The Western church is presently in a crisis. Many of our church leaders have been so saturated with an anti-supernatural worldview that they seem afraid of the present day work of the Holy Spirit. This type of unbelief has been fueled by the Enlightenment and excesses in the Charismatic/ Pentecostal movements. We Evangelicals in the Western world need a fresh encounter with the God who inspired the Bible we cherish so much. The naturalistic or strictly scientific worldview that many in the west have embraced is dying. We are all spiritual beings, so we can never ultimately be satisfied with a natural explanation of the meaning of life. If the Church doesn’t step up and help spiritually hungry people, the Neural Buddhist/New Age types will seek to fill the void, according to Dr. Gary Habermas. Neural Buddhism is a mixture of science and Buddhism.
Dr. Craig Keener makes an excellent point in his commentary on Romans, “Western Christendom today has imbibed the radical Enlightenment’s skepticism of the supernatural, suspicious of miracles and other divine interventions. For Paul, however, the genuine Christian life is “supernatural” (i.e. , divinely empowered) from start to finish, a life by God’s own Spirit. Apart from acknowledging and embracing the Spirit, the best imitations of Pauline religion are just “flesh.”
But suddenly, ‘after four months the anointing came. It came upon me as I was walking in the streets of New York.’ The Holy Spirit came upon Moody in great force while he was walking down Wall Street. All of a sudden nothing was important except to be alone with the Lord. He went as fast as he could to the residence of a New York friend and asked for a room to pray in.
‘Ah, what a day! I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it, it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.’” Lyle W. Dorsett, A Passion For Souls: The Life of D. L. Moody (Chicago, 1997), page 156.
Some popular Bible teachers still refuse to acknowledge the fact that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still operative today. And the fact that people are still experiencing healings, and real power encounters with the Holy Spirit. Some of these teachers accuse Charismatics/Pentecostals of basing their doctrine of The Holy Spirit on personal experiences. But, they ignore sound biblical exegesis, and base their on views on their lack of experiences with the Spirit. As always the Scripture should be our final authority, not our experiences, or lack of them. While it’s well documented that miracles are on the increase in South America, Asia and Africa. It is also important to know that they have occurred throughout Church History, not just in the book of Acts. The quotes below came from Craig S Keener’s excellent and scholarly book, Miracles.
“A miracle that happened at Milan while I was there, when a blind man had his sight restored, succeeded, in becoming more widely known because Milan is an important city….In contrast with this, there are surely only a very few at Carthage who know about the healing of Innocentius, sometime counselor of the vice-prefecture. But I was present as an eyewitness.” – Augustine of Hippo
“I have been concerned that such accounts should be published because I saw that signs of divine power like those of older days were frequently occurring in modern times too…It is not yet two years since the shrine we have been speaking of was established at Hippo and, to my certain knowledge, many miracles have occurred there which are not recorded in the published documents; and nearly seventy of these documents have been produced, at the time of writing.” – Augustine of Hippo
Keener writes, “Augustine’s many examples of miracles of which he was certain include dramatic cases like healing of long-term paralytics; he freely cites eyewitnesses. Sometimes he expresses his annoyance when someone healed had not yet publicly given testimony to what God had done, because they were acting as if the healing were only for their private edification and not also for God’s glory. He recounts a less dramatic recovery of his own that he regards as miraculous. He reports his own suffering for several days from tooth pain so severe (perhaps due to abscess, in the days before root canals) that eventually he could not speak. No sooner had his friends prayed for him than it vanished (Confessions. 9.4.12).” Craig Keener, Miracles, page 359,365, Volume 1.