Openness Season

Theologians Pinnock and Boyd like to take the Bible at face value-but is that enough?

Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God's Openness
Clark H. Pinnock
Baker Academic, 224 pages, $19.99

Satan and the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy
Gregory A. Boyd
InterVarsity, 456 pages, $25

As the Evangelical Theological Society debates the orthodoxy of openness theology (CT, January, p. 24), Most Moved Mover and Satan and the Problem of Evil are working out the finer theological points of "theodicy" (the problem of evil), the nature and extent of God's foreknowledge, and issues regarding the doctrine of God itself.

Openness theologians are convinced that if human beings are to exercise meaningful freedom—a basic requirement for love to be expressed and received—there must be aspects of the future, those entailing the free choices of rational beings, that God does not know exhaustively.

In 1994 Clark H. Pinnock and four other scholars published The Openness of God, one of the foundational books of the openness movement. In Most Moved Mover, Pinnock (retired professor of systematic theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario) reviews the controversy that has surrounded the movement, responds to some critics of openness, and describes what he considers weaknesses in classical Christian theology's understanding of God's nature and knowledge.

Augustine, for instance, "was wrong to have said that God does not grieve over the suffering of the world; Anselm was wrong to have said that God does not experience compassion; Calvin was wrong to have said that biblical figures that convey such things are mere accommodations to finite understanding." The classical view, Pinnock believes, has been too deeply influenced by "pagan ...

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