Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shooting themselves in the foot

Notice how, in their fanatical opposition to modern miracles, MacArthurites unwittingly sabotage the credibility of Biblical miracles. Fred Butler says:

I would even add, verified by unbelievers who knew the person before he or she was healed and now know of the person’s healing.  

He's laying down the principle that a miraculous healing, to be credible, must be witnessed by unbelievers. Let's apply that principle to this claim:

New Testament healings were undeniable. The healing miracles of Jesus and the apostles could not be denied, even by the enemies of Jesus. 
The unbelieving Pharisees did not deny Jesus’ power, they simply distorted the truth in order to cast dispersion on the source of His power (Matt. 12:24). For example, in John 11:47-48, Christ raised Lazarus and “everyone, including His enemies, stood amazed, astounded, and unable to deny or discredit the miracles.” In Acts 4:16–17, after Peter healed a lame beggar (Acts 3:1-10), the Sanhedrin was unable to deny that such a miracle occurred.  In Acts 16, when Paul cast the demon out of the slave girl in Philippi, her angry owners did not deny what had happened. Rather, they dragged Paul before the city magistrates and had him thrown in jail. 

But if we apply Butler's filter to the criterion of his fellow MacArthurite, Nathan Busenitz, those "undeniable" miracles become instantly deniable. Why? Because Busenitz is quoting believers. His source of information is Matthew, Luke, and John. These are not accounts by unbelievers, admitting the occurrence of a miracle. Rather, these are accounts by believers attributing that admission to unbelievers. So by Butler's standard, we don't have independent corroboration of the miracles from unbelievers. Rather, we have a biased, secondhand report. Hence, by Butler's standard, those reported miracles are eminently deniable. 

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