Guest / Limited Access /

Members of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) voted last night to challenge the legitimacy of the membership of Clark Pinnock and John Sanders for violating the inerrancy clause of the ETS constitution.

"I present this motion with a heavy heart," said Roger Nicole, who initiated the charges. A founding member of the ETS in 1949, Nicole had surveyed other surviving charter members and found unanimous concern that Pinnock, Sanders, and Gregory Boyd were promoting proposals "incompatible with inerrancy."

The vote at the November 20-22 annual meeting in Toronto is the latest development in a five-year controversy over the concept of open theism, which critics believe diminishes the omniscience of God.

Open theists emphasize God's self-limitation in dealing with humans. Because God desires people's free response, openness theologians say, he neither predetermines nor foreknows their moral choices. In the Bible, they say, God changes his mind, or "repents," in response to human actions.

In accordance with the ETS constitution, Nicole's motion referred the matter to the executive committee, which will examine the case carefully and determine whether the charges should be voted on next year, explained ETS president Millard J. Erickson.

After an hour of debate in a special meeting, members present voted 171 to 131 on the motion against Pinnock; 166 to 143 against Sanders. (Boyd, who left Bethel College at the end of the 2001-2002 school year to focus on his duties as senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, is not currently a member of the society.)

"It was a dramatic moment," said Pinnock shortly after the meeting. "I wasn't surprised ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedNew Poll Finds Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies
New Poll Finds Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies
Survey finds many American evangelicals hold unorthodox views on the Trinity, salvation, and other doctrines.
TrendingChristianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Christianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
Editor's PickWhat Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
What Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
Rooting our celebration of Christ’s birth more deeply in our lives.
Comments
Christianity Today
Evangelical Theological Society Moves Against Open Theists
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2002

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.