IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
And it comes from Erin Cottrell in Lawrence, Kansas. Go Jayhawks.
Erin wins a free book for her question:
“I was reading Acts this morning, chapter 3. In this chapter, there is a lame man who has been unable to walk since birth. When Peter sees him, he tells him in Jesus’ name to rise up and walk. The man jumps up, and is healed. My question: Why don’t we see that same kind of healing in our contemporary time? Why did God allow it to take place then, but not now?”
First off, you should know this: God doesn’t answer “why” questions.
Job learned that the hard way.
When Job asked why God was putting him through the grinder, God said:
“Who do you think you are? Why do you talk so much when you know so little?” (Job 38:2, NIRV, CEV).
God can get away with that, but I would never say that to anyone but a teenager.
The short answer to Erin’s question is “God knows. And he’s not talking.”
Bible scholars, on the other hand, talk plenty.
As best I can tell, here’s what seems to be the prevailing view at the moment, at least among Bible scholars.
Start with the “Lord of the Rings.” After the War of the Ring, the Fourth Age began. It was the “Age of Men.”
Well, we’re in the “Age of No Miracles.”
Rotten as that sounds, that seems to be the favorite view of Bible experts at the moment.
As though we’re also in the “Age of Depressing Bible Scholars.”
The experts who back this theory say God uses miracles to jump start monumental moments in human history.
- First Age of Miracles: Moses creates the Jewish nation out of a slave race.
- Second Age of Miracles: Prophets Elijah and Elisha try to point the sinful Jews back to God.
- Third Age of Miracles: Jesus and the apostles launch the Christian movement.
No more miracles.
When Jesus told his disciples, “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. In fact, he will do even greater things” (John 14:12, NIRV), he wasn’t talking to us. He was talking to the apostles.
I grew up in a time and place not too far from a famous faith healer: Kathryn Kuhlman. I watched her on TV. Quite an engaging show.
I saw people toss their crutches aside and dance across the stage.
Docs today acknowledge that these people weren’t faking.
Here’s how the American Cancer Society explains it:
“When a person believes strongly that a healer can create a cure, a ‘placebo effect’ can occur.”
The thing is, most docs agree, faith healing works only on illnesses that start in the head: mind-body sicknesses.
That’s no small matter since an estimated 80 percent of diseases stem from stress.
Christian psychiatrist Paul Meyer said he healed a young woman of blindness simply by telling her that when she awoke the next time, she’d be able to see.
Dr. Meyer couldn’t have done that if the lady didn’t have eyeballs.
What Peter did, in healing a man who had been crippled since birth, was like giving sight to a lady with no eyeballs. Scholars classify it as a genuine, supernatural miracle.
What Dr. Meyer did was natural. He invoked the body’s natural, God-given ability to heal itself.
That’s pretty much what physicians as well as Bible experts say faith healing is.
One Christian doc, William Nolen, studied 23 people who claimed they were healed by Kathryn Kuhlman in 1967.
As it turned out, no one was cured. Long-term follow up revealed that.
During one healing service, a lady with cancer in the spine took off her brace and ran across the stage, at Kuhlman’s request. The lady’s spine crumbled the next day. She was dead four months later.
Revered Christian physician and bestselling author Dr. Paul Brand said he had never heard of a miraculous healing of the likes of pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis, or a birth defect. Those would take supernatural miracles—beyond the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
In other words, the kind of miracles Jesus did, but that we don’t see anymore.
Many Christians disagree with the majority opinion. They insist that God can and still does miracles.
Other Christians, however, would say, “Can you point one out?”
Here’s one consolation, even if we are in the “Age of No Miracles,” which is debatable:
“Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, CEV).
Still, no more miracles sounds like quite the bummer.