This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.
Does the Assemblies of God believe that God still performs miracles today?
The Assemblies of God believes unequivocally that God still performs miracles today. This conviction grows out of a firm belief that the miracles recorded in the Bible were historical events–not myths or folk stories. There is no indication in Scripture that miracles have ceased or will cease in the present world order. Because there are confirmed instances of miracles happening today, we must conclude with certainty that God still performs miracles. Jesus Christ, the greatest worker of miracles, is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
Miracles have been defined all the way from simple unexpected happenings to things that cannot be explained by limited human understanding. Some might loosely describe awe inspiring life processes as miracles (e.g., "the miracle of birth"). Some define a miracle as "a violation of the laws of nature" (David Hume). But as Bible believers, we define a miracle as "a supernatural event by which God reveals himself to humankind." These events are not always a violation of nature, for God sometimes uses nature in unusual ways to reveal himself miraculously to humans.
Faith is an essential element in recognizing a miracle. A scientific approach cannot prove or disprove the supernatural validity of a miracle. To the skeptic, such a statement may confirm that miracles do not actually happen, but are real only in the minds of those who choose to believe a miraculous explanation of an event. But the opposite is true. Only the one who believes in the existence of a supernatural God can recognize the hand of God at work. To one who denies the existence of God, an unexplainable event is just that–unexplainable either because of some unknown natural activity or because of a fraudulent deception made to look like a miracle.
To the born again believer (John 3:3,7, 1 Peter 1:23), the salvation experience–in which God forgives sin and accepts the redeemed believer as a member of the family of God–is the greatest of all miracles. But that is not what most people mean when they ask if God still performs miracles today. They refer to miraculous events such as are recorded in the Old and New Testaments: the dead being raised to life, supernatural provision at a time of great need; protection from injury or death by a supernatural intervention. There have been authenticated accounts of each of these biblical miracles in the 20th century. It must be acknowledged, however, that the dead being raised to life is seldom seen. The few occasions where this has happened are possibly to remind believers of the resurrection power that will one day make alive those who have died in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17). Scripture tells us, "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27, NIV). So if there should be an isolated miracle of being restored to life after death, it is only for a time because everyone is destined to die, unless Christ returns before one dies.
Probably the most immediate miracles that Assemblies of God adherents would cite, when asked for evidence that miracles still take place, would be instances of God’s intervention to interrupt sickness and dying to restore health and physical well being until a natural death takes place. Of course, those who believe miracles ceased with the New Testament record see no healing apart from the natural restorative processes of the body, assisted by the mind and hands of the physician or surgeon. But Pentecostal believers have seen many documented instances of divine healing when medicine and doctors had reached the end of their ability to provide natural healing. (See Acts Today, GPH.)
The Pentecostal experience of speaking in tongues, in which a loving Holy Spirit prays through the Spirit-filled believer, though not generally described as a miracle, is a supernatural revelation of God’s presence in the life of the believer. So also are the other gifts of the Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12. One of those gifts, all of which are still observed in the Pentecostal church, is the working of miracles. For these reasons, Assemblies of God adherents firmly believe that God is still alive and working miracles today to reveal himself to humankind and call all people to salvation and a closer relationship with their Creator.
CONCERNS: The truth that God still performs miracles today must be protected from abuse in two directions. First, Pentecostal believers must never allow other Christians who teach that miracles ended with the close of the New Testament, to erode their own belief in God who still performs miracles.
The other danger is the abuse of wanting to help God win the skeptics and impress the saints by describing as miracles certain events which are not divine interventions of God, or by humanly trying to replicate supernatural manifestations of God. God does not need Christians pretending to be miracle workers when God is not the author and the miracle is not genuine. Members of the Assemblies of God must desire always to let God move as He chooses, and never substitute human manifestation for true supernatural miracles.
The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.