Once again, Hays argues that the cessationists insistence on proof of miraculous claims is akin to atheistic philosophies, placing our names alongside John Loftus and Jeff Lowder. Would any reasonable, God-fearing person with even a hint of biblical discernment dare to place John MacArthur in the category of God-hating atheists? Is it even close to being an accurate comparison? Does Hays really think that our arguments are of the very same substance employed by these atheists? Such nonsense places Hays in either the camp of the very ignorant in terms of atheistic argumentation or worse, the camp of the extremely unkind, the mean-spirited, and the intentionally uncharitable. Either way, Hays continues to show colors here that are not in keeping with Christian virtue. There is simply no excuse, from a Christian perspective, for anyone to argue along these lines. Hays has to know better.
Concerning the paranormal, Hays knows full-well what I am referring to. It seems to me that Hays thinks that his credibility ought to lift even the most obscene claims to a level of credibility just because he says so. His fellow bloggers have even suggested that Christian apologists should construct a strategy for dealing with the paranormal. That is simply arrogant. If I follow Hays, I am left without any way whatever to verify claims of miracles, angels, visions, demons, and virtually everything that goes bump in the night. What a foolish proposition and a colossal waste of time.
Hays continues to attempt to tie cessationists to the arguments of naturalism. He knows full well that we believe in the miraculous. He knows we insist on the legitimacy and factuality of biblical miracles. He knows we are supernaturalists. For Hays to hint otherwise is simply to lie. He is no different than a Mark Driscoll. He deliberately sets up an argument we do not make, lying by saying this is our argument, and then knocks it over. Someone should remind Hays that Christians are commanded to be truthful, to speak the truth in love, to be courteous to one another. Hays seems completely uninterested in this part of Scripture. He would much rather wade into those areas where he can revel in the vague and the complex so that he can indulge his proclivities for unbridled and undisciplined speculations. I suppose it makes him feel smart, lifted up, elevated.
Hays continues to refuse to distinguish the events of special revelation from the events outside of special revelation. He continues to argue that these events should be viewed as normative Christian phenomena. In so doing, he flattens the unique nature of the biblical revelation. I have said this repeatedly and to my knowledge, Hays has simply ignored it.
Hays argues that the Bible promises the occurrence of certain types of miracles for the duration of Church history. He lists out several passages that are supposed to support his claim. Let's examine these verses to see if in fact the Bible makes such promises.
John 14:12: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.
Clearly this verse makes no such promise. Jesus is speaking to His disciples who are with Him at the time. The key phrase is "because I go to the Father."
Acts 2:17-18: AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.
There is nothing in this verse that promises the CONTINUATION of miracles throughout the Church age.
1 Cor. 13:8-12: Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
Once again, there is no promise in this text that miracles will continue throughout the Church age. There is only the acknowledgement that these things are among the imperfect but that they are inferior the perfect state of every regenerate Christian will show this to be the case.
James 5:13-16: Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, banointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will brestore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
And again, there is nothing in this text that promises the continuation of miracles or healings throughout the Church age.
If Hays is correct and these are in fact promises, then why aren't they happening? When was the last time you actually witnessed a genuine miracle? I don't mean you heard of someone who knew someone that told you about this person that got healed. Moreover, how often do the elders in your church pray over someone and witness the cancer drying up and going away? Do our elders even believe in God? Why aren't people getting healed? When was the last time Steve Hays laid his hands on a blind man and prayed for him and healed him? Why isn't Steve Hays down at the hospital working these miracles like Jesus and the apostles did? Hays must not have much faith. If he did, then he would stop being such a windbag and start actually doing some of these things the Bible supposedly promises. If Steve Hays' exegesis is accurate, then none of us have genuine faith because we simply don't see these miracles in any of our churches. There is one other possibility I suppose. If Hays' exegesis is accurate, and Hays really does believe, then the Bible must be false. Since Hays isn't healing anyone or working any miracles or doing anything that the Bible promises he could do if he believed it, then the Bible must be a farce. Oh, I almost forgot; there is one more possibility. Maybe Steve Hays' exegesis and argumentation is a farce. If Hays' exegesis is a farce, then that would explain why the Bible can be fully reliable and why we simply don't see these amazing miracles in modern times. I don't know which option you will choose, but as for me and my house, we choose to believe the Bible and reject the foolish abstractions of a man who has never worked a miracle in his life and yet expects us to just take him at his word that he can. After all, this is the logical conclusion of his argument.