Keener On Miracles (Apr 2012)

By Matt Dabbs

By Edward Fudge

Do miracles really happen–the kind we read about in the New Testament? If they did, do they happen today? If we say “yes” to the first question but “no” to the second, how can we excuse the inconsistent answers?

Many people deny, on scientific and/or on antisupernaturalist principles, that the miracles reported in the New Testament Gospels and Acts really occurred. Many others affirm faith in “New Testament” miracles — so long as they remain long ago and far away. God might act today, they say, but certainly not like he did 2,000 years ago. But not so fast, says New Testament scholar Craig Keener, a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and a recognized expert in first-century thought and culture. Keener once was less than keen about miracles today. Then he married a wife from the Congo in Africa (who also has a PhD), and he began to move and listen and observe life from within a culture very different from his own native culture. Well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon Keener had written a book on miracles that Christianbook.com named the 2011 Book of the Year, and that Keener’s fellow-theologian at Asbury, Ben Witherington III, considers the best book ever written on the subject. In his Introduction, Professor Keener tells the reader exactly where he is coming from, as the following brief excerpt illustrates.

“I acknowledge up front that my personal interest in writing this book includes challenging the prejudice of Western antisupernaturalist readings of the Gospels and Acts. I believe that antisupernaturalism has reigned as an inflexible Western academic premise long enough and that significant evidence now exists to challenge it. When many Western intellectuals still claim that miracles or any events most readily explained by supernatural causation cannot happen, simply as an unexamined premise, whereas hundreds of millions of people around the world claim to have witnessed just such events, some in indisputably dramatic ways, I believe that genuinely open-minded academicians should reexamine our presuppositions with an open mind. Although claims do not by themselves constitute proof, the world is different from when the views informing our presuppositions against all miracle claims formed.”

Read all about it here, or browse in it here. Or, to learn more about Keener and his other interests and activities, click here. And finally, for about a dozen video lectures by (or about) Dr. Keener, have a look at a series on line here.

Copyright 2012 by Edward Fudge. You are urged to reproduce, reprint or forward this gracEmail, but only in its entirety, without change and without financial profit.

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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