as an update on my back, i have disc fragments floating around in my spinal cord which are digging into and pinching nerves in my spine. i am supposed to rest for two weeks, and if there is no marked difference, i willprobably have my second back surgery in less than 10 years. your prayers are appreciated.
i will pick up where i left off re-posting from tim challies blog on open theism .
The best-known proponents of open theism are:
Clark Pinnock -
Clark Pinnock spent 25 years preaching,
teaching, and writing at McMaster Divinity College after
having served previously at the University of Manchester,
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical
Divinity School, and Regent College in Vancouver. He is best-
known for his contribution to the book The Openness of God:
A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of
Greg Boyd -
Greg Boyd is the Senior Pastor at Woodland Hills
Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and previously served as a
Professor of Theology at Bethel College for sixteen years.
In 2000, Dr. Boyd founded Christus Victor Ministries, a
nonprofit organization that promotes faith which satisfies
the mind and inspires the heart. Dr. Boyd regularly speaks
at academic and religious conferences, college campuses, and
churches throughout the United States and abroad. His most
popular book is God of the Possible which is a popular defense
of open theism.
In Their Own Words
There is no better way of understanding a doctrine than through
the words of those who believe and teach it. So let’s turn to some
of the prominent Open Theists and hear them in their own words.
I[tim challies] will provide brief commentary [in green]where
We must wonder how the Lord could truly experience
regret for making Saul king if he was absolutely certain
that Saul would act the way he did.
Could God genuinely confess, “I regret that I made Saul
king” if he could in the same breath also proclaim, “I was
certain of what Saul would do when I made him king?”
Common sense tells us that we can only regreta decision
we made if the decision resulted in an outcome other than
what we expected or hoped for when the decision was made.
Gregory Boyd – God of the Possible, page 56.
Boyd tells us of a God who regrets - a God who
sorrows over decisions He has made as He is
genuinely saddened by the results of His poor
God makes a covenant with his creation that never again
will virtually everything be annihilated. The sign of the
rainbow that God gives us a reminder to himself that he
will never again tread this path. It may be the case that
although human evil caused God great pain, the destruction
of what he had made caused him even greater suffering.
Although his judgment was righteous, God decides to try
different courses of action in the future.
John Sanders – The God Who Risks, page 50.
In this quote we are told that God regrets. God
suffered greatly as a result of a decision He made
- a decision that may have been rash.
It may have been an over-reaction.
I suggested to her that God felt as much regret
over the confirmation [of marriage] he had given
Suzanne as he did about his decision to make Saul
king of Israel. Not that it was a bad decision - at the
time, her ex-husband was a good man with a godly
The prospects that he and Suzanne would have a
happy marriage and fruitful ministry were, at the
time, very good. Indeed, I strongly suspect that he
had influenced Suzanne and her ex-husband
[toward] their marriage.
Because her ex-husband was a free agent, however,
even the best decisions have sad results.
Over time…[he] had opened himself up to the enemy’s
influence and became involved in an immoral relationship.
Initially, all was not lost, and God and others tried to restore
him, but he chose to resist the prompting of the Spirit.
By framing the ordeal within the context of an open future,
Suzanne was able to understand the tragedy of her life in a
new way. She didn’t have to abandon all confidence in her
ability to hear God and didn’t have to accept that somehow
God intended this ordeal “for her own good.” … This isn’t a
testimony to [God’s] exhaustive definite foreknowledge; it’s
a testimony to his unfathomable wisdom.
Gregory Boyd – God of the Possible, pages 105-106.
This has become one of the best-known defenses of
open theism and is a story that is told often.
God did the best with the information
He had at the time and confirmed a woman’s choice of
husband. But God was later surprised to see this man
prove himself anything but a good husband. God did His
best to restore this man, but was unable.
God had ultimately made a mistake in confirming
Suzanne’s choice of a spouse.
The overarching structures of creation are purposed
by God, but not every single detail that occurs within
them. Within general providence it makes sense to say
that God intends an overall purpose for the creation and
that God does not specifically intend each and every action
within the creation. Thus God does not have a specific
divine purpose for each and every occurence of evil.
The “greater good” of establishing the conditions of
fellowship between God and creatures does not mean
that gratuitous evil has a point. Rather, the possibility
of gratuitous evil has a point but its actuality does not. …
When a two-month-old child contracts a painful, incurable
bone cancer that means suffering and death, it is pointless
evil. The Holocaust is pointless evil. .. God does not have
a specific purpose in mind of these occurences.
John Sanders – The God Who Risks, pages 261-262.
Quotes like this one were used to comfort a shocked
world during the aftermath of the Tsunami of 2004.
Many professed Christians denied that God had a hand
in this disaster, and that He had foreknowledge of it.
According to Open theology, there is no purpose
in gratutious suffering and evil, and it occurs outside
the will and foreknowledge of God.
It is God’s desire that we enter into a give-and-take
relationship of love, and this is not accomplished by
God’s forcing his blueprint on us. Rather, God wants
us to go through life together with him, making decisions
Together we decide the actual course of my life.
God’s will for my life does not reside in a list of specific
activities but in a personal relationship. As lover and friend,
God works with us wherever we go and whatever we do.
To a large extent our future is open and we are to determine
what it will be in dialogue with God.
John Sanders – The God Who Risks, page 277.
This quote emphasizes the reciprocal nature of the
relationship between men and God espoused by Open
Theists. Humans and God work together
to create, know and understand the future. When it
comes to the future, God is no further ahead we are
and no more responsible for what will happen.
[W]e must acknowledge that divine guidance, from
our perspective, cannot be considered a means of
discovering exactly what will be best in the long run
- as a means of discovering the very best long-term
option. Divine guidance, rather, must be viewed
primarily as a means of determining what is best
for us now.
[S]ince God does not necessarily know exactly what
will happen in the future, it is always possible that
even that which God in his unparalleled wisdom
believes to be the best course of action at any given
time may not produce the anticipated results in the
long run.David Basinger – The Openness
of God, pages 163 & 165.
Basinger tells us that God’s guidance is accurate
only for the present - only with a view to the knowledge
God currently posesses. Because God does not know the
future, His guidance cannot extend beyond the
present. Even the best of God’s wisdom can only
anticipate results based on current conditions.
i hope these quotes were helpful in understanding what it is that open theists believe. i also hope that it helps you to see the consequences of such a belief. that god knows no more about the future than you or i do, that things happen without reason and against god's will, that god can make mistakes, etc.
please feel free to comment..