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