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“Is the God of the Old Testament a different God?”

“Is the God of the Old Testament a different God?”

AUGUST 12, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / “Is the God of the Old Testament a different God?”

Steve Brown:
“Is the God of the Old Testament a different God?” The answer to that and other questions, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus in the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. Life’s hard for everyone, so grace is for all of us. But there is a lot of confusion about how grace applies to real life, so here’s seminary professor and author, Steve Brown and Pete Alwinson to answer your questions.

Steve Brown:
Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. Happy Friday.

Steve Brown:
Yeah it is.

Pete Alwinson:
How you doing?

Steve Brown:
We’ve said a number of times when we were pastors, Friday was not a wonderful day. I mean, everybody else was looking forward to the week-end and we had this dark cloud over us. And we told them because we didn’t want to bring shame on Jesus, but the truth was we didn’t want to bring shame on ourselves.

Pete Alwinson:
Boy, and you didn’t want to mess it up. Right.

Steve Brown:
I don’t want to talk about it anymore. That’s Pete Alwinson. And you can get some really good stuff by going to ForgeTruth.com. And if you’re in the central Florida area, you ought to check that out to find out where a group is meeting near you. Profound and wonderful and even miraculous things are happening, through Forge. And if you can be a part of it, please do, and you can on the internet or reading Pete’s books or listening to the audio version of Like Father Like Son. We do love having your questions and we take you seriously when you ask questions. I’ve said it a lot of times. And I mean it, every time I say it, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. And you can call 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, record your question, or you can send your question to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

in Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Or you can e-mail us at [email protected] And as I always say, and I mean this too, if you can help us financially, those are appropriate places where you can touch Key Life. And when you do, we promise to squeeze every dime for the glory of God. We’re a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations oversee our books to make sure that our practices are ethical. We would be anyway, but it’s nice to have somebody else say so. So, you can charge it on your credit card or include it in your envelope. And we’ll be as faithful with your gift as you were in giving it. And if you can’t, we understand, pray for us. Pete, why don’t you pray for us then we’ll get to these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
All right. All right. Our Great God, we come to you right now just for a minute to thank you and praise you for who you are. It’s been a busy week and we seem like we keep cramming more and more into it, but our great God, we honor you. And we love you as we stop and think about all that you are and all that you have done for us, you are merciful, you are forgiving, you really are the only one who loves us, given all that you know about us. And if those people knew about us, what you do, they wouldn’t love us, even if they only love us a little. And so, Father, we come into your presence and we thank you for your grace and mercy and peace. And we honor you and we really do. We ask that you continue to enable grace to make us freer and freer, so that we can see how you want to conform us into the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus. We ask for a great week-end of worship. And we ask that you would be in a powerful way with our pastors and worship leaders and all those that will take the body and lead us into your presence. And we pray that you would be glorified in every way. Now, we give you this time of Q&A asking for your blessing on Key Life and our listeners, thank you for them and their generosity and and sacrifice in supporting this ministry. We commit our time to you now. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen. Pete, this is an e-mail. Is the God of the Old Testament different than the God of the New Testament?

Pete Alwinson:
Oh, of course. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
What do you mean?

Pete Alwinson:
Two separate Gods? Yeah.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, right. And we, and if you have an Old Testament, burn it because it’s no longer relevant cause it refers to the old God.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. You know, that’s been a heresy that’s been around for forever.

Steve Brown:
I know, you know Richard Pratt, who’s a friend of both of us, and a PhD from Harvard in Old Testament. He says that the New Testament is God’s addendum to his book. That’s a cool thing to say. And it’s a good thing to remember.

Pete Alwinson:
You’d expect an Old Testament prof to say that.

Steve Brown:
And of course, he’s right. You know, we have this idea that there’s this mean old God in the Old Testament, that gave us a lot of rules, but then Jesus came and told us about the real God. I’m trying to think of the name of the, the formal name for that heresy. It has gnostic overtones, but I can’t think of the name of it right away.

Pete Alwinson:
Well, when I think of Marcion, in the early church.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, exactly.

Pete Alwinson:
Marcion controversy.

Steve Brown:
And that was literally a different God. No, it’s the same God.

Pete Alwinson:
Same God.

Steve Brown:
And some of the most, some of the passages that are the most loving and gentle and compassionate in the entire Bible are found in the Older Testament. Some of the Psalms, you get Hebrew, you get Hosea 11.

How can I give you up, how can I treat you like Admah?

It’s just, it drips and you can see. In the New Testament, there’s an example of the wrath of God, poured out on a totally innocent man. And that would be Jesus. Now, with all of that being said, which you and I both believe, why so much different?

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. I think partly because there’s so much history in the Old Testament, two thirds of the Bible. And there are those times, like when the Israelites were to take over Canaan, they were given a job of being God’s tool of judgment of unbelievers, of really horrible unbelievers too, who were sacrificing their kids and doing all kinds of horrible things. But those things tend to stand out and make people think God in the Old Testament is a hateful, hateful judge. But in the New Testament, Jesus talks about loving your enemies. You know.

Steve Brown:
There is a progressive nature of Scripture though and we need to reference that. That doesn’t mean that the Old Testament is wrong and the New Testament corrects it. But from Genesis to Revelation, God is revealing himself to us. And he doesn’t reveal everything at one time. He reveals in the Old Testament in very clear detail, the perfection of his law, his holiness, his requirement, and then his atonement and the lamb that takes away the sin, in redemption that is clearly taught in the Old Testament. But it’s a flavor of it. And then when you get to the New Testament and you see Jesus, you go, oh, that’s what he was talking about. And it becomes clear and the final Revelation is amazing. So, you’ve got to remember that, you can’t just take a verse out of one place and out of context, and then build a whole heresy on it.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right. And just my addendum to your point, simply Jesus is, does show a life of intention, nonviolence,

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
but he is very harsh with the hypocrites and the bad leaders. And so, you have to balance his loving nature with his harsh nature toward the truly evil leaders of his day.

Steve Brown:
I mean, if you read Matthew 24, those are not nice words, by a nice person, saying nice things about nice people. In fact, those people to whom he addressed those words are the most like evangelicals, than anybody else. And so, after we, you know, the Pharisees believed in angels, they believed in inerrancy.

Pete Alwinson:
They were the conservatives.

Steve Brown:
Exactly. And they, those were the ones that Jesus went after. And you know why? Cause you don’t beat a dead horse. They were the closest, but sometimes the furthest away. And that can happen to us too, if we aren’t careful. Here it is. Does God get angry with us as believers? You better let me say that. Not in the sense that you’re thinking about. I say that he’s not angry, in fact, that’s the logo of Key Life. God’s not angry at you. And we’re talking about believers when we say that and we make that very clear in our statement of faith. Is God adult and he wears a mask and he doesn’t know what’s going on. And he’s just a great, you know, my grandchildren can’t do any wrong. And if you say they do, I’m gonna go after you, they’re wonderful in every way. And God is that way about us. No, he’s not. He’s aware of all those things, but his wrath has been turned away. And that’s what happened on the cross. I have a friend who wrote a catechism for the children in his church, and one of the questions was would, will God ever be angry at me? And the answer was no because his anger was poured out on Jesus.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right. And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?

Steve Brown:
It really is. It really does.

Pete Alwinson:
But, you know, the thing that helps me too, is that anger is an emotion. And so, what we tend to do is superimpose human emotions on God.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, we really do.

Pete Alwinson:
And God is perfect, so he never loses his temper, like I lose my temper. Jesus didn’t lose his temper. He was violent in the temple, turning over tables.

Steve Brown:
That was planned.

Pete Alwinson:
It was planned. But you and I, you know, at times we get irritated and we say things and we can’t control things or we get angry and then we look, oh, I shouldn’t have gotten angry at that. God never does that. So no, he’s not angry in that way.

Steve Brown:
And, and you, you would be, well no, you wouldn’t, but some people, our listeners might be surprised at how many Christians believe that God is really angry at them. And one guy told me one time, I’m glad cause that’s what keeps me in line.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Right.

Steve Brown:
And I said to him in a pastoral way, sir, you’re a fruitcake. There’s something wrong with you.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. And that’s why the message of, see in the long run guilt does keep us in line and help us grow, a little bit.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, it does.

Pete Alwinson:
But in the long run, the most, the energizing principle of all growth and all sanctification is grace.

Steve Brown:
It really is.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s what sets us free to keep growing.

Steve Brown:
And that’s why the gospel is good news.

Pete Alwinson:
Absolutely.

Steve Brown:
And when we make it into the bad news of this rule maker, who’s going to break your legs, if you get out of line, even though he loves you. He’s going to break your legs, you make God into a child abuser. And he’s not that. Well guys, if you’re a believer, he loves you a lot and we’re out of here. Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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