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Many are unaware of the fact that thousands of divine healing claims are supported by medical evidence. In my experience, most people who claim that there’s no evidence for God or miracles haven’t even looked at the evidence for healing. Here are some resources for those interested in the topic.
Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts – Craig Keener
Testing Prayer: Science and Healing – Candy Gunther Brown
The Miracles – Richard Casdorph
Healing Miracles: A Doctor Investigates – Rex Gardner
Elijah Stephens from Redding, California is a former Vineyard Pastor with the ambition to make a documentary about evidence for miraculous healings. The film’s working title is Prayer Movie, and in a recently released video Stephens describes the project idea as following:
In the video you can spot professor Candy Gunther Brown who has written Testing Prayer: Science and Healing dealig with this very issue, as well as Craig Keener who has documented several medically verified healings in his big book Miracles. Heidi och Rolland Baker along with Randy Clark will also be a part of the film.
While the documentation of inexplicable events is far from new, films on this topic are quite rare other than looking at specific, individual cases. Stephens give some really compelling arguments on his website for why Christians should welcome evidence to support miraculous claims rather than brushing it off as a sign of weak faith or as a way to test God. He refers to how Johsua commanded the Israelites to put stones in the middle of Jordan so that their grandkids can be reminded of the miracle God did there (Josh 4:4-7).
If you want to support the project you can donate to Stephens’ Kickstarter. If the target isn’t met you wont have to give your money away. I myself am very excited for this movie and will pray and give for it to become a reality!
From Eric Hatfield’s blog the Way?
The source of the first story is the heart surgeon involved, Dr Chauncey Crandall of Florida, a respected cardiologist in the US (as this summary shows) with over twenty years experience. He has performed heart operations in many hospitals and holds professorships in several universities.
The other 10 case histories come from the book The Miracles by Dr H Richard Casdorph an experienced doctor and medical researcher who has published more than a hundred research papers in a career that has spanned almost 6 decades. In the mid 70s he undertook a research project with a difference. He interviewed ten people who claimed to have been miraculously healed of serious conditions. He examined all the case histories – X-rays, medical reports, etc – and also submitted them to medical specialists for review.
In 2006 Jeff suffered a massive heart attack and was taken to hospital where an emergency team of doctors and nurses tried for 40 minutes to re-start his heart without success. They called in Dr Crandall as a cardiac specialist, to confirm Jeff was dead.
“As I entered the ER [emergency room] it was like a war zone. Here was this lifeless body on a stretcher.” Dr Crandall said later. “His face, his arms, his legs were pitch black with death.”
Dr Crandall confirmed what the team already knew, Jeff was dead. However then a “voice” in his head told him to pray for the man. Dr Crandall was sure it was God, so he prayed for Jeff, then stopped the surprised medical team who were preparing the body for the morgue, and directed them to give him one more shock with the paddles. His heartbeat returned almost immediately and Jeff subsequently fully recovered.
Previously published at Jesus Army.
Elijah Stephens is a former Vineyard pastor and spiritual coach belonging to Bethel Church in Redding, California. Since 2015, he has been working on a documentary about medically verified miracles. Micael Grenholm asked him a few questions.
WHAT is a medically verified miracle?
That is a good question. When it comes to miracles, we are talking about when God enters the world and does something. What makes something a miracle is God’s activity.
This is why you can’t study miracles scientifically, but what you can do is to find cases where people have prayed and there’s “before and after” medical evidence. For example, a person has a tumor, one day there is prayer, the next day the tumor disappears.
What you want to do is to corroborate miracles with medical evidence. So that’s what we’re attempting to do with the movie; finding cases where miracles have been corroborated by medical evidence. (more…)
Lucy Peppiatt, principal at Westminster Theological Centre which is an awesome British school, has written an excellent piece on why all Christians should be charismatic and why the risk of “charismania” shouldn’t put us off from seeking the gifts of the Spirit. One of the reasons she gives relates strongly to what I call charismactivism, the fact that Spiritual gifts ought to promote peace, justice and a better world:
I think that most of us feel overwhelmed by the world’s problems. It’s enough to deal with our own and our family’s problems let alone terrorism, unemployment, war, addiction, crime, disease, homelessness, abuse, etc. etc. I’m always astonished and deeply moved by how resilient human beings are in the face of horror, and this seems regardless of whether they have a faith or not. Sometimes humans are just extraordinarily strong. All Christians should carry a hope that good will triumph over evil in the end, because that is the promise of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection.
But charismatics share stories all the time about change here and now, about how when God gets involved, people locked in conflict are able to forgive each other, bodies are healed of life-threatening or debilitating conditions, families are reconciled. Hope stirs. Charismatics expect God to change things around them and through them for the better. Sometimes this takes much longer and is more painful that you would know from what we teach or would wish, but I love the hope of concrete and visible newness that characterizes a charismatic worldview. Hope for restoration, new life, and healing infuses the New Testament and I couldn’t imagine a church that didn’t expect God to be willing and able to change the worst of situations.
There’s a theological problem known as the hiddenness of God which is sometimes used by atheists as an argument for God’s existence. If there is a God and He cares for human salvation, why isn’t He making His existence more obvious? Why isn’t He putting a neon cross in the sky or stamp every cell with “Made by God” in Hebrew letters? Why is He so silent and invisible if He exists?
Apologists generally offer two responses to this. First, God’s existence is already obvious as it is, the arguments from natural theology are good and atheism is really a position held by a minority on a global scale. Second, we cannot be sure that more people would actually be saved if God’s existence was even more obvious, knowing that He exists isn’t the same thing as building a relationship with Him.
I think those responses are good but would also want to offer a third response – a charismatic one. In the video above you can see how a deafmute boy in Zambia starts to hear and speak. On this page you will find resources on medically verified healings. There you go, evidence for God’s existence.
The atheist may respond that these events have natural explanations that we just don’t know yet. But that’s probably what s/he would say about the neon cross and the “Made by God”-stamps as well. And so there’s no way those kind of atheists will accept the existence of God. But if they’re open-minded, they’ll realise that He isn’t far away from any of us, and He can do convincing miracles in all of our lives.
Since I first presented my formulation of the miraculous a argument for God’s existence I’ve made a slight adjustment. The content is the same but I’ve added an extra premise (2), and because of that an extra conclusion (4), to clarify why the argument is valid even if it isn’t God himself that’s responsible for a certain miracle. This is how I nowadays formulate the argument:
- If miracles occur, a supernatural reality exists
- If a supernatural reality exists, God exists
- Miracles occur
- Therefore, a supernatural reality exists
- Therefore, God exists
As this is a deductive argument, the conclusions (4 and 5) are necessarily true if it can be shown that the premises (1-3) are true. So let me briefly defend each one of them.
1. If miracles occur, a supernatural reality exists
This premise is fairly non-controversial as long as one gets the definition of “miracle” straight. The definition I have suggested is a supernatural act impacting nature as demanded by human beings. However, if one uses a definition that doesn’t mention the supernatural cause, for example an event requested by humans which is scientifically and naturally inexplicable, then one needs to defend the first premise by showing why it is more plausible than not that such events have a supernatural cause rather than an unknown natural cause. If the supernatural cause is integrated into the definition of miracles on the other hand, such a defence belong to premise 3.
As I’m developing a formulation and defense for the miraculous argument for God’s existence I’ve enjoyed listening to lectures on YouTube by other Christian apologists where they defend the key premise, that miracles occur, from both a philosophical and an empirical perspective. The main philosophical objection to miracles was raised by David Hume in the 19th century, an argument that is still often referenced to by atheists and skeptics but which is actually circular and not very persuasive, as Timothy McGrew explains:
It is generally agreed today that Hume was simply lacking miraculous experience himself and so just assumed that nobody else was experiencing it. His remark of how a dead man coming back to life “has never been observed in any age or country” is embarrassingly naïve, not just dismissing the resurrection of Jesus a priori but also the numerous dead raising accounts of his time. As I have met and interviewed a man who was raised from the dead I can assure you Hume was wrong. (more…)
Pastor and apologist Elijah Stephens is working on a documentary about medically verified healings as I have covered previously on this blog, and he was recently interviewed at the Uncommon Legacy podcast (which seems to be a very good podcast!). I highly recommend the episode, Stephens humbly shares his own doubts and struggles as well as making the case for a courageous faith combined with intellectual honesty that I highly resonate with.
While not spoiling the medically verified healings that the film will cover, Stephens shared a testimony of what I call a combo miracle – a healing combined with prophecy. You’ll find that at 15:30 into the podcast. A secretary at his church had severe breathing problems and needed to go home from work because of it. She was a cessationist herself and very skeptical to miracles, but still Stephens was allowed to pray for her for two or three minutes. During the prayer, he briefly spoke out that the Lord would send His angels to touch her.
The next week, she entered the church staff meeting in tears. She said that when she was alone in her house, she woke up in the middle of the night and a light was shining into her chest. She saw a man standing over her bed and another man in front of her, and she was obviously frightened. She heard them talking, one of them said ”Get her up” They grabbed her, took her to the bathroom and as she turned on the light they disappeared. Shocked, she then discovered that she had been completely healed. (more…)
When debating with atheists, Christian apologists and evangelists use a variety of arguments for the existence of God, such as cosmological, teleological and moral arguments. I go through several of these in my video on seven reasons why God exists. There I also talked about the argument from miracles, which has often been used historically and which is being used a lot by evangelists, although apologists have not started to use it until recently for reasons I will give towards the end of this blog post.
Let me briefly introduce the argument and add some comments on possible counter-arguments. I would love to unpack this argument in greater depth in the future but for now I would just want to give you a glimpse of how the argument can be formulated. my suggestion is:
1. If miracles occur, God exists.
2. Miracles occur.
3. Therefore, God exists.
As for the definition of “miracles”, I’d use the first half of the Oxford Dictionary definition: “A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency”. Alternatively, I’ve come up with my own definition: a supernatural act impacting nature as demanded by human beings. (more…)
Every weekend I evangelize on the streets together with the Pancake Church, and last week’s Holy Saturday was no exception. I started to speak with two guys about Jesus, and one of them said that he really liked Jesus. He thought that Jesus was a good moral teacher and said: “I believe that when it says that he healed blind people and lepers and stuff, he didn’t actually physically heal them, but he was kind to them and taught that they should be accepted into society.”
“That’s a very tragic and pessimistic view!” I said. “Wouldn’t it be better if He actually physically healed them? As the Son of God He’s surely able to do it, right? Miracles exist, medically verified healings happen all around the world even today. Surely that’s good news, isn’t it?” He was actually a bit speechless when I said this.
There has been a tendency among several Western preachers to de-emphasize miracles, Heaven and evangelism in order to “focus” on peace and justice. They may say things like “Jesus greatest miracle wasn’t to heal the leper but to touch the leper” or “God doesn’t just want to give you eternal life in Heaven but a descent life on earth.” (more…)
I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday! Over here this day is called “Long Friday” because people were expected to mourn and have a boring time all day, which made it feel much longer. I think the English name is much better – even if it undoubtedly is sad that Jesus had to die for our sake, it is at the same time amazing since we receive eternal life through His sacrifice.
Christianity stands and falls with the death and resurrection of Jesus being historical events. According to the apostles, these are not just doctrines: they are things that really happened, which they witnessed themselves. In this video, I defend the historicity of both Jesus’ death and His miraculous resurrection:
There are some competing theories on what really happened that Passover weekend 2,000 years ago. For a more detailed discussion on what they’re saying and what their problems are, please watch the video. What follows is a brief summary of each theory and my arguments agains them: (more…)
Yesterday my friend Andreas and myself made a video where we go through seven good arguments for God’s existence. They are as follows:
1. The universe was created.
2. There is something rather than nothing.
3. The universe is fine-tuned for life.
4. Morality is objective and not just subjective.
5. There are thousands of scientifically verified miracles.
6. Jesus was awesome and trusted by smart people.
7. Ask God to reveal Himself – you won’t be disappointed.
If you have half an hour, I really recommend you to watch the video. We had a fun time making it! Also, check out the apologetics page on this site for more resources.
Elijah Stephens who is in charge of the upcoming documentary on medically verified healings has written a blog post on Think Theology where he debunks some common myths about miracles, like that people don’t see many miracles today, that educated people don’t believe in miracles and that skeptics won’t change their mind when they are presented with miracle evidence. It’s a very good read, and it reminded me of something that I’ve been pondering for some time: why do so many people in the minority world believe that miracles don’t happen?
I’ve been there, I grew up as a non-Christian and didn’t believe in miracles. Historical miracles like in the Bible were fairy tales to me, and if somebody said that a person had been miraculously healed I would have mocked them and argued that there is a “natural” explanation. I was fascinated by ghosts though, and mediums… the logic wasn’t strong with this one.
Now, I realize that to say “science has disproven the existence of miracles” doesn’t make any sense. There are thousands of medically verified healings, such as the ones documented by World Christian Doctors Network and Craig Keener’s excellent work Miracles. These events, which take place after prayer, are scientifically inexplicable.
At least one Sunday a month we have “Come in, go out”-meetings in my house church, where we firstly gather in my living room for some worship, prayer and Bible study, and then we go out on the streets of Uppsala to hand out coffee and evangelize. Yesterday, we had two remarkable encounters during the outreach phase.
A Kurdish man came, received a cup of coffee and then loudly announced “I don’t believe in religion! Not in Islam, Christianity or anything else!” Thinking that this was an atheist, I started to bring up some apologetic arguments for God’s existence, but they fell flat to the ground. “I do believe in a creator! But not in religion! It is impossible for humans to understand God and to have contact with him!”
Oh, so it’s a deist then, I thought. My friend Tryggve and I then started to question him on how the Creator is able to create an entire universe without being able to cure a disease or talk to those that He has created, but our attempts were unsuccesful as the man repeatedly just stated “It’s impossible! It’s impossible! You don’t understand!” I then started to testify about miracles that I have witnessed and how Jesus revealed Himself to me, but I could hardly finish a sentence before the man shouted “No! Those are just illusions! You don’t understand the truth!”
The man furthermore claimed that we all believe what we believe because of our upbringing, whereas I told him about the amazing church growth in Nepal, where millions have converted to Christianity during the last 30 years mainly due to visions, healings, signs and wonders. Again, his response was that it was impossible. I asked him how he knew that it was impossible, and he claimed that “everybody” knew miracles are impossible. When I pointed out that this was a lie since we Christians know that miracles exist, he again said that miracles are impossible and that God does not reveal Himself to people. (more…)