Archive for the ‘Open Theism’ Category

Is Open Theism Actually Theism?

July 16, 2014

The position (or perhaps group of positions) known as Open Theism represent a god that is rather different from the God of the Scriptures. Still, is their god even the kind of god that we could properly refer to as theistic?

Cosmological Argument
The god of Open Theism does not fully map to the cosmological argument for the existence of God. Although the god of Open Theism may be viewed as the Creator of all Creation, the god of Open Theism comes to be in various states and consequently requires a prior explanation. Thus, the god of Open Theism does not provide a solution to the problem of infinite regression.

Ontological Argument
The god of Open Theism does not correspond to the ontological argument for the existence of God. The god of Open Theism is not the greatest conceivable being, since the god of Open Theism can change.

Teleological Argument
The god of Open Theism does not correspond well to the teleological argument for the existence of God. Although the god of Open Theism may have some purposes or intentions in things, those purposes or intentions do not extend to all things. In other words, many things exist that the god of Open Theism did not intend or have a purpose for.

Transcendental Argument
Naturally, the god of Open Theism cannot correspond to the transcendental argument for the existence of the Christian God – both because the god of Open Theism is not the Christian God, and because the god of Open Theism does not provide meaning to everything, as required by the argument.

There may be some other arguments for the existence of God that the god of Open Theism would fit (or to which its adherents would attempt to fit it), but it is interesting to note how many of the significant arguments cannot map to the god of Open Theism.


Response to Prophecy Channel

June 17, 2009

The video below is a response to Prophecy Channel’s (PC’s) response to Dr. James White. There three main sections to the video, and consequently three main sections to the response:

1. Does Dr. White think only Calvinists are Christians?

No. Dr. White acknowledges that there are non-Calvinist Christians. On the other hand, Dr. White recognizes that not everyone who calls himself a Christian actually is one.

2. Does Calvinism make God the Author of Sin?

Not by the definition of that term found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. But PC has his own definition of “author of sin.” Since the term isn’t a Biblical term, I’d rather not get stuck on labels. I know “author of sin” has a nasty ring to it, but what’s wrong with saying that God is the “author of sin” in some remote sense of ordaining that sin will transpire. Why should that be problematic beyond being susceptible of an ugly label?

2. What about three passages in Jeremiah?

PC raises three passages in Jeremiah that say that some particular sin was not what God commanded or decreed, nor did it enter into God’s mind. Three such passages are:

Jeremiah 7:30-31
For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

Jeremiah 19:5-6
They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.

Jeremiah 32:34-35
But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

PC’s problem in analyzing these passages is this: he has overlooked the difference between the Revealed Will (what one should do) and the Secret Will (what one will do). These passages are talking about God’s decrees relative to the revealed will: his commandments, not his decrees of Providence.

Furthermore, PC has a problem ahead of him. If he insists that God cannot hold men responsible for things that God has foreordained, he’s going to run into a problem:

Acts 2:23-24
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

John 19:10-11
Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

God foreordained that the Jews would deliver up Jesus to Pilate and yet the Jews had not just sin, but a greater sin than Pilate’s sin in executing Christ unjustly. That’s a greater sin than the rape of a child, as shocking as that might sound. So, are you going to “blame” God for the crucifixion? Or are you going to justify God although he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass?


Bruce Ware contra Open Theism

May 17, 2008

I happened to recently come across the following linked article by Bruce Ware on the topic of whether Open Theism is properly classified as evangelical. (link) Ultimately, I agree with what I understand his conclusion to be, namely that the doctrines of open theism are not evangelical doctrines. They compromise the nature of God.

Of course, they are also not Reformed doctrines in consequence of not being evangelical doctrines.

Ultimately though, we should be cautiously charitable in approaching professing believers who hold such errant views as open theism. There is an important difference between people simply being in error (due, for example, to inadequate teaching), and those who stubbornly resist the truth. By correctly identifying open theism as outside the evangelical walls, we must be careful not to insist that everyone must have a perfect understanding of every aspect of the nature of God in order to be saved.

I don’t think Ware was trying to suggest anything to the contrary. Indeed, reading Ware’s article, one can sense the tension in Ware, who would prefer to include Pinnock and other open theists within the walls of broad evangelicalism.


On Freedom In Choices – Response to "Orthodox"

March 25, 2008

I had written: The fact that men do make choices, and that some of those decisions are free, does not mean that they are free in the sense required by Arminian, Molinist, or Open Theist interpreters.

“Orthodox” responded: If you admit that some decisions are free, you have a lot of work to do to prove a special category of non-free decisions.

I answer:

I think O’s comment provides an example of a typical failure to understand free will in its conventional sense: the Calvinistic sense.

What is the will? It is a name we give to the decision-making functionality of a man. The will functions to make choices, decisions, selections, elections, and judgments. We generally call such acts of man, acts of a man’s will.

Sometimes those acts are free, sometimes they are not.

We do not consider a choice made under extreme duress to be a “free” choice. It is still a choice, certainly. Nevertheless, the man who hands over a wallet because a gun is pointed at his head is exercising his will in an un-free, constrained way.

You see, when we speak of something being free, we ordinarily speak of freedom from external constraints. Thus, for example, we say that a woman is free to marry when her husband is dead. Occasionally, we also speak of something being free when it is free from dominating internal constraints. Thus, for example, we typically do not view an alcoholic as “free” in this occasional sense, and it is in this sense that Luther was writing in his famous book, “Bondage of the Will.” The will of fallen man is not free from the bondage of sin. Instead, man’s will is enslaved by sin before God’s grace of regeneration is poured forth in a man’s heart.

Nevertheless, when we speak of the will’s freedom, we normally only refer to the former, external, constraints. In that sense, we say that man’s will is usually largely free. Many and perhaps most of man’s decisions are made without any or with minimal external coercion or compulsion.

Some choices are not free, but are – instead – coerced. We could provide examples, but perhaps the most obvious is the choice to pay one’s taxes. The government normally provides coercion in the force of threat of fine and/or imprisonment to those who fail to pay, which prevents us from choosing freely. Certainly, some people choose to ignore the threat, just as sometimes people refuse to hand over their wallet at gunpoint. Nevertheless, we do not view such externally compelled choices to be “free.”

We object to the philosophical importation by Molinists, Arminians, Open Theists, and others of a non-conventional definition of “free will,” as an “ability to do otherwise.” This odd ability, which is – by definition – never ever used, is made up from thin air. It is itself the conclusion and the premise of many anti-Calvinistic arguments. Oh well. There is no need to delve at great length into that subject at present.

Hopefully, the above presentation will help to set “Orthodox” and others straight on the will and its various kinds and senses of freedom.

May God bless our wills with grace to do His will,


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