Did God ever repent, change his mind? Were his thoughts and emotions positively impacted by the successful mission of Christ? Are yours? Are mine? The answer to all of the above is a resounding “YES”!
Is it possible our collective intellect, will, and emotions are more like the Creator’s than we have ever imagined? Do we learn and grow in a similar way as he did?
In my case, as I’ve conveyed to you over the years, my learning curve is slow. I am thankful for the peace which has accompanied my contemplation and consideration of every aspect of the gospel. My coming to the understanding the gospel of peace, which is the foundation of the gospel and its revolution was slow and methodical.
For five years, from 1977-1982, I never opened my mouth about it. I just studied and listened.
While the unraveling of Christian doctrine—a doctrine of, at best, restricted peace and grace has been the journey of a lifetime, one thing is certain; there is still much to learn and understand about this wonderful good news and its unlimited peace and grace.
For over 20 years we have watched people from all over the globe leave Christianity through the teaching of the Gospel Revolution. Then some have exited the gospel because they came to the conclusion that God was never angry, that He did not have a process leading to the cross. Inherent with that has been the thought that man was never a sinner and was always righteous since creation. Even some of those folks who know what we teach, have continued listening here because they say they’ve never heard a better gospel taught.
As I look back on my process, while remaining open to all perspectives, I remember sharing points from the Scriptures which support the view of a “never angry God” and a “never sinful man”. For example, God never showed anger to Adam. It was, in fact, Adam who hid himself from God, not the other way around. There was no anger displayed to Cain either after he killed his brother Abel.
The compulsion for me, and I know, for many others, has been and continues to be, finding truth. We know finding truth will make us free. We do not care what the truth is. We simply want to know what it is; at least to the degree we can know it, along the way.
This journey became more defined for me after being introduced to the word of faith movement. As a 21 year old Baptist boy, the Baptists taught me it was God’s will for me to be sick and broke. The Word of Faith movement however, taught me that God wanted me healthy and wealthy. Still, even then, I have a very clear memory of my earnest prayer, “God, whether you want me sick and broke or wealthy and healthy is irrelevant to me. I simply want the truth.”
Somehow I knew freedom was more important than wealth or health. Knowing the truth about any subject and experiencing its resulting freedom and peace, became my compass. Being “right” about my current position on anything became irrelevant. It is still true today.
Remaining consistently open has caused me to rarely push back very hard in conversations with anyone, regardless of the topic. This has been equally true on the topics of “Was God Ever Angry” and “Was Man Ever Sinful”. I may have offered up an occasional a counterpoint or two, but those who know me best, know the truth of this.
People who know me, know I care about them, rather than what they believe. I have close family and friends, all with extremely diverse religious, political and spiritual perspectives. What we believe, unquestionably affects our ability to navigate this thing called life. And I am dedicated to the people I care about doing as well as they can.
An accurate perspective on topics such as, “was God angry”, “did God go through a process leading to the cross”, “was man ever sinful” and “how accurate are the Scriptures”, are pivotal in respect to people’s psychological and emotional well-being. We’ve witnessed this time and time again. This is why I feel it’s so vitally important and why I’m addressing it. Not to mention, it continues my slow but steady pursuit of truth.
For many, the view that man was always righteous and never a sinner emanates from Paul’s declaration that the gospel is a “revelation” of righteousness. Thus, they say, righteousness is simply a revelation of what always was. However, Paul also said that God’s law is a “revelation” of sin. Does that mean sin always was? Of course not! The law (delivered hundreds of years after sin came on the scene) was given to reveal the sin of Adam. By the same logic, the gospel reveals the righteousness produced by the second Adam, Jesus Christ. Just because something revealed something else, doesn’t mean what was revealed always existed. Both sin and righteousness were revealed by the law and the gospel respectively. Both, having not existed prior, were produced by Adam and Jesus respectively. Human beings were affected in both cases, due to no fault or credit of their own. The impact of Adam’s act lasted until the cross. The impact of Jesus’ act will last eternally. Now that is good news!
Regarding the issues of “God’s anger” and “Man’s sin”, I’ve reached some conclusions.
Why are there tens of thousands of Christian denominations? Simply stated, it is because people make up their own interpretation of Jesus’ teachings. Often, if not always, it’s based on some of the Bible taken out of context.
Another Christian denomination has formed over the last few years for the same reasons. There has been an interesting and exponential increase in articles, messages and videos produced stating the God of the New Testament could not be reconciled with the God of the Old Testament, that “the God of the Old Testament” is simply not acceptable. This theory points to the words of Christ who claimed that, “if you have seen me you have seen the Father”. (John 14:9). And so, this recent teaching, this new denomination, has done like all the others. They take a concept, a selection of verses, and ignore what many other parts of the Scriptures and/or the New Testament writings say, then come to their own conclusion. And voila, we have another, new denomination.
In just two “judgement of God” types and shadows, the flood of Noah and exodus of Israel from Egypt, we see Paul’s understanding of the cross, without which, Paul’s communication of the gospel would have been severely impaired.
Just like all denominations, this next new one limits their understanding to a few passages and personal preference. It bases the entire doctrine on one verse and many inferences. Context is discarded in favor of “proof-texting”. At least in this case, no attempt has been made to hide the “one verse” revelation, purported to define the entire Bible and especially the Scriptures. It has been simply stated, that all other views must be considered as wrong and even dangerous.
Let’s look at a few other denominations which have established their entire beliefs on one verse.
John Calvin based almost all his doctrines, in what became known as Calvinism, around one verse – namely that no one could come to God unless God first drew them to Him (John 6:44). Arminianists, in a response to this highly exclusive doctrine, boil their doctrine down to one single verse, namely, “Whosoever will, may come, and drink freely of the water of life (Revelation 22:17). All other views are to be considered, not just wrong, but dangerous.
The Church of Christ founders discovered a verse that teaches being “baptized in the name of Jesus only”. This denomination declared the “one verse” revelation upon which all the Bible would be defined. No other doctrine can be considered and is even dangerous, according to the Church of Christ.
In Appalachia, the Holiness folks found the text about snakes not harming us (Luke 10:19), and then started the practice of handling snakes in church services in order to prove their “holiness”. This doctrine has proven to be deadly. Yet to hear its leaders, it is dangerous not to believe their deadly doctrine.
In reality, pulling a verse from here and a verse from there to support a doctrine is what is dangerous. It has literally caused genocide and the deaths of multiple millions.
The founders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, discovered a verse about baptism for the dead. The denomination declared the “one verse” revelation upon which all the Bible would be defined. No other doctrine can be considered and is even dangerous, according to the Mormon Church. Again, they pulled a verse from here and from there to support their doctrine.
My own personal poisonous position was the “word of faith” doctrine, whose entire doctrine was based on one single passage, Mark 11:23-24. “You have what you say”. I experienced the danger of this one up close and personally.
By now, I am sure you can see that innumerable examples of “one verse denominations” exist all over the world. They thrive and are added to the growing list continually. With this new one, the “God was Never Angry” one, we must accept that either there were two markedly different gods in the Bible or we must decide to selectively prune the Bible of whatever we don’t like about the “bad” God.
Pick and choose, cut and paste; where have we seen this before? Everywhere!
Here is their ‘one verse” from which all Scripture must be viewed, accepted or rejected according to the new teaching that God was never angry. Heb. 1:3, “Who being the brightness of His Glory and the express image of His person.”
Here is the declaration of this new denomination “Christ is who God REALLY is and all other expressions of God must be rejected. They state, it is even dangerous to accept anything else. Most important in this new way of thinking is any and all Scripture that suggest God was ever angry, jealous, wrathful, vengeful or displayed any judgment at all MUST be rejected without question! How could a loving God manifest such actions and emotions? He couldn’t! Or could he?
This is such a sweeping, one verse revelation. The entire Bible is again subject to one single verse!
My friends, when will we ever learn? How could it be possible that the very Scripture that so accurately foretells the life of Christ is completely wrong about so many other subjects?
The blinding question seems to be, according to this teaching is: how to reconcile the “God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament”? Apparently, one of these Gods has got to go!
Let’s consider this question coolly and logically.
The easiest thing would be to reject anything which disagrees with our “accepted truth”. This would include certain selections of the Scriptures themselves, remembering what the Scriptures, as defined by Christ himself actually are—the Law, Psalms and the Prophets.
The “Old Testament” reveals God and man as separate entities: God—the creatOR, and Man—the creatED. The “New Testament” reveals God and Man as a combined creation in Christ—a new creation. Man was originally created in the image of God. Please note, man was “in the image of God”. They were NOT one and the same. Upon the inception of the New Creation, at the resurrection, Man is now found IN Christ or we could say IN God. Now we ARE one entity, in direct comparison to what preceded the New Creation.
The full and complete revelation of God through Christ is the one which was prophesied in the Scriptures. These are the same Scriptures which present a multidimensional God, one who indeed became angry and who said “vengeance is mine”. The same God who claimed through the mouth of Jesus, “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) and in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him”. This, of course, all changed at the cross. Thank God.
Can you hear the new “God was Never Angry” denomination responding to Jesus about his pre-cross claim? “We are so sorry Jesus, you like Moses, Ezekiel, Daniel and Isaiah, got it all wrong! Wrath was NEVER a part of your Father’s nature. Wrath was never upon man in the first place! You, Jesus, YOU’RE the one who bought into the “dangerous” belief. But we know better!”
Jesus was the “prototype” of a new creation which had never before existed. God and man being ONE…what a concept! Talk about a Revolution! Christ is indeed the full expression of God in the New Creation, after the cross and resurrection! There are old wineskins and there are new wineskins. There is a first creation and there is a new creation, an old covenant, and a new covenant, an old priesthood a new priesthood, a first Adam and a last Adam and now even a new heaven and a new earth!
God changed just like we did, and do. It affected his thoughts and emotions as they do ours. His process emotionally and thoughtfully was completed at the cross. Ours is on-going. God’s position as perfect, righteous, holy and without sin never changed during his process to total peace. Neither does ours. God is at peace with everyone; knows it, and is always aware of it. We are at peace with God and everyone, too. We’re just not always aware of it. We’re still in a mental process on this side of the cross, a very similar one which the Father went through before the cross, before it was “finished”.
There’s nothing future about the gospel at all. Everything was finished at the cross—the entirety of the law, the penalty of the law, all prophecy, all feast days, all trumpets, all holy days, all sacrifices, all transgression and all righteousness because Jesus was the fulfillment of all of this and so much more!
How can we change the story? How dare we? How could we disrespect God’s process?
If we do, if we open the Scriptures to “private interpretation”, then like all denominations, we get to pick and choose what to believe. However, if we allow Scripture to interpret itself, to be read and absorbed in context, the result in ourselves, is the same as that which resulted from the fulfilment of the Scriptures—peace—specifically the revelation of the Prince of Peace and the gospel of peace between his Father and all humanity.
Our directive is now is to “follow the spirit” and nothing else. This stand-alone statement is truth.
However, the position of this new denomination, is to follow the Spirit to the exclusion of the Scriptures, i.e. the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets. Jesus, Paul , and all their contemporaries knew the Scriptures to be “inspired by God”. Who are we to disagree with their assessment? Do we now find self-same Scriptures which Christ called inspired, which he said were all about him to be without merit and a mistake of our predecessor’s lack of understanding God himself? Who are we to do that?
Some in this “new move” point to when God said he hated the nation of Israel’s sacrifices and offerings, feast days and ceremony, once. According to Hebrews God hated the sacrifices because of their ineffectiveness and repetition. Isn’t it rather convenient to forget that this was the same God who commanded them to be carried out? How can this be used to defend a stance that God was never angry when these verses are saying God was angry about the sacrifices and even hated them?
“Sacrifice and offering You did not want!” Again from the same Scripture, inspired by God that instructed Israel to do sacrifice.”But a body you have given”…Well, it is time for some context.
Hebrews 10, with quotes or reference from Isaiah 1:11, Psalms 40:6, Jer. 6:20 and Amos 5:21-22.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices, there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should TAKE AWAY sins.
5 Wherefore when he came into the world, he said, Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body you have prepared me:
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God.
8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you did not desire, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14 For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
The documentation was always about Christ. However, his life, the purpose of God and his process must be read and understood in its entirety and in its context. Would you want your life to be examined by a short snippet? Or would you wish fair-minded people to look at the whole record, the good, bad and the ugly? What we overcome and the ways in which we grow are often the best part of the story!
Christ was the first demonstration on planet earth of God and man being ONE. This was the declaration of peace; the declaration of “peace and on earth good will toward men.” Christ is the full and complete expression of God because he is the first example of the removal of all walls, divisions and hostility between God and man. But there had to be those divisions, that enmity if peace was needed. Otherwise, why send Jesus? But thank God Jesus was sent. He was on earth as the first manifestation of what God and man looked like as ONE!
One must wonder, why is this new denomination is not asking us to reconcile the Christ who lived and taught before the cross and the resurrected one? Using the same logic that claims that the Old and New Testament Gods can’t be reconciled, even so, the post-cross resurrected Christ cannot be reconciled with the pre-cross teaching Christ who spoke of judgment and the law and was even sarcastic, short and downright disrespectful to his followers and the religious leaders from time to time. You know the one. The Christ who called a Samaritan woman a dog; who called Pharisees walls with fecal material on them white-washed; who said if you do not forgive God will not forgive you, who said far worse than what the law called for when he said you are in danger of judgment for adultery and murder if you even have one thought about them!!
Christ made his own scourge out of cords, with which to beat people! He’s the Jesus who said you have to be as perfect as God, in order to have eternal life. Jesus instructed to cut off hands and gouge out eyes! Remember that Jesus?
My friends, the cross not only delivered us from an angry God, it delivered us from an exacting law taught perfectly by Jesus himself prior to going to the self-same cross. The entire process produced the gospel, the gospel of peace and the gospel of grace.
Here are a couple of the most used push-backs to the gospel of peace, a gospel declaring that a once angry God is no longer angry.
#1 Push-Back: God is love, therefore God could never have demonstrated anger, wrath or vengeance because love is kind, etc., etc. It must be pointed out that Paul defined love after the cross. (I Cor. 13) This is the perfect picture of love, indeed, at least a love that is respected and returned. However, God warned Israel about what would happen if they did not love him back!
In the law, mercy was promised to those who loved God and keep his commandments (Ex. 20:6). While we now understand God’s love as unconditional, this is not the way Scriptures described the law of Moses. This is another thing we get to attribute to the cross—the unconditional love of God. But it was the cross which brought that on. It did not exist before! Under God’s law, it is clear, that God’s love and mercy were conditional.
#2 Push-Back: “I just could never serve or believe in a God who was wrathful and angry!” Well, I have good news for even people who think and say this! Not God, Jesus, Paul, the gospel, MWM, the Gospel Revolution request that you or anyone serve or believe anyone or anything. One thing I can guarantee, if that request was made of you or me, we would do nothing but fail at serving and believing!
Again, Jesus met all the requirements, and gets ALL the credit, for serving God, AND, for faith and believing. Paul wrote, “I live by the faith OF the son of God. Who loved me and gave himself for me! Now that is unconditional love and is also the finished story about faith itself.
Why would we have to live by our own faith and Paul would get to live by the faith OF Christ?
We don’t, thank God!
The kind of love we now have coming from God, is unconditional love and is strictly a result of the cross.
What do we do with the progression of humanity going from servant to friend, which Jesus declared? Should we blast Jesus for suggesting we were once servants and not always friends? The progression of “the story” is critical. God could only become “friends” with man after he took on the mantle of manhood himself, not before. Do we dismiss Paul saying “while we were yet enemies Christ died for us”?
Was God never angry at “his enemies”?
I have even heard it said that Moses was wrong in his thinking about God, and His growing anger with humanity in general and Israel in particular. If Moses was trying to impose his own view of an angry God (versus the reality of God’s changing perspective) why would Moses have missed the opportunity to say God was angry with Adam for his disobedience? And why would Moses have missed the opportunity to say God was angry with Cain for murdering his brother, Abel? No! It’s not in there.
Do you think the prophet Isaiah was duped by Moses? Did Moses lead Isaiah astray, in prophesying that God would no longer be angry or rebuke anymore after the covenant of peace would be established (Isa 54:9)?
Was Jesus confused by Moses, too!? How can we completely strip Christ of his introduction to planet earth, of this new and glorious reality of God and man being ONE? Can one verse cancel out the angels’ claim of a new era marked by peace between God and man or take from his work which was completed on the cross? What need for peace is there in the absence of hostility? Why bring down the wall of partition between Jew and gentile, men and women, bond and free, God and Man if there was no wall before the cross???
Where does one get any sense of reverence or uniqueness of a Jesus Christ, if we throw-out the Scriptures we don’t like for whatever reason we don’t like them? Where do we draw the line? Remember, when we say “Scriptures” we’re talking about the ancient text that CHRIST himself honored and defined for us, not the whole Bible.
Is it possible someone created the universe? If you answer, “yes”, then it’s not a stretch at all to say it’s possible that the same creative force, the same God, inspired people to write down a foretelling of the ultimate conclusion of the Creator’s relationship with those he created. I believe that is what happened. If one doesn’t want to see that or believe that, no problem. However, if we go down that path I must ask, to what degree do we throw out the Scriptures to accept a new teaching founded in the selective interpretation of a single verse?
Could it be by removing the power and purpose of Christ, who removed hostility between God and man, we remove our own “new creation DNA” thereby eliminating our, God experienced, ability to resolve conflict between ourselves and indeed within ourselves?
Paul was confident that the gospel is “the power of God”—the only power which can save the human soul, our minds, wills, intellects and emotions. If the gospel is news, good news, a story; It’s a story which IS power. It’s a story Paul defines as “the gospel of peace”. Why the need for peace? If we change the clearly stated story in the record, do we therefore, limit the power of God to save the human soul, itself?
Please consider the impact the cross had on God himself. Yes, you read that right, the impact the cross had on God. Is God still angry, jealous, vengeful or wrathful? No indeed! According to the definition and understanding of the gospel of peace, this is the direct result that the impact of the cross had even on God.
The gospel as we understand it and meditate on it saves the soul. This glorious information removes anger, jealousy, vengeance and wrath. The gospel IS the power of God! What could be better than this?
What if we call the story of how the cross, which ended God’ judgment, anger, vengeance and jealousy, THE gospel! The gospel is the power of God to affect us, too! The same cross, the same power has the exact same effect on us as it had on God himself. The power of the Gospel canceled out forever, vengeance, wrath and judgment, as far as God was concerned. What could it do for us? Our potential as humans could explode off the charts! You become more than just the best and the greatest you. You become the manifestation of God on earth as ONE, just like our predecessor and prototype, Jesus.
This good news about the ultimate declaration of peace should not and cannot be allowed to be reduced, may I say eliminated, by a fond desire that peace already existed, because hostility never existed! For far too long, denominations have robbed humanity of “the power of God” by rejecting the gospel of peace and the gospel of grace. Preaching, “God is still angry!” Rejecting the very grace which humanity needs to know about so desperately.
Now, yet another denomination is poised to preach their own doctrine by declaring, “God was never angry”. What is the difference between those who corrupt the end of the story by teaching that God is still angry and is about to bring another judgment, with the new one which denies the beginning of the story by promoting the thought that God was never angry? In effect, there is NO difference at all! The first crippling doctrine is that God is still angry with humanity. The second is just as crippling. God never was angry with humanity, and consequently, – it’s all about me. “I am the greatest, best and most! God was never angry at anyone at any time at all!”
The gospel, my friend, is not about you. It is not about me. It is the story of Christ! Who are we to steal his story?
This new denomination’s doctrine is an upside down pyramid, and just like all those before it, differs drastically from the fractal nature of the gospel of peace and the gospel of grace declared by Mike Williams Ministries and the Gospel Revolution. The smallest part of a fractal is a full picture of the whole. The largest is a full view of the smallest.
The Gospel Revolution teaches about sin, anger, grace, mercy, the end of the world, judgment and peace. Really, though, we do nothing but declare Christ! Each single subject is a revelation of the big picture and the big picture is a complete understanding of each single subject.
Do you see it?
Like Paul, we can learn much from observing nature. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Light is the presence of light. Dark is the absence of light. Dark may be natural (e.g. night time) or enforced (a windowless room at noon). In both these scenarios, dark and light are opposites. Opposites may be either natural or enforced. If grace is in any way real, then the absence of grace, either natural or enforced, is similarly real. Therefore, Noah could find grace in the eyes of the Lord while others around Noah experienced only the absence of grace, the natural opposite of grace. Likewise, the Israelites under Moses, found the enforced opposite of grace, aka the law.
Light is never the first thing to exist. Light only ever follows darkness. Darkness is the natural state of affairs. It took an act of God (creation) to switch on the light for light to oppose the darkness. In the same way, for grace, mercy and peace to exist, they had to follow their natural opposites. Mercy followed the absence or opposite of mercy. Grace followed the absence or opposite of grace. Peace followed the absence or opposite of peace.
You and I know how challenging the search for truth is. Discovering we were wrong, evolving our thinking as others speak into our lives and moving forward, even as we read the Bible or something like this are all fraught with emotional landmines. I get it.
Still, my hope is that those who have adopted this “new view” of a never angry God, will reconsider not dismissing the vast majority of Scripture plus Paul’s revolutionary teachings on them. Please consider all the Scriptures, rather than embracing another “one verse” view of salvation and the work of Christ. We’ve all been there, done that, and have the scars to show for it.
Really, this is no startling new doctrine. This is as old as the second-century gospel of Marcion, who, in what most religious scholars agree was the first Bible canon to be ever cobbled together, expunged all the things that opposed his view…but retained those things that accorded with his opinion, because neither could he accept that God could change. We should all be aware of that story and its lesson.
Here’s the bottom line. God evolved, if you will. He went from creator at Eden, to enemy after Eden, to friend when Jesus became Man at Bethlehem, to ONE at the new creation in Jerusalem. If we diminish any part of his story, and consequently diminish the power of God which transformed us into God-Men (as exampled by Jesus), we do so at our own peril—not eternal peril but emotional and societal peril in the here and now.
No longer are we in the image of God, nor are we enemies. Nor even friend, we are ONE!
If one eliminates the anger, wrath, judgment, jealousy and vengeance of God from the Scripture, then one must eliminate the peace, the mercy, and the grace of God to be intellectually honest and consistent. Or you can make-up a new denomination and not worry about intellectual honesty or logical consistency.
The anger of God was not only declared by Moses but, as though that wasn’t enough, reiterated by every major prophet, the angels, Paul, the disciples and, of course, Jesus himself!
My friends, here’s the good news. While the anger and wrath of God was real resulting in all its accompanying carnage and confusion, IT IS FINISHED!
“God is no longer angry! His wrath is satisfied. It is for this purpose Jesus Christ bled and died. Comfort ye my people, tell them the war is won. And I made them righteous through the blood of my own son.” ~ From a song by Michael Blanch, Vice President MWM and the Gospel Revolution.