Who might have taught this, say, just prior to the 1900′s?
Are there any philosophers/theologians that has similar ideas to the openness before the 1900′s? example, foreknowledge and determinism? The history section in the God who risks is too broad for the time I have. I thank you for your diligence and time. May the Lord bless who you come into contact with!!
Reply to David:
The bibliographic references in Dr. Sanders’ book (TGWR) may help you (p. 311 n. 106; p. 313 n. 122; p. 324 n. 125).
In my Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement heritage–Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and Disciples of Christ–there has always been a stream of “open theism” (if you’ll allow the anachronism). The most notable representative from the 19th century is Dr. T. W. Brents (d. 1905). In his book, The Gospel Plan of Salvation (first edition in the 1874; I have an 1890 edition) he devotes entire chapters to both foreknowledge and predestination which may be helpful. Brents takes the biblical texts on divine repentance and change of mind very seriously. He writes in Victorian grammar and his style is decidedly polemical (anti-Calvinist & anti-Unitarian). His book was considered by many to have served as a kind of systematic theology for the reformers of the day associated with my heritage.
An interesting aspect in light of the current anti-openness polemic which charges open theism with diminishing God’s sovereignty and power is that Brents claims the opposite. In his view, God has the power and freedom to choose not to know whatever he wants. Brents saw Calvinism’s absolute determinism and foreknowledge as the views which in fact diminished God’s glorious sovereignty and free agency, not permitting God either the power or freedom not to know. Note also that he quotes Adam Clark (Clark’s Commentaries, Acts 2:47, circa 1810) as agreeing with him in substance. However, Dr. Sanders indicated to me that this understanding of Clark’s view has been debated (cf. Maddox listed in TGWR’s notes). My 1890 edition of Brents includes endpapers with endorsements from several periodicals and notable personalities, some of which criticize his chapter on foreknowledge, but most of which heartily endorse it.
Brents’ book is considered a classic in our restoration heritage and so has been reprinted numerous times & recommended for each of our preachers’ libraries. So you may have a Disciples, Christian church, or church of Christ minister nearby with a copy he may let you borrow. Otherwise, nearly all of the libraries related to our fellowships will have multiple copies of this available for ILL if you’re interested (Abilene Chr. U., Lubbock Chr. U., Southwest Chr. College, or Texas Chr. U. in Texas; Lipscomb U., Freed-Hardeman U., Harding Grad. School, Emmanuel School of Religion or Johnson Bible College in Tennessee; Oklahoma Chr. U.; Pepperdine U. in California; Harding U. in Arkansas; Ohio Valley Coll. in West Virginia; Lexington Theol. Sem. in KY.; York College in Nebraska; Michigan Christian College (has been renamed, but I don’t know to what); Cincinnati Bible Coll & Sem., et al., to name a few). In all events, hope this helps.
Kevin James Gilbert
Adjunct Faculty, College of Bible and Ministry
Click Next Page for More Responses