Christianity: Supernatural – or not?

This week, I was telling friends about our son hearing stories of Muslims having visions of Jesus during his recent visit to Lebanon.

One friend asked why that doesn’t happen in Canada.  The other friend said that Canadians have the Bible.

I didn’t comment.  But it seems to me that many of us North American Christians are missing what is happening in our Western world.

Two weeks ago, I heard Pastor Jim Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle Church in New York say: “Christianity is supernatural or it doesn’t exist.”

That comment made me think: Doesn’t God work through supernatural means in everything he does?

When he uses a Bible verse to cause our hearts to melt, isn’t that the Holy Spirit at work?  Isn’t that supernatural?

People’s lives have been changed by dreams and visions – here in North America.  Jack Deere, former Dallas Theological Seminary professor, documents cases in his book Surprised by the Voice of God.

There are stories of people hearing the audible voice of God.  Years ago, I heard a United Church minister say that he heard God audibly calling him to the Christian ministry while he was a police officer. Until that moment, he hadn’t been thinking about it at all.

There are many stories of people who have been supernaturally healed.  We often try to explain them away – but some are impossible to explain away.  Medical doctors have been stumped by such things as cancers and tumours disappearing suddenly.

Of course, the Bible is full of all these things – the prophet Samuel hearing the audible voice of God, Jesus and the apostles miraculously healing people, and so on.

But for several hundred years, much of Western Christendom has accepted as truth that these supernatural events are no longer needed in our world – not since the completion of the Bible.

Is this scepticism part of the reason why we don’t see these supernatural events as often as people in the developing world?

We often say that the greatest miracle is someone giving his life to Christ.  That is true.  But if God can work that miracle in our lives, why can’t he work in other supernatural ways?  Isn’t it all to his glory?

I agree with Jim Cymbala.  If Christianity is simply a set of writings without supernatural power, it is only a philosophy.

I cannot say I have seen the Lord work dramatically in my life.

But I am more and more convinced he is working supernaturally in my life and every believer’s life – even if it is in small ways like nudges and promptings.  All I need to do is open my mind and heart to what he is doing.

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