That You May Believe: A Review Article -- By: George J. Zemek, Jr.

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 07:2 (Fall 1986)
Article: That You May Believe: A Review Article
Author: George J. Zemek, Jr.

That You May Believe:
A Review Article

George J. Zemek, Jr.

That You May Believe: Miracles and Faith Then and Now, by Colin Brown. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; and Exeter, United Kingdom: Paternoster, 1985. Pp. 232. Paper. $7.95.

That You May Believe is a popularized sequel to Brown’s technical volume, Miracles and the Critical Mind. The author successfully targets his audience with a practical introduction (cf. pp. vii-xi), and a helpful organizational survey and content summary (pp. xi-xiii). There is an annotated bibliography at the end of the book (pp. 223-27).

Part I (six chapters) is entitled “Can We Still Believe in Miracles?” The leading paragraph introduces and summarizes both part I and chap. 1 (“From Foundation to Crutch to Cross”):

In days gone by, miracles were seen as clear-cut proof of divine intervention. Christians answered their critics and persecutors by pointing to the miracles performed by Jesus and his followers. Miracles were like God’s seal of approval. They were a kind of guarantee, for all to see, of God’s backing. But today many people are unsure which side the miracle stories are really on. They see them as more of a liability than an asset. At best they have changed from being a foundation for faith to being an object of faith. At worst they have to be apologized for. Miracles seem to belong to the realm of myth and fantasy. They do not seem to have a place in the technological world of computers, body transplants, and space shuttles. From being a foundation for the faith, they seem to have become a cross that the defender of the faith has to bear [p. 3].

Concerning miracles and the apostolic testimony, Acts 2:22–24 and 10:38–41 are cited as examples. A very abbreviated section follows on the apologetical significance of miracles as gleaned from the pages of church history (pp. 5-6). At the core of chap. 1 is an outline of the rise of skepticism (pp. 6-13). One of the questions asked is “Can We Be Sure of the Evidence?” In response, the critical mind reasons:

What independent corroborating evidence is there for the miracles of the New Testament? We have the word of the books themselves. In some cases we also have the word of the early church fathers. But then, these fathers got their information from the New Testament. And so we seem to be back to square one.

What we have before us are not the miracles of Jesus themselves but only reports of miracles. And there is a world of difference between seeing something for ourselves and merely reading a report of it [...

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