What do you think of Open Theism?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Marcia, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Marcia

    Marcia
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    On a thread in Current Events or Politics (can't recall which), the issue of Open Theism came up in relation to Gregory Boyd, who is an open theist and wrote about this in God of the Possible. Other Open Theists are Clark Pinnock and John Sanders. One of the responses to Boyd was So. Baptist Bruce Ware's God's Lesser Glory, in which he refuted Boyd's points pretty well. Open Theism states that God only knows the "possible future," not the entire future, and that he changes his mind. There are other things they say as well, but those are probably two of the major ones.

    This became an issue at the Evangelical Theological Society a couple of years ago or so, because some ETS members felt Open Theism violated the society's statement on biblical inerrancy. Both Pinnock and Sanders were ETS members. Although the ETS voted against accepting Open Theism in 2001 (see http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=12210), the issue about whether ETS members who were Open Theists could remain in the ETS was undecided.

    So it was brought up for a vote, and ETS members decided in 2003 not to make it an issue of inerrancy, allowing Sanders and Pinnock to remain as ETS members. I think that Pinnock did make some changes in some of his statements in order to remain but I'm sketchy on this. Some ETS members who strongly disagreed, such as Norman Geisler, a past ETS President and member for 44 yrs., resigned from ETS as a result. This is Geisler's statement of why he resigned:
    http://www.ses.edu/NormGeisler/etsresign.htm

    This is an account of the challenge at ETS re Open Theism:
    http://www.etsjets.org/members/challenge/2003-challenge.html

    A Baptist posted on that thread re Boyd, asking "What's wrong with Open Theism?"

    So now's your chance to say why you agree or disagree with Open Theism.
     
  2. saturneptune

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    Stop and think a minute, from God's perspective, that man whom He created, is taking a vote, on whether He knows everything in the future. Sounds kind of insane to me.
     
  3. StefanM

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    I think Open Theism is clearly false doctrine.
     
  4. LeBuick

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    Wow Marcia, I can't believe Baptist had a debate like this. I would like to find more on the facts that were presented as pro's and con's. I think this sums up my view;

     
  5. 2BHizown

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    I totally agree! He foreknows because He foredetermined all!

    Man continues on in all of his little schemes to take the decision making and also the glory from a omnipotent, omniscient holy creator God!
     
  6. Marcia

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    I agree with you! :thumbs:

    I don't think ETS members are necessarily Baptist, though (not sure if that's what you were referring to). However, the ETS is made up of evangelicals who supposedly hold to the inerrancy of scripture. Open Theists say their view does not violate this. They take some portions literally in an absurd way such as believing that when God asked Adam, "Where are you?" God did not know where Adam was.

    There might be some here on the BB sympathetic to Open Theism, if they are willing to come out of the woodwork and say so. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  7. saturneptune

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    I have heard some strange ideas on BB, but I believe this one takes the cake. Man votes on God's power to allow Him to carry out his purposes. Stand back when the lightning strikes whoever started this nonsense.
     
  8. Grasshopper

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    Interesting stuff. I'm not real familiar with Open Theism to have a real educated opinion but looking at some of the links I'll throw out some observations and hope some who know more about it can fill me in.

    After three days of heated debate, the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) voted Nov. 16 overwhelmingly to affirm what almost every Christian in the history of the church has always believed -- that God knows everything, including the future decisions of his creatures.

    I agree. But could God on His own limit His foreknowledge? I do not believe so but I wouldn’t necessarily toss a guy who believed it possible. There is a C/A argument in here somewhere but I can’t quite put my finger on it.


    The non-binding resolution stated that the society believes "the Bible clearly teaches that God has complete, accurate and infallible knowledge of all events past, present and future including all future decisions and actions of free moral agents."

    I agree, but what does one do with this:

    Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more."

    Heb 10:16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put My Laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,"
    Heb 10:17 also He adds, "their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more."

    Now one could honestly make the case that these two verses prove that God does choose to limit His past knowledge. Again I don’t, I believe this is covenantal language but a pure literalist could see a contradiction.

    Charlie Draper, professor of New Testament at Southern Seminary's Boyce College, and Russ Bush, academic dean at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina, both argued that a denial of God's foreknowledge is a denial of the inerrancy of Scripture, since a God who cannot know the future cannot guarantee the truth of a Bible that speaks to future events.

    Don’t know if this is necessarily has to be true. Though I do agree with it. I guess one could make the case that God could limit His foreknowledge yet still work His perfect will.
     
  9. Marcia

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    Grasshopper, next time could you make the print in your posts a little bit bigger? :smilewinkgrin: I had to increase the font size in order to read it! Thanks.

    I think in the above, God is saying he will not hold their sins against them. Of course God will "remember" because he is omniscient. What kind of God would we have if he could really forget?

    I do agree with Drape and Bush. What becomes of the promises and prophecies of God if he does not know the future? Of course, when I say "know the future" I do not mean it's future to God. I believe God sees all events at once - past, present, future -- since he is not in time.
     
  10. LeBuick

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    I'm glad you could read Grasshoppers post, I didn't stand a chance. I don't know why people reduce the font size on a post but that says to me don't bother reading it.

    I did mistakenly call them Baptist even though I knew better.

    What is the word for that type question? It's a divine question that God does know the anwer to but wants to know what we say? Ez Can these bones live or Where is your brother?
     
  11. npetreley

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    Open theism is totally unbiblical. Having said that, I think God was going to put open theism in the Bible, but then He changed His mind.


     
  12. LeBuick

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    The main problem I have is it says that God has limitations. The God I serve has no limitations especially when it comes to him being all knowing.
     
  13. webdog

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    This is as false as open theism. He know all because He is The great I AM.
     
  14. AresMan

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    I guess you're not "open" to "open theism"? :p
     
  15. webdog

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    :D You can say that.

    I believe God is omnitemporal and doesn't "look into the future"....He's there...and here...and in the past all at the same time. This is true ubiquity, true omnipresence.
     
  16. Benjamin

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    I think Open Theism often gets a bum rap for trying to explain God existing within time to interact with His creatures (which is clearly portrayed through out the Word that He does) in a logical way with finite theories which I don’t think they will ever satisfactorily explain how our infinite God can do so. This rhetoric is usually built on strawman accusations by people who would make statements declaring OVT false for the motive of holding to their own false doctrine as shown when they follow with statements like: I totally agree! He foreknows because He foredetermined all!”.

    Evidently 63% must have thought Open Theism was at least as credible as a doctrine that would state such nonsense!

    Problem is there is a lack of logic in your statement, as in God certainly does have limitations. We have to use logic in our reasoning otherwise there is no grounds for discussion, one could ask if God is Omnipotent can He make a rock so big He can’t lift it. If God can not lie He is limited to the truth is He not?

    Calvinists in effect see a duality in God’s intentions and a plurality of His nature.

    Open View Theists in effect see a duality in God’s knowledge and a plurality of His foreknowledge.

    As for Geisler, evidently he can’t stand being told he doesn’t have all the answers and if he can’t have it his way he’s gonna take his ball and leave.

    How’s that for sympathy Marcie? :smilewinkgrin:
     
    #16 Benjamin, Aug 13, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2006
  17. Benjamin

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    Guess we see this the same. :thumbs:
     
  18. LeBuick

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    1Co 2:14 Only to those of mature faith can he impart God's wisdom 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    It might seem illogical to some but the Bible warned us this would happen. I know Paul says God cannot lie but there are good reasons why he "doesn't" as compared to "cannot". The foundation of our faith is trust in God's word and character. Because God is truth, he is the source of all truth. This is the reason he cannot lie. So it's not that he's limited to the truth, he is truth.

    Your anology of the rock only makes sence if you limit God to man's understanding. God is not limited to man's understanding. Take his Son for example, how can he be older than his mother yet the Son of his mother. To man this is impossible. We really shouldn't try to God our understanding of this world.

    I believe God is not only omniscience but omniscient also. This means he not only has all knowledge but he knows what to do with it. Scripture everywhere teaches the absolute universality of the divine knowledge.

    Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

    1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    God is Alpha and Omega, we should not try to limit him to just our time.
     
    #18 LeBuick, Aug 14, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2006
  19. Brother Bob

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    Grasshopper and Marcia;
    I would love to say more but couldn't understand what you said so I just ask God to change your font so I could see it.
    God is All in All and exits at all times therefore He does not have to look forward or backward but sees all, He even saw us "believe". what about that?:smilewinkgrin:
     
  20. J.D.

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    The majority of those who call themselves "evangelical" today are hard-core synergists. It shouldn't surprise Norman Giesler that his own theology leads people down the road to open theism.

    As far as the ETS, one universal feature of human nature is that once a person becomes a member of a club, he will never be kicked out as long as he's "liked".
     

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