Friday, February 15, 2013
God of anger or love?
Since we moved, we have been attending a Messianic synagogue. Yes, I know that probably sounds like some kind of Old Testament group, or a cult or something. But in reality, it has been a beautiful experience. I won't go into all the details of what the synagogue is all about, except to say that it is a fully-functioning Church body, and in my humble opinion, it is church done the way God intended.
One of the things I love about the synagogue is that I truly feel like I have gotten to know who God is. It's not because of any one specific thing that's been said, it's just, I don't know - Rabbi Greg has a way of making the pieces of Scripture fit together in a way that just makes God make sense. When Rabbi speaks, I see the Old and New Testament as a symphony - working together to create something beautiful.
However, I have spent many years - almost my whole life - in Baptist circles. I will not dismiss all of the teaching I was given, for I believe much of it was on track. However, one teaching that I absolutely cannot stand that I have heard among some is that the God of the Old Testament was one of anger - a God who demanded a standard Israel couldn't meet and who showered them with curses. In contrast, the God of the New Testament - so these ones say - is a God of love, who bestows many blessings on us, and who does not hold curses over our heads any longer.
I am not going to get into all of the doctrinal issues behind those statements - it is not my desire to discuss doctrine here. But what I do want to point out is this: God Himself told us that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He told us that He doesn't change. Therefore, there is something infinitely wrong with this teaching. Either God had just as much capacity for love in the Old Testament as in the New, or He is a liar. And since God cannot lie, I cannot accept this teaching as truth. The God of the Old Testament was NOT a God of anger or judgment. Did He get angry? Sure. But so did Jesus in the New Testament. And just as Jesus showed endless amounts of love in the New Testament, so too did God the Father repeatedly pour out His love to His people, Israel.
Sorry - kinda random post. But this is something I've been thinking about all week, and I really needed to get it out.