The Working of Miracles

Moses Dividing the Red Sea by the Power of GodThe following are notes from chapter 10: “The Working of Miracles” in The Holy Spirit and You (1971) by Dennis and Rita Bennett.

  • There are no “laws of nature,” only probabilities of nature; and are sometimes contradicted by miracles. Gravity, the speed of light, etc. Normally these things follow a natural, usual, probable course. But in miracles, these probable courses, or what scientists call “laws of nature,” are completely contradicted:–to demonstrate that God is in control of the elements (p. 124).
  • Events “come under the heading of miracles,” which are supernaturally caused by God, and are not healings:–these are also called “nature miracles” or “miracles of nature.” 1. Dividing the Red Sea (Exod. 14:21-31). 2. The Sun Standing Still (Josh. 10:12-14). 3. The Cruse of Oil Not Running Out (1 Kings 17:8-16). 4. Fire from the Sky to Consume Elijah’s Altar (1 Kings 18:17-39). 5. The Sun’s Shadow Reversing Ten Degrees on Hezekiah’s Sundial (2 Kings 10:8-11). 6. The Ten Plagues (Exod. 7-12). 7. Poisonous Soup Made Harmless (2 Kings 4:38-41). (p. 125).
  • The Five Greatest Miracle-Workers in the Bible: Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, and Paul (pp. 125-126, 131).
  • Reasons for Miracles to Be Performed: 1. Compassion to Meet Human Needs. 2. Practical Purposes. 3. Comforting the Disciples of Jesus. 4. Feeding the Hungry. 5. Encourage Believers or Those Who Want To Believe. (p. 126).
  • Modern Miracles Need to Follow the Biblical Pattern. Those “weird events” that happen among New Agers, occultists, and psychics are demonic counterfiets of true miracles. True miracles of God are always occurring in a context where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached or taught; or at least where Jesus is being glorified. St. Patrick mirrored Moses; St. Columba of Iona mirrored Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus; St. Benedict of Nursia mirrored Elisha; St. Francis of Assisi mirrored Jesus; Hildegard of Bingen mirrored Paul in healings; and John Wesley mirrored Paul in healings and open air evangelism (p. 127). Modern examples that Bennett regards are Smith Wigglesworth, David duPlessis, and Mel Tari (Like a Mighty Wind). (pp. 117, 128).
  • The Reason For the Miracle Revival in Indonesia: The people “have never been told that certain parts of the Bible are ‘not for today’; therefore they are putting it into practice in simple faith! It works! God is alive!” (p. 129). This is why, as a “reformer,” I’m more comfortable confessing the 39 Articles (1563), as did Wesley and Wigglesworth and Bennett, than the Westminster Confession (1646) or the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, both of which say in the first article, “It pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.” Thus cessationism has its origin in the Puritan confessions:–sadly, because I respect them in so many other areas of their theology.
  • Study miracles and think miraculously. Bennett said, “Right after the baptism with the Holy Spirit, people experience a greater release of the miraculous in their lives. Then often comes a slackening of these experiences, because the old ways of thinking and living creep back in, and God has to enroll us in the school of the Holy Spirit” (p. 130). Good reason to study Catholic mystical theology (Augustin Poulain’s The Graces of Interior Prayer, etc), Joan Carroll Cruz’s Mysteries Marvels Miracles: In the Lives of the Saints, the lives or biographies of Sts. Patrick, Columba, Benedict, Francis, Hildegard, John Wesley, Smith Wigglesworth, David duPlessis, and Mel Tari. Chapters on the “Working of Miracles” in Pentecostal/Charismatic books on spiritual gifts: Smith Wigglesworth’s Ever Increasing Faith, ch. 15; Donald Gee’s Concerning Spiritual Gifts, ch. 6; Gordon Lindsay’s Commissioned with Power, ch. 25; Dennis and Rita Bennett’s The Holy Spirit and You, ch. 10; Sam Storms’ The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts, ch. 5.

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