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

Written by Aleck Cartwright

The Openness of God

A different perception of God has arisen in Evangelical Christianity that while not being new, has challengedrepparttar way we have always thought about God's nature. This paradigm shift is seen by it's authors to bring us closer torepparttar 126993 biblical conception of God. The book is called The Openness Of God and is seen to be very controversial in it's perception of God and will have sweeping effects on every other area of evangelical thought and life.

The God shown in this book is notrepparttar 126994 immutable monarch controlling human history and man's individual lives but rather a loving and suffering Father who has chosen to allow man's actions to affect Him in very real ways. At face value what they propose looks like Libertarian process theology with a twist of arminianism. But it seems it is actually much more. These authors introduce us to a God who is with us in time through self-limitation and does not knowrepparttar 126995 future in absolute detail. This new view of God is called "the open view of God," "creative-love theism," or "free-will theism." It is extreme Arminianism, but stops short of full-on process theology.

Some definitions may be helpful at this point, there are two main theological beliefs currently accepted byrepparttar 126996 mainstream church, Armenianism and Calvinism. Arminianism isrepparttar 126997 belief that God has given manrepparttar 126998 choice to accept or reject Him. Predestination is conditioned by God's foreknowledge of who would respond torepparttar 126999 gospel. It is also possible for a believer to fall from grace. Man can neither of himself nor of his free will do anything truly good until he is born again of God.

Calvinism states that fallen man is totally unnable to save himself, and that God's electing purpose was not conitioned by anything in man. That Christ's atoning death was sufficient to save all men, but efficient only forrepparttar 127000 elect. That God's grace is irresistable torepparttar 127001 elect of God and that they being regenerated and redeemed will persevere inrepparttar 127002 faith.

Less commonly accepted, is Process Theology which is more philosophically than biblically or confessionally based. Process Theology isrepparttar 127003 belief that God is evolving withrepparttar 127004 universe and does not knowrepparttar 127005 future but is learning along with his creation, He is confined to time and thus knows possibilities and probabilities but He doesn't know actualities.

The Openness of God is not a new concept. Inrepparttar 127006 sixteenth and seventeenth centuriesrepparttar 127007 Socinians maderepparttar 127008 same argument. "God does not know, in such a way that whatsoever he knows will surely come to pass." So in regard to human choices, God knows future possibilities but not future certainties.

Both Calvanists and Arminians, along withrepparttar 127009 most part of christendom affirmed God's foreknowledge of human choices.

John Calvin wrote,"[God] foresees future events only by reason ofrepparttar 127010 fact that he decreed that they take place." Jacob Arminius wrote,"[God] has known from eternity which persons should believe...and which should persevere through subsequent grace."

Christian orthodoxy has never denied God's foreknowledge of human choices. Both Arminianists and Calvinists (repparttar 127011 whole church) do not agree with Open theology.

I believe that a defective doctrine of God would affect all areas of Christian life and leadership as well as discipleship to bring about an eroding ofrepparttar 127012 glory due to God. Your theology will directly influence your leadership style andrepparttar 127013 outworking of your salvation. After all your conceptualisation of God's nature is what is imitated and lived out in daily life.

Openness theology is not necessarily an extension of Arminianism and neither is itrepparttar 127014 opposite of Calvinism, nor even a response torepparttar 127015 calvinist tradition. Instead it appears to be another tangent inrepparttar 127016 quest to reconcile divine providence and human freedom with a little input from Process theology.The followers of this particular view are I believe genuinely concerned with preachingrepparttar 127017 word of God andrepparttar 127018 work of discipling others in Christ. Nevertheless, it does seem clear that openness theologians lack adequate scriptural grounding and are outside ofrepparttar 127019 theological mainstream with regard to God's omniscience and providence. Biblically,repparttar 127020 future appears to be less open than they propose.

Openness Theologians say that history isrepparttar 127021 combined result of what God and His creatures decide to do. God is always walking beside us, and experiencing intimately all that we go through. God is omnipotent inrepparttar 127022 sense that He isrepparttar 127023 creator of all and could control his creatures if He so wished but He chooses not to control by coercion or force, instead His role is influential and persuasive.

Christ and Culture Part 2

Written by Aleck Cartwright

...cont. from Christ and Culture Part 1

4. Christ and Culture is in Paradox This view differs fromrepparttar preceding option by maintaining that while both Christ and culture claim our loyalty,repparttar 126992 tension between them cannot be reconciled by any lasting synthesis. Luther maintained that sin is universal and inside a Christian all of His earthly life, thereby making it impossible to attempt any kind of utopian society on earth. I agree that though God has dealt with our sinful nature in Christ, we are susceptible to sinful desires (sins not unto death, because our sin nature has been removed and replaced with Christ in us) and as such will never have heaven on earth.

Christ in us has fulfilledrepparttar 126993 law of God on which our societies are based in order to ensure justice and law and order. The law is in play over our physical bodies and behaviour in society, which Christ affirms. We live byrepparttar 126994 grace of God withoutrepparttar 126995 law and find that we naturally fulfilrepparttar 126996 law of God and affirmrepparttar 126997 law ofrepparttar 126998 land. Christ has become to us an "eternal law" that fulfilsrepparttar 126999 "temporal law" of God.

These two are held in tension, we still have to account for our actions, but by God's grace we have forgiveness of sins and a new nature at work within us. The temporal law is in place not to makerepparttar 127000 ungodly righteous, but as a means of limitingrepparttar 127001 far-reaching effects of sin in this world. As a church we upholdrepparttar 127002 law, not through self-effort but in our natural adherence to Godly principles throughrepparttar 127003 natural inclination to submit ourselves to Godly authority (Romans 2:12-14).

As Christians we are simultaneously subject to bothrepparttar 127004 nature of Christ in us andrepparttar 127005 reality of an unrenewed and sinful mind,expressed through a physical and limited body. Inrepparttar 127006 world we are subject to temporal law, and yet in Christ we are subject torepparttar 127007 grace of God for our salvation. Jesus Christ isrepparttar 127008 fulfilment ofrepparttar 127009 temporal law in us as believers.

The Christian life is a paradox, and keepingrepparttar 127010 two realms distinct has far-reaching effects. Since we are saved by grace and not our own works, we have no grades of holiness, or any need to separate ourselves from culture. This ultimately means that any vocation provided it is a true vocation, a station in life instituted by God, can be pursued forrepparttar 127011 glory of God. So we are in fact set free to serve.

All things are permissible torepparttar 127012 believer, but we do those things that are beneficial. This means that although we are not underrepparttar 127013 law which is temporal and cannot save any man. The temporal law does lead man to repentance and thereby curbsrepparttar 127014 extent of sin's consequences inrepparttar 127015 world as a moral guide. So those who are in Christ live by grace and find that they fulfilrepparttar 127016 law of God.

So whether we live by Christ or byrepparttar 127017 law we find that we all keeprepparttar 127018 law,repparttar 127019 one byrepparttar 127020 law written on their hearts,repparttar 127021 other by obeyingrepparttar 127022 letter ofrepparttar 127023 law. So "all who sin apart fromrepparttar 127024 law will also perish apart fromrepparttar 127025 law, and all who sin underrepparttar 127026 law will be judged byrepparttar 127027 law" (Romans 2:12).

So this freedom of a Christian is balanced with a respect for temporal law and secular government (Romans 13:1-7). This really does create a paradox, we who are no longer under law submit ourselves to it and should not return harm for harm (Romans 13:8-9), but in time of war we may rightly be ordered to take up arms against an oppressor in order to limit a greater evil.

Also if a leader is wrong in commanding us to do something that is against God, we are not bound to obey him over God. "For it is no one's duty to do wrong, we must obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29). We need to be realistic about man's inclination to sin, as unbelievers who will suffer death as a result of their sin as well as for believers who will sufferrepparttar 127028 chastisement of God. For there is a sin unto death and a sin not unto death (1 John 5:16,17).

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