmation of God's Word for His new covenant. I hope this helps make my perspective more clear. Thanks for asking.

Jb Bryant

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Edwin - I appreciate you engaging in the dialog. I wonder if you'd interact with my question in my top-level comment here: "How has the Word of God been filly confirmed to my neighbor, who wasn't raised in a Christian home and only walked into a chapel once for a funeral? How has the Word of God been confirmed to Sayeed, a devout Muslim I met at a restaurant last week? How has the Word of God been confirmed to the people of Shaikh, Bangladesh who, with a population of 128,734,000 have never been reached with the gospel (http://joshuaproject.net/unreached.php)."

Bill Williams

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Edwin, thank you so much for your response. Let me see if I can restate your argument in my own words to make sure I understood you correctly. The verse previous to Paul's discussion of the "perfect" reads, "we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part." Therefore, one could assume that the "perfect" or "complete" would naturally refer to the completion of the knowledge and the completion of the prophesying, i.e. the closing of the cannon. Did I understand you correctly?

Edwin Crozier

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Hey Bill, apparently we reached the limit of nested dialogue. I can't reply directly to your restatement of my argument so I'm doing so here. In essence you have restated it correctly. HOwever, I wouldn't say I am "assuming" the perfect refers to the completion of the canon. I would say I am inferring or concluding from the context that contrasts a partial and a complete. It seems to me the most natural conclusion to draw is that the perfect/complete refers to the completion of whatever was just described as in part or incomplete.

Bill Williams

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Edwin, thank you for confirming. And also for the clarification between "assuming" and "inferring." The was a better word to describe how I understood it, but as I often write these posts on the fly, my wording isn't always as precise as it could be. Nonetheless, I think I have a clearer idea of where you're coming from, and it certainly gives me something to look into more deeply. So I appreciate your time. Have a blessed day!

Colin Stone

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Praise God that He is not limited by our beliefs

Edwin Crozier

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Hi JB, I apparently can't comment to your most recent request directly. I guess only so many levels of reply are allowed. Anyway, I'm commenting here. My response about the rich young ruler was to be seen as addressing your concern about your neighbor, muslim acquaintance, or the people of Bangladesh. To go a little deeper, I would say the Word of God is confirmed to them the say it is to you and me. It has its own historical testimony that we all have to consider. If the only confirmation you and I have is that our parents believed it, our confirmation is not too strong. Jesus said to Thomas, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29, ESV). In the same way, I believe God responds to folks who believed because they witnessed the direct, miraculous confirmation of the the Holy Spirit and for those of us who have not seen, but considered the written testimony and had faith in it.

Jb Bryant

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Edwin - I am enjoying this dialog. FWIW, you and I are from the same fellowship, I think. Without getting too specific in this mixed forum, I earned my M.Div. in Memphis in the early 1990s. Am I correct? Directly to your comments, (1) "If the only confirmation you and I have is that our parents believed it, our confirmation is not too strong." I agree with this. I don't believe because my parents believe, but I initially did. The Bible had built-in credibility to me because my family believed it. God later personally confirmed its truth to me as I submitted to Him and walked with Him. But no one had to convince me about its historicity or show me its internal consistency. I was already predisposed because it already had credibility in my mind. (2) "I would say the Word of God is confirmed to them [my neighbor, the Muslim, and the people of Bangladesh] the same it is to you and me. It has its own historical testimony that we all have to consider." I disagree with this. They are not predisposed to believe the Bible like I was (and probably you were). They don't benefit from the built-in credibility of the Bible that I enjoyed. So for them to take the step I took, to allow God to fully conform it in them as He did in me, requires something to replace that built-in credibility. Miracles are much quicker - and actually much more certain - than sitting for months or years (unsaved!) while someone teaches you about the Bible's historical validity, reliability, and inspiration.

Edwin Crozier

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Sorry, I don't know anything about M.Div in Memphis. I get that you were predisposed because of family history and a muslim may not be. However, predisposition is not the same as confirmation. Also, it seems to me if we are going to talk about which is a quicker way of confirming, now we are whittling on God's end of the stick. Personally, I would prefer to have signs and wonders to make my task seemingly easier and quicker. But right now, I can't support that with the text.

Jb Bryant

commented on Sep 25, 2013

It is true that predisposed doesn't equal confirmed. But neither does history equal confirmed. I received a confirmation in my life, personally. Ultimately, confirmation must happen at - otherwise it's no better an individual level rather than at a historical level. Accepting the Bible because others throughout history have is no better than accepting the it because my parents did. It's probably nit-picking words, but the way I'm using the terms signs and wonders don't technically confirm the Word as much as predispose someone to believe it - though if that were always true the Pharisees and Sadducees in the gospels would have believed in The Word who stood before them. Signs and wonders provide a foundation for acceptance. Confirmation as I'm using it happens when one is transformed by the renewing of his mind by it. I agree that 1 Cor 13:8-10 has to do with knowledge, just not with the canon. The "knowledge" it is referring to is instead broken out in verse 12: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." In my mind, we can't currently claim to know God fully even as we are fully know. That will come after we are caught up / resurrected when we see Him, as the text says, face-to-face.

Edwin Crozier

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Hey JB, I appreciate the point you are making. I think we all want the Bible to be confirmed in the minds of people. However, I think I have been unclear. I'm not talking about the Bible being confirmed throughout history, I'm referring to the Word of God being confirmed through the historical testimony that is recorded in what we now have as the Bible. The Bible is the record of the complete revelation of God's Word. God bore witness to the teaching of the apostles by signs and wonders. We now have the historical testimony of that recorded in the Bible, just as we have the historical testimony of Jesus' resurrection recorded in the Bible. Some will take the time to consider the historical testimony God has provided in this revealed Word. Some will not. Some of us long for the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit in our lives to cause people to be opened to consider the historical testimony of His revealed Word. However, I think now the great sign and wonder that the Holy Spirit is offering that causes folks to consider the written Word is His fruit borne in our lives because we live by His revealed Word (cf. Galatians 5:22-23).

Randy Hamel

commented on Sep 24, 2013

Love is eternal because God is love and there will be love in heaven. The canon is complete but these signs and wonders area happening all over the world. These sign gifts will cease when the world we live in ceases. Since the world is temporary the signs are also temporary. But I see so evidence that signs and miracles have ceased, both from scripture and experience. Piper is right about his approach "And I do believe God wants us to pray for them today." Miracles do not normally save anyone, but I found out that God works outside my defined box, even after attending a conservative seminary, where I thought I had the answer to this. God bless you as you serve King Jesus.

Charles Ingwe

commented on Sep 24, 2013

With due respect to all beloved ones' comments, I wish to add my voice as well as regards this article. When the inspired word had fully been penned, we are today fully taught how one is to be saved; If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart....you will be saved- Rom 10:9. Then those who are saved are refered to as believers of Christ. When the inspired scripture had fully been penned, believers had been assured of what was to follow them; These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons......place hands on the sick....will get well-Mark 16:17-18. When the inspired scripture had fully been penned, instruction was given that these operations of the working of the Holy Spirit in building His church with within the penned scripture, we are given the picture of how the Holy Spirit distributes the giftings in the body of christ for the edification of the body of christ in 1Cor 12 episode. I do not see in these scriptures any change in the operation of scripture unless maybe I be well educated. My understanding is that the pastor is not the only figure of church such that if among the power giftings he is not seen to be gracius then he must not allow the operation of the power giftings for doing so is much harm to the word of God and the body of Christ. Acts 6:8 tells us that the deacon Steven was a man full of grace and power and did miracles. The trouble has been that when the pastor is not gracius in miracles he wants the whole church to move like that. The church of God will always move in power that has always been the shown picture. What is cardinal is always to do everything to the glory of God.

Jonathan Hughes

commented on Sep 24, 2013

Matthew 12:39: King James Bible But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Jonas ask people to repent of their violent ways. Muslims being violent following the Qur'an is one. The Muslim brotherhood will be ashes if they do not repent. A person needs to know the meek character of Jesus that is not boastful not saying I will prove it to you. Satan will do many lying wonders. Wonders teach nothing good never showing the character of Jesus only having a wow factor only. Use the Cambridge ED. People that rely on wonders commit adultery against God laying down with the beast = Satan preferring war and all things Jesus is against. That is marrying Satan.

Bill Williams

commented on Sep 24, 2013

I think the author did a very good job arguing for the continued role of signs and wonders in contemporary Christianity as a witness to the Word, NOT as a replacement for the word nor as a means for salvation. He and others who have commented are right: any attempt to argue against signs and wonders on the basis of Jesus' negative comments regarding them needs to also take into consideration the fact that they had a prominent role in first century Christianity. I'm not quite convinced by the argument that signs and wonders are no longer needed because the canon has been closed. At least, not on any Biblical evidence, for the NT doesn't seem to speak of nor envision any sort of sorting of the canon. That is not to say I believe the canon is still open, but simply that the NT says nothing about whether signs or wonders would be needed at its close. My own personal view is that signs and wonders may still be warranted in certain contexts around the world, particularly in those areas that still bear similarity to the conditions of the first century Mediterranean countries. But they may not be necessary in others. While this debate is certainly interesting and important, on the other hand let us not loose sight of the larger purpose of serving the Lord the best we can where we are, and simply remain open to the fact that God can still work in ways that we do not always expect!

Bill Williams

commented on Sep 24, 2013

I meant to write: "for the NT doesn't seem to speak of nor envision any sort of CLOSING of the canon."

Danny Loesch

commented on Sep 24, 2013

In 1Cor 13 we have teaching on love. Paul uses several contrasts to teach on the supreme gift of love. The contrasts of "never failing - ceasing", "in part -whole", "immature - mature". Note the gifts that will not remain and those that will until the complete, perfect and mature arrives. Ther "perfect" cannot be the cannon because Paul says you can have and know all there is and still not have love. Love is the perfect. The gifts of faith, and hope will remain long after the other temporary gifts have ceased. gifts have ceased. But they too will cease when Jesus returns. But love is eternal because it never fails or ends. Hope this helps!

S.g. Ramsey

commented on Sep 24, 2013

Reading the last paragraph made me think about the following 1. "We" do not produce any converts - that' s God's job. and 2. God, I am sure, is the one who knows what is needed and how to fill that need. He is sovereign and as He rules He moves and, He will supply. If God plans to send signs and wonders - I think believers will be in no doubt who they are from if, and only if, they glorify and honor Yeshua, Christ our Lord our Savior and King. Keep it simple. Preach the Gospel, Pray for wisdom, be His friend by doing what He asks.

Gerbrand Van Schalkwyk

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Very good article. Jesus said His followers will do greater and better things than He did. How is this possible? Because Jesus did His miracles through the same Holy Spirit we receive. We are not to do signs to impress people, no, in the same way Jesus did signs to convince people that He was (is) from God the Father, then we must follow His example with unbelievers. And we must pray for these signs so that we can be better servants in God's kingdoms. What ever we do, we must serve God, seek His will and spread His Kingdom, in whatever way He wants us to

Peter Spadzinski

commented on Sep 25, 2013

Amen to Brother Piper's article. The new testament will not be complete until the trumpet sounds and the last person has come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ's atoning work. Some of the theology quoted in the comments posted above is not scripture, but man-made and man propagated theology to refute the charismatic gifts. While the gifts are temporal and only Love is eternal (God is Love), there is no time limit on the gifts mentioned in the Gospels, except when we all come to a perfect knowledge and surely we haven't arrived there yet. (we are still looking through a glass darkly, as the Apostle Paul says). Our theology in the West is a gospel tainted by affluence and our life styles of ease and comfort. Signs are not to bolster a believer's faith (surely a contradiction of terms), but in some instances, when God chooses, to validate the preaching of the Gospel to those who have not yet believed and to meet a specific need. In the end, it is God who decides when the supernatural will be evidenced and when it is no longer needed and not our theology.

Ferdinand C Nnadi

commented on Sep 25, 2013

The subject of signs and wonders is a burning issue in the 21st century church. I believe a detailed study of the entire Bible will immensely guide us. Jesus said signs and wonders would follow the Word. If we love the Lord and serve Him in truth and in spirit, He will always manifest himself in our affairs. Miracles show that God is interested and mindful of our activities and situations. We are serving a listening, living and active God who is so interested in the affairs of men. The devil functions for the sole purpose of perversion but it will be wrong to forget that the ultimate power belongs to God. The fact that the devil is influencing a lot of charlatans to abuse the gift of miracles should not lead us to begin to make sweeping generalisations. Counterfeits do not preclude the existence of the very genuine. Are we not given the gift of discernment to enable us choose between the real sheperds and the ravening wolves? Take away instances of signs and wonders from Genesis to Revelations and you will have a book that will not be too different from the many "holy" books of sundry world religions. Our God is a God of signs and .wonders (miracles). Praise the Lord!

Sylvester Herbert

commented on Sep 25, 2013

John Piper's article is a provocative one. I wish he had written more! In an article of this nature there are not a few persons who would have wished for engagement on the following points: (1) What exactly qualifies as signs and wonders? Is healing from a psychosomatic/organic disease an example? How do we evaluate these kinds of healing when they occur outside of a Christian context? How do we respond to non-Christian groupings who validate their belief system on the basis of signs and wonders? (2) What explanations do we give for those Scriptures which clearly show unbelief persisting in spite of signs and wonders? (See Matt. 11:20-24; 12:38-42; Luke 16:27-31; I Cor. 10:1-12). (3) Can lifestyle change decrease the need for certain types of signs and wonders? (I am thinking in particular of disciplined living that promotes health as opposed to over indulgence that leads to sickness which may require the miracle of healing). Should we be praying more for lifestyle change or for signs and wonders? (This question assumes that prayers should be offered for both!). Would desperate prayers for signs and wonders produce more signs and wonders? Perhaps. Ongoing theological reflection on this topic may well prove helpful in clinching Piper's argument. And of course, a testimony from his own ministry may accomplish even more - a testimony like "Hey guys, I have been praying desperately for signs and wonders and now they are a part of my ministry. Guess what? The number of signs and wonders in my ministry has grown from 5 in five years to a whopping 500 in 5 months. Praise the Lord!" Now who can argue against that?

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