Meeting in Colorado Springs the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) passed a simple resolution affirming God's foreknowledge.
"We believe the Bible clearly teaches that God has complete, accurate, and infallible knowledge of all events past, present, and future, including all future decisions and actions of free moral agents," the statement read. The resolution passed 253 to 66, with 41 members abstaining.
This reaffirmation of traditional belief was provoked by a decade-long discussion of open theism in ETS. Clark Pinnock of McMaster Divinity College, John Sanders of Huntington College, and Greg Boyd of Bethel College represent this newer view in the organization.
They 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.
Many members of ETS believe open theism contradicts the society's commitment to the inerrancy of the Scriptures, the sole point of the organization's original doctrinal basis.
In a plenary address the day before the vote, Bruce Ware of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary outlined how open theism challenges belief in scriptural reliability. Despite widespread disagreement with open theism, many ETS members said that passing such a resolution was inconsistent with the organization's mission.
In his presidential address, Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary told members that the society should spend its energies on a lost world rather than on internal wrangles. Alan Johnson of Wheaton College ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more