Bounded faith

The Bible is brimming with examples of faith healing. Jesus performed a number of miraculous healings in all four canonical gospels, and later his apostles performed similar healings. In his epistles Paul speaks of faith healing as a gift of the Holy Spirit that can be bestowed on potentially any faithful Christian. Miracles, including the miraculous healing of the sick, were reputedly quite common during the era of Early Christianity and were not exclusive to the apostles or church leaders. Many Evangelical Christians today declare belief in the continual existence (or at least the possibility) of legitimate, New Testament-style miracles including faith healing, often bearing witness from personal experiences.

If this is so, then why do Christians never pray for the miraculous healing of amputees? Why should believers in faith healing refrain from asking God to grow back lost limbs? There seems to be a very pronounced disconnect between the outlandish miracles of the scriptural account, the professions of the faithful regarding miracles, and the actions they will or will not take to generate miracles. If God is capable of anything, from softening hearts to raising the dead from the grave, why do the vast majority of Evangelical Christians restrict themselves to asking for more pragmatic miracles? Prayers for cancer to be healed are common, prayers for limbs to grow back are virtually nonexistent. Why?

It would appear that the faith Evangelical Christians in America have in miracles is bound within the realm of the everyday. An essentially irrational concept, faith healing, has been subjected to modern rationality. People of faith claim that we don’t see miracles, such as an amputee’s limbs growing back, because of a lack of faith, or simply because no one ever prays for the truly outlandish and extraordinary. But could it be that Evangelicals don’t pray for limbs to grow back because, secretly, they understand it is impossible? Could it be that we don’t see New Testament-style miracles in the 21st century because they do not exist?