Are Signs and Wonders for Today? by John Piper

Virtually all the great pastors and teachers of history that I admire and that have fed me over the years belong to the first group who believe that signs and wonders were only for the apostolic age (John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Benjamin Warfield, my own father). But I am not fully persuaded by their case. On the other hand, there does seem to be something unique about the way God did signs and wonders in the ministries of Jesus and the apostles.

Virtually all the great pastors and teachers of history that I admire and that have fed me over the years belong to the first group who believe that signs and wonders were only for the apostolic age (John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Benjamin Warfield, my own father). But I am not fully persuaded by their case. On the other hand, there does seem to be something unique about the way God did signs and wonders in the ministries of Jesus and the apostles.

So what I think I can say for our guidance is this.

  1. On the one hand, we ought to honor the uniqueness of Jesus and the apostles and of that revelatory moment in history that gave us the foundational doctrines of faith and life in the New Testament.
  2. On the other hand we ought to be open to the real possibility that this too might be a unique moment in history, and in this moment it may well be God’s purpose to pour out his Spirit in unprecedented revival—revival of love to Christ and zeal for worship and compassion for lost people and a missionary thrust with signs and wonders.

I want to have my keel deep and stable in the once-for-all biblical revelation of God, and I want to have my sails unfurled to every movement of God’s Spirit upon the deeps.”  —John Piper, sermon and text here, emphasis added

It certainly fits my own position: Cautious and Open

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5 Responses to Are Signs and Wonders for Today? by John Piper

  1. Colin says:

    This is an occaision when what John Piper seems to be saying resonates for me. And I appreciate your link to Brian’s item. Using his scale and assuming a range within each band, c 25 yrs ago (I am 60 now to put that in perspective), I would probably have appeared well into the Charismatic band. Probably a mix of creeping middle age, associated experience, including first hand encounter with the mid 90s Toronto phenomena in the UK, plus wider reflection etc mean I would for now rank myself as Continuationist within the descriptions offered.

  2. Lon says:

    Well-said by Piper. May I venture a #3?
    3. We ought always expect God to bring His kingdom near by whatever means He deems worthy, but we ought not always expect Him to act miraculously, without normal means. God’s work via Providence and earthly means are every bit as powerful and precious as His work via miracle. Both Scripture, Church history, and our life experiences teach us that He rarely works outside His normal means. In the case of bringing His kingdom, this is the preached Word and shared Sacrament.

  3. TC says:

    Colin: yes, I too find Piper’s approach rather balance. It remains a good guide on this controversial matter.

    Lon: I’m in complete agreement. I especially like your final sentence. As you know, I’m one of those sacramental Baptists. 😉

  4. Google Matt Chandler on prophecy. I listened to his testimony of personal prophecy and it was incredible. Chandler, like myself, has seen things that he can’t explain. That is what keeps me from being a cessationist.

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