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Posted January 12, 2013
Readable yet challenging, skeptical yet believing, hopeful and h
Readable yet challenging, skeptical yet believing, hopeful and helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Do you believe in miracles? While Christians universally answer yes, this question brings up a myriad of questions for the Church today. Many Christians are increasingly cautious of affirming miracles because of the damage done publicly by faith healers and outright shenanigans. Popular books abound recounting personal stories of being transported to heaven, seeing Jesus, talking to angels and of course, being healed. Should every such story be believed? And if we refuse to believe are we being cynical and unbelieving in our outlook?
Beyond this larger question, the average Christian often has to make tricky decisions in real life scenarios. They are confronted with a claim to a miracle in the life of someone they know at work or in their church. They are pressured to come to a Pentecostal revival where they can’t help but be skeptical of the outlandish behavior and incredible conclusions made by their friends. Just how are we to think about miracles, when we pray for them on behalf of our family and friends every day? We all know God can heal, and we want his healing touch, but we just aren’t sure that we should expect it, or what to do when we think we’ve really seen it.
Tim Stafford, a senior writer for Christianity Today steps into this quagmire and offers us some help in a remarkable new book titled, Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern-Day Experiences of God’s Power. Tim navigates this thorny problem by recounting a true story that he experienced in his church, a fairly high-brow, staid and conservative Presbyterian assembly, by his telling. A young man experienced a healing from a debilitating pain in his feet that had required crutches and a wheel chair for years. His family were understandably overjoyed at his sudden and dramatic healing experienced at another church several hours away. But they were a little disappointed that their fellow church members didn’t share all their enthusiasm.
Stafford uses this story as a case in point, and interviewed the family as well as other families affected by this story from his church. Tim also draws on his travels to far-flung corners of the globe, where the miraculous may be more common. But rather than basing his conclusions on eye-witness testimony, Stafford also surveys the Old and New Testaments and the early years of church history looking for takeaways that we can apply to this perpetually difficult question. The result is a lucid and eminently readable account of his exploration. And his book is more than a page-turner. He brings sage advice, common sense, and an open spirit to the topic as well as his own honest account of disappointment and growth in this area.
Stafford’s book won’t change the mind of the die-hard proponent of an extreme position on this issue. Those who see miracles around every corner will still find them, and those who hesitate to affirm the miraculous anywhere after Rev. 22, will equally be unconvinced. But for the average believer, without an axe to grind, Stafford’s treatment will be challenging and uplifting, and ultimately helpful. I was encouraged to trust in our miracle-working God more, and to see the miraculous in the ordinary means of grace that God so faithfully provides.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Bethany House. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
Posted August 23, 2012
It's ironic how a story that centers around a man in a wheelchair getting healed has a man with crutches on the cover. But I digress. From the beginning of this book, Stafford sets some facts straight. He is a Christian. He believes in Jesus and believes in the Bible. He is also a journalist. He investigates what he hears and doesn't "just believe" without looking at the facts. Throughout the book, some very real miracles are chronicled...along with some very fake miracles. Aside from those juicy stories, Stafford also dives into deep questions. What is healing / miracles for? What is the difference between the natural and the supernatural? Why do some people get healing / miracles while others do not? Many other questions like these are expounded upon. Are all the answers given? No. Some may only be answered on the other side of this life. However, with Scripture and clear logic, Stafford takes a stab at dissecting this issues that keep many up at night. This book is not too long, and the formatting is simple. It's a good book for reading each night before you go to sleep.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2012
Enlightening, Reasonable View of Miracles - Wonderful Read!
At some time in life, everyone has prayed for a miracle. Whether one is a devout Christian or a non-believer, every person has had occasion to wish for a miracle. As Tim Stafford points out “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Everyone hears stories of miraculous healings, but very few have a chance to verify these stories. Some refuse to credit them at all. In this book, Tim Stafford offers a very reasonable, down-to-earth assessment of miracles as well as some observations about miracles as they relate to faith. Stafford cites examples from his world travels, visits to assorted churches and meetings with healers, believers, and receivers. Miracles have been recorded throughout history, mainly in the Bible. Some eras have witnessed more miracles than others, but miracles continue to happen just as they did in Jesus’ time on earth. Miracles are defined as “signs and wonders” in the Bible. Although miracles are exciting, Stafford makes an essential point that miracles are signs that point to something greater. Miracles lead us to God. Miracles are about God and what he does for His people. Miracles are simply one way God uses to call His people to Him. He wants to show them love and to receive their love. Stafford writes with an open mind, exploring various locations, cultures, beliefs, deliveries, church teachings, philosophies and branches of science as they relate to miracles, signs and wonders. Acknowledging skeptics as well as zealous believers, he examines obstacles to belief and presents clear, logical illumination on the subject. If a reader is looking for an inspirational book of miracle stories, this is not it. Although there are some instances of miracles cited, Miracles goes much deeper than simply telling tales. It offers discussion of miracles and their role in leading people to a deeper devotion to Jesus Christ. Chapter 13, entitled “What We Know and How We Should Use It.” provides a list of affirmations about miracles and some guidelines to help the reader keep miracles from eclipsing devotion to God. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~ John 20:29 I received a copy of this book compliments of Bethany House Publishers and am very pleased to recommend it for adult and teenage readers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 20, 2012
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