“I believe God can heal people apart from natural medical remedies…I do not believe, however, that God uses men and women as human agents to work miracles in the same way he used Moses, Elijah, or Jesus.” ~John MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, available at Cleveland's Loganberry Books
Peter Popoff has always made ridiculous claims. At one point he would send people a small vial of water with a small packet and tell them to mix the two and they would have the blood of Jesus to drink. The packet contained Kool-Aid.
Before crowds he would claim to have supernatural knowledge about the audience. He would begin to call out names and diseases and even the row a person was sitting in. “I see a woman named Mary, you are in row 12, and you have arthritis!” He was always right. Magician James Randi figured out why and exposed Popoff on live television.
Popoff wore a small hidden earphone and his wife would talk to people in the audience and then whisper the information into Popoff’s ear piece. Popoff would then repeat what his wife told him and claim he heard from God.
Amazingly, he never left the speaking circuit. Today he sells “miracle” water on infomercials, still claiming to be a miracle worker.
Stories like this are interesting, but they hold little value in determining whether something is real or not. Yes, there are countless charlatans waiting to separate people from their money, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is a charlatan because they claim to experience and believe in miracles.
According to MacArthur, God did miracles during three eras; the first with Moses, then with Elijah and Elisha, then with the Apostles. Each of these eras were times of special revelation confirmed by the miraculous.
The rest of the time Macarthur claims, God works through “providence.” What is providence for MacArthur? If you are in your car and narrowly escape an accident, it is providence, God’s will. For your life to be spared by a miracle, God would need to intervene against the laws of nature and lift your car off the road and gently place it down in a safe space.
Lest there be any doubt where he stands he shares, “Can anyone with faith ‘claim’ a miracle, as some teach? Does God do miracles on demand? The answers to all those questions is no.”
But the question is, how does MacArthur know this? Is there any Bible verse that says miracles don’t exist today? Is there any verse of scripture that claims only Moses and the Prophets and Apostles would experience miracles? And because MacArthur doesn’t “know” of anyone performing or experiencing miracles as he describes them, is that a valid argument in a world of 7 billion people?
Tomorrow we will consider more, especially this extremely narrow definition of the word miracle. For now, please read what I consider to be one of the most amazing miracle stories, the story of Ken Gaub.