Saturday, August 21, 2004

Thoughts on Abuse and Theology

I have been following Dwight and Rabecca's journey and reading Clark Pinnock's Most Moved Mover I am disappointed with the Church (global). Pinnock talks a great deal about the criticism, arguments, and abuse he has received. Many have disagreed both Calvinists and Wesleyans on various parts of Open Theism.

When Pinnock published The Openness of God he came under attack. Some disagreed the right way, through academic dialogue. Others have labeled him a heretic. I do not want to defend Pinnock here his books do that well. I want to discuss the issue of how do we respond to people who disagree with us.

There are those in the Evangelical world (a word that has many meanings I use it to denote all those not in the "mainline" or Catholic ,and Eastern orthodox) who see their job as defending the gates of Orthodoxy. (see MMM pg 10) He has been called a "heretic" "dangerous" and the like. Why?

Why is it that people lash out when people disagree. As an open theist will I be the recipient of a modern day inquisition?

I am an open theist because is is as pinnock puts it "consistent." If we have free will then there must be a measure of chance. If we are truly free then God can not know our choices. So while God knows some things and he knows then end (since God is the beginning and the end) he is present with us. God is truly Emanuel. Why does it frighten people to say God does not know the future? Why is it so scary to say that God's actions are contingent on ours? Why is it so unsettling to say that humans are truly free? Why are people afraid of a recognition that there are different voices in scripture? Scripture is not unified on anything especially the nature of God and Salvation. Why does that frighten? Help me out I do not understand.

The task of theology is not to defend orthodoxy. The task of theology is to know God. As those set aside to spend their lives in this endeavor the task of theologians and pastors is give people the tools to know God and their neighbor in their time and place. Let us stop defending and start knowing.


What on earth makes you think you have a free will? You are not free to become a tree or a book or a cat. You are not free to fly unaided, you cannot take a trip to the Sun, you are not free to choose your genetics, your parents, your personality, your height, your build, your skin color, your hair or eye color (naturally) nor how many fingers and toes you possess. You cannot by your will alone move mountains. You cannot take careful consideration of your volition and thereby empty the ocean. You cannot make grass grow on the moon. You cannot even keep yourself alive for one second longer than it has been divinely ordained. You, oh man, are limited and bound in so many ways. Who do you think limited you thus? Are you so limited and out of control of yourself at your request, by your volition, as an act of your "free will?" Oh, no. God did this to you.

Read James 4:13-16
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.

You may say, "I have limitations of my will physically, but I have spiritual free will." If you have such limitations on your physical being over which you have at least five senses which can report to you, plus you are cognatively self aware and aware of your preceived abilities and inabilities, are you more powerful with your will in a realm where you have no such reporting instruments?

Where in the Bible does it say that you may choose or reject God? On the contrary, Jesus says, "No one can come to me unless the Father draws him" John 6:44, and "No one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the Father" John 6:65.

No. Open Theism takes a very few verses out of context that refer to God as "changing His mind" or "Repenting of a decision," which are written from the perspective of attributing to God a human characteristic for the purposes of relating the doctrine of concurance to our feeble minds, and blows them out of proportion. The over whelming evidence from any serious consideration of the Bible is that God "knows the beginning from the end."

It is not "mean" to call someone a heretic that teaches that God does not know the future. It is accurate. For, if God does not know the future, then how can He promise to raise us up on the last day. If He is uncertain of what or when the age will end, how can He possible predict ultimate victory? How can He make a promise that all things work together for good if He does not know and have complete control over all things? If He then, having said these things, made these promises, is not, in fact in complete supreme control, He is a liar and not to be believed. That, my friend is heresy and the doctrine of demons and must be put out of the church before others, like you, are lead astray and lost, as it sounds like you have become.

The only truly consistent view is that of the Othodox view of omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), Immortal, and Immutable (can't change) God I urge you to read, "The Attributes of God" by AW Pink.

By Blogger Jesus is my Propitiation, at 1:25 AM  

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