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Thread: Open Theism

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Open Theism

    My studying has led me to Open Theism. I did not know what it was until last week.

    I had expressed some thoughts about the limit of God’s omniscience to an elder i know of the E Free church I attend. He forwarded my email to our Pastor. Our Pastor forwarded a number of links on Open Theism and why the doctrine is not acceptable.

    I fear the arguments opposing it are rather weak IMHO.

    I have also learned that a minority of the Evangelical Theological Society supported it in the early 2000’s. A vote to expel two members who proposed it failed to reach the 2/3 majority.

    If there are any members who are Open Thiests, I would appreciate knowing which denominations you are affiliated with that are accepting of this concept.

    Thanks in advance.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  2. #2
    Boolit Master BNE's Avatar
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    What are the basic beliefs of an Open Theist? This is new to me.
    I'm a Happy Clinger.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by BNE View Post
    What are the basic beliefs of an Open Theist? This is new to me.
    In a nut shell
    God knows all that has happened and all that is currently happening
    God can predict some events in the future but not all events...this is because man’s free will can affect God’s plan and God makes corrections
    God is not perfect in predicting everything in the future but perfect in making current decisions because He knows everything
    There may be errors in the Bible caused by man’s interpretation of scripture.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    I cannot create matter from nothing and I do not know my children's private thoughts or what they do every second of the day. However, I can predict with fair accuracy how they will react to certain things, what they will do this upcoming weekend, what they want for dinner, etc.

    To say that God knows all the past and all the present but yet can be surprised by anything man has done or will do doesn't make a bit of sense. Don't forget, God also knows everyone's inner thoughts.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    God knows all and God makes no mistakes despite what some men would claim. Read the word know the word. Look up Grace to you ministries with Pastor John MacArthur.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ickisrulz View Post
    I cannot create matter from nothing and I do not know my children's private thoughts or what they do every second of the day. However, I can predict with fair accuracy how they will react to certain things, what they will do this upcoming weekend, what they want for dinner, etc.

    To say that God knows all the past and all the present but yet can be surprised by anything man has done or will do doesn't make a bit of sense. Don't forget, God also knows everyone's inner thoughts.
    If God knows our free will choices before we make them, does that mean we are destined to make wise or foolish choices from the beginning of time. In essence, our free will Choices are preordained and known by God?

    If that is this case, is free will a cruel joke foisted upon us by theologians? Our choices have been made already. God knows what they are. We cannot take a path different than what God expects?
    Don Verna

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    If God knows our free will choices before we make them, does that mean we are destined to make wise or foolish choices from the beginning of time. In essence, our free will Choices are preordained and known by God?

    If that is this case, is free will a cruel joke foisted upon us by theologians? Our choices have been made already. God knows what they are. We cannot take a path different than what God expects?
    People are free to make whatever choices they want. These choices can be good, bad or neutral (e.g., I ate a salad for lunch). God's foreknowledge of our choices has no bearing on whether or not we will make them.

    Despite what people think and say, there is no divine plan for our lives that lays out every step. Not everything happens for a reason (i.e., God's reason). There are things that happen to us that God would prefer didn't happen because of our choices or other people's choices. There are also coincidences (Luke 10:31).

    The only valid criticism, when it comes to God's foreknowledge of a person's bad decision, is that he does not step in and prevent it. If I were to see my son head to school carrying a loaded firearm mumbling about payback, I would stop him. If I didn't, I'd bear some responsibility for the outcome. God operates on another level that we can trust, knowing he is wise and loving.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master BNE's Avatar
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    Dverna, thanks for the definition. I don’t have any recommendations for a church that would support that line of reasoning.

    I am oddly content NOT being able to explain the differences between free will and predestination.

    I had an old preacher friend that told me it was not 50/50, it was 100% /100%. I think God wants our trust in Him. And He will explain it when we get to Heaven. Assuming we accept Christ.
    I'm a Happy Clinger.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Most of us will not make free will choices that affect the world, or God’s plan. We will affect ourselves, and our families...maybe our employees or out employer...etc etc.

    But the free will choices of leaders and governments may significantly affect how our world unfolds and God’s plan.

    An extreme case. Putin has a breakdown and, using his free will, initiates a nuclear war that has global consequences. If this is God’s plan...all is good...? Putin’s free will has completed His plan. But I believe that is not the plan God has revealed in Revelations.
    Don Verna

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Most of us will not make free will choices that affect the world, or God’s plan. We will affect ourselves, and our families...maybe our employees or out employer...etc etc.

    But the free will choices of leaders and governments may significantly affect how our world unfolds and God’s plan.

    An extreme case. Putin has a breakdown and, using his free will, initiates a nuclear war that has global consequences. If this is God’s plan...all is good...? Putin’s free will has completed His plan. But I believe that is not the plan God has revealed in Revelations.
    God is always attempting to influence people for good. Two examples are the spread of Gospel and sending prophets to Israel.

    Sometimes God stops people dead in their tracks. Examples are the Tower of Babel, Noah's Flood and the protection of the Nation of Israel.

    But overall, God seems to work without exercising his unstoppable will on man...at least at this point. He works within the frame work of man's decisions and progress.

    For what it is worth, some make a distinction between the permissive will of God and the sovereign will of God. The "permissive will" is the idea that God will allows certain things to happen, but not desire that they do. The "sovereign will of God" refers to something that God will do despite what his creatures may desire.

    God has permitted world leaders to do all kinds of horrible things (75 million dead in WW2). I don't see where Scripture suggests God would step in to prevent an event that would eliminate much of the world's population.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Ickisrulz,

    I agree with your distinction between the permissive will of God and His sovereign will.

    Many people wonder why God allows evil things to occur or natural disasters that kill so many I have no answers. I assume God has His reasons and we are unable to understand. He has the power to create the universe....stopping disasters, genocide, etc is easily within His ability. It amuses me that people believe God will protect them from evil. It does not happen in every case...even in the Bible.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    I have found a church 25 miles from me that accepts Open Theism. It is a United Church of Christ.

    It will be difficult to leave my friends at my current church, but if they are friends, we will remain so.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  13. #13
    Boolit Master semtav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ickisrulz View Post

    But overall, God seems to work without exercising his unstoppable will on man...at least at this point. He works within the frame work of man's decisions and progress.
    Excellent way to frame it.

    Weather is one of the issues i always had with my wife's beliefs. I believe God set up the earth and its weather patterns etc so they would be self sustaining. Now he might change things from time to time as necessary, but he isnt manipulating every cloud every wind every storm every day all the time. My wife feels just the opposite.



    Sent from my E6910 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Theology = The study of God and his Bible; anything else is man's philosophy and nothing more.

    What we (spiritually) "believe" largely depends on who we wish to be in command and control, be it God as he reveals himself in scripture or in ourselves as revealed in history. Man is a ruthless and bloody god.

    I'm a Christian so it follows that I believe in the God of the Bible, not me. I know there's no man-made "open" theology about it because He has proven himself to be true to Biblical theology in everything I've ever experienced.

    I figger that if I were open to making up (and believing) my own theology then I'd have to create my own universe, living critters and a heavenly after life too; I don't know how to do any of that. ??

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    What we (spiritually) "believe" largely depends on who we wish to be in command and control
    I wish it were that simple. There are plenty of Christians out there who genuinely want God in control of their lives, but have serious errors in their theology and thinking.

    I knew of a guy who was under the impression the only time he should have sex with his wife was when they wanted a child. He suffered due to his own ignorance.

    It's imperative that Christians do their best to understand what the Bible actually says. It's hard work. God will not "miracle" the knowledge into someone just because their heart is in the right place.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    Theology = The study of God and his Bible; anything else is man's philosophy and nothing more.

    What we (spiritually) "believe" largely depends on who we wish to be in command and control, be it God as he reveals himself in scripture or in ourselves as revealed in history. Man is a ruthless and bloody god.

    I'm a Christian so it follows that I believe in the God of the Bible, not me. I know there's no man-made "open" theology about it because He has proven himself to be true to Biblical theology in everything I've ever experienced.

    I figger that if I were open to making up (and believing) my own theology then I'd have to create my own universe, living critters and a heavenly after life too; I don't know how to do any of that. ??
    theology
    [THēˈšləjē]

    NOUN
    the study of the nature of God and religious belief.
    "a theology degree"
    religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed.
    "a willingness to tolerate new theologies"
    synonyms:
    religious studies ∑ religion ∑ scripture

    God and theology is for all believers not just Christians

    To think otherwise is religious bigotry

    Tim
    Words are weapons sharper than knives - INXS

    The pen is mightier than the sword - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

    The tongue is mightier than the blade - Euripides

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    God and theology is for all believers not just Christians

    Tim[/QUOTE]

    Belief in what, or who is the real question. The very nature and concept of God is what separates religions. IMHO The forum should have been named "Deep Christian Theology"

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master


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    It would seem to me that if God knows all then there can be nothing He can't know including any "undetermined future" from actions you might take. Logically, that doesn't make sense.

    God knows all truths but the qualifier "all truths that can be known" Open Theist's believe in negates an All Knowing God. So what exactly are you believing in? A God that is no better than you? Man as a supreme being that just lives in the moment with total free will unjudged for any actions because God knows no better than you what the future consequences for your actions are? You might as well be a secular progressive if that is the case in my opinion.

    I'm more of a Calvinist than anything at this point but Open Theism seems more of a belief system tailored to people that want no judgement of their actions because God knows no better than they do what the future is. If God doesn't know what the future is then there can be no downside to any current choices or beliefs as how can you say they are wrong? No one including God can know that.
    I am become death. The destroyer of worlds

    We all do our duty when there is not cost to it, honor comes easier then. Sooner or later there comes a day in every man's life when it is not so easy, a day when he must choose and live with it for the rest of his days.

    The further society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it
    George Orwell

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master


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    But overall, God seems to work without exercising his unstoppable will on man...at least at this point. He works within the frame work of man's decisions and progress.

    Backwards it seems to me
    I am become death. The destroyer of worlds

    We all do our duty when there is not cost to it, honor comes easier then. Sooner or later there comes a day in every man's life when it is not so easy, a day when he must choose and live with it for the rest of his days.

    The further society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it
    George Orwell

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    If God knows all possible futures, I wonder why prophesy proclaims apocalyptical destruction. Surely humanity could be guided to greater glory with tiny Godly intervention. It is not like God doesn't do miracles and is totally hands off. Most of you believe he sent us his son to save us 2000 years ago. It might be time for another intervention. God does love us, even us sinners.

    Tim
    Words are weapons sharper than knives - INXS

    The pen is mightier than the sword - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

    The tongue is mightier than the blade - Euripides

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