‘Killing’ and ‘resurrecting’ congregants: Are these new miracles biblical?

WITH miracles selling like hot cakes, one Pastor Sanyangore of Victory World International went one step further over the Easter Holiday when he ‘killed’ and ‘resurrected’ four members of his congregation.

The four, who included a male and three females, ‘died’ for 30 minutes in an incident which was confirmed by a local mortician who displayed his certificate: “Yes they died and their blood turned cold. Eyes changed to white and there was no pulse since their hearts had stopped beating”. This, however, could not be verified by an independent medical practitioner and remains the word of the pastor and his congregants. Pastor Sanyangore argued that his demonstration was the power of resurrection and the power of God.
‘Killing’ and ‘resurrecting’ congregants: Are these new miracles biblical?
There is an apparent stampede among contemporary churches to outshine each other as far as the performance of miracles is concerned. Miracles have become the buzzword in churches, on posters and in winning congregants. Conversely, churches whose emphasis is on rebuking sin and righteous living seem to be losing congregants to churches with an inclination towards miracles.

People want quick fixes to their troubles. Enterprisingly, one will find scores of church billboards and posters in Harare with ‘miracle’ captions, “Miracle Night” or “Miracles galore”. This has become the tried and tested way to win the hearts of longsuffering Zimbabweans.

The controversial demonstration of power by the “kill and resurrect” pastor has set tongues wagging making it imperative to examine this incident under the unfailing light of the bible. Miracles can be traced to the Bible as nature-defying events or occurrences beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Jesus Christ performed numerous miracles in his lifetime. Also, the apostles he left performed miracles in their lifetime.

Now, there is a world of difference between the miracles performed in the Bible and the outbreak of miracles seen today. While miracle-peddlers today paint the picture that miracles should be common everywhere and flaunted wantonly, this certainly is not the case in the bible. Jesus himself lived for 33 years and it is quite revealing that only in his last 3 years of ministry did he perform miracles and not in the 30 years before. The miracles served a practical purpose.

Miracles are very rare throughout the Old Testament record. Actually, a few are recorded and, most importantly, there was never a time before the coming of Jesus when miracles where common and wantonly displayed. However, what we are witnessing today is at absolute variance with the bible. People have risen performing all manner of miracles as though they were magicians showcasing at some high school. Some have even bought miracle working power and others keep trickling to West Africa to obtain such power.

It was only in Jesus Christ’s lifetime and that of his apostles that there was a genuine explosion of miracles and it must be understood that this was because of the important need to accredit the messiah and authenticate the gospel. That was the monumental era of redemptive history which called for such authentication. Miracles are actually meant for unbelievers and they should not be viewed as an indicator of true worship because the devil also works miracles.

Each miracle that was performed, whether by Christ or his disciples, was performed in the context of a genuine need; no miracle was ever performed for the fun of it as we witness today. For example, Jesus’ miracle of feeding thousands with five loaves and two fish demonstrates this truth. The people had followed him for days and were far away from their homes. The people were hungry and it was impractical for them to go back to their homes. Jesus then took the few loaves and fish and multiplied to feed the multitude.

Again, Jesus changed water into wine at the wedding at Cana. You can check again this self-evident reality; the wine had genuinely run out prompting the performance of a miracle. Take the example again of Legion the maniac from the tombs; a miracle arose from a genuine situation and real need. Never, in the bible were miracles done for a game like bargain as though it was some form of amusement or magic to entertain people.

Miracles’ primary purpose was to authenticate Christ and the apostolic preachers of the gospel. John 2:11, notes that Jesus did his first miracle at Cana to ‘manifest his glory’ not to enhance the party. Jesus did miracles to ‘attest’ that God was working through him so that people would believe in him as Lord and Saviour (Acts 2:22).

Christians with the gift of discernment should be able to see how demons are counterfeiting God’s message and work.

Take heed that no one deceives you.
By Learnmore Zuze

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