The Openness of God - Predestination, or Free Will? (Part 1)

Written by Aleck Cartwright

Continued from page 1

The argument of openness theologians is that God has been taken hostage and held captive by classic theism where His transcendence is overemphasised and His personhood asrepparttar Trinity downplayed. They say this view of God is inconsistent withrepparttar 126993 revelation of God through scripture, namely that God can suffer, grieve and repent.

One would think thatrepparttar 126994 opposite ofrepparttar 126995 God of classical theism would berepparttar 126996 finite God of process theology, butrepparttar 126997 openness of God is clear that God does intervene and will certainly bring history to a conclusion in line with His will and purposes-with or withoutrepparttar 126998 help of mankind.

Openness theology also teaches that any claims aboutrepparttar 126999 nature of God that are logical contradictions cannot be accepted in theology. It has to be all or nothing as inrepparttar 127000 case where one says that God knowsrepparttar 127001 future in absolute detail and with total certainty but still leaves parts ofrepparttar 127002 future open and undetermined i.e. inrepparttar 127003 case of people's decisions regarding their personal salvation.

Another tenant of Openness theology is that true freedom means being able to choose between options without any predetermination. This puts them in a position where neither determination nor predestination are an option. Ultimately it means thatrepparttar 127004 creature assumes and requires a certain limited independence from God. Whereas other evangelicals and Calvanists in particular prefer to accept a more compatible idea of freedom whereby for them, true freedom is being able to do what God knows and has decided is right.Thus they choose to be totally dependant on God, and independence from God is slavery.

For openness adherents this is very foreign, because it ultimately places one in a position that seems to attributerepparttar 127005 authorship of both good and evil to God. It is a powerful and persuasive book, but it does have some serious problems that will prevent even sympathetic readers from embracing it as a model for life.

For instance can a self-limiting God who rarely, if ever, intervenes inrepparttar 127006 free choice and actions of man be assured thatrepparttar 127007 history of this planet will end inrepparttar 127008 way He desires. For instance every decision we make can have hard hitting and lasting effects in this cause and effect world. A good example would be Peter's act of denying Christ three times. Is there a chance after Jesus told Peter that he would deny his master three times, that Peter would stay true to His master and not deny Christ and God's prediction would thus be wrong?

If God's prediction was wrong, it would mean that God makes mistakes, because God is right about Peter in this case does it mean it was just a good guess or that God really does knowrepparttar 127009 future. The same goes for Jesus' prophecy of Judas as His betrayer,repparttar 127010 bible says in John 6:64,"Jesus knew fromrepparttar 127011 beginning..who it was that would betray Him." Whether Peter does or does not deny Christ or Judas does or does not betray Christ advocates ofrepparttar 127012 openness of God are faced with a dilemma.

Stillrepparttar 127013 real weakness inrepparttar 127014 openness view of God comes whenrepparttar 127015 authors distinguish betweenrepparttar 127016 infinite andrepparttar 127017 personal attributes of God. This creates a tension that they cannot reconcile so they droprepparttar 127018 ball when it matters most They embracerepparttar 127019 personal God and lose sight of His infinite nature. Believing that God must be finite or at least limit himself to being as such, thus He does not knowrepparttar 127020 future and cannot knowrepparttar 127021 future while still be personal. This is very selective andrepparttar 127022 glory of God is lost in this model of God that they are encouraging us to embrace. As a result they tend to take words that mean one thing to us as mankind and finite and apply those same words and actions to God who is infinite. Words such as repent simply cannot be applied to an eternal God inrepparttar 127023 same way as they may be applied to humanity...

This article is continued in The Openness of God (part 2)...

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Christ and Culture Part 2

Written by Aleck Cartwright

Continued from page 1

There is no place for separatism or self-righteousness either, we are encouraged in any noble service to culture. An argument could then be made that if we are justified by grace and not works, why should we then not sin allrepparttar more? The purposes ofrepparttar 126992 law is to be a curb for sin, a mirror or plumbline for sin and also as a guide or tutor to lead us to Christ. The last purpose, as a guide is more optimistic thanrepparttar 126993 other two, in that it affirmsrepparttar 126994 universality of sin, but maintains that culture can be converted in line with God's temporal law. Where those things in culture that have been perverted can be reformed and redeemed to some extent.

While this sounds good, such earthbound hopes tend to underminerepparttar 126995 belief of eternal life andrepparttar 126996 ultimate destination of mankind in an afterlife. Transformation of culture may be seen asrepparttar 126997 whole reason forrepparttar 126998 existence ofrepparttar 126999 church. The social gospel may quickly replacerepparttar 127000 salvation gospel instead of being held in tension, as they should be. Although as Christians we are under grace it might be tempting to rely onrepparttar 127001 law for social reform, exchangingrepparttar 127002 word forrepparttar 127003 sword.

Also, in rejecting certain aspects of culture, we are not rejecting culture in total, as even our act of rejecting culture is a part of culture. As Christians we do reject certain aspects of mainstream culture, but not culture in totality. If we were to reject culture in totality, why would God not have taken us into heavenrepparttar 127004 moment we were saved? The fact is that discipleship occurs not by taking choices and culture away from us, but placing us directly in it to be counter-cultural.

This does not mean that we are opposed to culture but it does mean that we are against any form of cultural idolatry, those aspects of culture that do not point to Christ as Lord of all. Whenrepparttar 127005 New Testament talks ofrepparttar 127006 world it speaks of those aspects of culture that are self-glorifying and self-serving, claiming autonomy apart from God.

Thusrepparttar 127007 real question is not whether we should accept or reject culture in it's totality but what isrepparttar 127008 correct principle for discrimination. We cannot be self-righteous monastics and neither can we be in rebellion from state institutions and divinely appointed offices and leaders. Ultimately we can argue for reform ifrepparttar 127009 temporal law seeks to override Godly principles as in a dictatorial government, such as Zimbabwe or Iraq.

Whenrepparttar 127010 law of God written on our hearts is held in tension withrepparttar 127011 temporal law laid down inrepparttar 127012 land, we find that we do have a paradox, we who are not held underrepparttar 127013 law, actually commit ourselves to do those things which upholdrepparttar 127014 law. As Christ is in us we do naturally what is required of us, not because of a rulebook, but out of a desire to love God and our neighbour.

In our desire to uphold justice and law in our nations, social action byrepparttar 127015 church body is usually resisted as a contamination of Church and State, word with sword. The temporal law laid down byrepparttar 127016 state should be upheld byrepparttar 127017 church asrepparttar 127018 moral force in society. Whererepparttar 127019 state makes decisions that are contrary to God, moral law should still be upheld regardless ofrepparttar 127020 state consequences. In this wayrepparttar 127021 body of Christ is both underrepparttar 127022 law and above it, though whether under or aboverepparttar 127023 law it's Lordship is still God. Whererepparttar 127024 church cannot have direct action, it can through it's members have indirect influence. This influence can be exercised throughrepparttar 127025 chosen vocations of it's members. Christ lives in us to express Himself through us torepparttar 127026 glory of God. In this wayrepparttar 127027 separation of sacred and secular is closed while Christ and culture, church and state are held in healthy tension. (continued in Christ and Culture 3)

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