Posts tagged Openness Theology
Before I ask any questions I will admit that my bent toward Reformed Theology. It seems to me that Openness Theology raises more questions than it can answer. Why does God describe in Scripture that man’s will is so utterly wicked and incapable of thinking His thoughts? It seems to me that your Open view of God is approaching, if it isn’t already there, Pelagian territory here. It almost seems like God is hiding behind a wall saying, “come on guys, you can find, just ask the right questions.” God is more or less toying with us. You have not dealt with God’s prophecies enough either. How could God truly bring about something foreknown,by willing it, yet not impose upon man’s will. You may say he does impose somewhat, just not too much. There is a domino effect here and if God wants something He has to stop a domino or do something drastic to thwart man’s will. I do believe that this new theology is heretical, and just reflects how man today wants so badly to be autonomous. I know that some of the proponents of this are very intelligent, Dr. John Sanders teaches at my college, and Greg Boyd has also spoken here, very intelligent men. What are your definitions concerning man coming to Faith? I do know from a conversation I have had with an openness theologian that it comes by man responding to God, you at least recognize God making the first move. But how does he exercise faith? My response was that it was a mystery why some and not others came to faith. Would that not mean that man’s act is a meritorious work? How do preconditions and genetics enter into this? You cannot separate man’s willing from hi intellect. If one does, the condition of man choosing or not choosing could involve one being more evil than another. Either way you have the way of exercising faith contrary to Scripture. How do you deal with passages that say that our Salvation is not by the will of man or his own decision (John 1:12-13)? It seems that you interpret Scriptures with more ambiguous Scriptures to counter what is explicit. This theology is Arminianism at its extremes; I am now picturing Pelagius embracing this new found theology wondering at how the church lets so many heresies arise and rejoicing. I know one of the arguments against Reformed theology is the philosophy behind it. I must say that what Openness theology is doing is attempting to make autonomy more theologically correct.
Reply to Craig:
Does the claim that humans are free to accept or reject (or ignore) God’s offer of salvation entail that the free decision to accept God’s offer is a meritorious work on the part of the human being? Well yes. It is good to accept God’s offer, and if one does so freely, then some merit accrues to the human being. Is this Pelagianism? No. First, this view does not rule out the claim that a prior gift of God’s grace is a necessary condition of the human’s being free to respond to that other gracious work by God, his offer of salvation. Second, the real issue is not whether humans (by God’s grace) are able to attain merit, the real issue is: do we by free response to God’s offer of salvation merit salvation. The Openness theology can quite consistently say, “No.” Here’s an analogy. Human H has cancer. Not being a physician, H is powerless to effect a healing of his/her cancer. Dr. X has just perfected a new, very difficult surgery that is guaranteed to remove H’s cancer. Further, Dr. X offers to perform the surgery for free. He only requires H’s consent. H freely consents. This is not easy for the aftermath of the surgery involves a long period of great pain and disability. Sometimes H would rather just die of the cancer. However, H’s resists this temptation, and freely chooses to submit to Dr. X’s treatment. Does H freely do the right thing? Yes, therefore, H accrues merit. Does H thereby cure his cancer? Of course not, Dr. X does. Does H thereby merit Dr. X’s services? No. We would all say that this is of Dr. X’s grace. So far as I can see the analogy is close enough to forestall the objection.