Early last year, with students and faculty divided over a course on the miraculous, the faculty council of Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Mission decided to drop the course until the issue could be studied further (CT, Feb. 21, 1986, p. 48). A faculty task force recently released its year-long study, titled Ministry and the Miraculous: A Case Study at Fuller Theological Seminary.

The document, edited by theology professor Lewis Smedes, will be published by Word Publishing, Inc., “to share our theological and pastoral thinking with a larger audience of concerned Christians,” said seminary president David Hubbard. He maintains that scholarly treatment of the miraculous has not kept pace with reports of “signs and wonders” coming from Third World missionaries.

Healing And Exorcism

In essence, the Fuller document is a brief theology of the miraculous, an attempt to place such phenomena as healing and the exorcism of demons in their proper context within the Christian faith. Generally, the document downplays the importance of miracles, stating that “ordinary healings [resulting from medical science] are no less divine than miraculous healings,” and that “healing of individual ailments is a very minor theme in Christian ministry compared to the deeper needs of God’s people and God’s world.”

Elsewhere, the authors state, “The gospel does not clearly vindicate itself to the world when ministers proclaim the occasional release of affluent individuals from bearable aches and pains while thousands of starving children call in vain to be fed.…”

The document stands firmly against some of the teachings that have emerged from charismatic circles. ...

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