Open or Closed Case?
While John Sanders and the Board of Trustees at Huntington College in Indiana disagree on whether God exhaustively knows the future, they agree that his days as a theology professor at the evangelical school are running out. The issue, according to both Sanders and G. Blair Dowden, the college's president, is not Sanders' belief in open theology, but his notoriety in advocating the doctrine. Both acknowledged that others on the faculty hold the same open theology views.
"You can be an open theist," Sanders told CT. "You just can't be a well-known one. That makes this a very interesting case."
After an executive session of the board was held in October, Dowden told members of the faculty that there "was very little support for John's continued employment at Huntington." Neither Sanders nor Dowden expect him back for the 2005-2006 academic year, which begins next fall. Dowden told ct that while the controversy is "directly related" to open theism, there is no requirement for professors on the issue.
"Not at all," Dowden said. "We have some other faculty who are open theists, but they're not teaching theology or Bible. It's not a litmus test."
Sanders, who has taught at the school of about 1,000 students for seven years, has been a focus of controversy over open theism for the past four years, he said. In November 2003, Sanders narrowly avoided being expelled from the Evangelical Theological Society over his beliefs. Some society members believe open theology violates the society's commitment to scriptural inerrancy.
Huntington removed Sanders from the tenure track over the controversy, but school officials attempted to give him some financial security by signing him to three-year rolling contracts, automatically renewable annually, ...