A Review of Craig Keener’s "Miracles", Part 11

Review of Chapter 10:

This chapter deals with miracle claims from the Early Church to the early twentieth century.  Keener gives example after example of truly astounding medical recoveries, all allegedly due to the power of prayer to Jesus of Nazareth; miracles which Keener claims is only a small sampling of the “hundreds of millions” of miracle claims that exist.  He lists rapid and often instantaneous recoveries from all types of cancer; brain tumors; paralysis; enlarged hearts; festering fistulas; clubbed feet; blindness; deafness; muteness; tuberculosis; kidney failure; leprosy; even a woman without a uterus was able to give birth to a child after a prayer to Jesus!  And the list goes on and on.  Sometimes the healings occur in mass groups, but most of the time they are individual healings.  By all accounts from reading “Miracles”, the world is awash with miracle healings!

Yet…western medicine refuses to acknowledge these hundreds of millions of miracles!

What is going on??

Well, Mr. Keener tells us:

Modern Western academicians have probably tended to discount and ignore some miracle claims not only for cultural reasons but also, unconsciously, for class reasons.  As one writer skeptical of such miraculous healing claims complained more than half a century ago, they (miracle claims) arose and ‘spread among an entirely different class of people, as to economic, cultural, and social background, namely ‘the underprivileged and dispossessed people, folk to whom emotional religion makes an especial appeal’   Many of the twentieth-century Western (miracle) claims, especially in the first half of the twentieth century (before the spread of the charismatic movement in the mainline denominations), come from the very poor.”  —Keener, p. 402

“Elite disdain (for miracle claims) was compounded further by some of Pentecostalism’s emotive worship practices borrowed from the “slave religion”. —Keener, p. 414

“Needless to say, no amount of positive successes (of miracle healings) could prevent the hostility of some critics.” —Keener, p. 409

Translation:  “Educated Westerners who scoff at Pentecostalism’s miracles and healing claims are class snobs and racists.  If educated Westerners reject our miracles and healings, it isn’t because we don’t have good evidence to support our claims, it is because the “elite” are hopelessly biased.”

Hmm.  Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.  Most educated people do not believe in conspiracy theories.  Conspiracy theories are the opium of the paranoid and the ignorant.  (Yes, that snobbish, but the truth.)

Another thing that struck me in this chapter was this:  If Jesus can heal cancer, brain tumors, goiters, paralysis, kidney failure, leprosy, and regrow uteruses…why can’t Jesus heal amputees?  If Jesus can raise people from the dead due to cancer, heart attacks, and disease…why can’t Jesus raise decapitees from the dead?

Isn’t that really, really odd?

Jesus seems to be willing to cure every medical condition on the face of the planet…except amputations of a major limb.  Jesus seems willing to raise from the dead those who have died of any disease…but not those who have been decapitated.  Weird, huh?  And if the Bible is true, we know that Jesus CAN do these miracles…so why doesn’t he?

What does Jesus have against amputees and decapitees??


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