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1. Introduction

This teaching summarises classical systematic theology and the corresponding reformed theology. Awakening Impact Ministries teaches Father-Son theology, with the cornerstone being God’s original intention was to have sons and daughters. Whereas Classical/Reformed theology is firmly rooted in Greek philosophy, Father-Son theology is Hebrew-based and biblical. As we go through this teaching, we will find that many foundation stones of Classical theology are not biblically based.

As a result of the charismatic movement in the 1960s and 1970s, many people from mainstream denominational churches experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, some churches that move in the power of the Holy Spirit still hold to classical or reformed theology and have ‘added on’ the Holy Spirit’s power. This mixture brings a confusing collection of beliefs that may contradict each other.

Classical Theology is the root of Reformed Theology. Classical Theology is divided into Catholicism, Calvinism, and Lutheran Theology. The Church of England followed Calvinist Reformed Theology, which started the Presbyterian movement in the early 1700s. The Anglican church maintained a middle road between Catholicism and Reformed Theology, believing in the Theology of the 4th-century Apostle’s Creed and the earlier Nicene Creed.

2. Classical Theology Cornerstone: God is Timeless

Plato’s teaching is the cornerstone of all Classical/Reformed systematic theology. The early church fathers did not believe in this philosophy until Augustine (354-430CE) and Anselm (1033-1109CE). Greek mythology thought that the gods lived outside of time. Yet, careful examination of scripture reveals nothing supporting this Platonic and Augustine philosophical hypothesis. I have listed Augustine’s other heresies below, such as teaching Mary was sinless until his death.

God is eternal, but nothing in the Bible says whether He lives outside of time. He can live outside of time, but there are ample biblical references to Him living both within time and the creation so far revealed.

There are times when the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim), the Spirit of God and the Pre-incarnate Jesus were in time. There are even days and hours in the presence of God. Of course, the Trinity MUST live inside of time as He inhabits millions of believers inside of time. In the ‘The Nature of God’ series, we teach that God is eternal, not timeless.

Classical/Reformed TheologyScriptureFather-Son TheologyScripture
Cornerstone:God is TimelessNilCornerstone:God Desires Sons and DaughtersEph 1:4-5
Cornerstones of Two Different Theologies

3. Classical Theology Foundation: God is Immutable

Immutability means not being capable of or susceptible to change.

In Classical and Reformed Theology, if God is outside of time, He must be unaffected by everything inside of time. Because He is outside of time, He knows all past, present, and future information. God knows all things and has already made up His mind. He knows what we will do before we do it. Therefore, He cannot change His mind or will because He already knows what will happen.

Error #2: Because God lives outside of time, He must be unchanging

However, this is a hypothetical philosophical argument based on Plato’s teaching. The idea is because God is perfect, He cannot change. There are instances where God changes His mind, as we learned in the first study on the nature of God.

Therefore, God is immutable in nature and character but mutable in decisions.

Classical/Reformed TheologyScriptureFather-Son TheologyScripture
Cornerstone:God is TimelessNilCornerstone:God Desires Sons and DaughtersEph 1:4-5
Foundation:God is ImmutableNilFoundation:God is Immutable in nature and character,Malachi 3:6
but mutable in decisionsExodus 32:9-14; Jonah 3:10
Cornerstones and Foundations of Two Different Theologies

4. Reformed Theology Foundation: God is Impassable

Impassability means God is never acted upon. Therefore, He is unable to experience suffering or emotional changes. Plato, Aristotle and Augustine thought that God lived outside of time and His character never changed; it followed that God could not experience suffering nor change His emotions.

Error #3: God cannot suffer or feel emotions

Plato and Aristotle broke away from Greek mythology, believing that, unlike the Greek gods, God could not experience pain or express emotions. Augustine developed this theology, and both the Catholic Church and Reformists generally hold that Jesus suffered pain and experienced emotions because these were expressions of Him being the Son of Man. However, God does not experience emotions or experience suffering. Yet Jesus is the express image of God:

who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person,…

Hebrews 1:3

Jesus said that if we want to see God’s character, we only have to look at Jesus as an example of the Father.

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 14:9

Therefore, when Jesus expressed emotions, He described the Father’s emotions.

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” …
Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.

John 11:35-36,38


And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

John 2:14-16

Impassability, like Immutability, does not stand up to scriptural scrutiny. We found that God is relational, enjoying the company of His creation. He cannot be impassable and enjoy relationships with His creation as they are mutually exclusive.

Classical, Reformist and even some Pentecostal teachers will say that when God was so angry with Israel that He decided to destroy them all, He was just using anthropomorphism.

Classical/Reformed TheologyScriptureFather-Son TheologyScripture
Cornerstone:God is TimelessNilCornerstone:God Desires Sons and DaughtersEph 1:4-5
Foundation:God is ImmutableNilFoundation:God is Immutable in nature and character,Malachi 3:6-7
but mutable in decisionsExodus 32:9-14; Jonah 3:10
God is ImpassableNilGod can experience pain and emotions.Exodus 4:14; Genesis 6:6; Numbers 14:34
Cornerstone and Foundations of Two Different Theologies

5. Faulty Attributes of God

The Reformed attributes of God include the three Greek philosophical “Omni’s”:

  • Omnipresence: God is Everywhere—Omnipresence does not have biblical support. For example, Jesus would need to be in hell and heaven at the same time (He visited hell after His death to rob Satan of the keys to death and hell). Furthermore, if Jesus were timeless, He would always be in hell. Another example is that He told His disciples to meet Him in Galilee after His resurrection. He could not be in one place and not in other.
  • Omnipotence: All-powerful – this is corrected in El Shaddai
  • Omniscience: All-knowing – we found in the lesson Infinite Knowledge or Omniscience that God is not all-knowing. There are many instances where God declares He does not know what a person will do until they have done it. Also, If He is omniscient, He must break the New Covenant, as He cannot forget our sins if He is omniscient,

A. God is not Omnipresent, Omnipotent or Omniscient as Reformed Theology Describes Them

These three come from the foundations of Reformed Theology, based on Greek philosophy’s view of the Greek gods. Another reason is because

These foundations led Reformed and pentecostal theologians to the false assumption that God is in complete or infinite control, another false theology. We studied this ion the lesson “God is in Command Not Control.”

Here is a list of all the Cornerstone of Father-Son Theology with some scriptural references, and links to our lessons on each subject. As you can see there are no scriptural references to Classical Reformed Cornerstones, Foundations or Attributes, because these are based on Greek Philosophy, not the Word of God.

Classical/Reformed TheologyScriptureFather-Son TheologyScripture
Cornerstone:God is TimelessNilCornerstone:God Desires Sons and DaughtersEph 1:4-5
Foundation:God is ImmutableNilFoundation:God is Immutable in nature and character but mutable in decisionsMalachi 3:6-7; Exodus 32:9-14; Jonah 3:10
Foundation:God is ImpassableNilFoundation:God can experience pain and emotions.Exodus 4:14; Genesis 6:6; Numbers 14:34
Foundation:God is Unknowable:NilFoundation:God is RelationalGenesis 3
Attribute:God is OmniscientNilAttribute:God Has Infinite KnowledgeGenesis 18:20-21; 22:12
Attribute:God is OmnipresentNilFoundation:God is Covenant KeepingHebrews 8:8-12;
Attribute:God is OmnipotentNilAttribute:El Shaddai
(God Almighty)
Genesis 17:1
Attribute:Yahweh Jireh
(God Our Provider)
Genesis 22:14
Attribute:Yahweh Nissi
God Our Banner
Exodus 17:15
Attribute:Yahweh Rapha
(God our Healer)
Exodus 15:26
Attribute:Yahweh Shalom
(God our Peace)
Judges 6:24
Attribute:Yahweh Tsidkenu
(God our Righteousness)
Jeremiah 33:16
Attribute:Yahweh Rohi
(God our Shepherd)
Psalm 23:1
Attribute:Yahweh M’Kadesh
(God our Holiness)
Exodus 31:13
Cornerstones of Two Different Theologies. “Systematic Theology for the New Apostolic Reformation” Dr Harold R. Eberle p134

6. Further Errors by Augustine of Hippo

As one of the church fathers, Augustine was one of the most prolific early church writers. Preachers refer to him with great reverence. However, having read his works I can not advocate his theologies listed above and below. Even though Luther initially agreed with Augustine’s work, towards the end of his life he also challenged Augustine’s theology, but sadly not all of them. Although it is good to honour theologians, there are dangers in honour. Because he was such a prolific writer and his first writing, “Confessions”, was so popular, being famous means that followers accepted incorrect theology.

Augustine admitted that he knew hardly any Greek (the New Testament) and no Hebrew (The Old Testament). Although his writings were more than 300 years later than those of the New Testament, he is considered a church father for the sake of tradition, and his teaching erroneously accepted as truth by many today.

Some will say that he changed his mind in later years. Although he did change some of his doctrines, he held onto each of those listed below until his death.

A. Original Sin

Augustine theorised that sin passes from generation to generation. We have a lesson that disproves this false doctrine. The Bible teaches that sin entered the world, not man.

B. Sex is Sin

He believed that the sexual act between husband and wife was sinful. For this reason, having lived an early life of indulgence in sexual sin, he made a vow of celibacy and poverty, incorrectly believing that celibacy was the pinnacle of religious service.

The act of sexual union is only immoral if it is outside of marriage, as God defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Although the idea that sex is holy may make some uncomfortable, scripture compares oneness in marriage to our being one in Christ:

“For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32

C. Worship of Mary

Augustine believed that Mary never sinned and was worthy of worship. Thankfully, he did not teach that Mary was the mother of God.

D. Baptism in the Holy Spirit

There is no evidence that Augustine was baptised in the Holy Spirit or spoke in tongues. I could not find any evidence he ever taught about it in his writings. Most likely, this was because of his Cessationist View.

E. Present-day Miracles

Augustine taught miracles could happen in the present day, but not the miracles of Jesus. These miracles, like raising the dead, stop with the apostles (Cessationist view), are in direct opposition to Jesus’ teachings:

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will also do; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

John 14:14-16

In other words, he believed people could only do minor miracles. This wrong theology may explain his suffering from infirmities and disease in his later years.

F. Predestination

He taught that God had predestined people to go to hell and suffer there for eternity. As Augustine interpreted it, predestination is directly opposed to God’s excellent nature, which is good.

Augustine assumes that many are actually born into the kingdom of grace only to perish again;

Augustine, Saint. The Complete Works of St. Augustine: Cross-linked to the Bible and with in-line footnotes (p. 50). Kindle Edition

In our lesson “Predestination – Mercy not Punishment” we find that Predestination is all about being ordained as sons and daughters of God, for anyone who believes in Jesus the Son of God. It has nothing in it about some are destined for heaven and some for hell.

G. Infant Baptism

He taught that Infant baptism was God’s way and that whoever died before infant baptism would spend eternity in hell.

H. God is Timeless

As we have seen, God lives in creation and time, contrary to what Augustine taught.

I. Church-Ordained Persecution

Augustine believed it was acceptable to persecute those who disagreed with his doctrine physically. Therefore, He actively encouraged physical abuse. Sadly, Luther also urged the persecution of Anabaptists for believing in baptism by complete immersion. Thousands were burned at the stake, beheaded or drowned. Eventually, Martin Luther changed his heart and stated:

It is not right, and I am deeply troubled that these poor people have been put to death so cruelly.  Let everyone believe what he will. If he is wrong, he will have punishment enough in the fires of hell. Unless they are seditious, one should contest such people with God’s Word and the scriptures. You will accomplish nothing by executions.”

Martin Luther

J. His Death Bed

Sadly, Augustine died struck by his need for repentance and sickness because of his erroneous beliefs. He did not believe in the Christus Victor teaching of the church fathers, which could have freed him from the shame he felt. Augustine did not realise that Jesus did not only set him free of his sins but also his guilt. In his book “Confessions”, he often quotes Psalms of penitence, never fully grasping the freedom found in Jesus Christ. On his deathbed, he is full of repentance, never fully coming to the rest of faith that Jesus forgave his sins and the shame is taken away.

K. Luther Speaks about Augustine

“Augustin often erred; he cannot be trusted. Though he was good and holy, yet he, as well as other fathers, was wanting in the true faith.”

Augustine, Saint. The Complete Works of St. Augustine: Cross-linked to the Bible and with in-line footnotes (p. 1732). Kindle Edition.

I agree with these words. Sadly, Luther did not correct some of the other errors we have seen in this study.

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries / Dr Neville Westerbeek van Eerten D.Miss 2024

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