|Publication Date: 22 Oct 2015|
|Publisher: SPCK Publishing|
|Page Count: 300|
|Author: Keith Warrington|
|ISBN-13: 9780281064571, 9780281075492|
The Miracles in the Gospels
Warrington has provided a well rounded, and on many levels, practical work. It will benefit church leaders, students and believers.
Keith Warrington, author of The Miracles in the Gospels. What do they Teach us About Jesus? (SPCK, £19.99) is a Pentecostalist scholar. He dedicates his book to “readers who believe that the Gospels are accurate records and that the miracles therein are historical acts that were achieved by Jesus and who are interested in identifying the reasons why the authors chose to record them”
After a brief discussion of the historical context, he explores, first, the purpose of Jesus in performing miracles, before discussing, in turn, the healings and “resurrections” of the Synoptic Gospels, their stories of exorcisms and of “nature miracles”, before a final, short section on the miracles in John’s Gospel.
The author pays careful attention to the text, exploring the aims of Matthew, Mark and Luke, drawing on the insights of redaction and narrative criticism. Some of the discussions of miracle stories in all three Gospels are sometimes hard to follow, beginning as they do with a section mixing them together (“Main messages from each of the narratives”). But there are good, thoughtful observations throughout.
I was left with some questions about the author’s unquestioning historical approach. I do not doubt that Jesus performed “miracles”, “a supernatural action that transforms a previously dire and humanly insoluble situation…” (p 8). But did everything happen almost exactly as the Gospels say? Even the coin in the mouth of the fish (Matthew 17. 24-27, (pp 216-8)?
The miracles in John are surely less straightforward, historically, than those in the first three Gospels. Warrington recognises the symbolic content of the story of the Wedding at Cana (John 2.1- 11), but struggles to understand the words of Jesus to his mother: “My hour has not yet come”. The author has surely attributed these words to Jesus, thus linking this story with “the hour” of Jesus’ “glory” (ie his crucifixion (John 12. 23 onwards).
However, the author’s main interest, rightly, lies in the way in which the miracle stories are meant to lead us to faith in Jesus. And for that reason some will find this book helpful.