My internet pal, Steve Hays, has been busting my chops as he is championing charismatic claims of the miraculous against the cessationist claims of fraud. Here’s some selected citations,
The problem I have is that, at least in my admittedly limited observation, some members or follows of the MacArthur circle suffer from Richard Dawkins syndrome. Dawkins has such contempt for Christianity that he can’t bring himself to take Christianity seriously even for the sake of argument. Strange Fire Conference
One of the things I’m struck by when I see some members/followers of the MacArthur circle dissing reported modern miracles is how their arguments unwittingly mimic the arguments of infidels like Hume. The Church of Hume
I think part of the problem is that many members/followers of the MacArthur circle don’t seem to have much experience debating atheists. They generally seem to prefer intramural debates involving eschatology, creationism, &c. That renders them oblivious to the way they are aping atheist objections to miracles in general. The Church of Hume
But if they’re that dismissive of reported mediate modern miracles, then do they believe in reported immediate modern miracles? Or is that just a throwaway line?
If they discount reports of mediate modern miracles because that’s “hearsay,” “my nephew’s cousin witnessed it,” what’s their basis for believing in immediate modern miracles? Or is that just a paper theory? Mediate and Intermediate Miracles
I guess what surprises me about Steve’s commentary is that I believe he knows better. Take for example when he states, “I think part of the problem is that many members/followers of the MacArthur circle don’t seem to have much experience debating atheists.” What sort of debating is he looking for? If he means a formal Bahnsen/Stein style debate, then yes, I can’t think of any right off hand that involves a “MacArthurite” and any well-known atheist evangelist in a public forum.
If he means, on the other hand, interactions with atheists in general in which they challenge our Christian faith and we challenge their atheist faith, then that is one of the most gratuitously ignorant statements I’ve ever read from Steve. He genuinely believes us MacArthurites are that out-of-touch?
I’m fairly confident James White is a cessationist in the same fashion as we MacArthurites, and I don’t recall his cessationist understanding of spiritual gifts being a factor when he has debated atheists in the past. I don’t recall David Hume being a factor, either. I bet K. Scott Oliphint is a cessationist, also; and he just wrote the newest, popular treatment about Van Til’s apologetic theology. Would Steve say he is arguing like an atheist? Heck, I’d bet Van Til was a cessationist. What am I supposed think about his apologetics in light of Steve’s claim of atheism?
Steve chides our skepticism, insisting that we argue exactly like all the internet atheists trying to debunk the claims of Scripture. He goes on to challenge our skepticism by saying we haven’t read such-and-such book, author, or testimonials and thus it is concluded our opinion is misinformed, or lacking any real knowledge to be a well-rounded, meaningful criticism of charismatic claims of healing and the supernatural.
But do I really need to read Craig Keener’s two volumes on miracles and every charismatic commentary on 1 Corinthians 12-14 in order to offer a biblically informed critique of what is passed off as speaking in tongues and healing the sick in charismatic/Pentecostal circles? Why?
That argument can cut many ways. I can offer the same response to those who may deny the existence of a vast underground network of high velocity bullet trains that travel at 10,000 mph and can transfer top secret military personnel from LA to DC in 30 minutes. Or those who claim the earth is hollow or extraterrestrials are abducting human women in order to harvest their ovaries to produce human-alien hybrids.
I mean, has Steve read all of Whitley Strieber’s books? Has he examined ALL of Richard Hoagland’s photographic evidence from the Apollo missions that show mechanical alien debris strewn across the surface of the moon? Has he watched ALL of the Ghost Hunters TV series? If you haven’t, why should anyone be so dogmatic that those individuals are kooks? Does Steve not realize how he is aping the arguments that are straight from the pages of the Skeptical Inquirer?