Preacher Attempts to Walk on Water and Drowns

By Wayne Jackson

A news organization, WORLDNETDAILY (8/30/06) has reported the following unfortunate incident:

“An evangelist who tried replicating Jesus’ miracle of walking on water has reportedly drowned off the western coast of Africa. Pastor Franck Kabele, 35, told his congregation he could repeat the biblical miracle, and he attempted it from a beach in Gabon’s capital of Libreville. ‘He told churchgoers he’d had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus,’ an eyewitness told the Glasgow Daily Record.

‘He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat. He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back.’

A researcher at Florida State University believes he has a natural explanation for the account of Jesus’ miraculous walk on the surface of water — ice. Professor of Oceanography Doron Nof and the co-authors of his study theorize that a rare combination of optimal water and atmospheric conditions resulted in a unique, localized freezing phenomenon called ‘springs ice.’"

This horrible incident, together with a “professor’s” response, progresses from the tragically untaught to the supremely obtuse.

The Tragedy of Ignorance

“‘Pastor’ Kabele” obviously was a very sincere man; but sincerity does not nullify ignorance. I do not use this term in a pejorative way. All of us are ignorant in some matters. It’s just that sometimes one form of ignorance can have a greater consequence than others. In the first place it should be noted that “revelations” from God do not occur today. When the Old Testament era came to an end in Malachi’s day, 400 years passed with no “revelations” from God. This era frequently is described as “the four silent centuries.”

With the coming of a new age, from the commencement of Jesus’ ministry to the death of the apostle John, there was another relatively brief period when supernatural revelation and signs were manifest. When the New Testament was completed, and the apostles and other people possessing miraculous abilities died, no further signs were provided.

Scripture is competent to furnish us completely for all spiritual activities (2 Timothy 3:16-17). For a complete discussion, see our article on Miracles.

Had poor Mr. Kabele known his Bible better, he would not have attempted his “miracle” feat; had he possessed a moderate amount of common sense, he quickly would have discovered he could not “walk on water,” before the sea finally took him.

The “Ice” Theory

Eclipsing Kabele’s naivety is the theory of Professor Nof as to how Jesus was able to walk on the Sea of Galilee. Presumably, it was a “rare” (rare indeed!) condition wherein that body of water was seized by a unique “freezing phenomenon” that enabled Jesus to walk on top of the ice! Amazing!

A consideration of the following facts would have saved the “professor” and his colleagues some embarrassment. (a) The incident of the walking on the water occurred in April, for the Passover was near (John 6:4). There was green grass on the hills nearby (Mark 6:39). (b) In April at the Sea of Galilee temperatures average from 53 to 67 degrees (the sea is 695 feet below sea level). Fruits, vegetables, and grains are grown year-round in the region. © There is no indication that the lake was frozen at any place. There was a significant wind and the waves were tumultuous (Matthew 14:24; John 6:18). (d) The boat obviously was not lodged in ice, for the disciples had rowed some 3 to 4 miles from shore (John 6:19). Peter was able to step out of the boat and walk on the “water” (not “ice”) toward the Lord. The apostle began to sink because of his fear, prompted by a lack of faith (Matthew 14:30-31) — not as a result of breaking through the ice!

Critics attack the Bible, contending that the “miracles” were myths, yet their rationalistic theories are more difficult to believe than genuine miracles!

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.