Book Review of J.P. Moreland’s: “A Simple Guide To Experiencing Miracles”

Yes I Believe in Miracles Today

Book Reviewed by David P. Craig

I was educated at Multnomah University, Talbot School of Theology, and Westminster Seminary. All schools of whom the majority of the faculties in the 1980’s and early 1990’s were Cessationists. I also grew up in a strong Bible teaching church where the pastor were all Cessationists. According to Wayne Grudem in his Systematic Theology a Cessationist is “someone who thinks that certain gifts ceased when the apostles died when the apostles died and Scripture was complete.” Gregg Allison has a more thorough definition of Cessationism in his Baker Compact Dictionary of Theology: “With respect to spiritual gifts, the position that whereas many of the gifts continue to be exercised, the so-called miraculous gifts (prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, miracles, healings) have ceased to operate in the church today. Their cessation is due to these gifts serving to confirm the gospel at the founding of the church, and with the church’s foundation having been laid, no longer being needed for its ongoing development. Cessationism does not deny that God heals and performs miracles, but it denies that he operates through people given such gifts.”

I used to hold to the two definitions above until I went on a missions trip to Manipur, India in 1999. In one week myself and our missions team were all witnesses to the types of miracles that Moreland recounts in this wonderful book. If you are a cessationist or a continuationist or anything in-between this book will challenge you, address most of the questions you have, and give ample illustrations of the miracles that God performs today. Now and forever more I am an open but cautious continuationist. J.P Moreland is definitely a continuationist and defends and demonstrates what this looks like in the church, ministry and life circumstances that arise. Continuationism is defined in this way by Gregg Allison, “With respect to spiritual gifts, the position that all gifts, including the miraculous gifts (prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, miracles, and healings), continue to operate in the church today. Because spiritual gifts are given to foster the church’s growth by equipping its members for ministry, all of them should be exercised.”

How the book is structured. Dr. Moreland, whom I had the privilege of taking four classes from in 1990-91 at Talbot, is a brilliant, humble, and God-fearing man. I believe that he is trustworthy as an eminent philosopher, apologist, and in his recounting of his personal experiences in this book. What he does in almost every chapter is answer objections of skeptics, and then gives biblical and experiential personal  illustrations, as well as documented and verified miracle stories throughout the book. He tackles the following: (1) Why So Many Westerners Are Embarrassed By Miracle Stories; (2) Miracles: What They Are and How To Recognize Them; (3) Clearing Up Misunderstandings About Prayer; (4) Miraculous Answers to Prayer; (5) Understanding the Nature and Importance of Miraculous Healing; (6) Encouraging Credible Testimony of Cases of Miraculous Healing; (7) Hearing the Supernatural Voice of God; (8) The Nature, Reality, and Purposes of Angels and Demons; (9) Defending the Veracity of Near Death Experiences; and lastly (10) Where Do We Go From Here?

The book is biblical, theologically sound, experientially verified by numerous witnesses, and will help you draw near to God and the resources He has given us to practically expect and experience miracles today. This book will challenge cessationists, and encourage continuationists. I highly recommend this book to skeptics and believers alike. I hope and pray that it has a wide reading among evangelicals who hunger and thirst to walk in the Holy Spirit and in His power.

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