The Sadducees of Jesus day denied the supernatural. They did not believe in miracles and the resurrection. Though the Pharisees upheld the supernatural, they rejected it in their own experience and, therefore, in the life of Jesus who was present with them. Today we have a similar situation.
Theological liberals deny the supernatural. They deny the miraculous. They rationalize biblical accounts of actual history as myths or mere illustrations of truth. Theological conservatives rightly condemn this rationalism and are appalled at such unbelief. But strangely, a number of conservatives only uphold the supernatural in biblical accounts. By rejecting it in our present day, they practically end up with the same outcome as their liberal counterparts.
God is still God. He is a supernatural God who still works supernaturally. Those who limit the way God supernaturally works in the present are those who downplay the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is unbelief. Whether it is the theological unbelief of denying the supernatural in the Bible or the practical unbelief of denying the supernatural for today, the words of Jesus apply: “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).
Recently, a pastor friend told me of a known drug dealer and addict who they had invited to church. One Sunday, he came to a morning service in spite of some great nerve pain that ran the length of his arm, from shoulder to fingers. However, when he entered into the atmosphere of the church, the pain left him—for good. He heard the gospel that day, and knowing Jesus had healed him, he placed his faith in Jesus to save him.
Does this account pass the tests of the Spirit in 1 John 4? Yes, for the first test is whether a situation points to Jesus. The healing in this case opened the man’s heart to believe in Jesus as Savior.
God is still the God of the supernatural. As He worked in biblical times, He can and still does today as He sees fit. May we believe in a miracle-working God.
John Van Gelderen