Phil Johnson’s “Miracles and Acts of Providence”


On a number of occasions, I have heard sincere believers thank God for his miraculous work in answering prayer. This type of testimony often gives me theological heart burn. On a few occasions, I have attempted to reason with a sincere believer making this claim. I make the point that a believer who trusts in a God who uses providence is just as much an act of faith as those in biblical times who occasionally had their prayers answered with a miracle. While excluding the miracle of regeneration, I explain why miracles do not take place today and that God has been working through providence since the closing of the New Testament canon. Earlier this morning, I rejoiced to read a great blog entry by Phil Johnson who uses a real-life illustration to make this same type of clarification about miracle and providence.

In this post, he clearly distinguishes between between “superstition” and “miracle” (you can see this distinction about 2/3 of the way into the entry). In reference to miracle, he helpfully defines a miracle as “a particular kind of sign—an unmistakable display of supernatural power calculated to confront unbelief and provoke awe—with the purpose of authenticating an agent of divine revelation. True miracles are not merely arbitrary displays of God’s power; they are manifestly supernatural and are themselves a form of revelation.”

Phil further clearly maintains that in God’s providence he still answers the prayer of faith. His conclusion is worth noting: “The faith that sees the hand of God in the natural outworking of divine providence (and understands that God is sovereign over every detail of everything that happens) is not a lesser faith than the kind of belief that can only see God at work when He intervenes in spectacular, supernatural, and miraculous ways.” This is an entry you do not want to miss. To read it fully, go to “Miracles and Acts of Providence

HT: Mark Snoeberger

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  1. Bob McCabe says

    If you like “snow days,’ I would say that this may be a good providence for you. With all the climate change stuff from Washington, I am glad that the US is having record snow falls this year, even though our foolish politicians continue in their arrogant ways.

    However, it is surprising that “Motown” has not had much snow fall until today. Nevertheless, today is a different story. The snow is really coming down right now. Our local meteorologists are calling for 6 to 10 inches between today and tomorrow. Where is global warming when we need it most ?

  2. Bob McCabe says

    Though I must resist the temptation to call as super bowl win for the Lions a miracle, it would be an outstanding providence.

    Though I will not go this far, we may have students who may want to call it a miracle that we canceled school today because of snow 🙂

  3. wayne nelson says

    Are you saying that God is not in the miracle business today. I "know"
    He is becayse He preformed a miracle in my life in 1976. At least I believe did.

    • Bob_McCabe says

      Phil Johnson was not denying that God does a miracle of regeneration in our current world, nor would I. The point of the article was not to make a statement about regeneration. Regeneration, God imparting spiritual life to the spiritually dead, is a miracle that God does today to a sinner who is totally depraved and unable to respond to the gospel. This is a miracle and I experienced it when I was in college.

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