Yeah -- wow. So I look down this morning and I see the image you see at the right there, and I realize I should have had a TeamPyro post today ready for you people because it's Wednesday.
How can it be Wednesday? What happened to Tuesday? Is this what it's like to get old -- to have days vanish?
As I deal with my existential crisis, Let me comment briefly (heh) on something that came up in the last couple of days which is bound to draw ire from a lot of people for a lot of reasons. I want to talk a minute about the apologetic value of defending OT miracles.
Now, read this closely so you don't say something you ought to apologize for after you read (or have someone tell you about) what I will have written here: without any reservation, I affirm creation in 7 days, every single miracle and supernatural event of both the OT and the NT, and I affirm that God can do as He pleases in and above Creation because He's the creator and sustainer. So as you read this, don't hear me say that I discount the miraculous.
But here's the thing: I believe that God can do all those things -- a global flood, preserving all the animals in a boat, parting the Red Sea, speak through dreams, etc. -- because I have faith in God. The Bible's authority speaks to me because my faith makes me ready to hear what the Bible says and receive it and believe it. When I didn't have faith in God, it all looked like gibberish to me.
That doesn't mean the Bible didn't have the authority to speak to me on these issues: its authority is above and before my willingness or ability to listen. And in the end, because the Bible has the authority is has, people are going to be judged by that standard in the end.
In that respect, the Way of the Master approach to evangelism is a wholly-valuable approach, presuppositionally, to telling people the truth about their real problem before God. It doesn't seek to get them to first, for example, accept a 6-day creation before showing them that the Law says they are sinful people under condemnation. They know in their hearts what the law says (Rom 1-2)(Rexella - thx van Impe groupies everywhere), and WOTM is an appeal to that -- which, I think, is a good thing.
But think about that in terms of the apologetic value of defending OT miracles -- or even NT miracles (excluding 2, which I will get to in a minute) -- to unbelievers. There's no sense in doing that at all -- because they could believe all the miracles and still miss the point of the Old Testament. Look at this from John 6:
So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.You know: these are Jews who believe that Moses made miracles in the desert, and that they can trust the Torah to tell them the truth about the history of that time. But here they are, with Jesus standing in front of them, frankly missing the point. They believed the OT miracles -- and missed the Messiah!
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal."
Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"
Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."
So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
So before you break out the apologetic argument to substantiate any or all of the miracles in the Old Testament, keep something in mind: those miracles, in the best case, are merely parables about Jesus -- however historically-accurate they may be. Believing in those miracles doesn't give you faith in the one who is just and also the justifier of the ungodly.
On the other hand, what if we were wiling to say something like this: "Listen [unbeliever's name goes here]: I'd be willing to stipulate your unbelief in the miracles God made in Israel if you'd be willing to talk to me about one of two non-negotiable miracle of the Christian faith. Paul, who was the first global evangelist for my faith, said that if the resurrection was not true, then he was himself a liar and all his followers were the most-pathetic of all men. Let's talk about the miracle of the ressurection."
In that miracle, we also get a front-door to the other non-negotiable miracle of our faith -- which is forgiveness of sin. You know something? If we spent as much energy on appealing to people to repent because God -- who ought to rightly judge them -- has provided a solution to the problem of His wrath -- a miraculous solution, because there's no logical or natural solution to His wrath except our punishment -- think of all the really-worthless arguing we'd have to give up.
Don't waste your time on the wrong miracles. The flood of Noah is not good news: finding out that the tomb is empty, and Jesus Christ is risen -- a sign of His power and His authority, and of the worthiness of His sacrifice -- is actually Good News.