After the preacher read Jonah 3:10, he immediately said God doesn’t change his mind. He then went to Malachi 3:6 and James 1:17 as proof-texts.
The preacher never engaged Jonah 3:10.
Jonah 3:10 was made to fit into the preacher’s already arrived at theology that God does not change his mind.
After the service, I went up to the preacher. I asked him, “Why didn’t you engage Jonah 3:10, but went immediately to Malachi 3:6 and James 1:17?”
The preacher, “Yes, I went on the defensive, didn’t I?”
“Yes, you did. The text clearly says that God changed his mind about what he was going to do to the Ninevites if the didn’t repent.”
Toward the end of his sermon I remember the preacher mentioning those who are “Reformed,” so I asked him, “Are you Reformed?”
“Yes and No. Right now I’m working through those issues.”
He did mention that he had read Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology in preparation for his sermon on Jonah 3.
(I said to myself, “That’s part of the problem in how he treated Jonah 3:10. Or better yet, how he totally ignored Jonah 3:10).
The enlightenment/modernist apparatus on which a Grudem Systematic Theology and much of our theologies are built on will simply not do.
Perhaps it’s time for us to rethink how we read the Bible, especially when a text plainly says that God changes his mind. According to Scott Lencke, quoting N.T. Wright, we have been hoodwinked by modernism.
And there ought to be a better way to engage a Jonah 3:10 and the question of Does God Change His Mind?