Author: Ron Graham
Why I'm a Skeptic
—About miraculous gifts today
Yes, I'm a skeptic —not about the miraculous powers of Jesus and his early followers, nor even the prophets of old. I certainly believe they performed miracles. I believe that God can make a miracle happen any time, anywhere, in any way that he chooses.
I believe wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, and in God’s awesome power. So how am I a skeptic? My skepticism is about the claims of people today to have special miracle working powers or gifts.
Why be skeptical?
There are strong passages of warning in the scriptures that make it absolutely necessary to be skeptical. Here they are:
1 To Avoid Bad Company
• I don't want to get mixed up with people who say they work miracles, yet Jesus says they work iniquity.
"A lot of people are going to say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name? Didn't we cast out demons in your name? Didn't we work many miracles in your name?’ I will answer them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me. You are workers of evil.’" (Matthew 7:21-23).
2 To Be Discerning
• I need to discern the difference between Simon-like wonders and Philip-like wonders.
"There was a man named Simon. He had been doing magic in Samaria. He astonished the people there and claimed to be someone great. Not only the common people, but people in high positions, took notice of him and said, ‘He is the great power of God.’ ...But when Simon saw the great miracles that Philip did, he was constantly amazed" (Acts 8:9-13).
3 To Be Undeceived
• I don't want to be among the deceived. I want to be among those who know and teach the truth, not those who are false. I want the ability to recognise the fakes.
"For such men are false apostles. Their work deceives people. They make themselves look like apostles of Christ. That's not surprising. Even Satan pretends to be an angel of light. So his servants will disguise themselves as righteous people." (2Corinthians 11:13-15).
4 To Love the Truth
• I want to be a lover of the truth. I want no enjoyment in Satan’s lies.
"Then that man of evil will appear. When Jesus comes in his glory, a puff from his mouth will snuff that man out. But when the man of evil comes, he will do all kinds of powerful works, signs, and wonders. Everything he does will be evil tricks and lies.
He wants to deceive people who are lost. They will be lost only because they didn't let God give them a love of the truth to save them. So God sends them Satan's lies to believe instead. That's what they enjoy. But God will judge them for not believing the truth" (2Thessalonians 2:8-12).
5 To Sharpen My Knowledge
• I need to improve and use my knowledge of the truth to sort out the lies. I use skepticism as a grindstone to sharpen my knowledge of truth.
"You have heard that the enemy of Christ is coming. Well many enemies of Christ are here already. So we know it's the last hour. They came out of us —God's children. But they didn't really belong to us. Otherwise they would have stayed with us. This split makes it clear that none of them belonged with us.
You have a gift from the Holy Spirit and you know the truth. That's why I wrote to you —not because you don't know the truth but because you do know it. And because you know the truth you can know what is not from that truth, and know it's a lie." (1John 2:18-21).
John later says, "Many false prophets are in the world, so do not believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see which are from God" (1John 4:1).
Paul says, "Test everything. Keep what's good. Get away from what's evil." (1Thessalonians 5:21-22). That's God telling me to be a skeptic, and what sort of a skeptic to be.