To demand miracles for faith building was a great weakness of the Jews (1 Corinthians 1:22). They were like spoiled children demanding energetic acrobatics for playtime. God periodically blessed the nation of Israel with a prophet that brought a glut of high profile miracles but these periods were punctuated with periods of trouble or silence where miracles were not the norm. This well documented mindset of the Jews is prevalent in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles. Miracles are routine and expected on demand. The need for a constant supply of ‘miracles’ to justify the doctrinal position of these churches leads to a rebranding of modern babbling as the biblical gift of tongues and a set of fake and quasi-miracles offered as evidence of the action of the Holy Spirit. There is a tendency to see the absence of ‘miracles’ such as babbling tongues and incomplete healing as a sign of the absence of faith. I often meet charismatics who doubt my faith based on my lack of faith in their church’s ‘miracles’. 

Faith is absolutely necessary to activate the saving waters of baptism (1 Peter 3:21, Colossians 2:11-12), prophesied by Jesus (Luke 24:47) and commanded by Peter (Acts 2:38). It is also necessary to be combined with works of obedience (Hebrews 4:2, James 2:24). God is not looking for his worshippers to ‘go through the motions’ without faith. ‘Modern day‘ miracles on the other hand are absolutely NOT necessary for salvation. Faith does not come from miracles, though when they are present they can make a contribution (John 14:11). Faith comes from the hearing of the message.

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

The message today is the writing of the prophets and Apostles (Ephesians 2:20). God had the plan to supply His worshippers with Scriptures from the beginning. Jesus was the Word (John 1:1). This all makes sense when we look at the following account of the afterlife described by Jesus:

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

It was the strong belief of Abraham that those living relatives of the dead man suffering in Hell, would be unconvinced by a miraculous appearance. The Bible has ALREADY been attested to and confirmed by generations of miracles.

John 20:30-31 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The bible was written to replace the need for miracles to produce faith. The production of faith is now possible with the reading and understanding of the library of books known collectively as the Bible.

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It simply amazes me to see the huge numbers of Atheists, Muslims and churchgoers who refuse to study the bible with me one to one. I recently visited Estonia, a country steeped in the modern religion of political nationalism. It has been saturated with missionaries from many world religions since it’s exit from the Soviet Union some 20 years ago yet most people have not been offered systematic bible study. One man I spoke to, had been approached by Hare Krishnas and one ‘Christian’ group as well as myself. So few churches offer the study of the Word to generate faith. Many rely on false miracles and false doctrine which of course leads to false faith. Miracles DO still happen but ARE NOT necessary today. Faith comes from bible reading and bible study. That is why we teach First Principals. That is why the International Christian Church teaches its young disciples to study First Principals with other people. Forgiveness of sin is miraculous. To be born again is miraculous! To take part in the passion of the Christ is miraculous! These miracles are simply not enough for those with the Charismatic mindset.

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