• A blessed Nativity / Theophany season to all! For users new and old: the forum rules were streamlined when we transitioned to the new software. Please ensure that you are familiar with them. Continued use of the forum means that you (a) know the rules, and (b) pledge that you'll abide by them. For more information, check out the OrthodoxChristianity.Net Rules section. (There are only 2 threads there - Rules, and Administrative Structure.)

Why are there miracles in other churches?

idontlikenames

Sr. Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
230
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
43
Location
Ignorantville, U.S.A.
This is a question that has haunted me for quite some time....

Why are there reports of miracles in churches which are not Orthodox?  (Catholics, read: why are there reports of miracles in churches which are not RCC?)  For example, dead-raisings, Christ-encounters, Holy-Virgin encounters, healings, etc.

Does God not care about His truth?  Is God a pluralist?  Is God an "all-you-need-is-Jesus" Evangelical?

What's up?
 

Asteriktos

Strategos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
39,504
Reaction score
266
Points
83
Age
41
I can think of two answers--not that I think I have the answer to this conundrum, of course! Anyway, when I think about stuff like this, I think maybe God allows them to happen so that they have some evidence of him, and something to be judged by at Judgment day. For some, who have never been exposed to Christianity, one might ask why he doesn't just drop a KJV Bible out of the sky for them to read in their own language then, if he wants them to know about him. One might ask why he doesn't just drop a sign down that says, "Hey, I'm God. Nice to meet you. Let me tell you a little about the Truth..." I don't know. I guess because it wouldn't work (I mean, he already gave us something like that--and look how much we divide, argue, etc.) I guess maybe the people (culturally or otherwise) aren't ready for that. The Fathers spoke of this even among the Jews and pagans... they said the Father was fully revealed in the Old Testament, but the Son only obscurely mentioned. While in the New Testament, the divinity of the Son became more clear (though not clear enough for some :) ), while the divinity of the holy spirit was not fully shown.

Then in the early Church, as the idea of Jesus as God came to be implanted, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was revealed more and more to the consciousness of the Church. (e.g., Nicea in 325 spoke of the Son, Constantinople in 381 spoke of the Holy Spirit). I do not think this is a development of doctrine, though you can call it that if you wish; whatever it's name, it is merely a condescension of God: He did things in His way, in His time, so that we would get the most benefit (which is clear from St. John Chrysostom and Bl. Augustine's commentaries on the Sermon on the Mount, among other writings). Miracles in other parts of the world, or for other groups, might be God's way of slowly leading them to the truth, or into the fulness of the truth, or at least making sure that "no one will have an excuse" on judgment day, as Paul said.

Or, as Fr. Seraphim Rose and many ascetics taught, it might be from demons. Attributing "miracles" and non-Christian gods to the work of demons is common in Orthodox literature. I try to be careful saying this myself, as I haven't the slightest clue why a Hindu here can levitate or a Buddhist there can seem to read minds. I do know that Satan adn the demons are capable of doing "great" things though, if we let them use us for their purposes. If it is demons, many people will be fooled by them because they will look for the "signs and wonders" rather than the fruit and results. Even the resurrection of a man is evil, if it is the resurrection of Stalin or Hitler. "Miracles" are not inherently good just because they are "miracles".
 

Pedro

Archon
Joined
Apr 28, 2004
Messages
2,833
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
41
Location
Greenville, SC
Hmmmmmmm...

You've touched on a sensitive issue for some, as I know one of the traditions I came out of relied heavily on "signs and wonders" (the whole ORU/put-your--hands-on-the-TV-screen thing).

I usually look at it this way:

1) Even the apostles saw folks who weren't in "their group" going around performing miracles.  They asked Jesus about it and He told them to let them be, since no one who is against Him is for Him, etc.  So God's never limited supernatural work to JUST the Apostles.

2) Miracles, strictly speaking, are not the primary job of the Church, which is the point of Apostolic succession, Orthodoxy, all that jazz.  If you look at a lot of "miracle churches," what you'll find are a lot of "miracle chasers" who are always looking for God to do His next miracle.  While not everyone in the "miracle" denominations is this obsessed (of course), it does make you wonder why anyone or any group would ask in the first place, "Well, do you have signs and wonders at your church?" or "How come you don't have as many as we do at Victory Calvary Temple International?" (for example).  Jesus rebuked the crowds that were following Him by saying that they followed Him to get a miracle, not because they were interested in who He WAS.

Paradosis said:
Or, as Fr. Seraphim Rose and many ascetics taught, it might be from demons. Attributing "miracles" and non-Christian gods to the work of demons is common in Orthodox literature.
Right...I was thinking, though, about some Orthodox I've heard attribute things from Benny Hinn's and Oral Roberts' ministries to demons.  Now, I know first hand that a lot of BIZARRE stuff goes on at ORU and that Hinns moved a LONG way from his Orthodox roots, but demons?  I have a hard time telling someone who believes in the divinity of Christ, the reality of the Logos incarnate, and the Triune Godhead that the one behind their miraculous happening is a demon.  You won't catch me saying that it's DEFINITELY God--it could just be goosebumps, as it often is--but even less likely will be your catching me attributing anything they do directly to the evil one.

Paradosis said:
"Miracles" are not inherently good just because they are "miracles".
Very true.
 

idontlikenames

Sr. Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
230
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
43
Location
Ignorantville, U.S.A.
Pedro,

type the words " Benny Hinn, prophecy" on a google search and see the articles about him.

Benny Hinn has publicily claimed that he got his "powers" from Katherine Kuhlmann, who was not a Christian, but a New-Age guru.  Benny Hinn has also stated that he believes in nine Persons of the "Trinity" (technically, that would make it an "ennead")

 

Aristocles

Merarches
Joined
Apr 23, 2003
Messages
10,031
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Pittsburgh
I like your take, Paradosis.
You know, when I first saw the photos of the apparitions at Zeitun, my first thought was "This is for the Arab Moslems".

Demetri
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,281
Reaction score
163
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Didn't know that about Benny Hinn...where did you hear that? 

I find myself agreeing largely with Justin and Pedro on this matter.  I would go on to say that we probably shouldn't care about "miracles" too much at all, whether in our Church or outside (not that they are not important or anything like that, but we should not seek to validate our faith based on them). 
 

BJohnD

Sr. Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2003
Messages
213
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
54
Location
NorCal
This may be a little off track, but I just came across something that has me scratching my head, and I'm not in a position to check it out right now. Sooooooo, for all you biblical scholars out there:

On a very secular humor chat I looked at earlier today the subject of "religious nuts" and miracles came up. (I know, I know.) The host, a non-Christian, wrote, "Didn't Jesus say NOT to expect miracles?" Another person wrote back that he had, in fact, said so. Huh? Now, I haven't committed the Gospels to memory (shame on me), but I know them reasonably well and am blanking on any verse along these lines. What I recall right now are verses like how others will do "greater works than these" in the future, and the miracles recounted in Acts, etc.

Thanks!

BJohnD
 

Asteriktos

Strategos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
39,504
Reaction score
266
Points
83
Age
41
Doesn't ring a bell with me either. The only possibility that I can think of is that perhaps they were thinking about the time when the people kept pestering our Lord for miracles and signs and he finally said "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas" (Matt. 12:39)  I've seen lots of stuff on various websites, especially non-Christian ones. One group I was a part of was ripping on Stryper, and one guy said "Hey, isn't Satan already in hell?" (referring to their album--or song, I don't remember which-- "To Hell With the Devil") They were very confused when I said that Satan was in fact not in hell right now but was roaming the earth, and that strictly speaking from our earthly perspective there wasn't even really a hell yet, but that hell was created after the last judgment, at which point Satan and his followers would be thrown in.
 

Pedro

Archon
Joined
Apr 28, 2004
Messages
2,833
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
41
Location
Greenville, SC
Paradosis said:
I've seen lots of stuff on various websites, especially non-Christian ones. One group I was a part of was ripping on Stryper, and one guy said "Hey, isn't Satan already in hell?" (referring to their album--or song, I don't remember which-- "To Hell With the Devil")...
:eek: :eek: :eek:  WOAH!!  Now THERE'S a blast from my past!

idontlikenames,

Thanks for the correction!
 

BJohnD

Sr. Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2003
Messages
213
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
54
Location
NorCal
Paradosis said:
Doesn't ring a bell with me either. The only possibility that I can think of is that perhaps they were thinking about the time when the people kept pestering our Lord for miracles and signs and he finally said "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas" (Matt. 12:39) I've seen lots of stuff on various websites, especially non-Christian ones. One group I was a part of was ripping on Stryper, and one guy said "Hey, isn't Satan already in hell?" (referring to their album--or song, I don't remember which-- "To Hell With the Devil") They were very confused when I said that Satan was in fact not in hell right now but was roaming the earth, and that strictly speaking from our earthly perspective there wasn't even really a hell yet, but that hell was created after the last judgment, at which point Satan and his followers would be thrown in.
Thanks for your response, Paradosis. You may be right that that's the verse the chatter was thinking of -- or maybe he was just making it up. And St. Paul said, "As for tongues, they shall cease." But I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the Gospels where Our Lord says, "Miracles? Ain't gonna happen."

Just so I'm clear on the concept, how does your last sentence mesh with the idea that Christ "harrowed" hell, as shown in the icon of the Resurrection?

BJohnD
 

Doubting Thomas

High Elder
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
Messages
887
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
Georgia
Pedro said:
:eek: :eek: :eek: WOAH!! Now THERE'S a blast from my past!
That's what I was thinking too. All of the sudden I've got the urge to grow some hair and get out the yellow-and-black tights....
 

Doubting Thomas

High Elder
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
Messages
887
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
Georgia
Seriously, though, if Satan is roaming the Earth (as Peter stated--1 Peter 5:8), how is he said to be "bound" as in Revelation 20?
 

Marjorie

Sr. Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
167
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
33
Location
New Jersey
Website
livejournal.com
BJohnD, the "hell" difference would be the difference between hades/sheol and Gehenna-- they're not the same words in the biblical texts. Hades/sheol is the land of death which Christ destroyed-- he brought all Creation into Life. Gehenna is the punishment prepared for those who, though death is destroyed for them too, will be unable to experience God as loving fire at the Final Judgment.

Marjorie
 

Pedro

Archon
Joined
Apr 28, 2004
Messages
2,833
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
41
Location
Greenville, SC
Doubting Thomas said:
All of the sudden I've got the urge to grow some hair and get out the yellow-and-black tights....
Yellow and Black Attack is Back!!  ;D  (How many people on this board do you think are COMPLETELY lost at this point? :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:)

Doubting Thomas said:
Seriously, though, if Satan is roaming the Earth (as Peter stated--1 Peter 5:8), how is he said to be "bound" as in Revelation 20?
He's restrained.  In Revelation we see him completely unbound.  He's not permitted to do whatever he likes, but St. John saw a time when he would be.

At least, that's what I remember hearing.
 

Doubting Thomas

High Elder
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
Messages
887
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
Georgia
Pedro said:
Yellow and Black Attack is Back!! ;D (How many people on this board do you think are COMPLETELY lost at this point? :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:)
I don't know about this board, but Saturday when I suggested that at my wife's "Footsteps in Faith" ballet recital for next year that they dance to a Stryper tune (they did a couple of Audio A tunes this past weekend), the two college age teachers were like, "who?". (At least my wife knew who they were--she bought me their "7" CD a fwe months ago). Ah, memories.....


He's restrained. In Revelation we see him completely unbound. He's not permitted to do whatever he likes, but St. John saw a time when he would be.

At least, that's what I remember hearing.
Ok, that makes sense. Thanks.
 

BJohnD

Sr. Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2003
Messages
213
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
54
Location
NorCal
Marjorie said:
BJohnD, the "hell" difference would be the difference between hades/sheol and Gehenna-- they're not the same words in the biblical texts. Hades/sheol is the land of death which Christ destroyed-- he brought all Creation into Life. Gehenna is the punishment prepared for those who, though death is destroyed for them too, will be unable to experience God as loving fire at the Final Judgment.

Marjorie
Thanks, Marjorie.
 

Orthodoxy

Jr. Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
47
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
63
Location
Colorado
Website
www.housecheckinc.com
Howdy all,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I agree with Paradosis.

and may I add:

Matthew 24: 23-24, Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

When I was a reformist and coming out of my personalized "home church" and began searching for "a" Church and noticed this very activity. People running from one "teacher" to another "teacher" looking for the next "movement" of the Holy Spirit. The draw of this type of "emotion" driven theology is great. We are humans that like to coddle our "passions" thus the "entertainment centers" we find in the Heterdox faith. I personally found this form of worship very shallow (even more shallow than my "home church"!) and knew by the Scripture there was more to the Church than an "emotional rollercoaster" until I was "raptured" out of here.


Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Is this not what we see today in the heterodox world? People that think God is obligated to save them because we speak His name? Is this not what we have all said to God at one time or another? Look God what I have done for you, certainly you MUST save little o' me!

I came to the conclusion I just wanted to pray. Forget the "miricle" chasing and signs and wonders. If I want a wonder I will look at Pikes Peak!

Here is a miricle. I have a friend that is an MS patient. He was near death when he was baptised into the Holy Orthodox Church. That was 4 years ago. He is out of hospice. Although he is still incapable of taking care of himself he is getting stronger day by day. I attribute this to the medicene of immortality and the healing nature of the Orthodox Sacrements. Truely the Orthodox Church is the hospital that heals the whole man.

Orthodoxy



 
Top