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 Openness theology

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maflynn
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PostSubject: Openness theology   Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:40 pm

Has anyone heard of this theology.

I suppose in some ways it might have its roots in armenian theology.

Here's a brief definition from wikipedia
Quote :
Open theism, also known as free will theism, is a philosophical view about the nature of a theistic God's knowledge, according to which God is incapable, to some extent, of knowing the future actions of a human being with free will.

I say it has some armenian roots, only because it relies heavily on the free will of man. What I don't like about it is that the basic tenet of this theology is that God is incapable to knowing the future. Reading the Bible, we can see how false this teaching is. The old testament is rife with examples of God promising blessings and curses to certain nations, i.e., babylon, medo-persion empire etc. We see through history that he was dead on. In fact the rule for a prophet of God in the old testament was he had to be 100% correct 100% of the time. If not he was to be stoned.

My take on it is that God is Omnisciencent, he knows everything there's ever to know, past present, future.

thoughts, questions, discussions?
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Nathan
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PostSubject: Re: Openness theology   Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:06 pm

That seems to go against my concept of God. I believe that he exists outside the bounds of time and that this doctrine pretty much exposes the limitations of some people's minds when it comes to dimensionality and states of existence. However, a little further down in that wiki quote comes this:
Quote :
Practically, open theism makes the case for a personal God who is open to influence through the prayers, decisions, and actions of people.
So while I don't think that God is incapable of knowing the future, I would say that I believe he takes into account the petitions of those who believe in him.

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maflynn
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PostSubject: Re: Openness theology   Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:46 am

It had (not sure if is continuing) to gain traction in the 80s and 90s. My old church's conference was dealing with this as one of the professors in its seminary was pushing this theology pretty hard. In some sense its a liberal theology that takes some passages of the Bible out of context and ignores others that state that God does know everything.

The root of the problem is that when people do not understand something or think its impossible they then believe it must be impossible.

I go by the following rule of thumb. If its about God and its not in the Bible then that concept is suspect at best, heresy at worst.
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mschellman
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PostSubject: Open Theism: From Someone Near the Conflict.   Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:38 pm

First off, let me say that Open Theism is an offshoot of Arminianism (though many classical Arminians do not like it).

I live in Minneapolis, which is probably the hotbed of the Open Theism conflict. What is really at stake here is not God's omniscience, but whether in fact there is a future which alread exists - that can be known. If this is the case, it seems to undermine the concept of free will. It also seems to invalidate the significance of prayer, and seems to make God responsible for evil.

Open Theists argue that God knows everything that it is possible to know (including the outcome of every possible choice we make - he is therefore - Omniscient. He is also All Powerful, and Sovereign. He can work anything out according to his will. So it is not the nature of God, but the nature of free will and time itself that are in question. Regarding statements about blessing and cursing of nations and jusgment - surely there is a difference between knowing the future and making a decision about the future. For instance, I can decide to give my wife a gift tomorrow, that is a kind of foreknowledge but it is prescriptive rather than predictive and centers on my actions and not hers.

Ultimately I am not convinced by the open theist argument. I can say that they do not ignore difficult scriptures. Like all theological positions they attempt to work out a comprehensive theology that takes all the relevant passages into account. We are all more or less successful with this. In my estimation Calvinists have a good deal of scripture to answer for as well - but they don't seem to be troubled by it.

Why would anyone want to be labled as an Arminian, Calvinist, or Open Theist anyway - for that matter. These views were constructed by men - no less fallable than ourselves. They are more or less insightful, probably inconsistent in quality from one topic to the next. We should learn from them, respect them, but not live in them. In many cases it has been several hundred years.
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