Elijah was a man of flesh and blood as we are, and he made a strong prayer that there might be no rain; and there was no rain on the earth for three years and six months. (James 5:17)
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. (James 5:14)
“At best, Benny Hinn’s supposed healings are the result of a euphoric placebo effect-in which the body temporarily responds to a trick played on the mind and emotions. At worst, Hinn’s healings consist of outright lies and demonically empowered counterfeits.” ~John MacArthur, Strange Fire, available at Cleveland's Mac's Books
As we have been discussing, MacArthur's work is clear that he doesn’t believe in modern day claims of miracles. What is perhaps most strange in the quote above is his belief that demons can do miracles, but believers cannot.
MacArthur relegates the idea of miracles to a time past, and to the 'big' events in scripture; the parting of the Red Sea, calling down fire from heaven, and the raising of the dead.
I suspect most people would have a far broader definition of miracles. For instance, dozens of people in scripture had angelic encounters and visions of heaven, and most would consider these events miraculous.
For instance, Jacob wrestled a divine visitor; Daniel was spared from the mouth of lions by an angel. Joseph had prophetic dreams as Daniel did. Stephen saw heaven opened, Samuel heard the audible voice of God, Solomon received divine wisdom and saw the glory of the Lord fill the Temple. Jonah survived three days in the sea, Job talked to God audibly, Isaiah had a vision of God and angels and Ezekiel had a prophetic vision of future events.
MacArthur claims miracles in the New Testament were reserved for Jesus and the Apostles, but in their writings the Apostles didn't ever say this. They didn’t write their letters to other Apostles, they wrote to churches. If we start saying certain verses and promises are for certain people only, where does one draw the line? We would face a never ending parade of debate about which verse applies to whom.
Yes, some verses are directed to individuals, but those are clearly stated. For instance, God told Solomon to build a Temple, that job was clearly stated as his alone. But when James says to lay hands on someone that they may be healed, who are we to say that was for the body of believers 2000 years ago and not for today?
This is a slippery slope indeed.
After his discussion about miracles, MacArthur next turns his sights on the issue of faith. Tomorrow we shall do the same thing.