In today’s world, most people associate ‘supernatural’ with ghosts, séances, and Harry Potter. To say that Christianity is a supernatural relationship sounds both confusing and heretical. But it is!
The meaning of the word ‘supernatural’ is ‘relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe’ The Bible is full of accounts of supernatural events. Jesus ministered supernaturally, and the re-birth of the spirit is a profoundly supernatural phenomenon. The word ‘metaphysical’ is more or less a synonym for supernatural and is defined as ‘relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses’ Yet, here again, it is usually connected in Christian circles with cult systems or Word of Faith extremes. Yet, Christianity is metaphysical. We cannot see God, who is Spirit, yet we have a relationship with the triune Godhead in and through Jesus Christ.
We cannot test or measure the manifestations of healing and miracles yet we experience them and gladly accept them… or do we?
Some Christian folk reject outright anything, spiritual gifts included, that appear to be supernatural. Words of Knowledge are to them simply intellectually informed teachings, Words of Wisdom are wise utterances, Prophecy is preaching, and so on. Such people are commonly termed cessationists in theological circles; they believed that the ‘Gifts of the Spirit’ have ceased. I have read as much as I choose to about the justifications for holding such a belief, but I find them wanting. Although theologians of this persuasion often claim that their theology is based on a sound exposition of scripture, nothing could be further from the truth. The New Testament is replete with references to the supernatural, and the claim that 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 supports cessationism is, in my opinion at least, just foolish and irresponsible. Actually, the real argument that the supernatural Gifts of the Spirit have ceased is based on a selective reading of history and not on biblical interpretation.
On the other side of the spectrum are those who claim to operate supernaturally as disciples of Jesus, but evidence magical manipulation rather than spiritual ministry. I am referring here to such things as crowd mesmerising, leg-stretching, mantra shouting, gold dust materialising, angel feather falling, religious slight-of-hand. I regard this as a perversion and not a spiritual reality, and as mind-craft, not supernatural ministry. Neither cessationism nor charismania are valid expressions of biblical Christianity.
If these two positions represent the end-points of a horizontal line, then the middle point, pulled up to form a triangle, must be intellectual knowledge-based pseudo-Christianity. In terms of this belief system, re-birth is just a euphemism for commitment of the will, spirituality consists of Bible study and prayer, church is an organisation akin to a school, and evangelism is a call to embrace a way of living and a denominational doctrinal statement. To my way of thinking, this too is a parody of New Testament Christianity. Cessationism, charismania, and intellectual pseudo-belief form a baleful triumvirate in current Christendom.
Jesus modelled a supernatural faith relationship with His Father, the Holy Spirit, and His disciples.
Read through the Gospels and observe how He ministered supernaturally, and how He positioned faith, not as a force to be manipulated, but as a the catalyst of metaphysical relationships. Take note of His profound lecture to the intellectually religious leader Nicodemus. Read on through the book of Acts and note how the early church functioned. Note also how Paul explained the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the church (1 Corinthians 12 & 14).
Surely, Christianity is essentially a supernatural metaphysical faith relationship with the triune God in and through Jesus Christ, and with others in and through the Body of Christ the church.