How does one deal with the testimonies of “miracles” in the modern age? I have met several people in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Mississippi who claim to be recipients of a miracle. Interestingly, their healing always dealt with ailments that could not be seen like arthritis, chronic migraines, or back pain. However, they tell their stories with such conviction because what other explanation could exist for such unexplainable curing? Those that witness and hear their passion and faith, seek the same miracles hoping for the same outcome. Such stories have persuaded thousands!
Nevertheless, should the unexplained mean a miracle occurred? Modern magicians perform illusions which the average person cannot explain; but they all have natural explanations. They are not miracles. Just because something is unexplainable does not mean it is divine.
Brother Wayne Jackson, a well-known preacher in the church, from Stockton, California, who has been investigating alleged modern miracles for half a century has yet to find physical or medical proof of a miracle in the current time. Jackson often offers a $1,000 reward to faith healers that come into the surrounding towns where he lives if they can provide medical proof of a miracle. Of all the faith healers that have come through the region, not one has come forward to claim the prize. Consider some of his research and experiences with modern miracle workers.
Peter Popoff, miracle-working cleric of Upland, California, who claimed the supernatural ability to provide secret information about people in his audiences (in conjunction with “healing” them). He was receiving such data through a tiny hearing aid; the messages being transmitted by his wife from backstage. However, a prominent magician James Randi exposed the entire affair on nationwide television (1987). Randi also demonstrated that Popoff was providing rented wheelchairs for people who could actually walk; then, at his services, he was pronouncing them healed.
Some “miracle cures” are claimed by people who honestly believe that God has healed them. The fact is, however, they had nothing organically wrong with them. Their ailments were psychosomatic. This means that though some bodily feature was actually affected, the real root of the problem was mental or emotional; hence, by suggestion a cure might be manifested. It has been estimated that some fifty-five percent (or more) of the patients applying for medical treatment in the United States suffer from psychosomatic illnesses. In fact, Dr. William S. Sadler has written in his book The Truth about Mind Cure (1929), “It is generally believed by experienced physicians that at least two-thirds of the ordinary cases of sickness which doctors are called upon to treat would, if left entirely alone, recover without the aid of the doctor or his medicine” (pg. 15).
A physician in Toronto, Canada investigated thirty cases in which Oral Roberts claimed miraculous healing was affected; he “found not one case that could not be attributed to psychological shock or hysteria” (Randi 1987, The Faith Healers, pg. 288). Dr. Sadler affirmed that after twenty-five years of sympathetic research into faith-healing, he had not observed a solitary case of an organic disease being healed.
The advocates of modern miracles might say that just because ‘you’ have not seen a miracle personally doesn’t mean that miracle workers do not exist. Even during the time of the first century, deceivers such as Simon the Sorcerer bewitched people into thinking he was someone special, when he was average (Acts 8:9-25). Just because deceivers exist doesn’t mean true miracle workers don’t exist. This is true, but even the most discerning eye and trained observer of illusions could tell the difference between what Simon did and what the miracle work did. God designed miracles to be irrefutable even to those who did not want to believe it (Acts 4:14). To someone well versed and studied in biblical miracles, even to the skeptic, a divine miracle would be immediately recognized.
In most testimonies of modern miracles, the person had already convinced themselves that they would be healed even before the so-called miracle happened, making their testimony of no interest in an objective investigation. The true and only spiritual healing of this time comes from the words of Christ written in the Bible (Matt. 13:15: “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”). – If one seeks divine healing, one should obey the gospel and be converted!