By Daniel Juster
Miracles intrigue me. The reality
of healings that have no naturalistic explanation, has been an important
part of my faith, teaching and apologetic explanation of why I believe. My
textbook, The Biblical World View, an Apologetic, even has a
chapter devoted to this subject. That is why I am so enthusiastic about the
publication of Dr. Craig Keener's new book, Miracles, the
Credibility of the New Testament Accounts.
Over twenty years ago, Dr. Keener would travel from Philadelphia to teach
at our school in Maryland, Messiah Biblical Institute. Dr. Keener is a
world renowned scholar and today serves as professor of New Testament at
Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He embraces the power and gifts
of the Holy Spirit and has a Messianic Jewish theological orientation as
reflected in his monumental commentaries. A few years ago Dr. Keener
accepted my urging to be part of the new Messianic Jewish Bible translation
called The Tree of Life Version, and he still serves the Messianic
After reading the Miracles, I concluded that this is the
most important work ever written on the case for contemporary
miracles. Dr. Keener uses the case for contemporary miracles as
a case for the credibility of New Testament miracles. He first
deals with the issues of how we can establish a real miracle event. He
answers skeptical philosophical approaches and provides a powerful
refutation of such approaches to knowledge and history. He deals so deftly
with the philosophical issues that leading philosophers like Dr. C. Steven
Evans have heartily endorsed his book. Dr. J. P. Moreland, another noted
Evangelical philosopher, stated that the book "took his breath
However, the greatest part of the book is Dr. Keener documenting all kinds
of miracles from many parts of the world using both eyewitness testimony
and medical records.
The Miracle Accounts
The number of remarkable miracles documented is simply beyond anything that
has ever been compiled before. Account after account, page after page,
chapter after chapter, the story continues. Blind eyes see, limbs grow
out, deaf ears hear, cancers are eliminated the dead are raised up; and,
yes, demons are cast out. It is real! Most of the miracles occur in what
used to be called the Third World (today called the Majority
World), although Keener also presents us with some genuine accounts
from the Western world as well. We find accounts from China, the
Philippines, Africa, India and South America. The humility of this man
constantly comes through. From personal acquaintance I can report that Dr.
Keener lives his faith and identifies with all kinds of people in
all kinds of life situations. His arguments are understated, but I will
not understate them. His book is one of the most important
apologetics for Biblical faith in my lifetime and the most important one on
post New Testament miracles ever.
Dr. Craig Keener
The Foundational Arguments
There are two noteworthy foundational arguments in Dr. Keener's
The first: When Biblical faith confronts evil power, the power
of the Gospel is consistently greater. There are supernatural
happenings in paganism - witchcraft, shamanism, and sorcery. But these
magical powers are nullified and overcome. So the Gospel spreads in these
lands by power encounters reminding us of Elijah's contest with the
prophets of Baal. This in itself confirms the Biblical worldview.
The second: If the same kinds of miracles found in the New
Testament are happening today in many parts of the world, then the
credibility of New Testament miracles is reinforced. Some historians
were skeptical of the New Testament miracles since they simply do not
happen in our human experience today. Keener shows that is not true.
Analogous miracles are frequently happening around the world. The scholarly
presentation of the miracles and their role in supporting the case of the
New Testament miracles is brilliantly laid out.
Despite the overwhelming evidence confirming the Biblical faith, skeptics
can still reject this testimony. The ability of denial is very great for
those who do not want to submit their hearts to God. All apologetic
evidences only work as tools that have effect in those who are sincerely
searching for the truth and are being wooed by the Holy
Spirit. This is why our prayers are so very important in making such
material effective. Yet, I could not be more enthusiastic than I am
regarding this two volume set. I see its publication as a monumental event.
We pray continually for an outpouring of the Spirit here in the land of
Israel so we might see the same kind of miracles as in the majority world!