Does God Change His Mind?

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?

This entry was posted in N.T. Wright, Wayne Grudem and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Does God Change His Mind?

  1. David Beirne says:

    IMHO, God has always responded to the repentant heart. So when Ninevah repented, God’s actions were completely consistent with His character.

    Feeble attempt at humor alert: Unless of course, Jonah is not to be interpreted literally (like the fish part) then we can just say re: changing HIs mind that that’s not really what happened. 🙂

    • David Beirne says:

      Abraham and Sodom–God was willing to relent the judgment if 10 righteous were to be found; would that have been changing His mind, or would it simply be consistent with His character to forgive the repentant? At the risk of being labeled reformed, if God in eternity has declared or decided that He will respond to the broken (Psa 51:17, Isa 66:2) then responding would not be “changing”. Jonah KNEW (see chap 4, if it really happened at all) that if Ninevah repented God would forgive, and that’s what ticked Jonah off so much–He knew what kind of God Yhwh was, and how He would respond.

  2. Jon Hughes says:


    Indeed, the Bible doesn’t read like a Systematic Theology 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s