Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Explosion of Miracles ~ Craig Keener

Craig Keener, Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, was recently interviewed by Tim Stafford for Christianity Today, particularly in regard to the subject of  his new book, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts.
Two days after my conversion, I wasn't sure if I had done it right, so I asked a pastor to pray with me. I was overwhelmed again by the same awesome sense of God. There was no way I could praise him enough unless he gave me the words. It started coming out in another language. I had never heard of speaking in tongues, I didn't know what it was. It just happened to me.

My ordination is in the National Baptist Convention USA, so technically I'm a black Baptist. My wife does not pray in tongues. But her mainstream evangelical church in the Congo testifies to people being raised from the dead. In that sense, the Congolese church is far more charismatic than almost any charismatic experience I know of here.
Keener's wife is from Congo-Brazzaville and her church denomination there is Eglise Evangelique du Congo. When Keener met the people there, some shared their testimonies with him:
It was remarkable. I got seven eyewitness accounts of people being raised from the dead. One was my sister-in-law, Therese. I asked my mother-in-law to tell me about it, with my wife translating from one of the local languages. My mother-in-law described how Therese was bitten by a snake. By the time my mother-in-law got to her, she wasn't breathing. No medical help was available. She strapped the child to her back and ran to a nearby village, where a friend who was an evangelist prayed for Therese. She started breathing again.

I asked my mother-in-law how long Therese had stopped breathing. She thought about how long it takes to get up this hill and down this hill from one village to another. She said about three hours.
He shared some of this at a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. "Maybe we should listen to some of the majority-world readings of these passages." A scholar from Nigeria stood and gave a couple of similar accounts, one concerning a stillborn child who began breathing after believers prayed over him for about a half-hour. "I've heard a large number of such accounts," Keener said.

Keener concludes, "We have an explosion of miracles taking place, especially in conjunction with the spread of the gospel. Some things are outside the norm for most Westerners, whatever kind of church we are associated with. It's probably good for us, to shake us up. Extraordinary things are taking place around the world."

God is still doing today what He has always done in the Church.