which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he
goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
[smith] told [access hollywood]: "I was introduced [
to] [scientology] by Tom and I’m a student of world
religion. I was raised in a Baptist household, I went to
a Catholic school, but the ideas of the Bible are
98 percent the same ideas of Scientology, 98
percent the same ideas of Hinduism and Buddhism."
I took the page numbers from my ESV
Reference Bible and the time required from
my Max McLean ESV audio Bible.
You can modify these numbers for your favorite
Start Now ( dec. 10) and Read It All by January
...start on December 10th for a total of 53 days.
* Read 21 minutes or 5 ½ pages of NT per day
* Read 54 ½ minutes or 18 ½ pages of OT per day
So, by spending only 1 hour and 16 minutes per day,
24 pages, you can read through the entire ESV Bible
between now and February. Just over 1 hour a day!
i'm sure if we think about it, we can find 60 minutes throughout the day to spend time in god's word.. to hear him speak to us.
i'm going to give it a try. maybe ill get it done by jan. 31st, maybe not, but it is worth it to me to try. if you want to join me, leave me a comment (no need to sign up for anything) and let me know, and we can pray for and encourage one another.
"I believe it's the Word of God...I mean, I mightagain, this sounds like a safe christian answer.
interpret the Word differently than you interpret the Word,
but I read the Bible and I believe the Bible is the Word of God.
I don't disagree with the Bible. I try and live by it."
at the bare minimum, to be a christian one has to confess that:
mormonism denies all three of these. there is obviously much more to the mormon faith than outlined above, but just from scratching the surface we can see that mormonism is not a part, branch, or denomination of christianity.
does that mean we cant be friends with mormons? of course not. i have had and currently do have mormon friends who are genuinely nice, caring, and wonderful friends.
does that mean christians cannot vote for mitt romney for president. i dont think so. [*however, this post or its content should not be viewed as an endorsement for or against voting for romney]
what it does mean is that when we have conversations with people who are discussing mr. romney or any mormon, that we do not let it slide when people equate mormonism with christianity. we should do so in love and with gentleness, but we should make sure that there is no confusion. mormons-the church of jesus christ of latter day saints are no more christian than muslims, buddhists, or jehovah's witnesses.
so let us be compelled to love them by sharing the true gospel with them.
for further reading see sources cited above as well as:
1) solving the mormon puzzle dvd by the north american mission board
2) john devito, former mormon, has a blog here
The entire nation seemed to condemn [the] federal court
ruling that the pledge of allegiance cannot be recited in schools.
The notion that the phrase "one nation under God" renders the
pledge unconstitutional is ridiculous to most Americans, who
strongly believe that expressions of religious belief should be
an integral part of public life. Yet although the public outcry
against this terrible ruling is understandable, the real issue
of religious freedom has not been addressed by Congress or
The judges who made this unfortunate ruling simply do not
understand the First amendment. It does not bar religious
expression in public settings or anywhere else. In fact, it
expressly prohibits federal interference in the free expression
Far from mandating strict secularism in schools, it instead bars
the federal government from prohibiting the pledge of allegiance,
school prayer, or any other religious expression. The politicians
and judges pushing the removal of religion from public life are
violating the First amendment, not upholding it.
It’s important to recognize that the First amendment applies
only to Congress. Remember, the first sentence starts with
"Congress shall make no law..." This means that matters of
religious freedom and expression should be decided by the
states, with disputes settled in state courts. The First amendment
acts as a simple check on federal power, ensuring that the federal
government has no jurisdiction or authority whatsoever over religious
The phony "incorporation" doctrine, dreamed up by activist
judges to pervert the plain meaning of the Constitution, was
used once again by a federal court to assume jurisdiction over a
case that constitutionally was none of its business.
Similarly, the mythical separation of church and state doctrine
has no historical or constitutional basis.
Neither the language of the Constitution itself nor the legislative
history reveals any mention of such separation. In fact, the
authors of the First amendment- Fisher Ames and Elbridge
Gerry- and the rest of the founders routinely referred to
"Almighty God" in their writings, including the Declaration of
Independence. It is only in the last 50 years that federal courts
have perverted the meaning of the amendment and sought to
unlawfully restrict religious expression. We cannot continue
to permit our Constitution and our rich religious institutions
to be degraded by profound misinterpretations of the Bill of Rights.
"They notified us four days before to say that we
could not have the Thanksgiving service on their
property," said [AAIM Interim Executive
Director]".They said they did not realize
that we'd have non-Christians at the service."
Church officials told her they thought "interfaith"
meant different sects of Christianity.
The Interreligious Ministries service blended traditions
from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Baha'i, Sikh
and Buddhist faiths, among others. It began with a procession
of leaders of a variety of religions, followed by customary
Muslim and Jewish calls to prayer, and a Christian bell
choir signaling the start of worship. There were offers of
gratitude to God in the Christian, Muslim and Hindu
traditions. A Buddhist ritual closed the hour-and-
The estimated 50 to 80 million evangelical Christians
living in America today have become a formidable force
in our culture and democracy.
But the evangelical movement is a big tent. To try and
get a better understanding of the range and diversity
of this community, intrepid filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi
hit the road to meet some evangelicals and learn about
what their influence may mean for the future of the country
Pelosi ventures out over a year-long period for up-close and
personal encounters with some influential members of the
evangelical community, from Joel Osteen, the most-watched
TV minister in America, to pastor Ron Luce, the founder of
"Battle Cry," a concert tour that has drawn more than two
million young people to its events nationwide.
Pelosi also visits with a spectrum of others who embody a
wide range of evangelical experiences, among them visitors at
religion-themed parks, a Christian comic, creationist educators,
Liberty University students and activists in Washington, D.C.
...Pelosi travels to the red states and beyond to meet an array
of open and forthright evangelicals who represent a broad
sampling of the community. Many are pro-life and against
gay marriage, and believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible,
Among them is Pastor Ted Haggard, who recently stepped down
as president of the 30-million strong National Association of
Evangelicals - the largest evangelical group in the U.S. - following
allegations that he had sex with a male prostitute and bought illegal
During her journey, Pelosi also visits with Rev. Jerry Falwell,
leader of The Moral Majority and chancellor and founder of
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., who articulates a
commitment to change the country and urges his congregation
to "vote your values" in elections.
"Evangelicals are the largest minority block in this country," he says.
"It's not a majority, but I don't think you can win without them.
John Kerry learned that. Al Gore learned that. And Hillary will learn
that in 2008."
Joel Osteen's positive, upbeat can-do message has turned
him into America's most popular preacher and earned him
the title of most influential Christian in the country.
He pastors the biggest and fastest growing
American church and his services are the most watched
religious broadcast in the country
Osteen preaches his own version of what is known as the
"prosperity gospel" -- that God is a loving, forgiving
God who will reward believers with health, wealth and
happiness. It's the centerpiece of every sermon
" [quoting osteen]
'To become a better you, you must be positive towards
yourself, develop better relationships, embrace the place
where you are.'[end quote]
Not one mention of God in that. Not one mention of
Jesus Christ in that," [the interviewer] remarks. "
"That's just my message. There is scripture in there
that backs it all up. But I feel like, Byron, I'm called
to help people…how do we walk out the Christian life?
How do we live it? And these are principles that can
help you. I mean, there’s a lot better people qualified
to say, 'Here’s a book that going to explain the scriptures
to you.' I don’t think that’s my gifting," Osteen says.
"I like to see myself as a life coach, a motivator to
help them experience the life of God that God has
for them. People don’t like to be beat down and told '
You’ve done wrong... think that most people already
know what they’re doing wrong. And for me to get in
here and just beat ‘em down and talk down to ‘em,
I just don’t think that inspires anybody to rise higher.
But I want to motivate. I wanna motivate every person
to leave here to be a better father, a better husband, to
break addictions to come up higher in their walk with the Lord "
For "everyone who calls on the name of
the Lord will be saved." How then will they
call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how are they to believe in him of
whom they have never heard? And how are they to
hear without someone preaching? And how are
they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written,
"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the
"I don’t know what can be so dangerous about giving
people hope...Causing people to have better relationships.
I'm not leading them to some false God or something like that."
This is my Bible.
I am what it says I am.
I have what it says I have.
I can do what it says I can do.
Today I will be taught the Word of
I boldly confess my mind is alert, my heart is receptive.
I will never be the same.
I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible,
ever-living seed of the Word of God.
I will never be the same. Never, never, never.
I will never be the same. In Jesus name.
"Would you be happy to go to heaven... to have all
your family there, to be free from all diseases, to
have every kind of pleasure you desire, etc....
would you be happy to go to heaven... if God were not there?"
It was October 31st, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany.
Martin grasped a hammer and a long piece of paper
coveredwith his writing. He walked out into
the street and straight overto the castle church door.
It was here that community messageswere often posted.
Martin nailed his 95 points of discussion on the door. He
onlywanted to lay out his newly discovered views of the
Bible to other church leaders in the Medieval Catholic church.
He thought he was free to do so even though his thoughts were
radical. After all, he was an Augustinian monk and a professor
Martin called himself a “stinking bag of maggots,” and certainly
did not dream of being a leader in a revolution of thinking
in Germany and across Europe that shaped history in a
powerful way. But God had determined something far bigger
than the monk Martin Luther expected when he penned
those 95 Theses.
Without his knowledge someone printed his words on the
newly invented Gutenburg press, distributing it all over
Within a very few days, Martin found that he was the
subject of everyone’s thoughts. In the cathedrals and great
stone castles of his homeland, the pubs and peasant’s
cottageseveryone was talking about the views of Luther.
Withouta signal to announce it, the Protestant Reformation
Just what was the Protestant Reformation all about? What did
Luther and others protest?
The protesters were seeing something new about how a
personis accepted by God that is, new to them. They protested
that the church had been teaching the wrong view about the most
important issue of life. They discovered that the Bible says we
are not accepted on the basis of our religious deeds, or even
our good deeds along with our faith, but that we are accepted
before a holy God only through faith in Christ.
“Through faith alone in Christ alone” began to be heard all
over Europe. The people must transfer their confidence for
salvation in the church’s religious traditions to Christ alone.
The reformers wanted the people to return to the Bible’s plain
teaching on how to be a true Christian.
Because heaven andhell were at stake, the passions rose very high.
Many would be persecuted and some even killed for this truth.
But through it all, tens of thousands of people were converted to
Christ andwere assured of heaven.
We have been feeling the effects of the Protestant Reformation
ever since. Many of our churches have their historical roots in
the Reformation. Returning to the Bible as the source of understanding
about how we are to relate to God has shaped nations.
Perhaps no other religious period since the coming of Christ
has been so influential as this one.
But many people, and even many churches, have forgotten the
great lessons that were made so clear beginning on October 31, 1517.
What difference can this mean to you nearly 500 years
This passage from the Bible is a good place to start. It describes
God’s way to understand salvation:
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
andthat not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of
works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
Through these 500 years since the Protestant Reformation,
andthroughout time, men and women, youth and children have
come to Christ in this simple way through faith alone in
Christ alone. Placing our full confidence in Christ’s perfect life
and sacrificial death for sinful people is the only way to God.
It is not that good works are not important they are a result of
true faith in every believer’s life. But those works cannot save.
Salvation is a gift of grace, not a reward for trying to be good.
Like Martin Luther, you may come by faith alone to Christ
alone even now, all these years later. In fact, this is the very
way the first New Testament believers came to Him!
Copyright © 2002 Jim Elliff
Permission granted to copy in full
for non-profit use, including all
copyright information. Other uses require
print out as many as you want for free here!
The Islamic and Christian views of Jesus:
The person of Jesus or Isa in Arabic (peace be upon
him) is of great significance in both Islam and Christianity.
However, there are differences in terms of beliefs about the
nature and life occurrences of this noble Messenger.
Source of information about Jesus in Islam :
Most of the Islamic information about
Jesus is actually found in the Quran.
The Quran was revealed by God to
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
be upon him), and memorized and
written down in his lifetime.
Today, anyone who calls him or herself a
Muslim believes in the complete authenticity
of the Quran as the original revealed guidance
Indeed, they have disbelieved who have said,
“God is the Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary.”
The Messiah said, “Children of Israel, worship
God, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever associates
partners in worship with God, then God has forbidden
Paradise for him, and his home is the Fire
(Hell). For the wrongdoers,there will be no helpers.”
"The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more
than a Messenger before whom many Messengers
have passed away; and his mother adhered wholly
to truthfulness, and they both ate food (as other
mortals do). See how We make Our signs clear to
them; and see where they are turning away!"
"Say: "God is Unique! God, the Source [of everything].
He has not fathered anyone nor was He fathered,
and there is nothing comparable to Him!"
"Such was Jesus, the son of Mary;
it is a statement of truth, about which
they vainly dispute. It is not befitting to the
majesty of God, that He should beget a son.
Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter,
He only says to it, ‘Be' and it is"
"“They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him,
but they thought
they did.” (Quran 4:156)
She believes the Trinity is an idea about God
and cannot be taken literally.
She does not believe Jesus and God are the same,
but rather that God is more than Jesus.
She believes Jesus is the son of God
insofar as all humans are the children of God,
and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are
divine — because God dwells in all
What makes Jesus unique, she believes, is that
out of all humans, he most embodied being filled
with God and identifying completely with God's will.
She does believe that Jesus died on the cross and was
resurrected, and acknowledges those beliefs conflict with
the teachings of the Quran. "That's something I'll find a
challenge the rest of my life," she said.
She considers Jesus her savior. At times of despair,
because she knows Jesus suffered and overcame suffering, "
he has connected me with God," she said.
That's not to say she couldn't develop as deep a relationship with
Mohammed. "I'm still getting to know him," she said.
After Saul disobeys Samuel, God says, "I regret [= repent]
that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from
following Me and has not carried out My commands"
(1 Samuel 15:11). Some have argued that since God
"repents" of things he has done, therefore he could
not have foreseen what was coming. Else why would
he repent or regret, if he knew in advance
the consequence of his decision?
However, this is not a compelling argument against God's
foreknowledge. First of all, the argument assumes that God
could not, or would not, lament over a state of affairs he
himself chose to bring about. That not true to human
experience; and more importantly, God's heart is
capable of complex combinations of emotions infinitely more
remarkable that ours. He may well be capable of lamenting
over something he chose to bring about.
Not only that, God may also be capable of looking back on
the very act of bringing something about and lamenting
that act in one regard, while affirming it as best in another
regard. For example, if I spank my son for blatant
disobedience and he runs away from home because
I spanked him, I may feel some remorse over the spanking -
not in the sense that I disapprove of what I did, but in the
sense that I feel some sorrow that spanking was a
necessary part of a wise way of dealing with this situation,
and that it led to his running away. If I had it to do over again,
I would still spank him. It was the right thing to do. Even knowing
that one consequence would be alienation for a season, I
approve the spanking, and at the same time regret the
spanking. If such a combination of emotions can accompany
my own decisions, it is not hard to imagine that God's infinite
mind may be capable of something similar.
Now the question is: Does the Bible teach that God laments
some of his decisions in the sense that I have described above
(which does not imply that He is ignorant of their future
consequences), or does the Bible teach that God laments
some of his decisions because he did not see what was
The answer is given later in 1 Samuel 15. After God says in
verse 11, "I repent that I have made Saul king," Samuel says
in verse 29, as if to clarify, "The Strength of Israel will not lie
nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent" (KJV).
The point of this verse seems to be that, even though there is
a sense in which God does repent (verse 11), there is another
sense in which he does not repent (verse 29). The difference
would naturally be that God's repentance happens in spite of
perfect foreknowledge, while most human repentance happens
because we lack foreknowledge. God's way of "repenting"
is unique to God: "God is not a man that he should repent"
(the way a man repents in his ignorance of the future).
For God to say, "I feel sorrow that I made Saul king," is not
the same as saying, "I would not make him king if I had it to
do over." God is able to feel sorrow for an act in view of
foreknown evil and pain, and yet go ahead and will to do
it for wise reasons. And so later, when he looks
back on the act, he can feel the sorrow for the act that was leading
to the sad conditions, such as Saul's disobedience.
Hence we have our precious fighter verse in Numbers 23:19 -
"God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that
He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has
He spoken, and will He not make it good?" I say it is precious,
because here God's commitment to his promises hangs on his
not repenting like a man. In other words, God's promises are
not in jeopardy, because God can foresee all circumstances, he
knows that nothing will occur that will cause him to take them back.
Resting in the confidence of God's all-knowing promises,
Michael Collender: Thank you Dr. Nash. I have a
few final questions for you. Now Greg Boyd, in his book
God of the Possible writes,
"Next to the central doctrines of the Christian faith,
the issue of whether the future is exhaustibly settled
or partially open, is relatively unimportant. It is
certainly not a doctrine that Christians should ever
Now, Dr. Nash, is open theism merely an intra-church debate
about the future, and thus, in the words of Dr. Boyd, relatively
unimportant, or is more at stake?
Ron Nash: With all due respect to Dr. Boyd, this
is a move that has been made by every heretic in the
history of the church.
When the Jehovah's witnesses or other Unitarians have said
the deity of Christ is not something that we should fight about.
Or the substitutionary atonement. This is a classic move.
Now I'm not imputing heresy to my friends who are open theists
in any kind of straightforward way, but once we know where the
church has always stood on these issues, when someone comes
along with what amounts to a new way of understanding these
things and says "now this is nothing to really get excited about,
don't split churches over this, don't leave my church" , then I'm
sorry, this is a matter where we have to take a stand. The last
group of people who's advice we follow on this matter are the
people who are deviating and departing from the church's
long-held position on this.
MC: What exactly is at stake in this issue?
RN: Good question. What is at stake is, number one, our
understanding of God and the kind of God upon whom our
faith is based. What's also at stake here is our firm belief,
or what is the belief of people who are not open theists, that
God is sovereign, and that God is in control of all of human
history, and God will bring His will to pass. One of the points
that I argue in my book Life's Ultimate Questions is that a God
who cannot know the future cannot control the future. And thus,
if we follow the open theist very far down his road, we end up
with a God who cannot give us the confidence that we need to
believe that His will will prevail in human history.
We're dealing, frankly, as I sometimes say to audiences; when
I understand with the God of open theism, I want to pray for that
God because He needs help. Right now the world series starts this
week. The God of open theism has no idea which team is going to
win the world series. The God of open theism who's going to win
the battle against terrorism. That is not my God. That is a different
God. And it is not the God of the Christian worldview.
The very integrity, the heart of our faith is at stake with this
issue, and this is not a minor, trivial matter that says "well, you can
continue to go to this church and worship this alternate God and so on".
MC: You said before that you didn't want to call this heresy.
But is sounds like you're being very kind to your friends who
would hold this position as well.
RN: There are two kinds of heresy. One kind of heresy is illustrated
by a serious error called "Socinianism". And many of the beliefs of
Socinianism are actually taught by these open theists. Their position
is not new. The Socinians lived during the years of the Reformation
and they denied God's knowledge of future contingent events, but
they also then followed that belief down the road to other beliefs
that were specifically heretical.
So one kind of heresy is where you really are out to change the nature
of the Christian faith in to a totally different religion. I'm not accusing
open theists of that.
But there is a second kind of heresy where, without knowing it,
without thinking it, maybe because they're afraid to think through
thing to their end, good people, honorable people, say things that
entail conclusions that are utterly inconsistent with the historic
Christian faith. And that's where I think the open theists are.
MC: What should we as a church do then?
RN: Well, in about a month the Evangelical Theological Society
is going to meet in Colorado Springs and the members of the
ETS are going to debate the question of whether people who
believe this way are holding beliefs that are inconsistent with
the doctrinal stance of the Evangelical Theological Society. And
if their beliefs are inconsistent with the doctrinal stance of the
Evangelical Theological Society, then they should leave.
If the ETS does not reach the proper conclusion here, I think it's
time for a whole lot of people to leave the ETS because it clearly
will no longer stand for the theological foundation upon which it
was based. If that means there is a battle within the church, well,
that's hardly new. The reason the church got to this point is that
when errors crept into the church over the centuries, brave and
honorable people stood up and said "God help me, I can
do no other",to quote Martin Luther there.
Every time the church - Christians, leaders, thinkers - have failed
to take a stand against error, one error multiplies into another.
During the 18th century, people who claimed to believe in the
inerrancy of the Bible in New England began to deny the Deity
of Christ and they did so on the basis of a spurious of false
interpretations of Scripture. That heresy was not rooted out,
and before you knew it all of those congregational churches in
New England that had failed to take a stand decades earlier
were committed to a full blown Unitarian and Universalist
position. You nip it in the bud and if you don't, then the errors
that are implied in this position will eventually creep in and take
over, and then we've lost a serious battle.
Michael Collender: Now stepping from philosophy to the
way that we handle Scripture, open theists claim their God is
very much the God of the Bible and they sight passages from
Scripture that teach that God can change His mind.
Passages like 1 Samuel 15:35, "And the LORD regretted
(literally repented) that He had made Saul king over Israel".
It seems this passage and others, like Genesis 5 and 6 teach that
God can make choices that He regrets; that He can be surprised.
Now, how can historic Christian orthodoxy deal with passages like
Ron Nash: There's no need for a new answer. The church, ever
since the Reformation and probably some of the predecessors of
the Reformation, clearly recognized that when human beings use
language about God there will be times when they cannot
use language in a literal way.
For example, when Jesus said "This is My body", He did not
mean that text to be interpreted in a straightforward or literal
way. Likewise when He said "This is My blood" or "I am the door".
What we call non-literal or anthropomorphic (human-like) language
attributed to God appears throughout the Bible. And it creates far
fewer problems with respect to passages like those you sighted when
we recognized that they are not to be taken in a straightforward way.
In fact, what's interesting is that many of the passages cited by open
theists as support for their position turn out to be passages where the straightforward interpretation of the passage leads to a disaster.
Let me give you a couple of examples, and these examples appear
in their [open theists] writings.
In Genesis 22:12, as we know, God told Abraham to
take his son Isaac up to the top of the mount and there offer him
as a sacrifice. And God says "Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not
do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, since you
have not withheld from me your son, your only. . ."
Surprise! Here is a classic case where open theists say "God learned
something new. God is surprised." But notice the implications here.
This is what open theists can't trace out. Remember, open theists
say God can't know the future, but they insist, as they had better,
that God can know both the past and the present. But the open
theists' straightforward reading of Genesis 22:12 actually implies
that poor God couldn't know the present. He did not know at that
moment that Abraham really trusted Him. God's knowledge was
lacking not only with respect to the future, it was lacking with
respect to the present. And moreover, it was also lacking with
respect to the past.
Now clearly, when our God can't know the past and the present,
He really is a finite deity, and that is an implication of their position.
Let me give you one more text here.
Consider Genesis 3:9 where God is seeking Adam in the garden and
the verse reads "Then the LORD called to the man and said to him,
'Where art thou?'." Now, even when I was a 12 year old kid in Sunday
school, I knew that was not literal language. But open theists have to
interpret that as literal language because they want to attack the full
compliment of God's knowledge.
But the problem again here is that if you take that passage literally,
God didn't know where Adam was at that particular moment in God's
present. In fact, God didn't even know His geography, where Adam
was in the garden. So these people are really playing games, I suggest.
They condemn us for not interpreting passages straightforwardly,
when they themselves can't do the same thing.
Now listen; it is wrong to interpret any of these anthropomorphic
texts to say that God learns something new from changed situations.
It is wrong to interpret them to say that God changed His mind.
Instead of understanding them in that way, we should recognize
that what may seem to be changes of mind may actually be just new
stages in the working out of God's plan.
An example of this would be the offering of salvation to the Gentiles.
Well, as part of God's original plan it represented a rather sharp break
with what had preceded. Some other apparent changes of mind in the
Bible are changes of orientation resulting from man's move into a
different relationship with God.
God didn't change when Adam sinned. Rather, man had moved into
God's disfavor. This works the other way as well.
Take the case of Ninevah. God said "Forty days and Ninevah will be
destroyed unless they repent". Okay, Ninevah repented and it was
spared. But it was man that had changed and not God that had
Now philosophers have a technical term for this; they call it a
"Cambridge change." That is, it's a situation where we use the
language of change but no real serious or essential change has
Now, if I have the time, let me address the passage in 1 Samuel.
Actually, let me address two passage because they're both relevant
to this. And if your people hear nothing else from me today other
than the books they ought to read they ought to pay attention to the
next three or four minutes.
Let me quote Numbers 23:19; "God is not a man, that He
should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind.
Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?"
Now this is what people should notice; two serious errors are
combined in that verse - changing one's mind, and lying. And here
is the implication. If God can change His mind, then He should also
be able lie. You can't separate those.
Jump from Numbers 23:19 to 1 Samuel 15:29. It's the same kind
of parallel that's set up, "He who is the glory if Israel does not
lie or change His mind. For He is not a man that He should change
His mind". What's interesting is that's the same text from which the
earlier passage you quoted comes from.
Now here is the interpretive principle that needs to be
applied here. If God can really change, then God can also lie.
You can't separate those. But if there is a literal, straightforward
text in Scripture that tells us that God can't do one of those things,
then it follows that He cannot do the other thing either. And
Hebrews 6 makes it very clear in straightforward, literal,
non-anthropomorphic language that God cannot lie.
So if it is impossible for God to lie, as Scripture tell us it is, then
it must also be impossible for God to change His mind. And therefore,
these texts that appear to tell us that God can change His mind, are anthropomorphic texts which should not be taken in a straightforward
Open Theism: An Interview with Dr. Ronald Nash
Michael Collender: Representing the traditional
Christian view of God we have with us Dr. Ronald Nash,
professor of philosophy and theology at Reformed
Theological seminary. Author and co-author of over 30
books and numerous journal articles, Dr. Nash has
sought to apply Christian theology as the foundation of his
study in both history and philosophy. Within
this great body of work he has also written
on open theism and its consequences on our view of history,
theology, and ultimately God Himself. Dr. Nash, thank you for
Dr. Ronald Nash: Glad to talk.
MC: First off, what is your assessment of open theism?
RN: Well, as a part of my answer to that general
let me advise your listeners about what I always tell students
is an important process of coming to grips with any difficult
subject and that is, to read the best material available on the
subject. Fortunately there have just been three or four very
good books published on the subject of open theism. One of
them just reached my desk yesterday as a matter of fact.
They all ought to be available from http://www.amazon.com/
or http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ and it just makes sense
to me that anyone who really is serious about this stuff
ought to get some of these books and read them. Let me
quickly tick off those titles and the authors.
The first, and I think the best of these books is titled
God's Lesser Glory and the author is Bruce Ware. He
happens to be a colleague of mine, he teaches at Southern
Baptist Seminary in Louisville where I also teach.
The second book is written by another colleague of
mine who teaches at Reformed Seminary in Florida,
which is where I teach as well, that book is called No
Other God and the author is John Frame.
There's another book that's a compilation of essays edited
by Doug Wilson, it's title is Bound Only Once.
And the fourth book is written by one of my favorite
authors, the title is Life's Ultimate Questions and some
of the points that I'll make today are going to appear in
Now, one of my major problems with open
theism is that I think the proponents of this view fail
to track out the logical consequences of their beliefs.
Now they are hardly alone in this. This is a rather common
practice. Now what I mean by tracing out the logical complications
is looking at your beliefs and then asking if that is true, then what
else follows logically from it?
Now let me show you how that works. Open theists proclaim
that God cannot know future contingent events. That is the
fancy way of referring to events in the future, which result
from human beings making free choices. Now that claim
sounds innocent enough, but let me show you some of the
consequences of that.
Think back to the moment when Jesus Christ was dying
on the cross. Incidentally, let me tell you what John Sanders,
one open theist, says about the cross. He says that God the
Father had no knowledge that His Son would end up being
crucified. And at that particular moment, when God the Father
looks down from heaven and sees His Son hanging on the cross,
John Sanders put it in language somewhat like this, "Oops,
I guess we have to switch to plan B."
Because, you see, to these open theists, God is completely
surprised by any large number of events that happened
in the world. But this poor, impotent deity, who is described
by the open theists, this finite God of open theism, had no way
of knowing at the time that Jesus was dying if even one human
being would accept His Son as Savior.
This poor, impotent deity faced the possibility that the suffering
of His Son on the cross would bring about the salvation of no one.
Another open theist, who happens to be a friend of mine, Bill
Hasker, teaches at a college in Indiana, says that the very fact
that there is a church of God is a matter of God's dumb blind luck
because God had no way of controlling whatever outcome might
follow the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross.
Now I believe all of these consequences are absurd, but I believe
that they all follow logically from the presuppositions of open
theists, and they constitute at least one major reason why
Christians should be looking elsewhere than open theism for
the answers of their world view to questions like the ones we've
been considering on this tape.
MC: Thank you Dr. Nash. Some open theists accuse
historic Christianity of borrowing its view of God from the
Greeks. And in your book The Gospel and the Greeks you
address the connection between Greek culture and the Christian
Are they right? Did Christianity borrow its view of God
from the Greeks?
RN: What really troubles me about this allegation, that
orthodox theology has been strongly influenced by Greek
thought, is that in this particular case it is open theism that
manifests the influence of Greek thinking.
The idea of a finite God; that is the territory of Plato and
Aristotle. If you're looking at least at the idea that a
supreme being cannot know the future, that comes directly
So far as I know that particular idea was originated by
Aristotle in his book on interpretation. Aristotle asked
the question "Will there be a sea-fight tomorrow?"
One navy is going to attack another navy and which fleet will win?
And Aristotle says there is no way for any being to know that
because no proposition about the future can be true.
Therefore if the proposition "The Greek navy will win the
battle tomorrow" is offered by someone and it's a proposition
about the future, that proposition cannot be true, that proposition
cannot be false until tomorrow. Therefore no one can know it.
And that constitutes one of the major reasons why open theists
like Clark Pinnock and John Sanders and a lot of these other
fellows say that poor God can't know the future. Well, I'm
sorry; if God can't know the future, then God cannot predict
Now I'm confident that a large number of your
listeners are immediately thinking of all kinds of prophecies
in the Old Testament and New Testament in which God
Almighty predicts precisely what will happen in the future,
and that's something that can't be possible in a universe in
which God cannot know future, free human actions.
So if we ask the question "will the real Greek please
stand up?" I think it would be the Open Theists that
have to rise to their feet on this issues.