Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Dr. Kansfield: God Changes God's Mind

In a post on the Jesus Politics blog , the writer offers some choice quotes from soon to be former NBTS president Norman Kansfield.


Kansfield insists that Biblical condemnations of homosexual activity exemplified by St. Paul's teaching in Romans 1:24-32 applies not to the sex acts themselves, but to the "relationships" between individuals. ---- "For me, the relationship is the huge issue," he said. "Romans one is about passion. Paul never likes passion, which involves a person who is out of control. Homosexuals can misuse sex, just as others misuse heterosexual sex. But if the relationship is one of love, and commitment, I believe God blesses it." ---- Kansfield also said he believes "God changes God's mind" about what is morally acceptable behavior. "The side of God that God shows us, at any given time in our history, is the side we can handle," he said. "That's why you have to read Scripture in its historical, sociological context." ---- Divine sanction of "loving" homosexual relationships, he said, eluded Jewish and Christian thinkers for thousands of years "because they were working in a very different social context" from today's. ---- "I meet people whom I see to be touched by Christ," he said, "and yet who are in love with a person of the same sex. They're entitled to full inclusion in the church and its ministry."

The full article from which these quotes come from can be found here:
http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/0412/041208-1duigon.php

While his comments on homosexuality are nothing new. I was surprised that a self-proclaimed conservative theologian would expouse the idea that God changes His mind. This sounds like the Open Theism movement currently plaguing evangelical circles. While the issue of how we treat gays and lesbians is open to some debate, the idea that God is mutable is one that has not merely temporal but eternal consequences. What if God decided to change the method of our salvation? What if the requirements were changed? What if God decided that murder was ok? That adultery was now fine? A changeable God can only result in a chaotic creation and confused humanity.

And the question arises by what standard do we determine when God has changed his mind? Are there now new scriptures to be consulted? Do we "trust" the wisdom of those who claim that the Spirit has told them so? (by the way this very disturbing thought is being floated in the RCA leadership - our GSC wants to adopt a "discernment" model for decision making - we will save that for another time, however.) What if two people disagree on what God is now saying, who casts the tie-breaking vote?

Hebrews 13:8 tells us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So who is right? Inspired Scripture or Dr. Kansfield and those like him?

2 comments:

Scribe said...

How often have we heard GSC delegates say that the Holy Spirit is telling us something new, which is contrary to Scripture. This is the position of the UCC, which is the model for leaders in the RCA.

Keep these coming!

Jonah said...

Do you really want to go down this road?...there are a number of clear cases in the Bible (yes, that book you like to beat over people's heads) that show how God changes His mind. Take a look at Jonah 3, for example. In this case, God even "repents."

And from the King James Version (I hope that's not too "liberal" a translation for you).

Jonah 3:10. "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."