Quotes on Moral Government Theology.

Taken from –

Answers to
Apologetic Index’s criticisms of
Moral Government

by Jonathan Duttweiler

Apologetics Index states Moral Government teaches that:

God does not fulfill some of His own prophecies.

Moral Government Actually Teaches that:

God is relational in His approach to ruling the moral universe. Prophecies for the most part are conditioned upon the response of the human beings to whom the prophecies are addressed, even when spoken in emphatic terms. A perfect example of this is in the book of Jonah. God emphatically states to Jonah, “‘Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.'” (Jonah 2:2 ASV) Jonah therefore goes to Nineveh and declares, “‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.'” Now, notice that Jonah puts no conditions upon this prophecy – Jonah declares that God will destroy Nineveh in 40 days. What actually transpired, however, was that Nineveh was not destroyed. Scripture states that they repented, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil which he said he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (Jonah 2:10, ASV). Now, either Jonah was a false prophet and failed to declare ALL that God had told him (in which case, the scriptures themselves are in error, for they tell us God changed His mind) or in fact, God saw the overwhelming change in the hearts of the people of Nineveh and was so moved that He changed His mind as well and did not bring to pass the prophecy which He had told Jonah to prophesy. Exodus 23:23-33 is another example of prophecy which is not strictly fulfilled. God promises to drive out all the inhabitants of Palestine before them (Ex. 23:27 NKJV) “I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn [their] backs to you.” But what actually transpired, as we read in Joshua 16:10, is that all of the inhabitants were not driven out. “And they drove not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer, but the Canaanites dwell in the midst of Ephraim unto this day, and are become servants to do task work.”

Apologetics Index states Moral Government teaches that:

God changes His mind and is not immutable.

Moral Government Actually Teaches that:

Moral Government Theology simply teaches what the scriptures teach. The example cited above from Jonah should be sufficient to show that God changes His mind, but there are literally dozens of examples in scripture showing God having a change of heart and mind. Gen. 6:7, for example, states “And Jehovah said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them.'” (ASV) 1 Samuel 15:11, “‘It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king; for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments.'” (ASV) And Jeremiah 18:7-10 is God’s own declaration of the reasons why He changes His mind. “‘[At what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy [it]; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And [at what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant [it]; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.'”(KJV) There are many more that could be quoted here, but this seems sufficient to make the point.

Now, as far as denying the so-called immutability, or static changelessness, of God as taught by traditional theologians, we must state that the bible itself denies such a doctrine. The concept of immutability stems, not from scripture, but from Platonic and Neo-platonic philosophy and does not find support in scripture. With this criticism, detractors of MGT fall into a logical fallacy, argument by definition. They assume a definition of God as orthodox, and then attack any view that fails to meet that definition. Moral Government Theology affirms that God is Infinite and Perfect, and that He is changeless in His character. The MGT view of God, rather than detracting from God’s perfection, elevates His moral character and perfection.

MGT does deny that God is immutable according to the Reformed theological definition. The Reformed understanding is founded upon a false dichotomy, vis. the Platonic notion that to be perfect is to be unchanging. This view presupposes that any change in that which is perfect must necessarily be a change for the worse. This is demonstrably false. Consider a perfectly accurate watch: As this is written, the watch registers 7:47. However, 10 minutes ago it registered 7:37 and ten minutes from now it will register 7:57. Is the change in the watch ten minutes from now a change for the “better”, suggesting the previous state was imperfect, or a change for the worse, suggesting the previous time was the “perfect” one? Not at all. The watch perfectly reflects the time, whatever time it is! (William Hasker, in his chapter in The Openness of God deserves credit for this illustration). Compare this with an immutable watch which always registers 7:47. This watch is only accurate, or true, twice daily. To say that any increase in God’s knowledge is to make Him less than perfect is simply to conform to the Platonic view of the Universe in which everything exists from all eternity. This stands in stark contrast to the biblical doctrine of creation Ex Nihilo and the biblical picture of God Who thinks new thoughts and has new experiences. Simply by stating in order for God to be perfect He must be “immutable” is an insufficient argument. Moral Government Theology affirms that God is perfectly faithful and asserts that the biblical statements concerning any unchange-ability in God speak to the faithfulness of His character and promises.

Apologetics Index states Moral Government teaches that:

God does not have sovereign control over earthly events.

Moral Government Actually Teaches that:

This criticism is based upon another theological presupposition, vis. what it means for God to be “sovereign”. Those who make this criticism hold to the view of meticulous control, i.e. that God determines and controls every event, no matter how minute or how large, which ever has, does, or will occur in the Universe. While MGT does not dispute that God is the sovereign ruler of the Universe, it does dispute (along with other Arminian traditions, the Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the early Church Fathers, and others) the manner in which He exercises His rule and authority. MGT affirms that God sovereignly created a Universe in which loving relationships, and therefore creaturely freedom, is the overriding concern. Thus, simply because one asserts that God is able to exert an irresistible causative force upon everything in the Universe, including moral agents, does not mean He does so. Calvinism teaches God rules by arbitrary and eternal decree. MGT asserts God is relational and created human beings for true, reciprocal, loving relationships and so rules in the realm of moral agents by moral persuasion, which is termed “moral government.”

Posted in Quotes, The Atonement.

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