R. C. Sproul on Miracles

Some of the theological topics Jeannie and I have enjoyed pondering together have to do with miracles and Cessationism vs. Continuationism. Neither of us have spent great lengths of time studying these topics, so our opinions are probably best kept to ourselves. But I recently came across this post by R. C. Sproul which, I think, at the very least clearly frames the issues at stake from the cessationist point of view.

First, he differentiates between miracles and the supernatural in general.

All miracles are supernatural, but not all supernatural acts are miracles.

With this view, God does still act supernaturally today, but not in miracles, which he defines as “an extraordinary work in the external perceivable world against the laws of nature, by the immediate power of God.”

Second, he says this distinction is important because miracles are specifically for the purpose of authenticating revelation.

If a non-agent of revelation can perform a miracle, then a miracle cannot authenticate or certify a bona fide agent of revelation. Which would mean that the New Testament’s claim to be carrying the authority of God Himself, because God has certified Christ and the Apostles by miracles, would be a false claim and a false argument.

So basically Sproul’s argument is this: The miracles performed by Christ and the Apostles validate the authority of the Bible. Therefore, if anyone and his uncle can still perform miracles today, this method of establishing authority doesn’t actually prove anything.

This assumes, of course, that agents of revelation are no longer with us. So this line of reasoning definitely ties the two together.

It’s a lot for a bear of Very Little Brain to process. What do y’all think?