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Thread: toldailytopic: What is Open Theism? What do you think of it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by False Prophet View Post
    Open theism is doing what is right in your own eyes.
    You could make that claim about any belief or behavior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    There are no inherent moral values apart from the moral standards of God (Law), and the only access sinners have to those standards is by righteousness being imputed to them from Jesus Christ.
    My Bible states that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not from the tree of total depravity.
    Learn to read what is written.

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    That God responds to the actions of men is one of the most obvious themes in scripture. I believed this long before I ever heard the term "Open Theism".

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    Lightbulb Open Thesim and its Dangers

    What is open theism? Here and Here

    What do I think about it? Here

    Why are discussions with unsetted theists futile? Here

    Others would agree:

    Here (Free Book For Download)

    Apologetics Study Bible

    Here (Openism and divine foreknowledge)

    Here (Consequences of openism worldview)

    Here (EPC Pastoral Letter denouncing openism)

    Here (Examining open theism)

    Pastoral Implications of Open Theism

    Tom Schreiner

    Open Theism Hermeneutics

    Even Dispensationalists Wonder

    God and The Future


    Open theists think they have answered some mistaken Greek influence on orthodox Christianity:

    Spoiler

    (Orginally posted on TOL in a thread that has since been deleted)

    Open theists frequently like to use historical arguments in attempts to undermine classical theism, arguing that classical theism depends upon Greek philosophical traditions that have somehow undermined what only the open theist thinks about the doctrine of God they have crafted.

    This is what is so ironic about Open Theism, in that open theism decries the supposed influence of the Greeks, yet builds its theology atop the same philosophies, such as the assumed, but never proven, open theist philosophical assumption that determination erases relationship.

    Open theist Pinnock states that Augustine allowed neo-Platonic ideas to influence his interpretation that put God in “a kind of box” (see Pinnock’s Most Moved Mover). Boyd writes that classical theism became misguided “under the influence of Hellenic philosophy” (see Boyd’s The God of the Possible). Finally, Sanders writes that “Greek thought” and “neo-Platonic metaphysics” were a significant influence on the classical doctrine of God (see Sanders’ The Openness of God). Sanders even lumps Luther and Calvin into the camp of neo-Platonic influence that continues to “dominate conservative theology”.

    Thus, with a few swipes at the Greeks and the reformers, the doctrines of God’s immutability, impassibility, and timelessness are declared paganism by the open theist trinity of Pinnock, Boyd, and Sanders (PBS). Unfortunately, a good deal of those outside of any serious theological forum making these same claims have not spent any significant time studying theological history or philosophy. Instead they merely parrot what they have seen elsewhere (in the texts of PBS) as if saying something more shrilly and loudly will make it so.

    Yet, in the next breath open theist Sanders writes that, “Philosophical theology can lend clarity to concepts about the divine nature of providence that can be useful to biblical scholars” (See Sanders’ The God Who Risks). In fact, the Greeks, Epicurus, and his follower, Lucretius, spent lots of time dealing with the kind of freedom open theist would like to claim--libertarian free will. This tells me open theists clearly don’t appreciate the Aristotelian influence on the limited divine foreknowledge open theism claims. Aristotle’s views on the truth-value of future-tense statements is the philosophical basis for the open theist's views of God’s omniscience (see De Interpretatione, Ch. 9).

    But, what of these claims? A closer look reveals something very different.

    No one will dispute that the early Church theologians read the Greek philosopher’s and even used Greek terms to communicate biblical truths efficiently to their generation. What is significantly overlooked by open theists is that these early church theologians transformed the meanings and contents of the terms they used so as to be faithful to the truths of Scripture. I’ll say more about this below, but for those seeking to truly learn about the doctrines of God and Greek thought, see John Piper’s Beyond the Bounds, Gerald Bray’s The Personal God, and Millard Erickson’s God the Father Almighty: A Contemporary Exploration of the Divine Attributes. Moreover, rabbinic authorities confirm that the attributes of God in Judaism have been developed from the bible and not Greek thought. See D.G. Montefiore’s A Rabbinic Anthology.

    Orthodox Christian doctrine history also denies the notion of open theists that classical theism is a pagan mixture. Even Boyd writes that the history of orthodox Christian doctrine has always been on the side of classical theism, concluding “I must concede that the open view has been relatively rare in church history” (see The God of the Possible, pg. 115). Such a perspective is in keeping with the Church fathers, Luther, Calvin, Melancthon, the Puritans, as well as Spurgeon, Edwards, and Hodge, all of whom confirmed the classical doctrine as God’s deposited truth.

    As noted above, some open theists will trot out their barbs about Augustine’s or Aquinas’ influence by the Greeks in the development of theology. That is about the extent of what they can say, since very few have studied these theologians or Greek philosophers carefully and formally. There is no disputing that Augustine owed much to Platonic thinking. In fact, it was his studies of Plato and Plotinus that led Augustine to his conversion to Christianity. The more Augustine read these thinkers the more Augustine realized that the whole of Greek thought had to be recast within the light of the Scriptures.

    Likewise, Aquinas spent much of his free time in 1268 and the next five years writing commentaries about Aristotle. These were not the task of a Dominican theologian, which he was at the time (in Paris), and they were not written to twist the texts of Aristotle into a Christian purpose. It was afterwards, when Aquinas had more fully developed understandings of the Greeks, that he began composing his “errors of Aristotle”. Few persons who have not formally studied Aquinas realize that in all his thinking, Aquinas held to the intellectual policy that a genuine conflict between what the human mind can know and the truths of the Christian faith can never arise. There are many seeming conflicts, as Aquinas’ “errors of Aristotle” plainly showed.

    The fact is that the open theist's charges against classical theism are not new. In fact they are a repetition of liberal theology. Open theists are parroting the liberal theologians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These claims originated in nineteenth century Germany, and were connected to Ferdinand Christian Baur (1869) and August Neander (1850). They were picked up later by Albrecht Ritschl (1889). The exposition of these claims that resurrected them all over again came from Alfred (Adolph) von Harnack (1930) published as “What is Christianity?” Walter Bauer (1960) further developed Harnack’s thesis.

    For example, open theists will frequently mock the classical theist’s doctrine of the immutability of God as being wholly derived from the Greeks. But what is the real truth of the matter? In Greek thought immutability of “god” meant not only unchangeability but also the ability to be affected by anything in any way, i.e., the unmoved mover. The Greek word for this primary characteristic of “god” was apatheia, from which we get our word “apathy”. Apathy means indifference, but the Greek term goes far beyond that idea. It means the inability to feel any emotion whatsoever. The Greeks believed “god” possessed this quality because we would otherwise have power over him to the degree that we could move him to anger or joy or grief. He would cease to be absolute and sovereign. Thus the “god” of the philosophers was lonely, isolated, and compassionless. This all makes for good, logical, philosophy, but it is not what God reveals about Himself in the Scriptures and classical theists categorically reject it.

    So, if these arguments by open theists are not new, then what are they really about? I will let Pinnock describe the motivation by open theists to claim ancient thoughts have polluted classical theism:


    Modern culture can actually assist us in this task because the contemporary horizon is more congenial to dynamic thinking about God than is the Greek portrait. Today it is easier to invite people to find fulfillment in a dynamic, personal God than it would be to ask them to find it in a deity who is immutable and self-enclosed. Modern thinking has more room for a God who is personal (even tripersonal) than it does for a God as absolute substance. We ought to be grateful for those features of modern culture, which make it easier to recover the biblical witness.”


    We are making peace with the culture of modernity.” (The Openness of God. 107) {emphasis mine}
    In Pinnock we see the real motivation of open theism: mixing a theological system with contemporary culture which appeals to our modern world. After all, ours is a world nowadays that needs a feel-good God in its culture of egalitarianism, extravagance, and self-absorption. Philosophical humanism, liberalism, and modernism packaged up in the guise of a supposed enlightened re-thinking of the doctrine of God.


    Impossible to systematize into a coherent theology.

    Finally, open theism's appeal to Greek philosophy as seen by a world-class Christian philosopher: here

    AMR
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    Open Theism teaches that God has not predestined every event that happens and that the future is therefore "open".

    That, at least, is a primary premise of the Open View. There are dozens of corollaries that follow from that premise that touch nearly every aspect of the Christian faith.

    I would say, however, that while Open Theism centers around issues concerning predestination and free will, it is not a theological system born out of a desire to favor Free Will Theism per se. In fact, it is sound reason applied methodically and consistently to scripture that yields the Open View. John Sanders, a leading Open View author, put it best....

    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    Open Theism teaches that God has not predestined every event that happens and that the future is therefore "open".
    How does open theism explain God's apparent detailed knowledge of the future?
    So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    How does open theism explain God's apparent detailed knowledge of the future?
    God has a great many plans and the ability to make them happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    Open Theism teaches that God has not predestined every event that happens and that the future is therefore "open".

    That, at least, is a primary premise of the Open View. There are dozens of corollaries that follow from that premise that touch nearly every aspect of the Christian faith.

    I would say, however, that while Open Theism centers around issues concerning predestination and free will, it is not a theological system born out of a desire to favor Free Will Theism per se. In fact, it is sound reason applied methodically and consistently to scripture that yields the Open View. John Sanders, a leading Open View author, put it best....

    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Whatever your sages print . .

    God either controls all things, or He chooses to control nothing.

    The former is called Theism and the latter is called Deism.

    Relationship between God and man is found in Theism, through the accomplishments of Jesus Christ over sin, alone.

    Deists believe God created, and just let all history happen, starting with the fall of man, accordingly, and then demands God is watching, but man must reverse himself, according to some kind of moral strength (which have been long lost).

    Bah . . . such humanistic, religionist, teaching has no power.

    Only the grace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, has the power to save created and fallen souls.

    Nang
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    What do I think of it?

    Openness is the only way to explain life. It is the only way to explain reality.
    www.opentheism.info

    Open Theism is a more biblical, coherent free will theism than Arminianism or Molinism or Process Thought.

    It is the antithesis of deterministic, compatibilistic Calvinism that is unbiblical and impugns the character/ways of God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    I think Open Theism is an attempt to elevate men to an equal standing with God.

    Calvinists also believe in relationship between God and man, but we attribute it to Covenantalism, all of which God provides and performs for our good.

    For He is far greater than man, who will never be His equal.

    Nang
    This is a ridiculous straw man caricature. No wonder you reject it.

    Don't confuse the view with Process, Mormonism, New Age, etc.

    Open Theism affirms the sovereignty, transcendence of God and the immanence of God. It does not elevate man, but recognizes man is created in the image of God, a significant other with a say so, but ontologically distinct from God. It does not limit or bring down God and does not impugn His character and ways like Calvinism does.

    Your statements show that you lack integrity and credibility and should zip the lip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sky. View Post
    I don't know what Open Theism is but I'm not about to study anything concerning God that says that God can't or doesn't know everything.
    Does your view of God allow Him to know where Alice in Wonderland is right now? Some things are inherently unknowable, by God's sovereign choice.

    Are you an ostrich in the sand?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99lamb View Post
    what becomes most interesting is the idea that man has to develop multiple explanations regarding God's relationship to man, in an attempt to understand/grasp the unknowable actions of God.
    Its similar to the never ending array of books on Knowing the Will of God, in an attempt to discern what God would have someone do, when there is no clear path or explanation as to what has befallen someone.
    This is a great book on the will of God that is Open Theism friendly. It beats the alternative blueprint/bullseye view:

    http://www.amazon.com/Decision-Makin.../dp/1590522052
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    Quote Originally Posted by False Prophet View Post
    Deut 12:8 You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes ;
    Open theism is doing what is right in your own eyes. Who needs the fear of God or keep the commandments of God when you can do what is right in your own eyes?
    Huh? Open Theists seek to understand God's self-revelation in Scripture free from negative traditions/philosophical influences that are not true.

    Open Theists, etc. fear God, love God, obey God. Exploring the nature of providence does not negate justification/sanctification for any of us.

    Arrogant/ignorance?
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuineoriginal View Post
    Not quite.

    Open Theism is taking responsibility for our own actions and attitudes instead of claiming that God predestined us to sin.
    It is a relational, free will theism vs determinism. Calvinists should be the only one vocal against it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    Whatever your sages print . .

    God either controls all things, or He chooses to control nothing.

    The former is called Theism and the latter is called Deism.

    Relationship between God and man is found in Theism, through the accomplishments of Jesus Christ over sin, alone.

    Deists believe God created, and just let all history happen, starting with the fall of man, accordingly, and then demands God is watching, but man must reverse himself, according to some kind of moral strength (which have been long lost).

    Bah . . . such humanistic, religionist, teaching has no power.

    Only the grace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, has the power to save created and fallen souls.

    Nang
    False dichotomy...the third option is that God controls some things, but not other things (two motifs found in Scripture...one you make figurative without warrant).

    You also wrongly assume that hyper-Calvinism is the only version of theism with any support. Arminianism is not Open Theism, but there is no one 'classical theism'. You are like the Catholics claiming they go back to the Apostles (but they don't).

    You really don't know what you are talking about. At least understand what you are rejecting. Your view is also tainted by man's thinking, so don't be so dogmatic.
    Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

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