Does God Know Your Next Move?

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Introduction | John Sanders 1 | Chris Hall 1 | Sanders 2 | Hall 2

Part 2:
John Sanders 3 | Chris Hall 3 | Sanders 4 | Hall 4 | Sanders 5 | Postscript

Dear Chris,

When I was in high school one of my brothers was killed in a motorcycle accident. For the first time, I began to think about God's role in human affairs—was God responsible for my brother's death?

A few years later, while in Bible college, I read what my theology textbooks said about the nature of God. According to these books, God could not change in any way, could not be affected by us in any respect, and never responded to us. I was shocked! The piety that I had learned from other evangelical Christians was directly opposed to such beliefs. For instance, I was taught that our prayers of petition could influence what God decided to do. Not that God has to do what we ask, but God has decided that some of his decisions will be in response to what we ask or don't ask.

Such problems put me into a state of questioning—either the piety I had been taught was wrong, or the theology I was reading was wrong, or both my piety and the theology had to be modified in some way. I continued to wrestle with these issues while in seminary and it took me over 20 years to formulate the views I now have. My conclusion is that the evangelical piety I was taught as a young Christian was biblically correct and so we need to modify our theology at certain points (not every point) so that our theology corresponds, rather than conflicts, with our biblically grounded piety.

Let me summarize the perspective I now hold—the so-called openness of God theology.

First, according to openness theology, the triune God of love has, in almighty power, created all that is and is sovereign over all. In freedom ...

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