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The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God [Paperback]

By Clark Pinnock (Author), William Hasker (With) & John Sanders (With)
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Item description for The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God by Clark Pinnock, William Hasker & John Sanders...

Written by five scholars whose expertise extends across the disciplines of biblical, historical, systematic, and philosophical theology, this is a careful and full-orbed argument that the God known through Christ desires "responsive relationship" with his creatures.

Publishers Description
Voted one of Christianity Today's 1995 Books of the Year The Openness of God presents a careful and full-orbed argument that the God known through Christ desires "responsive relationship" with his creatures. While it rejects process theology, the book asserts that such classical doctrines as God's immutability, impassibility and foreknowledge demand reconsideration. The authors insist that our understanding of God will be more consistently biblical and more true to the actual devotional lives of Christians if we profess that "God, in grace, grants humans significant freedom" and enters into relationship with a genuine "give-and-take dynamic." The Openness of God is remarkable in its comprehensiveness, drawing from the disciplines of biblical, historical, systematic and philosophical theology. Evangelical and other orthodox Christian philosophers have promoted the "relational" or "personalist" perspective on God in recent decades. Now here is the first major attempt to bring the discussion into the evangelical theological arena.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Academic
Pages   202
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 1994
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830818529  
ISBN13  9780830818525  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Theism
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics

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Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Contemporary Theologies

Reviews - What do customers think about The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God?

Neo-Arminianism: Freewill Theism for a New Generation  Feb 3, 2007
In the first chapter, "Biblical Support for a New Perspective", Seventh Day Adventist Richard Rice opens the title with quite a different view of the God revealed in Scripture than many are accustomed to. Rather than equating sovereignty with total divine determinism (omnicausality) and control over the world, making that the focal point of their theology (eg, Calvinism), open theists believe that the biblical declaration of "God is love" ought to be the centre of our theology. (1 John iv, 8, 16) Rice uses the motif "God is Jesus" to build upon a very lively conception of the Person of God, who happens to be quite unlike the immobile deity conventional theology has traditionally taught us of. When we see Jesus, we see the Father; we see God. The Word became flesh. What, then, are we to do with the "traditional" concept of immutability? Jesus was tempted in the desert, wept with the people on Lazarus's death, and suffered in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. What, then, of this notion of impassibility?

John E. Sanders, in chapter two, "Historical Considerations", surveys the progress of how various foreign elements, doctrines, and concepts found their way into the church over the centuries. Sanders argues that numerous Greek philosphies and ideals have come to be associated Christianity which simply do not fit the biblical portrait of God as revealed to us in the Old and New Testaments. Footnotes are extensive in this chapter.

Chapter three, "Systematic Theology", to me, is the focal point of the book. In his short, yet poignant, twenty-five page essay, Clark H. Pinnock presents the open view of God systematically. I would recommend 'Openness' to any student of theology, (or any layperson for that matter,) if only for Pinnock's essay alone. After having read this chapter twice, it has become clear to me that OVT (open view theism) offers the student of theology with an extremely compelling and coherent view of God and his relationship to the world that simply cannot be easily dismissed by the intellectually honest reader. Is God atemporal and timeless? How then can he interact with his creatures and experience sequential time? Does God sovereignly control (determine) all things that come to pass? How then could he, at the same time, hate sin and punish men with an eternal scorn for doing what they could not otherwise perform?

"A Philosophical Perspective" brings forth William Hasker's essay addressing various philospohical implications of the open view in the fourth chapter. He goes on to note the various flaws in Platonic and Hellenistic thinking that has plagued Christianity from the early church onward. His treatments of simple foreknowledge and middle knowledge, though brief, present classical Arminians with more than enough dilemmas to think upon.

David Basinger closes out the book with chapter five, which takes a look at some of the "Practical Implications" of the open view. In it, he discourages the "open door, closed door" routine which is quite common among contemporary Christians to practise in our time. He also cautions against the typical custom of looking at defeat (eg, being turned down for a job application, breaking a limb, having a car stolen) as simply being "God's will".

Overall, this is an excellent book providing the student of theology with a very good case for OVT. Whether or not you are completely sold on the open view, this title ought not be overlooked or passed off as the beginning of a theological fad. Freewill theists are not Socinians (they believe in the deity of Christ); they are not heretics; but they do make a good number of Calvinist scholars very nervous. Why? Because neo-Arminianism makes for an extremely coherent and compelling case. This is an unwelcome challenge for the neo-Calvinists (eg, the various scholars and Calvinian seminaries with special political interests in maintaining theological determinism as their doctrinal confession). The last thing they want to deal with is a more consistent version of Arminianism. OVT cannot be easily dismissed, and it simply will not go away anytime soon.
Excellent Primer on Open Theism  Jan 6, 2006
"Open Theism" first came to my attention a few years ago, at the beginning of my brief mission work in Brazil. At that time, reading about it in Christianity Today, I thought it sounded ridiculous. How things have changed.

Open theism proposes, among other things, that God does not have perfect knowledge of our future. As strange as this might sound to people trained in classic views of God, it makes a lot of what the Bible says about God much clearer.

This book, "The Openness of God," is an excellent place to start studying open theism. The only section I felt uncertain about was the portion entitled "A Philosophical Perspective" by William Hasker. Most of my misgivings can possibly be attributed to lack of personal aptitude for philosophy as a field, but I also did not like the way he kept telling the reader what "a majority of philosophers" think about this or that (as though that alone added weight to what he was saying).

All in all, this is a wonderful book and a great introduction to open theism.
A worthy defense of a fascinating position  Sep 28, 2005
As a college student in his late 30s who is majoring in philosophy, I can testify to the accuracy of this book's historical section. As the authors ably point out, much of the modern Christian conception of God comes not from the Bible but from the writings of Plato and Aristotle. And the God of Greek philosophy is far more remote and inhuman than the one portrayed in both the Old and New Testaments. This has created a tension in the field of theology proper which has left many perplexed and confused.

The Openness of God offers a remedy to this ages-old mixture of divine revelation and pagan thinking. It challenges us to accept God as the Bible portrays Him, emotions, ambivalence and all. Readers will discover a deity who is just as powerful as the one described in classical theism, but who is also far easier for humans to relate to.

This book and ones like it have been unfairly and maliciously attacked by narrow-minded critics, who call it everything from anti-Calvinist to an apologetic for Mormonism. Nonsense. What the open minded seeker will find in these pages is a cogent yet humble case for a view of the Creator which is both refreshingly new and yet millenia old. Very highly recommended for everyone interested in theology, philosophy or apologetics.
God is not to blame!!!!  Sep 1, 2005
This book clearly outlines the Biblical argument for the principal of the one and only Sovereign God is perfectly reflected in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God, and this book points out the love God has for His creation and that He is not always responsible for the hardships that take place in the daily lives of people.

A must read for anyone interested in how a loving sovereign God can let evil happen...since He is in control!!!

A must read!!!!
Understandable Defense  Aug 14, 2005
I'll start of by saying: I'm not an open theist. I wasn't before I read the book, and I'm not now that I'm done reading it.

But, that's not to say that I didn't find the book persuasive. The authors do a very good job explaining their take on the Greek philosophical source of the notion of the timelessness of God. And they do a very good job laying out comparisons between open theism and some of the other views of "God and time". These comparisons, in my opinion, are what made this a good book. While I disagree with their conclusion that "open theism is better that other views", I do agree that, mostly, they lay out the practical implications of the various views fairly for the most part. Ultimately, though, my evaluation is that some forms of "traditional theism" are still better than open theism.

But, this book did convince me of something important. I'm willing to make divine openness a "to each his own" issue in Christianity. Each of us finds a different model of God to be most useful in our relationship with Him. So, as long as we seek to build our view of God on Scripture, I am willing to be tolerant of people who I disagree with. This book convinced me that open theists do try to build their view of God on Scripture. So, though I'm not one of them, I see little reason to bicker with them.

If you want a book that will lay out open theism in terms that a layman can more or less understand, this is the book for you.

If you're looking for a more deeply theological/philosophical book on the issue, I wouldn't recommend this one. Mostly because I understood it too well for people who love "God and time" theology to find it satisfying.

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