Who's got change?
I taught yesterday from the book of Acts, as our church begins to consider what God has for our future. I pointed out the reality that things were constantly changing in the early church, as she moved from uniformity to diversity (Jews + Hellenist Jews) to greater diversity (Jews + Hellenist Jews + Samaritans) to greater diversity still (Jews + Hellenist Jews + Samaritans + Romans). Along the way, not only did the demographic of the church change, as new people were added who brought different cultural views and perspectives to the table, but the rules changed as well. Circumcision was dropped as a requirement for salvation, as was abstaining from meat sacrificed to idols.
At the end of the sermon, I mistakenly declared, in a concluding bullet point, that 'the only constant' is change. Someone replied to this in following manner:
"...were does God's truth play into this? Are His Word and 'the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints' mutable just as, apparently, His Church is? The main point I took away from the discussion of Acts was that nothing is lasting - let alone everlasting - not even God's decrees concerning His Church in the New Testament."
I appreciate the feedback, and felt that it would offer a good basis for some discussion. I'm interested in hearing your opinions regarding the following questions:
#1 - What is it about God that is 'unchangeable'? Covenants seem to come and go. The Bible says that, in response to Moses' prayer of intercession, God changed His mind. God moved from revealing Himself through a gathered nation (Israel), to revealing Himself through a scattered people (the church). So what are the parts of God that are 'changeless?'
#2 - How would answer this person's question: "Are His Word and the 'faith which was once for all delivered to the saints' changeable?"
This is an important discussion because it centers on issues of sorting out that which we must hold to tightly (like the virgin birth, the death and resurrection of Christ), and that which is mutable (like what kind of music we'll have in our churches). I've chosen easy examples... but of course, the rub will always come with the harder examples.
I welcome your thoughts!