Volume. XXII, No. 32
Sunday, 03 February 2008

From the Pastors Heart: Belief in Gods Mysterious Works

Logophobia means “fear of words.”  There are certain words that scare people.  I believe that there are certain words even Bible believing separated Christians do not like or are afraid to use.  One of them is miracle.  This word has been in captivity by the Charismatic movement for a few decades.  Charismatic movement has captivated the minds of multitudes of people and motivated them to wait for spectacular experiences through signs and wonders.  It is true that the word, miracle, has been abused by so called miracle workers.  Conservative Bible believers have shown their discomfort to use certain vocabularies because of Charismatic movement.  One of them is miracle.  I am not a believer of Charismatic gifts for today.  I do oppose to Charismatic movement and its leaders.  But I do believe in God’s mysterious works.  Some people call them as miracles.  Purposefully I use a descriptive phrase, “God’s mysterious works” than a word, “miracle,” because some of the same minded brethren are very cautious of using the term, miracle.  Even some went to say that there is no more miracle for today. 

Some conservative preachers will raise eye brows and begin to wonder what sort of pastor I am, as soon as I begin to talk about God’s mysterious works.  There are basically three reasons why they may become suspicious of me.  First, they do not agree to the beliefs and practices of Charismatic movement.  Therefore, they are concerned that any talk about miracles (miraculous event, or God’s mysterious works) may have implications related to charismatic movement.  Second, they are firm believers that spiritual gifts including miracles are only for the apostolic age.  God allowed miracles in order to establish His church on earth.  Therefore, miracles were to be signs to confirm apostles’ messages and ministries.  In this case, they tend to consider all miracles as a part of apostolic gifts.  Thus, if the apostolic gifts had ceased to exist, there should not be any more miraculous acts of God.  By doing this, they are putting limits on God.  On the one hand, they believe that God is the God of miracles.  At the same time, they believe that God is not working miraculously in this age.  Third, they are afraid that experiences will take priorities over the Word of God, if we talk about miracles.  On the other hand, these concerns have brought wrong and cynical accusations from Charismatic circles that conservative believers do not believe that God is working today. 

One of the difficulties to deal with God’s mysterious works is that there are so many definitions of miracle.  Even amongst the most conservative theologians, there is no one particular definition for the word.  It means that different groups are talking about miracles in different terms, which is a dangerous practice.  Sometimes people fall into a trap of circular reasoning.  For example, they choose their favorite lexicon to look up the meaning of the word, and according to its definition they understand and explain the word.  However, if lexicons have such magical power to resolve all the biblical and theological issues, we do not have any theological conflicts today.  Even lexicons and definitions themselves are the products of human work and biased minds.  The reason I say this is to caution the readers not to rest on dictionaries or lexicons as if they have final authorities. 

I stand with those concerned parties wholeheartedly.  I do not subscribe to charismatic movement.  I do not believe that the gift of miracles may be given to individuals as if apostolic gifts are continued today.  I do not believe that Christians should seek for experiences over the revealed Word of God.  However, it does not mean that we should not expect God’s supernatural work for today.  By nature, God is supernatural.  He is able to do anything beyond our imaginations, if He desires to do so.  This topic is so vast and broad, and there is no way that I can explain about God’s supernatural works in this article.  I have met some individuals who have accused or misunderstood conservative and fundamental Christians as they do not believe in God’s supernatural work for today.  As a firm believer of the living God, I cannot accept their accusations that I am an unbeliever of God’s mysterious and supernatural work for today.  I have met many sincere and faithful servants of the Lord who have prayed and agonized in their hospital beds for God’s miraculous healing grace over their terminal illnesses.  If God is not working supernaturally today, all their prayers will produce nothing except that they will accept their coming deaths.  When doctors say that medically speaking there is no hope for them to be healed, the only thing that these godly men and women of God can do is to thank the Lord for their sicknesses and soon-to-come death.  After all, prayers are limited, and there is only one answer from God: “You are desperately sick, and no need to pray for healing.  Come home.”  If a man does not believe in the existence of God’s mysterious and supernatural work for today, his prayers for healing or deliverance from any given situation avail nothing.  I pray for God’s mysterious help on so many individuals.  If I do not believe that God works mysteriously, supernaturally and miraculously today, I wonder why I pray. 

Here I must caution you.  Miracles are miracles because of their rarity.  They are not common and usual events, but very uncommon and unusual.  No one can possibly know when they take place, because they are of God.  Therefore, claiming any authority over mysterious works of God as if ours is an act of sin against His honor and His name. 

Despite all the limits, I want to say about one thing that may prick all of our religious conscience.  Some people may argue that we have not witnessed any miracle in a real sense.  It must give us enough reason to believe that there is no miracle today.  To them, my question is, “how do you know that God is not working miraculously today, and that the real problem lies in your unbelief?”  My first example comes from Matthew 17:14-20.  A boy was possessed by demons.  As a result he seemed to have suffered with some sort of physical illnesses.  According to verse 18, Jesus cast out demons, and the boy was healed.  Before Jesus stepped into the scene, His disciples tried but failed.  Jesus in verse 20 identified the problem as a matter of unbelief.  Quite often, Jesus rebuked His disciples about their unbelief.  This boy’s healing has all the characteristics of God’s miraculous healing.  When this boy was brought to them, the apostles could not help him.  The reason was very simple.   Verse 20 says, “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”   Unbelief prevented the disciples from seeing the mighty work of God.  Jesus was grieved by their unbelief.  I wonder if we are casting all the blames of no-seemingly-miraculous work of God today in our midst to other reasons but our unbelief.  Though they were the disciples of Jesus, when they did not believe, nothing happened through them.  I wonder if it is the same problem we have today.  We are trying to talk about God intellectually and deal with the doctrine of God academically.  In the meanwhile, we have lost the beauty of our simple and childlike trust in God.  Sometimes I wonder if we think that we have enough knowledge of God and do not trust in Him. 

God works through various means.  Thus, answers to our prayers can come through various ways.  However, we must not forget that God is the same God yesterday, today, and forever.  Nothing is impossible to Him.  I am afraid that too many of us are relying on our human reasoning and logics, instead of exercising simple faith in God.  Maybe unbelief is the real problem amongst us that has hindered us from seeing the mighty hands of God today.  I think that we must expect great things from the Lord than anyone else in this world, because we believe in the living God and His word.  Maybe it is a time for us to wake up with the recognition that God is Great and Mighty.  Do you really believe and trust in Him? 


Your Pastor


More Lively Hope




Next week’s Fellowship Lunch is communal. If able to do so, please bring a dish or two for sharing.

Family Bible Camp Helpers are required.  If you are able to assist please attend the meeting on Sunday 10th Feb. after Worship Service.

Sunday School Teachers are required.  Please see Dn Edwin D’Mello if you are able to serve in this ministry.


Looking ahead:

Sunday School Cooking Competition and Video: 10am, 10 March 2008.

Family Bible Camp at Victor Harbor: 24-26 April 2008. Speaker: Bro David Weng.


Prayer Items:

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Sylvia White & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - God’s guidance & protection for all team members & a fruitful ministry; Rev S Choi (Phnom Penh) & Rev D Koo (Sihanoukville).

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam & family.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family - encouragement.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim (KL).

Journey Mercies - Bro Lincoln Law (S’pore & UK); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong (Adl); and others travelling.

Jobs - Bro Daniel Volvricht; Sis Juanita Tong.

The Lord’s provision for a new church van and floor coverings for our Sunday School rooms.

Sister B-P Churches in Australia.

Persecution: Believers suffering in Islamic countries.


Praise and Thanksgiving:

Journey mercies: Ps Ki (Adl); Elder Michael & Sis Michelle Lee (M’sia); Bro Wai Kin and Sis Mavis Wong & family (Adl); Brothers Joshua Chung, David Chung & Lincoln Law (Adl); Sis Min Yen Chia (Melb); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong (Qld); and others travelling.

Church activities: Senior Citizen’s Meeting; Share Meeting; Maranatha Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; YAF Prayer & Share.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041