Summary and Info
A collection of articles put together in this book presents a multi-dimensional challenge against opentheism and a rigorous defense against the foundations of Christianity it assaults; from the point of view of biblical theology and historical Christianity (by Profs. Russell, Brand, Caneday and Horton), as well as pastoral - ecclesiastical (by Pastor Piper and Prof. Grudem), and philosophical and logical point of view (by Profs. Talbot, Davis, Wellum, Helseth and Ware).If the rise and fall of the church hinges on the doctrine of justification by faith according to Martin Luther, I would think, as Prof. Wellum, Helseth and Ware in particular argue, that the rise and fall of the inerrancy of the Scriptures, the reputation of the gospel, the trustworthiness and the glory of the God of the Bible, and the solid rock foundation of Christianity; the security of the believers, hinge on the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of God, of which the opentheists reject, despite seemingly good intentions by its proponents. Opentheism is a natural consequence, an illegitimate child of the churches and individuals that teach and embrace the doctrine of autonomous self, specifically free-will theism, one of the most fertile breeding grounds of which is certainly the Arminian churches. By looking at the content of each article, Prof. William Davis was in the best position to point this out but he did not and neither did other writers. Nevertheless, his analysis on not only the appeal of opentheism and what should be done about it, is powerful and compassionate.My fallen tendency in responding to opentheists is to immediately blast them as self-infatuated, blasphemous, God-degrading heretics. It is humbling to me, however, that the authors of these papers have responded rightly with grace and understanding without compromising the truth by endorsing the fallacy of opentheism; holding on to the principle that "the goal of the commandment is love," specifically by what Profs. Talbot, Davis, Grudem as well as Dr. Piper wrote in their paper. Prof Talbot's sincerity compellingly describes the concept of dualism, that I have come to love, with a few examples, where every event has divine and human view and motive behind it that explains the age-old doctrine of the immutability and exhaustive foreknowledge of God that is compatible with human responsibility. All this leads to what the true biblical freedom is, or as he puts it as, "the kind of freedom worth having", that is, "the compatibilist freedom, the freedom to choose to be righteous without the possibility of choosing otherwise, the freedom not to sin", contrary to the libertarian freedom that implies autonomy or independence to be able to choose what is good or evil. The compatibilist freedom is a humble freedom, while the libertarian freedom, in my view, is a presumptuous freedom. If I were to grade each article, it would be on the basis of how balanced it is in its argument against opentheism from the point of views of theology, logic, history, persuasion, and anthroposensitivy (the word borrowed from Prof. Kelly Kapic), and here is what I came up for each author:Justin Taylor: A (He did not contribute an article but he wrote an excellent introduction)Russ Fuller: BChad Brand: CMark Talbot: AWilliam Davis: AA.B. Caneday: BMichael Horton: BStephen Wellum: APaul Helseth: CBruce Ware: CWayne Grudem: AJohn Piper: BSince opentheism is most closely related to the perennial mystery and controversy of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and this is something which Prof Talbot has studied and wrestled on for thirty years (quoting him from his address at 2005 Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis, MN, the best one of the conference, I love it), I would pick his article to be the most humble and compassionate. Upon learning more about opentheism and reading about the arguments against it and the serious dangers it presents, the readers will discover that it is not the apostolic gospel but another gospel that the Apostle Paul warns most severely against in his epistle to the Galatians, and will not stand against the doctrine of the exhaustive definite foreknowledge of God written all over the Scriptures sooner or later.
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