A Review of Craig Keener’s "Miracles", Part 10

Conservative Christian on Theology Web: 

Note that on pages 293-95 of “Miracles”, for example, several healings are confirmed via examinations by doctors before and after. Why don’t you accept the word of other doctors, Gary?

Gary:

Ok.  Let’s take a look at some of these cases:


Keener, p. 293:

“In one report from the Solomon Islands, a father and mother moved by watching Jesus raise a girl from the dead in the Jesus Film prayed for their dying five year-old daughter.  Although the doctors had said that her condition was terminal, she awoke completely well in the morning.  The doctors could not explain her healing”. 

Source:  Eshleman, Jesus, 105-106

Gary:  What disease did the girl have?  Who were the doctors?  Let’s see the medical records!  If Muslims or Satanists were pushing this miracle, would you simply accept this third hand (at best) information?

All we have is Keener quoting someone named Eshleman.  Where did Eshleman get his information?  Directly from the doctors?  We don’t know.

Keener, p. 294:

“On another occasion, a desperate woman requested prayer.  Her kidneys were failing, and her eyes and skin were discolored; the doctors had sent her home saying that they could not help her.  Flint (a Christian preacher on the island of Fiji) and a Christian woman prayed for her, and his colleague told the woman, “The Lord has healed you.”  The woman went to the doctor and discovered that her condition was worse, so she challenged Flint about his friend’s prophecy.  He felt sure in his heart that God was going to do this miracle, however, and encouraged her accordingly.  Two weeks later, her eyes and skin were normal, and her next checkup showed fully functional kidneys.”

Source:  Rev. Flint

Gary:  How long had the woman’s kidneys been failing?  We are not told.  Discoloration of the skin is more suggestive of chronic kidney disease, but patients can develop rashes with acute kidney disease.  So was this chronic kidney failure or acute kidney failure?  We don’t know.   In either case, why couldn’t the doctors help her?  Why didn’t they offer dialysis?  Is dialysis not available on Fiji?  The story doesn’t tell us, but saying that doctors can’t help someone with kidney failure, even end-stage kidney failure, is false, unless dialysis wasn’t available.  But what if she only had an acute form of kidney failure?  Acute kidney failure happens all the time to people who get very sick and most fully recover!  There is nothing in this story that can’t be explained by natural causes.

Keener, p. 294:

“Flint’s daughter, hospitalized with meningitis, was expected to die or become barely functional; praying and fasting, Flint felt confidence that God would heal her.  When the family took her home, the doctor cautioned that she would not eat well or move her body; yet she immediately began eating, and she is now strong at age five, with no ill effects.  The specialists are amazed, Flint says, that it is the same child.”

Gary:  My little brother had meningitis at age three and my parents were told that his condition was very bad and that he might not make it.  He went home several days later and has been as healthy as a horse ever since.  Meningitis is very serious.  It can kill.  It can cause serious complications, but most children recover and do just fine.  Once again, there is nothing in this story that cannot be explained by natural causes.

At the bottom of page 294, in the footnotes, Keener tells of another story from Pastor Flint, in which a woman who is dying from AIDS is suddenly healed in 2004, after seeing a man “in a vision”, finding that man, and asking him to pray for her.  (Then from a written statement Keener received from Pastor Flint in 2008):  “Flint said that he had heard that tests now showed no HIV, and the testimony is well known around Fiji.  Unfortunately, the recovery data was within the past two years, and I currently lack means to verify the account independently.”

Gary:  That is pathetic, folks.  Keener simply takes this man’s word for everything.  Keener never spoke to the patient.  Keener never spoke to the doctors.  This is not research.  This is simply a laundry list of unconfirmed third-hand stories.  We have no clue as to the accuracy of any of these “medically confirmed” stories.

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