by Dan Juster, Director, Tikkun Ministries International
Miracles intrigue me. The reality of healings that have no naturalistic explanation, has been an important part of my faith, teaching and apologetic explanation of why I believe. My textbook, The Biblical World View, an Apologetic, even has a chapter devoted to this subject. That is why I am so enthusiastic about the publication of Dr. Craig Keener's new book, Miracles, the Credibility of the New Testament Accounts.
Over twenty years ago, Dr. Keener would travel from Philadelphia to teach at our school in Maryland, Messiah Biblical Institute. Dr. Keener is a world renowned scholar and today serves as professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He embraces the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit and has a Messianic Jewish theological orientation as reflected in his monumental commentaries. A few years ago Dr. Keener accepted my urging to be part of the new Messianic Jewish Bible translation called The Tree of Life Version, and he still serves the Messianic Jewish movement.
After reading the Miracles, I concluded that this is the most important work ever written on the case for contemporary miracles. Dr. Keener uses the case for contemporary miracles as a case for the credibility of New Testament miracles. He first deals with the issues of how we can establish a real miracle event. He answers skeptical philosophical approaches and provides a powerful refutation of such approaches to knowledge and history. He deals so deftly with the philosophical issues that leading philosophers like Dr. C. Steven Evans have heartily endorsed his book. Dr. J. P. Moreland, another noted Evangelical philosopher, stated that the book "took his breath away."
However, the greatest part of the book is Dr. Keener documenting all kinds of miracles from many parts of the world using both eyewitness testimony and medical records.
The Miracle Accounts
The Foundational Arguments
There are two noteworthy foundational arguments in Dr. Keener's volumes.
The first: When Biblical faith confronts evil power, the power of the Gospel is consistently greater. There are supernatural happenings in paganism - witchcraft, shamanism, and sorcery. But these magical powers are nullified and overcome. So the Gospel spreads in these lands by power encounters reminding us of Elijah's contest with the prophets of Baal. This in itself confirms the Biblical worldview.
The second: If the same kinds of miracles found in the New Testament are happening today in many parts of the world, then the credibility of New Testament miracles is reinforced. Some historians were skeptical of the New Testament miracles since they simply do not happen in our human experience today. Keener shows that is not true. Analogous miracles are frequently happening around the world. The scholarly presentation of the miracles and their role in supporting the case of the New Testament miracles is brilliantly laid out.
Despite the overwhelming evidence confirming the Biblical faith, skeptics can still reject this testimony. The ability of denial is very great for those who do not want to submit their hearts to God. All apologetic evidences only work as tools that have effect in those who are sincerely searching for the truth and are being wooed by the Holy Spirit. This is why our prayers are so very important in making such material effective. Yet, I could not be more enthusiastic than I am regarding this two volume set. I see its publication as a monumental event. We pray continually for an outpouring of the Spirit here in the land of Israel so we might see the same kind of miracles as in the majority world!
by Ben Juster, , Tikkun International
By Ben Juster
A few weeks ago the Tikkun America network hosted its 33rd annual Leadership and Weekend Conference. These conferences are crucial for leadership impartation, strengthening of relationships, and prophetic insight. Newly rebranded as the RESTORE conference, the Tikkun community gathered to demonstrate fivefold ministry in action.
Over 125 leaders met for intimate times of worship, teaching, and discussion. Speakers included Asher Intrater, Dan Juster and special guests Pastor Che Ahn and Rabbi Jason Sobel. Asher delivered an exhortation for the Messianic Community to love and serve the international Church and fulfill our destiny to be a "blessing to the nations" (Genesis 12:2-3). Humility paves the way for unity. A time of corporate repentance and intercession as leaders followed.
Then the weekend Restore Conference drew together over 400 members and friends of Tikkun. Attendees were ushered into marvelous times of worship with Paul Wilbur, Judah and Jennifer Morrison and others. Relating to the theme of "Standing Firm in One Spirit", Che Ahn opened the conference with ten declarations to call forth blessing and fruitfulness. Dan Juster spoke Shabbat morning regarding the interconnected prophetic destiny of Israel and the Nations, and on the identity of the Church as joined with Israel. Saturday evening, Asher presented an inspiring message about spiritual alignment and emerging apostolic leadership. Jason Sobel closed the conference with a call to strengthen the nets of our relationships to receive the coming harvest of new disciples.
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