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Download PDF The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God

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The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God

He has edited and written several books, including No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized. Three of his previous book projects have received a Christianity Today Book Award. His books include Metaphysics: A Philosophical Assessment Ashgate. The Openness of God presents a careful and full-orbed argument that the God known through Christ desires "responsive relationship" with his creatures.

While it rejects process theology, the book asserts that such classical doctrines as God's immutability, InterVarsity Press Bolero Ozon. The Openness of God: Voted one of Christianity Today's Books of the Year! The Openness of God: To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Openness of God , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Jun 06, John Barbour rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: I always loved the Bible but hated Systematic Theology.


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I even read the one entitled Biblical Theology by Geerhardus Vos which is really just another Reformed one. I found them all to be boring or scary or both I always loved the Bible but hated Systematic Theology. I found them all to be boring or scary or both and often differing from the way God was portrayed in the Bible. They pushed God away in my mind and made it hard to have a good relationship with Him.

The Openness of God by Clark H. Pinnock

Once during a time away from school, I read Charles Finney's Theology and found that for the first time things made some sense and actually matched up somewhat to my reading of the Bible. I was soon discouraged from this view, however, and was given the impression that Finney was way off track and not a true theologian. I began to explore liberation theology and process theology but was never really satisfied that they took into consideration the whole of scripture as authoritative and an accurate revelation of the Triune God who became incarnate that we read about in the Bible.

Then I began to hear about Clark Pinnock and theologians who had been where I had been but took a different approach. They called themselves or were called by others Free Will Theists or Openness Theologians an awkward term but very descriptive nonetheless. This book is a good introduction as well as a good summary of their views. After just reading Clark Pinnock's chapter on Systematic Theology for the second time the 1st time was in the 90's I, for the 1st time actually enjoy systematics.

Richard Rice sets the tone with the first chapter which is all about the Bible and how it talks about God. He is portrayed as One who grieves and repents of the evil. This is the longest chapter 48 pages. I think Rice does a fine job in making his case. His case is to take the feelings, intentions, and actions of God seriously and not just write them off as anthropomorphisms and anthropopathisms.

This book is a very important contribution to our understanding of the God of the Bible. As its title suggests, it challenges the traditional view of God which is really a combination of Greek philosophical ideas of god combined with Biblical ones. It is arranged in logical fashion, from Bible to history, to systematic theology to philosophy and ending with practical considerations.

I would highly recommend this book especially to those souls who were troubled like I was with the classical approach that leaves God distant and cold. I would include many atheists as well who reject not necessarily the God of the Bible but this classical synthesis. Like Pinnock affirms, the intent is not to overcorrect but to give a more balanced view of God as revealed in the Bible. This is not process theology. This is done by people who take the Bible very seriously and authoritative. The two Christian doctrines that I think best fit with this view are the Trinity and the Incarnation of God in Christ.

View all 4 comments. Sep 03, David rated it it was amazing. This book is one of my life time favorites. With all our systematic theologies these authors break through the systems, discussing some of the most difficult passages, and tell us what we know but don't want to hear. Passages that others call anthropomorphic they take for face value believing that God is giving information about Himself.

We just can't and will not be able to understand it all and should just except what is said about Him. In other words, the difficult passages that do not fit in This book is one of my life time favorites. In other words, the difficult passages that do not fit into our theological systems just means that God is too big for our systems and we should not explained away the passage to make our system fit what we want or think God to be. Sep 18, Neil rated it it was amazing Shelves: We need a theology that is biblically faithful and intellectually consistent, and that reinforces, rather than makes problematic, our relational experience with God Should anyone be interested, I have written a gargantuan review of this book that I built up as I read through it and which is based on the even larger set of notes I took whilst reading.

This is a book for people who do not mind their thinking being We need a theology that is biblically faithful and intellectually consistent, and that reinforces, rather than makes problematic, our relational experience with God Should anyone be interested, I have written a gargantuan review of this book that I built up as I read through it and which is based on the even larger set of notes I took whilst reading. This is a book for people who do not mind their thinking being challenged. For many, it will challenge some very basic assumptions. You have been warned. Most Christians live with a conflict that they choose to ignore because thinking about it is too complicated.

What am I talking about? I suppose the most common example is predestination vs. We say that God knows everything, including everything that will happen in the future, and then we look for ways to explain Bible passages such as God changing his mind about Saul being king or about destroying Nineveh after Jonah preached to the city: These are three areas where the traditional view is so embedded into the religion that questioning them is almost immediately marked as heretical see some of the reviews here on Goodreads. This chapter explores this evidence and concludes that a more natural reading of the Bible supports the open view.

It concludes that stripping out the diversions caused by the Greeks leads to a more open view of God. If God does not know the future, his relationship to his creation becomes, by necessity, far more intimate and dynamic. If, like me, you have been a Christian for approaching 50 years, it is a good mental workout to consider views that challenge what has become almost hardwired into your brain.


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As mentioned, there are reviews here on Goodreads that simply dismiss this book as heretical. I prefer a "more measured approach" as a recipient of an order from Donald Trump is reputed to have said. The open view of God actually makes a lot of sense. It is a view that supports God's sovereign power but also allows human free will. In my view, as the book suggests at one point, it actually makes God bigger than we might have thought which takes more power, more love, more involvement: At the same time, it makes the role of the individual person and the church more significant.

This is, by necessity, an introduction coming in at only pages.

The Openness of God

But is an introduction that gives plenty of food for thought if you are prepared to open your mind to the idea of an open God. Oct 27, Aaron rated it it was amazing. The main idea of this book is found on the first page, "God, in grace, grants humans significant freedom to cooperate with or work against God's will for their lives, and he enters into dynamic, give-and-take relationships with us.

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Instead, God enters into relationships with humanity, guiding, leading, and interacting with them throughout history. Humans have an effect on God. Although they hav The main idea of this book is found on the first page, "God, in grace, grants humans significant freedom to cooperate with or work against God's will for their lives, and he enters into dynamic, give-and-take relationships with us.

Although they have fairly convincing arguments against foreknowledge, it goes against accepted doctrine of the church for nearly two thousand years. Suggesting something that the church has thought to be true since the beginning is false, is typically a warning sign for heresy. In their defense, they claim these thoughts are grounded in Greek philosophy instead of Scripture.

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Regardless, all of their biblical support cannot simply be ignored. This book might not be for every Christian, but it is certainly an asset to anyone seriously studying the doctrine of God. The organic nature of theology is evident almost immediately. The applications and providential ideas will linger long after the book is finished. If the ideas are not convincing, they will be at a minimum unsettling, which can also be beneficial to build counter evidence. The ideas are not grounded in hypothetical abstract thought; they are grounded in biblical events where God has interacted with His people.

For that reason, Christians cannot be easily dismissive of what is being said. Even if their ideas are rejected, they need to be carefully considered. View all 3 comments.


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Mar 23, Eddy Ekmekji rated it really liked it. This book presents a theological paradigm that will challenge many people's understanding of God and relationship with God. However, once you read it, you may realize that this is how you want to relate to God but were afraid to frame it theologically.

Jul 26, Jeff Wiersma rated it it was amazing. God of the Possible: The Diminished God of Open Theism. Is God to Blame?: Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Suffering. Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed: Kindle Edition File Size: Customer reviews There are no customer reviews yet. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. A refreshing view of a personal loving God who is open to dialogue with his children and does respond to our prayers and unforeseen events. It rejects the notion that everything that will ever happen has been pre-ordained by God, even the unbelief of those who do not place their faith in Him.

I'll start of by saying: I'm not an open theist. I wasn't before I read the book, and I'm not now that I'm done reading it. But, that's not to say that I didn't find the book persuasive. The authors do a very good job explaining their take on the Greek philosophical source of the notion of the timelessness of God. And they do a very good job laying out comparisons between open theism and some of the other views of "God and time".

The Openness of God—Orthodoxy or Heresy

These comparisons, in my opinion, are what made this a good book. While I disagree with their conclusion that "open theism is better that other views", I do agree that, mostly, they lay out the practical implications of the various views fairly for the most part. Ultimately, though, my evaluation is that some forms of "traditional theism" are still better than open theism.