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Contents:
  1. The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith by Peter Rollins
  2. The Divine Magician
  3. What is the evidence for/against the existence of God?
  4. Spirituality ~ Social Justice
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Smoke and Mirrors. The Empty Cabinet. Trickster Christ. Outside the Magic Circle.

Restaging the Trick. The Vanishing Priest. An author, lecturer and storyteller, he is renowned for his dynamic and winsome speaking. When Peter encountered the lame man of Acts 3, he had no money v.

The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith by Peter Rollins

As a general rule, the miracles of the Bible era were done in the presence of a multitude of credible witnesses —even hostile observers. When the Lord multiplied the loaves and fishes, possibly some ten thousand or more people were present cf. John ff. Genuine miracles were not slow, progressive processes; rather, they produced instantaneous effects.

True miracles must be subject to sense perception.

The Divine Magician

The wonders of the Bible were objective demonstrations, not subjective speculations! Actual signs must be independent of secondary causes. By this we mean there must be no possible way to explain the miracle in a natural fashion. One is reminded of the boy whose cat gave birth to kittens. When the lad noticed the kittens were blind, he prayed for them. Sure enough, in about nine days they all could see!

Hardly a miracle. Can the miracles of Christ be explained in any natural fashion? They cannot. For instance it cannot be argued that the blind man of John ff was psychosomatically afflicted, for the gentleman had been born in that condition. How can a perfectly restored ear, that had been amputated, be explained by current processes Luke ?

A genuine miracle will generate more than a superficial and temporary interest. It will have an abiding effect. The miracles of Christ were never denied during the apostolic age, nor even in the immediate ages beyond. We submit, therefore, that so-called modern miracles do not meet the criteria suggested above. They thus must be rejected and explained upon some other basis. What was the purpose of miracles in the ministry of Christ, or in the apostolic age? As noted above, their design must be consistent with the lofty theme of redemption.

And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed Mark The function of the signs was to confirm the revelatory process, i.

What is the evidence for/against the existence of God?

The writer of Hebrews argues similarly. The word denotes evidence that establishes the validity of the divinely-given word Brown , The supernatural gifts of the primitive age, therefore, had as their design the establishment of the credibility of Christ and his spokesmen, and so ultimately, the validation of their message, namely, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world!

Now observe this very important point. If it can be established that those early miracles do corroborate the testimony of Christ, and those commissioned by him; and further, that the recording of these events in the New Testament was designed to perpetually accomplish that function, then it stands as demonstrated that the repetition of such signs is not needed today. The fact is, that is exactly what is affirmed by the apostle John. Even those who claim that God is working miracles today, when asked if they believe that the recorded miracles of Christ in the New Testament are sufficient to establish faith in him, will answer affirmatively.

It ought to be abundantly clear, therefore, that since the miracles of the Bible continue to accomplish their original purpose, there is no need for a repetition of them today.

Spirituality ~ Social Justice

They are not being replicated in this age! Next, one should explore the method of gift reception , as that concept is set forth in the New Testament. Christ, of course, was empowered directly by God to work miracles.

Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2013: Peter Rollins - To Believe is Human; To Doubt, Divine

So far as New Testament information goes, there were only two ways by which others received spiritual gifts in the apostolic era. The first was by means of Holy Spirit baptism, i. Let us consider the biblical facts regarding these two matters.

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Holy Spirit baptism was demonstrated in only two New Testament situations. It was given to the apostles of Christ Acts ; Then, as a very special case, it was received by the household of Cornelius Acts ; Is Holy Spirit baptism available today? We can show that it is not by the following logical argument.

First, when Paul wrote to the Ephesians ca. It is generally conceded that this baptism must be either Holy Spirit baptism or water baptism. If it can be established that the one baptism of Ephesians is water baptism, then it is obvious that Spirit baptism was no longer available. That water baptism is age-lasting is demonstrated by the fact that it is the baptism of the great commission cf. Matthew ; Mark Whatever the baptism of this passage is, therefore, it continues in force until the end.

It must be concluded, therefore, that the one baptism of Ephesians was water baptism; consequently, Holy Spirit baptism had become obsolete. Such being the case, spiritual gifts are not received via Holy Spirit baptism today. Other than by Holy Spirit baptism, miraculous gifts could be conveyed only by an apostle of Christ.

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Note the evidence. Philip, the evangelist not an apostle , could perform miracles, but he could not pass that gift along to others. Accordingly, apostles, namely Peter and John, were sent to Samaria, where Philip had been preaching, so that the church there might be furnished with certain divine gifts cf.

Acts ; He wanted to purchase that privilege for himself, but he was informed that he had neither part nor lot in that matter, i. Such, however, was a very illogical position, for that church possessed spiritual gifts 1 Corinthians , and they had received them from none other than Paul. If to others I am not an apostle, yet at least I am to you; for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord 1 Corinthians However, the passage does not suggest that. This verse asserts that Timothy had received a spiritual gift on the same general occasion when elders had laid hands upon the evangelist—doubtless to appoint him to some special mission.

It does not affirm that the elders themselves imparted miracle-working ability to Timothy. Since, therefore, there is no Holy Spirit baptism today; and further, since there are no apostles or successors to them in this age, it should be quite clear that men are not in possession of supernatural gifts of the Spirit in this post-apostolic era of the Christian dispensation.


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Were miraculous gifts to abide with the church until the end of time, or, due to their specific design, were they only a temporary phenomena? This matter is discussed rather comprehensively in two New Testament contexts. We will consider each of these. He commences by showing that these gifts must be exercised in love, for miraculous powers, void of love, were worthless. This theme was quite appropriate in view of the disposition of rivalry which threatened the unity of the Corinthian congregation some exalting certain gifts above others, etc.

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