I was reading Jerry Trousdale’s book “Miraculous Movements” and in it there is a story about two men who are disciple makers. They know of a village that is too dangerous to try to disciple people in. While on a journey to another location their transportation breaks down in that very village and it is nearly night. They are afraid because of what they have heard has happened to Christians in that area. While trying to figure out what to do they begin to hear wailing from a distance. It petrifies them. But then they feel a strong sense of God wanting them to find out what is going on. They approach the wailing and find out that the village leader’s wife had died.
Immediately, they wanted to leave but God continued to put it on their hearts to get closer. So onward they pressed until they were near the body of the leader’s wife. And that’s when God told them to pray for her. So they walked up, announced they would pray for her (in a room full of intimidating strangers) and they prayed…and prayed…and prayed…for an hour and a half! Suddenly, this praying Christian felt her hand begin to warm. Then, she sat up!
The village opened themselves up to the gospel and many people became disciples in that village. You can find this story on pages 135-140 in the book.
Now, is that story real or made up?
That brings me to another story I heard two years ago from a missionary. He was with a group of local ministers who heard some of their fellow ministers had died in an accident. The local ministers told this missionary that they were going to the men to see if God would raise them back to life.
Now, is that real or is that made up?
Here is one more thing Trousdale reports,
“The reports indicated that , depending on the region, a minimum of 50% (in the most extreme and violent Muslim areas) and a maximum of 70% of all new churches planted among Muslims happened in part because of signs and wonders (typically healing and deliverance) that accelerated and facilitated the process of disciple making.” (p.135)
Is that real or is that made up?
I believe God can do anything and there isn’t any reason to say God cannot or will not do these things today. Now, if these stories resulted in demonic fruit I would know that there was no chance they were real but why would the devil fight against himself if these things aren’t real? The definition of real has never been whether or not it is within my realm of experience or understanding.
If you would like to read more stories like this and what approaches are working to make disciples who make disciples, you can buy Miraculous Movements here.
If you heard your whole life that the Holy Spirit stopped doing these things once the Bible was written, that isn’t true! Here is the evidence in the video below. I hope you will take some time to digest the primary sources on miracles for the first several hundreds years of Christian history!
Matt,, what bothers me with these reports, is that there is little or no independent evidence. A generation ago, we had the Oral Roberts and many others claimed to perform miracles – and all were proven to be bogus.
William Nolen did honest research, and the title of his book shows his intent: A Doctor in Search of a Miracle. As a doctor who saw too many patients die because the medical world had no answers and cures. His research was honest, not to disprove, but find ways to help his patients. And the people who were proclaimed to be healed, died of the same illness of which they were supposed to have been healed.
When I look at miracles in the New testament, they did not take place in out of the way, deeply hidden places, but in full view of a lot of people.
Francis Chan came home from Myanmar, speaking about having witnessed miracles. Research was done by others, again, honest people searching for God’s working – and came back with evidence that the miracles were not miracles.
Growing up, an Osborn convert in the Netherlands started claiming miracles, as well. There, too, the evidence was overwhelming against his interpretation. Years later, I got to know one of his employees. A man who was deaf in both ears. I asked him how it was that, after having worked almost 2 decades for the Dutch Osborn, that he was still deaf. His answer was heartbreaking: “I still do not have enough faith to experience a miracle. I am not worthy yet of that blessing…”
I have absolutely no problem with the idea that miracles existed in the days of the early church, and not today. As I read through the history of Israel, I see long “dry spells” where no miracles took place. When I look at the purpose of the miracles, I still see no issue. Thomas fell on his knees, seeing the risen Christ. And the words of Jesus make an enormous impression: You believe because you SEE. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Every once a while I have a conversation with people about miracles. They speak of the miracle of life when a baby is born. For me, that is not a miracle. This is the way God “built” us – go forth, and multiply… I see people recuperating from horrible conditions – believers and non-believers. And sometimes people get well – unexpected. Miracles? Or just human ignorance about how certain illnesses run?
I guess I am a bit more like Thomas than like Francis Chan: Show me… And I am not even from Missouri!
There have been over 80 million conversions in disciple making movements around the world in the last decade or so. That is roughly 1% of the world’s population. About half of these have miracles associated with them as well as Jesus dreams. So we are talking about 40 million+ people coming to faith associated with dreams and miracles at a minimum. This is common. You are welcome to question it, just realize the context and scope of what you are saying God isn’t doing.