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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Dave Likeness on May 01, 2013, 06:41:51 PM

Title: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 01, 2013, 06:41:51 PM
In his 1st Letter to Timothy , the Apostle Paul defines
a false teacher. (1Timothy 1:3-11, 4:1-8,  6:3-5, 20-21)

1) They teach false doctrines which are different from the
     teachings of Christ and the Apostles.

2) They devote themselves to myths which promote
     controversies rather than God's work.

3) They misuse and mishandle the Mosaic moral law

4) They teach an ascetic lifestyle to abstain from certain
     foods  and forbid marriage

5) They are conceited and have an unhealthy interest
     in quarrels about words.

6) They think godliness is a means to financial gain.

This definition still can be helpful in the 21st century as
it was in the 1st century.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Pastor Ted Crandall on May 01, 2013, 06:46:06 PM
Luke chimed in as well: 

"...and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them."
(Acts 20:30)
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Pastor Ted Crandall on May 01, 2013, 06:47:32 PM
But, of course, that is just Luke's and Paul's interpretation... 

 ::)
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2013, 08:40:22 PM
But, of course, that is just Luke's and Paul's interpretation... 

 ::)


And probably not even Paul's interpretation.


The false teachers Paul criticizes in Galatians (which even included Peter!) were those who required believers to obey the Jewish laws, such as refusing to eat with Gentiles; those who would usurp our freedom and equality with each other in Christ.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: John Mundinger on May 02, 2013, 08:20:43 AM
This definition still can be helpful in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century.

To help me understand how these 1st century definitions apply to the 21st century, can you provide a couple of examples of how they might apply to issues that are frequently discussed as "false doctrine" in this forum - 1) ordination of women; 2) evolution; and, 3) closed communion.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Jay Michael on May 02, 2013, 09:25:42 AM
This definition still can be helpful in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century.

To help me understand how these 1st century definitions apply to the 21st century, can you provide a couple of examples of how they might apply to issues that are frequently discussed as "false doctrine" in this forum - 1) ordination of women; 2) evolution; and, 3) closed communion.
Interesting that it is finally acknowledged that closed communion was a fact of life and practice in the first century ... and by one who constantly quibbles about whether the Lutheran confessions adequately addresses the doctrine of closed communion.

It is rather puzzling that a truth of the first century can become a falsehood simply with the passage of time. Scripture clearly states "For I am the Lord, I change not". Mal 3:6
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: John Mundinger on May 02, 2013, 09:48:38 AM
Interesting that it is finally acknowledged that closed communion was a fact of life and practice in the first century ... and by one who constantly quibbles about whether the Lutheran confessions adequately addresses the doctrine of closed communion.

Jay - please explain yourself.

If by closed, you mean that 1st Century Christians served the Sacrament only to believers, you and I are in complete agreement.  However, if you mean that 1st Century Christians served some believers and intentionally excluded others, please share the Scripture passages that both demonstrate and justify that practice.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Jay Michael on May 02, 2013, 10:03:51 AM
Interesting that it is finally acknowledged that closed communion was a fact of life and practice in the first century ... and by one who constantly quibbles about whether the Lutheran confessions adequately addresses the doctrine of closed communion.
Jay - please explain yourself.

If by closed, you mean that 1st Century Christians served the Sacrament only to believers, you and I are in complete agreement.  However, if you mean that 1st Century Christians served some believers and intentionally excluded others, please share the Scripture passages that both demonstrate and justify that practice.
I was simply commenting on your words which you did not see fit to include with the quoted words above despite the fact that I included them in the quote when I commented on them.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Charles_Austin on May 02, 2013, 10:10:03 AM
Jay. writes:
 Scripture clearly states "For I am the Lord, I change not". Mal 3:6

I comment:
Proof-texting doesn't get us anywhere. God does indeed change. He decided to destroy the world, then relented; he sent his people into captivity; and then freed them. Too often when people talk about God in that Yoda-esque "changing not" language; what they mean is they don't like the thought of changing their views about God.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Jay Michael on May 02, 2013, 10:22:52 AM
Jay. writes:
 Scripture clearly states "For I am the Lord, I change not". Mal 3:6

I comment:
Proof-texting doesn't get us anywhere. God does indeed change. He decided to destroy the world, then relented; he sent his people into captivity; and then freed them. Too often when people talk about God in that Yoda-esque "changing not" language; what they mean is they don't like the thought of changing their views about God.
Apparently Almighty God was not referring to the events you speak of since these words were inspired far later in history than the events of which you speak. 

Your effort discrediting God's word fails miserably.  If God is indeed a moving target as you seem to imply above, how do you know that His salvation in Christ is really for you since according to your comment above "God does indeed change."
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: John Mundinger on May 02, 2013, 10:29:47 AM
I was simply commenting on your words which you did not see fit to include with the quoted words above despite the fact that I included them in the quote when I commented on them.

Then, perhaps, you should re-read my quote.  I did not say that "closed communion" was a 1st Century practice.  I asked Pastor Likeness how he would apply the 1st Century standards that he listed to begin this conversation to 21st Century matters in dispute, one of which is closed communion.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Coach-Rev on May 02, 2013, 10:33:29 AM
God does indeed change. He decided to destroy the world, then relented; he sent his people into captivity; and then freed them. Too often when people talk about God in that Yoda-esque "changing not" language; what they mean is they don't like the thought of changing their views about God.

Wow.  Just Wow.  You are so wrong and so off base on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin.

Perhaps its enough to say that too often when people talk about a God who changes as you've described, its because they don't like the thought of accepting a God who does not change and who truly has all things in control and accomplishes all things according to a plan they neither understand or accept.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 02, 2013, 10:35:59 AM
Mr. John Mundinger asked how Christians can
refute the false teaching of evolution in the
21st century with the 1st century teaching of Christ
and the Apostles.

Christ said, "From the beginning of creation God made
them male and female."   Mark 10:6

The Apostle Peter wrote, "The earth was formed out of
water and through the water by the word of God."  2 Peter 3:5

The Apostle Paul preached, "God made from one man every
nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth."  Acts 17:26

What Christ, Peter, and Paul said in the 1st century still applies
to the discussion of evolution in the 21st century.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: cnehring on May 02, 2013, 10:43:08 AM
But, of course, that is just Luke's and Paul's interpretation... 

 ::)


And probably not even Paul's interpretation.


The false teachers Paul criticizes in Galatians (which even included Peter!) were those who required believers to obey the Jewish laws, such as refusing to eat with Gentiles; those who would usurp our freedom and equality with each other in Christ.

Nice try. You present a Paul who opposed the Judaizer's at Galatia with an Epicurian (sp?) theology-as though freedom and equality is the basis upon all theology, life and practice. In Galatia, the Judaizers were seeking a religion in which salvation needed to be "fulfilled" by acts of the law and not by faith alone.

Read the last chapter of Galatians: Paul's "freedom" and "equality" of salvation by faith in Christ alone was to be tempered by a life that reflects such a freedom from the forces and desires of sin, flesh and the devil.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Jay Michael on May 02, 2013, 11:08:03 AM
I was simply commenting on your words which you did not see fit to include with the quoted words above despite the fact that I included them in the quote when I commented on them.
Then, perhaps, you should re-read my quote.  I did not say that "closed communion" was a 1st Century practice.  I asked Pastor Likeness how he would apply the 1st Century standards that he listed to begin this conversation to 21st Century matters in dispute, one of which is closed communion.
Your failure to re-quote yourself ... instead choosing to attempt to explain yourself ... well speaks for itself. ;)
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2013, 11:12:40 AM
This definition still can be helpful in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century.

To help me understand how these 1st century definitions apply to the 21st century, can you provide a couple of examples of how they might apply to issues that are frequently discussed as "false doctrine" in this forum - 1) ordination of women; 2) evolution; and, 3) closed communion.
Interesting that it is finally acknowledged that closed communion was a fact of life and practice in the first century ... and by one who constantly quibbles about whether the Lutheran confessions adequately addresses the doctrine of closed communion.

It is rather puzzling that a truth of the first century can become a falsehood simply with the passage of time. Scripture clearly states "For I am the Lord, I change not". Mal 3:6


While the LORD does not change, he, also says to us, "Look! I'm making all things new" (Revelation 21:5b). We shouldn't expect God to just do the same thing over and over again in every century; but look for the new things God is doing.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Jay Michael on May 02, 2013, 11:16:49 AM
This definition still can be helpful in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century.
To help me understand how these 1st century definitions apply to the 21st century, can you provide a couple of examples of how they might apply to issues that are frequently discussed as "false doctrine" in this forum - 1) ordination of women; 2) evolution; and, 3) closed communion.
Interesting that it is finally acknowledged that closed communion was a fact of life and practice in the first century ... and by one who constantly quibbles about whether the Lutheran confessions adequately addresses the doctrine of closed communion.

It is rather puzzling that a truth of the first century can become a falsehood simply with the passage of time. Scripture clearly states "For I am the Lord, I change not". Mal 3:6
While the LORD does not change, he, also says to us, "Look! I'm making all things new" (Revelation 21:5b). We shouldn't expect God to just do the same thing over and over again in every century; but look for the new things God is doing.
New may but does not necessarily indicate change.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: cnehring on May 02, 2013, 11:34:31 AM
This definition still can be helpful in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century.

To help me understand how these 1st century definitions apply to the 21st century, can you provide a couple of examples of how they might apply to issues that are frequently discussed as "false doctrine" in this forum - 1) ordination of women; 2) evolution; and, 3) closed communion.
Interesting that it is finally acknowledged that closed communion was a fact of life and practice in the first century ... and by one who constantly quibbles about whether the Lutheran confessions adequately addresses the doctrine of closed communion.

It is rather puzzling that a truth of the first century can become a falsehood simply with the passage of time. Scripture clearly states "For I am the Lord, I change not". Mal 3:6


While the LORD does not change, he, also says to us, "Look! I'm making all things new" (Revelation 21:5b). We shouldn't expect God to just do the same thing over and over again in every century; but look for the new things God is doing.

Ummmmmm....Revelation 21 is speaking of the end of all time and the giving of the new heaven, earth and Jerusalem. That is when all things will be made new. Finish out the section-verse 8 describes those who are not given a "portion" that those who conquer will-and this small list looks much like the previous lists in Scripture of what God detests and demands our repentance over and abstaining from.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: cnehring on May 02, 2013, 11:40:01 AM
God does indeed change. He decided to destroy the world, then relented; he sent his people into captivity; and then freed them. Too often when people talk about God in that Yoda-esque "changing not" language; what they mean is they don't like the thought of changing their views about God.

Wow.  Just Wow.  You are so wrong and so off base on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin.

Perhaps its enough to say that too often when people talk about a God who changes as you've described, its because they don't like the thought of accepting a God who does not change and who truly has all things in control and accomplishes all things according to a plan they neither understand or accept.

When you read some of those who come before us in the faith (which I know is taboo in this age of relevancy where your opinion stands over all others), when the Bible speaks of God "changing His mind," it really isn't so much that God changed His mind but that He had led those whom He was speaking to, to call upon Him in faith and proclaim the promises God had previously made.

So, after the golden calf episode, what God was after was that Moses call upon the promises previously made. With Jonah, it was God's desire that they repent and be saved anyway, so when they did after Jonah preached, it fulfilled God's desire anyway.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2013, 11:42:07 AM
God does indeed change. He decided to destroy the world, then relented; he sent his people into captivity; and then freed them. Too often when people talk about God in that Yoda-esque "changing not" language; what they mean is they don't like the thought of changing their views about God.

Wow.  Just Wow.  You are so wrong and so off base on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin.

Perhaps its enough to say that too often when people talk about a God who changes as you've described, its because they don't like the thought of accepting a God who does not change and who truly has all things in control and accomplishes all things according to a plan they neither understand or accept.


Scripture disagree with you about God changing his mind.



"The LORD regretted making human beings on the earth, and he was heartbroken." (Genesis 6:6)


"At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom; but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I'll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it. At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom; but if that nation displeases and disobeys me, then I'll relent and not carry out the good i intended for it." (Jeremiah 18:7-10)


"Who knows? God may see this and turn from his wrath, so that we might not perish. God saw what they were doing -- that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and he didn't do it." (Jonah 3:9-10)


We have stories and promises from the prophets that God can "repent" - change his mind - about the evil (or the good) that he has said he would do.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2013, 11:43:04 AM
This definition still can be helpful in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century.

To help me understand how these 1st century definitions apply to the 21st century, can you provide a couple of examples of how they might apply to issues that are frequently discussed as "false doctrine" in this forum - 1) ordination of women; 2) evolution; and, 3) closed communion.
Interesting that it is finally acknowledged that closed communion was a fact of life and practice in the first century ... and by one who constantly quibbles about whether the Lutheran confessions adequately addresses the doctrine of closed communion.

It is rather puzzling that a truth of the first century can become a falsehood simply with the passage of time. Scripture clearly states "For I am the Lord, I change not". Mal 3:6


While the LORD does not change, he, also says to us, "Look! I'm making all things new" (Revelation 21:5b). We shouldn't expect God to just do the same thing over and over again in every century; but look for the new things God is doing.

Ummmmmm....Revelation 21 is speaking of the end of all time and the giving of the new heaven, earth and Jerusalem. That is when all things will be made new.


God's statement is in the present tense - not future tense.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2013, 11:45:04 AM
This definition still can be helpful in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century.
To help me understand how these 1st century definitions apply to the 21st century, can you provide a couple of examples of how they might apply to issues that are frequently discussed as "false doctrine" in this forum - 1) ordination of women; 2) evolution; and, 3) closed communion.
Interesting that it is finally acknowledged that closed communion was a fact of life and practice in the first century ... and by one who constantly quibbles about whether the Lutheran confessions adequately addresses the doctrine of closed communion.

It is rather puzzling that a truth of the first century can become a falsehood simply with the passage of time. Scripture clearly states "For I am the Lord, I change not". Mal 3:6
While the LORD does not change, he, also says to us, "Look! I'm making all things new" (Revelation 21:5b). We shouldn't expect God to just do the same thing over and over again in every century; but look for the new things God is doing.
New may but does not necessarily indicate change.


The old passes away and the new comes - seems to imply a drastic change. Such language is used in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Revelation 21:1.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Steverem on May 02, 2013, 11:57:08 AM

Ummmmmm....Revelation 21 is speaking of the end of all time and the giving of the new heaven, earth and Jerusalem. That is when all things will be made new.


God's statement is in the present tense - not future tense.

Present tense, yes, but in the telling of a vision of the new Heaven and Earth, which is a vision of the future.  John is speaking presently with God in the vision, but the vision itself is eschatological.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2013, 12:01:09 PM

Ummmmmm....Revelation 21 is speaking of the end of all time and the giving of the new heaven, earth and Jerusalem. That is when all things will be made new.


God's statement is in the present tense - not future tense.

Present tense, yes, but in the telling of a vision of the new Heaven and Earth, which is a vision of the future.  John is speaking presently with God in the vision, but the vision itself is eschatological.


And it was written to give comfort and hope to persecuted Christians who heard these words in the present time. "God is making all things new" is a word of hope for people whose lives right now are in shambles - through no fault of their own, but because the world (in John's case, Domitian and the Roman Empire,) has turned against them.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 02, 2013, 01:19:10 PM
God does indeed change. He decided to destroy the world, then relented; he sent his people into captivity; and then freed them. Too often when people talk about God in that Yoda-esque "changing not" language; what they mean is they don't like the thought of changing their views about God.

Wow.  Just Wow.  You are so wrong and so off base on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin.

Perhaps its enough to say that too often when people talk about a God who changes as you've described, its because they don't like the thought of accepting a God who does not change and who truly has all things in control and accomplishes all things according to a plan they neither understand or accept.


Scripture disagree with you about God changing his mind.



"The LORD regretted making human beings on the earth, and he was heartbroken." (Genesis 6:6)


"At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom; but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I'll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it. At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom; but if that nation displeases and disobeys me, then I'll relent and not carry out the good i intended for it." (Jeremiah 18:7-10)


"Who knows? God may see this and turn from his wrath, so that we might not perish. God saw what they were doing -- that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and he didn't do it." (Jonah 3:9-10)


We have stories and promises from the prophets that God can "repent" - change his mind - about the evil (or the good) that he has said he would do.

It would be nice to think this through on a slightly deeper theological level.  In this light you are making God appear as no different than a vacillating human who changes his mind almost at a whim.  However, given that God is a God both of love and mercy and judgement, might we not look at these verses in that light? It is tempting to pit one attribute against another, as when people feel that a God of love could not possibly impose any kind of judgement, especially when it results in eternal separation.  The fact that God loves his creation and desires not to impose judgement does not mean that He changes his mind if he eventually allows that judgement to be realized which he had warned them about originally.  We also need to consider carefully the language used to translate the original Hebrew.  Your translation has God "regretting" that he made man as if he made a mistake.  The ESV uses the word "sorry," again a human emotion, but which works closer with the rest of the verse that describes God's sorrow over what man had become because of sin.  In the niphal form of this verb it can mean "to be moved to pity, have compassion."  So taking the verse as a whole and in context, it would appear that ascribing to God the vicissitude of emotions and intent common to sinful humans is not appropriate.  God's will is consistent and when he does something different than what He originally willed, it is a reflection of the change of sinful man, not God. A good example would be the introduction of death into the world.  Given a more balanced view of God and His will, I believe that the other quoted verses could also be adequately explained as well.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 02, 2013, 01:22:24 PM

Ummmmmm....Revelation 21 is speaking of the end of all time and the giving of the new heaven, earth and Jerusalem. That is when all things will be made new.


God's statement is in the present tense - not future tense.

Present tense, yes, but in the telling of a vision of the new Heaven and Earth, which is a vision of the future.  John is speaking presently with God in the vision, but the vision itself is eschatological.


And it was written to give comfort and hope to persecuted Christians who heard these words in the present time. "God is making all things new" is a word of hope for people whose lives right now are in shambles - through no fault of their own, but because the world (in John's case, Domitian and the Roman Empire,) has turned against them.

It is not just a word of hope, but a present reality which will be realized in all its fulness at the end.  In Baptism we are already made new creations.  In the living Christ we have already passed from death to life.  So when "all things are made new" this is not something radically different than before, but the completion of what was first given in the waters of life at the font.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 02, 2013, 01:32:01 PM
Pastor Engebretson  has reminded us that it is
popular for some people to use an anthropomorphism
when talking about God.   This happens when we
refer to God by giving him the same qualities and
emotions as man.

Bottom Line:  The divine attributes of God trump
any attempt to use an anthropomorphism.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Coach-Rev on May 02, 2013, 02:52:24 PM
God does indeed change. He decided to destroy the world, then relented; he sent his people into captivity; and then freed them. Too often when people talk about God in that Yoda-esque "changing not" language; what they mean is they don't like the thought of changing their views about God.

Wow.  Just Wow.  You are so wrong and so off base on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin.

Perhaps its enough to say that too often when people talk about a God who changes as you've described, its because they don't like the thought of accepting a God who does not change and who truly has all things in control and accomplishes all things according to a plan they neither understand or accept.


Scripture disagree with you about God changing his mind.



"The LORD regretted making human beings on the earth, and he was heartbroken." (Genesis 6:6)


"At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom; but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I'll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it. At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom; but if that nation displeases and disobeys me, then I'll relent and not carry out the good i intended for it." (Jeremiah 18:7-10)


"Who knows? God may see this and turn from his wrath, so that we might not perish. God saw what they were doing -- that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and he didn't do it." (Jonah 3:9-10)


We have stories and promises from the prophets that God can "repent" - change his mind - about the evil (or the good) that he has said he would do.

I'll simply refer you to the post directly above your response, and some that follow.

Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 02, 2013, 02:58:44 PM
All language about God is to some extent metaphorical, a fact recognized by most commentators except for Biblical literalists like apparently Prs. Austin and Stoffregen who seem to delight in pointing out how a literal understanding often leads to difficulties which seem in their minds to prove the fallibility of Holy Writ.
 
God is both like us in some ways and very unlike us in some ways.  We are created in His image (sorry literalists that does not mean that God looks like us so lets not go there, shall we?).  We are persons with self awareness and intelligence.  So is God (but with much greater intelligence).  We are creature who have physical existence, locality (we exist in one place at a time) and experience time in a linear fashion.  God is spirit and so does not by His nature have physical existence (although He can take on such existence at will), is alocal (exists everywhere at the same time) and is timeless (does not experience time as we do but holds all time in His eternal present).  In those things He is very different, how different is shown by how difficult it is to even speak coherently about how His existence is different than ours.
 
This means that often when God communicates with us, or people talk about God, it is expressed in language that couched in terms that would be applicable to us.  If God is timeless, He literally cannot change since change happens in linear time.  God would not experience sequence, first being one way, or deciding one way now and later changing His mind.  Being timeless, God has no sequence.  But it is much easier to put these things into human terms than to every time have to explain the philosophical complications.  Unless one insists on a strictly literal understanding of the Bible which error hunters like to do, it works pretty well.  It's like talking about sunrise and sunset.  For ordinary use that works well, in some specialized situations more precision is needed and it causes problems with literalists that do not or refuse to recognize metaphors.
 
There is also the matter of Cambridge Changes.  A Cambridge Change is a change that happens when relating one thing to another.  From where I live in Danville Illinois, Cambridge England is at a particular distance from me on a particular heading.  If I were to visit family in St. Peter Minnesota,  Cambridge's distance and heading to me would change.  So the fact about Cambridge that it is X distance in X direction from me, would be changed to the fact about Cambridge that it is now Y distance in Y direction from me.  But has Cambridge itself really changed?  One if I am in fact the unchanging center of the universe (something that everybody would dispute).  It is our relationship that has changed because I have changed.
 
We change and so our relationship to God can change, which can change God's reaction to us.  But these can be seen as Cambridge Changes, changes in us and our relationship rather than a change in God.  Unless of course one is a literalist and does not recognize that the Bible uses metaphorical anthropomorphisms. (Should we find a different, less sexist term for this? {Can we assume that "anthropo-" also refers to women or is that sexist?}).
 
Dan
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2013, 05:20:58 PM
God does indeed change. He decided to destroy the world, then relented; he sent his people into captivity; and then freed them. Too often when people talk about God in that Yoda-esque "changing not" language; what they mean is they don't like the thought of changing their views about God.

Wow.  Just Wow.  You are so wrong and so off base on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin.

Perhaps its enough to say that too often when people talk about a God who changes as you've described, its because they don't like the thought of accepting a God who does not change and who truly has all things in control and accomplishes all things according to a plan they neither understand or accept.


Scripture disagree with you about God changing his mind.



"The LORD regretted making human beings on the earth, and he was heartbroken." (Genesis 6:6)


"At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom; but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I'll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it. At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom; but if that nation displeases and disobeys me, then I'll relent and not carry out the good i intended for it." (Jeremiah 18:7-10)


"Who knows? God may see this and turn from his wrath, so that we might not perish. God saw what they were doing -- that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and he didn't do it." (Jonah 3:9-10)


We have stories and promises from the prophets that God can "repent" - change his mind - about the evil (or the good) that he has said he would do.

It would be nice to think this through on a slightly deeper theological level.  In this light you are making God appear as no different than a vacillating human who changes his mind almost at a whim.  However, given that God is a God both of love and mercy and judgement, might we not look at these verses in that light? It is tempting to pit one attribute against another, as when people feel that a God of love could not possibly impose any kind of judgement, especially when it results in eternal separation.  The fact that God loves his creation and desires not to impose judgement does not mean that He changes his mind if he eventually allows that judgement to be realized which he had warned them about originally.  We also need to consider carefully the language used to translate the original Hebrew.  Your translation has God "regretting" that he made man as if he made a mistake.  The ESV uses the word "sorry," again a human emotion, but which works closer with the rest of the verse that describes God's sorrow over what man had become because of sin.  In the niphal form of this verb it can mean "to be moved to pity, have compassion."  So taking the verse as a whole and in context, it would appear that ascribing to God the vicissitude of emotions and intent common to sinful humans is not appropriate.  God's will is consistent and when he does something different than what He originally willed, it is a reflection of the change of sinful man, not God. A good example would be the introduction of death into the world.  Given a more balanced view of God and His will, I believe that the other quoted verses could also be adequately explained as well.


God is frequently pictured as a human being - walking in a garden, having arms, and changing his mind (always for good reasons). Along with that, in different circumstances, God can seemingly say opposite things - just as good parents may say opposite things to a child at different times or circumstances in their lives. God says that will punish to the third and forth generations in Exodus 20; but in Ezekiel 18, each generations suffers for their own sins. We are to beat weapons of war into farm implements in Micah 4:3 & Isaiah 2:4; but Joel 3:10 says just the opposite: farm implements are to be turned into weapons of war.


Our only frame of reference in talking about God is ourselves. Thus, when God wanted to most fully reveal himself to us, he had to do it as a human being.
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2013, 05:26:15 PM

Ummmmmm....Revelation 21 is speaking of the end of all time and the giving of the new heaven, earth and Jerusalem. That is when all things will be made new.


God's statement is in the present tense - not future tense.

Present tense, yes, but in the telling of a vision of the new Heaven and Earth, which is a vision of the future.  John is speaking presently with God in the vision, but the vision itself is eschatological.


And it was written to give comfort and hope to persecuted Christians who heard these words in the present time. "God is making all things new" is a word of hope for people whose lives right now are in shambles - through no fault of their own, but because the world (in John's case, Domitian and the Roman Empire,) has turned against them.

It is not just a word of hope, but a present reality which will be realized in all its fulness at the end.  In Baptism we are already made new creations.  In the living Christ we have already passed from death to life.  So when "all things are made new" this is not something radically different than before, but the completion of what was first given in the waters of life at the font.


So, is God doing new things with us in the present time?
Title: Re: How The Apostle Paul Defines False Teachers
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2013, 05:30:57 PM
All language about God is to some extent metaphorical, a fact recognized by most commentators except for Biblical literalists like apparently Prs. Austin and Stoffregen who seem to delight in pointing out how a literal understanding often leads to difficulties which seem in their minds to prove the fallibility of Holy Writ.
 
God is both like us in some ways and very unlike us in some ways.  We are created in His image (sorry literalists that does not mean that God looks like us so lets not go there, shall we?).  We are persons with self awareness and intelligence.  So is God (but with much greater intelligence).  We are creature who have physical existence, locality (we exist in one place at a time) and experience time in a linear fashion.  God is spirit and so does not by His nature have physical existence (although He can take on such existence at will), is alocal (exists everywhere at the same time) and is timeless (does not experience time as we do but holds all time in His eternal present).  In those things He is very different, how different is shown by how difficult it is to even speak coherently about how His existence is different than ours.
 
This means that often when God communicates with us, or people talk about God, it is expressed in language that couched in terms that would be applicable to us.  If God is timeless, He literally cannot change since change happens in linear time.  God would not experience sequence, first being one way, or deciding one way now and later changing His mind.  Being timeless, God has no sequence.  But it is much easier to put these things into human terms than to every time have to explain the philosophical complications.  Unless one insists on a strictly literal understanding of the Bible which error hunters like to do, it works pretty well.  It's like talking about sunrise and sunset.  For ordinary use that works well, in some specialized situations more precision is needed and it causes problems with literalists that do not or refuse to recognize metaphors.
 
There is also the matter of Cambridge Changes.  A Cambridge Change is a change that happens when relating one thing to another.  From where I live in Danville Illinois, Cambridge England is at a particular distance from me on a particular heading.  If I were to visit family in St. Peter Minnesota,  Cambridge's distance and heading to me would change.  So the fact about Cambridge that it is X distance in X direction from me, would be changed to the fact about Cambridge that it is now Y distance in Y direction from me.  But has Cambridge itself really changed?  One if I am in fact the unchanging center of the universe (something that everybody would dispute).  It is our relationship that has changed because I have changed.
 
We change and so our relationship to God can change, which can change God's reaction to us.  But these can be seen as Cambridge Changes, changes in us and our relationship rather than a change in God.  Unless of course one is a literalist and does not recognize that the Bible uses metaphorical anthropomorphisms. (Should we find a different, less sexist term for this? {Can we assume that "anthropo-" also refers to women or is that sexist?}).


It is also quite possible that Cambridge did change. During the time you went from Danville to St. Peter. Buildings could be torn down. New structure raised up. Consider how the New York City skyline has changed over the past 200 years.


Our congregation is celebrating its 60 anniversary this year. Old timers talk about the changes that have happened to the congregation, it's buildings, and even more so, the city over that period of time. In the beginning, they kept shovels in the church to dig the sand away from the car tires. There weren't paved roads. There were winds. Changes have been made since then. We don't need shovels for the cars.