Leap of Faith

Blog 25 January 30, 2017 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

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            Are there “swindlers” out there? Sure are.

In the movie Leap of Faith, Steve Martin plays con man Jonas Nightengale who travels from town to town bilking farmers out of their money while he fakes miracles. In the town of Rustwater, Kansas, he sets up his nightly show. The town’s people are so taken that when the sheriff reports Nightengale’s real name is Jack Newton and he has continually been in trouble with the law, they won’t listen. Each night the fraudulent healer wearing a silver-sequined coat hops up and down the aisles while an assistant is in the backroom with television monitors sends him messages through an ear piece. The inside information makes Nightengale appear to have special secrets messages from the Holy Spirit.

The turning point comes when Boyd, a boy on crutches, is actually healed. Nightengale cannot believe what he is seeing and runs, leaving the silver-sequined jacket behind. As he travels away in a hitch-hiked ride, Nightengale tells the driver that he knows “the genuine article” and that a real miracle is not to be toyed with. The movie ends as Nightengale disappears into the night.

Interestingly enough, this movie was based on an actual fraudulent ministry of a Pentecostal type who kept his wife in the back room sending him messages through a hearing aid device. The audience was scanned by accomplices who produced information on the unsuspecting. The last time I saw this character on television, he was promoting “miracle spring water” and was still at it. The tragedy of these charlatans is that they demean the actual interventions of the heavenly Father. They reduce the miraculous to a sideshow, leaving people to go home disillusioned.

Equally tragic is that the antics of these types develop skeptics who see the entire scene as a sham. Both conclusions are equally unfortunate. While we acknowledge the reality of the counterfeit artists and the audience that travels with them to pretend a miracle occurred, we continue to recognize that divine intervention has made a dramatic difference in the journeys of a multitude of grateful people.

The key to the “genuine article” is found in understanding the stories in the scripture. As the Old and New testaments relate the stories of miracles, they contain details that are important in grasping how people like Elisha as well as Jesus Christ ministered. Discovering the will of God is one of the first steps that unlocks sealed doors.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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