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Posts Tagged ‘Open Theism’

Responding to Open Theism in Fourteen Words

By Andrew Wilson

Because of the controversy over open theism twenty years ago, there is a huge range of books and articles out there, both critiquing it and defending it. Greg Boyd’s website is a fount of free resources in defence; Crossway’s generosity means that in many ways the most significant critique, Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, is also free to download or read online. But when theological debates hit the person in the pew, there is a place for keeping things simple. So here are fourteen common sense objections to open theism, framed around thirteen words and one number. Here’s hoping they help.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

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What Is Open Theism?

By Andrew Wilson

So what is open theism? It is the idea that God does not exhaustively know the future, because the future is “open”: what will happen tomorrow is not yet fully determined, but depends in part on the free decisions of God’s creatures. Here’s Richard Rice in The Openness of God:

Instead of perceiving the entire course of human existence in one timeless moment, God comes to know events as they take place. He learns something from what transpires. We call this position the “open view of God” because it regards God as receptive to new experiences and as flexible in the way he works toward his objectives in the world. Since it sees God as dependent on the world in certain respects, the open view of God differs from much conventional theology.

Clark Pinnock, in The Grace of God, The Will of Man, says similarly:

Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God. They are potential— yet to be realized but not yet actual. God can predict a great deal of what we will choose to do, but not all of it, because some of it remains hidden in the mystery of human freedom … God too faces possibilities in the future, and not only certainties. God too moves into a future not wholly known …

Or here’s Greg Boyd in Letters from a Skeptic:

In the Christian view God knows all of reality—everything there is to know. But to assume He knows ahead of time how every person is going to freely act assumes that each person’s free activity is already there to know—even before he freely does it! But it’s not. If we have been given freedom, we create the reality of our decisions by making them. And until we make them, they don’t exist. Thus, in my view at least, there simply isn’t anything to know until we make it there to know. So God can’t foreknow the good or bad decisions of the people He creates until He creates these people and they, in turn, create their decisions.

 

 

 

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Is Open Theism Still a Factor 10 Years after ETS Vote?

November 24, 2014 2 comments

Bible & Theology/
Jeff Robinson

At the 2003 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in Atlanta, two words were seemingly on the minds of every attendee: open theism.

That year, a controversy over open theism that had been brewing since the mid-1990s came to a head when members of ETS voted on a recommendation to remove from membership open theist scholars Clark Pinnock and John Sanders. A two-thirds majority is required for removal from ETS, and members voted by a narrow margin to allow both Pinnock and Sanders to remain in the society.

While open theism was embraced by a small number of scholars within ETS, the controversy was large and heated: many scholars believe openness theology, with its rejection of classical theism’s doctrine of God’s exhaustive foreknowledge, represents a re-envisioning of the God of Scripture. Many conservative evangelical scholars contended that open theism necessarily denies the inerrancy of Scripture, since a God who does not know the future cannot guarantee that Old Testament prophecies will come true.

In the wake of the controversy, members adopted the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy in 2006, a move aimed at safeguarding membership from those who hold aberrant theological positions such as open theism. Adoption of the Chicago Statement ended the ETS debate.

 

 

Read the entire article here.