Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern Day Experiences of God's Power

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Overview

You Believe God Can Still Do Miracles, But How Do You Know Which Stories Are True?

A blind man suddenly sees. A lame man gets up and walks. A little boy is raised from the dead. You believe the biblical accounts that these miracles happened, but do you believe eye-witness reports that miracles still happen today? Between shady faith-healers, weeping madonnas, and gimmicks like holy land water, it's difficult--even foolish--to believe every miracle account we hear. So how do we ...

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Overview

You Believe God Can Still Do Miracles, But How Do You Know Which Stories Are True?

A blind man suddenly sees. A lame man gets up and walks. A little boy is raised from the dead. You believe the biblical accounts that these miracles happened, but do you believe eye-witness reports that miracles still happen today? Between shady faith-healers, weeping madonnas, and gimmicks like holy land water, it's difficult--even foolish--to believe every miracle account we hear. So how do we discount the fakes without missing out on the real miracles in the process?

Award-winning journalist Tim Stafford shares captivating stories of modern-day miracles, wrestling over what is credible and what isn't. But more than that, he offers wisdom and insight to help you figure out the role miracles should play in your faith. Should you expect miracles? Ignore them? Pray for them? How active is God in the world today? And could he be more active in your own life?

Learn how to explore these questions with wisdom and honesty, growing your faith and hope along the way.

"Tim Stafford puts the right person at the center of miracle stories: not the charismatic leader through whom miracles come, nor the person who is healed, but God himself."
--David Neff, editor in chief, Christianity Today

"Veteran journalist Tim Stafford does best what good journalists do best: reports on the world of miracles with neither skepticism nor naivete but with clarity and reverent honesty. A remarkable achievement."
--Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

"Do you want to believe in miracles but have been put off either by Christians who insist that every problem should be solved by a miracle, or by the skepticism of God's miraculous intervention in human experience? Then this is your book! As a journalist, Stafford squarely faces and differentiates between actual occurrences of miracles and disappointing non-occurrences; as a Christian, he makes a conscious effort to be faithful to God's revelation in Scripture. The result is a book that will instruct you on how to think biblically about issues relating to miracles. The summary statements in the last two chapters alone are worth the price of the book."
--Ajith Fernando, Teaching Director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka

"Tim Stafford puts the right person at the center of miracle stories: not the charismatic leader through whom miracles come, nor the person who is healed, but God himself. This book will help you see genuine miracles as part of God's way of telling his own story, and will teach you to listen for what God is saying through them."
--David Neff, Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

"Tim Stafford dives headfirst into this investigation of those special events we call miracles--signs and wonders that demonstrate God's supernatural power. Probing, clarifying, and speaking to skeptics and believers alike, Stafford is thoroughly convincing as he digs deep to comment on biblical and contemporary examples."
--Lucy Shaw, author, Breath for the Bones, What the Light Was Like

"Tim has taken one of the most important and fascinating topics in the world and written about it with honesty, faith, and grace. His look at miracles through history and across cultures is full of wisdom and longing. This book--if not actually miraculous itself--is at least providential."
--John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and author of Who Is This Man?

"When I started reading this fine book, I was what Tim Stafford labels a "Semi-Believing Doubter" on the subject of present-day miracles. I no longer wear that label. Miracles is a gripping--and convincing--account of how God continues to astonish us with signs of a power that will someday come into its fullness!"
--Richard J. Mouw, PhD, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

"There are journalists of miracles and there are guides to miracles. Tim Stafford is a sure guide to skeptics and believers alike, showing how contemporary Christians not only live in the miraculous stories of the Bible but also wrestle with what seems to be God's silence in these same pages."
--Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Miracles have been over-reported, admits Stafford (Personal God: Can You Really Know the One Who Made the Universe), senior editor at the magazine Christianity Today. Here, he takes a journalistic approach to examine what could otherwise be considered “hype.” From reports of miracles in his own church to those overheard during reporting abroad, Stafford’s examples show why miracles could be seen as both amazing and exaggerated, God-given and coincidental, real and fake. Though he leaves room for readers to draw their own conclusions about the authenticity of miracles, he offers judgment on society’s interest in miracles: “We go wrong when we show a higher interest in miracles than in God.” The text has everything one would want in a book about miracles: history, global reports, a view of Pentecostal miracles, and even 20 takeaway messages. But the real gem is the psychological examination of why people do or don’t believe in supernatural healing. It is this doubt that readers will want to discuss at the water cooler. Agent: Books & Such Literary Agency. (July)
From the Publisher
“Tim has taken on one of the most important and fascinating topics in the world and written with learning, honesty, faith, and grace.”
—John Ortberg, author and pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764209376
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/1/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Stafford is a lifelong professional writer, with more than twenty published books, two of which have won Gold medallion awards. Tim serves as senior writer for Christianity Today magazine and has published hundreds of articles in that and other publications. He lives with his wife, Popie, in Santa Rosa, California. Visit his website at timstafford.wordpress.com.
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Table of Contents

Foreword 7

Acknowledgments 9

1 A Real Miracle 11

2 Why a Miracle Matters, and How 21

3 Seeking Proof of God 33

4 Why Don't People Believe? 51

5 The Semi-Believing Doubter 69

6 The Old Testament and Its Miracles 81

7 The Miracles of the New Testament 93

8 Did Miracles Happen After the Apostles? 113

9 The Pentecostal Revival of Miracles 131

10 Global Pentecostalism 147

11 Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles? 165

12 When No Miracles Come 181

13 What We Know and How We Should Use It 199

14 Last Words 209

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Readable yet challenging, skeptical yet believing, hopeful and h

    Readable yet challenging, skeptical yet believing, hopeful and helpful. 

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Miracles

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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