Miracles have always been central to the Christian faith. That isn’t to say that every person who has every believed in God has believed in miracles. In fact, if you do a simple study of the history of the church, one can see a simple trend: The more educated we become, the less we believe in miracles. The more the church learned about science and psychology, the less it’s leaders believed in the supernatural. In fact, in many parts of church leadership and academics, miracles have been determined to be primitive and outdated.
Tyron Inbody, a retired professor from United Theological Institute, explains this in one of his books: “Some earlier modern theologians, including Rodulf Bultmann, insisted that ‘mature’ modern people do not believe in miracles and that ‘no one can or does seriously maintain’ such early Christian perspectives.”
He goes on to say this: “For some modern Christians… the idea of miracles is an embarrassment and unnecessary to faith. Miracles do not happen, some Christians argue, because God does not work in ways that contradict the laws of cause and effect; God works through natural laws described by science. If something unusual or ‘unnatural’ happens, we simply do not yet know how to explain it according to the laws of nature.”
In other words, Christian leaders have begun to accept that Christianity is not limited to a belief in the supernatural. It is not limited to a belief in miracles. Christianity, according to some, has merit without miracles. What I hope to suggest, in this five-part series, is that miracles are not only central to the Christian faith but essential to church renewal.
What do you think? Is it necessary for Christians to believe in miracles? How would you define a miracle?
Inbody, Tyron. The Faith of the Christian Church: an Introduction to Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005.