A. The answer to this seeming contradiction between the grace taught throughout the New Testament and Acts 5:32 lies in the tenses of the verbs in this verse and the meaning of the Greek word translated “obey.”
So that we know what we are talking about, let’s begin with a definition. A basic formulation of the Trinity doctrine is, God is a Trinity of three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. Many who teach against the Trinity misunderstand this formula. They make a wrong assumption about what is meant by God being a Trinity of three Persons. They assume this to be tritheism, a belief in three gods. What is meant by “Person” in speaking of the Trinity is that which has the attributes of personality. It comes from the Latin word persona. In the ancient world, actors wore masks. The actor’s mask was his persona. It showed the role he was playing. In the discussion of the Trinity, “Person” never means “person” as we commonly use it today; that is, it never means a free and independent consciousness with his own will. Nevertheless, it does mean that the Persons have an I-you relationship: as I will point out in the Scriptures cited in this article, they communicate with each other.
In Part 1, I defined open theism, examined its history, included some statements made by its adherents, and started examining Scriptures used by open theists to support their view. In this concluding article, I finish examining the Scriptures and end with the dangers of open theism.
Jonah 3: Open theists likewise cite the case of Jonah. In Jonah 3:2, God tells Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I give you.” What was the message? We read in verse 4, “Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried out, and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!'” And the beginning of verse 5 tells us, “The people of Nineveh believed God.” So, what did they do? God says they will be overthrown and they believe Him. Did they say, Oh well, there’s nothing we can do about it? No. They understood that what God said was intended to get them to repent. So, “they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from their greatest even to their least.” And the king issued a proclamation for a fast, ending with the statement, “Who knows whether God will not turn and relent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we might not perish?” (verse 9). Verse 10 says, “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. God relented of the disaster which he said he would do to them, and he didn’t do it.”
Any view that minimizes or reduces God’s “God-ness,” including his
absolute sovereignty over his creation, appeals directly, though subtly, to our sinful hearts.
Scott Oliphint, “Most Moved Mediator,” Themelios 30 (2004): 39
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve never heard of open theism. On the other hand, there’s a very good chance that you’ve been exposed to, and possibly even influenced by, its teachings. And those teachings can be dangerous to your spiritual health. If you get nothing else out of this article, I want you to know that open theism lowers God in order to raise man. It is essentially a man-centered religion dressed in semi-Christian garb.
This is not necessarily an exhaustive list. It consists of direct statements in which Jesus said “I am….” Interestingly, all of these are in the writings of John. I have also included a few other places where Jesus implied He was something. This list does not include things that others said of Jesus (such as being the Word, the Lamb, and the Rock) that, while certainly true of Him, He did not immediately and expressly confirm.
The Bible teaches that our relationship to God is one of sons born to their Father (see “The Sons of God“). This fact raises the question of whether the ultimate human potential is to be God. Does our being sons of God mean that we are (or are to be) members of the Godhead on a footing with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? After all, the Bible indicates that we are brethren of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:12-17), and Jesus is God. Are we also to be God?