Sunday, October 2, 2011

Should we be seeking after signs and wonders?

From Strauss, Encountering Theology of Mission (p. 252):

Church history and the testimony of contemporary missionaries suggest that when the gospel first breaks into a people group or geographic area, the miraculous is frequently present. But the question of how normative such signs and wonders should be for evangelism and outreach where the church is already established and the necessity of signs and wonders for a successful church-planting movement is still an issue of debate among evangelicals.

We must remember that miraculous signs can be duplicated by Satan (2 Thess. 2:9). Furthermore, Jesus reserved his harshest criticism for those who demanded a miraculous sign as evidence of who he was and as a precondition for trusting him (Matt. 12:39). Perhaps the most balanced conclusion is that any biblical theology of mission must put God's power at the center of effective mission and must emphasize that prayer and dependence on God are foundational to the missionary task. It is never wrong to pray for God's miraculous intervention, trusting him to provide it in his time and his way. It is always wrong to demand God's miraculous intervention or to believe that without signs and wonders we cannot be effective in planting the church.

1 comment:

PaulLion said...

Maybe we shouldn't view signs and wonders as normative, but I believe God desires to bless us with supernatual outpowering if He feels we need it. I especially believe God wants to bless those working in pioneering ministry with this sort of experience. Obviously, like anything this could become an idol, but if you are seeking God and feel like you need a reminder of God's love for you and the people you are serving why not ask for something supernatural. I heard John Piper say this once and I really liked it, "As believers we know the Father loves us, but what a blessing if the Father picks us up to hug us and kiss us, and then says over and over again how much He loves us." Personally, most of my Muslim friends never experience anything close to this, but I believe this is what they can experience if God decides to bless them. I pray all the time He does bless them in this way and He blesses me as well. From time to time He does this, and it totally empowers everything I am doing. I know God speaks to others in different ways, so if this is true for you please don’t take my experience and wonder why it isn’t your own. If we do this we are missing the point. God speaks differently to different people, because God is so much bigger than anyone person. I believe part of the fullness of the body is learning from the experiences of each other and praising God for the gifts He has imparted to each member.