Open Theism from an Open Theist’s Pen

Awhile back I gave an Arminian theologian’s illustration of Arminianism (here).  I reminded our readers that when we explain and critique other perspectives, we have to do our best to follow the 9th commandment.  So in that light, I want to explain briefly the basics of Open Theism from the pen of an Open Theist.  To be clear, from a biblical and Reformed perspective, I am very critical of Open Theism.  But it is proper for us to hear what it is from someone who believes and teaches it so we are better able to speak the truth in love when responding to unbiblical teaching.  Here are a few quotes from Clark Pinnock’s 2001 publication, Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God’s Openness.

“According to the openness model, God in grace sovereignly granted humans significant freedom to cooperate with or to work against God’s will for their lives and enter into dynamic, give-and-take relationships with himself.  It places the emphasis upon the genuine interactions that take place between God and human beings: how we respond to God’s initiatives and how he responds to our responses.  It implies that God takes risks in such give-and-take relationships but is endlessly resourceful and competent still to work toward his ultimate goals.  Sometimes God alone decides how to accomplish these goals and sometimes he works with human decisions, adapting his own plans to fit changing situations.  God wants input from creaturely agents and does not control everything that happens.  God invites us to participate with him in loving dialogue, to bring the future into being” (p. 4).

“Creation…is an open project with which God has decided to be open himself” (p. 5).

“According to openness theism, for example, the future is partly settled and partly unsettled, partly determined and partly undetermined and, therefore partly unknown even to God and it holds that God himself has a temporal aspect” (p. 13).

“In the biblical narrative, one does not find a predestinarian decree operating behind the scenes, to ensure that God’s will is always done.  Rather, one sees God’s response to a created partner.  We see him weaving into his own plans the significant choices that creatures make” (p. 41).

“In making such a creature [man] with the ability to move freely into the open future, God limited his own freedom.  …For the sake of loving relations, God chose not to exercise total sovereignty and took the risk that things might not turn out the way he wanted them to” (p. 42).

Clark Pinnock, Most Moved Mover.

shane lems
hammond wi

3 Replies to “Open Theism from an Open Theist’s Pen”

  1. My response:

    1.Sounds like what cascades down from the typical evangelical pulpit each Lord’s Day.

    2. As I read the above quotes, I thought about the statue of Jesus that is at the Oklahoma City Memorial where the bombing took place: Jesus is about 8 feet tall (a little bit bigger and stronger than us), yet has His back turned to the bombing site… He is covering his eyes with His hands and crying. In short, He was helpless to prevent what happened.

    3. Trent used the word, “disgusting.” I would use the phrase, “Gag-o- RAMA!”

    By the way: No. 2 above is a classic illustration of why we shouldn’t make images of Christ… and also why we should embrace chapter 21 of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    Just sayin’…


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