One of the best definitions I have heard of “the straight and the narrow road” is that it is the extremely thin line that runs between extreme viewpoints. These words remind me of a friend who once said to me that his favourite Bible verse is “Blessed are the balanced.”
Most theological disputes throughout the centuries have missed the fine line of balance. As Luther said, we are like a drunken man who falls off his horse, gets back on the saddle and then falls off the other side.
When it comes to the place and purpose of miracles, signs and wonders in the life of the Christian, this has especially been the case. In this regard the history of the church is reminiscent of a pendulum-driven cuckoo clock, with each “Tick” representing dead formalism and antagonism towards anything supernatural (the so-called Cessationist view or “streepteologie”) and each “Tock” representing a frenzied fanaticism and conviction that the church must experience the same intensity of supernatural phenomena that marked the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Both views have led to tragedy and tears. Tick: My faith is a mere cognitive affair. I cannot expect God to powerfully intervene in my life, heal my child, deliver my alcoholic husband, and so on. Tock: God is under an obligation to heal people. If he doesn’t, then it’s because they don’t have enough faith.
And so the clock has been ticking through the ages. As a policeman once said to me: The surest way to cause an accident is to over-steer when trying to avoid danger.
God is as alive as he was during the apostolic era. He is a miracle working God who heals, delivers and provides. But let us not try and box him with our formulas and stage shows.