We have been looking at the topic of miracles, and Tim Stafford’s Miracles, this week. Lisa Dye walked us through a look at Stafford’s book on modern miracles, as well as helping with your comments. Before we leave this topic, I thought we would hear from Stafford on the topic of Pentecostals and why they seem to focus on miracles more than others. Please keep your comments on the topic of Pentecostals and miracles. This is not a critique of Pentecostalism as a whole.
God and miracles go together. Seek God and you will find him doing wonderful things. When God walks the earth, the sick get healed. So it was with Jesus. So it is today.
But we go wrong when we show a higher interest in miracles than in God. This is Pentecostalism’s persistent temptation—to let the effects of God’s presence become more central than God himself. When God becomes mainly a miracle provider, he stops being God. He becomes more like a vending machine. Then pressure comes to provide more miracles, new miracles, unprecedented “phenomena” that stir excitement. The “prosperity” becomes a formula rather than God’s blessing given in a personal relationship … I’m thinking of meetings where only the most superficial gospel teaching is given, and the focus is almost exclusively on miracle healing. I’m thinking of groups that always seem to go on to “the next thing”—the latest manifestation of the Holy Spirit, whether laughing or prophetic utterances or dancing or trembling or singing or roaring. There’s always something new to catch our attention, and the search for novelty becomes an addiction.
That is a danger in all faith: we want what God offers more than we want God himself.