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* Award-Winning Journalist Takes a Close Lookat Modern-Day Miracles Miracles give us hope. But while readers are fascinated by stories ofmiracles, they aren't always sure which ones to believe. Stafford takesa careful look at miraculous events in our modern world--some hard to acceptand others hard to deny--then places them in a historical and biblical context.Along the wa* Award-Winning Journalist Takes a Close Lookat Modern-Day Miracles Miracles give us hope. But while readers are fascinated by stories ofmiracles, they aren't always sure which ones to believe. Stafford takesa careful look at miraculous events in our modern world--some hard to acceptand others hard to deny--then places them in a historical and biblical context.Along the way he explores questions about where and under what circumstancesmiracles occur today, and what role they should play in the lives of Christians....

Title : Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern-Day Experiences of God's Power
Author :
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ISBN : 9780764209376
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 219 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern-Day Experiences of God's Power Reviews

  • Bob Hayton
    2019-03-25 00:56

    Do you believe in miracles? While Christians universally answer yes, this question brings up a myriad of questions for the Church today. Many Christians are increasingly cautious of affirming miracles because of the damage done publicly by faith healers and outright shenanigans. Popular books abound recounting personal stories of being transported to heaven, seeing Jesus, talking to angels and of course, being healed. Should every such story be believed? And if we refuse to believe are we being cynical and unbelieving in our outlook?Beyond this larger question, the average Christian often has to make tricky decisions in real life scenarios. They are confronted with a claim to a miracle in the life of someone they know at work or in their church. They are pressured to come to a Pentecostal revival where they can’t help but be skeptical of the outlandish behavior and incredible conclusions made by their friends. Just how are we to think about miracles, when we pray for them on behalf of our family and friends every day? We all know God can heal, and we want his healing touch, but we just aren’t sure that we should expect it, or what to do when we think we’ve really seen it.Tim Stafford, a senior writer for Christianity Today steps into this quagmire and offers us some help in a remarkable new book titled, Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern-Day Experiences of God’s Power. Tim navigates this thorny problem by recounting a true story that he experienced in his church, a fairly high-brow, staid and conservative Presbyterian assembly, by his telling. A young man experienced a healing from a debilitating pain in his feet that had required crutches and a wheel chair for years. His family were understandably overjoyed at his sudden and dramatic healing experienced at another church several hours away. But they were a little disappointed that their fellow church members didn’t share all their enthusiasm.Stafford uses this story as a case in point, and interviewed the family as well as other families affected by this story from his church. Tim also draws on his travels to far-flung corners of the globe, where the miraculous may be more common. But rather than basing his conclusions on eye-witness testimony, Stafford also surveys the Old and New Testaments and the early years of church history looking for takeaways that we can apply to this perpetually difficult question. The result is a lucid and eminently readable account of his exploration. And his book is more than a page-turner. He brings sage advice, common sense, and an open spirit to the topic as well as his own honest account of disappointment and growth in this area.Stafford’s book won’t change the mind of the die-hard proponent of an extreme position on this issue. Those who see miracles around every corner will still find them, and those who hesitate to affirm the miraculous anywhere after Rev. 22, will equally be unconvinced. But for the average believer, without an axe to grind, Stafford’s treatment will be challenging and uplifting, and ultimately helpful. I was encouraged to trust in our miracle-working God more, and to see the miraculous in the ordinary means of grace that God so faithfully provides.Disclaimer: This book was provided by Bethany House. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

  • James
    2019-03-04 02:17

    I received Miracles in the mail this week and despite being in the middle of several other books, this one sort of jumped my book queue. The topic and tone of this book really resonated with me. I would describe myself as a disgruntled charismatic. There is actually no form of spiritual manifestation which I in principle think cannot or does not happen. I believe in tongues, in prophecy, in healing, in the sometimes strange (to our eyes) nature of the Spirit’s work, but I have also seen too much hype, heard too much hearsay and experienced too many charismatic meetings where the manifestations of the Spirit seemed more like mass hysteria and auto-suggestion than any genuine move of God. So I am a believing skeptic when someone describes miracles in their life. I want to believe with them that they have seen the hand of God at work, but I also want some sort of foundation for belief in the miracle they describe.Tim Stafford, in his capacity as a journalist for Christianity Today has interviewed many Christians around the world about their experience of miracles (i.e. healing, various signs). Stafford is clear that miracles by definition do not imply the cessation of the natural order (if we could understand the physics behind miraculous phenomenon, we could describe it); rather miracles are times when God breaks through in surprising ways, often through natural means, but with impeccable timing. Thus when someone prays for healing or for God’s intervention in their life or the lives of others, that healing or answer to prayer should be described, reliably as a miracle even if it could also be described through natural processes. This avoids the ‘god of the gaps’ problem where the supernatural is always what is beyond the natural and not pervading all that is.I think this is significant and Stafford is even-handed in his description of miracle.s He gives examples of those he sees as trustworthy and those he remains skeptical about (though he doesn’t dismiss those out of hand either). He suggests that we evaluate each miracle on the basis of whether or not the testimony about the miracle is trustworthy and that we remain cautious about repeating miraculous claims which cannot be verified.I appreciated Stafford’s brief survey of miracles in the Bible. Stafford observes that in the Old Testament miracles never disappear but there could be centuries between their occurrence with no necessary link between the ‘faith of the Israelites’ and miracles. There are examples of faithful witnesses like Jeremiah who didn’t see miracles in his lifetime or those who returned from exile. The Israelites in the Exodus did not have more faith yet they saw miracles galore. This does not sever the link between faith and miracles but it does mean that we should not necessarily conclude that ‘the lack of miracles’ means a lack of faith. It may mean that, but it may not and we should not be crass about our pronouncements. When he examines the miracles of the New Testament, Stafford observes a shift from public signs (parting of the Red Sea) to primarily personal miracles which were most significant to those they involved (i.e. healing of individuals and Jesus’ instruction to keep it quiet). These were signs of the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom–signs of the Resurrection (Christ’s and our future resurrection). Stafford concludes that there is nothing in the New Testament to suggest that miracles ceased though they are not described after Acts 19 or in the later books of the New Testament.Stafford also discusses Miracles in church history, the revival of miracles in Pentecostalism and the global Pentecostal movement (particularly miracles in the two-thirds world). While Stafford does not describe himself as a Charismatic or Pentecostal Christian, he is gracious with them, even while offering a gentle critique. He describes at length interviews he had conducted with the late John Wimber. He describes Wimber in positive and glowing terms, even though he clearly had concerns about how Wimber and the early Vineyard movement had a tendency to over-report miracles which it could not verify. He sees a similar tendency with Bill Johnson’s church, Bethel Church, in Redding California, though he does affirm that real healing has happened in both the Vineyard and at Bethel (one of the central examples of healing throughout the book involves a youth from his church who was healed at Bethel).Stafford discusses if it is possible for scientists in our materialist age and culture to believe in miracles. This isn’t a book that will convince a true skeptic that miracles happen but he does show that it is at least reasonable for a scientist to remain open-minded about them. He also talks about what happens when you pray for miracles and they don’t occur (i.e. you pray for healing for your loved one, and they still die). This can be heart wrenching but Stafford reminds us that in the Bible miracles are never the point, they are signs of God’s presence, care and the in-breaking of His Kingdom. Thus we should pray for miracles on behalf of our loved ones, but regardless of whether they occur we should entrust them to God’s care.This book has a lot to say that is instructive about how we should be expectant and affirming of miracles and God’s work in our lives, but still thoughtful about when and where they occur. I highly recommend it. Stafford is a thoughtful guide and I think this may be a great book for what Stafford calls a ‘semi-believing doubter’ demonstrating that you can affirm miracles today without being naive. Miracles are rare, but they are real, and real people have witnessed them. Even this disgruntled Charismatic.I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

  • Kristin
    2019-02-25 02:18

    The Bible is full of miracles, and of course, I believe that every single one of them really happened, from the parting of the Red Sea to the many people Jesus healed. I've heard of miracles happening to people during my life, and maybe even witnessed a few in a small way. But I'll admit that I can be skeptical when a story of a miraculous event comes through word of mouth, passed from person to person. I also tend to be skeptical when it comes to huge, flashy healing services where dozens or hundreds of people claim to experience miracles in a short amount of time. {The older I get, the less I'm impressed with flashy and noisy experiences and the more I value quiet and humble and genuine things.} So I was intrigued by this book: Miracles, by Tim Stafford. And it turned out to be a really interesting read. The author covers a lot in this book...everything from why people doubt miraculous stories to the history of miracles to what to think when miracles don't happen {or maybe I should say, when miracles don't happen in the timing we want. He says that miracles are a taste of what's to come. Some miracles and healings might not happen on earth, but they'll all be accomplished in heaven}.I think he has a great attitude about all of the issues covered. We should keep our eyes open and believe that miracles can happen and do happen. But we should also realize that they shouldn't draw attention to themselves but instead to God and His power. Miracles shouldn't be our complete focus.I liked the recap of the miracles in the Old and New Testaments. I had never realized before that most of the ones that are written about in the Old Testament were public miracles...ones that were actually witnessed by thousands of people, not just carried by word of mouth. But in the New Testament, things shift toward miracles being for a smaller audience, usually a handful of people seeing Jesus heal someone. And if you remember, several times he instructed the healed person not to spread the news. I also thought it was interesting when the author pointed out that the majority of miracles written about in the Bible happened in two periods that cover only about 7% of the two thousand years or so total. During the rest of the time, either there weren't an awful lot of miracles or they just weren't recorded. I really enjoyed reading Miracles. If this is an issue you've been thinking about lately, you should definitely check it out (whether you're a bit of a skeptic or not, or somewhere in between).{I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. I apologize for being a bit late with my review!}

  • Ashton
    2019-03-14 08:19

    I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion in the form of a review. I was not paid for this review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. I was really excited when I saw that I would be getting this book to review because I thought it would be interesting to look through a journalists eye at miracles in the modern world. I've been reading through A Case for Christ and assumed that this book would be pretty similar. I have to admit that I was disappointed by this book, however. From the title, I was expecting a lot of examples of miracles in the modern day but instead there were only a handful spattered throughout the book. And while that's fine and one in particular was delved more into, the book never really went anywhere. The author examined miracles in the Bible which doesn't really add much to modern day experiences. Coming from a Christian perspective, I've read about these and heard various people talk about them. There are plenty of books out there on Biblical miracles but I was expecting to be immersed in current miracles and recent stories. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of stories in there but none of them were really all that inspiring. In fact, that was pretty much the author's point: miracles still happen but we don't view them as miracles so much because we aren't personally affected by them. Fair enough, I suppose. I was curious when I saw the fact that there was a chapter about whether or not scientists could believe in miracles but it too was disappointing. The chapter just kind of rambled around without really coming to any definite confusions, much like the rest of the books. Some of the points drawn struck me as logically inaccurate like everything is natural and supernatural at the same time. Seems a bit of an oxymoron and something that people just throw out there because they can't explain something otherwise and thereby weaken their argument. Overall, the book was okay but I think there are probably better books out there to look into the subject of miracles.

  • Cornell
    2019-03-24 02:10

    This has to be one of the best books I have read on the subject of miracles and what to think of them today.Tim Stafford was very helpful on "how to think about and respond to" the claims of miracles in many churches (especially the charismatic and pentecostal ones) today. No, this book does not even venture into the cessationist/continuationist debate. This is simply the work of a journalist trying his best to be objective about what he sees, hears and believes.A very helpful work. Settled so many questions and doubts in my own mind and life. Above all, the centrality of the gospel and the preeminence of Christ are the book's core emphasis.I highly recommend it.

  • Vicky Connelly
    2019-03-17 05:01

    Interesting perspective on miracles. I’m impressed the author did research in other countries where miracles occur more often.

  • David
    2019-03-19 01:10

    Does God still do miracles? Can we expect God to heal today in answer to our prayers? Tim Stafford answers “yes”. He says he has come to know this is true through encounters he’s had with people who’ve experienced a healing or some other miracle and because of his study of the Bible. He sees no reason to believe that miracles have ceased, though he questions those who would claim too much. Stafford, a senior writer for Christianity Today magazine, examines the biblical evidence and finds a basis for ongoing miracles. Miracles are a foretaste of things to come. They are meant to be a sign of what God has in store and what he has already accomplished through Christ’s resurrection.Stafford covers a lot of ground here, looking at the nature of a miracle, challenging old conceptions that spoke of God breaking natural laws, to examining the global growth of Pentecostalism. He takes on traditional philosophical arguments against miracles and traditional Protestant arguments for believing miracles died with the apostles. Stafford is himself a member of a traditional Protestant church (Presbyterian) and identifies himself as such, but he’s sympathetic to Pentecostal and charismatic churches. He acknowledges the vitality of their faith even as he lovingly points out their excesses.This is my new favorite book on miracles. Written in a widely accessible style, this book can be shared with church members and pastor friends alike. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a biblically-balanced approach to the subject. My only criticism of the book is Stafford’s handling of faith and its relation to our experience of the miraculous. I agree with him that the approach that sees a lack of faith in every failure to be healed is wrong and harmful. Faith formula thinking is not biblical. God is not a means to an end. However, we can’t ignore the fact that Christ continually spoke of faith in relation to miracles. The answer to an imbalanced view of faith is a proper view of faith’s role, not a summary rejection of faith formula thinking with no alternative. People know faith is important. Jesus said so. They want to know what to make of it. Finally, I received this book free from the publisher (Bethany House) as part of their book review program. (I am not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.) I appreciate the opportunity to read and review books like Miracles. This title was well worth the time and effort.

  • Richard Kuhn
    2019-02-26 04:08

    This is my first introduction into Stafford's work, and most likely, it won't be my last foray with the author. MIRACLES is a well thought out thesis and the author explains it very well. In terms of style and structure, the book is laid out well and is easy to follow. In some spots, however, you want to jump through the pages and challenge the author. This yearning is what makes MIRACLES a better than average book.This book MIRACLES should not be mistaken for Eric Metaxas' excellent treatise also entitled MIRACLES. The Metaxas book delves into miracles, their existence in today's era as well as historic eras; and the science behind them. The Stafford book describes a miraculous healing the author witnessed and proceeds to question if miracles exist, and what exactly is a miracle. The Stafford book is a primer for the Metaxas book, although I'm quite certain this was not on the author's list of reasons as to why write the book. The reason the reader might debate some of the content of Stafford's work is his insistence on judging miracles with denomination or movement as a factor. In doing this, the work lends itself to a clear and present danger. Inherently, whether the author meant it or not, the reader must choose which denomination/movement is better for miracles. My contention is God does miracles when he wants and to whom he decides. A miracle is a miracle not withstanding what church the person attends.There are many positives about the book. I like the parts about third world countries experiencing miracles. This book gets you thinking, and therefore it succeeds. If you can get past the denomination/movement motif, then MIRACLES is worth the investment in terms of time and money.

  • Theresa
    2019-03-16 05:03

    I received a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishing for nothing more than my honest opinion. Having said that, this book is not one I would read again or one that I can say I enjoyed and I went into this with an open mind. I personally believe in miracles and that they happen in everyday life. For example a woman giving birth or someone's Cancer going into remission. The way Mr. Stafford approached this book was very clear from the beginning. He wanted to come at it from a journalists stand point. Which to me meant he was taking all his feelings about the subject and pushing them aside. I have to say there is one part of the book I agree with. There are not miracles today like there were in the bible. The big the parting of the Red Sea or the burning bush. There are also certain people out there that want to exploit some Christians belief in that fact that miracles can happen. In my opinion, in this book, he is trying to convince people that God doesn't perform miracles anymore. That he has abandoned us and we are basically on our own. That is just my opinion though. There are other reviews out there on amazon or other sites that feel completely different. It just depends on your own personal point of view on the subject.

  • Dave Courtney
    2019-02-23 05:25

    Tim Stafford, a journalist and writer for Christianity Today, approaches the subject of miracles as modern day experiences of God's power, a subject he is clearly passionate about. The book is essentially an exploration of the honest questions that surround the subject itself, along with integrating his own personal journey. He sees it from an honest perspective of struggle, and allows us to see how the subject plays in to belief and unbelief. Mostly I think it is intended to be an encouragement to both sides of the discussion, and an attempt to argue that within the Christian faith exists a central longing to see and know that God is a part of our lives and this world in an active way. Knowing how to approach the reality of this active presence in the midst of doubts, a world of hurt and suffering is perhaps the challenge at the core. Stafford recognizes the weight of this tension, and still chooses to say yes to the idea that God is active and alive and still very much in the business of performing miracles in the lives of His people. Offering some helpful, practical steps, he encourages us to see this as well, even through the doubt and the suffering that may limit our view.

  • Dianne
    2019-03-24 03:12

    This book was great! Easy to read, and logical to follow. Tim Stafford hits everything relevant to Miracles seen from a modern-day eye. Among other viewpoints, he considered miracles in the Bible, old and new testaments, and to writers that were contemporary to writers of the Bible. He looked at the evolution of miracles from the practice of declaring someone a saint, and the practice of "sharing" the bones with other churches. Some of the early church miracles I had not been aware of -- between the very early church and the modern day church. He looks at the modern church in terms of the culture of expecting everything to be explainable. Hits the questions of why so many people are reluctant to accept that a miracle is real, and also why some people are too ready to declare nearly anything a miracle. He gives some useful tips on how believers can interact and come to grips with claims, true or false, of modern day miracles.

  • Julie Reed
    2019-03-23 01:00

    What a fantastic book on miracles. I cannot say enough about this author or the book. As a journalist and realistic skeptic, he has traveled the world, interviewed thousands of people, and has kept an open mind about miracles. He examines the concept of miracles, gives definitions, puts them into proper perspectives, and discusses expectations we as Christians ought to have regarding miracles. A great read! I highly recommend this no-nonsense/no BS approach to looking at miracles. Perhaps the thing I appreciated most about this book and his writing was that he didn't pepper it with "Christianese" or the common flowery Christian language I see in some Christian books. It's just really straightforward and smart. An atheist could read this book without wanting to throw up. (haha)

  • Derek Winterburn
    2019-03-02 07:18

    This is a honest investigation by a Christian journalist of the subject of miracles. He has direct experience of a clear miracle in his church - and the varied responses to it by the fellowship. He sets out to think about the issues, and research churches where miracles are routine. The last chapter offers a 'pulling together' with helpful counsel. I found this book to be a useful inquiry. I happen to agree with Stafford's conclusions, but nevertheless I think all Christians would find food for thought here.

  • Jennifer Bowers
    2019-03-19 08:57

    I have been wanting to read this book for some time. Several years ago, Stafford did a report in Christianity today of Heidi Baker's and Bill Johnson's ministries. He reported on their "miracles," but totally uncritically. I was quite disappointed.I suspect that those articles were extracted from this book, and removed from context they came off as a gushing endorsement of those ministries. This book puts the whole issue of modern miracles in perspective. It is balanced, and critical, and gracious. It helped me work through a lot of my own questions regarding Baker, Johnson and others.

  • Jerry Blackerby
    2019-03-22 01:16

    An interesting book about modern-day experiences with miracles. The author became involved in this study because of an acquaintance at church who was wheelchair bound. The person went to a different healing church and came back healed, no longer wheelchair bound. The book traces the historical path of miracles in our country and globally. The author never really saw any miracles with his own eyes, but saw many accounts worldwide of miracles.

  • Nicholas Driscoll
    2019-03-16 05:07

    I liked this book quite a bit. It's a quiet, unassuming book, and I like Tim Stafford's straightforward and honest style. I expected more digging into the validity of specific miracles (the title seems to suggest that), but it's more of an exploration of what Christians should do with miracles--how to respond to them, what they mean, and so forth. For me, it was a nice, pleasant read.

  • Elena
    2019-03-07 05:56

    This book surprised me with the author's honest and non-pretentious thoughts on miracles and other controversial topics, such as faith and science, or why God allows pain and suffering. He does not apologize for his beliefs and does not judge the beliefs of others. All in all, this is a quick read and a refreshingly inspirational work. Might I add that the author is not of my religion.

  • Floyd
    2019-03-19 01:55

    Excellent book on miracles in the Bible and up to the present day. Stafford, a Presbyterian, shows real openness to the charismatic movement including Pentecostals, while writing questioning some views of miracles. Believable by those focusing on miracles and those discounting them as experiences in our modern world.

  • Dean Anderson
    2019-03-04 06:14

    I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of this book I highly recommend it. The topic of miracle is approached from a variety of perspectives, not excluding the cynical.The book challenges the reader to consider the possibility of God being at work in the world, without an expectation of blind faith. Well worth the investment of your time.

  • Chris Schutte
    2019-03-19 08:24

    An evenhanded look at reports of modern-day miracles. Stafford encourages "semi-believing doubters" to pray with more faith, yet also cautions against the potential for abuse, whether in a kind of prosperity gospel or "miracle gossip".

  • Graham
    2019-03-08 07:13

    What is a 'Miracle'? How common were they in bible times? Do they happen today? Why don't they happen more often? Tim Stafford addresses all these issues in a balanced and lucid way. An easy read but not trite. Well worth reading.

  • Rick
    2019-03-16 08:01

    Accessible look at supernatural miracles coming from a traditional evengelical perspective. Nothing really new, but a few good insights along the way. I especially enjoyed the chapter covering an historical look at the occurance of miracles.

  • Margaret
    2019-03-21 08:05

    Got a lot out of this book. It was very interesting, and gave me lots to think about related to miracles. Stafford is a journalist, so the style is journalistic but he made lots of interesting points.

  • Bruce Baker
    2019-03-03 06:11

    I really enjoyed the approach to miracles. Stafford used personal experiences, Biblical examples, church history and current realities to weave a tapestry on miracles. More than interesting.

  • David Bennett
    2019-03-20 03:56

    A great view of a personal approach to understand each other's life stories and how God can and at times does the miraculous.

  • Matt
    2019-03-10 05:14 a journalist.

  • Danni
    2019-03-09 06:58


    2019-02-23 05:55

    Good readingGood readingthis is a book that makes you think. it also answered questions on how to think about this subjectamen

  • Diane Roberts
    2019-03-14 06:11

    MiraclesMiraclesthis. book kept me reading. I Was interested in the authors ideas and research he did. I would recommend the book.