Not Hype; Just Fact Randall Bach March 20, 2017 Archive, Breaking, Current Issue, President's Perspective 268 Font Size » Large | SmallBy President Randall A. Bach I sometimes say my first name should be Thomas, as in “doubting.” Actually, I believe that Thomas, Jesus’ disciple who wanted confirmation about reports of Jesus’ resurrection, has been unfairly maligned. The reports that Jesus was alive after a very public execution were so out of the ordinary that Thomas felt he couldn’t swallow them without additional verification. Perhaps some of the disciple “crowd” with whom Thomas hung out struck him as too naive, mistaking gullibility for faith (John 20:25). Today it is even more challenging to separate hype from fact. While we want to be people of faith we do not want to be duped, even for well-meaning causes. We want truth. That is a problem with our contemporary faith climate. Some want so desperately to believe a testimony that they shuck all discernment to embrace embarrassingly hyped or flat-out false reports. In others, cynicism reigns. Jesus Himself could appear before them and invite a miracle-confirming physical inspection, as He did with Thomas, and they still wouldn’t believe. They are like the crowd in Jesus’ hometown, about whom it is said, “And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58, NLT). This “Thomas” Bach had the privilege of meeting both principal characters of the Marlene Klepees’ healing account, Marlene and Open Bible pastor Scott Emerson. Marlene’s healing is real, nothing feigned. Scott Emerson is a low-key pastor who believes the Word but does not exaggerate. I am convinced Marlene’s healing qualifies as a miracle, especially after hearing the doctors’ amazement and struggle for words. Miracles and healings occur yet today. So how do we protect ourselves from being duped by hype while exercising faith to believe for miracles? 1. Read and rejoice over biblical accounts of miracles. Approach the miraculous with simple, unfeigned faith. Process accounts of miracles through both the Word and discernment from the Holy Spirit. Bogus is bogus, not blessed by the Lord. Don’t convince yourself to believe in something suspect in an attempt to artificially crank up faith. 2. Begin with faith rather than skepticism. Skepticism is the child of unbelief, and we read how unbelief squashed Jesus’ ability to perform miracles in His hometown. Ask the Lord to increase your faith. Do not let your faith atrophy. Take initiative to nourish faith. 3. Be honest with the Lord about your struggle with faith. One of the most poignant conversations in the Bible is found in Mark 9:23 – 24 (NLT). A father whose son was writhing in convulsions and foaming at the mouth desperately sought out Jesus for help. Jesus responded, “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father’s comment is honest and vulnerable: “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.” His unbelief was not the cynical, mocking unbelief Jesus confronted in Nazareth. It was a wavering faith that wanted to believe but was weak. Rather than being put off by the father’s vulnerable confession, Jesus healed the son. The father’s faith, weak as it was, was enough. RELATED: “Miraculously Healed of Cerebral Palsy” The role of faith is not formulaic in effect. Faith is disarmingly simple (sometimes mysteriously so) and uncluttered, holds onto the promises of God’s Word, releases what we do not understand to the One in whom we believe, and humbly but boldly requests the Lord’s powerful and miraculous touch, in Jesus’ name (John 14:13). Not hype; just fact.