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2 Stars Out Of 5
May 24, 2001
I am generally not inclined to write a review or a letter to the editor or other things of that nature but occasionally I run across material that is so troubling to me that I must respond. Ware's book is just such material.I have been following the developments of this debate pretty closely and am intrigued by the Open Theism position. However, I have been looking for a solid counter argument against which to weigh the claims. Ware's work was recommended to me as just such a work. While the person recommending the book did not believe the arguments to be devastating he did believe Ware had read and wrestled with the material. I was sorely disappointed. For all of the weight that Ware places on the signifcance of the debate there is an appaling lack of sophistication in his treatment. This book would serve well in logic class as a lesson in the effective use of logical fallacy that places the book well into the category of style over substance. Ware does not engage the material but simply regurgitates standard arguments that often beg the question and he repeatedly equivocates as he conveniently redefines terms and even other characteristics of God as they serve his system of thought (e.g. pg.164 note 2)concerning the nature of God.As one who is not yet convinced in the debate this work served little in helping even to clarify the issues involved. The book however, was well written in a persuasive style that will certainly move the less engaged reader who is looking only to be affirmed in a previously held position or who is unfamiliar with the Open position. Ironically, it is this strength among its many failings that poses the greatest danger.
Bruce Ware begins this superb book by writing, "Readers will find this book unkind to open theism. I hope that in no respect and in no place is it unkind to open theists." Ware succeeds admirably in these two goals. This is a devastating refutation of a damaging teaching within evangelicalism; and yet Ware writes with compassion, clarity, and grace. I highly recommend this superb, intelligent book.Open theism, which denies that God can foreknow free human choices, dishonors God, distorts Scripture, damages faith, and would, if left unchecked, destroy churches and lives. Its errors are not peripheral but central. Therefore, I thank God for Bruce Wares loving, informed, penetrating, devastating critique of this profoundly injurious teaching. I pray that God would use this book to sharpen the discernment of leaders and prepare the people of God to recognize toxic teaching when they taste it. O how precious is the truth of Gods all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful care over our fragile lives. For your names sake, O Lord, and for the good of the suffering church who rest in your all-knowing providence, prosper the message of this beautiful book and shorten the ruinous life of open theism."JOHN PIPERSenior Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist ChurchNot even God knows whether you will decide to buy this book or read it, at least according to open theism. But Bruce Ware shows that this position, which is seeping into evangelical churches, is contrary to Scripture, internally contradictory, and destructive to our Christian lives. This is a clear, fair, well-reasoned, and Bible-centered critique of a doctrinal error so far-reaching that it ultimately portrays a different God than the God of the Bible.WAYNE GRUDEMChairman, Department of Biblical and Systematic TheologyTrinity Evangelical Divinity School