Dealing with Open Theism

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by FrozenChosen, Aug 29, 2004.

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  1. FrozenChosen

    FrozenChosen Puritan Board Freshman

    One of my great friends has dipped into Open Theism. I had a long discussion that amount to nothing a long time ago with another open theist, and have since wanted to study the topic more. What books should I look into getting, and what advice could you give me when it comes to dealing with these people?

    Any online articles would be wonderful as well.
     
  2. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    Yep...we all better be prepared for this regurtitated heresy.

    Unfortunately, each open theist has a different philisophical worldview...it's not a coherent, cohesive movement. Some I would term hyper fundie-literalist....others, decidedly post modern, existential post-structuralist.

    Who is this friend reading, I guess that's a good place to start. What are his "big" reasons for accepting open theism?

    I'm sorry if this isn't helpful...but if you take John Sanders (perhaps the most brilliant proponents of OT) you will find he acknowledges he has no hermeneutic. You cannot say "Dr. Sanders, if you take the Bible so literally...yadda yadda yadda"...he will say "Literal? Who said literal? All language is metaphorical".

    William Hasker isn't even concerned with Scripture...he may be an outright Process Theist. You can't argue with one his pupils because it's all philosophy.

    Greg Boyd: he is going to be more of a "literalist" if you will. One of his students would be easier to deal with.
     
  3. FrozenChosen

    FrozenChosen Puritan Board Freshman

    He's reading "The Openess of God" by Pinnock and company. How should I approach one of those versions?
     
  4. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    That's a hodge podge smattering of some of their ideas. I'd encourage you to read it...I was intimidated by it because I thought my roommate at the time (a big OT) was brilliant...the book is really weak. Unfortunately, it's been about 2 years, so I can't remember it, and I didn't buy it, just borrowed his.

    From what I remember, each contributor did a weak job, and Sanders, who dislikes how people mischaracterize OT's, does a nice job of returning the favor.

    Here's one tid bit, that may or may not be helpful: OT's typically aren't literalists, so don't bother saying "why don't you think God has eyes and ears if you take the bible literally"...they would say they're taking passages concerning God "changing His mind" and "repenting" [i:58435a7d00]seriously[/i:58435a7d00] while we just dismiss them as not being "truthful".

    I have found that the repenting passages in Scripture are [i:58435a7d00]truthful[/i:58435a7d00], but they don't say what OT's say they say. Typically these anthropomorphic passages do what the Law and Prophets did: [b:58435a7d00]expose sin[/b:58435a7d00]. Notice how each of the passages OT's bring up are ones where God is "surprised" by our sin...isn't it amazing how a God who has made elaborate plans for Redemption for sinners is surprised at the number and volume of our sins (sarcasm)!

    I found that is the most helpful. Interestingly enough, I've not seen ANYONE use that argument from the Reformed camp yet...I have yet to read a good critique and response to OT...perhaps it's because I find it so easily debunked, yet no one has made the observation that these "repentance" passages fulfill the [b:58435a7d00]role the prophets and Law are explained as being for: exposing of sin[/b:58435a7d00]. The OT's whole contention goes down the drain, and the Reformed approach to understanding the Law has been the answer the WHOLE TIME.

    I'd be interested in knowing if your friend can come up with any biblical evidence beyond these 'repentance' passages for supporing open theism...after you read and listen for a while, you'll see they have a shaky foundation at best...and lots and lots of holes in their approach to understanding the biblical passages on the whole.
     
  5. LauridsenL

    LauridsenL Puritan Board Freshman

    I, too, have been trying to respond to a friend who has been attracted to Open Theism (he's been reading Greg Boyd).

    There is a very good tape series by D.A. Carson from a Midwinter conference of the Evangelical Free Church. I've listened to the tapes several times while commuting to work and highly recommend them. My pastor lent me his set, and I then purchased a set directly from the Evangelical Free Church. Unfortunately, I've lent my tapes to a friend and thus don't have the phone or web address, but I can get that info. if you want it.

    Bruce Ware has two highly recommended books on this subject: God's Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism, and Their God Is Too Small: Open Theism and the Undermining of Confidence in God

    You might also try: Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity - edited by John Piper, Justin Taylor, and Paul Kjoss Helseth, with contributions from Russell Fuller, Chad Owen Brand, Mark Talbot, William C. Davis, A. B. Canaeday, Michael S. Horton, Stephen J. Wellum, Bruce A. Ware, and Wayne Grudem.
     
  6. johnny_redeemed

    johnny_redeemed Puritan Board Freshman

    Craig, I am curious to see why you said this, "Ĺ“William Hasker isn't even concerned with Scripture...he may be an outright Process Theist. You can't argue with one [of] his pupils because it's all philosophy."

    I am taking a Metaphysics class right now and one of the textbooks we are using is by Hasker, so I would like to know more about him. If you could point me to something he said that leads you to say this it would be G-R-E-A-T!!!!!
     
  7. Coram_Deo

    Coram_Deo Puritan Board Freshman

    I think the greatest book against Open Theism is the Bible... I go to Bethel College (now University) and I've been in the heat of the Openess Debate for several years now. My parents and brother are Open Theists, so it's an issue I'm "passionate" about. Beyond the Bounds is an excellent book refuting it, probably one of the best. Otherwise fight the Boydians with their own theology and read God at War, a horrible depiction of our God. Bondage of the Will by Luther is a geat book where he deals with many of the same verses Bodians would like to throw at us as did Erasmus. Just goes to show that there is nothing new under the sun.
    If you want to debate Open Theism to see where some of them are coming from Boyd's chat forum is a good place to be: http://www.gregboyd.org/gbfront/forum/default.asp Reformed guys are far and few on this site. But the more you dig into it, the more unbiblical and demeaning it becomes. Do you think that this is a heresy that could be around for awhile and we need to start fighting out against?
    Grace,
    Borg
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    [quote:486d2ade51]I am taking a Metaphysics class right now and one of the textbooks we are using is by Hasker, so I would like to know more about him. If you could point me to something he said that leads you to say this it would be G-R-E-A-T!!!!![/quote:486d2ade51]
    Sorry I didn't respond right away...I've been out of town this week. I am not sure if Hasker has anything in print that outright states what I've accused him of...I only have my experiences at Huntington College, where he teaches.

    I am not sure that he goes out of his way to undermine the bible, but it has been clear that he certainly doesn't put much stock in its accuracy. I'll talk to my wife a bit as she has had a class with him...I forget what she said when she took it...all I know, is every student at Huntington that takes his classes tries to "prove" him wrong on things like evolution...and typically get poor grades...my wife got an "A". She didn't try to disprove anything he said, she wrote a paper on metaphysics...so, I would have to think her opinion will be more objective than others seeing she didn't take up "the cause" to prove him wrong, etc.
     
  9. Abd_Yesua_alMasih

    Abd_Yesua_alMasih Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry if this is not the place but I want to learn something knew :detective: what is an Open Theist? And if it is not a coherent what is its very nature?
     
  10. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    Johnny...I just talked to my wife. Basically, Hasker's like to talk about how the Israelites borrowed myths from the surrounding cultures and assimilated their own myths from them. He didn't skirt the issues at all...he was completely up front about this, and you really couldn't question what he said.

    He gets away with it mostly because he's so respected, plus he's been teaching there a really, really, really long time...he looks like he is in his seventies.

    Fraser-
    an Open Theist...in a nutshell, believes God doesn't know the future definitively...He knows it contingently and God can be wrong, and yes, surprised by us. They are so big on "love" that they've decided God created our reality in such a way that it's logically impossible for God to know the future...if He did, then a love relationship of give and take cannot exist...you can google open theism or pick up a book by Clark Pinnock or Greg Boyd...I feel dirty even talking about it.
     
  11. Abd_Yesua_alMasih

    Abd_Yesua_alMasih Puritan Board Junior

    [quote:85a23eb7e5="Craig"]an Open Theist...in a nutshell, believes God doesn't know the future definitively...He knows it contingently and God can be wrong, and yes, surprised by us. They are so big on "love" that they've decided God created our reality in such a way that it's logically impossible for God to know the future...if He did, then a love relationship of give and take cannot exist...you can google open theism or pick up a book by Clark Pinnock or Greg Boyd...I feel dirty even talking about it.[/quote:85a23eb7e5]Then by nature he cant even be called 'God' - he is no longer Almighty and because he does not know the future obviously time is lord over him...

    Would you say it is more closely related to ancient Paganism (except for polytheism part) than modern day Christianity?
     
  12. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    I dunno what I'd link it to...someone with a background in Church history could do that better. It seems reminiscent of greek philosophy, ironically enough...the very charge they lay against orthodox Christianity.

    We know by definition this is no god...unfortunately, open theists are fond of their golden calf.
     
  13. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Basically - it is the revival of Roman mythology and God becomes Zeus who can fall asleep on the job. "god" in this way is no greater than a glorified man who hopes He can be benevolent enough to help creation with a little magic now and again.

    Do not be decieved - those who propose such nonsense are downright heretics and will burn forever in hell unless the repent.

    Jude 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only [b:27bfc33b7f]Master and Lord[/b:27bfc33b7f], Jesus Christ.

    "Master" here is "despotes" which means Sovereign Despot. These Open Theists (open to heresy) are denying the only SOVEREIGN Jesus Christ. Jude calls them false teachers.
     
  14. Coram_Deo

    Coram_Deo Puritan Board Freshman

    Do you think that all Open Theists have over stepped the boundaries of salvation? They would still hold that god is more glorious given their worldview because it is a god who desires real love, to them real love requires a genuine free choice and risk, and it is a god who works with all free choices and yet his will is still down; his ultimate will not being thwarted. They would still say they hold that god is soveriegn, but that he has willingly subjected himself to time, for the sake of love; and god cannot know future free actions. So he chose to place himself in this position knowing or at least hoping that in the end, his creatures would choose to genuinely love him back. unfortunatley while trying to hold to an all loving god, they lose sight of the fact that it has never been how a loving god will express his soveriegnty, but how a soveriegn God will express His love. But is it necesary to say that they are not saved?
    By Grace Alone,
    CD
     
  15. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I cannot see holding a Trinitarian error and going to heaven. The Bible leave no room for holding to heretical doctrine in that way.

    How could their "idol" be acceptable?
     
  16. Momo

    Momo Inactive User

    Help with Open Theism

    If anyone would like some more resources for understanding the claim and the motivations of open theists, I would recommend the now inactive

    "Open Theism" group located here:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/open_theism/

    I also recommend paying particular attention to the posts by Sean Choi and Greg Welty. Both of these young men are able and tough minded disciples of Christ who studied with John Frame and who now are, or have achieved, doctoral degrees in philosophy from UC Santa Barbara and Oxford respectively. There theological orientation is reformed and presuppositional. More narrowly, they understand the need and the desire for optimal formulation of the scriptures apparently contradictory teachings, but never at the expense of assimilating one side of the equation into the other.

    Also, at the now recently retired Van Til List, one would not do better than to comb through the archives located here:

    http://www.ccir.ed.ac.uk/~jad/vantil-list/


    The List provides a helpful search utility, and I would imagine words and phrases such as:

    <timelessness>
    <divine foreordination>

    and

    <mystery vs apparenty contradiction>

    will not fail to supply a host of helpful information proffered through healthy exchanges.

    Here, however, is a link to February of 2001 where discussions of open theism and related topics dominated the discussion:

    http://www.ccir.ed.ac.uk/~jad/vantil-list/archive-Feb-2001/threads.html

    Hope these help.

    Blessings,

    Momo
     
  17. Momo

    Momo Inactive User

    Help with Open Theism

    If anyone would like some more resources for understanding the claim and the motivations of open theists, I would recommend the now inactive

    "Open Theism" group located here:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/open_theism/

    I also recommend paying particular attention to the posts by Sean Choi and Greg Welty. Both of these young men are able and tough minded disciples of Christ who studied with John Frame and who now are, or have achieved, doctoral degrees in philosophy from UC Santa Barbara and Oxford respectively. There theological orientation is reformed and presuppositional. More narrowly, they understand the need and the desire for optimal formulation of the scriptures apparently contradictory teachings, but never at the expense of assimilating one side of the equation into the other.

    Also, at the now recently retired Van Til List, one would not do better than to comb through the archives located here:

    http://www.ccir.ed.ac.uk/~jad/vantil-list/


    The List provides a helpful search utility, and I would imagine words and phrases such as:

    <timelessness>
    <divine foreordination>

    and

    <mystery vs apparenty contradiction>

    will not fail to supply a host of helpful information proffered through healthy exchanges.

    Here, however, is a link to February of 2001 where discussions of open theism and related topics dominated the discussion:

    http://www.ccir.ed.ac.uk/~jad/vantil-list/archive-Feb-2001/threads.html

    Hope these help.

    Blessings,

    Momo
     
  18. SteelYankee

    SteelYankee Puritan Board Freshman

    My research paper on OPEN THEISM

    I would invite you to go to this link:

    http://www.westernavenue.org/OpenTheism.pdf

    and read a paper I wrote to teach a class on this subject at my church.

    I would also welcome any critiques or comments for improvement.

    Thanks.
     
  19. openairboy

    openairboy Puritan Board Freshman

    Open Theism, Evil and Love

    I have several friends that are into open theism and a bunch of other heretical teachings. In many instances, especially some of the younger people I have interacted with, are attracted to the position, b/c they believe it addresses the "problem of evil". For those that are younger in their faith and considering open theism, I would view it more as a "counseling" session, i.e. answer them with gentleness and respect and find out why they are attracted to the position. In a couple of instances I have found great evil has been done to them and to just tell them, "That's God's plan for you" isn't real helpful.

    A man like Pinnock, however, has been blown about by every doctrine that is possible over the past 30 yrs. It is amazing to watch the evolution of this man. I don't know his background, but after reading "The Openness of God: A Biblical Response to Traditional..." I was amazed by te lack of Biblical exposition. I would delve into Patrick Fairbairn, b/c his hermeneutical understanding will enable one to adequately handle the open theist, I believe. John Frame's book is helpful, especially his section on the libertarian notion of the will. Beyond that, I think a sound exposition of Psalm 139 will equip the saints on this matter.

    Boyd's treatment of various task in the "God of the Possible" was absolutely terrible. So, start by reading Pinnock and Boyd's two books, and see how wholly inadequate their treatment of Scripture is.

    openairboy
     
  20. openairboy

    openairboy Puritan Board Freshman

  21. FrozenChosen

    FrozenChosen Puritan Board Freshman

    Wow, guys, I really appreciate the flood of information and advice. Please pray that I confront Open Theism in a God-glorifying manner.
     
  22. Irishcat922

    Irishcat922 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Open theism always reminds me of that old argument Satan used in the garden, Did God say? Does God know? It seems to be a very similar line of reasoning to me.
     
  23. govols

    govols Puritan Board Junior

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