StoneBridge Community Church
UNEXPECTED #2: Why The Bible's Miracles Matter
Pastor Jeff Cheadle
Locations & Times
  • StoneBridge Campus
    4832 Cochran St, Simi Valley, CA 93063, USA
    Saturday 5:30 PM, Sunday 9:00 AM, Sunday 10:30 AM
  • Growth Groups
    Simi Town Center Way, Simi Valley, CA 93065, USA
    Sunday 12:00 PM

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Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.

Acts 2: Today's Text in Context

Bob Utley, "Acts 2" from the series Luke the Historian: Acts

Peter's Sermon at Pentecost

Bob Deffinbaugh, "Peter's Sermon at Pentecost" (Acts 2.14-36) from the series Studies in the Book of Acts

The Jefferson Bible

The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, commonly referred to as the Jefferson Bible, was a book constructed by Thomas Jefferson in the later years of his life by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson's condensed composition is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels that contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages that portray Jesus as divine. Wikipedia article.

Rudolph Bultmann

Rudolf Karl Bultmann (1884 – 1976) was a German Lutheran theologian and professor of New Testament at the University of Marburg. He claimed in his 1941 New Testament and Mythology, "We cannot use electric lights and radios and, in the event of illness, avail ourselves of modern medical and clinical means and at the same time believe in the spirit and wonder world of the New Testament." Wikipedia article.
1. Miracles are…
1. Miracles are absolutely essential to Christianity.

C.S. Lewis on Christianity and Miracles

"One is very often asked as present whether we could not have a Christianity stripped, or, as people who ask it say, 'freed' from its miraculous elements, a Christianity with the miraculous elements suppressed. Now, it seems to me that precisely the one religion in the world, or at least the only one I know, with which you could not do that is Christianity…" Link to complete essay The Grand Miracle. (Includes an excellent animated doodle).
"A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder, and bears witness to himself.” —Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology.

God is Already at Work

Justin Holcomb, "How Is God Working in the World? Understanding Miracles and Providence" The Gospel Coalition, January 16, 2014

David Hume

Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, best known today for his highly influential system of radical philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. Wikipedia article.

Critique of Hume

"Although Hume’s critique of miracles is one of the most influential ever written, it really doesn’t stand up well under scrutiny…" —Michael Gleghorn, "Hume's Critique of Miracles: A Christian Evaluation" Probe Ministries

Begging the Question

Hume provides a classic example of a logical fallacy called begging the question in his statement that "a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature, and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined." Read about "Begging the Question" Wikipedia article.
For reflection/discussion
(1) How would you define a miracle? (2) Why have some people, such as Jefferson and Bultmann, felt that Christianity would somehow be better without miracles? How might C.S. Lewis respond to that perspective? (3) What are your thoughts on Wayne Grudem's definition of a miracle as "a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder, and bears witness to himself."
2. Miracles are…
2. Miracles are the purposeful acts of a personal God who can easily intervene in His own creation.
"Believing that God could create the universe but could not perform any infinitely smaller miracle is illogical. It’s very much like saying, ‘Oh, yes, I certainly believe that Tolstoy could write War and Peace, and did, but I could never believe he’d be able to move a comma in the manuscript. That would be too much.’ If God actually created this universe… can we not believe he would be able to do almost anything else? It seems we would have to… If God could speak the universe into existence, could he not afterward speak into that existence?” Eric Metaxas, Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life, p. 12)


Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is a satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott, first published in 1884 by Seeley & Co. of London. Written pseudonymously by "A Square", the book used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to comment on the hierarchy of Victorian culture, but the novella's more enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions. Wikipedia article.

Read Flatland

If you would like to read Edwin Abbott Abbott's Flatland, you can do so here.

A sphere intersecting a plane from a 2-D and 3-D perspective

"Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.” —G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Comparing Worldviews

Matthew Hartke, "Comparing Worldviews: Christian Theism vs. Metaphysical Naturalism" Fifth Act Theology, October 13, 2012.

The Myth of Science vs. Religion

“The so-called ‘war’ between faith and learning, specifically between orthodox Christian theology and science, was manufactured… It is a construct that was created for polemical purposes.” Who invented it and why? See Justin Taylor, "Who Is to Blame For the Greatest Myth in the History of Science and Religion? These Two Guys" The Gospel Coalition, February 1, 2017
For reflection/discussion
(1) Eric Metaxas writes in Miracles, "If God could speak the universe into existence, could he not afterward speak into that existence?" How does the biblical doctrine of creation inform our understanding of, and our openness to the possibility of miracles? (2) When President Obama announced that he would nominate renowned geneticist Francis Collins to be the new director of the National Institute of Health, a number of scientists and pundits questioned whether the nominee’s religious faith should disqualify him from the position. In particular, some worried that a Christian who believes in miracles might not be the right person to fill what many consider to be the nation’s most visible job in science. Why do some people assume that science and faith in God are incompatible, while others see no conflict between the two? (3) What are your thoughts on Chesterton's claim that believers in miracles do so on the basis of evidence, while those who disbelieve do so on the basis of dogma?
3. Miracles are…
3. Miracles are not for the gullible or the dogmatic.
For reflection/discussion
(1) Why is it important that we take an evidence-based approach to reports about miracles? (2) Have you, or has someone you know, ever experienced a miracle? What evidence convinced you? (3) Why did Jesus perform miracles? (4) What do biblical miracles have to teach us about God's identity, power, character, and purpose? (5) Is God still working miracles today?

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