Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Keener on miracles

A great new Tim Stafford interview with Craig Keener in the new Christianity Today on biblical scholarship and miracles..; it's not online yet, but I will link it here when it is:

Keener is amazing; in fact he's the one  reviewed on Amazon with these words:

5.0 out of 5 stars the one book besides the Bible that you need, October 20, 2010

This review is for The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Hardcover)
I am a huge book fan, I own and use thousands.

But my title to this review is no joke.

If you only had one book besides the Bible, this should be it.
Ironically, in our day, we need it (or something equivalent, and not much comes close) to grasp the profound and crucial historical, cultural background of the Bible.

I am a pastor and Bible teacher. I am a firm believer in the inspiration of Scripture, so of course I believe The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, and will help us to understand the Bible.
But until we grasp what the Bible said and meant to its original readers, we miss being in the place where the Spirit can show us fully what it says and means for us today. link

And as a bonus, he's now teaching at my (class o' 91) seminary, Asbury (see Dr. Craig S. Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary)

In the meantime, back to the topic of below are some  links with info on the book it's based on. -

Miracles seem like a foreign concept to the Western world. To many, modern science has superseded the miraculous. However, Craig Keener’s new book, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (Baker Academic) argues that many miracle accounts throughout history and in contemporary times are genuine divine acts, giving more credibility to those recorded in the Bible. Keener, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, has written 15 books and more than 200 articles. This book, however, felt more personal to him than most of his other works. His wife, Medine, introduced him to eyewitnesses to many miracles, and she says her sister was raised from the dead. Keener says, “Working on the book really stretched and encouraged my faith.-
The book is more than 1,000 pages, but it began as a simple footnote for another book Keener was working on–his forthcoming, four-volume Acts commentary. He was trying to show that the miracle accounts in Acts were plausible. “I was going to cite just a couple sources that collected firsthand accounts of miracles today, but as I began digging for such sources I found more and more.” When that footnote grew into a 100-page chapter, Keener realized this research had a life of its own. “I had not planned to write this book, but I am glad that the Lord led me into it.”
Keener did some research in Medine’s home country, the Republic of Congo. She translated as they interviewed people in the Church. They came away with seven eyewitness accounts of people who were raised from the dead, among other miracles. Keener says, “After being surprised by so many firsthand accounts of miracles, I realized that we Westerners have often been too skeptical. God is doing so many things in the world.”
Keener worked on “Miracles” for three years. It’s a wide-ranging and meticulously researched work that cites more than 4,000 secondary sources and includes more than 3,000 references from extra-biblical ancient sources. Keener presents what many scholars are calling the most thorough, current defense of the credibility of miracle accounts in the Gospels and Acts. He debunks David Hume’s argument that uniform human experience prevents miracles from being credible. Keener challenges Hume’s claim about “uniform” human experience by citing stories from various global cultures and taking a multidisciplinary approach to the matter. Renowned scholar, Richard Bauckham says, “Keener mounts a very strong challenge to the methodological skepticism about the miraculous to which so many New Testament scholars are still committed. … So who’s afraid of David Hume now?”
Several New Testament professors and scholars call “Miracles” the finest book ever written on the topic. Asbury Professor and esteemed scholar, Ben Witherington III adds, “We have here perhaps the best book ever written on miracles in this or any age.” The book has also received praise for its dynamic approach to the subject. Wonsuk Ma, the Director at Oxford Centre for Mission Studies said, “It brilliantly serves not only biblical scholars but equally importantly mission thinkers and practitioners.” While Keener hopes the book is encouraging to others, he explains it brought him to “a fuller understanding of God’s miraculous power.” - Asbury Seminary

VIDEO: Craig Keener on reading the gospels on miracles and resurrections from the dead:


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