Tag Archive: John 14:12

Dear Evangelical, Why Don’t We See Any Miracles in Your Church?

One of the thorniest verses in the Bible for Evangelicals is John 14:12:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Evangelicals believe that the fourteenth chapter of John is the very words of Jesus. This chapter tells Evangelicals not to have a troubled heart; that 2,000 years ago Jesus ascended back to heaven to prepare a room/mansion in heaven for them. When they die or if the Rapture happens before they die, Evangelicals are promised the keys to a brand new home in the sky. This chapter also tells Evangelicals that Jesus is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life, proving to Evangelicals the exclusivity of their peculiar version of the Christian gospel.

In verse 14 Jesus says, If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. Ponder these words for a moment. Think about all the prayers Christians have uttered over the centuries, prayers asked in the name of Jesus without nary a response. Think about this verse in light of the current Coronavirus Pandemic. Evangelicals love to say that God answered this or that prayer, but pressed for proof of their supernatural claims, they quickly retreat to the safe confines of faith. (Please see A Few Thoughts on a Lifetime of Praying to the Christian God.)

Let’s do some Bible math:

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, will do it + He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do = a church that should regularly see people raised from the dead and healed; a church that should be able to feed the hungry; a church whose leaders work miracles, including walking on water, turning water into Welch’s grape juice, and healing the deaf, blind, and dumb. Add to this, Jesus also said in Mark 16:15-18:

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

According to Jesus, those who believe in him would cast out devils, speak in unlearned new languages, handle venomous snakes, drink poison and not die, and lay their hands on the sick, miraculously causing them to recover from their illnesses.

Is it not then fair to ask where such Christians are today? Where can a non-believer go to see Christians doing greater works than Jesus? Why are hospital beds not empty, mental hospitals closed down, and world hunger eliminated? Surely if, as the Bible says, Christians are to do works greater than Jesus, we skeptics have the right to say show us.

Most Christian sects come up with elaborate schemes to explain away the normative meaning of these verses. The works of Jesus and the early church were sign gifts, many Evangelicals say, and once the canon of Scripture was completed these sign gifts were no longer necessary. I wonder if Christians who say this ever consider that what they are basically saying is that Jesus was lying in John 15/Mark 16 or that there should no longer be the expectation of  verifiable miracles. (I use the word verifiable to turn away those that want to appeal to all sorts of subjective experiences that they say are proof of God working a m-i-r-a-c-l-e.)

In the delusional world inhabited by Pentecostals, snake-handling Baptists, and those who subscribe to CHARISMA magazine, greater works than Jesus are being performed on a regular basis. When asked for verifiable proof of their claims, appeals are made to faith or Christians mutter, I just KNOW that MY GOD is in the miracle-working business. Funny business God is in . . . no advertising or place of business, yet non-Christians are expected to believe the business exists. I know there is a McDonald’s right here, says the Charismatic, because a book I read tells me there is.

Here’s my challenge to Evangelicals. Please pray that God supernaturally heals me from my physical maladies, or that God stops the Coronavirus Pandemic in its tracks. If she does, I will believe and recant every word I’ve ever written about the Bible, God, Jesus, and Christianity. Wouldn’t it be a great testimony to the miraculous power of almighty God and the veracity of the Christian narrative if God healed an atheist like me? Instead of praying for God to kill me, why not pray for God to heal me?  Better yet, forget me. Heal my wife. I’m waiting . . .

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Christians Don’t Do the Works Jesus Did, Proving Jesus Never Resurrected from the Dead

jesus raising the dead

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

Evangelicals believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. It’s a one-of-a-kind divine religious text that is to be, with rare exception, read and interpreted literally. Of course, when confronted with glaring contradictions, Evangelicals will abandon literalism quicker than Sarah Huckabee Sanders abandons truth at a White House press conference. When confronted with Bible verses that are contradictory or which put God/Christianity in a bad light, Evangelicals discard the literal, plain meaning of a text in favor of a convoluted, look-the-rabbit-ran-that-way, theological explanation.

Take John14:12-14. Printed with red ink — the universal sign for “Jesus is talking” — the Son of God said that he would soon return to his Father in Heaven, and once he was gone his followers would do greater works (miracles) than he did. Wow, what a statement, right?

What were the works (miracles) that Jesus did?

  • Healed the sick
  • Cured the deaf and mute
  • Gave sight to the blind
  • Reattached severed body parts
  • Fed 5,000 people with 2 loaves of bread and 5 fishes
  • Fed 4,000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a few fishes
  • Caused the lame to walk again
  • Cured mental illness
  • Raised the dead
  • Turned well water into Boone’s Farm
  • Walked on water
  • Stopped storm winds from blowing
  • Walked through walls
  • Resurrected himself from the dead

What a list of miracles! The writer of the gospel of John said, in John 21:25:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

According to that verse, the Bible contains just a small handful of the millions of miracles performed by Jesus. Why, Jesus worked so many miracles in three years, that if all of them were written down, all the books of the world wouldn’t be able to contain them. Wow, just wow! So many miracles, yet there is not one non-Biblical contemporary record for any of them. If a Jewish itinerant preacher performed millions of miracles in a thirty-six-month period, you’d think at least one Roman historian would have mentioned it. Yet, the pages of history are silent.

For the sake of this post, I am going to go with the miracles performed by Jesus as recorded in the gospels. In John 14:12, Jesus told his followers that after he ascended back to his Father in Heaven, they would perform works (miracles) as great as and greater than those worked by him. The Christian church has existed for almost 2,000 years, yet there is no recorded history of Christians doing greater works (miracles) than Jesus. In fact, Christians today think a “greater work” is Jesus helping Grandma find her lost keys or causing someone’s cancer to temporarily go into remission. Healing the sick? Raising the dead? Causing cripples to walk? Giving sight to the blind? Where, oh where can we find and see such medically verifiable miracles? And if Jesus worked millions of such miracles, where can we see legions of people being healed? Where can we see thousands of people being fed with 2 Big Mac’s and 5 orders of large French fries?

Modern Christians are supposed to be greater miracle workers than Jesus, yet everywhere we look we see impotence. Why is that? Evangelicals will make all sorts of peculiar theological arguments, attempting to explain away the clear, literal reading of John 14:12. Perhaps, there is another explanation for the present-day paucity of miracles. Jesus said that miracle-working by his followers was contingent upon him returning to his Father in Heaven. Perhaps, the real reason Christians can’t work Jesus-esque miracles is because he never resurrected from the dead and ascended back to Heaven to the right hand of his Father. Maybe, just maybe, when Jesus died, he stayed dead. You know, just like every other human who has ever lived and died.

John 14:12 remains a direct challenge to the belief that Jesus resurrected from the dead. Had Jesus really escaped the permanency of death and magically floated away from the earth until he could no longer be seen, then Christians from 33 CE until today should have the power to repeatedly do the miraculous. That they don’t tells me that Jesus died on a Roman cross centuries ago and was buried in a borrowed tomb, never to be seen again.

Thus saith the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of Bruce.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

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