Open Theism: Who Is Flirting With It?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by TCGreek, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    1. Open Theism affirms "that self-determining free will creates choices that have no reality before they are created and therefore are not possible objects of knowledge--even to God" (Joh Piper, Justin Taylor and Paul K. Helseth, eds, Beyond The Bounds [Wheaton: Crossway, 2003], 10, emphasis mine).

    2. Here's a quote from Piper in the Foreword:

    "The stunning thing about open theism in American Christianity is how many leaders do not act as though it is a departure from historic Christianity and therefore a dishonor to Christ and pastorally damaging" (Ibid., 10).

    3. What are your thoughts on Open Theism?
     
    #1 TCGreek, Oct 18, 2007
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  2. TCGreek

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    Here's a quote from one of the contemporary gurus of Open Theism:

    "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" (Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd, Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity [Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communication Ministries, 1994], 30, emphasis mine).
     
  3. mcdirector

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    Is HOGWASH too blunt?

    I am curious if there are any well known preachers/pastors who buy into this?
     
  4. menageriekeeper

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    Yep, hogwash is a good description, MC.
     
  5. TCGreek

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    1. Well, in another thread, one brother has said that he does not think this doctrine needs to be quarantined as heretical.

    2. Sad to say, it seems like some are sympathetic toward it.
     
  6. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    Many of them are in the Emerging church Movement. Especially on the emrgent side such as Brian McLaren. Most liberal theology is at least tainted with it. It is an attempt to mix humanism with Christianity.
     
  7. mcdirector

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    I wouldn't be surprise to see anything like this associated with the Emergent Village etc.

    I did find a couple of books on christianbooks.com that were very pro - which shouldn't have surprised me as in reality they cater to everything under the sun religious and I've gotten bit a couple of times putting something on the media center shelf from them.

    I also found a single pastor who had not come from a traditonal background, but I stopped there because I needed to get some work done. One was enough.
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    Okay well I'm the "brother"...I think...and frankly in the scope of theological conversation open theism, which I have written exhaustively against, is simply radical arminian theology.

    Listen, I don't like open theism. I think it diminishes the nature of God, I think it is an attack to classical theism. That said I have talked, exhaustively, with open theists and find them to honest believers who are trying to reconcile some portions of Scripture in their lives.

    We can't throw them under the "heresy" bus so fast...which is a strange preoccupation of too many around here on some issues. We need to see that they are still in the bounds of church teaching, but on the border. Frankly I'd toss them on the other side of field with hard-core hypercalvinist on the exact other side.

    Is it extreme? Yes. Do I like what they say? Absolutely not.

    But who gave me the authority to rule them heretical when goodly evangelical scholars, far smarter than I, can't even do that.

    I'm sympathetic to the people involved. I don't give the openness proponents an inch of conversational grace for their arguments. But I do think the people are important. :)
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    For the record, even though I don't like him theologically, Brian McLaren isn't an openness proponent. Please stop marginalizing the emerging group on these over the top generalizations and demonizations. There are better arguments to use to marginalize them.

    Frankly, I don't think McLaren know the difference too much...but he's not an openness proponent.
     
  10. Gold Dragon

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    Excellent points that I agree with.

    I also believe Open Theism and hypercalvinism are two sides of the same coin.

    However, I would probably give more credence to open theists who are often sincerely struggling to reconcile portions of scripture that could easily be interpreted to suggest Open theism.

    On the other hand, I believe the basis of hypercalvinism to be much further away from the actual text of scripture but more of a result of human logical reasoning based on the theology of determinism.

    I believe both are wrong but am much more sympathetic to open theists who I understand to be sincerely misunderstanding scripture in contrast to hypercalvinists who I believe to be sincerely misunderstand their own logical presuppositions.
     
    #10 Gold Dragon, Oct 19, 2007
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  11. Rippon

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    GD , I respect your views on other subjects , but we have to part ways here . I don't know how you define hyper-Calvinism -- but despite its deficiences , it is much more orthodox ( hence scriptural ) than OT .

    Who is your hypercalvinistic model , anyway ?
     
  12. TCGreek

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    1. Open theists are not just wrestling with Scripture. In fact, Open theists have been publishing books after books asserting that the God of traditional Christianity for the last two millennia is a Judaism and Greek synthesis, where Greek philosophy is seen as the underpinnings.

    2. Not only that, but they have even gone into the Patristic writers to look for support, and so far they have come up empty.

    3. Now, I do not consider that sincere misunderstanding at all. In fact, for those of us who affirm the traditional view of God, the Open theists say we have got it wrong.

    4. Why do you then consider this an honest search when they are willing to make those dogmatic statements? There's a difference in an honest seeker. We know it when we see it. And such is not present with the Open theists.
     
  13. Gold Dragon

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    I believe Calvinism is orthrodox and would consider hypercalvinism to be extremes of Calvinism such that the theology of determinism overrides many other biblical theologies, primarily the call to evangelism.

     
    #13 Gold Dragon, Oct 19, 2007
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  14. TCGreek

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    Open Theism continues to stumble over the anthropomorphisms of God in the Old Testament. They have proven to be inconsistent in their hermeneutics.
     
  15. Gold Dragon

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    I would agree with Open Theists that our concept of God and our attribution of characteristics such as the omnis to God are based significantly on Greek philosophy. There are pros and cons to this. I'm not opposed to deconstructing and challenging that relationship, which is what many Open Theists are doing.

    I'm cool with people challenging my views and saying I could be wrong. I admit I don't know everything about God and I'm sure there are holes in my understanding of God. Maybe in the process of challenge, my understanding of God will become 1) more biblical 2) more real.

    I would agree with open theists that there are parts of Classical Theism that are difficult to reconcile with an honest analysis of scripture. While the use of figurative anthropomorphisms can account for most them, it is often the preconcieved notion of omniscience that is my sole basis for using anthropomorphism in that interpretation and nothing in the text itself that suggests the use of this literary device.

    Some examples:
    1) verses where it appears that God changed his mind about the judgment of a nation/city/person (Nineveh, Ex 32:14)
    2) verses where it appears that God was "surprised" by an event (Jer 3:6-7; 19:5)

    Carm has a good list of verses and their explanation in traditional theistic terms.



    I would agree with Open Theists that there are limitations to the words omnipotence and omniscience in their usefulness to describe God.

    The traditional challenge to omnipotence is the "making a rock he can't lift" puzzle to which the response is that he can do all things that are logically possible.

    The same response would also apply to omniscience to say that God knows all things that are logically knowable. You don't have to be an Open Theist to agree with this statement. The question is, what is logically knowable and what isn't? Open Theists would say a lot more isn't logically knowable than I would.
     
    #15 Gold Dragon, Oct 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2007
  16. 2 Timothy2:1-4

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    I always find it interesting when some decide the relationship between God and his people were influenced by the pagans rather than to believe just the opposite. Making the pagans the authority rather than God and His people.
     
  17. drwthohh

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    I like to tell my children when they have asked about the extent of God's power that God can do anything that He wants to do. In other words, if God is willing to do something He has the power to do it.
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    Oh how this could turn to a C/A point! :laugh:
     
  19. Spoudazo

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    I think this is just another chance for the misguided to be tossed too and froe with every wind of doctrine, as well as "new persepectivism" that really hurt Westminister.
     
  20. TCGreek

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    1. Where is the evidence that the omnis of God are an expression of Greek philosophy?

    2. Yes, a challenge has its benefits.

    3. Why do we think we need to tame the infinite God by our finite reasoning?

    4. To the Open Theist I say it is better to be agnostic about these things, until further reflections, than to make all the undermining comments they have been making abou the God of the Bible.

    5. Are you not satisfied with the traditional theistic explanations of these anthropomorphic expressions? Remember, the omnis of God are all expressed in Scripture outside of narratives or prose.

    6. Open Theists are attempting to domesticate the God of the Bible. I'm reminded of that song, If God was one of us...

    7. What is God's will?

    8. Do you mean to tell me that Rom. 11:33-36 is no longer applicable to the Open Theist?
     

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