That Greek philosophy at least partially influenced Christianity is generally accepted, since it formed the foundation of the culture the first Christians lived in. Many of the early church fathers even appropriated Greek philosophy in their attempts to evangelize the pagan world they found themselves in. But was the Greek influence good or bad? The question is not new; Tertullian asked, in the second century AD, "What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What has the Academy to do with the Church?"
This book is an attempt to show that the Greek influence was, as Tertullian felt, dangerous. Why dangerous? Because, according to the authors, the Greek concepts of what God was like and how he interacted with humans were fatally flawed, and have resulted in a Christian theology which has pagan notions of perfection at its core. These concepts include immutability, impassibility, and omniscience (particularly in terms of foreknowledge of all future events).
The authors begin with the contention that God has granted humans a significant degree of freedom, and that He chooses to enter into a genuine relationship with them. They defend this position biblically, historically, theologically and philosophically, offering a well-balanced, comprehensive look at several familiar issues from a different, and they claim, more biblical viewpoint.
The unique interplay of the five authors in this book makes it a fascinating read. Richard Rice makes a compelling biblical case for open theism, while John Sanders takes a look at just how Greek our Christian theology is, and why contemporary theologians are generally unwilling to accept the validity of open theism. Clark Pinnock offers what can be termed a systematic theology of God's openness and William Hasker offers a cogent philosophical defense of open theism. David Basinger then offers some practical implications of open theism, and compares them to the implications of both traditional classical theism and process theology.
You may not agree with the authors of this volume, but the discussion itself about these major issues is vitally important. Learn why each of these five authors came to believe in open theism, and what it means in their lives.
Voted one of Christianity Today's 1995 Books of the Year! The Openness of God presents a careful and full-orbed argument that the God known through Christ desires "responsive relationship" with his creatures. While it rejects process theology, the book asserts that such classical doctrines as God's immutability, impassibility and foreknowledge demand reconsideration. The authors insist that our understanding of God will be more consistently biblical and more true to the actual devotional lives of Christians if we profess that "God, in grace, grants humans significant freedom" and enters into relationship with a genuine "give-and-take dynamic." The Openness of God is remarkable in its comprehensiveness, drawing from the disciplines of biblical, historical, systematic and philosophical theology. Evangelical and other orthodox Christian philosophers have promoted the "relational" or "personalist" perspective on God in recent decades. Now here is the first major attempt to bring the discussion into the evangelical theological arena.
Clark Pinnock was Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. Widely regarded as one of evangelicalism's most stimulating theologians, he produced several widely discussed books, including and (with four other scholars) He passed away in August, 2010.
Richard Rice is professor of religion at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. He is the author of several books, including and .
John Sanders (Th.D., University of South Africa) is professor of religion at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He has edited and written several books, including Three of his previous book projects have received a Book Award.
William Hasker (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is professor emeritus of philosophy at Huntington College in Huntington, Indiana. His books include (with Michael Peterson, David Basinger and Bruce Reichenbach); (with Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders and David Basinger); (edited with Michael Peterson, David Basinger and Bruce Reichenbach); (edited with David Basinger and Eef Dekker) and
David Basinger is professor of philosophy and ethics at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York. He is the author of (SUNY) and joint author of the books (Oxford) and (Ashgate).
"What nonbelievers reject is often not God, but the caricature of God that theologians have synthesized over the centuries. A faith based on that caricature is poorly suited to the hard facts of the real world. These authors masterfully retrace how that caricature was drawn, show where its distortions lie and offer a sound alternative to it."
"Almost five centuries ago, Christians thrilled at the recovery of the truth of salvation by grace that had benn hijacked from them for a millennium of church history. This book throbs today with the same excitement at the rediscovery of a God infinitely greater and freer than the cold abstractions of medievally minded reductionist theologians make him to be. The Openness of God signals a new openness of his people toward the God who has never ceased being open to them."
" The Openness of God presents a comprehensive case for a relational model of the biblical God. It is written collaboratively by a team of fine thinkers. Whether or not its arguments finally convince all, The Openness of God develops interpretations and explores insight that will enrich every careful reader."