Hi everyone, I taught through Acts 9:32-43 this morning and in one of the miracles, we saw Peter raise a woman from the dead. I made the point of saying that we generally react to this type of miracle in one of two ways.
The first reaction is through skepticism – we just assumed it never happened. This is the reaction I tend to have with miracle accounts.
The second reaction is through fundamentalism. With this reaction we say, “I believe it happened because the Bible says so but I don’t think those types of miracles happen today.” – This is were most Christians fall into.
I argued in the service that both of these reactions are wrong. I have a two-volume work called “Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts” by Craig S. Kenner. Craig Keener holds a PhD from Duke University and is a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of many academic books such as the IVP Bible Background Commentary; The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, the Gift and the Giver, as well as commentaries on Matthew, John, Romans, 1 – 2 Corinthians, and Revelations. His book on miracles is published by Baker Academic which is a major publisher of textbooks and academic resources; Craig Keener is not a charismatic or a Pentecostal – he is a researcher and a professor. This two-volume work is a tough read because it is so academic and there are literally thousands upon thousands of footnotes to back up every claim made. He documents evidence to defend the credibility of miracles beginning with the New Testament and the first few centuries of the church all the way until 2015. In his book, there are nearly 100 pages of documented healing of blindness, paralysis, and even the dead being raised in modern times – each account is backed by numerous footnotes and references to medical journals and other academic and scholarly resources that have been peer-reviewed. Here is the full account I shared about at church – feel free to take down names and look all this up on your own – don’t take my word for it – this is just one of many accounts. I meant to share this in church but forgot the book!
“Some modern writers argue that raising the dead, unlike most miracle claims, would involve a true miracle, but that no one today even claims that such events occur. This argument, however, proves severely flawed, since raising claims are in fact numerous today (though of course still extremely rare proportionate to the number of deaths). Presumably some such claims today, like some claims about many subjects, will prove deceptive, but I am fully convinced that a number of other claims reflect genuine eyewitness experience… One well-known account today is from Dr. Chauncey Crandall, and some local and national television news outlets reported on this particular raising claim. Dr. Crandall is a renowned cardiologist with world-class credentials… On Friday, October 20, 2006, fifty-three-year-old auto mechanic Jeff Markin checked himself into the hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida, and died of a heart attack there. Emergency room personnel labored for nearly forty minutes to revive him, unsuccessfully shocking the flatlined man seven times. Crandall was called in to certify the obvious: there was no point in continuing attempts to revive the man.
Crandall recounts that Markin was not merely dead but unusually obviously dead: his face, toes, and fingers had already turned black. Crandall concurred with the obvious conclusion; the patient was declared dead at 8:05am and after writing up his assessment, Crandall left to return to his scheduled patients. Very quickly, however, he felt an extraordinary compulsion from God’s Spirit to return. He initially, but only briefly, resisted this compulsion, and then returned. The nurse was disconnecting the IVs and preparing the body for the morgue by sponging it down, yet Crandall suddenly found himself praying over the corpse, “Father, God, I cry out for the soul of this man. If he does not know you as his Lord and Savior, please raise him from the dead right now in Jesus’ name.” The nurse glared at him in astonishment, but Crandall instructed the emergency room doctor, who had just walked in, to shock him with the paddle one more time. (For Crandall, prayer and medicine work ideally together; they are not mutually exclusive options.) The other doctor protested; they had all recognized that Markin was beyond resuscitation. Nevertheless, out of respect for his colleague, this doctor complied and shocked Markin’s corpse.
Suddenly the monitor, which they were all watching, moved from a flat line to a normal heartbeat, which would have been extraordinary even if the heart had stopped only briefly. “In my more than twenty years as a cardiologist,” he reported, “I have never seen a heartbeat restored so completely and suddenly.” Markin immediately began breathing unaided, and within minutes Markin’s fingers and toes began moving, and he began speaking. Perhaps recalling Frankenstein’s monster, the panicked nurse starting screaming, “Doctor Crandall, what have you done to this patient?” She did not know what they would do with him now. She could have had cause for concern; as already noted, someone dead even for six minutes would have irreparable brain damage. Markin had no brain damage, however, and even his numb, once-blackened extremities were ultimately restored. Crandall met with Markin Monday morning; sitting up, Markin talked with him, contemplating his second chance on life. Since then Crandall has grown still bolder in prayer for miracles, and some of his patients have testified to the media about these extraordinary cures (severe blood infections, multiple parasitic infections, lesions that would have otherwise led to an amputation of a leg – and more).”